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 ?
Technology features strongly and one of the main features will be a modern Doomsday Book recording children's lives using the Internet.
The village is steeped in history with records dating back to the Doomsday Book and features many historic buildings, including the 14 th Century Church.
Watford, first mentioned in the Doomsday Book, became a settlement in the 12th Century when the Abbot of St Albans, who owned the land, was given permission to hold a weekly market.
Mr Doody said the mill was mentioned in the Doomsday Book and is one of only two remaining on the River Cole.
There have been so many they should havebeen put in the Doomsday Book.
Plenty of links to off-shoot subjects like the Doomsday book give it appeal.
The Ffwrrwm Ishta public house was built in the mid 1700s and has been the site of taverns back to the Doomsday Book.
A SMALL market town in Somerset,Yeovil was first recorded in the Doomsday Book in 1086.
But when challenged about the letter, the councillor said: "The Troubles in Northern Ireland have been of your own making, there have been enough English soldiers killed in Northern Ireland to fill a doomsday book.
In the first programme, presenter Brittany Hughes investigates the history of the Doomsday Book - perhaps the most famous non- religious book of record.