Monday, 24 April 2017

1066 and Onwards

Life for my Meavy ancestors in the centuries between their beginnings as an isolated Dumnonii tribe, and the invasion of the Normans would not have changed at all, it was still a hard and meager existence. They would still have hunted and farmed and defended what was theirs, the only difference during those years was who they defended their property from. The Meavy’s may not have heard of the kings who sat on the throne of England, but by the time the Domesday commissioners came knocking at their doors, they might not have known who William the Conqueror was, but they would certainly know exactly what he wanted. 

Many villages that had been ravaged by marauding Norman soldier in the days and weeks after Hastings saw the taxable value of their land fall to half its value in 1086, a direct result of the devastation of twenty years previous.

These great changes can be viewed in the Conqueror’s great Domesday Book of 1086, where the effect of the invasion on England’s population can be calculated, as can the change of ownership of land. Written in Latin and Roman numerals - the language of the church, the Domesday Book was an evaluation of land for the purpose of tax, it stated who held it and what was on it. When this book was compiled it had no name, but was soon referred to as the Book of Winchester because it was kept in the royal treasury there. By 1170 this great work was popularly called the Domesday Book. Not only did it gather information about the land it was also an attempt to sort out disagreements over what land belonged to whom, and it is here for the first time that we see exactly what land the family of Meavy owned and it is the first time we see Meavy, as a village, written down.
The latest chapter, dealing with my Devon ancestors at the time of the Norman Conquest is now complete. You can read more of their story on my blog at: