Domesday Book

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Domesday Book
The National Archives, Kew, London
Domesday Book: an engraving published in 1900. Great Domesday (the larger volume) and Little Domesday (the smaller volume), in their 1869 bindings, lie on their older "Tudor" bindings.
Also known asGreat Survey
Liber de Wintonia
Place of origin England
Language(s) Medieval Latin

Domesday Book ( /ˈdmzd/ ) – the Middle English 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. [1] Domesday has long been associated with the Latin phrase Domus Dei, meaning "House of God". [2] The manuscript is also known by the Latin name Liber de Wintonia, meaning "Book of Winchester". [3] The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 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. [4]


Written in Medieval Latin, it was highly abbreviated and included some vernacular native terms without Latin equivalents. [5] The survey's main purpose was to determine what taxes had been owed during the reign of King 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 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. [6] Richard FitzNeal wrote in the Dialogus de Scaccario (c. 1179) that the book was so called because its decisions were unalterable, like those of the Last Judgement, and its sentence could not be quashed. [7]

The manuscript is held at The National Archives at Kew, London. The book was first published in full in 1783; and in 2011 the Open Domesday site made the manuscript available online. [8]

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") [9] which presented the first complete, post-Domesday picture of the distribution of landed property in the land that made up the then United Kingdom. [10]

Content and organisation

A page of Domesday Book for Warwickshire Domesday Book - Warwickshire.png
A page of Domesday Book for Warwickshire
Great Domesday in its "Tudor" binding: a wood-engraving of the 1860s Domesday binding.jpg
Great Domesday in its "Tudor" binding: a wood-engraving of the 1860s

Domesday Book encompasses two independent works (originally, in two physical volumes): "Little Domesday" (covering Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex), and "Great Domesday" (covering much of the remainder of England – except for lands in the north that later became Westmorland, Cumberland, Northumberland, and the County Palatine of Durham  – and parts of Wales bordering, and included within, English counties). [11] No surveys were made of the City of London, 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) had the exclusive right to tax it; in addition, parts of the north east were covered by the 1183 Boldon Book , 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.[ citation needed ]

"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".[ citation needed ]

Both volumes are organised into a series of chapters (literally "headings", from Latin caput, "a head") listing the fees (knight's fees or fiefs, broadly identical to manors), held by a named tenant-in-chief 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 thegns 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 Devonshire 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 to knights, generally military followers of the tenant-in-chief (often his feudal tenants from Normandy), who thereby became their 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 under the jurisdiction of which they were situated, not by geographic location. As a review of taxes owed, it was highly unpopular. [12]

HIC ANNOTANTUR TENENTES TERRAS IN DEVENESCIRE ("Here are noted (those) holding lands in Devonshire"). Detail from Domesday Book, list forming part of the first page of king's holdings. There are fifty-three entries, including the first entry for the king himself followed by the Devon Domesday Book tenants-in-chief. Each name has its own chapter to follow. DevonDomesdayBook TenantsInChief.png
HIC ANNOTANTUR TENENTES TERRAS IN DEVENESCIRE ("Here are noted (those) holding lands in Devonshire"). Detail from Domesday Book, list forming part of the first page of king's holdings. There are fifty-three entries, including the first entry for the king himself followed by the Devon Domesday Book tenants-in-chief. Each name has its own chapter to follow.

Each county's list opened with the king's demesne 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. He was thus the ultimate overlord, and even the greatest magnate could do no more than "hold" land from him as a tenant (from the Latin verb tenere, "to hold") under one of the various contracts of feudal land tenure. Holdings of bishops followed, then of the abbeys and religious houses, then of lay tenants-in-chief and lastly the king's serjeants (servientes), and Saxon thegns who had survived the Conquest, 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. [13]

Domesday names a total of 13,418 places. [14] 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 custumals (older customary agreements), records of the military service 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.

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. [15] The book also lists 28,000 slaves, a smaller number than what had been enumerated in 1066. [16]

In the Domesday Book, scribes' orthography was heavily geared towards French, most lacking k and w, regulated forms for sounds /ð/ and /θ/ 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 in southern Italy completed their Catalogus Baronum based on Domesday Book. The original manuscript was destroyed in the Second World War, but printed copies survive. [17]


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, its usual place of custody; and from the mid-12th to early 13th centuries, to the Winchester or king's rotulus (roll). [18] [19]

To the English, who held the book in awe, it became known as "Domesday Book", in allusion to the Last Judgement and in specific reference to the definitive character of the record. [20] The word "doom" was the usual Old English term for a law or judgment; it did not carry the modern overtones of fatality or disaster. [21] Richard FitzNeal, treasurer of England under Henry II, explained the name's connotations in detail in the Dialogus de Scaccario (c.1179): [22]

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. [23]

Either through false etymology or deliberate word play, 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 such as 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. [24] [25] As a result, the alternative spelling "Domesdei" became popular for a while. [26]

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. [27]


Domesday Counties showing Little and Great Domesday areas and circuits DomesdayCountyCircuitsMap.png
Domesday Counties showing Little and Great Domesday areas and circuits

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states that planning for the survey was conducted in 1085, and the book's colophon 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 (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 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. [28]

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.

