One of the hardest things to find out about an area is when the first settlements arrived, when our part of the world became home to someone. Nothing has been found in Long Marston to suggest settlers were here before the first century AD. This does not necessarily mean that the land in our area was not inhabited before this, it’s just that no evidence remains or we haven’t found it (perhaps we just haven’t got the technical know-how yet). However, from settlements found elsewhere in Britain it would appear that this is the normal state of affairs for around this area – not much was going on – perhaps this just wasn’t “The” place to be.
Early Iron Age sites have been found at Totternhoe and Ivinghoe and the nearest Mid Iron Age site was found at Pitstone.
50BC – 43AD
This was the Belgic Period or Late Iron Age -The earliest identifiable pottery found in Puttenham comes from this period in time.
The village of Tiscot was triangular in shape, a bit like Wilstone. This arrangement was thought to of been copied from Aldbury, which is also this shape, funny that Wilstone and Tiscott were planned in this way as we only think of estates etc. of our time to fall into the hands of the planners. However, the explanation might come when it is found that all three manors (Wilstone, Tiscott and Aldbury) were held by the Walter of Aylesbury family and their successors in title. In the strip fields it is still possible to see the outline of this old hamlet with its triangular shape.
The Manor of Tiscot had sub-tenants (people that rented) in 1086 and they were the Bassett family.
William the Conqueror commissioned one of the great undertakings of time and got together a load of information on his patch, which he called The Domesday Survey; this was basically an inventory of Briton. Everyone who was anyone and those that were not were listed in this book along with what they owned. This sounds OK, but as Domesday suggests it enabled the King to work out how much tax he could get from everyone. (some things never change). The survey took around three years to compile. Our little corner of Hertfordshire was not missed out. At that time Gubblecote, Puttenham, Tiscot, Bure and Betlow got a mention (No there wasn’t a Long Marston yet) Each of these places had a manor and therefore a Lord. Many French sounding names were around at this time as that was the latest fashion, set by our then French king.
Gubblecote, which was then called Bublecote, was held at that time by a guy called Fulcold or Fulcwold, who was the then a count of Mortain. It was described as a small hamlet and contained a manor and a mill (the mill has now been ground down to nothing)
Puteham, recognisably Puttenham was rented by Roger de Puteham. Roger rented his patch from the Bishop of Bayeux. This was the place to be; it was described as a village and had two mills.
Tiscot – then Theisescote (no wonder they changed it) was rented by Ralph Bassett from Robert Gernon this was a small hamlet also with a mill. The settlement was described as open field and probably had only one or two manors.
Bure, which we know as Boarscroft, was owned by Leofwin also a count of Mortain. Small hamlet with no mill.
1262 – 3
Ralph de Gubelicote (notice the de – this is French for of; People’s surnames were normally either to do with where they were from of what they did – Ralph of Gubelicote) conveyed (sold) the land to a Simon le Butiller (still French, but Simon the ……..).
On the 14th December 1600, Margaret Eldredge, the servant of John Seare of Puttenham was unfortunately killed by a burglar who hit her with a fire shovel.
Major changes occurred during the 18th century. Tiscot probably turned into a single farm in the early part of the 18th century as people moved on and the hamlet was becoming deserted, its major population was of the sheep variety (a bit like Australia).
The Enclosures Act. This fenced off a lot of our common land. It was invented to tidy up the lands. This was caused by over the years villagers inheriting and purchasing strips of land all over the place. Some ended up having to walk a long way to get to their other fields, cars weren’t invented then and if they were you’d probably need an off roader. Commissioners were bought in to take the land off everyone and then re-distribute it. Needless to say, the poorer people lost out and the rich ones gained. The enclosure of arable and common land (common land: that which belonged to everyone – i.e. Joe public were called commoners hence common land). It didn’t cause too many problems as each mans area was clearly defined. The enclosures act did not happen overnight as these poor commissioners had quite a bit of sorting to do – in fact the process went steadily on into the next century. Some enclosures were made at Puttenham.
Long Marston was formed into an ecclesiastical parish in this year. The deanery of Berkhamstead included 14 parishes another was Puttenham. At this time Long Marston had 3 hamlets (small villages) surrounding it. Gubblecote to the south-east and Betlow and Tiscot to the west. There were also many single farms in the area scattered all over the place. There were no woods and the land at this time was split equally between arable (crops) and dairy (cows) in fact the pasture land around here was very good. The large quantity of milk produced was sent down to London.