A History of YALDING, Kent, England


To put the structure of the 1336 local community into perspective, bear this population analysis in mind. The average age of our present society at the start of the 21st century is 38.7, in the early nineteenth century it was 29.3, but for this date of the Yalding Manor it was only 22. The whole structure was younger and everyone from the age of five upwards had a part to play, which was usually working in the fields.
The eldest worker was 45, with only four older mothers who were blind or disabled.
Of the population of 149, 60 % of them were serfs, which meant that they were not allowed to leave the village without the consent of the manorial court. Even the freemen had to obey the manorial laws, and all played their part in the economy of its routine function. The manor comprised of 37 families, of which five were siblings living together, and twelve of the remainder had lost the male as head of the household.
The main subsequent records were when the Parish Registers started in 1559, and of these 37 different family surnames of 1336, 28 were still there when the Registers were opened over two hundred years later.
This was the Yalding Manor, with Hugh de Audley as its Lord, Gilbert Hughes as vicar, and John Giffard as the estate bailiff. As mentioned the majority of the community members were serfs, and from these, two important positions were nominated. They were Geoffrey Fletcher as the manorial clerk, and the court steward, called the ‘reeve’ was John Nash, both serfs.
As an example here are two of these families, one free and one serf, showing their function within the manor, their possessions, and how they coped with the manorial customs. They each had a fair share in the better and worse land areas of the manor, and on certain days were bound to work on the demesne, (estate), of the Lord, but in relation to each other they were a self governing community, within the jurisdiction of the manorial court.

( There is other information on the net, that has this and more details on Manorial Yalding that seems unique, with no source disclosed. When asked it was admitted that it had mainly been compiled as an educational simulation. )