Archive for February 11th, 2008

The Domesday Book online

Monday, February 11th, 2008

This most amazingly extensive snapshot of post-Norman conquest England is now finally fully digitized, searchable and freely available for long hours and lost weekends of perusal: the Domesday Book online.

The Domesday Book provides extensive records of landholders, their tenants, the amount of land they owned, how many people occupied the land (villagers, smallholders, free men, slaves, etc.), the amounts of woodland, meadow, animals, fish and ploughs on the land (if there were any) and other resources, any buildings present (churches, castles, mills, salthouses, etc.), and the whole purpose of the survey – the value of the land and its assets, before the Norman Conquest, after it, and at the time of Domesday. Some entries also chronicle disputes over who held land, some mention customary dues that had to be paid to the king, and entries for major towns include records of traders and number of houses.

You can see why this is an invaluable resource for historians or even just curious people. Besides the motherlode, the site has all kinds of hidden goodies like this handy list of the Latin, Celtic, Saxon and Viking origins of English town names, and this hot glossary of terms.

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