Medieval Village Commentary & Lessons

The first part of the project involved the study of one baronial family in England between the years 1066-1320. The second part focuses on Yalding, one of the villages controlled by the Clare family. Most of the information on Yalding is based on the village records at the Centre for Kentish Studies in Maidstone and at the Public Record Office in London. Other information on the history of Yalding can be found in Tony Kremer's booklets, Origins of Yalding Parish (Kremer, 1975) and The Parish and the People of Yalding (Kremer, 1974). There is also a chapter on the history of Yalding in Edward Hasted's The History and Topographical Survey of Kent: Volume V (Canterbury, 1798).

Details of the Clare estates can be found in the following books: Michael Altschul's A Baronial Family in Medieval England: The Clares, 1217-1314 (John Hopkins Press, 1965) and Gladys Thornton's History of Clare (Heffer, 1949). Information on the Clare estates in Kent can be found in articles that appeared in The Archaeolgia Cantiana: W. V. Dumbreck, The Lowry of Tonbridge (Volume 72, 1958) and Jennifer C. Ward, The Lowry of Tonbridge and the Lands of the Clare Family in Kent: 1066-1217 (Volume 96, 1980). There is also an article on Yalding Bridge by A. J. Parsons in the Kent Archaeological Review (No. 31, Spring 1973).

The drawing of Yalding is based on archaeological evidence and old maps of the village. The two wooden bridges were replaced by the current 450 ft. long stone bridge in the 15th century. Twyford Bridge, which is situated just outside the village by Yalding Lees, was also built at the same time. Twyford (twin ford) Bridge was built where the Medway meets the River Tiese (see Y05). In is believed that an ecclesiastical workforce from Rochester called the 'Hospitarii Pontifices' built a series of stone bridges down the Medway during the 15th century.

The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul was originally built in the 13th century. It has been restored several times over the years. The leaded onion dome built in 1734 is a particularly unfortunate addition.

The original Court Lodge building no longer exists. Court Lodge was rebuilt on a different site overlooking the village green (see Y05) but this building has also been demolished. The name remains and the current building on the site is called Court Lodge Farmhouse. The farmhouse was built in the 17th century and the high wall helps to give it the look of a manor house. Court Lodge is one of the largest hop farms in the area (a subject that we will return to when looking at Yalding and the 100 Years War).

Yalding was built where the River Medway meets the River Beult. The name 'Medway' is Old English and means "mead water", a reference to the sweetness of the water of this river. The River Beult (pronounced Belt) flows through the centre of the village. "Beult" is also Old English and means "the swollen one". The reason for this name is that the river often floods the flat, low-lying lands through which it flows. Therefore, the main problem about living in Yalding was the tendency for the River Beult to flood. The Jutes rejected the site and the original Saxon settlement was abandoned after serious flooding. The Saxons returned and a village is recorded at Yalding in a charter dated 873.

The river provided both water and a means of transport. It was possible to travel by boat from Yalding to Chatham on the coast. This enabled the village to supply goods to towns on the Medway such as Tonbridge and Maidstone. However, the river did create waterlogged land which was difficult to use. This type of land was also a source of disease. In the 14th century malaria was a common problem in villages situated close to marshland. Yalding was hit several times with outbreaks of disease. One epidemic in 1510 killed over 50% of those people living in the village. Tony Kremer believes it was the plague, but sweating sickness (a form of influenza) was also killing large numbers of people in England at that time.

Lesson 1: For this lesson the pupils will also need the Family Information Chart, Village of Yalding, Kent in the 14th Century, Map of Yalding in 1336, Artist Impression of Yalding, Medieval Names and the Yalding Manor Records. One way of using the material is to give each pupil the name of an individual that lived in the village in the 14th century. In this way the pupils can explore the possible impact of different events on one particular family. This has been a very successful aspect of the course but I am aware that some teachers might feel uncomfortable about this approach. Although I will provide the information needed for this strategy, the materials do not have to be used in this way.

The children are given their names, and details of their savings in Tithing Group Details: 1336. Names given should be based on the skills and attributes of the individual pupil. The strategy is to pair up pupils of different abilities. Two pairs then make up a tithing group. I have also indicated those who will have to play important roles in the Manor Court. You may therefore wish to take into account the oral skills of the pupil. Where possible, the leader of the tithing group (T/M), should have good organisational skills.

There are 18 male and 18 female heads of households in the simulation. I have done this to provide a balance between the sexes but research suggests that in the 14th century only about 15% of land holdings were in the hands of women. Pupils are also given copies of the Family Information Chart. This should be stuck into their exercise books. Over the next few weeks they will gradually fill in all the details.

The teacher plays the role of Hugh de Audley's estate bailiff, John Giffard. As well as Yalding the estate bailiff looked after the neighbouring hamlets of Nettlestead, Benover, Twyford and Laddingford. The estate bailiffs were usually fairly prosperous people. An illustration of their wealth is the money they gave to the Church. For example, Thomas de Blakebroke, Yalding's previous estate bailiff, made a donation of £2 11s. 5d. to Tonbridge Priory in 1326. A bailiff or steward in a smaller village would have been paid between £2 and £3 a year.

The Domesday Book entry for Yalding says that "Richard holds two sulungs". There was not a standardised system of measurement at this time but experts on the subject have estimated that in Kent a sulung was an area of about 200 acres. The Medieval Names sheet makes a good homework assignment. Pupils could also be asked to research the meaning of their own family name. Basil Cottle's Dictionary of Surnames (Penguin, 1967) should provide the meanings of most of their names.

Yalding in the 1330s

Lesson 2: For this lesson the pupils will also need the Yalding Manor Records and Village of Yalding. Details of weather in Kent during the 1330s was taken from J. M. Stratton's book Agricultural Records (John Baker, 1969). Questions 2 and 3 will reveal to the pupils the problems caused by the weather in the Middle Ages. It has been estimated by lan Kershaw in his book The Great Famine and Agrarian Crisis in England, (Oxford, 1973) that about 10% of the population died of famines and epidemics between 1315 and 1330. One consequence of this economic hardship was a dramatic increase in the number of serfs appearing in the Manor Court charged with stealing sheaves and pilfering hay. A possible homework assignment is to ask the following question. "A study of the bones in one Medieval cemetery revealed an average age of 18 years. Give as many reasons as you can for this very low average age of death."

The Feudal System

Lesson 3: For this lesson the pupils will also need the Yalding Manor Records, Rent and Taxes and the differentiated worksheets Feudal Services (LA/CA) and Feudal Services (HA/CA). Exact details of land holdings in Yalding in 1336 have not survived. I have used Yalding estate accounts for 1317-20 and the Tax Subsidy List of 1334 as a basis for my calculations. The Tax Subsidy was money raised for the king but the decision on how much each individual should pay was made by the lord of the manor.

