Calverton Village Online

There are three entries for Calverton in the 11th century Domesday Book.  At this time the village was in the administrative division (aka Hundred) of Thurgarton and it had a total population of 18 households.

Domesday first entry: Head of manor: Blidworth I.
Taxable units: Taxable value 0.8 geld units.
Value: Value to lord in 1066 £2. Value to lord in 1086 £2.
Households: 7 villagers. 2 smallholders. 1 priest.
Ploughland: 1.5 ploughland (land for). 2 men's plough teams.
Other resources: Meadow 2 acres. Woodland 8 * 3 furlongs. 1 church.

Domesday second entry: Head of manor: Calverton.
Taxable units: Taxable value 0.4 geld units.
Value: Value to lord in 1066 £1. Value to lord in 1086 £0.3.
Households: 2 villagers.
Ploughland: 1 ploughland (land for).
Other resources: Meadow 1 virgates.

Domesday third entry: Head of manor: Calverton.
Taxable units: Taxable value 0.4 geld units.
Value: Value to lord in 1066 £0.8. Value to lord in 1086 £0.5.
Households: 4 villagers. 2 freemen.
Ploughland: 1 ploughland (land for). 2 men's plough teams.

Domesday gives us the first eye-witness account of important aspects of Calverton life during the eleventh century. We know that there was meadowland, woodland pasture, a church building and a priest. The presence of both church and priest suggests a degree of affluence. Certainly there was a church and priest at Epperstone but they seem to have served Woodborough as well. There is no mention of either at Oxton.

The largest landowner was the Archbishop of York with 6 bovates. A bovate is an eighth part of a carucate (a carucate is the amount of land that an ox-team could plough in the working year). Since a standard plough-team consisted of eight oxen, a bovate is technically a year's work for one ox, hence the derivation of the name from the Latin word for 'cow'. Although we can total the number of bovates (18 bovates) listed under Calverton and Salterford, we cannot measure the area of the village in modern terms. But then it was not the Domesday Book's purpose to measure land. Its primary function was to provide a basis for future tax assessment. It is apparent that the Archbishop's holding had retained its value, even though large parts of Nottinghamshire had suffered heavily from the King's punitive march after the Conquest. His land was valued at 40s in the time of King Edward(Confessor) and was the same value (1086).

However, other land values had fallen dramatically. Land held by Wulfric (3 bovates with meadowland) had fallen from 20s to 5s 4d; Aelfric's 3 bovates from 16s to 10s. Land at Salterford (6 bovates) which was part of the manor of Colston Bassett was declared waste and therefore valueless for tax purposes. Whether the waste was caused by the army's spoliation or by ecological or natural causes (e.g. fire) we have no way of knowing.

In the Calverton/Salterford entries, excluding tenants in chief, 18 men are noted. Of these Aelfric appears to be a large scale farmer with interests as far away as Trowell and Colwick. He was almost certainly an absentee landlord living outside the village. The others are 1 priest, 13 villagers, 2 smallholders and 2 freemen. Apart from the priest, these  were evidently heads of households, and to calculate the total population these figures should be multiplied by 5, giving an estimate of 90 inhabitants of Calverton (compared with estimates of 100 for Oxton and 350 for Woodborougn & Epperstone). Thus Calverton has consisted of a community of smallholders for at least 900 years and has been able to show a degree of independence not known in villages which were almost exclusively run by the Lord of the Manor.

There are some surprising omissions in the Domesday records. No mill is mentioned as belonging to Calverton. As the only stream capable of driving a wheel was the Dover beck, it is therefore likely that Calverton grain was ground in Epperstone or Oxton. Nor are fisheries mentioned. The dictates of the Church demanded that fish be eaten but no mention is made of fishponds at Calverton. Possibly they were noted in earlier data collections and edited out of the final text. The Rise and Decline of Salterford, now part of Calverton Parish, is probably derived from the Old English 'sealtera ford' or 'ford of the salters' (salt dealers). Despite this Anglo-Saxon connection, it is likely that a settlement already existed by the sixth century. Indeed, there is reason for thinking that the ford was known and used by the salt-dealers of prehistoric times. Salt was an important product as it was used for preserving meat, and the salters travelled along regular routes and used regular halting places. Salterford may have been a distributing centre for part of the forest area, since it was on the main routeway from the Trent, at Nottingham, to the North.

Until about 1867, the Dover Beck rose at Fishpool (Ravenshead) and flowed southwards through the forest to form a ford at the main 'road' which was used by the salters centuries ago and consequently gained the name Salterford.

It is also possible that salt was transported from Cheshire via the Trent to Nottingham where the bulk supplies were transferred to smaller boats and carried to the highest navigable point on the Dover Beck at Salterford. Here, the cargoes would be broken up into cartloads for the onward journey, the salt being sold to farms and homesteads on the way to Doncaster.

The Domesday book records that Osbert Fitz-Richard owned Salterford, the land being waste with some woodland. Although the hamlet was never very large it must have been of some importance in the thirteenth century. King John made a grant to Maud de Caux of the right to take a skep of each cartload passing through the Forest of Sherwood. The right was later to pass to the Willoughby's of Wollaton. Thus Salterford, being a centre for salt and situated on the Forest boundary, was a suitable place for the collection of the tax.

By the fifteenth century, the local salt trade was waning at Salterford, as large quantities were being sold in towns and fairs. In Nottingham salt was sold at Martinmas Fair, which was held in the autumn - the time of the year when meat was salted for preservation. Salt was also sold in the market at Nottingham with a special section for the salters' use.

In 1662 it was recorded that William Willoughby, the owner of Salterford at the time, asserted his right to erect a mill on the site of an older mill. Although a water-mill was built, the site is not known. In 1677 Dr Thoreton recorded that Salterford was waste and only a place called Salterford Dam remained. Thus the hamlet had ceased to exist and became part of the parish of Calverton.