In his book on The Jutish Weald, Witney notes that the eighth century, charters were written "to subtract swine pastures from the commons and make them over to the exclusive use of manors, which were beginning to form.... This process was destructive of the commons which, in the course of two or three hundred years, became overlaid by a medley of manorial swine pastures or dens. Exactly how many of these dens there eventually were will probably never be known; but some record exists of about 700, owned by 135 manors... "(p. 37).  The dens were often designated as "tenements" of the manors, although the tenements represented fragments of the original dens, and "the Wealden manors were, more often than not, [as]scattered as the dens had been along the linking droves" (p. 215). Cowden appears to have begun as a den, became part of a manor and then developed into a village.