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Domesday Book () – the
Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language spoken after the Norman conquest of England, Norman conquest (1066) until the late 15th century. The English language underwent distinct variations and developments following ...
spelling of "Doomsday Book" – is a manuscript record of the "Great Survey" of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086 by order of William I, known as
William the Conqueror William I (c. 1028Bates ''William the Conqueror'' p. 33 – 9 September 1087), usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes William the Bastard, was the first Norman Norman or Normans may refer to: Ethnic and cultural identi ...

William the Conqueror
. Domesday has long been associated with the Latin phrase ''Domus Dei'', meaning "House of God". The manuscript is also known by the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
name ''Liber de Wintonia'', meaning "Book of
Winchester Winchester is a cathedral city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It ...
". The ''
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle The ''Anglo-Saxon Chronicle'' is a collection of annals in Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoke ...
'' states that in 1085 the king sent his agents to survey every shire in England, to list his holdings and calculate the dues owed to him. Written in
Medieval Latin Medieval Latin was the form of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the p ...
, it was highly abbreviated and included some vernacular native terms without Latin equivalents. The survey's main purpose was to determine what taxes had been owed during the reign of King
Edward the Confessor Edward the Confessor ( ang, Ēadƿeard Andettere ; la, Eduardus Confessor , ; 1003 – 5 January 1066) was one of the last Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the so ...

Edward the Confessor
, thereby allowing William to reassert the rights of the Crown and assess where power lay after a wholesale redistribution of land following the
Norman Conquest The Norman Conquest (or the Conquest) was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by an army made up of thousands of Normans, Duchy of Brittany, Bretons, County of Flanders, Flemish, and men from other Kingdom of France, French ...
. The assessors' reckoning of a man's holdings and their values, as recorded in Domesday Book, was considered final and could not be appealed. The name "Domesday Book" came into use in the 12th century.
Richard FitzNeal Richard FitzNeal (c. 1130 – 10 September 1198) was a churchman and bureaucrat in the service of Henry II of England Henry II (5 March 1133 – 6 July 1189), also known as Henry Curtmantle (french: Court-manteau), Henry FitzEmpress or Henr ...
wrote in the ''
Dialogus de Scaccario The ''Dialogus de Scaccario'', or ''Dialogue concerning the Exchequer'', is a mediaeval treatise A treatise is a formal and systematic written discourse on some subject, generally longer and treating it in greater depth than an essay, and more ...
'' ( 1179) that the book was so called because its decisions were unalterable, like those of the
Last Judgement The Last Judgment, Final Judgment, Day of Reckoning, Day of Judgment, Judgment Day, Doomsday or The Day of the Lord ( he, יום הדין, Yom ha-din, ar, یوم القيامة, Yawm al-qiyāmah, Day of Resurrection or ar, یوم الدین, i ...

Last Judgement
, and its sentence could not be quashed. The manuscript is held at
The National Archives National archives are central archive, archives maintained by countries. This article contains a list of national archives. Among its more important tasks are to ensure the accessibility and preservation of the information produced by governments ...
at
Kew Kew () is a district in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames () in southwest London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of Eng ...
, London. The book was first published in full in 1783; and in 2011 the Open Domesday site made the manuscript available online. The book is an invaluable primary source for modern historians and historical economists. No survey approaching the scope and extent of Domesday Book was attempted again in Britain until the 1873 Return of Owners of Land (sometimes termed the "Modern Domesday") which presented the first complete, post-Domesday picture of the distribution of landed property in the land that made up the then
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
.


Content and organisation

Domesday Book encompasses two independent works (originally, in two physical volumes): "Little Domesday" (covering
Norfolk Norfolk () is a rural and non-metropolitan county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chamber ...

Norfolk
, Suffolk, and
Essex Essex () is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and Ro ...

Essex
), and "Great Domesday" (covering much of the remainder of England – except for lands in the north that later became
Westmorland Westmorland (, formerly also spelt ''Westmoreland'';R. Wilkinson The British Isles, Sheet The British IslesVision of Britain/ref> even older spellings are ''Westmerland'' and ''Westmereland''; the people of Westmorland are known as Westmerians) i ...
,
Cumberland Cumberland ( ) is a historic county of North West England North West England is one of nine official and consists of the of , , , and . The North West had a population of 7,052,000 in 2011. It is the in the United Kingdom, after the ...

