December 25, 1085

King William I has called for a census of all of the country’s estates and resources. This survey is being conducted to collect taxes and other fees. Sources close to the king claim the money collected will go to paying the army King William I employed to fight against the invaders from Denmark.

The Domesday Survey will be divided into two parts: Great Domesday and Little Domesday. Little Domesday will contain more specific information and includes counties Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. Information will be recorded by landowners submitting lists of what they own and having these lists compared to existing tax records for accuracy. These are the questions landowners are expected to answer in their lists:

  • What is the name of the land being owned?

  • Who owned the land during the reign of King Edward?

  • Who owns it now?

  • What are the measurements of the land?

  • How many tools are owned by the landowner and how many belong to the peasants?

  • How many villeins (wealthy peasants) pay the landowner rent and labor?

  • How many peasants own part of the land?

  • How many slaves do you have?

  • How many freemen do you have?

  • How many freemen in debt do you have?

  • How much woodland?

  • How much meadow?

  • How much pasture?

  • How many mills?

  • How many fisheries?

  • How much has been added to or taken away from the estate?

  • How much was all of your land worth under King Edward II?

  • How much is your land worth now?

Click here to learn more about Domesday

Click here to read the Domesday Book (put text in fullscreen and zoom in)