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 ?
Blackout is the first part of a two-volume novel by the acclaimed author of The Doomsday Book.
The Grade II building is a 17th century former vicarage, monastery and family home and was mentioned in the Doomsday Book in 1086.
There have been so many they should havebeen put in the Doomsday Book.
Stephen Guy, chairman of the West Derby Society, said: "West Derby is older than Liverpool, being included in the Doomsday Book.
His achievements include winning the Battle of Hastings, commissioning the Doomsday Book and building the Tower of London.
She became involved after the company dedicated one of its projects - creating facsimiles of the Doomsday Book - to her.
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 was a warm welcome to the development from locals, who are keen to give people with a close connection to the area an opportunity to buy in the historic village, which is mentioned in the Doomsday Book and has evidence of occupation dating back to the Bronze Age.
In the Doomsday Book of 1086 it may have been listed as Chiluen or Chilven.
Open to the public, the site is more than a thousand years old, and was mentioned in the Doomsday Book in 1087 when several mills were in operation.