Walter Skede
                                                                                    1325
                                                                                       Of Kynggeston [Kingston Lacey] near 
                                                                                          Wimbourne Minster, North Dorset

                                      PLEASE NOTE:  Lineage is not implied nor is the Name submitted as a confident source of etymology.  
                                      Considering the lack of literacy skills in Dorset during this very early era, many of the names in the 1325
                                      Lay Subsidy Rolls have Latin or ambiguous spellings barely recognizable phonetically in the Family Names 
                                      of their descendants in Dorset and nearby. Certainly later evidence would imply a possible connection.
 

                                 Based on the 1325 Lay Subsidy Roll, Dorset & Archeological Findings

           Walter is estimated to have been born around 1280 and lived at a time when the social, political & economic climate in England was                           
           full of unrest and uncertainty, with constant wars, funded by taxes drawn from the Lay Citizens of the Empire, often crippling, while                              
           the cost of living escalated. In 1314 Parliament, sitting in London, set a basic price on livestock as follows; a best grass-fed ox alive, 
           to fetch 16 shillings; the best cow, 12 shillings; a Goose, 3 pence; a best hen, 1½ pence; best chickens were two for 1½ pence and 
           twenty eggs cost 1  penny.  Two years later in 1316 a severe climatic change brought a brutal two year period of intense cold and wet, 
           devastating crops throughout England and Europe resulting in a crippling famine.  It has been estimated that during this period 
           10% of the population died from diseases contracted by their weakened state and a further 15% died as a direct result of the famine.
          The following favourable harvest in 1317 saw corn fall to ten-pence a bushel but agriculture was still in a wretchful state and the vast 
           disparity between plenty and scarcity shows that wheat was not then a necessity of life, but a delicacy, of which the poor knew little.  
          The King's horses lay upon straw, while the husbandman could barely thresh the equivalent amount of grain from it for his own table.

          Walter emerges seven years later in the Lay Subsidy Tax of 1325. The Tax was not levied on land nor house but on moveable assets such 
         as stock, furniture, equipment, tools, etc. at 15% in rural areas.  A transcription of the Tax in Dorset is held at the Dorset Record Office 
         and reads thus: “De Walter Skede - 11d”, Kynggeston,   [Kingston Lacey]   Pamphill. The prefix 'De' meaning 'from or of' i.e.
         'From Walter Skede'. Entries varied from 1 pence to 6 pence, 7 pence to 1 shilling, and the highest bracket around 1 shilling & 6 pence. 
          The very poor were usually exempt. During this period the average wage for a labourer ‘living in’, working about 300 days per year could expect to earn about £1 p.a. and 
         a labourer living by his own means not working on Sundays nor the numerous Saints’ Days and when excluding wet weather would 
         have been lucky to earn about two pounds.  Thus with 'movables' to the value of 6 shillings and 10 pence Walter's assets were worth 
         about a tenth of the basic wage p.a. and 'living in' within Kingston Lacey Estate was much more comfortable than most.  Considered 
         under the wing of the Manor and it's Lord for some time, Walter and his family appear to have been sheltered from the harshness of
         the previous 10 years. We know he was not a serf in that he had personal property, enough to support a household. [Serfs were bound
         servants who worked for their food & keep alone.  They were not allowed to own property or land and  were under many other 
         restrictions]. 

         Medieval Kynggeston Lacey was a small Estate about 10 miles SSE of Blandford very likely bounded, as the suffix implies, by a ton or 
         tun [fence], undoubtedly a remnant from an earlier age ever mindful of the fear of invasion. It enclosed an ancient stone Manor 
         considered to have been built in the early 13th Century.  It was considered the inhabitants of the compound were employed by or catered 
         for the needs of the House and the Gentry who visited.  Walter was very likely a servant of some kind as it is assumed he resided in a 
         dwelling undoubtedly part of the Manor Estate.  The lands were purchased by Sir Ralph Banks in 1663 and the remnants of the 
         structure demolished, upon which a new mansion was built, the house retaining the name 'Kingston Lacey.' 
        The secrets of Kynggston Manor were lost for many centuries until in the winter of 1990 when a great storm swept across Kingston 
        Lacy Park ripping trees from their roots.   One such tree fell 150m north of the Manor House by then  bequeathed to the National Trust.
        Dragged up in it’s roots were fragments of medieval rubble, pottery, glazed ceramic ridge tiles and Purbeck limestone roof tiles.  
        Prompted by the discovery, The National Trust employed the help of Archeologists, assisted enthusiastically  by Archivists at the 
        Dorset Record Office, began to excavate the Historic Site. Earthworks indicated the position of a range of buildings overlain by 18th 
        century garden features. Outside the wall of the court was the outer bailey, which was enclosed by a hedge and ditch. There was also
        a granary, mason's workshop, cattle shed, dairy house and many other agricultural buildings. These discoveries later proved to be 
        traces of the home of John of Gaunt (1340-99), the fourth son of Edward III. 

