The Normans

The Domesday Survey of 1086 records present day Yeovil under several different sections. The Givele of Robert Count of Mortain, relates to Kingston manor, formerly held by four Saxon thegns consisting of two hides (about 240 acres) and a mill. The earl retained one hide for himself, the other was held by Amund.

The six hides and a mill of Ivle, or Ivla, corresponds to Hendford and part of Preston, formerly held by Athelston, but now by Hugh Maltravers under William de Ou. To this manor twenty-two messuages, held 'in parage' were attached, the twenty two ‘freemen’-holders having been collectively responsible prior to being placed under the Hendford Lord’s jurisdiction.
Eslide’s two hides was land of Roger Arundel held by Azelin, hitherto Godwin and Sevic held it in parage. These two hides were later divided, becoming Lyde and Newton. Prestetone, held by Ansger de Montagud of the King (formerly by Alward), paid geld for two hides - this was the other part of today’s Preston.

According to an enquiry of 1219, the community of the twenty-two messuages, called a ‘tenement’ acquired the status of ‘free’ township when, circa 1140, the Empress Matilda conferred income arising from it on the parish church, at the same time giving the freeman the right to judge malefactors, though punishments were to be carried out by the Hendford lord. In effect this resulted in the rector of St. John’s Church becoming lord of the township as recipient and custodian of fees due, while local legislation, of a minor nature, was administered by a proctor, or portreeve elected from the burgesses.

The town’s status was further enhanced in 1205 when King John, who frequently visited Somerset, granted a charter conferring the right to hold markets and fairs.