The village is not mentioned in the Domesday Book for the simple reason that, until 1153, it was not properly speaking a possession of the English crown, but an annexe of the Comte Biennoise in Languedoc, ancestral seat of the De Biennes family. This curious state of affairs was the result of the especially high esteem in which the Conqueror held Sir Boamund de Biennes, affectionately known to his contemporaries as 'Boamund Li Best Savage', in whose domains the village lay. Sir Boamund's glorious deeds as director of catering during the Hastings campaign are amply chronicled elsewhere (see, for example, Sir Ranulph Biennes' monograph in the British Historical Journal, March 1878, pp 247-744); suffice to say that his grateful monarch rewarded Boamund by recognising the estates he acquired after the conquest as part of his vast French territories, and therefore exempt from all duties and obligations under the English feudal system.
When Sir Boamund's ill-fated grandson Thierry de Biennes sided with the Empress Maud in the Civil War of 1138-53, the victorious King Stephen punished him by withdrawing the Conqueror's concessions, with the result that all the Biennes properties were henceforth to be considered as ordinary fiefs of the English crown (although the claim to the Pays Biennois was officially surrendered by Edward III pursuant to the terms of the Anglo-French treaty of 1361). To this day, however, many villagers steadfastly refuse to think of themselves as English, or to recognise the jurisdiction of the English government, and the custom of drinking toasts to 'the French git over the water' is still vigorously maintained at the bar of the Lundqvist Arms.
What day is rubbish day in the Village?
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Last updated: Sat, 15 Jul 2006 22:11:23 +0100