History of Milton Keynes - Norman Conquest and The Medieval Period

Norman Conquest and The Medieval Period

Excavations in and around the modern villages have failed to find any evidence of occupation before the 10th or 11th centuries, except in Bradwell where Bradwell Bury is traced to the 9th century. The Domesday Book of 1086 provides the first documentary evidence for many settlements, listing Bertone (Broughton), Calvretone (Calverton), Linforde (Great Linford), Lochintone (Loughton), Neuport (Newport Pagnell), Nevtone (Newton Longville), Senelai (Shenley), Siwinestone (Simpson), Ulchetone (Woughton), Waletone (Walton), Wluerintone (Wolverton) and Wlsiestone (Woolstone).

Administration of the area that was later to become the Borough of Milton Keynes was in "Hundreds". Bletchley, Bradwell, Calverton, Fenny Stratford, Great Linford, Loughton, Newport Pagnell, Newton Longville, Shenley (part of), Simpson, Stantonbury, Stoke Hammond, Stony Stratford, Water Eaton, Willen, Great and Little Woolstone, Wolverton, and Woughton on the Green were in Secklow Hundred (Sigelai Hundred); Cold Brayfield, Castlethorpe, Gayhurst, Hanslope, Haversham, Lathbury, Lavendon, Little Linford, Olney, Ravenstone, Stoke Goldington, Tyringham with Filgrave, and Weston Underwood were in Bunsty Hundred (Bunstou Hundred); and Bow Brickhill, Great Brickhill, Little Brickhill, Broughton, Chicheley, Clifton Reynes, North Crawley, Emberton, Hardmead, Lathbury, Lavendon, Milton Keynes (village), Moulsoe, Newton Blossomville, Olney with Warrington, Ravenstone, Sherington, Stoke Goldington, Tyringham with Filgrave, Walton, Wavendon, Weston Underwood, and Willen were in Moulsoe Hundred. (These hundreds became "the three hundreds of Newport" in the middle of the 16th century).

The moot mound of Secklow Hundred has been found, excavated and reconstructed — it is on the highest point in the central area and is just behind the Library in modern Central Milton Keynes. Only one medieval manor house survives: the 15th century Manor Farmhouse in Loughton. There are sites of other manor houses in Great Woolstone, Milton Keynes village and Woughton on the Green. The oldest surviving domestic building is Number 22, Milton Keynes (village), the house of the bailiff of the manor of Bradwell.

Newport Pagnell, established early in the 10th century, was the principal market town for the area. Stony Stratford and Fenny Stratford were founded as market towns on Watling Street in the late 12th or early 13th centuries.

By the early 13th century, North Buckinghamshire had several religious houses: Bradwell Abbey (1154) is within modern Milton Keynes and Snelshall Priory (1218) is just outside it. Both were Benedictine priories. Many of the medieval trackways to these sites still survive and have become cycleways and footpaths of the Redway network.

Britain's earliest (excavated) windmill is in Great Linford. The large oak beams forming the base supports still survived in the mill mound and were shown by radio carbon dating to originate in the first half of the 13th century. (The present stone tower mill at Bradwell was built in 1815, on a site convenient to the new Grand Junction Canal).

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