Cumberland
,
Northumberland Northumberland () is a , , and in . The latter has a headquarters at . Northumberland borders to the west, to the south, and to the south and southeast, and the to the north. The historic is . Northumberland is a predominantly county, w ...

Northumberland
, and the
County Palatine of Durham The County Palatine of Durham and Sadberge, commonly referred to as County Durham or simply Durham, is a Historic counties of England, historic county in Northern England. Until 1889, it was controlled by powers granted under the Bishopric of D ...
 – and parts of Wales bordering, and included within, English counties). No surveys were made of the
City of London The City of London is a City status in the United Kingdom, city, Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county and local government district that contains the historic centre and the primary central business district (CBD) of London. It c ...

City of London
,
Winchester Winchester is a cathedral city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It ...

Winchester
, or some other towns, probably due to their tax-exempt status. Other areas of modern London were then in Middlesex, Kent, Essex, etc., and are included in Domesday Book. Most of Cumberland and Westmorland is missing. The County of Durham is missing because the Prince Bishop of Durham (
William de St-Calais William de St-Calais (died 2 January 1096) was a medieval Norman monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic bra ...
) had the exclusive right to tax it; in addition, parts of the
north east The points of the compass are the Euclidean vector, vectors by which planet-based directions are conventionally defined. A compass rose is primarily composed of four cardinal directions—north, east, south, and west—each separated by 90 degree ( ...

north east
were covered by the 1183 ''
Boldon Book The Boldon Book (also known as the Boldon Buke) contains the results of a survey of the bishopric of Durham that was completed on the orders of Hugh du Puiset, Bishop of Durham, in 1183, designed to assist the administration of the vast diocesan es ...
'', listing areas liable to tax by the Bishop of Durham. The omission of the other counties and towns is not fully explained, although in particular Cumberland and Westmorland were not yet fully conquered. "Little Domesday" – so named because its format is physically smaller than its companion's – is the more detailed survey, down to the numbers of livestock. It may have represented the first attempt, resulting in a decision to avoid such level of detail in "Great Domesday". Both volumes are organised into a series of chapters (literally "headings", from Latin ''caput'', "a head") listing the
fees A fee is the price one pays as remuneration for rights or services. Fees usually allow for overhead, wages, costs, and markup. Traditionally, professionals in the United Kingdom (and previously the Republic of Ireland) receive a fee in cont ...
(
knight's fee In feudal Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was a combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe between the 9th and 15th centuries. Broadly defined, it was a way of structuring so ...
s or
fiefs A fief (; la, feudum) was the central element of feudalism Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe In the histor ...
, broadly identical to
manor Manor may refer to: Land tenure *Manor, the land belonging to the Lord of the manor under manorialism in parts of medieval Europe, notably England *Manor house, the main residence of the lord of the manor *Lord of the manor, the landholder of a ma ...
s), held by a named
tenant-in-chief In Middle Ages, medieval and early modern Europe, the term ''tenant-in-chief'' (or ''vassal-in-chief'') denoted a person who held his lands under various forms of feudal land tenure directly from the king or territorial prince to whom he did Hom ...
of the king (who formed the highest stratum of Norman feudal society below the king), namely religious institutions, bishops, Norman warrior magnates and a few Saxon
thegnThe term ''thegn'', also thane, or thayn in Shakespearean English Early Modern English or Early New English (sometimes abbreviated EModE, EMnE, or EME) is the stage of the English language from the beginning of the Tudor period to the English Int ...
s who had made peace with the Norman regime. Some of the largest such magnates held several hundred fees, in a few cases in more than one county. For example, the section of the
Devon Devon (, archaically known as Devonshire) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Ch ...

Devon
shire chapter concerning Baldwin the Sheriff lists one hundred and seventy-six holdings held in-chief by him. Only a few of the holdings of the large magnates were held in demesne, most having been
subinfeudated In English law, subinfeudation is the practice by which Tenement (law), tenants, holding land under the king or other superior lord, carved out new and distinct tenures in their turn by sub-letting or Alienation (property law), alienating a part of ...
to knights, generally military followers of the tenant-in-chief (often his feudal tenants from Normandy), who thereby became their
overlord {{Feudal status An overlord in the English feudal system Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was a combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe between the 9th and 15th centurie ...