What is believed to be a full transcript of these original returns is preserved for several of the Cambridgeshire Hundreds – the Cambridge Inquisition  – and is of great illustrative importance. The Inquisitio Eliensis is a record of the lands of Ely Abbey. [29] The Exon Domesday (named because the volume was held at Exeter) covers Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, and one manor of Wiltshire. 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).

  1. Berkshire, Hampshire, Kent, Surrey, Sussex
  2. Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire (Exon Domesday)
  3. Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Middlesex
  4. Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire
  5. inter Ripam et Mersham, Cheshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire  – the Marches
  6. Derbyshire, Huntingdonshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire


Three sources discuss the goal of the survey:

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 primary purpose of the survey was to ascertain and record the fiscal rights of the king. These were mainly:

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. [30]

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'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, 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), water-mills, 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. [31] The use of the word antecessor in the Domesday Book is used for the former holders of the lands under Edward, and who had been dispossessed by their new owners. [32]

Subsequent history

The Domesday Chest, the German-style iron-bound chest of c.1500 in which Domesday Book was kept in the 17th and 18th centuries Domesday chest.jpg
The Domesday Chest, the German-style iron-bound chest of c.1500 in which Domesday Book was kept in the 17th and 18th centuries

Custodial history

Domesday Book was preserved from the late 11th to the beginning of the 13th centuries in the royal Treasury at Winchester (the Norman kings' capital). It was often referred to as the "Book" or "Roll" of Winchester. [18] When the Treasury moved to the Palace of Westminster, probably under 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. [33] However, on several occasions they were taken around the country with the Chancellor of the Exchequer: to York and 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. [34]

From the 1740s onwards, they were held, with other Exchequer records, in the chapter house of Westminster Abbey. [35] In 1859, they were transferred to the new Public Record Office, London. [36] They are now held at The National Archives 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 photozincographic reproduction. [37] In 1918–19, prompted by the threat of German bombing during the First World War, they were evacuated (with other Public Record Office documents) to Bodmin Prison, Cornwall. Likewise, in 1939–45, during the Second World War, they were evacuated to Shepton Mallet Prison, Somerset. [38] [39]


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. [40] [41]


Entries for Croydon and Cheam, Surrey, in the 1783 edition of Domesday Book Domesday Croydon Cheam.jpg
Entries for Croydon and Cheam, Surrey, in the 1783 edition of Domesday Book

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

  1. The Exon Domesday  – for the south-western counties
  2. The Inquisitio Eliensis
  3. The Liber Winton  – surveys of Winchester late in the 12th century.
  4. The Boldon Buke (Book)  – a survey of the bishopric of Durham a century later than Domesday

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 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.

In the Middle Ages, the Book's evidence was frequently invoked in the law courts. [42] 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; [43] [44] in 2010, as to proving a manor, adding weight of years to sporting rights (deer and foxhunting); [45] and a market in 2019. [46]


In 1986, memorial plaques were installed in settlements mentioned in Domesday Book Domesday plaque.JPG
In 1986, memorial plaques were installed in settlements mentioned in Domesday Book

Domesday Book is critical to understanding the period in which it was written. As 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. [47]

The author of the article on the book in the 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." [48] 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." [48] But more important are the numerous obvious omissions, and ambiguities in presentation. Darby first cites 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." [49] 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." [48]

