at the western approach to Oxford on the north of the Castle bridge,
i. e. the Hythe Bridge ^. It is probable that before the century closed
the south bridge was in existence. The evidence is briefly this : — In
the time of Abbot Faritius, who became Abbot of Abingdon in iioo,
a certain house in Oxford, called the Wick, which was left to Ermenold,
is described as 'juxta pontem Oxene/ord^,' and later on, in the time of
Abbot Ingulph (i 130-1558), when it is let on lease ^ it is again so
described. Of course it is possible that the bridge may have been
built in the early years of Abbot Faritius, or the house may have had
that name given to it afterwards, the chronicler calling it by the new
name in order to identify it ; still the more reasonable view perhaps is,
that the bridge was in existence. A later reference, i.e. after the
* ' Praeterea do eis viam juxta munim civitatis Oxeneford quantum extenditur
terra eorum ; et volo quod praedicti canonici eandem viam includant, et concedo
quod iidem canonici claudere possint omnes portus totius prioratus,' &c. Rotuli
Lit. Pat. Hen. V. Memb. 3. Per Inspeximus.
2 Printed in Dugdale, vol. viii. p. 1525. ^ See ante, p. 218.
* Chron. Mon. Ab. vol. ii. p. 140.
^ Ibid. p. 1 76, Another entry occurs respecting a certain Langford Mill, vv^hich
is described as ' apiid Pontem Oxeneford positum' (Ibid. p. 123), and which was
given during the time of Abbot Faritius. It does not however seem to refer to
this bridge, but there are difficulties in identifying the spot.
D ESC RIP TION OF OXFORD IN DOMES DA V S UR VE V. M)9
death of Abbot Roger, 1184, when a schedule is drawn out of the
property of the abbey, with the dates when the payments to it are due,
we find under rents from Oxford those from iij messagia supra pontcm
aus/ralem ; i. e. it has here the name of the south bridge ^
And after mentioning the bridges, the mills should not be omitted.
There was the mill, which is mentioned in the Survey, namely, the
Castle Mill ; and there is no reason to doubt but that it occupied the
same site as it does now, and portions of the masonry of the founda-
tions, and by which the rush of water is regulated, may well be of
a date anterior to the Conquest, for it will be observed that Earl
Aelfgar held the mill T. R. E.^ Incidentally it is noticed in Domesday
that, besides this mill, Robert D'Oilgi had one worth ten shillings ",
which by implication was in his manor of Holywell. It must have
occupied the site of the present Holywell Mill, being supplied with
water from the Cherwell. Although the charter relating to the property
of Ensham, which mentions the mills, is not earlier than the year 1109,
it is a confirmation charter, and bears internal evidence of referring to
property which had been some time previously in the hands of the mon-
astery; and as we see by the Domesday Survey they already possessed
their church and several houses which appear to be connected with the
church, we may fairly conclude that they already possessed these mills
also, and therefore two more may be added to the list of mills, which
may be supposed to be supplying the inhabitants of Oxford with flour
at this time. It is perhaps dangerous to fix on any particular spots
for the two mills, but we may presume that they were in or near to
St.Ebbe's parish. There are several divergences in the stream between
the Castle and Folly Bridge, and any of these would serve as a site for
a mill. In all probability, the mill which afterwards bore the name of
Trill Mill, the stream of which is now covered over for a greater part
of its course, and is filled up or much diverted for the remainder*, was
^ Citron. Moil. Al>. vol. ii. p. 332. The words probably are not to be taken to
mean that the houses were built on the bridge, like the so-called Friar Bacon's
study was afterwards. Stipra here means beyond the bridge. The bridge in
Edward the First's reign is usually called the Pons longus or the Pons magnus,
the latter possibly a latinization of Grand-pount.
"' .See mitc, p. 223. ^ Ibid. p. 225.
* The Trill Mill stream left the main stream on the west of what is now
Paradise Square, and flowing through meadows which are now covered thickly
with houses, it gave off (as shewn by the map of Agas and Loggan) a stream
running due south to the Thames, and parallel with the road to Folly Bridge.