The connection between family size and land holding is based on Zvi Razi's research of Halesowen. In the book, Life, Marriage and Death in a Medieval Parish (Cambridge, 1980), Zvi Razi shows that the size of families was closely related to the size of the land holding.

Land Holding 20+ acres 10-19 acres 1-9 acres
Average number of children 5.1 2.9 1.8

Most of the details in the manor records are based on the Yalding estate accounts. Accounts for the years 1299-1300, 1307-08 and 1317-20 have survived (Public Record Office, C 47/9/23-24-25). In 1300, Yalding provided Gilbert de Clare with an income of over £79. By 1320 the value of the village had fallen to £66 19s 6d. It is difficult to make a judgement concerning how much £66 in 1320s would be worth today. One way of doing this is to look at the price of bread. In 1320 a half-pence would buy one maslin loaf. If we compare this with modern bread prices, £66 would be worth about £16,765 in today's money.

Hugh de Audley owned land in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Huntingdonshire, Kent, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Surrey and Wiltshire. As well as large estates in England, Audley owned land in Wales and Ireland. Hugh de Audley's land alone provided and income of £2,314 a year (1990s - £642,719).

Research has suggested that the total value of labour services per serf was worth between 10 shillings and 15 shillings a year to the lord of the manor. The Clare family had always owned a large number of serfs. However, like many large landowners, the Clares were aware that there were economic disadvantages to serfdom. In the early part of the 14th century serfs were allowed to buy their freedom. In 1307-08 the selling of feudal services produced 7% of Gilbert de Clare's total income. This helps to explain why a third of Clare's income came from the rent paid by free peasants living in his villages.

It was at this time that the Clare family began to increase its ownership of sheep. By the 1320s sheep farming had become an important source of revenue. One of the attractive features of sheep farming was that it needed less labour than arable farming. Therefore it could be argued that there was a strong connection between the decline of serfdom and the growth in sheep farming on the Clare estates.

The heriot records are based on those for the villages of Langley, Norton and Codicote. All these villages were under the control of St. Albans Abbey. The full details of these manor records can be found in Elizabeth Levett's book, Studies in Manorial History (Oxford, 1938).

Rents are based on the research published in Christopher Dyer's Everyday Life in Medieval England (Hambleton, 1994). The taxes paid by the people of Yalding is based on information in J. R. Maddicott's book The English Peasantry and the Demands of the Crown 1294-1341 (Past & Present, 1975) and H. S. Bennett's Life on the English Manor (Cambridge, 1956).

The details of labour service is based on those of Cuxham in Oxfordshire and Downton in Wiltshire. The size of both the demesne and the number of people living in these villages were very similar to those of Yalding. Information on Cuxham can be found in P. D. A. Harvey's A Medieval Oxfordshire Village: Cuxham, 1240-1400 (Oxford, 1965) and details of Downton is in Paul Vinogradoff's Studies in Social and Legal History (Oxford, 1916).

A possible homework assignment: "John Giffard has given you permission to visit Tonbridge Market. While you are in the town you have a conversation with a man selling clothes. He asks you what your village is like. Use your drawing of Yalding to describe your village."


Lesson 4: For this lesson the pupils will need the Yalding Manor Records, Village Officials, Food Production and Grain Crops. Michael Altschul's book A Baronial Family in Medieval England: The Clares includes an excellent chapter on how the Clare family administered their estates. The Clare estates were divided into bailiwicks and placed under the control of a seneschal. These men were the highest paid officials employed by the Clare family. The seneschal usually represented the area (and the Clare family) in Parliament. At least twice a year the seneschal would make a visit to the villages under his control. These visits were usually timed to coincide with meetings of the Manor Court. There was also an estate bailiff in the larger villages. It was the estate bailiff's responsibility to manage the demesne and to maintain law and order in the village.

Names of the minor officials in Yalding in the 1330s have not survived. The choice of officials was influenced by gender and land holdings. This is based on the research by Judith Bennett on three Medieval villages: Brigstock in Northamptonshire, Iver in Buckinghamshire and Houghton in Huntingdonshire. In her book, Women in the Medieval English Countryside (Oxford, 1987), Bennett argues that it was fairly rare for women to be elected as officials. However, some villages, such as Halesowen, did have a tradition of appointing women (usually widows with large land holdings) as officials. We do not know how these elections took place. However, it is assumed that the estate bailiff would have made sure that the election results did not conflict with the interests of the lord of the manor.

Gilbert de Clare's accounts of 1307 reveal that wheat, oats and barley were the main crops grown in his manors. Wheat needed well-manured soil and would have been the main crop on the demesne. Oats and barley would grow in poor soils. Oats did particularly well on marshy soils like those close to the River Beult. Rye and other cereals were also occasionally cultivated. Rye was an unpopular crop with peasants but its main advantage was that it would grow on very poor soil.

Detailed crop records for Yalding in the 1330s have not survived. The figures used in the simulation are based on the records for the neighbouring Kent villages of East Farleigh, West Farleigh and Loose. A commentary on these records can be found in R. A. Smith's Canterbury Cathedral Priory (Cambridge, 1969). Another useful source of information on this subject is Ann Smith's Regional Differences in Crop Production in Medieval Kent that is included in Margaret Roake (ed.) Essays in Kentish History (Frank Cass, 1973). There is also an article by Mavis Mate on Farming Practice and Techniques: Kent and Sussex in Joan Thirsk (ed.), The Agrarian History of England: 1348-1500 (Cambridge 1991).

Lessons 5: The pupils will need Farm Animals and Tithing Groups. In this lesson the pupils are introduced to the idea of tithing groups.

This was a vital part of the village economy and was a device that enabled the poor to survive in difficult circumstances. In most villages only men were members of tithing groups. This is surprising as tithing groups were a good form of social control and made it much more difficult for a serf to run away from the village. In some villages women were members of tithing groups. For the sake of the simulation, Yalding is a village where women have the same rights as men.

Animal ownership in Yalding is based on M. M. Postan's research published in Essays on Medieval Agriculture (Cambridge, 1973). In the 14th Century 63% of peasants living in Kent owned at least one ox (average 1.8 oxen per family). Only one serf in three owned a cow. Pigs were the most common animals owned by peasants. Manor records in Yalding suggest a gradual growth in sheep ownership in the 1320s. This was true of other villages in the area. People living in the neighbouring village of East Farleigh owned a total of 550 sheep in 1330.

Average price of animals between 1330-40

Ox 12s. 6d.
Horse 10s. 2d.
Cow 9s. 6d.
Pig 2s. 8d.
Ewe Is. 6d.
Wether Is. Id.

