According to Domesday, Ashburton was held in chief by Osbern, bishop of Exeter, and rendered geld for six hides.
Bideford (Bedeford, Bydyford, Budeford, Bytheford) is not mentioned in pre-Conquest records, but according to Domesday it rendered geld for three hides to the king.
Early meanings of the root gild or geld were expiation, penalty, sacrifice or worship, feast or banquet, and contribution or payment; it is difficult to determine which is the earliest meaning, and we are not certain whether the gildsmen were originally those who contributed to a common fund or those who worshipped or feasted together.
According to the Domesday, Amesbury was a royal manor and did not pay geld, but was under the obligation of providing one night's entertainment for the king.
Bridport was evidently of some importance before the Conquest, when it consisted of 120 houses rated for all the king's services and paying geld for five hides.
Congleton (Congulton) is not mentioned in any historical record before the Domesday Survey, when it was held by Hugh, earl of Chester, and rendered geld for one hide.
It is also to be noticed that the Domesday Survey constantly mentions the terra villanorum as opposed to the demesne in the estates or manors of the time, and that the land of the rustics is taxed separately for the geld, so that the distinction between the property of the lord and that of the peasant dependent on him is clearly marked and by no means devoid of practical importance.
Indeed the Dane geld, the tax which he raised to furnish tribute to the invaders, became a regular institution: on six occasions at least ~thelred bought a few months of peace by sums ranging from 10,000 to 48,000 pounds of silver.
By 1086 the number of houses had decreased to too, and of these 20 were in such a wretched condition that they could not pay geld.