Southwold Railway Trust Archive of Wenhaston

History Note #3: Domesday

History Note #3: Domesday
Wenhaston is called Wenasdestuna in the Norman Domesday book

In 1086 William 1 gave orders that a survey be carried out by which all land owners be listed. Wenhaston was listed separate from Mells. The owner of Wenhaston was Lord Alan the Red. A strong supporter of William at the Battle of Hastings he was rewarded with much land in England. He did not live here but his main home was Richmond Castle in Yorkshire.

Mells was owned by Robert de Todeni, a standard bearer at the Battle of Hastings. Again he did not live here but at Belvoir Castle in Lincolnshire. He built Belvoir Castle on the hill and founded a Priory at the foot of the hill, where he was buried. Come the disbanding of the Priories, his stone coffin was taken up to the castle where one can see it (empty!) outside the door of the chapel.

Wenhaston consisted of a wood for 16 swine, a mill and a church, and was inhabited by 6 Freemen, 3 Villeins and 16 Borders.

Mells had 5 acres of meadow and wood for 100 swine and supported 8 Villeins and 12 Borders. All this would have produced a population of about 200.