Bampton's History

Bampton in the Domesday Book

Domesday BookThe Domesday Book was completed in 1087 on the orders of King William, who needed to know what land and livestock were there to be taxed. The entries refer to the old Saxon landholdings, and the value of each is given for the time of the conquest (1066) and the present (1087).


Bampton was the head of a Hundred of the same name, and comprised six and a bit of today’s parishes – Bampton, part of Burlescombe, Clayhanger, Hockworthy, Holcombe Rogus, Morebath, and Uffculme. Parishes did not exist in those days; they came about a century later.

Within the present parish, were Bampton (Baentona),  Petton (Alwinestona), Diptford (Deppaforda), Duvale, and Doddiscombe (Dadscombe) & Hayne, the last being part of an extra hide of land attached to Diptford. Bampton, Petton, Duvale, and Diptford were manors in their own right within the Hundred.

Bampton had no resident Lord of the Manor at the time of the Norman conquest; he was the king. Shortly afterwards the manor and Hundred was given to Walter of Douai (who was a soldier of fortune who threw his lot in with William the Conqueror, and was rewarded with many manors across the land for his assistance with the invasion). Bampton was populated by 31 villagers, 20 smallholders, 15 pigmen, and 2 slaves (possibly the remnants of the Celtic population). There were 6 pigs, 2 packhorses, 2 cattle, 23 sheep, and 50 goats counted for the survey. Between them, the pigmen paid an annual rent of 106½ (106 and 107 on alternate years) pigs to the manor. When the survey was taken, the rent must just have been paid, for there were but six swine (pigs).

There was also the manor corn mill, on which site a mill has stood to the present day, although it ceased functioning in the late 1950’s. The Manor Mill was first recorded in the Domesday Book, published in 1087 but referring to 1066. In a Deed of 1694 it is recorded that there were 3 mills on the site, probably 3 running off the same wheel. It also generated electricity in the early 20th century.

Petton recorded no livestock - possibly it was a military area – there are fields with “castle” names nearby, but there were 4 villagers and 2 slaves and the Manor mill. The Saxon owner was Alwin, but he was dispossessed in favour of the Count of Mortaine.

Diptford was also a Royal manor, held by Queen Matilda, who sub-let it to Walter of Douai. It recorded 4 smallholders and 3 slaves, together with 2 asses, 4 cattle, 12 pigs, 54 goats, and 109 sheep. It also had its manor mill, which still exists without its mechanism as a private house.


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