Lesson 6 and 7: An opportunity for the pupils to do an extended writing assignment. The pupils will need Food Production, Harvesting, Medieval Farm Tools, The Croft, Food and Drink, Farm Animals, Tithing Groups and The Farming Year.

Most of the farming scenes are illustrations from Books of Hours. These books were very popular in France in the 1330s. Charles V, king of France commissioned several of these books in the 1340s and this helped to make them very fashionable with nobles in both France and England.

A Book of Hours is a collection of prayers and psalms to be read in private. These books were usually commissioned by rich families. Sometimes the person asked for extra information to be included in the book. This often took the form of farming scenes. Others included pictures of the changing seasons and leisure pursuits. Most people used their Book of Hours to record family births, marriages and deaths. The Book of Hours was also employed to teach children to read.

John, Duke du Berry's Book of Hours (sources 14 and 15) was painted by the three Limbourg brothers. The Duke du Berry's Book of Hours is considered by many to be the most beautiful book produced during the Middle Ages. Unfortunately, soon after they produced the book, the three brothers died of the plague.

The Luttrell Psalter (sources 24, 25, 26 and 27) was commissioned in about 1325 by Sir Geoffrey Luttrell, a large landowner in Lincolnshire. As well as the usual collection of saints and figures from the Bible, the book also includes a superb collection of pictures that illustrate everyday life on the Luttrell estate. These illustrations are the most detailed and realistic pictures of everyday life that have survived from the 14th century. The artist (we do not know his or her name) produced a range of pictures that has given historians vital information of what life must have been like for ordinary people living during this period.

The information on food is based on several books including: Reay Tannahill's Food in History (Eyre Methuen, 1973); Maggie Black's Food and Cooking in Medieval Britain (English Heritage, 1985); J. C. Drummond's The Englishman's

Food (Jonathan Cape, 1957) and H. A. Monckton's A History of English Ale and Beer (Bodley Head, 1966). Pupils could be given the opportunity to make some of the Medieval Recipes at home (Y20). Horse bread is particularly recommended.

The freedom to catch fish from local rivers was a constant source of conflict. Eels were plentiful in the River Beult. They were also very large. Eels as long as five feet nine inches and weighing over 40 pounds have been caught in Yalding. Fish were very expensive to buy.

Market prices for fish in the 1330s

Pike 12d.
Tench 6d.
Chubb 4d.
Bream 5d.
Perch 2d.
Roach 1d.

Lesson 8: For this lesson the pupils will need The Farming Year, Weather and Harvest and Farming Calculations. The pupils do their work in their tithing groups in this lesson. Some pupils might have trouble with their calculations and the person who is good at mathematics in each group can help other members of his or her team.

After the pupils have finished their tasks on the Tithing Groups worksheet, the class studies The Farming Year. It might be worth reminding pupils of what harvesting entailed and to draw attention to the importance of the weather in this process.

The teacher reads out the information from months January-June on the sheet Weather: 1337 and the pupils fill in Weather and Harvest. In July, the pupils are given details of the weather, week by week. The pupils have to decide when the harvesting should begin. After harvesting, the pupils are asked to predict the quality of their harvest.

The pupils are then told that it was a good harvest and an average of 44 sheaves per acre was produced in Yalding. The pupils then fill in their Assets and Debits Chart for 1337. You may wish to give them the Farming Calculations sheet at the beginning or you might like to see if the pupils can work it out for themselves.

Pupils will probably have to be reminded that each family gave a tenth of their food production to the Church. For those who are free, rent is 13 pence (or 13 sheaves) per acre. Those who are serfs pay their rent in labour and so therefore do not fill in this box.

Research suggests that families who owned in the region of 20 acres of land needed to employ extra labour. Four members of the class do not have enough people in their families to successfully farm their land. These people have to pay wages (one sheaf or one pence per day). Benedict Dunn (60 pence), John Nash (50 pence), Elizabeth Clarke (100 pence) and Alice Taylor (80 pence) fill in their wages column (A5).

While they are filling in their Assets and Debits Chart the teacher walks round and informs each pupil of the wages the people in their families have received for the year. Once they have this information they can complete their charts. Every family has a surplus in 1337. However, for most people the surplus is small. As this was a good harvest they should become aware that after a bad harvest they will have difficulty feeding their families. I have produced a Yalding village Farming Calculations chart so that you can check the children's figures.

Families who have a surplus have the opportunity to sell their crops. For the purpose of the simulation the pupils receive one pence per sheaf. However, when sold in bulk, the price that could be obtained depended on market forces. After a

good harvest prices fell. The pupils are then told the prices of the four main crops. These prices come from John Thirsk's Agrarian History of England: Volume II (Cambridge, 1988).

Pupils now fill in their profit details in Section 9 of their Family Information Chart. Pupils could be asked what they intend to do with their profits. Serfs should be warned that the lord of the manor would impose a tallage tax after a good harvest. The amount demanded would depend on the number of animals they owned, the amount of land they rented and the quality of the harvest.

If they have enough money left after paying tallage the serfs might want to buy their freedom. At this time a lord of the manor would have charged at least £2 - a sum that would have taken a serf a long time to save. Maybe the pupils are interested in investing their profits in land, animals or equipment. This investment might help them to increase production in future years. Alternatively they might want to hold on to their reserves in case they have a bad harvest next year.

The Clare accounts reveal that the sale of grain provided the family with an average of 45% of their manor income. Another 10% was obtained from the sale of livestock and dairy products such as butter, cheese and milk. Most of this was sold at local markets but some of it went to large cities such as London.

A possible homework assignment is to ask the pupils to "Make a list of the different fruit and vegetables that you can buy in your local shops. Compare this list with the fruit and vegetables available in the 14th century. Explain why we have a lot more different types of food today than we did in the 14th century."

Lesson 9: The simulation now moves on to 1338. The procedure is the same as 1337. This time it is the best harvest for 50 years. As a result, all villagers should be able to add to their savings. The situation is very different in 1339. After this harvest most people in the village have a deficit. As it is a bad harvest, John Giffard and Gilbert Hughes will require less help on their land. As this bad harvest follows two good harvests, most villagers will be able to use their savings to buy the necessary food. However, as a result of the shortages, the price of food has escalated. For example, the price of wheat per quarter went from 3s. 4d. in 1338 to 5s. 11d. in 1339. Those without enough money saved will need to sell property or seek help from the Church. Pupils should be asked to speculate about what happened after a series of bad harvests. Pupils are then referred back to the situation in the early 1330s when bad harvests resulted in large numbers of people dying in Yalding.

It has been calculated that an average sized family in the 14th century (two adults and three children) would have needed 12 acres to produce enough food for their needs. However, the vast majority had far less than this and a bad harvest would create serious difficulties for these families. Overall, only a third of children survived into adulthood. There were several reasons for this but famine was a major factor in the high death-rate.

