Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The Doomsday Book

I'm sure most people researching their ancestors in England have heard of the Doomsday Book. The Doomsday Book is a work written in Latin, completed in 1086 by order of King William the Conqueror to make a "great survey" (like a census) of properties and holdings in 31 counties of England tax assessment purposes. You have probably seen references to it in histories of places.

Since this ancient book can no longer be consulted by the public it has been made available online and searchable by place at the Open Doomsday site, built by Anna Powell-Smith. They also uploaded the pages to Internet Archive by county.

At Open Doomsday when you do a search your results will give you a translation of the latin text, an image of the original text plus a link to the whole page.

I did a search for the village of Loddiswell, situated on the River Avon in Devon, and where I find my King ancestors in the 1700s. I learn that Lodeswille was a sizable village of 44 households: 20 of villagers, 10 of smallholders, 8 of slaves and 6 of cottagers. There were 12 ploughlands and 10 plough teams, 1 cob (horse), 4 cattle, 6 pigs, 42 sheep and 11 goats. Other resources consisted of 1 lord's land, 13 acres of meadow, half a league of pasture land, 1 league of woodland, and 1 fishery.

It was deemed to be taxed very low for its size at 2 geld units. A unit is described as a hide, which is a measure of land of about 120 acres, thought sufficient to support one household. In 1086 the Lord and tenant-in-chief was Iudhael of Totnes.

When writing about your ancestors, include the history of where they lived.

Relevant Links

Doomsday Book info at Wikipedia

Doomsday Book at National Archive

Open Doomsday

Hull Doomsday Project

Doomsday Book at Internet Archive

Doomsday Book Glossary

The Doomsday Book Online (info)

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