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Name & Land

How did the village get its name?

The name of the village derives from Hacca, a chief of one of the West Saxon tribes who settled in Britain following the departure of the Romans. He settled in this area beside a stream that still bears his name Hacca’s Brook or Hacca’s Burn.

The stream is mentioned in a 9th Century charter as Hacceburna, which later became Hagburne/Hagbourne. The stream still flows in a moat around the Manor House, through several domestic gardens and then all the way through Moreton to the Thames.

Lake Road is where the Bishop’s fishing lake used to be. There were many days when meat was not permitted to be eaten, so a fish lake was important. Especially since ducks and geese being water creatures could be counted as ‘fish’ and eaten on these days too!

Who owned the land?

The Domesday Book records that the church (at that time consisting of the nave and chancel) was under the control of Rainbald, a Norman priest who acted as chancellor to Edward the Confessor.

On Rainbald’s death in 1133, Henry I gifted the manor of East Hacheborne (as it was then known) to the Abbey of Cirencester, which was then in the hands of monks of the Augustinian order. East Hagbourne’s Manor House is also mentioned in the Domesday Book and was a country retreat of the Abbot of Cirencester. There are records of various Abbots staying here.

At one time the parish of East Hagbourne extended far beyond the current boundaries – to the north side beyond what is now Didcot Broadway. What was known as “East Hagbourne Marsh” is situated to the east of what is now Abingdon Road, Didcot, and “East Hagbourne Field” is now the site of Green Close, Didcot.

The entry for East Hagbourne from the Domesday Book reads:
In Blewbury Hundred:

Reinbald of Cirencester holds (East) HAGBOURNE from the King. He held it himself from King Edward. 15 hides; but then and now it answered for 12 hides less 1 virgate. Land for 12 ploughs. In lordship 2 ploughs; 18 villages and 16 cottagers with 10 ploughs. 6 slaves; a mill at 12s 6d; meadow, 30 acres. The value was £15 now £18.


  • free man was not a serf, slave or villain, free from many villagers’ burdens, at this time he often had more land and higher status than villagers.
  • villager was a member of a village, usually holding more land than a small holder.
  • cottager was a peasant who lived in a cote or cottage, usually without land of his own.
  • Slaves were at the bottom of the economic and social scale, normally without resources of their own and there to perform their lord’s bidding. He or she owed personal service to another, and was un-free, and not able to move home or work or change allegiance, to buy or sell, without permihtmon.
  • hundred was a division of a county in England, supposed to have originally contained a hundred families, or freemen, with its own assembly of notables and village representatives
  • hide was a common measure of land, which was as much land as would support one free family and its dependants. On good land, this might be as little as 60 acres; but up to 240 acres on poor land. The measurement was purely for assehtmng tax, and does not imply there actually were free families on the land.
  • lordship was the dominion of a lord; including ploughs, land, men, villages, etc, reserved for the lord’s use; this refers to the “Manor Farm”.
  • mill refers to a watermill.
  • plough, with the oxen which pulled it, usually reckoned as eight