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The Domesday Book

The Domesday Book

Much of the information we know about the changes William the Conqueror made comes from the Domesday Book.

In late 1085 William ordered that a record should be made of all the land in England.  

Why did William do this?

  • It was probably so he could decide how much rent or tax to charge his landowners.
  • It may have been a record so William could easily check on his people - for example how many knights to demand from a certain baron.
  • It may have been to help William see how England had changed since 1066.
  • It may have been a 'register of title'.  This would mean it was an official record of who owned what.  Any arguments over land could be easily settled using the book.
  • It may have been to help William find out what rights he could claim if a tenant died or was dispossessed as a traitor.


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Last updated Wednesday, 02 July 2003