Stokesley In Domesday

It is generally accepted that Domesday book (1086) provides our first glimpse of the town, listed in the Yorkshire section of the survey under the heading Land of the King's Thegns. The original entry is in abbreviated Latin, and contains symbols which cannot be exactly replicated in modern typescript. Spellings look strange to the modern eye, as does some of the vocabulary, but translation is not too problematic.

The following is a transcript of the Domesday Book entry for Stokesley as printed in Vol 30 of the Phillimore edition of Domesday Book, edited by Margaret L Faull and Marie Stimson, and published at Chichester in 1986.

M In STOCHESLAGE hb Hauuart vi car' t'rae ad gld.
T'ra ad iii car'. Ibi ht' Uctred I car' 7 viii vill
cu' iiii car'. Ibi pbr 7 aeccla 7 i mold x sol 7 viii
ac pti. Una leu' lg 7 dim' lat. T.R.E. val xxiii lib mo viii lib

For an English version of this entry, click on

In 1086, therefore, it is clear that Stokesley was already an important centre in Cleveland. The manor was rated for tax at 6 carucates1, (perhaps as much as 900 acres). In addition to the ploughland and meadows, Stokesley also possessed a Church, one of few recorded in the area, and a mill, which was even rarer in Cleveland. Both of these would have provided income to the Lord of the Manor. Although Stokesley's value of £8 in 1086 showed a considerable decline from the £24 quoted for 1066, Stokesley was nevertheless worth more than any other holding in the area.2

Associated with the manor, and valued in with it, were a number of villages or hamlets, namely Skutterskelfe, Thoraldby, Ingleby Greenhow, Little Broughton, Tanton, Kirkby, Dromonby and Great and Little Busby. These were listed as Soke3 of the town and together totalled more than 34 carucates, and provided homes for another 27 families, who used 10 ploughs between them.

The whole area described in the entry for Stokesley therefore contains more than 40 carucates and provided a living for 35 families as well as Stokesley's Lord and its priest. Compared with other ares of North Yorkshire in Domesday, it formed a very prosperous group of estates, and this gives us cause to wonder whether Stokesley might already have been a market town even then.4

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