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.
The ancient 150-acre wood, which was listed in the Doomsday Book, is one of West Yorkshire's largest, remaining semi-natural ancient woods.
The earliest mill in the area is recorded in the Doomsday Book in 1086AD at Ghisburg.
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 originally called a penguin, although it turned out to be a great auk, which is now extinct.
The village of Foleshill, albeit spelt slightly different, is actually mentioned in the doomsday book and the evangelical church of St Laurence, on the Old Church Road, is one of the oldest in the city having been originally built in the 14th century.
Blackout is the first part of a two-volume novel by the acclaimed author of The Doomsday Book. Initially set in Oxford in 2060, this intriguing book follows the adventures of three time-travelling students as they are sent back to observe various key events in World War II.
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.