overlord
. The fees listed within the chapter concerning a particular tenant-in-chief were usually ordered, but not in a systematic or rigorous fashion, by the
Hundred Court A hundred is an administrative division that is geographically part of a larger region. It was formerly used in England, Wales, some parts of the United States, Denmark, Southern Schleswig, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Norway, the Ukrainian state of ...
under the jurisdiction of which they were situated, not by geographic location. As a review of taxes owed, it was highly unpopular. Each county's list opened with the king's
demesne A demesne ( ) or domain was all the land retained and managed by a lord of the manor Lord of the manor is a title that, in Anglo-Saxon England Anglo-Saxon England or Early Medieval England, existing from the 5th to the 11th centuries f ...
lands, which had possibly been the subject of separate inquiry. Under the feudal system, the king was the only true "owner" of land in England, by virtue of his
allodial title Allodial title constitutes ownership of real property In England, English common law, real property, real estate, realty, or immovable property is land which is the property of some person and all structures (also called Land improvemen ...
. He was thus the ultimate overlord, and even the greatest magnate could do no more than "hold" land from him as a
tenant
tenant
(from the Latin verb ''tenere'', "to hold") under one of the various contracts of
feudal land tenure Under the English feudal system several different forms of land tenure existed, each effectively a contract with differing rights and duties attached thereto. Such tenures could be either free-hold, signifying that they were hereditable or perpet ...
. Holdings of bishops followed, then of the
abbey An abbey is a type of monastery A monastery is a building or complex of buildings comprising the domestic quarters and workplaces of monastics, monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via Latin L ...

abbey
s and
religious house A monastery is a building or complex of buildings comprising the domestic quarters and workplaces of monastics, monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical l ...
s, then of
lay Lay may refer to: Places *Lay Range, a subrange of mountains in British Columbia, Canada *Lay, Loire, a French commune *Lay (river), France *Lay, Iran, a village *Lay, Kansas, United States, an unincorporated community People * Lay (surname) * L ...
tenants-in-chief In medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the ...
and lastly the king's serjeants (''servientes''), and Saxon
thegnThe term ''thegn'', also thane, or thayn in Shakespearean English Early Modern English or Early New English (sometimes abbreviated EModE, EMnE, or EME) is the stage of the English language from the beginning of the Tudor period to the English Int ...
s who had survived the
Conquest Conquest is the act of military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, g ...
, all in hierarchical order. In some counties, one or more principal towns formed the subject of a separate section: in some the ''clamores'' (disputed titles to land) were also treated separately. This principle applies more especially to the larger volume: in the smaller one, the system is more confused, the execution less perfect. In total, 268,984 people are tallied in the Domesday Book, each of whom was the head of a household. Some households, such as urban dwellers, were excluded from the count, but the exact parameters remain a subject of historical debate. Postan for instance contends that these may not represent all rural households, but only full peasant tenancies, thus excluding landless men and some subtenants (potentially a third of the country's population). Darby, when factoring in the excluded households and using various different criteria for those excluded (as well as varying sizes for the average household), concludes that the 268,984 households listed most likely indicate a total English population between 1.2 and 1.6 million. Domesday names a total of 13,418 places. Apart from the wholly rural portions, which constitute its bulk, Domesday contains entries of interest concerning most of the towns, which were probably made because of their bearing on the fiscal rights of the crown therein. These include fragments of
custumal A custumal is a England in the Middle Ages, medieval English document that stipulates the economic, political, and social customs of a Manorialism, manor or town. It is common for it to include an inventory of customs, regular agricultural, trading ...
s (older customary agreements), records of the
military service Military service is service by an individual or group in an army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In th ...
due, of markets, mints, and so forth. From the towns, from the counties as wholes, and from many of its ancient lordships, the crown was entitled to archaic dues in kind, such as
honey Honey is a sweet, viscous food substance made by and some other . Bees produce honey from the y secretions of plants (floral ) or from secretions of other insects (such as ), by , activity, and water evaporation. Honey bees store honey in w ...

honey
. The Domesday Book lists 5,624 mills in the country, which is considered a low estimate since the book is incomplete. For comparison, fewer than 100 mills were recorded in the country a century earlier. Duby indicates this means a mill for every forty-six peasant households and implies a great increase in the consumption of baked bread in place of boiled and unground porridge. The book also lists 28,000
slaves Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property. Slavery typically involves the enslaved per ...
, a smaller number than what had been enumerated in 1066. In the Domesday Book, scribes'
orthography An orthography is a set of conventions for writing Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions b ...
was heavily geared towards French, most lacking k and w, regulated forms for sounds and and ending many hard consonant words with e as they were accustomed to do with most dialects of French at the time.


