Talk:Domesday Book

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Untitled[edit]

I think we may want a disambiguation from "Doomsday book" rather than a simple redirect -- I can think of at least two books with that title, one a ca. 1970s popular science eco-doom polemic (by Gordon Rattray Taylor, I think), and a ca. 1991 award-winning science fiction novel (by Connie Willis?) Malcolm Farmer

the idiot who made it the 'Domesday Book' has been dead many centuries.--hamstar 16:37, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

this page requires sectioning and integration of its text. Badanedwa 04:56, May 18, 2004 (UTC)


"The"[edit]

Is it "the" Doomsday Book, or just Doomsday Book. Magna Carta has the same issue, the use of "the" is not used (see Discussion). I have seen it in history books without the "the". For example:

By the time of Domesday Book the county network was almost complete..

Comments or ideas? Stbalbach 06:21, 29 Sep 2004 (UTC)

FWIW, I've always heard it called The Doomsday Book, and the references without "the" seem very strange to me. TheMadBaron 01:44, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
Agree. Anyone want to be bold and add some thes? 218.102.71.167 02:10, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
I wouldn't advise it. It is always written without the definite article. It may look odd, but it's the case. If you've "always heard it called The Doomsday Book" then you've always heard it wrong. And spelt it wrong, incidentally. -- Necrothesp 12:25, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Anyone concerned about the lack of "thes" should have a look at the National Archives site, referenced in the article. Not a "the" in sight. Bluewave 15:18, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree that the standard usage by those 'in the know' is without the definite article, so it's right that that's how it should be written here. However, almost everywhere else in Wikipedia except in this entry it's written with a 'the'. It's way beyond my capability, but is it possible for some kind of auto-correction bot to be created that would remove all the uses of 'the' that appear in front of 'Domesday Book' elsewhere? Russ London 09:28, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
Domesday scholarship largely started in the 19th century with Maitland and Vinogradoff. F W Maitland (1897) Domesday Book and Beyond remains one of the seminal works. These guys started using Domesday Book with the 'The' but I can find no reference to why in their work. Now it's a matter of Domesday 'snobbery' that you don't use 'The' because that shows you up as a non-Domesdayer. I think the absence of the definite article for medieval texts goes back to the original medieval references where the article is normally unused, reason for this being the original references and documents are in Latin and in Latin there is no article. Every work on the subject I've seen omits 'The'. (Patrick Molineux, 14/02/2007) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Pmoline3 (talkcontribs) 10:01, 14 January 2007 (UTC).
Readers should sense that "snobbery" might be beside the point. By a similar attitude someone else who knew nothing might be babbling about "The" Magna Carta, by missing Pmoline3's single operative sentence, "Every work on the subject I've seen omits 'The'." Resisting any particular conventional usage, though, will predictably mark one out as an Original among one's peers. --Wetman 10:34, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps the answer on this is to note in the article that historiographical convention is not to use the article. For those readers interested in the absence of the article this at least alerts them to that convention. However, I don't know how to provide a reference to that convention other than a list of all major academic works on Domesday using the convention! Pmoline3 11:29, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

This is WRONG!!!!1 —Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.3.172.147 (talk) 20:59, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

Etymology[edit]

Bill Bryson in The Mother Tongue claims that domesday was taken from the same root as domestic and is unrelated to the modern meaning of doomsday. I haven't checked this independent of his book, so haven't corrected the first paragraph. -- rra@stanford.edu, 2004-07-20


Bill Bryson was wrong about many, many etymological examples he gave in _The Mother Tongue_. I would not take anything he says at face value. 172.162.242.76 03:55, 13 May 2007 (UTC)An Anthropology Major


Well, according to YOU he was wrong. But you don't have any more credibility than he does. So why should anyone believe you more than him? How many books have you had published? I'm sorry....? Oh...the silence is deafening. Now, can I get you anything? A life, perhaps?


I thought the word "domesday" came from the same root as "domestic", i.e. related to peoples homes, and doesn't actually have any connection with "doom" in the sense of "final judgements".



