Domesday Book

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Domesday Book

Domesday Book (do͞omzˈdā), record of a general census of England made (1085–86) by order of William I (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).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
We of course do not know what is in the Doomsday Book because its existence and contents were secret until it was mentioned in the Geithner memoir.
Even before the Merry Men's exploits, the first indication of a settlement at Colwick Park appeared in the Doomsday Book in 1086.
But this isn't a Doomsday book. This is the creative, lyrical voice of an activist.
In Overton Village, the 21 tall, dark yew trees in the church of St Mary date from Medieval times, and the village itself is mentioned in the doomsday book.
My story concerns John de Bermingham, his brother William and his son Walter, three Norman knights resident in Ireland and descended from Richard de Bermingham, recorded in the Doomsday Book as `lord of Bermingeha'.
(or Doomsday Book; ME, domesday, " day of judgment " ; 1086) Latin record of a census and survey of most of England.
The walls of that original fortress are still present - and the Doomsday Book records a manor house on the grounds.
The property, located at Marden, Hereford, is rich in history, with the original dwelling mentioned in the Doomsday book as "La Verne." It was thought to be a hideout for Owen Glendower when fleeing from Henry VI's soldiers at the end of his life.
The ancient 150-acre wood, which was listed in the Doomsday Book, is one of West Yorkshire's largest, remaining semi-natural ancient woods.
The earliest mill in the area is recorded in the Doomsday Book in 1086AD at Ghisburg.
My lovely wife always tries to chivvy me up and get me enthused with brilliantly-conceived pressies (more of that later) and cakes sporting candles, but as I'm nearly as old as an oak tree recorded in the Doomsday Book, I find it increasingly difficult.