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Liber Exoniensis

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Liber Exoniensis
Exon Domesday, Exeter Domesday
Manuscript(s)Exeter Cathedral Library, MS 3500, arranged and rebound in 1816
Length552 folios, single column

The Liber Exoniensis or Exon Domesday is the oldest of the three manuscripts originating with the Domesday Survey of 1086, covering south-west England. It contains a variety of administrative materials concerning the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire. It is MS 3500 in Exeter Cathedral Library.[1]


The leaves were first numbered about 1500, when they were bound as two volumes. They were rearranged and rebound in 1816, when the Record Commission edition was published. There was no 'original order' of the quires, which were in effect separate working documents. Five principal types of record can be distinguished:[1]

  1. The greater part consists of descriptions of manors, obtained from the returns of the Domesday survey, sometimes called the Domesday Inquest, covering Somerset, Cornwall, Devon (incomplete), Dorset (incomplete) and one entry for Wiltshire. Most entries have counterparts in Great Domesday Book, which rearranges, abbreviates, and rewords them. Exon is arranged by landholder; Great Domesday rearranged by county.[1]
  2. Summary accounts of geld, a tax assessed on land. There are three versions for Wiltshire and one for each of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset. For every hundred, the total number of hides is given, followed by the number that were exempt because they were held in demesne by the king or his barons, the number that had paid (along with the sum of money received), and the number which had not paid or for which the geld had been withheld. Elsewhere, Exon text refers to an 'Inquest of Geld' which was evidently concerned with collecting arrears and validating claims to exemption. It was undertaken at the same time and by the same royal commissioners as an Inquest of Lands which was part of the Domesday survey.[1]
  3. Terrae Occupatae, lists of lands in Devon, Cornwall, and Somerset that were held without full royal authority.[1]
  4. Two lists of hundreds in each of Devon, Cornwall, and Somerset.[1]
  5. A handful of summaries of fiefs held by individual barons. There is also a schedule of some of the quires in the collection which has sometimes been mistaken for an index.[1]
folios summary comment
1–3v Wiltshire geld accounts, version A the latest version
7–9v Wiltshire geld accounts, version B
11–12v Dorset boroughs
13–16v Wiltshire geld accounts, version C
17–24 Dorset geld accounts
25–62v Dorset and Wiltshire manorial descriptions
63–64v Two lists of the hundreds in Devon, Cornwall, and Somerset
65–71 Devon geld accounts
72–73 Cornwall geld accounts
75–82v Somerset geld accounts (main part)
83–494v Devon, Cornwall and Somerset manorial descriptions
495–506v Terrae Occupatae in Devon
507–508v Terrae Occupatae in Cornwall
508v–525 Terrae Occupatae in Somerset
526–527v Somerset geld accounts (small part only)
527v–531 Fief summaries
532–532v Partial schedule of quires [1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Roffe, Domesday: The Inquest and the Book, pp. 94-8.


  • Roffe, David (2000). Domesday: The Inquest and the Book. Cambridge.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  • Ellis, Henry, ed. (1816). Libri Censualis, vocati Domesday Book, Additamenta ex Codic. Antiquiss. Exon Domesday; Inquisitio Eliensis; Liber Winton; Boldon Book. London: Record Commission.

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Finn, Rex Welldon (1964). Domesday Studies: The Liber Exoniensis. London.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  • Finn, Rex Welldon (1958–59). "The Exeter Domesday and its Construction". Bulletin of the John Rylands Library. 41 (2): 360–87. doi:10.7227/BJRL.41.2.5.
  • Finn, Rex Welldon (1957). "The Immediate Sources of the Exchequer Domesday". Bulletin of the John Rylands Library. 40: 47–78. doi:10.7227/BJRL.40.1.4.
  • Galbraith, V. H. (1961). The Making of Domesday Book. Oxford.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  • Webber, T. (1989). Beal, Peter; Griffiths, J. (eds.). "Salisbury and the Exon Domesday: Some Observations Concerning the Origins of Exeter Cathedral MS 3500". English Manuscript Studies, 1100–1700. 1. Oxford: 1–18.