It looks like the article is correct on this, at least according to the Oxford English Dictionary: "The name appears to have been derived directly from Domesday the Day of the Last Judgement, and Domesday Book the Book by which all men would be judged. It originated as a popular appellation..."

Crust 19:33, 24 August 2005 (UTC)

I have serious doubts about this. Old English dom did not refer to the Last judgement in particular, but it meant simply "judgement". Thus, a domesday would simply be the day on which human judges were in session, unrelated to ideas of eschatology. 130.60.142.65 11:07, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
That might be a literal view, but how would "domesday" have been understood idiomatically? The book is named by allusion to the day of Final Judgement --Dannyno 13:43, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
And, according to the OED, "Domestic" comes from the Latin root "domus", meaning house. "Doom", which is the true root of "Domesday", is an Old English word of Germanic origin meaning "statute, judgement". Since The Domesday book isn't just about houses, this makes sense. Remember that "Domesday Book" is actually a 12th century name for William the Conqueror's survey, not what it was originally called. The word domestic is first attested by the OED in 1521. So it doesn't work eymologically either. --Dannyno 13:58, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

This is an interesting conversation that would be perfect at Wiktionary, they need etymological and dicdef help. Stbalbach 18:43, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

This is WRONG —Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.3.172.147 (talk) 21:00, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

wikisource template[edit]

I removed the wikisource notice because it distracts from the article. --Stbalbach 05:07, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Prince-Bishop Link??[edit]

Out of curiosity, why does the word "prince-bishop" in the section "Domesday Book" link to Bishop of Durham rather than to prince-bishop? --Kuaichik 00:26, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

I would suggest it links there because the subject of the link is a Bishop of Durham (the Bishops of Durham were Prince Bishops).DuncanHill 17:12, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Pronounciation[edit]

Could someone please add the pronounciation as an ogg vorbis file... I think its necessary to get that clear for people reading the article. 83.67.79.40 14:46, 14 October 2006 (UTC)Hira

Settlements mentioned in Domesday in Wikipedia[edit]

Browsing around Wikipedia's English settlement articles, it seems that a few mention references in Domesday but many don't. Has anyone thought of creating some sort of standard Domesday infobox entry and adding lots more? I believe there are online databases of Domesday entries, could they be linked somehow? Grateful for info on this from people more knowledgeable - obviously I suppose we could start going through adding loads, but maybe there's a better way to do it? CreativeLogic 17:12, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Would a category "Settlements mentioned in Domesday" be helpful? Bluewave 17:21, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
Sounds great. Nice name too. Is there a way to simplify creating such a category, for example, can you do it en-masse somehow? CreativeLogic 18:50, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

a surveyors' perspective[edit]

as the domesday book is a survey of land, i think it would be beneficial to view it as well as relate to it as such, that is in terms of the cadastre,and land administration/management161.76.194.32 01:17, 21 March 2007 (UTC)tolu ayelabola 20/03/2007

Protection?[edit]

Has anybody considered protecting this page? Looks like it's constantly subject to vandalism. --Kuaichik 06:15, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

William's motivation for ordering it?[edit]

"William needed information about the country he had just conquered so he could administer it."

I may have my history wrong, but didn't he conquer England in 1066? Why would he need a census 20 years later in order to "administer" it? My bet is it was tied somehow to increasing taxes. And it seems "just conquered" ignores that 20-year gap also, but I don't want to change it because I don't know why he really ordered it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.107.139.9 (talk) 01:19, 4 October 2007 (UTC)


Why does everyone assume that William ordered the survey because he needed information to administer England? What about the possibility that he ordered it in order to confirm the land grabs made by Norman nobles in the aftermath of the conquest? Or the threat of Danish invasion in 1085? Also there is no mention in the entry about the extremely likely possibility that Domesday was in fact based on the pre-existing Anglo Saxon Geld Rolls —Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.22.74.174 (talk) 21:28, 10 February 2008 (UTC)


