Page 2     Salthouse Village History by Commander F. N. Stagg R.N. continued

Two Danes are the owners of Salthouse, Kelling
and Weybourne

By 1042 the lands of Salthouse, Kelling and Weybourne were in the possession of two Danes named Seiar Bar (meaning ‘victorious’ in Danish) and Osgot. Seiar Bar’s holding appears to have been entirely in Salthouse and to have consisted of about 600 acres. Osgot, who probably lived in Kelling, had a holding in both parishes of about 375 acres of arable, 844 acres of meadowland and 7 windmills.
Both of these Danes were ejected during Edward the Confessor’s reign, and it is known that a portion of Osgot’s lands was divided amongst twelve freemen who were under the protection of King Harold at the Norman Conquest. There appears however to be no record as to who acquired Seiar Bar’s lands between the time of his ejection and William the Conqueror’s partition.

At the Norman Conquest the landowners were for the most part required to surrender their estates, and the French feudal system was gradually enforced. King William I was determined to extort as much tribute as possible from his conquered subjects, and the Norman barons and minor landowners placed in charge demanded a toll in kind and service from those under their control.

We know that Seiar Bar’s lands in Salthouse were given by William the Conqueror to William de Scohies (or de Escois), and consisted of 360 acres cultivated by 4 free peasants, which constituted his own demesne, whilst 240 acres were farmed by his tenants, and that there were 10 tied peasants (or ‘bordars’) on his lands



We learn this from the entry for Salthouse in the Domesday Book, compiled 1086 (which is where the written history of Salthouse begins):

The Land of William de Scohies. Hundret (of) North Erpingham. Salthus was held by Seiar Bar (as) 3 plough lands. Then as now (there were) 4 villeins (and) 10 bordars. Then (there were) 3 (ploughs) on the demesnes and afterwards a half, now one, then as now 2 ploughs belonging to the men. Wood(land) for 100 swine then as now (semper) it was worth 40 shillings. And William (ille) has the soke and sac. And it is included in the measurement of Siling(eham) [Sheringham].

Osgot’s lands, including that part which Harold’s twelve freemen had occupied, were granted by William I to Hugh d’Avranches, Earl of Chester. This Earl Hugh, who was the son of the Conqueror’s sister, governed his earldom of Chester virtually as an independent ruler, and fought the Welsh and the Norsemen on Anglesea in many a hard battle. Besides his earldom he held lands in twenty other English counties and was a faithful supporter of William Rufus. He died without heirs as his only son was drowned in the ‘White Ship’. It is probable that Hugh never even saw Salthouse or Kelling, for we know that he let his holdings here to Ralph de Toesny (who died 1102) as a reward for his services in the conquest of England. This Ralph, sometimes called Ralph de Conches, married Isabel de Montfort and was afterwards a friend of William Rufus. Under the overlordship of Hugh Earl of Chester, he held in Kelling, Weybourne and Salthouse 375 acres of arable and 844 of meadowland, which were cultivated by one free peasant and twenty-five tied peasants.

Val Fiddian 2005