A Short History of the Chapelry of St. Nicholas, by Dr. Christopher Kent, F.S.A.
The hamlet of Tytherton Lucas lies some three miles North-East of Chippenham in the valley of the Bristol Avon near its confluence with its tributary, the Marden. The earliest evidence of a church on this site stems from the oval shape of much of the churchyard wall (disregarding the rectangular extension on the South side which is a 19th century enlargement), which may suggest that the present largely medieval building may have been on the site of a Saxon precursor.
It is documented in the Domesday Survey of 1086 which records that Burghelm (Borel) held two hides of land, and that William Hard held four hides in Terintone or Tedlintone. The term hide first referred to the amount of land that could be ploughed annually by eight oxen. This was reckoned to be between 160 and 180 acres, and was used as a unit of tax in the Domesday Book. Hard stemmed from the Lucas family, who in 1202, owned one Knight’s fee, under the aegis of the Barons Tregoz. A ‘Knight’s Fee’, sometimes termed ‘Knight’s service’, was a feudal obligation to provide the Sovereign with an armed Knight plus retainers for forty two days per year. This form of reserve military service had been introduced by Henry II in 1181 in return for the occupation of lands.
In the fourteenth century the owners of the Tytherton Knight's Fee included William Percelay, John Turpyn and Walter Scudamore. Sir John Delamare also held land here in addition to that at Leigh Delemare and Langley Burrel where his tomb can be seen in the church. Of the medieval village little remains, although Field's and Gaston's farms can trace their names to this period. Some recent archaeological research has revealed evidence of post holes, possibly associated with dwellings, and aerial photography has shown land contours which may also relate to former structures. The undulations of some fields in the environs of the hamlet are vestiges of medieval ridge and furrow cultivations.
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