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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 73 - 1959  pages 117
Late-Continued Demesne Farming at Otford. By F. R. H. Du Boulay, M.A., F.R.Hist.S. Continued

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.

Page 117

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