Domesday Book: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Domesday Book, the great Norman survey of the wealth of England.

  • Domesday Book was ordered by William the Conqueror (William I) in 1085. Its main purpose was to assess the wealth of England to aid the system of taxation.

  • Whatever was recorded in Domesday Book was legally binding. If ownership of property was disputed, whatever was recorded in Domesday was the final word on the matter. There was no system of appeal.
  • It is mostly written in Latin.
  • It’s actually made up of two separate works: Little Domesday (covering East Anglia) and Great Domesday (covering the rest of the England and parts of Wales). London and Winchester weren’t included, possibly because they were too big.
  • More than 13000 places feature in Domesday.
  • The information was collected by royal officers.
  • Domesday Book was known as the Book of Winchester when it was housed in the royal treasury at Winchester. It was moved to Westminster and then to The National Archives at Kew.
  • Domesday Book provides a vast amount of information for those who want to build up a picture of life in England under the Normans. However, because it was compiled by humans, it is riddled with mistakes, inaccuracies, omissions and confusion. Not all of the information can be taken at face value.
  • The Domesday Book is often referred to incorrectly as The Doomsday Book.

Domesday Book

Visit Open Domesday to see a free online version on Domesday Book, and check out The Normans section of Primary Facts

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