Treninnick Manor, Domesday Book

The Treninnick area of Newquay was the Manor of Treninnick, or Treninnick Manor, in the times of the Domesday Book. The Domesday census ordered by William the Conqueror in 1086 AD and when the Book was compiled, during 1087, it was the only household listed in Newquay.

Other spellings common for Treninnick include Trinnonec, Trinconet, Trinnonech, Trenennek, Treninnic. Before 1066 this land was owned by St Petroc’s of Bodmin. When looking into any details of this time, you become involved in several languages, the Domesday Book was mostly written in Latin, as well as ancient words, spellings, transcribed notes and, indeed, the whole timescale of the survey must have impacted upon the level of detail it was possible to collect.

The name Treninnick means Dwelling on the Creek.

If you are more interested in studying this area, you need to undertake proper research, in the meantime, below is my Plain English and Quick Guide to the Manor of Treninnick from 1000 years ago.

Domesday Book Entry

The Domesday Book cannot be read in isolation, it needs to be cross-referenced with other books of the same time to try to understand what some of the entries meant and who the people might be that were referred to. What can be gleaned from the Domesday Book and ancillary documentation are the following:

The Count of Mortain holds Treninnick as part of the lands usurped from St Petroc.  The Book also notes “Now Roger holds it of the Count”. The Roger referred to is most likely to be Roger of Courseulles – he is the only Roger that appears in the Cornish folios. Roger of Courseulles was a Norman from Courseulles-sur-Mer. He also held land in Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire. In Somerset he was known as Roger Witen or Wytent.

The Manor had been paying for “1 virgate of land” – the tax they paid for this was 15d and 5 sheep. 15d is pre-decimal currency, with 12 pence to a shilling and a shilling representing 5p, this was just over £0.06.

It was noted that “have never paid tax except to St [Petroc’s]” at the end of the Treninnick entry.

How Big is a Virgate?

Looking it up, you might discover that a virgate is the amount of land a team of two oxen could plough in a single annual season, which equates to about 30 acres (122,000 m2).

However …. this is in Cornwall – and things in Cornwall aren’t always the same as England.

Cornish Acre

There’s always been a joke you’ll hear, of “Cornish miles”, well Cornwall also had its own measurements and Cornish acres were larger than English acres. One Cornish acre is about 60 English acres. It’s difficult to know, therefore, without serious research, whether the virgate at Treninnick was a fixed 30 acres, or should be considered to be 30×60 acres, or some other value. When looking at the footprint of 30 acres over the area it’s a good sized piece of land, adjacent to the Gannel for trading, but it does make you wonder, as there’s nothing else in the area in the Domesday Book if it is in fact 1800 acres.

There are several references that can be considered for a Cornish acre, which I’ve taken out of this article (as it was too dry/dull for most readers) and I’ve put that information on its own entry: A Cornish Acre.

What we must also remember is that what people understand and say at those times, might be different to what was intended/written and there might even be some mistakes in transcription.

However, the ratio of 60:1 would fit the suggested area later gleaned from the National Archives dynamic map.

Domesday Map of Treninnick

There’s a map on the National Archives website that tries to plot the Domesday map – it doesn’t know the boundaries as they were never taken, but what it does do is finds the midpoint between properties in the book. Looking at that map the area suggested is closer to the 1800 acres and would potentially cover the whole of Newquay up to Fistral, then across to Trevelgue Head, down through St Columb Minor and back down to the Gannel.

Treninnick, 1 Virgate, 30 Acres

Treninnick, 1 Virgate, 30 Acres

Treninnick Domesday Boundary Map

Treninnick Domesday Boundary Map

Another clue to the extent of Treninnick comes when we are told “Treninnick was a settlement in the Ancient Parish of St Columb Minor, within the Rialton (St Petroc’s) Hundred in 1086.”, thus indicating that it wasn’t just one 30 acre plot on the edges of the Gannel, but was, in fact, a much larger area.

Treninnick from Domesday to Now

Information is scant, and/or requires a little more checking; as I uncover more dates and events I’ll update this list. It’s intended as a “leads list” for those wishing to pursue things further.

In about 1255, Treninnick was bought and held as a free tenement of either Treloy or Lanherne manor, depending on the source you’re reading.

In 1327 Richard de Cergeaux knight and his wife Ellen took over “4 Cornish acres of land in Trenennek”

By the 15th century Treninnick was a free tenement of Arundell’s manor of Treloy.

What’s at Treninnick?

These days, at the Gannel’s edge, you’ll find the boating lake and the site of the original Treninnick Manor house, which is now a pub, The Tavern, that was built in the 1500s. Beyond that about 30,000 people live across Newquay and St Columb Minor.

What is now Newquay Boating Lake was originally part of the lands of the Manor of Treninnick, but it was marshland that flooded from the Gannel when the tide came in; this piece of land was donated to build the boating lake in 1932.

remwbay domesday book cornwall

Images © National Archives

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