The Eleventh Century





In the 11th.century, Cluniac monks made the shrine of St.James at Compostella famous as a pilgrimage site.[1]


Christianity established in Russia.


Sacrificial sites in Lapland containing metal items from Russia and north-west England.


Carving and erection of stone statues begins, at Easter Island.


Short-lived settlements led by Leif Eriksson, on the coasts of Labrador and Newfoundland. [to 1011][2]


Moulds used, in and North America, for pottery manufacture.


Exeter ranked as one of the leading cities of the kingdom for the best part of a thousand years. Certainly this was so from the 11th.century to the 18th.


`In as in other towns the origin of the body of freemen is lost in obscurity. The eleventh-century gild which existed in Exeter, appears to have been social and religious in purpose, and to have been unconnected with the economic life of the city.`


`Of surnames as such there were hardly any in the England of pre-Conquest days ... in France, however, surnames started about the year 1000 AD ... on the other hand among the Romans the surname sytem ... reached a clear and definite structure.' [cognomen = surname][3]



Massacre of St.Brice`s Day.



Sweyn begins annual raids. (to 1007) He attacks and sacks Exeter, leaving it "a pile of ashes".[4]



The area around Hertford is described as being overrun by Danes.



End of King monarchsEthelred II Redeless' first reign (since 975). monarchsSweyn (Sven Forkbeard of Denmark), and monarchsCanute conquer England. (Danish Dynastic Conquests) Sweyn ascends the throne (to 1014).



End of King Sweyn`s reign (since 1013). monarchsEthelred II Redeless ascends the throne the second time (to 1016).


The Battle of battlesLondon Bridge. King monarchsOlaf helps defend the city against the Danes. Several Norse sagas told how Olaf commanded his men to pull down London Bridge, thus destroying the Danish forces commanding it. One of the sagas ends:



`London Bridge is broke down,
Gold is won, and bright renown,
Shields resounding,
War-horns sounding,
shouting in the din!
Arrows singing,
Mailcoats ringing,
makes our Olaf win!`



End of King monarchsEthelred II Redeless' second reign (since 1014). monarchsEdmund Ironside ascends the throne (but doesn`t see the year out).monarchs Canute (Knut), a Dane, ascends the throne (to 1035).


Ashundun and Treaty of Alney.



monarchsCanute`s conquest of Norway and dependencies make him master of an empire comprising England, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, the Orkneys, the Hebrides, the Isle of Man and the Scandinavian settlements in Ireland. The king divides England into four great earldoms, Essex, Sussex, Wessex & Middlesex(?), each having a separate governor, who bears the Scandinavian title of Jarl, or Earl.



monarchsCanute dies, and there is a dispute over succession between his two sons, monarchsHardacanute and monarchsHarold Harefoot. Eventually, the Witan [parliament] divides the realm between them.



Witan acknowledges monarchsHarold Harefoot as king of England, as his brother monarchsHardacanute has been absent.



Hardacanute returns to England, to dispute Harold Harefoot`s claim to the throne, but Harold dies before the matter is put to the test, and Hardacanute becomes king.



Hardacanute dies. Last Danish king of England. monarchsEdward the Confessor elected by Witan (to 1066), he is aged 37.


`A man of deep piety, he was perhaps too gentle and benevolent for the sometimes rather brutal times in which he lived.`


`That the Fosse Way was regarded as a major highway in early Norman if not late Saxon times, is attested to by the so-called `Laws of Edward the Confessor', which include a section on the four great highways which came under the King's Peace; Watling Street, Icknield Street, Fosse Way and Ermine Street.'[5]



manor, in the hundred of Exminster, given to Bishop bishopsExeterLeofric by Edward.


Creation of first ese state, at Pagan.



King Edward marries, at age 40, Edith, daughter of Godwine, Earl of Essex.



Possible first mention of an Earl ..i.Branscombe:earl of -?;Branscombe? (to 1072)


`..i.Branscombe:- village;Branscombe, before the NormanConquest, belonged to the Church of Exeter, to which it was given [this very doubtful] by Thomas Branchescombe. (..i.Branscombe:Thomas;Branscombe) The manor of ..i.Branscombe:- manor;Branscombe belongs to the Dean & Chapter.'[6]


`Lysons says Branscombe manor was given to the canons of Exeter by Thomas de Branscombe, before the Conquest, but doesn`t name his authority.'[7]

Edward the Confessor transfers the See of Devon and Cornwall; from undefendable Crediton to Exeter, under Bishop bishopsExeterLeofric. The churchesAbbey Church of St.Mary and St.Peter is adopted, as the new cathedral. The incumbent Benedictines, resident since the seventh century, move to LondonWestminster. Among lands transferred from them to Leofric is the manor of Branscombe.


Raiding Danes may have seized land around ..i.Branscombe:- village;Branscombe at this time, but were repulsed over the next 20 years.


Anasazi settlements in the south-west of North America move to well-defended positions, such as Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon.


with clay, moveable type, invented in China.