Its unlikley that it was ever an everyday administrative document, as it was out of date almost as soon as it was written (as soon as any person/landowner listed died). The above might be true, however the Domesday book was toward the end of his reign, he died before it was completed I seem to remeber. So surley if it was justification it came late and long after he had militarily crushed any resistance. The other reason might simply of been as a bit of an ego trip. William showing visiting dignitaries this tome of all he had conquered...... There are quite a few good books on the subject,none I note refrenced here. If you do want to look try Golding, while not dealing directly with the Book he gives a good overview of the period and a good bibliography. --User:Afrobob88


Theres been a BBC documentary about the book this week, where Dr Stephen Baxter (Medieval historian at King's College, London) presents his own opinions and new insight on the subject, claiming it wasn't for establishing new taxes. See British History - The Domesday Book and the iPlayer documentary. This isnt my area of interest so I leave any potential changes to those more involved with this part of the wiki. --Humbersi (talk) 23:21, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

Meaning of the name[edit]

According to the article, "The name Domesday comes from the Old English word dom (of which the Modern English doom is descended), meaning accounting or reckoning. Thus domesday, or doomsday, is literally a day of reckoning, meaning that a lord takes account of what is owed by his subjects.". No source is provided, and I can't find any source which backs it up. When I look for the meaning of the Book's name, this is what I find:

  • "The grand and comprehensive scale on which the Domesday survey took place, and the irreversible nature of the information collected led people to compare it to the Last Judgement, or 'Doomsday', described in the Bible, when the deeds of Christians written in the Book of Life were to be placed before God for judgement. This name was not adopted until the late 12th Century." (Official website of the Domesday Book)
  • "The nickname ‘Domesday’ may refer to the Biblical Day of Judgement, or ‘doomsday’ when Christ will return to judge the living and the dead. Just as there will be no appeal on that day against his decisions, so Domesday Book has the final word – there is no appeal beyond it as evidence of legal title to land. For many centuries Domesday was regarded as the authoritative register regarding rightful possession and was used mainly for that purpose. It was called Domesday by 1180. Before that it was known as the Winchester Roll or King’s Roll, and sometimes as the Book of the Treasury." (National Archives, UK government website)
  • "Henry II's treasurer, Richard Fitz Nigel, wrote of Domesday, "This book is metaphorically called by the native English, Domesdai, the Day of Judgement. For as the sentence of that strict and terrible last account cannot be evaded by any subterfuge, so when this book is appealed to on those matters which it contains, its sentence cannot be quashed or set aside with impunity."" (History Magazine)

Before overwriting that sentence in this Wikipedia article, to replace it with sourced information, I thought it best to see whether anyone has a source confirming what the article currently says. Aridd (talk) 15:33, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Having a quick look at my Shorter Oxford Dictionary, it says that "Domesday" (as in the book) is a variant of "doomsday". Doomsday (meaning the day of judgement) is, in turn made up from the genitive of "doom" + day. "Doom" does indeed come from the Old English "dom", but the base meaning of that word was apparently "to place" or "to set". Doom, itself, has 10 meanings: a statute, a judicial decision, the process of judging, justice, the right to judge, the Last Judgement, a personal opinion or judgement, the faculty of judging, destiny, or the fated ending of someone's life. I'm not sure that the article or any of the sources that you mention are "wrong", except perhaps that doomsday doesn't so much mean A day of reckoning as THE day of reckoning. Perhaps the article could be a bit clearer. Bluewave (talk) 16:08, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
I removed the uncited-since-forever etymology from the article. The implication was clearly that the name "Domesday Book" would not have had the same Biblical connotations when the book was named as it does now. But the only citations given here suggest that it would have had those connotations. --Allen (talk) 01:13, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Six circuits[edit]

In the "six circuits" near the start of the article Huntingtonshire appears in two, which seems unlikely and Lancashire is missing! Kevin D Jackson —Preceding unsigned comment added by 128.246.48.130 (talk) 10:36, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

So are missing Westmoreland (like Lancs, not founded before the later part of the 12th century) and Cumberland (disputed land or Scottish). They have a very good reason of not being on the list. Snapdragonfly (talk) 04:18, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Six Countie[edit]