On the west side, the main stream, after passing beneath the road some seventy
yards outside South gate, gave off another stream running parallel with the former,
but a little distance off, on the east side of the said road. A portion of the main
300 THE EARLY HISTORY OF OXFORD.
originally one of the Ensham mills. In the next century we find
Oseney with certain mills which Robert D'Oilgi's nephew had given
them, but there is no evidence of there being more than the four mills
above named actually in existence at the time of the Survey.
There is one feature which still remains to be noticed, and which
essentially connects the time of the Domesday Survey with our own.
It will have been observed that the last item in the Oxford list runs as
' All burgesses of Oxford have common of pasture without the wall
which pays 6j. 8^.' ^
That ' common of pasture ' remains the same, stretching itself
between Walton Manor on the east and the main stream of the river
on the west, and bounded on the north by Wolvercote. It would be
perhaps rash to say that during the eight hundred years which have
passed since this notice of it there have been no encroachments,
especially on the southern side where the Cripley meadows lie. But
still in substance it remains, and the rights of the freemen of Oxford
to have therein free pasture are still admitted ; above all it bears the
old English name of the ' Port Meadow.' Practically the chief duties
of the Reeve of the town (who is appointed annually by the Portmanni-
mot or Town Council) is to look after the well-being of this meadow,
and the interests of the freemen therein ; but by a perversity which it
is difficult to account for, instead of being called the Port-reeve, which
is his true name, he is always called the Shire-reeve ; still, in the title
of sheriff it is something to find a survival of a part of this ancient
officer's name, and in his work a part of his ancient duties; it is
something more to find the meadow itself still set apart for its ancient
purpose, and bearing the ancient name in which that purpose is
in a measure set forth.
Such then are the points respecting Oxford on which the few
scattered documents which we possess appear to throw any light.
The little which they tell us is very slight in proportion to the amount
which is left to conjecture ; but enough seems to be handed down to
show that Oxford, like most other towns, had suff"ered much during
the time that preceded the arrival of William the Conqueror, and
enjoyed comparative tranquillity afterwards. His rule, though at times
stream was continued evidently across Merton Fields by the side of what is now
the Broad Walk, and found its way into the Cherwell. Several small branches of the
river in the south-western part of Oxford have been filled up and built over during
the past century.
' See a7ite, p. 225.
DESCRIPTION OF OXFORD IN DO MRS DA Y SURVE Y. 30 1
perhaps harsh, was always firm, and he thereby probably prevented
harshness in others. So far as can be judged from the very few data
existing, his government as regards the town was based upon the
old English lines. There was a reeve appointed over the shire by the
King himself; and probably also a reeve either appointed or elected
over the town also. It is difficult from the few scattered passages in
which the Scire-reve or Vice-comes is mentioned, and from the omis-
sion in most cases of the names of the counties over which they
presided, to make even a list of the names of the sheriifs at this time ;
while of the names of the portreeves there is scarcely a trace.
In the charter in which King William greets Sawold, Scire/e, and
all his thanes in Oxfordshire S we may presume we have the name of
the reeve of this county at the time of the Conquest. The document
probably belongs to the early part of William's reign, for the com-
munity at Westminster whom it concerns would have hastened to have
their property protected by royal charters. Sawold however is not
recognized as sheriff in the Oxford list, though the same Sawold was
apparently holding mansions in Oxford ; hence we may argue that he
had ceased to be sheriff by the time the Survey was taken. In that
list we have distinctly named Edward as the Sheriff' ; but, as already
pointed out, it is a question whether this was Edward of Salisbury
who was sheriff of Wilts, or another Edward, who was sheriff of
Oxford. The latter seems the most probable, from the circumstances
that the charter respecting the grant of Ensham, which could have
nothing to do with Wiltshire, is witnessed by Edward the sheriff, and
Robert D'Oilgi together^. But in the list of the holders of Oxford
mansions occurs more than once the name of Alwin, or Alwi, and
under the ' Terra Ministrorum Regis', we find that Alwi the sheriff
holds of the king two hydes in Bletchingdon^ We also find amongst
the Tenentes in capite in Oxfordshire that a Suain is entered as vice-
comes and that he held Baldon ^. If either of them was sheriff of Ox-
fordshire there is the difficulty of determining whether one succeeded
Edward, or the reverse. The balance of evidence perhaps would be
in favour of Edward (who was most likely a Norman) succeeding to
Alwi or Suain, who must have been Englishmen. Still, it must be
confessed that the data are insufficient for arriving at any very definite
' See ante, pp. 270-71. ^ See ante, p. 246.
