Rochester : Population Estimate
The men named in the early 17th century surveys were the senior figures in the community. A rough estimate of five or six people per messuage would probably be reasonably accurate for these tenancy holders and their immediate families. In addition it is important to note that there may have been other individuals dwelling at Rochester, as landless labourers, sub-tenants or craftsmen, particularly on Roger Hall's larger holding, who did not all belong to one of the various branches of the Hall 'surname'.
John Dunn of Hillock has already been noted. Another may figure in the list of prisoners and crimes committed in Redesdale and Tynedale, presented at Morpeth on 21st October 1618 and preserved in the Delavel papers - NRO 92 = 1DE/7/63, entry 19: "Thomas Hall of Nether Rochester for stealing sheep from Andrewe Wandless for the same, (sic = of the same?) fled and became a fugitive".
Thomas is doubtless the very same Thomas Hall listed as a tenant at Nether Rochester in the survey of the same year. The wording is unclear, but might suggest that Andrew Wanless was then living at Rochester, athough the Wanless surname is more commonly associated with other settlements, notably nearby West Durtrees - sometimes labelled Wanless Durtrees in distinction from Potts Durtrees - where an Andrew Durtrees was a customary tenant in 1604 and 1618 (1604 Survey, 96; 1618 Rental, 338). Certainly Andrew's kinsfolk were present at Rochester later on in the 17th century, for one Ann Wanlass of Rochester is recorded as having married Edward Wilson of Ashtrees in April 1679 (EPR, 13).
Thus a total of perhaps a little over 20 individuals for the population of the settlement within the fort and 40-50 for the community as a whole (including the outlying farmsteads of Nether Rochester, Dykehead and Hillock) would represent a convincing estimate for any given point in the first half of the 17th century.