       Account Rolls relating to old Kingston Lacy were found to have survived, dating from the 13th to the 15th centuries.  They showed that 
       Kingston Lacy had received a steady stream Royalty. Noted repairs suggest that the ordinary building were mainly timber framed with 
       wattle and daub walls and thatched roofs. Below the rubble layer was a hearthstone wall over 1m wide. A deposit of animal bones revealed 
       the types of meat and fish consumed at the Manor House. In addition to beef, mutton and pork, the bones included fallow deer, rabbit, 
       hare, duck, pigeon and goose, and the more unlikely meals such as crow, moorhen and magpie. The fish bones were plaice, eel, sea bream 
       and herring with shellfish such as oysters, cockles and mussels probably gathered from Poole Harbour. [Excerpts from: British Archaeology]
       Later records revealed that a series of timber framed cottages, which appear to be quarters of their servant's and their families were 
       constructed alongside the Manor's Chapel where Services were held regularly. There were inhabitants recorded still occupying these 
       dwellings in 1492.

     
      These findings would confirm the suspicion that Walter very likely lived in one of these thatched houses beside the Chapel adjacent to 
      the Manor and was a servant of standing in the manor, required on constant duty.  [Labourers were normally extracted when required from 
      the nearby village of Wimbourne Minster]. We can now also estimate with confidence that Walter and his family were fairly comfortable 
      even if supplemented by the residue of the Manor’s table. However the following years brought more hardship to the land with the black
      plague marking its path throughout Europe, first detected in England at the nearby township of Weymouth in Dorset on the 25th June 1348 
      where it then swiftly and mercilessly swept throughout the continent.  The 100-year war with France followed in its wake bringing further
      adversities and economic pressure to the motherland and its people.  Although a dark cloud hovered over England for more than a century,
     Walter and his family again appear to have escaped the wrath of the times.  Further Records of the manor show that the Estate was still 
     under the protection of its Lord till the 15th century.  The better standard of living for the servants of these Estates ensured a better chance
     of survival than those less fortunate with the added advantage of a fair degree independence, able to draw from the produce of the land 
     within the Estate during harsh economic times.  
     A little over a century after Walter had been named in the LSR it would seem that Kingston Lacey had continued a decline which 
     probably began after 1444 when the income of the manor was granted to over 30 different people.   The manorial buildings fell into 
     disrepair and by 1493 they had fallen to ruin.   An inquisition of that year records: “And we are given to understand that the mansion of
     our manor at Kingston Lacy and the chapel of the manor in which the chaplain was wont to celebrate are very much in ruin and decay, 
    and so are the dwellings of the inhabitants adjoining the said chapel.” Two years later the Wimborne churchwardens' accounts show that
    the remains of the buildings were already being used as a quarry for buildings in the nearby village of Wimborne: “Item to Simon the 
    labourer and his associates ……for cast downe stonys at Kyngston, 7s.”
    Since Walter was recorded in 1325, with the absence of mandatory Parish Records in Britain until the Reformation [1538], the subsequent 
    generations lived silently for two centuries. Of Medieval Kynggeston Lacey; by 1573 nothing remained standing except the sidewalls of 
    the main building. Any sign of Walter and the house in which he dwelt had long since disappeared, very likely buried somewhere amidst
    the ‘built over’ rubble of this closed chapter in the Pages of Dorset's History.

