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The Domesday Book
Transcript of The Domesday Book
The Anglo-Saxon chronicle
Why Did William the Conqueror want it? William could see the wealth of his kingdom, and how much money he could raise in taxes from his people. William could tax people efficiently and effectively. Also, no one could lie about not being able to pay their taxes. William needed to tax people for more money, because there had been a loss of money during the Battle of Hastings. Their wealth was recorded in the Domesday book and they could not argue over it.No one could argue over the ownership of land or animals. The Domesday book kept and orderly, clear record of the country. William was worried that the people in the country had more power than he did. After all, William left the country to be ruled by Barons. William was not in the country, most of the time. William wanted control over everyone. With the Domesday book, William knew that the Barons would not be able to form armies or rebellions.
Who was Surveyed? The Barons or the people in charge of the manor. They were always men, as women were considered as unimportant. The Normans were surveyed, as well as the English. Only the Lords of the household were questioned. The commissioners conducting the survey checked on the land and animals, etc, to see if the questioned was telling the truth.
If the questioned were not telling the truth, they would be sentenced to death. That way, the Domesday book contained the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
What are the Problems with the Domesday Book? The survey did not state how many people were in England. People were missed out. Only the heads of the household , the men, were stated. The women and children were not. No one who lived in castles were included. Some places, such as London and Winchester, and the counties Durham and Northumberland were not included. The peoples’ feelings, their clothes, their houses were all not included.
How is the Book Useful to Us? The Domesday book showed which areas in England were poor and rich. For example: 20 years prior to the survey, William had burned down crops and homes in many places. 20 years later, those crops and homes were exactly the same. The crops had not grown back properly. This shows the violence and the brutality of William. The Domesday book tells us the names of crops, farming methods and approaches in the Middle Ages.
Another use of the Domesday book is that of cross referencing. If some one wanted to know how their ancestors farmed their crops, they could look in a text book, then look in the Domesday book to make sure it made sense.
The Domesday book shows the power of the landowners. It shows how the English landowners had been destroyed. All the key landowners were Normans.
Extra Notes: One person wrote the Great Domesday book, 6 people wrote the Little Domesday book.
The Domesday book was written on parchment. Parchment was sheepskin, stretched and shaved. It was written with black ink, made of oak galls and fungus. There was also rubrication (highlighting) using red ink.
It was written in Latin, as this was the language of the Government and a universal language of learning.
Invasion, Plague and Murder
Some notes were taken in History lessons.