|AYSHFORDS OF AYSHFORD|
'Ayshfords of Ayshford' and 'The Willand Connection' taken from the 'Notes Towards A History of The Ayshford Family of Devon' by Fred & Heather Ayshford.
Ayshford in Burlescombe parish is one of the estates mentioned in Saxon documents. In 958 AD King Edwy of Wessex gave the land to a certain Eadheah. In modern terms it comprised about 750 acres. The perambulation or description of the boundaries shows that it included the present hamlets of Ayshford, Boehill in Sampford Peverell, Westleigh and Rocknell. The lands called Ayshford got their name from a ford near ash trees or, just possibly, from a major route through a group of conspicuous ash trees. In any event, subsequent holders of the estate were referred to as "of Ayshford" or "DíEsseford" as later generations had it.
With the conquest of England by William of Normandy, Ayshford, like many estates held by the defeated Saxon nobles, was parcelled out among Williamís followers. Walter de Clavile was its new lord and he, in turn, granted it to his steward (dapifer) another Walter.
The next important evidence is provided by the Domesday Book, the huge survey of English property made at King Williamís command in 1086.
"Here Walter de Clavile has a manor called Aiseforde which was held by Wulfward in 1066, it paid tax for 1 hide. Land for 3 ploughs. Walter the Steward holds it of Walter. He has 1/2 hide in demesne and 1 plough. The villeins have 1/2 hide and 2 ploughs. There are 4 villeins, 7 bordars (smallholders) and 3 serfs. Meadow 12 acres, pasture 60 acres, woodland 12 acres, 1 rouncey (riding horse), 14 cattle, 2 pigs, 33 goats and 2 wild forest mares. Value 20/-, 10/- in 1066."
Put into modern terms this shows the Steward Walter retaining half the arable land as a sort of "home farm", with the peasants farming the rest with the help of the labourers. As steward to at least some of the Clavile estates, a home at Ayshford would be very convenient for him since the Claviles were based nearby in Uplowman. Walter could ride over, perched on his rouncey, to make his regular reports and to hand over the rents he had collected. He also held a Clavile estate at West Raddon for himself and this must have been handy as he managed the other Clavile estates in the same area of Upton Pyne.