Possible homework assignment "Explain the influence that the weather had on the harvest."

The Village Fair

Lesson 10: For this lesson pupils will need Map of Yalding in 1336, Village Fair and Objections to Yalding Fair.

Edward III agreed to grant Hugh de Audley's request for a fair at Yalding. The first Yalding Fair took place on 15th October, 1339. Fairs were a common feature of village life in Kent and some historians argue that it helped to undermine the feudal system in the county. Although Kent had one of the highest percentages of unfree peasants in the country in the 11th Century (according to the Domesday survey) by the late 14th Century serfdom had declined dramatically. According to R. H. Hilton, Bond Men Made Free (Temple Smith, 1973), the prosperity and bargaining power of peasants in Kent had enabled many of them to purchase their freedom by the time of the Peasants' Revolt. However, as Hilton points out, the owners of the large estates in Kent such as the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Cathedral Priory at Canterbury "tended to preserve servile aspects of peasant status even when the forces making for free status were very powerful, within as well as outside these estates."

Yalding Fair took place on the Lees, an area of land by Twyford Bridge Hugh de Audley owned the land but it was too marshy to grow crops. Fairs are still held on the Lees today.

Possible homework assignment Look at your Family Information Chart. Do you think your character would have been in favour of a fair being held in Yalding? The people of Yalding plan to hold a meeting about the possibility of holding a fair in Yalding. Write a speech expressing your views on the subject."

The Manor Court

Lesson 11: For this lesson pupils will need Yalding Manor Records, Manor Court and Court Rolls. The Custumal of Yalding has not survived (in many Kent and Essex villages the Custumal was destroyed during the Peasants' Revolt). However, it is possible to reconstruct the Custumal from other sources. We do have an inventory of Yalding that was recorded in 1263 that provides considerable information on manorial customs in the village. So also does the Yalding manor records for the years 1299-1300, 1307-08 and 1317-20.

Some of these cases are taken from Yalding's Manor Court. Other entries have been based on court records from the villages of Havering, Crawley, Longbridge, Basingstoke, Baslow, Chalgrave, Pennington and Sedgefield. The best collection of court rolls can be found in Nathaniel Hone's The Manor and Manorial Records (Kennikat Press, 1971).

About 5% of the Clare's income came from their manorial courts. In 1263 Gilbert de Clare, 8th Earl of Gloucester, declared that he expected to raise 12s. a year from marriage licenses in Yalding. This probably explains why there was a high incidence of cases in the Manor Court of people in Yalding having sex outside of marriage. In Yalding this offence was usually punished by whipping.

To stop people from avoiding this tax, the lord of the manor also charged people for permission not to marry. To encourage women to remarry after the death of their husbands, the lord of the manor charged widows a fee for permission to have custody of their children. The 2 shillings paid by both Mariota Cooper and Cristina Carpenter in 1335 enabled them to remain widows for life. Male serfs were also fined for not getting married.

All the characters appear at least twice in the manor records. Research indicates that on average, serfs appeared in the manor records for breaking local by-laws once every two years. The most common reasons were brewing and baking offences. Stealing marl from a better off neighbour was another crime that often appeared in the manor records. Marl was expensive (£2 for every 10 acres) but did result in higher crop yields. The spreading of marl before sowing could increase wheat production by a third.

It would seem that people were more violent in the 14th century than they are today. Studies of manor court records indicate that the murder-rate (per 1,000 population) was much higher in the 14th century than it is in Britain (and the USA) in the 1990s.

The manor records also show several women fined for "falsely raising the hue and cry". In Judith Bennett's study of the manor court records of Brigstock she discovered that only 28% of assaults mentioned in manor court records were against women. Nearly half of these attacks were by other women. Bennett also noticed that several women were punished by the manor court for falsely raising the hue and cry against men charged with assault. Bennett concludes that it was very difficult for women to achieve justice if attacked by men. As a result very few women bothered to report such attacks to the manor court.

Court Rolls was taken from a document that did not include the name of the manor or the date it took place. However, it has been used because it provides some good examples of how people attempted to defend themselves in the manor court. It is also one of the few documents of the period that contains the actual words spoken by peasants.

Question 1: The phrase "take him away and let him have a priest" meant that the convicted person had been sentenced to death. The condemned man went to the priest to make his final confession.

Question 3: The clues are in the names of the people who attended the court Combe is a surname that originates from Cornwall, Devon and Somerset William of the Street provides another clue. Street refers to someone living close to a Roman road. The only Roman road in the west country is the road from Bath to Exeter. Another clue is that three of the people had the name "of the Moor". Again this suggests the West Country but it is impossible to say exactly where the manor was situated.

Lesson 12: After reading The Longbow and Medieval Hunting the pupils get the opportunity to experience what it would have been like to attend the Manor Court. At the beginning of the lesson pupils are given Manor Court Cards (1) and Manor Court Cards (2). They will need ten minutes to think about what they are going to say in court. I found it profitable to spend five minutes with each character to make sure that they fully understood their part.

It is important to stress that no one other than the characters themselves should see the cards. Those playing the roles should be warned that as all witnesses had to swear on the Bible, it was unusual for people to tell lies in court. The date of the Manor Court is 7th October, 1340. After the evidence had been presented by the characters the jury has the responsibility of reaching a verdict. In keeping with the tradition of the time, these verdicts have to be unanimous.

Possible homework assignment "Write a report of the trials of Aymer Walter and Emma Brattle.

Lesson 13: For this lesson pupils will need the information sheets The Hundred Years' War, Jean Ie Bel and Geoffrey Ie Baker and the men's Archery Ability Ratings . After reading the The Hundred Years War worksheet the pupils are told it is now May, 1346. King Edward III has decided to take another army to France. He plans to leave Porchester harbour in July. John Giffard has been asked by Hugh de Audley to find four archers to join King Edward's army. A meeting is held and the villagers discuss who should go to France.

One way of doing this is to get those who want to join the king's army to write a speech on why the village should select them. The class then vote on the four people they believe should go. Villagers should take several factors into consideration before making their decision. First, they have to look after the families of the archers who are chosen. The smaller the family, the less food they will have to supply. Another factor is the ability of the individual to use the longbow (see rating sheet). The villagers would also take into account the willingness of the individual to go to war. Some peasants wanted to join the army as they saw it as an opportunity to make their fortune. In other cases, the peasants saw recruitment to the king's army as a way of removing unpopular individuals from the village.