Similar works

In a parallel development, around 1100, the
Normans The Normans (Norman Norman or Normans may refer to: Ethnic and cultural identity * The Normans The Normans (Norman language, Norman: ''Normaunds''; french: Normands; la, Nortmanni/Normanni) were inhabitants of the early medieval Duchy of N ...

Normans
in southern Italy completed their '' Catalogus Baronum'' based on Domesday Book. The original manuscript was destroyed in the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, but printed copies survive.


Name

The manuscripts do not carry a formal title. The work is referred to internally as a ''descriptio'' (enrolling), and in other early administrative contexts as the king's ''brevia'' (writings). From about 1100, references appear to the ''liber'' (book) or ''carta'' (charter) of
Winchester Winchester is a cathedral city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It ...
, its usual place of custody; and from the mid-12th to early 13th centuries, to the Winchester or king's ''rotulus'' (
roll Roll or Rolls may refer to: Movement about the longitudinal axis * Roll (flight), motion about the longitudinal axis of an aircraft ** Roll, an aerobatic maneuver ** Roll program, an aerodynamic maneuver performed in a rocket launch * Roll (ship), ...
).Hallam 1986, pp. 34–35. To the English, who held the book in awe, it became known as "Domesday Book", in allusion to the
Last Judgement The Last Judgment, Final Judgment, Day of Reckoning, Day of Judgment, Judgment Day, Doomsday or The Day of the Lord ( he, יום הדין, Yom ha-din, ar, یوم القيامة, Yawm al-qiyāmah, Day of Resurrection or ar, یوم الدین, i ...

Last Judgement
and in specific reference to the definitive character of the record. The word "doom" was the usual
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language ...
term for a law or judgment; it did not carry the modern overtones of fatality or disaster.
Richard FitzNeal Richard FitzNeal (c. 1130 – 10 September 1198) was a churchman and bureaucrat in the service of Henry II of England Henry II (5 March 1133 – 6 July 1189), also known as Henry Curtmantle (french: Court-manteau), Henry FitzEmpress or Henr ...
,
treasurer of England The post of Lord High Treasurer or Lord Treasurer was an Lord High Treasurers of England, English government position and has been a British government position since the Acts of Union of 1707. A holder of the post would be the third-highest-r ...
under
Henry II Henry II may refer to: Kings *Henry II of England (1133–89), reigned from 1154 *Henry II of Jerusalem and Cyprus (1271–1324), reigned from 1285; king of Jerusalem in name only from 1291 *Henry II of Castile (1334–79), reigned 1366–67 and ...

Henry II
, explained the name's connotations in detail in the ''
Dialogus de Scaccario The ''Dialogus de Scaccario'', or ''Dialogue concerning the Exchequer'', is a mediaeval treatise A treatise is a formal and systematic written discourse on some subject, generally longer and treating it in greater depth than an essay, and more ...
'' (c.1179):
The book is metaphorically called by the native English, Domesday, i.e., the Day of Judgement. For as the sentence of that strict and terrible last account cannot be evaded by any skilful subterfuge, so when this book is appealed to on those matters which it contains, its sentence cannot be quashed or set aside with impunity. That is why we have called the book "the Book of Judgement",... not because it contains decisions on various difficult points, but because its decisions, like those of the Last Judgement, are unalterable.
The name "Domesday" was subsequently adopted by the book's custodians, being first found in an official document in 1221. Either through
false etymology A false etymology (fake etymology, popular etymology, etymythology, pseudo-etymology, or par(a)etymology) is a popular but false belief about the origin or derivation of a specific word. It is sometimes called a folk etymology Folk etymology (al ...
or deliberate
word play Word play or wordplay (also: play-on-words) is a literary technique A narrative technique (known for literary fictional narratives as a literary technique, literary device, or fictional device) is any of several specific methods the creator of a ...
, the name also came to be associated with the Latin phrase ''Domus Dei'' ("House of God"). Such a reference is found as early as the late 13th century, in the writings of Adam of Damerham; and in the 16th and 17th centuries,
antiquaries 's cabinet of curiosities , whose tusk, as a Unicorn horn, was a common piece in cabinets. Cabinets of curiosities (also known in German language, German loanwords as Kunstkabinett, Kunstkammer or Wunderkammer; also Cabinets of Wonder, and wond ...
such as
John Stow John Stow (''also'' Stowe; 1524/25 – 5 April 1605) was an English historian and antiquarian. He wrote a series of chronicles of History of England, English history, published from 1565 onwards under such titles as ''The Summarie of Englyshe Ch ...