Sorry Herefordshire is in twice not Huntingtonshire. K —Preceding unsigned comment added by 128.246.48.130 (talk) 10:38, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Section 4 Clean up[edit]

The final paragraph in section four (subsequent history) is an important point to make about the current context of the Work. Unfortunately, it is cumbersome to read and could be difficult for 'the average reader' to understand. Does anyone object to me or someone else having a go at simplifying the sentence? Andmark (talk) 05:28, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

Missing quote mark?[edit]

The first paragraph appears to end in a quote, but I don't see where the quote begins, nor any attribution (other than a reference to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which doesn't seem to be relevant). Westley Turner (talk) 00:37, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Places mentioned in Domesday Book[edit]

A new category Category:Places listed in the Domesday Book has recently been created. A series of subcategories has been created splitting the places into present-day counties. Most of the categories are not yet well populated, but clearly have the potential to grow.

My question is: should the places be categorised by the counties as they appear in the Domesday Book, or by present-day counties? There are arguments both ways. If you wanted to know what had happened to the places listed in the book, you would probably want to browse by Domesday Book county (as in 1086). If you wanted to know which places in a present-day county were in the book, you would want to browse by present-day county. This particularly affects London and the metropolitan counties, but also Cheshire, Berkshire and other counties. It would be better to decide before the categories are more populated and more subcategories added.

Any views? --Mhockey (talk) 19:12, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

Categorising by the "Domesday counties" is problematic because the counties of the 12-19th century were not already formed in 1086 (Lancashire for example was formed much later). There is also some dispute about how the returns were organised for northern England, whether it was organised for administrative convenience or followed actual boundaries. MRSC (talk) 12:04, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
There have been many county boundary changes over the centuries. For instance Halesowen has been at various times in Shropshire, Worcestershire, and (currently) West Midlands. I feel the best way to deal with these ambiguities is by a suitable explanatory paragraph within the article; and (if necessary) by categorising the settlement with the appropriate category for each county in which has been included. This has the advantage that it will then be found whichever way the categories are browsed. Any confusion being addressed within the article text. Josephus (talk) 00:18, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

"the" or no "the"[edit]

This article cannot seem to decide whether to call it "the Domesday Book" or "Domesday Book" (nor, incidentally, whether to italicise the name). In my experience, many experts in this field omit the article, contrary to what normal English usage would suggest. I think the article should be made consistent and a short note added explaining this terminology. There is an old discussion on this subject above, but it apparently did not result in any action being taken (or that action has been eroded by subsequent edits). 86.184.237.148 (talk) 18:49, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

Spurious analysis in lede[edit]

I chopped this from the lede on 17 September 2010 because it seems spurious, it doesn't say who supports it, how acceptable the theory is, and has been unsourced for 5 months. Someone reverted the removal, and 14 days later, there is still no details provided.

"Certain scholars[who?] on common law property rights regard the Domesday Book as the first written account of "who owns what" in the history of common law. Thus, this book might represent the birth of the modern concept of property rights in The West. [citation needed]"

Please provide cites and any specifics before re-including. Ashmoo (talk) 12:40, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

Reliability[edit]

Can we put something about how reliable it is? Is it possible to find inaccuracies? Or is there just no other records? 195.194.187.132 (talk) 11:03, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

Wikiproject[edit]

Interested? See this page! Andrew Dalby 14:19, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Template[edit]

A template is now available, for linking from articles about places, to their entries in the DB, on Open Domesday. See {{OpenDomesday}}. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 20:36, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

Page count?[edit]

How many pages do the two books have? The article doesn't say. --RThompson82 (talk) 07:05, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

So what are the resulting population estimates?[edit]

What population totals and densities have modern scholars derived from the Domesday book? 96.231.17.131 (talk) 02:33, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

Language?[edit]

Surely there ought to be a few words stating what language or languages it was written in. English, French or Latin? None or all of the above?Campolongo (talk) 13:53, 18 November 2012 (UTC)