28 July 2017
Created by Barry Thompson © 2011-2017 Aston on Trent on Trent Local History Group, all rights reserved
Aston on Trent History – Settlement and Colonisation - Part 3 Domesday shows three other estates in the area. One in the Kings hands inherited from an unknown source consisted of two thirds of two carucates in Weston and four bovates in Smalley and Kidsley. This was not valued. It is likely that for administrative purposes it was managed with the main royal manor, and silently included in its value. There was a small estate at Aston on Trent and Shardlow, berewicks of outlying farms of the manor, held off the King by Octabrand. It had probably long been a separate though dependent estate for it was assessed in the gold at six and half bovates. Colonization was very much in hand, because although the Domesday value was only 5s, Octabrand had one plough in demesne, and his four villains and two borders shared another between them. The rich meadows and pastures of the little settlement had obviously been reserved for the Crown because Octabrand’s estate had only four acres of meadow and no pasture. The third estate was a manor held by Henry Ferrers, the Kings close friend. Before the conquest, Octabrand had held it assessed at one carucate in the gold, together with five acres of meadow. At the conquest, it was worth 6s, but in 1086, its value had increased to 8s. It was apparently in Ferrers own hands, but possibly Octabrand managed it for him. It has been suggested that the lost manor of Nero or marsh lay in the Weston on Trent / Aston on Trent area. This had been a tiny manor assessed at four bovates in the gold, with enough land for four oxen at the Conquest when Levenot held it. In 1086 it was waste and in the hands of one of the Kings thane. Its site has never been located. In 1086 therefore Aston on Trent lay in at least two manors, one belonged to the king and the other to Henry Ferrers, and a sub-manor held from the king by Octabrand. Octabrands hall and the farmsteads of the peasants and possibly one or more of the censarii formed a single nucleated settlement. Their arable lands must have lain intermingled in the great village fields, and the meadow of the two manors and sub-manor was probably intermingled. The pasture was reserved for the crown. The meadow and pasture were even then much more valuable than the arable. The land in Aston on Trent held by Ferrers and Octabrand cannot have been vastly inferior to the lands of the crown scattered through Weston, Aston on Trent and Shardlow yet the value of Ferrers one carucate and 55 acres of meadow was 8s, the value of Octabrands two carucates and four acres of meadow 5s and the value of the crowns 15 ploughs, 51 acres of meadow and great stretch of pasture £13.19.4d after providing a priest and two churches. Even if it seems likely, Octabrands land in 1086 was very newly colonized and still requiring much work to bring it into full production the value of the arable carucate was very much less than that of the meadow and pasture. These figures make it plain that the doubling in value of the manor of Weston between 1066 and 1086 was not simply due to the extensive colonization of arable land. Meadows and pasture were either being increased or more intensively developed.