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 ?
The Domesday Book was commissioned in December 1085 by William the Conqueror, who invaded England in 1066.
Richard fitzNigel's view of Domesday Book is perhaps understandable in the context of the burgeoning Common Law of the reign of Henry II (r.1154-89).
But because the Domesday Book can still be used in British courts for property disputes, online access is probably worth a whole lot more.
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 Survey and compilation of Domesday Book took about twenty months, from Christmas 1085 to the death of William in September 1087.
Domesday Book and the Law: Society and Legal Custom in Early Medieval England, by Robin Fleming.
Snooks's Part II may hold some fascination for readers unfamiliar with the Domesday Book, which records a survey of English manors ordered by William the Conqueror in 1086.
Relying on a computerized version of the Domesday book, William the Conqueror's precocious land survey, Fleming enhances the picture of the process of dividing up England after 1066.
Among his later collections of verse are Songs and Satires (1916), Starved Rock (1919), Domesday Book (1920), The Serpent in the Wilderness (1933), Poems of People (1936), and Illinois Poems (1941).
Other similar records were often called the Domesday Book of a given locality; E.