^ See ante, p. 242, and Appendix A, § 95. His signature also occurs in the
charter respecting Remigius, A, § 90.
* See ante, pp. 257 and 266.
'•" Domesday, fol. 160 a, col. i. See also the list of Tenentes in capite shown as
the Frontispiece to this volume, No. xlii.
302 THE EARLY HISTORY OF OXFORD.
conclusion, since either Alwi, Suain or Edward might have been
sheriffs of some other county after all.
In William Rufus' reign, and presumably early in that reign, we find
several writs addressed to Peter the sheriff of Oxford. It may reason-
ably be suggested that, whether Alwi or Edward were holding the
office in William the Conqueror's reign, they gave way to Peter in the
reign of his successor. But he appears only to have held the office
during William Rufus' reign, since, when Abbot Faritius soon after
I ICO bought houses in Oxford, they are described as those of Peter
formerly sheriff \ Further than this, we find a writ dated in 1002 — that
is, early in Henry the First's reign — to William of Oxford and to William
the sheriff of Oxford ^ Hence it would seem that on the accession of
King Henry, Peter was for some reason, possibly political, superseded
and William put in his place.
As to the Port-reeve, it is curious that no mention is made of him in
the list of the Oxford tenants. Either he lived in one of the houses
of the ' Tenenies in Captte,^ or possibly his office was not recognized by
the Domesday Surveyor from it not being a crown appointment. One
instance however has been noted, and it is the only one, namely, where
the name of the Praeposiius Eadwi occurs in a writ issued by William
The writ runs as follows : —
William, King of the English to Peter of Oxford greeting.
Know that I will and command that abbot Rainald of Abingdon,
and the monks of his church, shall have and hold all their customs
every where and in every way as well and as honourably and as peace-
fully as they ever held them in the time of King Eadward, and in the
time of my father, so that no man shall henceforth any more do them
Witness Ranulf the Chaplain ^
And take care that full right be done to the aforesaid abbot by Eadwi
your praepositus, and other of your servants who have done his monks
' See a7tte, p. 264. ^ See ante, p. 265.
2 This must be Ralph Flammard (see ante, p. 255), to whom William Rufus
gave the bishopric of Durham in 109S, and who made such bad use of his power.
The following passage bearing upon the signature, ' Rannulph the Chaplain,'
occurs in the continuation of Simeon of Durham's history of Durham. ' Rex W.
dedit episcopatum Ranulfo qui propter quandam apud regem excellentiam
singulariter nominabatur capellanus Regis.' Apud Twysden, Decern Scriptores,
' Chron. Mon. Ab. 11. p. 41. As to Eadwi being named in the Domesday list
in the Conqueror's reign see ante, p. 273. Appendix A, § 103.
DESCRIPTION OF OXFORD IN DOMES DA Y SURVE V. 303
The word pracpositus seems generally to be used in the sense of
Port-reeve ^ although at the same time it is used in the other senses
as well '^.
