Royal estates in Anglo-Saxon Wessex
Using a study area of the pre-Conquest shires of Hampshire and Dorset, this thesis
provides an analysis of the lands used to support members of the Anglo-Saxon royal
family in Wessex and the strategies employed to manage those landholdings. Categories
of land units are explored, along with their interactions with other land units.
The main evidential corpus for this study is Domesday Book, which provides a starting
point from which to examine the 'farm of one night'. This distinctive type of estate is
explored, including where these places appear in narrative sources. The nature of
booklands granted to members of the royal family is also discussed in detail, showing
that the control of those royal family members who held booklands was limited by royal
landholding strategies. It is also suggested that the lands held by royal agents were
closely associated with the running of night's farm estates.
The examination of the categories of land results in a picture of a closely controlled
system of managing the distribution of landed resources imposed during the later Anglo-Saxon period.