The Domesday Book

The village name is of Saxon origin. In 1086, following the Norman Conquest in 1066, when the Domesday Book was compiled, the village appears as Ampreforde,  meaning the ford of the sorrel or spacious passage across the water. There are two sites for what today people call fords, both are covered by bridges and are only true fords in very wet weather. Sorrel still grows freely around the village.   

Two Domesday entries refer to the present day village, probably because it was divided between different “wapentakes”, the land units used in the Danelaw, that part of England ruled by Viking kings from about 884 until 1066, similar to Hundreds in the Anglo-Saxon part of England. These were known as  Ampleforth Birdforth, Ampleforth Oswakirk and Ampleforth St. Peter. 

In 1086,  Ulf, the Saxon, had a manor; the Archbishop of York, eight acres of meadow, and a wood pasture half-a-mile in length and the same in breadth; and Copsi, the Saxon, had one ploughland which belonged to Hugh, son of Baldric. The land belonged to the manors of Coxwold and Carlton Husthwaite. There were 54 villagers. 

After the conquest, Ulf’s Manor was given to the Archbishop of York. By the 13th century land in Ampleforth belonged to Byland Abbey and Robert de Ros, Lord of Helmsley, who built Helmsley castle and was one of the 25 knights who signed Magna Carta in 1215 as guarantors. 

The village remained divided into 3 townships reflecting the pre-conquest situation until 1887when it changed to Ampleforth Birdforth and Ampleforth Rydall/Ryedale.