We have no direct evidence that either William the Conqueror or
William Rufus ever visited Oxford. No charter has been observed
dated by either of those kings at Oxford ; but then the charters of
which copies are in existence are very few in proportion to the
number which must have been granted. The probability is that
the first William would visit the town to satisfy himself that the works
clone at the Castle were sufficient, and this is strengthened by the
fact that we learn that he was frequently in the immediate neigh-
bourhood, though if we accept entirely the Abingdon chronicler's
statement, the two Williams, both father and son, preferred Abingdon,
as a place of sojourn, to Oxford. In speaking of the island called
Andres-ei, which adjoins the precincts of the monastery, and which
was celebrated from the circumstance that King Offa, about the year
760, had taken up his abode there, and also King iEthelstan, the
chronicler writes : —
' And in this place King William the elder and his son King William
the younger after his father frequently chose to be lodged when they
passed through this district ^.'
He then speaks of the manner in which he was entertained and the
pleasant aspect of the place, and goes on to speak of King Henry
and his queen Matilda.
It would seem too that Prince Henry was commanded by his father
to keep Easter there in the year 1084, Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury,
and Milo of Willingford, ' cognomenlo Crespitt,' being in attendance on
him, and the chronicler narrates the circumstance with a certain
feeling of satisfaction, inasmuch as he adds that Robert D'Oilgi
provided abundance of provisions not only for the table of the royal
party but also for those of the brethren of his monastery *.
It was this Robert D'Oilgi whom the king had appointed to the
governorship 'of the castle and to whom was entrusted the military
control of the district. The titles given to him by the Abingdon
^ It is clearly so in the case of Godwin, one of the signatures to the charter
referred to p. 179. The original nins, ' Et Goduuinus praepositus civitatis Oxna-
fordi, et Wulfwinus praepositus comitis, et omnes cives Oxanfordienses.'
^ For instance, in the laws of King ^thelstan a hlaford may appoint a prae-
positus to protect his men (Thorpe, vol. i. p. 217). A praepositus of a hundred
also is found mentioned in William the Conqueror's laws (ibid. p. 469).
^ Chron. Mon. Ab. vol. ii. p. 49. * Ibid. p. 12.
304 THE EARLY HISTORY OF OXFORD.
chronicler, of Co7istalularius and Castelli oppidanus, do not throw
any special light upon his official position ; no doubt he was practi-
cally governor over Oxford. There is no reason however to suppose
that he was ill-disposed towards the city. Indeed the little that has
come down to us implies the contrary. He lived on into the reign
of William Rufus ; as has been said, he was a benefactor to Abingdon,
as much as to Oxford, assisting in the rebuilding of their monastery,
and so eventually determined to be buried there \ He left no heir,
and Nigel D'Oilgi his brother succeeded to his barony. There
does not appear to be any reason for saying Nigel succeeded to him
in the office of governor of Oxford^. It is possible that Peter the
Sheriff was entrusted with the responsibilities hitherto belonging
to Robert D'Oilgi, as no name of a successor is found. In the
absence of any record to the contrary, it can only be supposed that
whoever it was he followed in the steps of his predecessor. Cer-
tainly it would appear that the next century saw Oxford regain its
old prosperity and advance beyond it, and that is perhaps the best test
of good government which the historian can expect to find. Besides,
so far as can be judged by the incidental reference to the legal pro-
ceedings which we possess, though they are mainly of the following
century, there was a disposition not only to give the people good laws
but to see that they were carried out, and though we learn but little of
the sheriffs, or the portreeves, who were responsible for the peace and
progress of the town, we may fairly presume they did their duty, and
that, compared with the state of things previously, Oxford had rather
to be thankful than otherwise for the Norman Conquest.
1 See ante, p. 215.
^ Kennett, in the Parochial Antiquities, vol. i. p. 102, speaks of him as ' Nigel
de Oily, constable of the castle of Oxford, and lord of the barony of Hook Norton,'
but the examination of some thirty or forty charters, either granted or signed by
him, affords no evidence that he held this position.
Passages quoted in Chapter II. on the Mythical Origin of
§ I. Y.:^ Johannis Rossi Historia Regiim Angliae: fol. ii a^
(See p. 5.)
