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Blaxall Origins


The earliest known references to the surname Blaxall (and it's variants), namely Adam de Blakesale (1308 Cambridgeshire Calendar of Letter Books) and Roger de Blaxhale (1324 Essex Feet of Fines), would seem to indicate that this surname is locative i.e. Adam of / from Blakesale, Roger of / from Blaxhale.

In passing, it is worth noting that, in the 14th century, the letter 'e' was often superfluous to pronounciation in that 'Ye Olde Tea Shoppe' should properly be pronounced 'Ye Old Tea Shop", rather than 'Ye Oldy Tea Shoppy'.

Thus Adam's surname would have been pronounced 'Blaksal' rather than 'Blaiksail' and Roger's would have been 'Blaxhal' rather than 'Blaxhail'. Both 'Blaksal' and 'Blaxhal', together with modern day pronunciations of Blaxall, Blaxell, Blaxill and Blacksell, etc., all sound remarkably similar to the Suffolk drawl when pronouncing the name of the East Suffolk village/hamlet of Blaxhall, generally rendered as "Blaxle" to rhyme with "Axle".

Strangely, with the sole exceptions of Adam and Roger above, (who, by their respective dates had both cleared off out of Suffolk to Counties new), no other Blaxalls are known to have been born, married, lived or died in Blaxhall itself, but they have certainly abounded in villages and hamlets all around East Suffolk.

Nevertheless, the general assumption is that Blaxhall was the source of the Family Surname, so perhaps an extraction from Domesday Book of all references to Blaxhall in East Suffolk, might be of interest.

In 1086, twenty years after Duke William of Normandy became King William 1st of England, he sent out monkish scribes as Commissioners to inquire carefully and record all land-holdings throughout the Realm, together with assessments as to their (then) current value and also their value during the last year of the reign of Kind Edward the Confessor who died 5 January 1066. This is referred to in the original Norman-Latin as "tempore Reg euuardi" , (time [of] King Edward), sometimes shown in translations as "t.r.e.", sometimes as "then" and sometimes as "before 1066". It is noticeable that no reference is made to Harold Godwinson (He of the arrow fame), whom William regarded as a blatant usurper.

Domesday was compiled in major land-holders order so the Suffolk Blaxhall entries are somewhat scattered, nevertheless the folio and entry references are here included so that all entries may be checked back against the originals.

Note: The spelling of Blaxhall varies somewhat !

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296a
87
In Blacheffala 1 free man; 2 acres Value 4d Hamo of Valognes [holds this from the Count]

296b
89
In Blachessala Brotho, a free man, held 12 acres Value 2s The Count [holds this] in lordship. The jurisdiction (is) the Abbot's. In the same (Blaxhall) Edric Grim, a free man, half under the patronage of Malet's predecessor and half under (that) of the Abbot of Ely 20 acres Value 40d Hamo holds (this) from the Count.

92
In Blachessala Uluric, a free man, 4 acres Value 8d [This is] in Lordship. The jurisdiction (is) the Abbot's.

307a
29
In Blachesfala 6 free men under patronage; 61 acres In the jurisdiction of the Abbot. Always 2 ploughs. Value 10s Gilbert holds (this). In the same (Blaxhall) 3 free men under patronage; 30 acres. Then 1 plough. Meadow 2 acres Value 5s The jurisdiction (is) the Abbot's

33
In Blacchefhala 2 free men; 14 acres. One and a half were under the sub-patronage of the Abbot of Ely; a half was under the sub-patronage of Malet's predecessor. Always half a plough . Value 28d. William desmala holds (this) from Robert.

In the same (Blaxhall) a free man under the sub-patronage of Edric; 3 acres Value 6d William also [holds this]. The jurisdiction (is) the Abbot's.

34
In blaccheffala 1 free man under the sub-patronage of Edric; 10 acres Value 3s Gilbert [holds this] from Malet. The jurisdiction (is) the Abbot's

In the same (Blaxhall) 1 free man, half under the sub-patronage of his predecessor and half (under that) of the Abbot. Because of this half, he has been acquired by the Abbot. He has 12 acres Always half a plough Value 2s Gilbert also [holds this]

In the same (Blaxhall) 1 free man under patronage ; 1 acre Value 2d In the same (Blaxhall) 2 free men; one and a half under the sub-patronage of Edric, 8 acres; a half under the sub-patronage of the Abbot. Value 16d Gilbert also [holds this]

37
In Blacheffala Gilbert holds from Robert Malet 3 free men under the sub-patronage of Edric; 6 acres Value 12d The jurisdiction is the Abbot's.

39
In Blacheffala Huna, a free man under the sub-patronage of Malet's predecessor, held 12 acres Value 2s Ranulf holds (this) from Malet. The jurisdiction (is) the Abbot of Ely's.

307b
41
In Blacheffala 16 acres, (part) of the lordship of Cheletuna Value 25d the jurisdiction (is) the Abbot's.

344a
Free Men of Roger Bigot Parham Half-Hundred

136
In blacthefhala 8 free men; 66 acres. Of these, 5 were under the patronage of Norman and 2 (under that) of the Abbot of Ely, and 1, Alwin by name, (under that) of Malet's predecessor. Always 2 and a half ploughs. Meadow 4 acres. Value then 20s Now 25[s]

In the same (Blaxhall) half a free man; 3 acres Value 6d The jurisdiction is the Abbot of Ely's.

In the same (Blaxhall) 2 acres 1 slave Value 8d Norman holds (this) In the same (Blaxhall) 1 free man, Ulf, under the patronage of Norman; 10 acres. half a plough. Value 2s Norman [holds this} from Roger. The jurisdiction is the Abbot's.

353a
Half-Hundred of Parham. In the jurisdiction of the Abbot of Ely.

80
And in Blachefhala 1 free man 10 acres; in the jurisdiction and under the patronage of the Abbot of Ely. Then and later 2 ploughs, now 1 and a half. Meadow 2 acres. Value 8s. Roger [holds this] in lordship.

384a Parham Half-Hundred

36
In Blacheffala 5 free men in the jurisdiction and patronage of the Abbot. 26 acres. Always half a plough Value 4s.

430a
Land of Walter Giffard

XLV Parham Half-Hundred

In blacheffala 1 free [man], Godric, half under the sub-patronage of Malet's predecessor and half (under that) of the Abbot of Ely; 10 acres. Value 20d Radulph of Langhetot holds (this). The jurisdiction (is) the Abbot's.

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A total of 21 entries amounting to 335 acres of arable land + 8 acres of meadow (for hay). It would be interesting to know how this acreage compares to present-day Blaxhall.

There is no reference to pasture for grazing cattle, or woodland for pannage (Acorns & beechmast for pigs) although other parts of the Parham Half-Hundred do list such.

Nor is there any mention of a mill, fishpond or a church, all of which were taxable and so were normally included. I therefore have some difficulty in visualising what "Blachessala" (in it's variant forms) actually was. I am inclined, at the moment, to think of it as the name of a very large field, or tract of land, which hardly accords with "Blaec's Nook" which, according to most reference books, is the original meaning of "Blaxhall" I would be pleased to receive any thoughts on this seeming paradox !
 

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