The English army of 2,400 knights and 12,000 archers landed at St. Vaast in Normandy on 12th July. Edward's army headed for Paris. On the way they stole valuables, burnt towns and villages and destroyed crops. The French army reached Paris first. Edward, outnumbered three to one, decided it would be impossible to take the heavily defended walled city. Edward and his army now headed north for Calais. King Philip's French army followed them and managed to cut them off just after they crossed the River Somme. On 26th August, 1346 the two armies lined up to face each other at Crecy in Northern France. Jean Ie Bel and Geoffrey Ie Baker provided two different versions of the battle. Baker wrote his account to please Edward III and historians generally regard Bel's account to be more reliable. Bel's account refers to the Earl of Stafford as being one of the English commanders of the Battle of Crecy. The following year, the Earl of Stafford became Yalding's lord of the manor.

At the end of the lesson the four chosen archers are given their Hundred Years War Cards (A10). The four selected archers have to write a speech explaining what happened to them while they were in France. These speeches will be read out at the beginning of the next lesson.

Possible homework assignment: "Explain the possible advantages and disadvantages of joining King Edward Ill's army."

Lesson 14: At the start of the lesson pupils read through the information sheet Earl of Stafford. The Staffords, like the Clares, first arrived in England with William the Conqueror in 1066. Ralph de Tonei was rewarded for his part in the

conquest with 100 manors. He became known as Ralph de Stafford because of the land he owned in that area.

The family failed to increase their land holding until the 14th century. Ralph, Earl of Stafford served with distinction against the Scots in 1327. By 1332 he was one Edward III most valued military advisers. It was therefore no surprise when in 1336 Edward refused to take action against Ralph when he kidnapped and raped Margaret de Audley. Margaret was Hugh de Audley's only child and Stafford knew she would eventually inherit her father's large estates. Audley wanted Margaret to marry someone with more land and status and rejected Ralph de Stafford's proposal to marry Margaret. When Ralph took the law into his own hands, Audley was powerless to act without the support of his king (see notes on Edward and the Clare Estates for information on English law in the 14th century concerning abduction and rape).

In 1337 Ralph, Earl of Stafford, became steward of the king's household. The following year he was one of Edward Ill's military commanders in Flanders and in 1346 took a leading role in England's successful victory over France at the Battle of Crecy.

Most of the information on Ralph, Earl of Stafford comes from Carole Rawcliffe's The Staffords, Earl of Stafford and Dukes of Buckingham (Cambridge, 1978).

In the second-half of the lesson the class is told that it is now June 1348. The four returning archers make their speeches about their experiences in France. Their rewards can be compared with those of military commanders such as the Earl

of Stafford.

The person with card 2 should include in his speech his discovery of beer. Most of the soldiers who visited France with Edward Ill's army developed a liking for this drink. Attempts were made to import French hops but the government was worried that it would create problems for the English economy. Parliament therefore decided to ban the importation of hops. The ban was eventually lifted and hops first began arriving in England in 1424. It was not until the 16th century that farmers in England began growing hops. It became a very popular crop with farmers in Kent and by the nineteenth century the parish of Yalding had the highest production of hops per acre in the country.

One of the four archers is given the Pestilence Card (A) to read. The pupils are them given Pestilence (Stage 1). It is important to always use the word pestilence rather than the Black Death. This is what it was called at the time (the Black Death is a 19th century term). If it is called the Black Death some of the pupils will know about the connections between fleas, rats and the disease.

The Stage 1 cards are concerned with keeping the pestilence out of Yalding. If possible, each person in each tithing group should have a different card. The pupils should write out these ideas in their own words. The tithing groups then discuss the different proposals. The children will probably be surprised by the ideas expressed in some cards. However, these were common reactions to the plague in the 14th century. Pupils should make notes on the different ideas that are suggested.

Possible homework: "Write a speech saying what the village should do to prevent the pestilence arriving in Yalding."

Lesson 15: At the beginning of the lesson Pestilence Card (B) is given to one of the freemen who travel to other villages (Benedict Dunn, Aymer Walter, Thomas Wood or Robert Golding). The class is told that the pestilence arrived in England in September 1348 but did not reach this part of England. In November it appeared to die out. We now know that the reason for this is that the infected fleas were only active in temperatures of 15°C - 20°C.

The class is told it is now May 1349. The chosen freeman is asked to read out his card. The class now knows that there is a very good chance of the plague arriving in Yalding. The class therefore has to decide what measures to take to stop it entering the village.

The class is told the important role that women play in health care. Juliana Foreman, Elicia Godfrey, Agnes Singyard, Rosa Seamark, Emma Brattle, Joanna Browne, Emma Ashdown and Alice Minchin have all got good reputations for

knowing how to cure people of disease. Pestilence (Stage 2) are given to these girls. If these characters are not being used give these theories to other girls in the class.

Pupils now write a speech where they argue that the village should adopt their proposals. When this has been finished they discuss their ideas in their tithing groups. Each tithing group has to select three measures from Pestilence (Stage 2) to stop the pestilence entering Yalding. The class then comes together to decide the three measures the village should adopt.

After the decision has been made the class is told that Katerina Dunn has a high temperature, is shivering and has pains all over her body. You then inform the class that she has developed swellings under the armpits. The pestilence has arrived in Yalding.

The class now have to debate (a) how to treat the victims of the pestilence; (b) how to stop it spreading in the village. They discuss their ideas in their tithing groups. Each tithing group has to select three measures. The class then comes together to decide the measures the village should adopt.

Possible homework assignment: "Write up the measures that you think the village should take once the disease arrives in Yalding."

Lesson 16: For this lesson you will need Pestilence: Victims, and Disease in the 14th Century. The teacher reads out the names of the people who caught the pestilence. After the death of Agnes Minchin you tell the class that it appears that the outbreak of the bubonic plague in Yalding appears to be over. You remind them how the pestilence died out at this time last winter.

The reason for this can be understood by an explanation of how people caught the bubonic plague. The pestis bacterium establishes itself in the flea's stomach where it multiplies rapidly until the organ is completely filled. The flea's stomach eventually becomes blocked. The infected fleas now becomes ravenously hungry because no blood can enter its stomach. To obtain more food it has to regurgitate some of the blood in its stomach. The plague bacilli now enters the rat. The rat will eventually die of the plague. When this happens the flea has to find a new host. It will try to find a rat but if none are available it will find another animal. Failing that, it will bite the nearest human being. In virtually every case the cause of infection is from animal to man. It is fairly rare for bubonic plague to be spread from person to person.

The first symptoms include a high temperature, tiredness, shivering and pains over the body. The next day sees the appearance of the bubo (a hard, painful, haemorrhagic swelling of a lymphatic gland). There are lymph glands in the groin, neck and armpit. The precise site of the bubo is determined by the location of the flea-bite. The pain from the growing bubo gradually increases and the person normally dies in great agony on the fourth or fifth day.

If the person is still alive by the seventh day the bubo will burst, expelling a foul-smelling, blackish liquid. The ragged ulcer takes a long time to heal. However, the patient will gradually get better.

