Sheering at the Time of the Domesday Survey

At the time of the Domesday survey Sheering was already very similar to how it is today. It was divided into two parts which consisted of the Manor of Sheering Hall and The Manor of Cowick or Quickbury and these two manors held between them nearly all the land which today comprises Sheering Village and Lower Sheering. The Manor of Sheering Hall held lands to the south as far as the boundary with and to the east to the modern boundary with Hatfield Heath and Quickbury (possibly where Back Lane meets Lower Road), north to the River Stort and west to the boundary with Harlow Bury.

In 1086/7 the Little Domesday Book (Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk) records that Sheering was held by Peter de Valognes, nephew of William the Conqueror in lordship. Before 1066 it had been held by three free men as a manor. It consisted of 5 hides and 30 acres; a hide was 120 acres so the extent of the manor was 630 acres or roughly 1.3 square miles.

In 1066 and 1086 Sheering manor had five demesne plough teams and one belonging to the tenants. Each team had eight oxen. There were 3 villagers – a householder with usually enough land to support him and his family (a hide), 6 smallholders (3 in 1066) – a less important householder who usually had some land, 8 slaves. Slaves were chattels along with buildings and equipment in the ownership of the lord, Woodland – 100 pigs. Woodland was measured in pigs: each pig needed 2 acres so the hundred pigs of woodland in Sheering Manor was equivalent to 200 acres. There were thirty-two acres of meadow which was grazing land and used for hay and a water-mill on Pincey Brook.

In 1066 there were 8 cows with calves, 1 cob, 35 sheep, 16 pigs, Value 100 shillings (£5) In 1086 there were 2 cobs, 1 mule (1 of only 2 in the entire Domesday Survey), 1 ass, 84 sheep, 56 pigs, 3 beehives value £6.

Quickbury manor had two demesne plough teams, a mill, and 20 acres of meadow at both dates.

Each of the villagers, smallholders, slaves, the miller and the lord can be multiplied by 4 to find an approximate number of people living on the manor or in the village. So there were roughly seventy-six people in the Manor of Sheering in 1086 at the time of the Domesday Survey and sixty-two in 1066 when William 1 beat King Harold near Hastings. The Domesday figures suggest that both manors, though small, were economically vigorous. The increasing number of bordars, sheep, and swine, may well indicate a pioneering enterprise like forest clearance.