Exile of Earl Godwine.


William of in England.



Earl at the court.



King monarchsEdward the Confessor`s newly-built churchesWestminster Abbey is consecrated.



6 January, Westminster: funeral of Edward the Confessor, cousin of the Duke of Normandy. (reigned since 1042). monarchsHarold II Godwinson, Earl of Essex, ascends the throne (but doesn`t see the year out). Last of the Saxon & Danish Kings (829-1066).


25 September: King Harold defeats the Norwegians at battlesStamford Bridge.


28 September: William, Duke of Normandy, leads his army ashore after crossing the Channel overnight, and captures Pevensey.


14 October: Harold is defeated and killed, at the Battle of battlesHastings.


;`At Hastings, in 1066, Taillefer the Jongleur went before the army, flinging his sword in the air and singing stirring stanzas from the Song of Roland.'[8]


`The Song of Roland was about a Breton of that name, a friend of Charlemagne, killed at the Battle of battlesRoncesvalles. This poetic romance set on fire the imagination of the later Middle Ages.'[9]


`King Harold's thanes who rode to Hastings in 1066 and then, to their undoing, dismounted to fight, were beaten and dispossessed by Norman invaders who fought on horseback, towering over the Anglo-Saxons and crushing them. The man on horseback dominated English society for the next seven or eight centuries.'[10]


25 December, Westminster: monarchsWilliam I the Conqueror of Normandy ascends the throne (to 1087). The first of the and Plantagenet Kings (1066-1485).


`The numbers of ancestors doubles with each generation as you proceed backwards ... so that ten generations back (say 300 years) you may have as many as 1,024 ancestors; at 1066 (30 generations) the nominal number would exceed a billion, but of course thousands of names would be repeated thousands of times.'[11]


After the Battle of Hastings, Bishop Leofric gave sanctuary to the mother of Harold but declared for William the Conqueror, who refrained from punishing the city and entered by the east gate as the queen escaped by the west. Norman Excestre gained Rougemont Castle on its red sandstone hill, and a new cathedral.



The Rising. William marches on the city, which submits. As a result, the castle, Rougemont, is built.


Exeter`s first bishop, bishopsExeterWarelwast, replaces Leofric. A nephew of William, and later chaplain to both monarchsWilliam II William's son, Rufus, and monarchsHenry I.


Names inscribed on the roll of honour at churchesBattle Abbey, after its completion, include:













De la Pole







The great Norman family of de la Pomerai () used their manor of PomeroyBerry Pomeroy from the Conquest to 1548, as their principal residence in Devon.[12]



Bishop bishopsExeterLeofric of Exeter dies. (what about bishopsExeterWarelwast-1067?)


Bishop bishopsOsbern installed. (to 1103)



`The presence in Southern Italy was influential in the election of the monk Hildebrand to the papacy as popesGregory VII. A reforming pope, he sought to prevent the interference of the State in church matters.'[13]



An article in the Exeter Express & Echo of 11 November 1981 claims Hole House in Branscombe was built in this year, by Simon de Holcomb, a Saxon bowman in the Battle of Hastings, who was evicted from Farringdon Manor when William The Conqueror took Exeter in 1074 [should this be 1067, or did he take it again?]. It claims the de Holcomb family owned Hole House until 1603, including Sir John de Holcomb, who died in the Crusades and who, with his wife, Isabella of Rousdon, owned all the land between Branscombe and Lyme regis.



2 November: Matilda dies. (queen of William?)



The Inquisicio Gheldi lists a manor called Brunescume (Brianscombe), in Corfe Castle Parish, Aileveswoda (Aylswood) hundred. [Isle of Purbeck?] It is bracketed with Acton (Langton Wallis), Swanage, Durnford & Moleham. The Saxon owner is shown as Algar in paragio (?) Its Domesday tenant is shown as Hugo de Nemore Herberti.[14]



survey begun.


Hertford is described as having three mills and two churches.



Book completed and delivered to Winchester.


At the time of Domesday, Exeter was probably eighth largest among provincial towns. `... there were 900 manors in Devon, these being naturally subjected to a considerable amount of confiscation and general reshuffling. Some estates were enlarged and promoted to manorial dignity; others enclosed from waste land later. Thus most of the old manors bear names of post-Conquest date, usually compounded with that of the feudal lord.'[15]



Lands of St.Peter of the Church of Exeter in Devon:

`Bishop bishopsOsbern has a manor called Douelis () which T.R.E. paid geld for 7 hides. (1792 acres) These 30 ploughs can till. Thereof the bishop has 1 hide (256 acres) and 2 ploughs in demesne, and the villeins have 6 hides (1536 acres) and 24 ploughs. This manor is assigned for the support of the canons. There the bishop has 30 villeins, (c.50 acres each) 8 bordars, 3 serfs, 3 cows, 2 swine, 100 sheep, coppice 3 furlongs in length and 1 in breadth, 6 acres of meadow, and 12 acres of pasture. It is worth 8 pounds a year when the bishop received it, it was worth 7 pounds.`

