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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(46) Given this deal-making approach, the Fed does not want to disclose the Doomsday Book, because it would be in a position akin to a poker player whose cards have already been laid on the table.
One concerned resident said: "Honley's oak woods are listed in the Doomsday Book and have been the source of pleasure for hikers, dog walkers and nature lovers for generations.
IT was known as Spec in the Doomsday Book, an old English word meaning 'brushwood.' Now Speke is an area synonymous with a thriving airport, a thriving industrial and residential community - and a Tudor wood-framed house.
Then I found a book called the Doomsday Book of Animals, about extinct species, and the first thing I saw was the creature first called a penguin.
This information was to be entered into the Domesday, or Doomsday Book. This was hand written but I believe that copies were made.
A well-crafted Korean anthology, "Doomsday Book" imagines the end of the world via three disparate, tonally distinct scenarios.
I SEE Jewel Staite has been looking through the archives concerning the royal family and given us all a lesson in history dating back as far the Doomsday Book, (Letters, April 30).
The Grade II building is a 17th century former vicarage, monastery and family home and was mentioned in the Doomsday Book in 1086.
DAVID Cameron must think he is a new William the Conqueror trying to write a Doomsday book. When he has taken all he can from the least well off, he will give it to all his cronies later on.
Stephen Guy, chairman of the West Derby Society, said: "West Derby is older than Liverpool, being included in the Doomsday Book.
The set list read like a Doomsday Book from newies Seeing Red, The Death and Resurrection Show, and the infectious single Loose Cannon, to a selection from their 10 previous efforts, including War Dance Tension and the stunning Empire Song.
She became involved after the company dedicated one of its projects - creating facsimiles of the Doomsday Book - to her.