John Stow
and Sir Richard Baker believed this was the name's origin, alluding to the church in Winchester in which the book had been kept. As a result, the alternative spelling "Domesdei" became popular for a while. The usual modern scholarly convention is to refer to the work as "Domesday Book" (or simply as "Domesday"), without a definite article. However, the form "the Domesday Book" is also found in both academic and non-academic contexts.


Survey

The ''Anglo-Saxon Chronicle'' states that planning for the survey was conducted in 1085, and the book's
colophon Colophon may refer to: * Colophon (city) in ancient Greece, located in modern Turkey * Colophon (beetle), ''Colophon'' (beetle), a genus of stag beetle Books and Publishing * Colophon (publishing), a brief description of the manuscript or book t ...
states the survey was completed in 1086. It is not known when exactly Domesday Book was compiled, but the entire copy of Great Domesday appears to have been copied out by one person on
parchment Parchment is a writing material Writing material refers to the materials that provide the surfaces on which humans use writing instruments A writing implement or writing instrument is an object used to produce writing Writing is a mediu ...

parchment
(prepared sheepskin), although six scribes seem to have been used for Little Domesday. Writing in 2000, David Roffe argued that the inquest (survey) and the construction of the book were two distinct exercises. He believes the latter was completed, if not started, by
William II
William II
following his assumption of the English throne; William II quashed a rebellion that followed and was based on, though not consequent on, the findings of the inquest. Most shires were visited by a group of royal officers (''legati''), who held a public inquiry, probably in the great assembly known as the shire court. These were attended by representatives of every township as well as of the local lords. The unit of inquiry was the Hundred (a subdivision of the county, which then was an administrative entity). The return for each Hundred was sworn to by 12 local jurors, half of them English and half of them
Norman Norman or Normans may refer to: Ethnic and cultural identity * The Normans The Normans (Norman language, Norman: ''Normaunds''; french: Normands; la, Nortmanni/Normanni) were inhabitants of the early medieval Duchy of Normandy, descended from ...

Norman
. What is believed to be a full transcript of these original returns is preserved for several of the
Cambridgeshire Cambridgeshire (abbreviated Cambs.) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chamber ...

Cambridgeshire
Hundreds – the Cambridge Inquisition – and is of great illustrative importance. The ''Inquisitio Eliensis'' is a record of the lands of
Ely Abbey Ely Cathedral, formally the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, is an Anglicanism, Anglican cathedral in the city of Ely, Cambridgeshire, England. The cathedral has its origins in AD 672 when Æthelthryth, St Etheldreda built an a ...
. The ''
Exon Domesday The ''Liber Exoniensis'' or ''Exon Domesday'' is the oldest of the three manuscripts originating with the Domesday Survey of 1086, covering south-west England. It contains a variety of administrative materials concerning the Historic counties ...
'' (named because the volume was held at
Exeter Exeter () is a city in Devon Devon (, archaically known as Devonshire) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') ...
) covers
Cornwall Cornwall (; kw, Kernow ) is a historic county and ceremonial county The counties and areas for the purposes of the lieutenancies, also referred to as the lieutenancy areas of England and informally known as ceremonial counties, are ar ...

Cornwall
, Devon,
Dorset Dorset (; archaically In language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system compose ...

Dorset
, Somerset, and one manor of
Wiltshire Wiltshire (; abbreviated Wilts) is a Ceremonial counties of England, county in South West England with an area of . It is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. The count ...
. Parts of Devon, Dorset, and Somerset are also missing. Otherwise, this contains the full details supplied by the original returns. Through comparison of what details are recorded in which counties, six Great Domesday "circuits" can be determined (plus a seventh circuit for the Little Domesday shires). #
Berkshire Berkshire ( ; in the 17th century sometimes spelt phonetically as Barkeshire; abbreviated Berks.) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers ...

Berkshire
,
Hampshire Hampshire (, ; abbreviated to Hants) is a Counties of England, county in South East England on the coast of the English Channel. The county town is Winchester, but the county is named after Southampton. Its two largest cities are Southampton a ...

Hampshire
,
Kent Kent is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and Robert ...

Kent
,
Surrey Surrey () is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and R ...

Surrey
,
Sussex Sussex (), from the Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, e ...

Sussex
#
Cornwall Cornwall (; kw, Kernow ) is a historic county and ceremonial county The counties and areas for the purposes of the lieutenancies, also referred to as the lieutenancy areas of England and informally known as ceremonial counties, are ar ...

