Bucklesham History



Domesday Book is unique. A survey of England made in 1086-7, it is unmatched in its age. The survey was commissioned at Christmas 1085, when William the Conqueror held court at Gloucester. It produced an astonishing result: a complex return of the resources of the land, and their division between the King and the lords to whom he had granted them, based on local testimony.

The “Little Domesday Book”, contains Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. This is the entry for Bucklesham.

Hundred of Colneis.

In Bucklesham 30 free men commended to Harold TRE with 2 carucates of land. Then as now 2 bordars. Then between them 5 ploughs, now 4: 2 acres of meadow. 1 church with 8 acres: 2 bordars. 2 free men. Eadric and Wulfric, commended to St AEthelthryth TRE, with 18 acres and half a plough. Then it was worth 60s, now £4. Eudo fitzNigel holds this from the Count. It is 8 furlongs long and 4 broad. 12d in geld. Others hold [land] there. In Morson 5 free men. Godwine the man of Aelfric the priest. and Wulfhere and Beorhtric, the men of Roger Bigod’s predecessor, and Wulfine, the man of Robert Malet’s predecessor, and Godric, the man of Godmann, Roger Bigod’s predecessor, with 50 acres. Then 1 ½ ploughs, now 1. Half an acre of meadow. Then it was worth 10s, now 17s. In Thorpe 1 free man. Brunmaer, [of whom] Robert Malet’s predecessor had commendation, had 10 acres. Then as now half a plough. Then it was worth 2s 8d, now 40d. In “Alseston” [in Trimley] 1 free man commended to Harold TRE. Also 2 free men in the same place. Leofstan and Godwine, commended to Northmann TRE with 48 acres of land,. Then 1 ½ ploughs, now 1. Then it was worth 8s, now 15s. In Grimston 2 free men. Aelfric commended to Harold, and Beorhtnoth, commended to Robert Malet’s predecessor. [held] 14 acres of land. Then as now half a plough. Then it was worth 40d, now 5s, less 4d St Aethelthryth has the soke. The same Eudo holds all this.

Count Alan.

Earl Hugh.

ACRE. [1] Unlike the modern acre the medieval acre could be used to estimate length as well as area. As a square measure 4x40 perches, as a linear measure 66ft. [2] A unit of assessment to Geld: in some areas 120 geld acres equalled one Hide.

AETHELING. A term applied to the royal princes of the old English kingdom, the sons and brothers of the reigning king from whom the next ruler was chosen.

BORDAR. A cottager: a peasant of lower economic status than a villain

CARUCATE. A ploughland: notionally the area which could be ploughed with an eight –ox team, used in the north and east as a unit of assessment to tax instead of the Hide

FREE MAN. In eastern England a non-noble landholder, usually commended to the Lord.

GELD. The English land-tax assessed on the HIDE.

HIDE. The standard unit of assessment to tax, especially Geld. Notionally the amount of land which would support a household: divided into four virgates.

SOKEMAN. A free man [though often only a peasant] owing service, including suit

. of Court, to the Lord of a Soke

. TRE [abbr. for Lat. Tempore Regis Edwardi] The formula commonly used in Domesday Book to indicate the position “ in the time of King Edward”, ie before the conquest in 1066

VIRGATE. One quarter of a HIDE: the equivalent of the English yardland

HMS Shannon.

Rear Admiral Sir Philip Bowes Vere Broke, 1st Baronet KCB [9TH September 1776- 2nd January 1841] was a distinguished officer in the British Royal Navy.

Broke was born at Broke Hall, Nacton, near Ipswich, the eldest son of Philip Bowes Broke. He attended Ipswich School where a house has now been named in his honour.

Broke joined the Royal Naval Academy at Portsmouth Dockyard in 1788, and began active service as a midshipman in 1792. It was rather unusual for him to receive formal naval education- most of his contemporaries had only “on the job” training. He served as third Lieutenant on the frigate HMS Southampton during the Battle of Cape St Vincent in February 1797. He was promoted to Commander in 1799 and Captain in 1801.He married Sarah Louisa Middleton on 25 November 1802, they had 11 children.

Capture of USS Chesapeake.

His most notable accomplishment was his victory while commanding HMS SHANNON, over the USS CHESAPEAKE on 1 June 1813, during the War of 1812. Broke took command of the Shannon, a 38-gun frigate, on 31 August 1806. Broke was ordered to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1811 as the diplomatic position between America and Britain deteriorated. US President James Madison declared war on 18 June 1812. There were half a dozen naval battles between a Royal Navy and a United States Navy vessel of equivalent rate in 1812 and early 1813. The Americans won every time, primarily because although the British and American ships were the same rate, they were not of the same size or power. In each case the American ships were substantially larger than the British vessels and had a heavier broadside [the Americans had a main battery of 24 pounder long guns compared with the smaller 18 pounders mounted on the British ships].

Matters changed when SHANNON defeated CHESAPEAKE as it attempted to evade the blockade of Boston, Massachusetts. Although CHESAPEAKE was a slightly larger craft and had a substantially larger crew, gunnery was Broke’s area of expertise, and the crew of SHANNON were exceptionally well drilled.[1] CHESAPEAKE was disabled by gunfire, boarded and captured within 15 minutes of opening fire. 56 sailors on CHESAPEAKE were killed, including its Captain, James Lawrence, and 85 wounded. Lawrence’s last words were reported to be the command, “Don’t give up the ship”. On the SHANNON 24 were killed and 59 wounded, including Broke who sustained a serious head wound while leading the boarding party.

Lt Provo Wallis took command of SHANNON as the frigate and her prize returned to Halifax as surgeons worked to save Broke. In Halifax, Broke recovered at the Commissioner’s residence in the Halifax Naval Yard.

SHANNON’S victory created a sensation in the US and the UK. In recognition, Broke was created a Baronet on 25 September 1813. He became a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath on 3 January 1815. He was also awarded a Naval Gold Medal, one of only eight awarded for single ship actions between 1794 and 1816. While his wounds precluded further active service, Broke served as a naval gunnery specialist in the Royal Navy. He was promoted to Rear Admiral of the Red on 22 July 1830.

His younger brother, Charles Broke, later Charles Broke Vere, joined the British army, serving under the Duke of Wellington, ending up a Major General and being Knighted.


We all know how Captain Philip Broke sailed his frigate HMS Shannon to America and captured USS Chesapeake and so giving us our pub name, but did you know we have another ship named after us. Not as romantic as the “Shannon” but just as brave. HMS Bucklesham was a Ham-class minesweeper, launched 8th August 1952 from Ardrossan dockyard in Scotland she was taken out of service and sold in 1981. She was one of 93 ships in this class of inshore minesweepers. There is nothing romantic either in the way she was named. All 93 ships where named after villages ending in –ham, and so we have had our very own minesweeper.