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 ?
But because the Domesday Book can still be used in British courts for property disputes, online access is probably worth a whole lot more.
It is here in the White Tower that the Domesday Book goes on display.
Since Victorian times historians have used the Domesday Book to study the political, institutional and social structures of eleventh century England, and the geography of Domesday England has been carefully documented.
Brian Short, Reader in Human Geography at the University of Sussex, the requisite prelude to those two taxes was the great Valuation of 1910-1914, the first (and only) attempt since the Domesday Book of 1086 (which involved one-twentieth as many people) to describe and to assess the value of every single piece of landed property in England and Wales, urban and rural, from the largest estate to the smallest cottage.
"My last winner was in the Domesday Book," Caldwell joked.
Ordered by Chancellor Gordon Brown in May, it is the millennium equivalent of the Domesday Book. It will be used as a guide to assets no longer of use, which the Government can flog off to finance other projects.
Snooks's Part II may hold some fascination for readers unfamiliar with the Domesday Book, which records a survey of English manors ordered by William the Conqueror in 1086.
Relying on a computerized version of the Domesday book, William the Conqueror's precocious land survey, Fleming enhances the picture of the process of dividing up England after 1066.
Other similar records were often called the Domesday Book of a given locality; E.
The exact origins of the hotel Hotel remain a mystery, but the commonly-held belief is that the original Abbey building dates as far back as the Domesday Book. The building has been sympathetically restored and now offers seven comfortable bedrooms.
BIRMINGHAM'S Bull Ring has seen many changes over the years - at the very heart of the most ancient part of the city dating back to the time of the Domesday Book.