history and maps

Cottingham - name, size and location

Ancient and Roman Britain

Angles, Saxons and Vikings

Anglo Saxon Chronicle

Domesday Book

The Hundreds

Rockingham Forest

Rockingham Castle

landowners & copyholders

The Church, tithes & glebe

Kelly's Directories

Domesday Book


A page from the Domesday Book

Cotingeham is listed in the Domesday book, a survey commissioned by William the Conquerer in 1085, following his invasion of Britain in 1066.

The survey served two purposes - it recorded who owned what land and gave it a value for tax purposes.

To gather the information, the King sent commissioners out into the kingdom to take evidence on oath 'from the sheriff; from the barons and their Frenchmen and from the whole Hundred, the priests, the reeves and six villagers from each village' (text from the Ely volume of the Domesday Book).

The following information was gathered:

  • The name of the place

  • Who owned it in 1066

  • How many hides and ploughs there were - and which were owned by the Lords and which by the common men

  • How many villagers, cottagers, slaves and freemen resided in the place?

  • How much woodland, meadow and pasture?

  • How many mills and fishponds?

  • The total value at the time of the survey, and in 1066

  • Who owned it in the reign of King Edward the Confessor, prior to the Norman conquest

The commissioners also gathered details of the livestock held by each landholder, but this was not included in the final Domesday volumes.

Cottingham's Domesday entry

The entries in the Domesday Book were listed in order by landowner. Here is Cottingham's entry:

Land of Peterborough Abbey

The Church itself holds in STOKE Hundred COTTINGHAM. 7 hides. Land for 14 ploughs, in lordship 2; 4 slaves; 29 villagers and 10 smallholders with 10 ploughs. A mill at 40d; meadow, 12 acres; woodland 1 league long and 1/2 league wide. The value was 10s; now 60s


Stoke Hundred

Since way back in the Anglo-Saxon era, the country's parishes had been split into administrative districts called Hundreds. At the time of the Domesday Survey, there were 29 Hundreds in Northamptonshire, and Cotingeham lay within the Stoke (Stoche/Stoce/Stoc) Hundred.  

Click here to view a hundred map from 1086, plus details of the latin names given to Cottingham and neighbouring towns and villages. Note that Middleton was not around at the time of the Domesday survey, but can be traced back at least to 1197 when the village appeared in a 'feet of fines'. In this context, fines (or final concords) were records of  land transfer.

Hundreds were so named because they originally contained 100 hides.

7 Hides

A hide was both a measure of land and a unit of tax measurement. Notionally, a hide was the amount of land that would support one peasant family. It's actual size therefore varied depending on how fertile the land was, but is estimated to be around 120 acres. If this is this case, Cottingham would have covered approximately 840 acres, assuming that there was no waste land (ie. land not fit for agricultural use)  in the village that was not assessed for tax.


The word hide comes from the old English hi(gi)d, from hiw-, hig-, meaning 'household'. Each hide was split into four virgates, and each virgate into four furlongs.



Land for 14 ploughs

This is another measure of land - equal to the amount of land that could be ploughed by an eight-ox plough team in one day.



In lordship 2

This indicates that the Lord of the Manor - the Abbot of Peterborough - retained 2 plough lands for his own use and/or owned two plough teams.



4 slaves

A slave was a man or woman who owed personal service to another, and was not free to move home or change their job.



29 villagers and 10 smallholders with 10 ploughs

Villagers and smallholders were landholders in the village, with a villager having held more land than a smallholder. There were 39 landholding peasant families (ie. not individuals) in the village at the time of the Domesday Survey. Between them, these peasants owned 10 plough lands and/or 10 plough teams.


The mathematicians amongst you will have noticed that this leaves 2 plough lands unaccounted for - 14 plough lands, with 2 in lordship and 10 with the villagers and smallholders leaves 2 spare. It could be that there were 14 ploughlands but only 12 physical plough teams to work the land.



A mill

This would have referred to a water mill



Woodland 1 league long and 1/2 league long

A league is a measure of land equal to around three miles or five kilometres.



The value was 10s, now 60s

Cottingham was valued at 60 shillings (3) in 1086, an increase from its 1066 value of 10 shillings (50 pence!).



As there is no 'owner at the time of King Edward the Confessor' recorded, we can assume that Peterborough Abbey also owned Cottingham prior to the Domesday Survey.



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