At the beginning of the outbreak of the bubonic plague the death-rate is about 90%. This falls to about 30% as the epidemic subsided. Overall, the death-rate is about 70%. The arrival of the colder weather causes the fleas to hibernate. The bubonic plague will now come to an end.

However, in the winter of 1349, the bubonic plague developed into pneumonic plague. This is when the pestis bacterium becomes localised in a person's lungs. The victim of pneumonic plague will begin to cough up blood. The plague will now spread directly from human to human by 'droplet' infection. This is the deadliest bacterial disease known to humankind and virtually everyone who catches the disease will be dead in four days.

You then inform the class that on 17th October, Luke Clarke is taken ill. He has difficulty breathing and begin to cough up blood. Luke dies the following day. The same day Geoffrey Golding develops the same symptoms. He dies soon after. The bubonic plague has turned into the pneumonic plague.

Lesson 17: The pupils now look at the harvest for Weather: 1350. The teacher reads out the information for months January-June on the sheet Weather: 1350 and the pupils fill in Weather and Harvest Chart. In July, the pupils are given details of the weather, week by week. Each group has to decide when the harvesting should begin. After harvesting, the pupils have to predict the quality of their harvest.

The pupils are then told that it was a good harvest and an average of 44 sheaves per acre was produced in Yalding. The pupils then have to fill in their Assets and Debits Chart for 1350. While the pupils are doing this they are given details of their wages for 1350.

All pupils should have made a decent profit in 1350. The pupils are reminded that the harvest is the same as 1337. They can then be given the task of comparing the figures for these two years and explaining why they were better off in 1350 than they were in 1337. Hopefully they will be able to work out why wages went up and why food consumption went down in 1350.

One reason for the demand for higher wages was that the peasants had to pay higher food prices. This can be seen by comparing the prices obtain for crops before and after the Black Death.

Crops (per qtr.) 1345 1351
Wheat 3s. 9d. 10s. 2d.
Oats 2s. 0d. 3s. 7d.
Barley 2s. 9d. 6s. 9d.
Peas 2s. 3d. 6s. 0d.
Beans 5s. 5d. 6s. 1d.

Possible homework assignment: (a) Who would have been upset by the increase in wages in 1350? (b) What might these people have done to try and solve this problem?

Lesson 18: The lesson could start with a discussion of the homework. Hopefully, some would have considered the possibility of a law being passed by Parliament. Yalding's lord of the manor, Ralph, Earl of Stafford, played a leading role in the campaign to control labourers' wages. The children then read Statute of Labourers Act and answer questions 1 to 5.

The higher wages and food prices were of great benefit to the small tenant farmer. Many serfs were now in a position to buy their freedom. However, after the Black Death, most lords of the manor were desperately short of labour and were reluctant to give their serfs their freedom. Whereas lords of the manor were often willing to allow serfs to buy their freedom in the early part of the century, this was not the case after the Black Death. In fact, some lords of the manor attempted to reassert their feudal rights over the peasants. This continued for the next thirty years and was one of the major reasons for the Peasants' Revolt in 1381.

Lesson 19: The pupils will need a copy of Kent in the 14th Century, 14th Century Towns, Trade & Industry, Medieval Houses, Sanitary Conditions in Towns and East Grinstead in 1360. The pupils are told that attempts to restrict people's wages in villages encouraged some people to run away to towns. Pupils look at a copy of Kent in the 14th Century and then consider where they would go if they ran away from Yalding. Tonbridge (7 miles away) was owned by Ralph, Earl of Stafford (he also lived in the castle) and so this would not have been a realistic option. Maidstone and Sevenoaks are also very close to the area that he controlled. To obtain their freedom serfs had to remain in the town for a year and a day. There was a good chance that they would have been caught if they ran away to towns like Tonbridge, Maidstone and Sevenoaks.

The Earl of Stafford also had a home in London. However, as London had an estimated population of 50,000 people in 1360, the runaway serfs had a good chance of remaining free. Pupils could be asked to think about the advantages and disadvantages of living in London. After their experiences of the Black Death, the problems of disease in London would have been a major concern for people thinking of a new place to live.

The Earl of Stafford did not own any property in Sussex so East Grinstead would have been a good choice. As East Grinstead was only 19 miles away it could have been reached in about five hours. People probably did leave Yalding for East Grinstead during this period. The earliest parish records for East Grinstead (1560) show that there were people with the Yalding surname living in the town. There are also examples of people in Yalding with the name Grinstead.

East Grinstead provides an example of what a small town was like in 1360. This gives the pupils the opportunity to look at the differences between towns and villages in the 14th century.

Some of the buildings shown in East Grinstead in 1360 (Y44) are still there today (Wilmington House, Amherst House, Broadleys). Although rebuilt on the same site, St. Swithun's Church was demolished by the fall of the tower in 1785. Hermitage Lane (facing St. Swithun's) and Church Lane (on the left of St. Swithun's) are also still there. The road facing Thomas Rous' large farm house on the left of drawing was known as Washwell Lane. The foul-smelling pond at the bottom of the High Street remained a problem for the town until the laying of sewage pipes in 1880.

Thomas Rous and Johannes Alfrey were the town's two M.P.s. In theory, every man who owned or rented a house in the town could vote in parliamentary elections. However, the candidates were decided by the main landowners in the district. In fact, the first contested parliamentary election did not take place in East Grinstead until 1640 (the result of conflict between Anglicans and Puritans).

The two main landowners in the East Grinstead district in 1360 were Thomas Rous and Johannes Alfrey. Thomas Rous' farmhouse is now the site of Sackville College. Johannes Alfrey lived at Gulledge Farm on the Imberhorne Estate just outside of the town. Gulledge Farmhouse still exists but it has been considerably altered since 1360.

The row of shops in the middle of the High Street facing the church is an example of encroachment - a common feature in medieval towns. These houses were originally a series of shacks put up by traders trying to take advantage of the increased number of people visiting the town. These shops were in many towns called the 'Shambles', however in East Grinstead this area became known as Middle Row. Court records in the 14th century reveal that the traders in Middle Row were primarily involved in the selling of meat.

The town's public well can be seen at the end of Middle Row. The well remained in the High Street until covered over in the 1880s. Most of the larger houses in the town had them in their portlands. Some of these wells are still there today.