See also


  1. "Domesday Book". Merriam-Webster Online.
  2. Hallam 1986, p. 34.
  3. "Domesday Book".
  4. 1 2 The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Translated by Giles, J. A.; Ingram, J. Project Gutenberg. 1996. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  5. Note: One common abbreviation was TRE, short for the Latin Tempore Regis Eduardi, "in the time of King Edward (the Confessor)", meaning the period immediately before the Norman Conquest.
  6. Emerson, Ralph Waldo & Burkholder, Robert E. (Notes) (1971). The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson: English Traits. 5. Harvard University Press. p. 250. ISBN   978-0674139923.
  7. Johnson, C., ed. (1950). Dialogus de Scaccario, the Course of the Exchequer, and Constitutio Domus Regis, the King's Household. London. p. 64.
  8. Cellan-Jones, Rory (13 May 2011). "Domesday Reloaded project: The 1086 version". BBC News.
  9. Hoskins, W.G. (1954). A New Survey of England. Devon, London. p. 87.
  10. Return of Owners of Land, 1873, Wales, Scotland, Ireland. 1873. Archived from the original on 10 September 2012. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  11. "Hull Domesday Project: Wales" . Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  12. Palmer, Alan (1976). Kings and Queens of England . Great Britain: Octopus Books Limited. p.  15. ISBN   0706405420.
  13. Robert Bartlett. "The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonization, and Cultural Change, 950-1350."Princeton University Press; First PB Edition (August 23, 1994). Page 108.
  14. "The Domesday Book". History Magazine. Moorshead Magazines. October 2001. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  15. Gies, Frances; Gies, Joseph (1994). Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel: Technology and Invention in the Middle Ages. HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. p. 113. ISBN   0060165901.
  16. Clanchy, M. T. (2006). England and its Rulers: 1066–1307. Blackwell Classic Histories of England (Third ed.). Oxford, UK: Blackwell. p. 93. ISBN   978-1-4051-0650-4.
  17. Jamison, Evelyn (1971). "Additional Work on the Catalogus Baronum". Bullettino dell'Istituto Storico Italiano per Il Medioevo e Archivio Muratoriano. 83: 1–63.
  18. 1 2 Hallam 1986, pp. 34–35.
  19. Harvey 2014, pp. 7–9.
  20. Harvey 2014, pp. 271–328.
  21. Harvey 2014, p. 271.
  22. Johnson, C., ed. (1950). Dialogus de Scaccario, the Course of the Exchequer, and Constitutio Domus Regis, the King's Household. London. pp. 63–64.
  23. Hallam 1986, p. 35.
  24. Hallam 1986, p. 34.
  25. Harvey 2014, pp. 18–19.
  26. Hallam 1986, p. 118.
  27. "The Domesday Book Online" . Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  28. Roffe, David (2000). Domesday; The Inquest and The Book. Oxford University Press. pp. 224–49.
  29. "Inquisitio Eliensis". Domesday Explorer. Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2010.
  30. Cooper, Alan (2001). "Extraordinary privilege: the trial of Penenden Heath and the Domesday inquest". English Historical Review. 116 (469): 1167–92. doi:10.1093/ehr/116.469.1167.
  31. Freeman, Edward A., William the Conqueror, pp. 186–187
  32. Freeman, Edward A., William the Conqueror, p. 188
  33. Hallam 1986, p. 55.
  34. Hallam 1986, pp. 55–56.
  35. Hallam 1986, pp. 133–34.
  36. Hallam 1986, pp. 150–52.
  37. Hallam 1986, pp. 155–56.
  38. Hallam 1986, pp. 167–69.
  39. Cantwell, John D. (1991). The Public Record Office, 1838–1958. London: HMSO. pp. 379, 428–30. ISBN   0114402248.
  40. Hallam 1986, pp. 29, 150–51, 157–61, 170–72.
  41. Forde, Helen (1986). Domesday Preserved. London: Public Record Office. ISBN   0-11-440203-5.
  42. Hallam 1986, pp. 50–55, 64–73.
  43. Foundation, Internet Memory. "[Archived content] UK Government Web Archive – The National Archives". Archived from the original on 5 January 2016. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  44. Iveagh v Martin [and another] [1961] 1 Q.B. 232; [1960] 3 WLR 210; [1960] 2 All ER 668; 1 Lloyd's Rep. 692 QDB (1960)
  45. Mellestrom v Badgworthy Land Company (adverse possession over continued common) [2010] EWLandRA 2008_1498 (21 July 2010)
  46. Harvey, R (on the application of) v Leighton Linslade Town Council [2019] EWHC 760 (Admin) (15 February 2019) URL:
  47. Darby, Domesday England (Cambridge: University Press, 1977), p. 12
  48. 1 2 3 Darby, Domesday England, p. 13
  49. Maitland, Domesday Book and Beyond (Cambridge, 1897), p. 407


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Vill is a term used in English history to describe the basic rural land unit, roughly comparable to that of a parish, manor, village or tithing.

Alan Rufus Breton nobleman

Alan Rufus, alternatively Alanus Rufus (Latin), Alan ar Rouz (Breton), Alain le Roux (French) or Alan the Red, 1st Lord of Richmond, was a Breton nobleman, kinsman and companion of William the Conqueror during the Norman Conquest of England. He was the second son of Eozen Penteur by Orguen Kernev. William the Conqueror granted Alan Rufus a significant English fief, later known as the Honour of Richmond, in about 1071.

