Thame Local History
The early Anglo Saxon settlements, such as the seventh century minster community at
Thame with its outlying homesteads, had become more or less organised into towns,
villages and hamlets by the middle of the tenth century.
The open field system had come into existence, where each town, village or hamlet acquired its own set of common fields. Community organisation under Anglo Saxon law had replaced the earlier closely knit settlements depending on the physical protection of local leaders or the safety of a religious house.
Each such community took on a settled name, often preserving the name of a local father figure or community leader, such as at Shabbington, or reflecting some physcial feature, such as at Moreton, Rycote and Sydenham.
The need to organise each community around shared resources and to identify it with a settled name went hand in hand with the process of levying a tax, called a 'geld', based on the productive capacity of the community in question.
A regional administrative structure developed, based around land divisions called Hundreds, each with an administrative centre. Thame became the administrative centre for the Thame Hundred.
It was the newly organised towns, villages and hamlets, together with the amount of geld assessed against each one, that was used as the basis for the Domesday Book by the Normans.
The towns and villages became by and large the new Norman 'manors', organised within the Anglo Saxon hundreds and shires.