Domesday Book

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Domesday Book

An ancient record of land ownership in England.

Commissioned by William the Conqueror in the year 1085 and finished in 1086, the book is a superb example of thorough and speedy administration, unequaled by any other project undertaken during the Middle Ages. Minute and accurate surveys of all of England were done for the purpose of compiling information essential for levying taxes and enforcing the land tenure system.The work was done by five justices in each county who took a census and listed all the feudal landowners, their Personal Property, and other information. The judges gathered their information by summoning each man and having him give testimony under oath. This is perhaps the earliest use of the inquest procedure in England, and it established the right of the king to require citizens to give information, a foundation of the jury trial.

Domesday was a Saxon word meaning Judgment Day, at the end of time when God will pronounce judgment against all of mankind. The name given to this record may have come from the popular opinion that the inquiry was as thorough as that promised for Judgment Day.

Two volumes of the Domesday Book are still in existence, and they continue to be valuable for historical information about social and economic conditions. They are kept in the Public Record Office in England.

References in periodicals archive ?
The Domesday Book is the oldest public record at the archives and was voted England's finest treasure in 2005, the BBC reports.
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.
As for Domesday Book itself, it was only contingently related to the purpose of the inquest and its outcome.
The Survey and compilation of Domesday Book took about twenty months, from Christmas 1085 to the death of William in September 1087.
My last winner was in the Domesday Book," Caldwell joked.
Domesday Book and the Law: Society and Legal Custom in Early Medieval England, by Robin Fleming.
In Bedale, there has been a mill on the site of the Crakehall Water Mills since the time of the Domesday Book.
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.
Combining the Domesday Book data with a variety of auxiliary assumptions, Snooks estimates the GDP per capita for England in 1086, finding it "about the same as that for India in the mid-nineteenth century" [p.
The National Archives has one of the largest archival collections in the world, spanning 1000 years of British history, from the Domesday Book to newly released government papers.
We know the links went back to before the Domesday Book, when Lepton was one of four townships that together made up the parish of Kirkheaton (along with Moldgreen and Whitley Upper), he continues, "and as Rector I am Patron of Lepton (which means I have rights in relation to the appointment of its Vicar).
IT was recorded in the Domesday Book as being larger than Birmingham and the "most significant town in the West Midlands" during the Anglo-Saxon period.