Barstable Hundred

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Barnstable (hundred))
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Barstable hundred
Essex Hundreds 1830.png
 • 188771,373 acres (28,884 ha)[1]
 • CreatedAnglo-Saxon
 • Abolishedno formal administrative or legal role after 1886, but never formally abolished.
 • Succeeded byvarious, see text

Barstable was a Hundred in the English County of Essex. Both the hundred and the manor with the same name are mentioned in the Domesday Book. A number of parishes in the western part of the Barstable hundred are now in Thurrock.


Part of plate XXII from the Chapman & Andre 1777 map of Essex showing the location of Barstable Hall and Little Barstable Hall

Barstable is bordered on the east by Rochford hundred; on the north by Chelmsford hundred; on the north-west by the Ongar hundred; on the west by Chafford hundred (with the boundary in part following the Mardyke) and on the south by the river Thames. The parish boundary between Grays Thurrock and Little Thurrock is also the hundred boundary between Barstable and Chafford. The interlocking boundary between these parishes suggests the existence of a common pasture originally shared, prior to the establishment of the hundred boundary.[2]


The name of the hundred was normally that of its meeting-place.[3] Barstaple hundred takes its name from a location or settlement that is now in Basildon new town. This is mentioned as the manor of Barstable Hall, as Little Barstable Hall and as Barstable Hall, alias Basildon Hall. Ernest Godman, writing in Home Counties magazine quotes Morant, as saying the name "appears to have been taken from the place now called Barstable Hall, in Langdon and Basildon ... which being near the centre of the Hundred, was then the most convenient place for holding Courts, and transacting all affairs of a public nature." The name of the hundred is frequently written as Barnstable in older documents. The name appears as Berdestapla in Domesday.[4] Reaney suggests that the first element of the place-name may be a person, or a descriptive adjective. However, more recent work suggests it comes from berde – a battle axe.[5] The second element means a post or pillar. The post would have marked the meeting place for the hundred.

Meeting point[edit]

During the Saxon period, the men of the hundred met to discuss local issues and to conduct judicial trials.[3] The moot site for the Barstable hundred was said to be close to the former Barstable Hall.[6] Reaney says, "The old hall was near the junction of the boundaries of the parishes of Laindon, Corringham, Vange and Basildon",[4] but there is no common boundary involving Corringham, Laindon and Vange. A Laindon court roll, dated 1573, mentions a motehill.[4] If the location of the meeting place was close to the site of the now demolished Basildon Hall, it would have been in Basildon parish, about 550 yards (500 m) from the boundary with the parish of Vange.[7] According to Godman, "the manor-house had disappeared before Morant's time, a farmhouse being built in a lower situation. This has been in its turn deserted, and the buildings now remaining are of a fragmentary nature."[8] Anderson says "the original hall stood further south", "at the highest point in parish".[9] According to another source, this was destroyed by an explosion in 1834.[10] and may now be under the railway line. The original location would have been close to the geographic centre of the hundred. The modern district of Barstable in Basildon new town is largely in the traditional parish of Vange.

However, David Roffe notes that the Hundred Rolls for the Barstaple hundred were the verdicts of a hundred court held at Horndon on the Hill.[11]


Canvey Island, which was also in the Barstable hundred, was divided among a number of nearby parishes. Wheatley was recorded in Barstable hundred in Domesday, but later records put it in the Rochford hundred.[13]

Coordinates: 51°33′N 0°24′E / 51.55°N 0.40°E / 51.55; 0.40


  1. ^ John Bartholomew (1887). Gazetteer of the British Isles.
  2. ^ Victoria County History of Essex. 7. p. 101.
  3. ^ a b "Institute of Archaeology". Archived from the original on 25 May 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  4. ^ a b c Reaney, PH (1969). The Place-names of Essex. Cambridge University Press. p. 140.
  5. ^ Hill, David; Rumble, Alexander R. (1996). The defence of Wessex: the Burghal Hidage and Anglo-Saxon fortifications. Manchester University Press. p. 111.
  6. ^ J K Payne, Basildon old and new, in Essex Countryside, volume 3, number 11
  7. ^ Map showing location of site of Basildon Hall Archived 24 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Notes on Laindon cum Basildon
  9. ^ Anderson, O.S. The Hundred-Names of the South-Eastern Counties. p. 51.
  10. ^ Hunting for Historic Basildon
  11. ^ Hundred Rolls
  12. ^ Reaney, PH (1969). The Place-names of Essex. Cambridge University Press. pp. 140–176.
  13. ^ Morris, John, ed. (1983). Domesday Book: Essex. Philimore. p. B-E.