Whixley Village and civil parish in North Yorkshire, England

Whixley is a village and civil parish in the Harrogate district of North Yorkshire, England. It is near the A1(M) motorway and 10 miles (16 km) west of York. The ancient village of Whixley lies on Rudgate, the old Roman road along which the Roman “Hispania” Legion would have marched to nearby Isurium (Aldborough).

Urse d'Abetot was a Norman who followed King William I to England, and became Sheriff of Worcestershire and a royal official under him and Kings William II and Henry I. He was a native of Normandy and moved to England shortly after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, and was appointed sheriff in about 1069. Little is known of his family in Normandy, who were not prominent, but he probably got his name from the village Abetot. Although Urse's lord in Normandy was present at the Battle of Hastings, there is no evidence that Urse took part in the invasion of England in 1066.

Siward Barn was an 11th-century English thegn and landowner-warrior. He appears in the extant sources in the period following the Norman Conquest of England, joining the northern resistance to William the Conqueror by the end of the 1060s. Siward's resistance continued until his capture on the Isle of Ely alongside Æthelwine, Bishop of Durham, Earl Morcar, and Hereward as cited in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Siward and his confiscated properties in central and northern England were mentioned in Domesday Book, and from this it is clear that he was one of the main antecessors of Henry de Ferrers, father of Robert de Ferrers, the first Earl of Derby.

Ralph Basset was a medieval English royal justice during the reign of King Henry I of England. He was a native of Normandy, and may have come to Henry's notice while Henry held land in Normandy prior to becoming king. Basset is first mentioned in documents about 1102, and from then until his death around 1127, he was frequently employed as a royal justice. His son Richard Basset also became a royal judge.

Taxation in medieval England Taxes and tax policy in medieval England

Taxation in medieval England was the system of raising money for royal and governmental expenses. During the Anglo-Saxon period, the main forms of taxation were land taxes, although custom duties and fees to mint coins were also imposed. The most important tax of the late Anglo-Saxon period was the geld, a land tax first regularly collected in 1012 to pay for mercenaries. After the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, the geld continued to be collected until 1162, but it was eventually replaced with taxes on personal property and income.

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 counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire. It is MS 3500 in Exeter Cathedral Library.

In medieval England, avera and inward were feudal obligations assessed against a royal demesne. The terms refer to various services rendered to the crown in lieu of payment in coin. Avera is connected with carrying items by horse, or possibly ploughing or both. Inward is probably the provision of a bodyguard during a royal visit: in Anglo-Saxon England it could be claimed by a sheriff. The services could usually be commuted to a monetary payment: in Hertfordshire avera could be commuted for fourpence. The services were usually found in the eastern counties, especially Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire, due from sokemen. In Hertfordshire, inward is found only in the manor of Hitchin.

Herbert of Winchester was an Anglo-Norman nobleman during the period following the Norman conquest of England.

Walter de Lacy (died 1085) 11th-century Anglo-Norman baron in England

Walter de Lacy was a Norman nobleman who went to England after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. He received lands in Herefordshire and Shropshire, and served King William I of England by leading military forces during 1075. He died in 1085 and one son inherited his lands. Another son became an abbot.

Craven in the Domesday Book Historic region in Yorkshire

The extent of the medieval district of Craven, in the north of England is a matter of debate. The name Craven is either pre-Celtic Britain, Britonnic or Romano-British in origin. However, its usage continued following the ascendancy of the Anglo-Saxons and the Normans – as was demonstrated by its many appearances in the Domesday Book of 1086. Places described as being In Craven in the Domesday Book fell later within the modern county of North Yorkshire, as well as neighbouring areas of West Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria. Usage of Craven in the Domesday Book is, therefore, circumstantial evidence of an extinct, British or Anglo-Saxon kingdom or subnational entity.

The Manor of Hougun is the historic name for an area which now forms part of the county of Cumbria in North West England. Of the three most northern counties of England surveyed in the Domesday Book of 1086, only the southern band of land in the south of Cumbria was recorded. The westernmost entries for Cumbria, covering the Duddon and Furness Peninsulas are largely recorded as part of the Manor of Hougun. The entry in Domesday Book covering Hougun refers to the time when it was held by Tostig Godwinson, Earl of Northumbria.

The Ely Inquiry or Inquisitio Eliensis [IE] was a satellite of the 1086 Domesday survey. Its importance is both that it gives a more detailed account of the local area than Domesday Book itself, and that its prologue offers an account of the terms of enquiry of the Domesday survey.

The Cambridge InquisitionInquisitio Comitatus Cantabrigiensis or ICC – is one of the most important of the satellite surveys relating to the Domesday Book of 1086.