Information on East Grinstead in the 14th century can be found in two articles in The Sussex Archaeological Collections: R. T. Mason, East Grinstead High Street (Volume 80, 1939), P. D. Wood, The Topography of East Grinstead Borough (Volume 106, 1968). Other sources of information include P. Wood and P. Gray's article East Grinstead: A Borough and its Buildings in J. Warren (ed.) Wealden Buildings (1990). Several articles on East Grinstead in the Middle Ages have appeared in the East Grinstead Society Bulletin. The most important of these are P. D. Wood, Middle Row (Volume 8, 1972); P. D. Wood, East Grinstead Borough in the Middle Ages (Volume 19, 1976); M. J. Leppard, Leather Working in East Grinstead (Volume 19, 1976) and M. J. Leppard, Expansion in the Borough of East Grinstead in the Middle Ages (Volume 57, 1995).

Possible homework assignment: If you were considering leaving Yalding what would be the advantages and disadvantages of going to live in (a) Tonbridge; (b) London; (c) East Grinstead?

Lesson 20: You will need worksheet Education for this lesson. Elizabeth de Clare (also known as Elizabeth de Burgh) inherited a third of the Clare estates on the death of her brother Gilbert at the Battle of Bannockburn. This included manors in Dorset, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Norfolk, Somerset and Suffolk. She was also given extensive land in Wales and Ireland including Usk, Caerleon, Llantrissent, Trellech and Kilkenny.

Widowed for the third time at the age of 27, she never remarried. After the execution of her husband, Roger Damory, in 1322, she managed the family estates until her death in 1360. A brief account of Elizabeth's life can be found in Margaret Labarge's Women in Medieval Life (Hamish Hamilton, 1986). C. A. Musgrave's The Household of Elizabeth de Burgh (University of London, 1923) provides a detailed study of how she managed her estates.

Lesson 21: You will need a copy of Yalding Church and details of pupils characters in 1375 (Tithing Group Details: 1375).

The date is 1375. Pupils now become the sons and daughters of their parents. The teacher adopts the role of the new estate bailiff, Thomas de Edenbridge. Thomas is also one of Hugh, Earl of Stafford's sixty knights.

The name Edenbridge appears several times in the Clare accounts. This is not surprising as the village of Edenbridge was also under the control of the Clare family. Tonbridge Priory school was used to educate peasants from Clare villages.

Most of them went on to become priests but others were given posts such as seneschals, estate bailiffs and stewards in Clare villages.

The Yalding Church sheet also provides information on what has happened to Yalding since 1360.

Possible homework assignment: "Compare your property in 1375 with what your family owned in 1336. Explain why these changes might have taken place. Use these details to tell the story of your life over the last forty years".

Lesson 22: The pupils will need copies of John Ball 1350-80. This lesson links with the information on the Franciscans in the last lesson.

The pupils are told that John Ball visited Yalding in 1377. What he tells them is based on accounts of John Ball's speeches in books by Jean Froissart, Thomas Walsingham and Henry Knighton and the six letters from John Ball that were found on captured serfs.

Richard II was only 10 years old when he became king in 1377. John Ball tells the village that he will send a message when the time is right for a march on London. It is not known what the actual message said but nearly all Ball's surviving letters that he sent to the villages contained the phrases: "Now is the time" and "Stand together in God's name."

Possible homework assignment: Will you be marching to London when John Ball sends his message to Yalding.

Lesson 23: The pupils will need copies of Taxation in the 14th Century.

The first Poll Tax was introduced by King Edward Ill's Parliament in January, 1377. One of its main supporters was Hugh, Earl of Stafford, Yalding's new Lord of the Manor. It was the first time Parliament had imposed a tax that was to be paid by the whole of the adult population. The tax was unpopular but the 4d. a head was paid because people believed it was needed in order to defeat the French.

Edward was a dying man at the time and his eldest son, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, took the blame for the tax. John of Gaunt, who owned Ashdown Forest, was an unpopular figure in the south after he stopped local people from using the forest in 1372. When Edward III died in June 1377, his 10 year old grandson, Richard II (son of Edward, the Black Prince), became king.

In March, 1379, Hugh, Earl of Stafford, became a member of the committee appointed to examine the state of the government's finances. In December, 1380, Parliament accepted John of Gaunt's request for another poll tax (to be paid in March, 1381). The people of England were furious when they heard that they had to pay their third poll tax in four years. They were also unhappy with Parliament's decision to abandon the idea of a graduated tax and to increase the basic rate from 4d. to 12d. per head.

Possible homework assignment: "How much will the poll tax cost you in March 1381? How can you avoid paying this tax?"

Lesson 24: The class are told that large numbers of people in England have avoided paying the 1381 poll tax. King Richard II and John of Gaunt have instructed the tax collectors to return to the villages to obtain the missing money. Sir John Legge, the king's tax collector for Kent, should be visiting Yalding soon. Before Legge arrives, Yalding is visited by William Gildbourne from Fobbing. The name of the man who visited Yalding is not known, but William Gildbourne was one of the people from Fobbing who took an active role in the revolt.

After reading through Rebellion the villagers have to decide if they are going to march on Maidstone. It is worth pointing out to the children that the lord of the manor, Hugh, Earl of Stafford, and Thomas de Edenbridge, are in Scotland with John of Gaunt's army.

Possible homework assignment: "Write a speech where you argue for or against going to Maidstone to join Wat Tyier, John Ball and the other rebels."

Lesson 25: The pupils will need maps of London and District in 1381, Map of London in 1381, Peasants' Revolt Chronology, South West England in 1381, The Peasants' Revolt and Death of Wat Tyler.

The first part of the lesson is a debate on whether the villagers should go to Maidstone. When the decision is made the villagers leave for Maidstone. It is not known how many peasants joined Wat Tyler and John Ball. The chroniclers suggest it was between 30,000 and 60,000. Modern historians tend to believe that it was more likely to be closer to the lower figure.

Maps of Map of London in 1381, London and District in 1381 and South West England in 1381 can be given to the pupils. Pupils will need to fill in details of the rebellion as they go. It is best if this is read out to them stage by stage (see Peasants' Revolt Chronology). Pupils should be encouraged to discuss what they should do when they are in London. The teacher could play the role of Richard II. According to the Anonimalle Chronicle, the king first spoke to the rebels on the 13th June from the Tower (on the turret facing St. Catherine's Wharf area) where he told them to put their grievances in writing. Jean Froissart claims that the first meeting took place at Rotherhithe.

At each stage the pupils should be given the opportunity to return to Yalding. After the meeting at Mile End on 14th June, the rebels who are willing to go home, should be given a copy of the Charter issued by King Richard. The contents of the charter is based on the one granted to people living in Hertford (this charter is included in Thomas Walsingham's History of England).

The chroniclers agree that most peasants left London after the meeting at Mile End. However, it is not clear how many remained in London. The behaviour of the peasants after the death of Wat Tyier suggests they were outnumbered by the army raised by Walworth (estimated to have been about 5,000 men). At this stage most of the villagers are likely to return to Yalding. The last part of the lesson deals with the meeting at Smithfield and the death of Wat Tyier.

