The survey ends with a valuation of the Windmill at Langham at four pounds. It seems rather exceptional to have a list containing the names of all the householders in a village in 1305: it has been printed as “The Oakham Survey, 1305” by the Rutland Record Society and is available from the Rutland County Museum. It appears that there were about ninty-seven householders in Langham in 1305 and this seems to accord fairly well with the figures given in a record in 1420, when Sir William Bourchier and his wife, the daughter of Thomas of Woodstock Duke of Gloucester held Oakham and Langham by Royal grant. The village of Langham is described as containing: fifty-five messuages, fifty-five yardlands (holdings in the open fields), fifty-one cottages, sixty-five acres 3½ roods of meadow and forty two acres 2½ roods of pasture. A hundred years on, in 1522, Cardinal Wolsey, then the chief minister of King Henry VIII, had a bright idea. It seems that he really wanted to know who in England was worth taxing; what he did was to order a nationwide survey into who had arms and armour, bows and so on, on the pretext that he wanted to know how the country could be defended in case of invasion. The survey for Langham has been preserved, and is quite detailed. It recites that the King is the Chief Lord, and William Bromewynd the Parish Priest. Minor landowners were the Prior of Brooke Priory, William Villiers and Richard Flower. The Steward was Roger Ratcliffe Esquire. The wealthiest tenants were Henry Hubberd, husbandman, who had thirty pounds in goods. John Clerk yeoman, and Gregory Smyth, husbandman, who each had twenty pounds in goods. Seven others had more than eight pounds in goods. There were seventy tenants of some substance, detailed as forty-eight husbandmen, one yeoman, one turner, one butcher, ten labourers, one servant and two tenants who are not described. There were also “ten young men and poor” and seven “old men and poor”. Finally there is a note that “the town hath a gild” with four pounds of possessions. This Gild would be in the nature of a Friendly Society. Following up from this survey, in 1524 Cardinal Wolsey levied a tax described as a “lay subsidy” to pay for military expenses. In theory the subsidy was to be repaid, but somehow it never was. In Langham, forty-eight persons had to pay, mostly the same names as in 1522, all said to be worth 20 shillings or more. Thirty three are said to be husbandmen, eight labourers, two “berkers” (i.e. tanners), a tailor, a wright, a shoemaker, a mason and a butcher. These two surveys are contained in a book called “Tudor Rutland” also published by the Rutland Record Society. So, this account of Langham in the first half of the millennium ends as it started, with an effort by the Royal government to find our what the inhabitants of Langham were worth, in order to tax them more efficiently. Perhaps in A.D. 2500 some writer will say the same about the events of 1999!
Langham Village History Group ~ © 1996 - 2021
Langham in the 2nd Millenium - by David Tew
Langham Village History Group