Circa haec tempora judicabat Samuel, dei servus, in Judaea. Habuitque
iste rex Magdan duos filios, videlicet Mempricium & Malun. Hie junior
proditorie a seniore interfecto monarchiam fratricidi reliquit. Erat vir
invidus & immisericordia plenus, &, juxta illud Proverbiorum Ildo. ' Iranon
habet misericordiam,' sic nee ipse, sed erat ipse contra omnes, & omnes
contra eum. Ipse Mempricius monarcha existens male intravit, pessime
proceres suos necando rexit. Tandem vicesimo regni sui anno a multitu-
dine rapidissimorum ^ luporum circumdatus miserime vitam finivit, ab ipsis
dilaceratus & devoratus. Nil boni de eo commemoratur, nisi quod pro-
bum filium & heredem generavit nomine Ebrancum^, & unam nobilem
urbem condidit, quam a nomine suo Caer Memre nominavit, sed temporum
postea decursu Bellisitum, demum Caerbossa, tandem Ridohen, & ultimo
Oxonia, sive Oxenfordia, a quodam eventu de quodam vado vicino per
Saxones appellata est, quod nomen usque hodie retinet. Crevit ibi posteris
diebus nobile studium generale, ab inclita Universitate de Greklaad diri-
vatum. Situatur inter flumina Thamisie & Charwell ibi obviantia. Urbs
haec, sicut Iherusalem, ut apparet, est alterata. Nam mons Calverie
' Heame's edition, 1745, p. 21. This professes to be printed from a transcript
of the Cotton MS. Vesp. A. XII., made by Ralph Jennings, but compared with
another transcript made for Archbishop Parker, and preserved in the Library of
Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. The above passage and those which follow
have been read by the original MS., which is thus described in the Catalogue of
the Cottonian Library: ' Codex Memb. in 410. constans foliis 147. Joannis Rossi
Warwicensis Historia a Bruto ad tempora Regis Henrici VII &c. ad nativitatem
principis Arthuri, anno i486.' Hearne's foliation given in the margin seems to be
from the Cambridge copy. The folios given here are from the latest of the three
series of folios by which the Cottonian MS. has been foliated.
^ After ' rapidissimorum ' the MS. has ' suorum,' which ' has been struck
^ Ebrucu in MS.
3o6 THE EARLY HISTORY OF OXFORD.
Christo passo erat juxta muros civitatis, & nunc infra murorum ambitum
continetur. Sic extra Oxoniam est modo quaedam larga planicies muris
ville contigua, & Belmount appellatur, quod sonat pulcher mons, & hoc
quodammodo cum uno de antiquioribus nominibus urbis ipsius praenomi-
natis & prerecitatis, videlicet Bellisitum ; unde opinantur multi, Universi-
tatem a Greklad ad ipsum Bellum montem, vel Bellesitum, translatum ante
adventum Saxonum Britonibus in insula regnantibus, et ecclesia Sancti
Egidii, sub nomine cujusdam alterius Sancti dedicata, erat locus creationis
graduatorum, sicut modo est ecclesia Sancte Marie infra muros, De
hac nobili Universitate plenius tangam cum pervenero ad tempora regis
§ 2. Y.X Johatmis Rossi Htslon'a : fol. 2b^
(See p. 6.)
De aliis civitatibus ante diluvium conditis tacet INIoyses. Scribit tamen
egregius vir Bernardus de Breydenbach, decanus & camerarius Magunti-
nensis ecclesiae cathedralis, in Itinerario suo ad Terram Sanctam & ad
Sanctam Katerinam, quod ante diluvium Noe fuerunt octo nobiles urbes
condite in humanum praesidium contra diluvium illud Noe venturum,
quarum Joppe, alias Japha, erat una, sic nominata a Japhet, filio Noe, qui
eam construxit, & ex suo nomine eam appellavit, ubi & hodie vectes eciam
magni ex quadam rupe videntur pendere, quibus naves fuere affixe, &c.
§ 3. Ex Galfredi Mo7iuinetensis His tor la : Lib. 11. § 6 -.
(See p. 7.)
