Domesday Book

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Domesday Book

(do͞omz`dā), record of a general census of England made (1085–86) by order of William IWilliam I
or William the Conqueror,
1027?–1087, king of England (1066–87). Earnest and resourceful, William was not only one of the greatest of English monarchs but a pivotal figure in European history as well.
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 (William the Conqueror). The survey ascertained the economic resources of most of the country for purposes of more accurate taxation. Royal agents took the evidence of local men in each hundred (county subdivision), the latter acting as inquest jurors. Descriptions of each piece of land, its present and former holders, the holding itself, and the population on it were among the facts recorded. For the thoroughness and speed with which it was taken, the Domesday survey as an administrative measure is unsurpassed in medieval history. Written from the data thus gathered, the Domesday Book is an invaluable historical source. It furnished the material for F. W. Maitland's masterly survey, Domesday Book and Beyond (1897), which deals with social and economic conditions in Anglo-Saxon and Conquest times. Many of the Domesday records have been printed by counties in the Victoria County Histories, and several portions have been independently published. The name domesday is a variant of doomsday, meaning day of judgment.

Bibliography

See V. H. Galbraith, The Making of Domesday Book (1961, repr. 1981); R. W. Finn, The Domesday Inquest and the Making of Domesday Book (1961) and Introduction to Domesday Book (1963); J. C. Holt, Domesday Studies (1987).

Domesday Book

 

the record of a general land census in England undertaken by William I the Conqueror in 1086 (20 years after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066) to determine the crown’s material resources; this was the earliest state census in European history. The Domesday Book was exceptionally complete; data were assembled on the size of patrimonies (manors) and on the distribution between the landowner and the peasant tenants of arable land, livestock, and equipment on the manor, as well as on the number and categories (in property and law) of the various kinds of landowners and tenants. The very fact of determining the legal status of the peasants of England made the Domesday Book a cause for the drastic deterioration of their position and for the spread of serfdom to strata of the peasantry that had previously been free. The name of this census reflects the attitude of contemporaries toward it. The Domesday Book is an extremely valuable source for the socioeconomic history of medieval England.

PUBLICATION

Domesday Book . . . , vols. 1–4. London, 1783–1816.

REFERENCES

Kosminskii, E. A. Issledovaniia po agrarnoi istorii Anglii XIII ν. Moscow, 1947.
Barg, M. A. Issledovaniia po istorii angliiskogo feodalizma ν XI—XIII vv. Moscow, 1962.
Levitskii, la. A. “Problema rannego feodal’nogo goroda ν Anglii i Kniga Strashnogo suda.” In the collection Srednie veka, issue 3. Moscow, 1951.

M. A. BARG

References in periodicals archive ?
DOMESDAY RECORD: Phillip Sawyer, left, of Traditional Stone and Slate Supplies, Horbury, a parent at Farnley School, who donated with John Sykes, director of Farnley Estates Ltd
Now, 25 years later, the data has been rescued and made available online by the BBC as Domesday Reloaded, and the National Archives will help preserve it for the future.
The Domesday Book is the oldest public record at the archives and was voted England's finest treasure in 2005, the BBC reports.
The original volumes of the Domesday Book (Little Domesday and Great Domesday) are on public view as part of the museum of the British National Archives at Kew in London.
The National Archives said that site visitors can read about how and why the Domesday Book was made and will be able to search a place name and locate the index entry for that village, town or city.
In the accounting history literature, Godfrey and Hooper [1996] have convincingly argued that aspects of Domesday Book, the results of a survey commissioned by William the Conqueror, illustrate the concepts of accountability, decision-making and control.
The great post-Conquest 'census,' Domesday Book, providing our single greatest repository of social and economic data about the kingdom, demonstrates this, though not without equivocation: Pelteret shows the ambiguity and the nonutiliry of this collection of documents when we are looking for the remnants of true slavery (Domesday's servi were precisely that--slaves).
The company was founded in 1867 at Ponders End Mills in North London, a site on the River Lea that has been milling flour since before the Domesday Book.
The Domesday Survey of 1086 provides high quality and detailed information on the outputs, inputs and tax assessments of most English manors.
Domesday Book and the Law: Society and Legal Custom in Early Medieval England, by Robin Fleming.
5) There are settlements with names of (pre-)medieval English origin, including some of parish status (*) or Domesday manor status (**), on the coastal plain west of Wat's Dyke and on the brow of the Clwydian Hills, for example Rhyl, Prestatyn*/**, Mostyn*/**, Mertyn**, Whitford*/**, Axton**, Picton**, and Gwespyr**, suggesting that this area was Mercian-controlled and that the effective border was at some stage not dissimilar to that represented in the older view of the Dyke, but including the coastal plain right as far west as the river Clwyd.
Lordships and baronies are some of Europe's oldest titles, dating back to the Domesday Book, which recorded a land survey for William the Conqueror in 1086.