Cornwall
,
Devon Devon (, archaically known as Devonshire) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Ch ...

Devon
,
Dorset Dorset (; archaically In language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system compose ...

Dorset
,
Somerset ( en, All The People of Somerset) , locator_map = , coordinates = , region = South West England South West England is one of nine official regions of England The regions, formerly known as the government office regions, are the ...

Somerset
,
Wiltshire Wiltshire (; abbreviated Wilts) is a Ceremonial counties of England, county in South West England with an area of . It is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. The count ...
(
Exon Domesday The ''Liber Exoniensis'' or ''Exon Domesday'' is the oldest of the three manuscripts originating with the Domesday Survey of 1086, covering south-west England. It contains a variety of administrative materials concerning the Historic counties ...
) #
Bedfordshire Bedfordshire (; abbreviated Beds) is a Counties of England, county in the East of England. It is a Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county and a Historic counties of England, historic county, covered by three Unitary authorities of Engl ...

Bedfordshire
,
Buckinghamshire Buckinghamshire (), abbreviated Bucks, is a ceremonial county The counties and areas for the purposes of the lieutenancies, also referred to as the lieutenancy areas of England and informally known as ceremonial counties, are areas of Eng ...

Buckinghamshire
,
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Middlesex Middlesex (; abbreviation: Middx) is a Historic counties of England, historic county in South East England, southeast England. Its area is almost entirely within the wider urbanised area of London and mostly within the Ceremonial counties of En ...

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Purpose

Three sources discuss the goal of the survey: * The ''Anglo-Saxon Chronicle'' tells why it was ordered:
After this had the king a large meeting, and very deep consultation with his council, about this land; how it was occupied, and by what sort of men. Then sent he his men over all England into each shire; commissioning them to find out 'How many hundreds of hides were in the shire, what land the king himself had, and what stock upon the land; or, what dues he ought to have by the year from the shire.' Also he commissioned them to record in writing, 'How much land his archbishops had, and his diocesan bishops, and his abbots, and his earls;' and though I may be prolix and tedious, 'What, or how much, each man had, who was an occupier of land in England, either in land or in stock, and how much money it was worth.' So very narrowly, indeed, did he commission them to trace it out, that there was not one single hide, nor a yard of land, nay, moreover (it is shameful to tell, though he thought it no shame to do it), not even an ox, nor a cow, nor a swine was there left, that was not set down in his writ. And all the recorded particulars were afterwards brought to him.
* The list of questions asked of the jurors was recorded in the ''Inquisitio Eliensis''. * The contents of Domesday Book and the allied records mentioned above. The primary purpose of the survey was to ascertain and record the fiscal rights of the king. These were mainly: * the national land-tax (''geldum''), paid on a fixed assessment, * certain miscellaneous dues, and * the proceeds of the crown lands. After a great political convulsion such as the Norman Conquest, and the following wholesale confiscation of landed estates, William needed to reassert that the rights of the Crown, which he claimed to have inherited, had not suffered in the process. His Norman followers tended to evade the liabilities of their English predecessors. The successful trial of Odo de Bayeux at Penenden Heath near Maidstone in Kent less than a decade after the conquest was one example of the Crown's growing discontent at the Norman land-grab of the years following the invasion. Historians believe the survey was to aid William in establishing certainty and a definitive reference point as to property holdings across the nation, in case such evidence was needed in disputes over Crown ownership. The Domesday survey, therefore, recorded the names of the new holders of lands and the assessments on which their tax was to be paid. But it did more than this; by the king's instructions, it endeavoured to make a national valuation list, estimating the annual value of all the land in the country, (1) at the time of
Edward the Confessor Edward the Confessor ( ang, Ēadƿeard Andettere ; la, Eduardus Confessor , ; 1003 – 5 January 1066) was one of the last Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the so ...

