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Archenfield was a semi-autonomous Welsh district, or commote, with its own Welsh Customs, which lay beyond Offa's Dyke and outside the Hundred system.
Its Customs were described in a separate section of the Domesday account of Herefordshire. The Welsh districts were assessed for taxation and military service in carucates, English Hundreds in hides.
One of the Domesday entries for Archenfield provides the clearest example in Domesday Book of the relationship of waste to military activity:
King Gruffydd and Bleddyn laid this land waste before 1066; therefore what it was like at that time is not known' (HEF 1,49)
In 1086, Archenfield was in a modestly flourishing condition; but no valuations are recorded for either of the two earlier dates for which they are often given in Herefordshire.
There is a useful brief account of the Welsh march in H.C. Darby, Domesday England (1977); for more extended treatments, see J.E. Lloyd, A history of Wales from the earliest times to the Edwardian conquest (third edition, 1939); R.R. Davies, The age of conquest: Wales, 1063-1415 (1987); and K.L. Maund, Ireland, Wales and England in the eleventh century (1991). The printed Phillimore edition for Herefordshire has two valuable notes on the Welsh border (Introductory notes 1-2). For the debate on the war and waste, see R. Welldon Finn, The Norman Conquest and its effects on the economy, 1066-1086 (1971); D.M. Palliser, 'Domesday Book and the harrying of the north', Northern History, vol. 29 (1993), pages 1-23; John J.N. Palmer, 'War and Domesday waste', in Armies, chivalry and warfare in medieval Britain and France, edited by Matthew Strickland (1998), pages 256-78.