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 was commissioned in December 1085 by William the Conqueror, who invaded England in 1066.
The Domesday Book is the oldest public record at the archives and was voted England's finest treasure in 2005, the BBC reports.
The original volumes of the Domesday Book (Little Domesday and Great Domesday) are on public view as part of the museum of the British National Archives at Kew in London.
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.
Domesday Book, the outcome of the Survey, lists the incomes, tax assessments, wealth and resources of most estates in England and was used as a working accounting document by the monarch and public officials to raise taxes, distribute resources and consolidate power.
The new National Asset Register has priced all of Britain's public possessions - in the first exercise of its kind since the Domesday Book.
The great post-Conquest 'census,' Domesday Book, providing our single greatest repository of social and economic data about the kingdom, demonstrates this, though not without equivocation: Pelteret shows the ambiguity and the nonutiliry of this collection of documents when we are looking for the remnants of true slavery (Domesday's servi were precisely that--slaves).
The company was founded in 1867 at Ponders End Mills in North London, a site on the River Lea that has been milling flour since before the Domesday Book.
It provided essential information to revise tax assessments and also documented the feudal structure -- 'who held what, and owed what, to whom' For many years after William's death Domesday Book was extensively used in the courts to resolve disputes over land title.
Domesday Book and the Law: Society and Legal Custom in Early Medieval England, by Robin Fleming.
8) It must also lie behind the render for Bistre described by Domesday Book.