Rochester : Population and Settlement 1600 - 1850
In attempting to estimate the population in the hamlet of High Rochester a number of difficulties must be confronted. Firstly the most detailed source of information, the Elsdon Parish records (EPR; NRO 1511 & 1649-50, EP.83), do not survive any earlier than 1672.
Secondly most of the individuals named in the earliest parish records and other documents relating to the 17th and early 18th centuries belong to only one of the Redesdale 'surnames' or clans, namely the Halls. Obviously this creates plenty of opportunity for confusion, with homonymous individuals and others who may have been members of the same household - father and son, etc. Furthermore, settlement at Rochester was dispersed in several hamlets or farmsteads, including the present-day Hillock and Dykehead farms.
This was probably true from a quite early date, Nether Rochester and Over Rochester (Hillock) being mentioned in 1618, but the earliest documentary sources do not make such distinctions, individuals simply being said to come from Rochester. High Rochester itself is not encountered before 1753 (Horsley and Cay's map - fig. 16) and not until 1776 in the parish records (EPR: 152, 197). This renders problematic the task of determining the population inside the fort alone.