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The Domesday Book

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Isla May Atay

on 6 February 2011

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Transcript of The Domesday Book

The Domesday Book The Domeday Book was a record of who owned what and how much it was worth throughout the kingdom, like land, ploughs and livestock. It was also a record of who owed what.The tennants in chief owed military service to the king, the knights owed military service to the tennants in chief and peasants owed rent to the kights. There were two reasons why William decided to carry out the survey. The first reason was because William needed money and men to prepare against an invasion from Denmark. What is the Domesday Book? Why did William decide to carry out a survey which would later become known as the Doomsday Book? The second reason was because by 1085 many Normans had begun to disagree amongst themselves over land they had been given as a reward for helping to conquer England. William wanted to settle these disputes once and for all. Another effect the Domesday book had was to set in writing which lands each tenant-in-chief held. As a legal authority, the Domesday book could be used to settle disputes fairly. Who did the Domesday book affect? The Domesday book affected nearly everyone who lived in the lands under Norman control. Peasants and villagers suffered from having to pay higher rents. We have records of landowners who exaggerated the value of their lands in the survey so that they could charge their tenants more. He didn’t know if they were lying or not. So he threatened them by saying he would kill them, their families or burn their houses down. The Barons lost a lot of their money but also gained things too. They justified themeselves by taking part in the Domesday Book. They could also raise the cost of rent which meant they could pay the king what was owed to him in money. How did William assume he got the correct answers in the Domesday Book? After Williams men had questioned the subjects the tenants-in-cheif would send out a different group of men and ask them to ask the same questions as the first group. If Williams men found out that one of the subjects was lying, the punishment was severe. Willliams men also used parish records to support the information that they had taken to be put into the Domesday Book. We have a primary source that suggests that the Domesday Book was very rigorous. 'there was no single hide nor a yard of land, nor indeed one ox nor one cow nor one pig which was there left out, and not put down in his record’ This is from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. What sort of questions where people asked? This painting shows the day of Judgement. The Domesday book was a definitive record of who owned what. It had the force of law behind it. After the Domesday book was compiled no-one could argue about what they owned and owed. One of the reasons we think the Domesday book might have got its name was because people compared it to the Last Judgment in the Bible. This suggests how important the book was to people's lives. People were asked roughly the same questions as anybody else. Here are a few of them: 1. What is the manor called?

2. Who held it in the time of King Edward (in 1066)?

3. Who holds it now (in 1086)?

4. How many hides are there (what is its tax assessment)?

5. How many plough (team)s on the demesne (local lord’s own land) and among the men (rest of the village)?

6. How many free men, sokemen, villans, cotta[ge]rs, slaves?
7. How much woodland, meadow, pasture, mills, fisheries?

8. How much has been added to or taken away from the manor?

9. How much was the whole worth (1066) and how much now (1086)?

10. How much had or has each freeman and each sokeman?

And whether more can be had than is had How was it written up? The Great Doomsday Book was written up by one scribe and checked by another and the Little Doomsday Book was written by six scribes. The scribe(s) had to rule out every line before they started working and every letter had to by perfectly shaped and easy to read. When you see red lines through word it means the scribe was highlighting a word not crossing it out. The Great Doomsday Book was made from nine hundred sheep skins. These were soaked in a lime solution and scraped to remove the animal hairs. The skins were then stretched over a wooden frame and left to dry to make parchment. When it came to writing tools, the scribe wrote with a quill made from a goose feather. These quills had a tip that was broad and slanted like the blade of a chisel. The ink that was used in the Doomsday book was made from oak gall. These are little brown growths on oak trees that are caused by insects or fungus. The ink would have dried black but over the years It has faded brown. The scribe also used red ink; this was made from red lead. The red ink was used for headings or to underline names or important pieces of information. Stage 2 Then Royal Commissioners would be assigned to the different circuits Stage 3 Next the tenants-in-chief or sheriffs would conduct the first survey Stage 4 After the second survey would be carried out Stage 1 In Mid January 1086 the survey begun. The kingdom was broken up into circuits Stage 5 The results of the survey
would be sent to the kings advisors Stage 6 the results of the survey were written into the two volumes of the Domesday Book Why was it written in Latin? Latin was used for government documents. It was also the language of the church. All church services were in Latin and bibles were also written in Latin. Since the scribe for the Doomsday Book was a churchman and it was made for the king’s government, it was written in. How useful is the Doomsday Book to historians today? For historians seeking factual information about land and the costs in William the Conquerers time , the Domesday Book was very useful. It shows us how hard life was for the villagers/peasants and how little they had to live on. It also shows us exactly how much land each tenant-in-chief was given. It even shows us how much things costed in 1066 copared to 1086. What problems are there with Doomsday Book to historians? The Doomsday Book showed us a lot but didn’t show us everything. It doesn’t show us how many people lived in England. Only the heads of household were listed. That means no children, monks, nun or people who lived in castles. Major cities such as Winchester and London are left out. Finally , it does not show us what ordinary people thought, what their homes were like, or what clothes they wore.

Conclusion The Domesday Book recorded;

1. What people owed
2. What people owned
3. How much there possesions were worth

The Domesday Book DID NOT record

1. Some towns like London and Winchester
2. What people thought
3. What people wore

The Survey for the Domesday Book started in 1086

The Great Domesday Book was never finished

The Domesday Book was very much valued, loved and hated
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