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.


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.


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


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.


References in periodicals archive ?
But because the Domesday Book can still be used in British courts for property disputes, online access is probably worth a whole lot more.
Finally, the Exchequer at Winchester received the circuit returns, summarised and edited them, and compiled Domesday Book.
King William's great inquest of 108e and the enormous Domesday Book that it produced have probably generated more enduring scholarly comment than any other event and document in English history, more even than King John's sealing of Magna Carta on the field of Runnymede.
Even if Snooks's claims for the quality of the Domesday Book data be accepted, one cannot help but sense that he has built a large edifice of conclusions on a slender foundation of solid facts.
Wendy Pearson and Maureen Surman, writing in their book Bartley Green and District Through Time, state that: "The Domesday Book shows that Halesowen was the most signifi-cant town in the West Midlands in the Anglo-Saxon period.
VISIT The town is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086.
He is mentioned in the Domesday Book as being the owner of a manor and church - St Cuthbert's.
In 1086, the Domesday Book reveals that most of what is now Wales was not under the control of the Norman king of England, only odd towns on the border like Monmouth and Chepstow, appear in Domesday Book.
It was in1086 that the area of Esmedune (which we now know as Smithdown) was listed in the Domesday Book commissioned by William the Conqueror.
The Welbeck Abbey estate was mentioned in the Domesday Book and the abbey can trace its roots back to 1120.
London, Feb 23 (ANI): A modern Domesday Book has revealed that in new-look Britain, strip-clubs and bookmakers will be replacing pubs and police stations.
HAZLEWOOD has been a landmark in North Yorkshire since the time of the Domesday Book.