Olde Auster


136. OLD AUSTER. In Somerset &^ Dorset Notes & Queries 1911 (Xll, p. 32), Mr. H. Symonds asked:

"Can anyone explain the term 'Old Auster'? - Local enquiries have thrown no light on this system of tenure."

This description has been a source of interest for some years ever since Mr Symonds question. However, in 2014 Mr Barry Lane of the Somerset Archaeological Society produced a 6 page paper on the subject which considers several aspects of this title relative to habitations in Somerset, which on the face of it seems not to apply elsewhere in Great Britain. A similar question asked was displayed in the Somerset County Gazette of 1867 by Mr Dyke Reeve to which a reply was made: -

 "Some ancient deeds have reserved - unum austurcum (a Hawk) - as a rent to the Lord. An Auster tenement then, would mean a holding subject to the payment of a hawk: or perhaps, rendering falconer's service by the tenant!

He continues to say that "in Anglo-Norman times the term Auster was clearly used to distinguish certain kinds of tenements where the Saxon inheritance custom was strong" - " it was these tenements which were heritable, rendering heriots and services important  to the Lords"