A Brief History of Frodsham
From A Literal Extension and Translation of the Portion of the Domesday Book Relating to Cheshire and Lancashire with an Introduction and Notes by William Beamont, second edition, published in Chester in 1882.
Latin Transcription [p12]
IN ROELAU HUNDRET.
Ipse comes tenet MENLIE. Tochi tenuit ut liber homo. Ibi dimidia hida geldabilis. Terra est i. carucata. Reddit de firma markam argenti. Tempore regis Edwardi valebat x. solidos.
Ipse comes tenet HELESBE. Ernut totum tenuit ut liber homo. Ibi i. hida geldabilis. Terra est iii. carucatæ. Ibi iii. villani cum i. bordario habent i. carucatam. Ibi i. acra prati et silva dimidiâ leuvâ longa et tantundem lata. Tempore regis Edwardi valebat xii. solidos. Modo x. solidos. Ipse comes tenet FROTESHAM. Eduinus comes tenuit. Ibi iii. hidæ geldabiles. Term est ix. carucatae. In dominio sunt ii.æ et unus servus et viii. villani et iii. bordarii cum ii. carucatis.
[in Bocelau Hundret.] Ipse comes tenet ALRETONE. Godric tenuit. Ibi i. virgata terræ geldabilis. Terra est dimidia carucata. Wasta fuit et est.
Ibi presbyter et ecclesia habent i. virgatam terræ . et molinum ibi hiemale et ii. piscariæ et dimidia et iii. acræ prati . et silva i. leuvâ longa et dimidiâ leuvâ lata et ibi ii. haiæ et in Wich dimidia salina serviens aulæ. Tertius denarius de placitis istius hundredi pertinebat tempore regis Edwardi huic manerio. Tunc valebat viii. libras. Modo iiii. libras. Wasta fuit.
English Translation [p13]
IN ROELAU HUNDRED.
The Earl himself holds MENLIE. Tochi held it as a free man. There is half a hide rateable to the gelt. The land is i. carucate. It renders in farm a mark of silver.
In King Edward’s time it was worth x. shillings.
The Earl himself holds HELESBE. Ernut held the whole as a free man. There is i. hide rateable to the gelt. The land is iii. carucates. Three villeins with one bordar have one carucate there.
There is i. acre of meadow and a wood half a league long and the same broad. In King Edward’s time it was worth xii. shillings, now x. shillings.
The Earl himself holds FROTESHAM. Earl Edwin held it. There are iii. hides rateable to the gelt. The land is ix. carucates. Two are in the demesne, and [there are] i. serf and viii. villeins and iii. bordars with ii. carucates.
[In Bochelau Hundred. Overton]
The Earl himself holds ALRETONE. Godric held it. There is i. virgate of land rateable to the gelt. The land is half a carucate. It was and is waste.
[The Priest and the Church there have i. virgate of land, and there is a winter mill and two fisheries and a half, and iii. acres of meadow, and a wood one league long and half a league broad, and two hays and in [the] Wich half a salt house to supply the Hall.
The third penny from the pleas of this hundred belonged in King EDWARD’s time to this manor. It was then worth viii. pounds, now iv. pounds. It was waste.
From the editor’s introduction (pages xii and xiii):
“But a still more serious difficulty occurs under Frodsham, in Roelau hundred. That parish, the church of which, from the hamlet in which it stands, is always called Overton, contains, besides one or two townships of its own name, the townships of Newton, Norley, Kingsley, Manley, Alvanley, and Helsby, every one of which, except the first two, receives a distinct notice in the survey. But after Frodsham, the head of the parish, described as held by the earl himself, and said to contain three hides — rather more than the usual quantity of a vill — the words "Bocelau h’t." occur in the margin opposite the next vill, which is called Alretune. The little place thus abruptly introduced apparently from another hundred, and also described as held by the earl, and said to contain no more than a virgate of land then lying waste, is followed by this passage, which will be best given in the words of the extension:—
Ibi presbyter et ecclesia habent i. virgatam terræ . et molinum ibi hiemale et ii. piscariæ et dimidia et iii. acræ prati . et silva i. leuvâ longa et dimidiâ leuvâ lata et ibi ii. haiæ et in WICH dimidia salina serviens aulæ. Tertius denarius de placitis istius hundredi pertinebat tempore regis EDWARDI huic manerio. Tunc valebat viii. libras. Modo iiii. libras. Wasta fuit.
The late Dr. Ormerod, who had before noticed that portions of the architecture of Overton Church were among the very few specimens of such architecture in Cheshire which might be referred to the Saxon period, proceeds to say of the passage just cited, that "if the description contained in it was intended for Frodsham, and had been severed from it by some error of the transcriber, everything would be applicable, and would constitute a beautiful picture of the state of that place at the conquest. The molinum hiemale would be supplied by a mountain torrent descending from Overton Hill; the fisheries would be in the broad estuaries of the Weever and the Mersey; the wood would be part of the line of natural forests then stretching along this district; the deer-toils would be on the verge of the chace of Mara, recently formed by the earl; the salt-work would be correspondent with the other salt-work reserved for Earl Edwin’s other manor at Acton; and the third penny of the hundred would be appropriately due to a manor held by Earl Edwin before the conquest, and constituting one of the free burghs of the earldom after it." [Hist. Ches. i. 391] Assuming, as we most safely may, that this graphic picture may apply only to Frodsham, the Editor is inclined to adopt the conjecture of a recent writer that the Alretune of the survey is merely the scribe’s mispelling of the name of the little hamlet of Overton, in which the parish church of Frodsham stands, and by which, and not by the name of Frodsham, as has been already observed, it is universally known. …”