Names of the 11th century subdivisions of the 'Leiston community' were listed in the following separate entries of Domesday as Ledestuna; Leestuna; Leistuna; Lessafelda.


Land held of Robert Malet

In Aldringham 7 villans and 1 bordar in the valuation of Leiston. They have 90 acres, The soke is in the bishop's in Hoxne,

In Aldringham 1 free man by commendation and by fold-soke and other services with 20 acres and half a plough. It is worth 40d.

Eadric of Laxfield held Leiston as one manor and 12 carucates of land. Then as now 25 villans and 27 bordars. Then 3 slaves, now 7. Then in demesne 11 ploughs, now 7. Then 6 ploughs belonging to the men, now 3.5. Then woodland for 500 pigs, afterwards and now for 200. Then as now 1 mill. 5 acres of meadow. 4 horses. 5 head of cattle. 72 pigs. 112 sheep. 7 beehives and 1 park. And 3 churches with 100 acres of free land. TRE worth £16, afterwards £28 and now the same. 3 leagues long and 2 leagues 1 furlong broad. It renders 3s 3.5d in the kings geld.

An in the same vill is 1 free man with 40 acres and he holds it as a manor. It is worth 6s but they are part of the £28 mentioned above.

Also to this manor belong 47 free men with 7 carucates of land. Then 8 ploughs, now 6.5. Then as now worth £4.

In the same vill Gilbert holds 27 acres under Robert Malet which Eadric held as a manor. Then 4 bordars and 2 villans. Then as now 2 ploughs in demesne and half a plough belonging to the men. Now 1 horse and 2 head of cattle. Then as now worth 20s.

In the same vill 8 free men with 1.5 carucates of land. Then 3 ploughs in demesne, now 2. 1 acre of meadow. Then as now worth 30s. Fulcred holds this land from Robert Malet.

In Fordley 3 free men and a half. Swaerting, Algar, Hereweald and Osfirth the half, by commendation to Eadric. Osfrith was wholly Toli's man (...) They have 27 acres of land. Then as now 1 plough. 2 acres of meadow. (It is) in the valuation (...) of Leiston. The king and the earl have the soke.

In Thorpe 4 free men commended to Eadric with 35 acres. Then 1 plough. 3 bordars with 6 acres. They are all in the valuation of Leiston.


These entries for Leiston indicate that it was a particularly thriving enterprise which generated great wealth for its former Saxon owner, Earl Eadric, and his Norman successor Robert Malet. In this context, 'soke' means a personal estate, also known as a ville integre, which was granted by the king to one of his henchment as a standard taxable unit of land paying 'gelt' to the king. Sokes seem to have originated as administrative divisions of the hundred for tax purposes.The Domesday survey indicates that they extended across parishes, but usually it only gives the owner of the soke rights for each entry without describing the extent or nature of the soke. Based on the above entries, and other evidence, it is thought that in the 11th century, Leiston, at least for tax purposes, stretched from the coast at Thorpe inland as far as Fordley and included the communities of Aldringham, Knodishall, Buxlow and Theberton. The extension of Leiston Abbey Soke into Fordley in the 13th century corresponds with Robert Malet's lands in Fordley in 1086, which were included in the Domeday valuation of Leiston. In 1399 the Abbot of Leiston was accused of claiming a soke called 'Leyston Sokene' where he had none, and of receiving complaints and delivering goods unjustly siezed within it, insisting that such pleas should be held in his court'. This was probably the pre-Conquest soke given by King William to his friend Robert Malet, which afterwards came into the possession of Runulf de Glanville who transferred it to Leiston Abbey as part of his foundation gift.

Position of the 'Soke of Leiston' (marked in red) in relation to five others located in Blything Hundred

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