Edward the Confessor
's death, (2) when the new owners received it, (3) at the time of the survey, and further, it reckoned, by command, the potential value as well. It is evident that William desired to know the financial resources of his kingdom, and it is probable that he wished to compare them with the existing assessment, which was one of considerable antiquity, though there are traces that it had been occasionally modified. The great bulk of Domesday Book is devoted to the somewhat arid details of the assessment and valuation of rural estates, which were as yet the only important source of national wealth. After stating the assessment of the
manor Manor may refer to: Land tenure *Manor, the land belonging to the Lord of the manor under manorialism in parts of medieval Europe, notably England *Manor house, the main residence of the lord of the manor *Lord of the manor, the landholder of a ma ...
, the record sets forth the amount of arable land, and the number of plough teams (each reckoned at eight oxen) available for working it, with the additional number (if any) that might be employed; then the river-meadows, woodland, pasture, fisheries (i.e. fishing weirs), Watermill, water-mills, Salt evaporation pond, salt-pans (if by the sea), and other subsidiary sources of revenue; the peasants are enumerated in their several classes; and finally the annual value of the whole, past and present, is roughly estimated. The organisation of the returns on a feudal basis, enabled the Conqueror and his officers to see the extent of a baron's possessions; and it also showed to what extent he had under-tenants and the identities of the under-tenants. This was of great importance to William, not only for military reasons but also because of his resolve to command the personal loyalty of the under-tenants (though the "men" of their lords) by making them swear allegiance to himself. As Domesday Book normally records only the Christian name of an under-tenant, it is not possible to search for the surnames of families claiming a Norman origin. Scholars, however, have worked to identify the under-tenants, most of whom have foreign Christian names. The survey provided the King with information on potential sources of funds when he needed to raise money. It includes sources of income but not expenses, such as castles, unless they needed to be included to explain discrepancies between pre-and post-Conquest holdings of individuals. Typically, this happened in a town, where separately-recorded properties had been demolished to make way for a castle. Early British authors thought that the motivation behind the Survey was to put into William's power the lands, so that all private property in land came only from the grant of King William, by lawful forfeiture. The use of the word ''antecessor'' in the Domesday Book is used for the former holders of the lands under Edward the Confessor, Edward, and who had been dispossessed by their new owners.


Subsequent history


Custodial history

Domesday Book was preserved from the late 11th to the beginning of the 13th centuries in the royal HM Treasury, Treasury at
Winchester Winchester is a cathedral city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It ...
(the Norman kings' capital). It was often referred to as the "Book" or "Roll" of Winchester. When the Treasury moved to the Palace of Westminster, probably under John, King of England, King John, the book went with it. The two volumes (Great Domesday and Little Domesday) remained in Westminster, save for temporary releases, until the 19th century. They were held originally in various offices of the Exchequer: the Chapel of the Pyx of Westminster Abbey; the Treasury of Receipts; and the Tally Court. However, on several occasions they were taken around the country with the Chancellor of the Exchequer: to York and Lincoln, England, Lincoln in 1300, to York in 1303 and 1319, to Hertford in the 1580s or 1590s, and to Nonsuch Palace, Surrey, in 1666 for a time after the Great Fire of London. From the 1740s onwards, they were held, with other Exchequer records, in the Westminster Abbey#Chapter house, chapter house of Westminster Abbey. In 1859, they were transferred to the new Public Record Office, London. They are now held at
The National Archives National archives are central archive, archives maintained by countries. This article contains a list of national archives. Among its more important tasks are to ensure the accessibility and preservation of the information produced by governments ...
at Kew. The chest in which they were stowed in the 17th and 18th centuries is also at Kew. In modern times, the books have been removed from the London area only rarely. In 1861–63, they were sent to Southampton for Photozincography of Domesday Book, photozincographic reproduction. In 1918–19, prompted by the threat of German strategic bombing during World War I, German bombing during the First World War, they were evacuated (with other Public Record Office documents) to Bodmin Jail, Bodmin Prison, Cornwall. Likewise, in 1939–45, during the Second World War, they were evacuated to HM Prison Shepton Mallet, Shepton Mallet Prison, Somerset.


Binding

The volumes have been rebound on several occasions. Little Domesday was rebound in 1320, its older oak boards being re-used. At a later date (probably in the Tudor period) both volumes were given new covers. They were rebound twice in the 19th century - in 1819 and 1869, on the second occasion, by the binder Robert Riviere and his assistant, James Kew. In the 20th century, they were rebound in 1952, when their physical makeup was examined in greater detail; and yet again in 1986, for the survey's ninth centenary. On this last occasion Great Domesday was divided into two physical volumes, and Little Domesday into three volumes.


