of the most researched books in the world, the Domesday Book is
the earliest public record in England that has survived. In 1085
William the Conqueror ordered a complete survey of the land in England.
The Domesday Book is the result. It was probably for the purpose
of recording taxes and determining military service in a feudal
recorded who owned the land, who lived on it, the type of livestock,
the value and taxes. It became known as Domesday because to the
subject Anglo-Saxons it resembled God's final day of judgment. An
Anglo Saxon described it this way:
sent his men all over England into every shire ... Also he had a
record made of ... how much everybody had who was occupying land
in England, in land or cattle, and how much money it was worth.
So very narrowly did he have it investigated, that there was no
single hide nor a yard of land, nor indeed (it is a shame to relate
but it seemed no shame to him to do) one ox nor one cow nor one
pig which was there left out, and not put down in his record: and
all these records were brought to him afterwards."
It was the most
complete and detailed survey until the modern census came along
in the 19th century.
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