1. How were the extracts created?
The ancient pages were carefully photographed at the National Archives in London and subsequently digitised. A team of academics translated the entire book into modern English and indexed the contents so that it could be easily accessed by everybody.
2. Are all of the towns and villages in Domesday Book available through this site?
The majority but not all of the locations mentioned in the book are available. Try searching via the homepage.
3. What do the extracts show?
The extracts take the form of a detailed image of the relevant Domesday book folio and a modern English translation of the entry.
4. What else do I get with the extract?
The extract comes with a glossary of terms used.
5. How can I pay?
We only accept Paypal, credit card and debit card payment via this web site. This keeps our costs down and means we can offer the extracts inexpensively. The payment processing is secure and handled by PayPal directly.
6. How are the extracts sent?
They are sent by e-mail for digital orders or by first class post for framed canvas options.
7. What if Iíve got a query before I buy?
Send questions you have to enquiries @ domesdayextracts.co.uk (please remove the spaces in the e-mail address before sending).
8. What if I donít like what I get?
9. What company runs this site?
Great Little Publishing, a small but perfectly formed company based in Richmond-Upon-Thames, London.
1. What's the background to the Domesday Book?
Together with the Koran and the Bible, the Domesday Book has been called one of the three most famous books in the World. Even as recently as 1982 it was used for legal precedent almost 900 years after it was written!
The book, commissioned by William the Conqueror, was an attempt to assess the extent of the land and resources being owned in England at the time and the extent of the taxes he could raise. The information collected was recorded by hand in two huge books, in the space of around a year. Unfortunately William died before it was fully completed.
2. What does the book contain?
The Domesday Book records the landholders, the land owned, their tenants, how many people occupied the land (villagers, smallholders, free men, slaves, and others), the amounts of meadow, woodland, animals, fish and ploughs on the land and other assets such as any buildings present (churches, castles, mills,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. Certain 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.
In terms of recording population at the time, the Domesday Book does not provide any accurate figures
3. How was the Domesday Book compiled?
Royal commissioners were dispatched around England to survey thousands of settlements; the country was split up into 7 regions or 'circuits' of the country. They carried with them a set of questions and put these to a jury of representatives - made up of barons and villagers alike - from each county. They wrote down all of the information in Latin, as with the final Domesday document itself. Once they returned to London the information was combined with earlier records, from both before and after the Conquest, and was then, circuit by circuit, entered into the final Domesday Book.
4. When was the Book written?
The collection of information by the commissioners took place probably in the first few months of 1086, followed by the amalgamation of this and existing information into lengthy drafts. These were possibly finished by the end of the summer of 1086, with work on abbreviating the records into the Great Domesday (see below) probably starting alongside this. By the time of King William's death in September 1087 work had stopped, and could have ceased before this time. Although the Great Domesday Book was left incomplete, the draft of the remaining unabbreviated work (the East Anglian circuit) remains as the Little Domesday Book.
5. Who wrote the Domesday Book?
Incredibly the final version of the main Domesday Book volume, all 413 pages of it, was handwritten by one unnamed official scribe, and checked by one other. Despite the speed at which the Book was compiled the text was carefully written in a short form of Latin.
6. Why was it made?
With the need to defend England from possible invasion threats from Scandinavia, and costly campaigns being fought in northern France, the vast army William amassed required substantial funding. The power to raise Danegeld - a uniform tax to pay for the defence of the country - had been inherited from the Anglo-Saxons, and William saw the need for the Domesday Book as a thorough assessment of the potential amount of tax he could raise from his subjects and their assets. The survey also served as a gauge of the country's economic and social state in the aftermath of the Conquest and the unrest that followed it.
7. What materials were used to make it?
The main volume, Great Domesday, is written on sheep-skin parchment using black and red ink only (red used for the county titles atop each page, and corrections and alterations).
8. How many places are listed in the Domesday Book?
There are 13,418 places listed in the Domesday Book.
9. What areas of Britain did the Domesday survey cover?
The Domesday survey covered all of England as it existed in 1086, which included a small part of what is now Wales, some of Cumbria, but excluded the present day Northumbria. The entries for some major towns at the time like the important Winchester and London failed to make it into the book.
10. How many books make up the whole of the Domesday survey?
The survey was intended to be compiled into one complete volume, but the compilation was never fully completed, probably owing to King William's death before the sole scribe could finish his work. However, the information collected from the whole survey was retained and still exists today in 2 volumes: 'Great Domesday' - most of the counties, abridged, and 'Little Domesday' - the 3 counties missing from Great Domesday, in their unabridged form. See more about the two books here.
11. How many pages are there in the Domesday Book?
There are 413 pages in Great Domesday (see above) and 475 pages in Little Domesday (which shows how much detail was cut out to compile Great Domesday).
12. How many places listed in the Domesday Book still exist?
Amazingly almost all of the places mentioned in the Domesday Book can be found on a present day map of England (and Wales), though many of their names have been altered over time from their 11th century versions.
13. Why is the Domesday Book still important today?
The Domesday Book provides an invaluable insight into the economy and society of 11th century Norman England. For historians it can be used, amongst other things, to discover the wealth of England at the time, information about the feudal system existent in society (the social hierarchy from the king down to villagers and slaves), and information about the geography and demographic situation of the country. For local historians it can reveal the history of a local settlement and its population and surroundings, whilst for genealogists it provides a useful and fascinating resource for tracing family lines. Through the centuries the Domesday Book has also been used as evidence in disputes over ancient land and property rights, though the last case of this was in the 1960s.
High quality page extract
Modern English translation
5 page glossary
Framed or digital versions