Editor`s note to the above: manor in the hundred of Exminster. Given to Bishop bishopsExeterLeofric by the Confessor in 1044




Lands of St.Peter of the Church of Exeter in Devon:

`Bishop Osbern has a manor called Branchescoma (Branscombe) which Bishop Leuric (Leofric) held in T.R.E., and it paid geld for 5 hides. (1280 acres) These 16 ploughs can till. It is allotted for the support of the canons. Thereof the canons have 1 hide in demesne (256 acres) and 1 plough, and the villeins have 4 hides (1024 acres) and 15 ploughs. There the canons have 22 villeins, (c.46 acres each) 5 bordars, 1 serf, 1 beast, 150 sheep, 12 acres of coppice and 2 acres of meadow. It is worth 6 pounds a year.`

Editor's note to the above: ..i.Branscombe:- manor;Branscombe manor in Colyton hundred. In 857 the property of the crown, and mentioned in monarchsEdulwulf`s will. Given by king monarchsAlfred to his younger son, Aethelweard, in 901. When he died before his father, Branscombe passed to monarchsEdward the Elder, and from him to monarchsAthelstan. (c.895-940) Athelstan gave this and other estates to the monastery of St.Peter at Exeter, which held it until 1050, when Bishop bishopsExeterLeofric transferred his cathedral church from Crediton; to Exeter, whereupon the monks moved to LondonWestminster and their monastery, with its endowments, were given to the secular canons of the new cathedral



T.R.E Tempore Regis Edwardi = "the day on which King
Edward was alive and dead".
(5 Jan.1066)

Hide unit of assessment on which Danegeld was paid
= 256 acres.

Virgate quarter of a hide = 64 acres.

Ferling quarter of a virgate = 16 acres.

Ploughland as much land as 8 oxen could cultivate
= 4 ferlings = 64 acres.



`The manor consists of demesne and villagers' land. Demesne is the lord`s home farm. Villagers' land is that occupied by his dependents on condition of cultivating the lord`s farm for him.' [16]


Book Hammersmith is undoubtedly included under Fulham, not being then a separate parish...The Broadway dates its origin back to very early times; it was a clearing in the woods; we read in Domesday that there was `wood for 1000 swine hereabouts.''[17]


Exeter; is a prosperous city, with a royal mint; a centre of regional trade.


`The population of England and Wales at the time of the Domesday Survey is estimated at 1.25 million ...'[18]



William I summons all land-holders of substance in England to Salisbury, to swear an oath of fealty.


Reign of monarchsWilliam I the Conqueror of Normandy ends, when he dies in Caen, aged 61 (since 1066). monarchsWilliam II Rufus ascends the throne (to 1100).


A ring-motte and bailey castle exists (is built?) on , a volcanic rock extrusion within the city of Exeter.[19][cf:1067]


The first to reverse Islamic gains in the Middle east begins.



The cult of Saint saintsGeorge is brought back to England from the east by returning crusaders. [cf:303] He was said to have come to their aid under the walls of Antioch, in 1089, and was then chosen as their patron saint by the Normans, under Robert of , son of the Conqueror.[20]



`Begun only 27 years after the Conquest, churchesDurham Cathedral, with its massive grandeur, is the supreme example of Anglo-Norman Romanesque architecture.'[21]



The Council of Clermont. `The recovery of Islam, and the threat it posed to Christendom in the Eastern Mediterranean, led Pope popesUrban II to proclaim the First . Four years later, his initiative was rewarded with the capture of Jerusalem.'[22]



First crusades. FranceFranks invade Anatolia and Syria, founding Crusader States.



Four years after Pope popesUrban II proclaimed the First Crusade, at the Council of Clermont, his initiative is rewarded with the capture of Jerusalem.


1996-2006 Ronald Branscombe

Email: genealogy (at) branscombe (dot) net


.Begin Index.


[2]Stick, Roanoke Island, p.11

[3]George Pelling, Beginning Your Family Tree, pp.10-11

[4]Izacke, Remarkable Antiquities ..., p.265

[5]Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society #44, 1986,

[6]Polwhele, The History of Devonshire, 1793 (1977)

[7]Transactions of the Devonshire Association, Extra Volume,

[8]Rowling, 1973, p.16

[9]Rowling, 1973, p.16

[10]Perkin, The Age of the Railway, pp.35-36

[11]Pelling, Beginning Your Family History, 1990

[12]Hoskins, Devon, 1972

[13]Platt, p.25

[14]Eyton, A Key to Domesday, p.111

[15]St.Leger-Gordon, Devon, p.294

[16]The Exeter Book, 1086, quoted in Page

[17]Besant, London North of the Thames, 1911

[18]Andrew Todd, Basic Sources For Family History #1,
Allen & Todd, Bury, Lancs., 1987, p.5

[19]Fox, Roman Exeter..., p.1

[20]Withycombe [cf:1349]

[21]Platt, p.41

[22]Platt, p.21