tinued and emphasized in the fifteenth century. We have
a series of parker’s accounts from 1400.1 After the demesne
is wholly leased out in 1444 we have not only the farmer’s account,
but a continued serjeant’s account, answering for the profits of the
leased demesne and for the residence at Otford which the archbishop
retained and used. And then, from about 1450, the large manor of Otford
was broken up into a number of separately-accounting collectorates : the
borgha of Otford under its reeve, the borgha of Shoreham,
and the once-dependent settlements at Chevening, Sevenoaks and Weald,
each under its collector (usually styled reeve), and Whitley (Whytclyff)
woods under a forester. All these accounts continue with few
important breaks till Cranmer’s time.2
The present concern is with the extent of the demesne and
with what the serjeants’ accounts tell of its cultivation. The ‘Domesday
survey simply says that, the manor of Otford was assessed at eight
sulungs, that there was tenant-land for forty-two ploughs and demesne
for six. The bare statement of Domesday is borne out and vastly
amplified by two detailed medieval descriptions of the demesne. A
custumal of c. 1284 shows some 665 acres of arable scattered in
fourteen parcels, ranging in size from 1 to 153 acres, about 55 acres of
meadow in twelve parcels, and an indeterminate amount of wood, park and
pasture land. The demesne description in this custumal is set out here
in translation : 3
In ‘ La Combe’ 68 acres; by the sheepfold 1 acre 1 virgate; sub
orto Pycard 23a; in ‘Wycham’ 26a. 3v.; in ‘Northfield’ 153a.
3v. ; in’ Estfeld’ 83a. 3v. ; in the croft of’ Wenlagh’
la. 3v. in ‘Tyleféld’ 12a. 3v. ; in the field by Preston
58a. 2v. ; in the field on the north and east side of Shoreham
church 55a. ½v. ; in the field by the sheepfold and vill of
Shoreham 26a. ½v. ; at’ Wodelond’ 34a. ; at ‘Haistede’
80a. ; in ‘Morelegh’ 40a. preter Alvetum.
Pasture in ‘Robeloteslond’ 25a. besides Alvetum; a park
and some other woods there ; in ‘Gevelmed’ 6a. ; in
‘Littelmed’ 1a. 2v. by the house of John Planez 3a, ; in ‘Meleton’
11a. ; in the same meadow 4a. 2v. ; in ‘ Rodbrok’ 9a. 2v. ; in ‘La
More’ 6a. 2v. ; at ‘Southmell’ la. 3v. ; between the course
of two streams (aquarum) 3a; in ‘Redon’ and water 2a. 2v.; in
‘Stywmed’ 6a.; in ‘La Wore’ la.
A description of the demesnes as they were in 1515-16 has also
1 L.R., 847, etc.
2 The numerous later
accounts, mostly in Lambeth Palace and the Public Record Office, need
not be referred to here.
3 Dean and Chapter
of Canterbury MSS, E24, fo. 69v. This is a copy, probably of the late
fifteenth century, of a custumal and rental remade under Archbishop
Pecham from a roll of Elias of Dereham, archbishop’s steward c. 1207-14,
covering almost all the archbishop’s estates.