Lesson 26: Another opportunity for a piece of extended writing. The pupils will need John Ball, John Ball 1350-81, Taxation in the 14th Century, Rebellion, London and District in 1381, Map of London in 1381, Peasants' Revolt Chronology, South West England in 1381, Death of Wat Tyler and The Peasants' Revolt.

Lesson 27: The pupils will need copies of South West England in 1381 and Punishment of the Peasants. Yalding is visited by King Richard II and his army. Pupils can read Jean Froissart's account (source A) of the visits that Richard made to the villages in Kent and Essex during June and July. Pupils are asked to identify those people who encouraged the villagers to join the rebels. Those who joined the rebels in London are fined 2 shillings by the lord of the manor.

Pupils are then told about the planned attempt to capture Maidstone. Thomas Harding, the leader of this conspiracy, lives at Linton (3 miles away). The meeting to plan the rebellion is to be held at Boughton Heath on 30th September (4 miles away). Is anybody willing to join the rebellion after their experiences in London?

The account of the rebellion led by Thomas Harding is based on W. E. Flaherty's article Sequel to the Great Rebellion in Kent in Archaeolgia Cantiana: Volume IV (1861). This account includes John Cote's full confession and details of the trial. One man, William de Delton of Linton, claimed trial by battle. Delton was defeated and executed. Another nine were found guilty of treason and were hung, drawn and quartered. It is not known why Cote betrayed the rebellion. Loyalty to the king and a desire for a reward, are two obvious possibilities. Cote was a mason, the same trade as Thomas Harding, the man accused of being the leader of the proposed rebellion. One historian has suggested that maybe the two men were involved in some trade dispute.

In January 1382, Cote named another group of men involved in a plan to overthrow the king. At their trial in July 1382, the accused men were found not guilty and acquitted. Cote was then found guilty of false accusations. He was sentenced to death but in April, 1383, he was pardoned by the king.

Possible homework assignment: "Describe your feelings about the way the peasants were treated after the 1381 revolt. How might these feelings have affected your behaviour in Yalding?"

Lesson 28: Pupils will need a copy of Decline of Feudalism.

The lesson could be started with a discussion of the pupils' homework. There is a good change that their comments will reflect the feelings of the peasants in 1381. After the Peasants' Revolt large landowners like the Earl of Stafford had considerable difficulty obtaining feudal duties from their serfs. Some serfs ran away to towns while others put very little effort into their work on the demesne. In some villages serfs joined together and refused to do their labour service.

Feudalism was becoming economically inefficient and many landowners realised they would be better off employing free workers. A large number of landowners agreed to allow the serfs to buy their freedom. The price depended on several different factors (age, health, etc.) but the average price was now only 30 shillings. This is something that the teacher can negotiate with the pupils.

Lesson 29: Pupils will need a copy of Yalding: 1340-1384 and History of Yalding.

The pupils are told that the Earl of Stafford has given Thomas de Edenbridge a journal kept by John Giffard, Yalding's previous estate bailiff. The Earl of Stafford has asked Edenbridge to use this journal to help him write a history of the village.

The pupils are given a copy of Thomas de Edenbridge's history. One possible strategy is to ask the pupils to make a list of points that they disagree with. Alternatively, they could be asked to write down sentences that say unpleasant things about the people living in Yalding. The final activity is for the pupils to write their own history of the village.

Summary Some of the pupils might be interested to find out what happened to their descendants living in Yalding. Many of names used in the simulation were still in the village in the 19th century. This included the following families: Baker, Barfoot, Brattle, Brooker, Cheeseman, Chowring, Clarke, Dunn, Foreman, Grinstead, Herenden, Seamark, Singyard, Mannering, Taylor and Wood. It is interesting that people with the fairly unusual names of Singyard and Seamark still live in Yalding today.

Several of the role-playing names appeared in the court records over the years. Some interesting examples include:

1570 "Andrew Herenden miserably cut his own throat and is buried in waste ground"

1598 "Richard Garrett, tailor and James Chowring, husbandman, stole from the house of Ralph Roife at Yalding, three pounds in a purse. Guilty."

1600 "Thomas Furner, husbandman and John Baker of Yalding, with others unknown, behaved in a warlike manner on 29th September, at Yalding between 10 and 11 at night and entered a place called the Orchard and assaulted John Brickenden. Fined 40 shillings."

1600 "Edward Grinstead of Yalding, broadweaver, has not cleaned out his ditch, filled with clay, mud and other filth, so the highway is flooded. Fined 12d."

1600 "Jeremy Fleete of Yalding, constable, allowed John Baker to escape from custody."

1600 "Thomas Hale of Yalding, yeoman, assaulted Elizabeth Barfoot, widow of Yalding. Fined 6d."

1600 "Thomas Brattle and John Chowring of Yalding, to be committed to gaol for keeping victualling houses without a licence."

1601 "Daniel Brooker, an infant, and son of Daniel Brooker of Yalding, deceased, was born at Yalding and afterwards nursed at Yalding for 20 weeks and then nursed at Brasted for 2 months, during which time the father died leaving no means of support. The child, by the order of Thomas Potter, J.R, was sent to Yalding in accordance with the statute made in the last parliament, but the parishioners of Yalding refused to keep the child and sent it back to Brasted, and it is now ordered that the child shall be removed back to Yalding."

1601 Francis Burrage, spinster of Yalding, retained by John Heath of Maidstone, innkeeper to serve one year. She discovered she became pregnant by Ralph Moppe. Francis Burrage is now staying with her father at Yalding. Ralph Moppe has disappeared. An attachment shall be made out to the court against Ralph Moppe.

1601 "The highway leading from Rabbits Corner at Yalding to the manor house has become muddy and founderous through failure to scour ditches next to the highway which ought to be done by Mrs. Herenden, widow, Ezechial Fleete, Thomas Kynton, Robert Penshurst, Thomas Hull, Thomas Langley, Michael Honney, occupiers of the adjoining land."

1640 "Complaints from parishioners about Francis Taylor."

1648 "Francis Taylor deprived of his living."

In the 19th century the Fletchers became the most important family living in Yalding. This included Major General Edward Fletcher. There is a large Fletcher family tomb in Yalding's churchyard.

The First War War Memorial in Yalding Church includes the names of 40 people killed in the war. Eight of them had names used in the simulation: Lieutenant B. Wood, Sergeant J. Golding, Drummer E. Singyard, Corporal F. Cheeseman, Private H. Cheeseman, Private O. Foreman, Private W. Mannering and Private J. Masters.

Thirteen people were killed in Yalding during the Second World War. Twelve of these men were soldiers and included Lance Corporal W. Cheeseman and Bombardier E. Masters. The civilian killed was Annie Singyard. She died after being hit by flying glass during a German air-raid.