                                                                                   Next 

                                                                            The Awakening

                                                 During the subsequent 'Silent Centuries' 1325-1525 the Name endured to emerge 
                                   as an isolated but moderately wealthy family at nearby Child Okeford, North Dorset,
                                                 first reappearing in the 1527 Dorset Lay Subsidy Rolls.

        .

                                                                The Decline of the Feudal System 

       Following the sudden decline of the population in the Great Famine of 1315-1317, Land Lords struggled with less hands for the 
        maintenance of their fields. Two decades later, the population barely recovering their numbers, the onslaught of the Black Death 
        caused the already weakened population to drop by a devastating  40%.  In rural areas the effect of this shortage of labour and 
        subsequent wage increases, led to changes in the Manorial System as Land Lords found it more profitable to lease their lands and
        the Feudal System declined.  There was also a gradual change from arable farming to pasture for cattle and sheep. This market 
        was not only more profitable but far less labour intensive. 

                                                                          Fragmented Evidence of the Family's Survival
        It was against this background that many families who had managed to survive and prosper  during these dark ages, took advantage 
        of the opportunity to lease land as it became available.  Walter’s probable prestige as an employee of the Kingstone Lacey Manor 
        may have offered an opportunity to avail himself, his family or descendants these subsequent leasehold opportunities. With the 
        absence of surviving Parish Records in these area all that can be done is to tenuously piece the fragments together with other evidence.  
1527: By the Lay Subsidy Roll of 1527 a Skede Family unit had established about 12 miles north at Child Okeford [partial entries are 
        illegible].  Robert Skede [Skett?] appears as one of the five largest landholders at Chylde Okeford at that time. He paid tax assessed 
        at  ₤16.  [Note:  The earlier spellings of certain names such as in the case of Robert, show their true form in later Rolls, this is noted 
        on the transcription].
                                                                                   Fourteen years later....... 1539 and 1542 Muster - Dorset
1539 & 1542:   
        Robert or his son Gilbert? appear again in the same location in the Dorset Muster Rolls of 1539 where citizens were asked 
        to give an account of their private armory.  They were further required to give account in 1542. 
                                                               Gilbert or Robert Skede   -    Olkefforde Tithing   -  A harness   -    on both Rolls
                                                               William  Skede                  -    Olkefforde Tithing   -  Bill              -   on both  Rolls
        It can be said with a fair degree of confidence that Gilbert [or Robert]  was a yeoman who farmed and as most estates at Dorset also 
        grazed Sheep. He was very likely in possession of a Plough animal such as an oxen [horses were usually noted on the Roll]. 
 
      William Skede, who appears to be his son, would have been under the age of 18yrs at the prior 1525 Roll had a much smaller Estate.   
       The ‘Bill’ or ‘Promise’ mentioned  was a term used for those devoid of armory but promised to provide at least a bow and arrows.                                                                                        1543, 1544 & 1545 Lay Subsidy Rolls - Dorset
1543, 1544 & 1545:  The subsequent Taxes were recorded thus;
                                                                      Gilbert? Skede [Robert Skede in 1545]                1543 – G18   
                                                                      Robert  Skede                                                           1544  - G18
                                                                      Gilbert  [or Robert] Skede                                      1545  - G18
                                                                      William  Skede                                                        1543  – G4
                                                                      William  Skede                                                        1544  – G4
                                                                
 [Note: It is difficult from the two Taxes & Muster to establish if there were three individuals or two, some entries are noted as illegible]. 

  There  were 17 ‘wage earners’ also noted on the rolls and many sons like William whose fathers still held Estates from the earlier 
  1525 Roll who were now emerging in their own right with smaller holdings of their own from ₤2 to ₤6.  The wage earners possibly provided
  the labour for the larger estates in the possession of their fathers. 
  Although the Reformation [six years prior in 1538] introduced the mandatory recording of Parish Records, there appears no early records
  surviving for Child Okeford during this period. 