Publication

The project to publish Domesday was begun by the government in 1773, and the book appeared in two volumes in 1783, set in "record type" to produce a partial-facsimile of the manuscript. In 1811, a volume of indexes was added. In 1816, a supplementary volume, separately indexed, was published containing # The ''
Exon Domesday The ''Liber Exoniensis'' or ''Exon Domesday'' is the oldest of the three manuscripts originating with the Domesday Survey of 1086, covering south-west England. It contains a variety of administrative materials concerning the Historic counties ...
'' – for the south-western counties # The ''Inquisitio Eliensis'' # The ''Liber Winton'' – surveys of Winchester late in the 12th century. # The ''Boldon Book, Boldon Buke (Book)'' – a survey of the bishopric of Durham a century later than Domesday Photozincography of Domesday Book, Photographic facsimiles of Domesday Book, for each county separately, were published in 1861–1863, also by the government. Today, Domesday Book is available in numerous editions, usually separated by county and available with other English local history, local history resources. In 1986, the BBC released the ''BBC Domesday Project,'' the results of a project to create a survey to mark the 900th anniversary of the original Domesday Book. In August 2006, the contents of Domesday went online, with an English translation of the book's Latin. Visitors to the website are able to look up a place name and see the index entry made for the manor, town, city or village. They can also, for a fee, download the relevant page.


Continuing legal use

In the Middle Ages, the Book's evidence was frequently invoked in the law courts. In 1960, it was among citations for a real manor which helps to evidence legal use rights on and anchorage into the Crown's foreshore; in 2010, as to proving a manor, adding weight of years to sporting rights (deer and foxhunting); and a market in 2019.


Importance

Domesday Book is critical to understanding the period in which it was written. As Clifford Darby, H. C. Darby noted, anyone who uses it
can have nothing but admiration for what is the oldest 'public record' in England and probably the most remarkable statistical document in the history of Europe. The continent has no document to compare with this detailed description covering so great a stretch of territory. And the geographer, as he turns over the folios, with their details of population and of arable, woodland, meadow and other resources, cannot but be excited at the vast amount of information that passes before his eyes.
The author of the article on the book in the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, eleventh edition of the ''Encyclopædia Britannica'' noted, "To the topographer, as to the genealogist, its evidence is of primary importance, as it not only contains the earliest survey of each township or manor, but affords, in the majority of cases, a clue to its subsequent descent." Darby also notes the inconsistencies, saying that "when this great wealth of data is examined more closely, perplexities and difficulties arise."Darby, ''Domesday England'', p. 13 One problem is that the clerks who compiled this document "were but human; they were frequently forgetful or confused." The use of Roman numerals also led to countless mistakes. Darby states, "Anyone who attempts an arithmetical exercise in Roman numerals soon sees something of the difficulties that faced the clerks." But more important are the numerous obvious omissions, and ambiguities in presentation. Darby first cites Frederic William Maitland, F. W. Maitland's comment following his compilation of a table of statistics from material taken from the Domesday Book survey, "it will be remembered that, as matters now stand, two men not unskilled in Domesday might add up the number of hides in a county and arrive at very different results because they would hold different opinions as to the meanings of certain formulas which are not uncommon."Maitland, ''Domesday Book and Beyond'' (Cambridge, 1897), p. 407 Darby says that "it would be more correct to speak not of 'the Domesday geography of England', but of 'the geography of Domesday Book'. The two may not be quite the same thing, and how near the record was to reality we can never know."


See also

* * * * * * * *


Notes


Bibliography

* * * s:1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Domesday Book, 1911 ''Encyclopædia Britannica'': "Domesday Book" at Wikisource * * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links


Commercial Site selling Domesday Book
on The National Archives (UK), The National Archives website, home of Domesday Book.
Online Edition of Domesday Book
housed on The National Archive website. Searchable; downloads are charged.
Searchable index of landholders in 1066 and 1087
Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England (PASE) project.
Focus on Domesday
fro
Learning Curve
Annotated sample page.

Domesday analysis of wasted manors.

nbsp;– All the original spellings of English place-names in Domesday Book (link to PDF file).
Commercial site with extracts from Domesday Book
Domesday Book entries including translations for each settlement.
Open Domesday
Interactive map, listing details of each manor or holdings of each tenant, plus high-resolution images of the original manuscript. Site by Anna Powell-Smith, Domesday data created by Professor J.J.N. Palmer, University of Hull.
''In Our Time'' – "the Domesday Book".
BBC Radio 4 programme available on iPlayer
Domesday Book and Cambridgeshire

Doomsday Book
at The Manor of Hunningham {{Authority control Domesday Book, 1086 books 11th-century English writers 11th-century Latin books 11th-century Latin writers 11th-century manuscripts Collection of The National Archives (United Kingdom) Taxation in medieval England William the Conqueror