Asenby History Page One

A wealth of historical facts relating to Asenby have been compiled by Mrs Carole Ford, of Asenby, who has kindly allowed us to bring them to you on our website and she hopes you enjoy reading them!!

What does Asenby mean?

There is some disagreement about the meaning; most claim the meaning is ‘Eystein’s farm’ from the old Norse or the old Danish name ‘Oysten’.

However others say the name means ‘residence of the Gods’ from Aisr one of the Norse Gods.

Field names indicate the Danish colonisation of marshy land eg ‘Bonny Carr’ (‘carr’ meaning a marshy area) and the suffix ‘-by’ is indicative of Scandinavian settlement from 850 A.D. Nevertheless it is possible that an already existing Anglo-Saxon settlement could have been re-named.

How old is Asenby?

The first written evidence is the mention of Asenby in the Domesday survey of 1086.

“ In Topeclive (Topcliffe) and Crecula (Crakehill), Deltune (Dalton), Estanesbi (Asenby) and Schipetune (Skipton-on-Swale), Bernulf had 26 carucates of land for geld, where 15 ploughs may be. Now William has 3 ploughs here, and 35 villanes and 14 bordars with 13 ploughs. A church is here, and 2 priests having one plough, and one mill of five shillings (annual value).Wood, pasturable, four quaranteens in lengths and four in breadth. T.R.E. (it was worth) four pounds; now, one hundred shillings.”

This tells us that:-

  • Bernulf, a Dane, used to own the land but it had been given to William de Percy by William the Conqueror after the Norman invasion
  • It was a relatively important area having a church, a mill and a comparatively large population for the period
  • It had increased in value, suggesting Norman sympathisers living in the area since many surrounding villages had been ‘laid waste’

Although we have no written evidence, archaeological finds in the surrounding area and early Christian worship here would suggest human settlement even before the Viking invasion.

THUS it seems that Asenby has certainly existed as a settlement for the last thousand years, probably existed as a nucleated settlement during the Danish invasion from 850 A.D., possibly had inhabitants prior to this.

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