                                                                                                    1598 Lay Subsidy Roll - Dorset

1598:   By 1598 the Lay Subsidy Roll for Child Okeford records only 18 entries.  They were all assessed with Estates valued at less than ₤7. 
             Barely any of the older names were represented although variarions of them appear in later Parish Records in the early 18th Century
             and all the Larger Estates had disappeared without exception. It is also possible that perhaps part of the record may be missing.
                                                                                          1662-1664 Hearth Tax - Sutton Waldron
1662-1664: 
            The seeming disappearance of the Skede Family in Dorset after the 1525 LSR is allayed by a probable relevant reference to 
             Richard Skade, who was found 6 miles NW at Sutton Waldron in the 1662-4 Hearth Tax Records where he paid a tax of 1 Shilling 
             [the 1st increment of two annually].  Richard would have had a modest cottage with one hearth. Richard is very loosely estimated 
             to have been around the age of thirty bringing his birth to around 1632 which would mean we would still be missing at least two 
             generations.

                                                                                                   1701 Indenture - Child Okeford
1701:   An Entry was found at Child Okeford dated 1701 for a  William Scard, a yeoman, resident of Child Okeford in an Indenture for his
             son Richard. Further evidence that William had an elder son Robert, also Indentured to the same Master was also found. 
            William's son Richard would have been around 14yrs to 15yrs in 1701 [born c.1687].  His son Robert would have been older.
            These three Christian Names, William, Richard and Robert are consistent with the prior Ancient Skede family as is the location. 
            It is the only instance of these forenames in the case of the latter two in the subsequent Parish Entries to 1824. Through William 
            there is possibly a link between the name 'Skede' and 'Scard'.  
            See Link to William Scard in the Summary below for more details regarding the Indentures. 

                                                                         1708 - 1723 - Parish Records - Sutton Waldron
1708 - 1723:  
             A burial of John Skard appears at St. Bartholomew, Sutton Waldron on the 19th Nov. 1708 and later what appears to be a married 
             couple were recorded buried at the same venue: Thomas Scard on the 2nd February 1720 and perhaps his wife Mary Scard on the
             on the 29th January 1723.
             Considering these were adult burials it is estimated that the two male subjects may have been born in the mid 1660's and 
             could very likely be affiliated with the Richard Skede documented on the Hearth Tax at Sutton Waldron in 1664.

             St. Bartholomew, Sutton Waldron lies at the exact mean between the adjacent village of Iwerne Minster, 2 miles separating the two 
             villages.   A short time later Thomas Scard was known to have an Estate at Iwerne Minster.

             There is reason to believe that Thomas and Mary could have been the parents of Thomas Scard of Iwerne Minster although there 
             are other indications which may imply he was the son of John Scard of Cann and his wife Mary [nee Upjohn] and cared for as a 
             young child by John Scard and his wife Mary of Sutton Waldron after John & Mary Scard of Cann untimely deaths [possibly
             the latter mentioned were brothers] or the death of John Skarde at Sutton Waldron 19th Nov. 1708 who may also have died when 
             Thomas was quite young is also a candidate for paternity. 
             For more information see link in the Summary below to the Biography of Thomas Scard of Iwerne Minster. 
                                                                                                                  Summary

                      Walter Skede                            born around 1290 of Kingston Lacey Manor                  L.S.Roll [1327]  [Lay Subsidy Rolls]             
                      Robert Skede                            born around 1500 of Child Okeford                                 L.S.Rolls  & Muster [1539-1545]
                      William Skede                         born around 1520 of Child Okeford                                 L.S.Rolls  & Muster [1539-1544]
                      Richard Skede                          born around 1630 settled at Sutton Waldron                  Hearth Tax [1664]
                      John Skard                               born around 1660? settled at Sutton Waldron                Buried 19th Nov 1708
                      Thomas Scard                           born around 1660 settled at Sutton Waldron                 Buried 2nd February 1720

                      John Scard                                born around 1670 settled at Cann                                   Married Mary Upjohn 1708. 
                      William Scard [yeoman]         born around 1660 of Child Okeford                                Apprenticed his sons in London c.1695-1801. 
                      Thomas Scard                           born around 1709 of Iwerne Minster                              Died Testate 1770.            
                      By this time there were a number of other very Early Scard Families sprouting throughout the region. 

                       Repeating; 
                       PLEASE NOTE:  Lineage is not implied nor is the Name by any means a confident marker of etymology.  
                       It is placed here as a possible marker considering the lack of literacy skills during the very early eras. 
                                                                       
Also see Ancient Timeline for other Scard Entries in Other Parts of England. and the Home Page for other Scard Research, Documents, Early Wills, Biographies etc.