Saxon Seaxe Anglo Saxon History
Map Position
This map shows the position of locations centered on Ardingly in Sussex.
Map Logic
This map shows the occurrance of villages containing 'HURST' a saxon term meaning a clearing in a wood/forest. This map is derived from the Open Domesday data, and shows that there were very few Hursts at the time of the Domesday Book in 1086AD. The green shaded area shows the area containing current villages containing Hurst.
Icon Key:
Not Effected < 20 people
Not Effected 20‑40 people
Not Effected 40‑80 people
Not Effected > 120 people
Damaged < 20 people
Damaged 40‑80 people
Wasted < 20 people

Silva-Anderida/Andredsweald boundary map
Using Domesday Data - implying that most Hurst villages are 'modern'


If you compare this map to our other Hurst pages showing a plot of modern day Hursts, you will see significantly fewer on the Domesday Data, this implies that villages named HURST(although a Saxon word) have mostly been founded after the Domesday Book in 1086AD.

This also implies that Andredsweald at the time of the Norman Conquest was pretty much a continuous difficult to traverse forest, with very few villages or population centers within the Forest. This would also imply that local knowledge would be needed to pass through the forest routes unless on the Old Roman Roads.

Our initial interpretation of the term 'hurst' found in village names in Sussex was derived from hyrst meaning 'a grove or a clearing in the forest' this seemed to be forest related not a wood as they only seem to be in the approximate area of Andredsweald in the south east, and along the North Wales, English border.

A plot of all the Domesday Records for the area shows a very sparsely populated area, which corresponds quite closely to the outline shown using 'hursts'.

This map is designed to show where just the Domesday villages containing 'hurst' are located, significantly different from the modern village plot.

However the term Hurst only seemed to come into major use after the Normans created the Domesday Book in 1086AD as this map of the Domesday villages containing hurst shows.

A significant proportion of the 'hursts' have churches from the late 1200's to the 1400's so showing that they were founded after 1066 and before 1300.

The only influence of Population migration between those dates was the Norman Invasion, as the next major influencer was the Black Death which didn't really appear till the mid 1300's.

This now begs the question, were the hursts founded by defeated saxon soldiers who hid in the forest, by the local fyrd bringing their families into the forest to escape persecution or some other factor.

So lets look at the word 'hurst' this doesn't appear to be a real Saxon word, but is believed, me included that this meant 'a clearing in the forest', and as you can see from the green outline on the map it does seem to show the extent of the forest of Andredsweald.

OK so what saxon words could this be made up of, assuming these were settled by the loosing Saxon soldiers. We have 'here' which means army and 'stæþ' meaning a place(or stay), the þ is pronounced th as in the English word thick, so will sound a bit like 'herestayth' which could be simplified to herst/hurst. So we now have a definition of hurst meaning 'army place' or 'army settlement'.

I know you may not be convinced however following the logic that Saxon village names are descriptive then this can be viewed as a logical explanation.

Total Population(ex slaves) of the 23 Domesday Villages in 1086AD shown is 393
This would equate to a Fyrd(national service) of approximately 23 soldiers.

Please Note that the estimate for the Fyrd is based on 6% of the
population(excluding Priests and Slaves) being eligible for military duties.

Summary of Domesday information for this map

Population Overview
Villagers 220 
Cottagers 28 Thegns
Smallholders 145
Slaves 48

Occupation Overview
Churches 9
Mills 10
Ploughs 185

Land Overview
Plough Land 173 acres
Meadows 209 acres
Woodlands 169 acres

Animals Overview
No Animal details recorded in Domesday

Value(geld) 240220

External References in no particular order :-
Anglo Saxon Chronicles
Online Anglo Saxon dictionary
Online Etymology dictionary
Open Domesday Book - The first free online copy of the Domesday Book
The Ermine Street Guard Roman re-enactment and research Society
The "Kent A" cadastre - page 5 - Peterson 2002
Archaeologia Cantiana Online
Romney Marsh Research Trust
Romney Marsh the Fifth Continent
VillageNet the reference guide to villages in Kent & Sussex
Global warming Flood Maps
The Anglo Saxon Chronicles
Google Maps - the core of the system
GeoPlaner - Useful site for plotting map data
Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars 55BC(Books 4 & 5)
Wikipedia - Caesar's invasions of Britain
Wikipedia - Portus Istus
The Geography of Claudius Ptolemy (Bill Thayers)
Runetree Beowulf
Bayeux Tapestry Online
The Secrets of the Norman Invasion
Chronicles of John of Worcester
Battle Historic Society
Binsted village website(Mearcredesburnan Steðe)
The Spears of Andred
Find British Archaelogical Sites
Wealden Iron Research Group
Topographic Map of the UK


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Author: Simon M - Last Updated: 13/03/2024 13:12
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Data is derived from a number or sources including the Ordnance Survey Gazetter data overlayed onto Google Maps