Tunc Samuel propheta regnabat in Judaea, et Silvius Aeneas adhuc
vivebat. Et Homerus clarus rhetor et poeta habebatur. Insignitus sceptro
Maddan, ex uxore genuit duos filios Mempricium et Malim. Regnumque
cum pace et diligentia quadraginta annis tractavit. Quo defuncto orta est
inter praedictos fratres discordia propter regnum : qui uterque totam
insulam possidere aestuabat Vigesimo tandem regni sui anno,
dum venationem exerceret, secessit a sociis in quandam convallem, ubi a
multitudine rabiosorum luporum circumdatus, miserrime devoratus est.
Tunc Saul regnabat in Judaea, et Eurystheus in Lacedaemonia.
§ 4. Ex Galfredi Monumetensis Historia : Lib. IIL § 10^.
(See p. 8.)
Habita ergo victoria remansit Brennius in Italia, populum inaudita
tyrannide aflficiens, Belinus vero in Britanniam reversus est : et cum
tranquillitate reliquis ^^te suae diebus patriam tractavit. Renovavit etiam
aedificatas urbes ubicumque coUapsae fuerant; et multas novas aedificavit.
Inter caeteras composuit unam super Oscam flumen prope Sabrinum mare,
' Heame's edition, 1 745, p. 3.
' Galfredi Monwnctetisis Historia Britonum, edidit Giles, 1S44, p. 26.
° Ibid. p. 48.
APPENDIX A. 307
quae multis temporibus Kaerosc appellata est Fecit etiam in urbe
Trinovanto januam mirae fabricae super ripam Tamesis, quam de nomine
suo cives temporibus istis Bclinesgata vocant.
§ 5. Ex Johannis Rossi Historia : fol. 13 a \
(See p. S.)
Huic successit filius suus Bellinus, cujus frater Brennius condidit Bris-
tolliam, quasi Brend locum ; et iste Bellinus condidit urbem Legionum in
Cambria, & Byllnsgate apud London, et Danmarchiam sibi conquestu
§6. Y.X Johannis Rossi Histon'a : fol. 14 a''.
(See p. 8.)
Condidit ipse Porcestriam, id est, Porchestre, prope Suthamptoniam, &
urbem Warwici, quae caput est provinciae circumjacentis, quae & Caerleon
est appellata secundum nostrum Gildam, virum diebus suis literatissimum
& moribus excellenter poUentem, magni regis Arturi praecipuum capel-
§ 7. Y.\ Joha7inis Rossi Hisloria : fol. 13 b*.
(See p. 9.)
EteorumprincipisfratremGantebrum nomine, CantebrecivitatisHispaniae
verum heredem, secum retinuit, cui cum propria filia in uxorem dedit
portionem terrae in Estanglia, ubi, ut scribunt Cantebrigienses, civitatem
super flumen Cant condidit circa annum ab origine mundi M. M. M. M. ccc.
XVII.5 et quia vir literatissimus erat viros literatos sibi collegit, ac sibi
studium generale incepit, quod nostris temporibus in magno floret honore.
Quae civitas a lilio suo Grantino, qui pontem ibi fecerat, Caergrant appel-
lata vel Grauntcestre secundum alios, & modo appellatur Cambryge, & est
caput patriae circumjacentis.
§ 8. Ex Lihro Cancellarii et Prociiratorum ".
(See p. 10.)
Translatio Universitatis de loco in locum.
Contestantibus plerisque chronicis, multa loca per orbis climata variis
temporibus variarum scientiarum studiis floruisse leguntur ; omnium autem
' Heame's edition, p. 25.
- The words ' et Dantnarchiafn . . . subjugavit ' are written in the MS. in a
smaller hand, space having been left for them.
^ Hearne's edition, p. 26. * Heame's edition, p. 25.
^ Space had been left for the date, but barely sufficient, so that it has been
written in afterwards in a smaller hand.
* Printed in Muniinenta cademica, ed. Anstey, 1868, Rolls Series, vol. ii.
p. 367. The text is that of the Chancellor's Book (A.) compiled c. 1375, com-