an historical timeline of the upper Witham valley

timeline of upper Witham valley

The Witham river flows north below the Lincolnshire Edge, a limestone cliff to the east of the river. Along the spring line below this cliff, Britons of the Corieltauui tribe settled and built round huts made of wattle and daub.

At Lincoln, the Witham river flows east through a gap in the cliff forming a lake. On the high ground to the north of this lake, the Britons built a fort which they called Lidum, meaning the fort at the lake. (Celtic llyn, lake and dun, fort)

Lincoln the northern most point of the first Roman occupation of Britain. A legion was garrisoned at here and the Romans constructed two roads, one south to London and the other south west to Exeter which was the frontier. In the second stage of occupation the Romans moved the legion to York and Lidum became, Lidum Colonia - a legally established settlement of veterans, who received an square allotment of land, 710 m by 710 m. The allotments were not necessarily contiguous and might be separated by land not allocated to veterans. Roman villas have been found at Norton Disney and Stragglethorpe.

Lidum Colonia was an important town in Roman Britain. The roman road south to London became known as Ermine Street and that to Exeter the Fosse Way



Normans 1066
William I became King of England. All land was considered to be owned by the King, who granted land to his noblemen, most of whom had come from Normandy with him. The smallest unit of the fuedal system was the manor. The Lord of a Manor was usually a knight who owed allegiance to one of the great landowners. The majority of people were tenants of the manor; they had little security, and had to spend a portion of their time working the fields of the Lord of the Manor, as well as tending their own holdings. The manor courts were presided over by the lord or his steward, and administered the business of the manor. The court-leet dealt with a variety of minor offences, and its records might also contain list of tenants and of jurymen. The court-baron dealt mainly with the transfer of property, and leases within the manor.

The earliest national taxes were called lay subsidies. The records give the person's name, parish and amount assessed. The surviving records from 1290 to 1332 are held at the Public Record Office. The original records are written in Latin.

One third of the population of England perished in the plague. A shortage of labour provided the opportunity for many tenants to commute their service to the Lord of the Manor for cash payments. Some tenants acquired additional holdings and became independent farmers, known as yeomen.

dissolution of the monastries
At the time of the dissolution of the monastries by Henry VIII, the church had become one of the greatest landowners in England. Church lands were sold to private individuals, which allowed some of the rising merchant class to purchase their own estates.