The mists of time

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Like any other family whose origins do not stem from the ranks of noblemen, Stentifords have to accept that as regards the particulars of their ancestors before the 15th century there is very little hope of recovering information. Of the generalities of their history though, there are many safe conclusions to be drawn.

One fairly certain generalities is that in the Middle Ages, the family were anchored in "Bocland" (Buckland Monachorum) and, for many generations, were in servitude to the Lord Abbot of the nearby Cistercian Abbey. We are so sure of our rights and freedoms today that we have forgotten there was a time when ordinary people had neither. 

When William the Conqueror set about making one united country of England after his invasion in 1066, he set up a simple but effective framework through which to rule. He promised God he would look after the country, his noblemen promised to support him, the tenants of  the noblemen promised to serve their lords, and the rest of the people, the peasants, had to pay rent for the land on which they grew their food. This tied them to one place because no-one else was going to give them a plot of land. No nobleman would ever dream of letting his peasants go off and live in another place because they formed his standing army. A nobleman's security depended on his ability to deliver the oath he had taken to support the King and having a strong army on call was essential for his survival. This ruling framework lasted for centuries so there is little point in looking for Stentiford roots anywhere else.

But after the 15th Century, things changed and people did begin to find freedom of movement available to them and they made good use of it. William Stentiford's Land Lease of 1464 was just the beginning - the family began to branch out and to prosper. 

Buckland Monachorum Church from the Garden House

Buckland Monachorum Church from the Garden House

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