Little Domesday is the first draft or ‘circuit summary’ covering the counties of Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk. Because the information from Little Domesday was never entered into Great Domesday, Little Domesday was kept as the final record for East Anglia. It is possible that another circuit summary exists for the south west: Exon Domesday. This is now in Exeter Cathedral.

All the regional returns, or circuit summaries, were brought together, possibly at Winchester. They were probably all finished by 1 August when William met with the principal tenants of his great feudalglossary icon magnates at Salisbury. A colophonglossary icon at the end of Little Domesday gives us the date of 1086. Little Domesday took between nine and 12 weeks to write up and was the work of about six scribes. It consists of 475 leaves made of parchment (sheepskin). The text is written across the page and not in two columns, as in Great Domesday. Each county begins with a numbered list of landholders in hierarchical order followed by a similar arrangement of entries to that of Great Domesday. Each entry contains more information than an entry in Great Domesday.

Colophon at the end of Little Domesday. Catalogue reference: E 31/1/3 f.450
Colophon at the end of Little Domesday. Translated it reads: In the one thousand and eighty-sixth year from the incarnation of [our] lord [and] in the twentieth [year] of the reign of [King] William, this survey (descriptio) was made, not only through these three counties [Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex], but also through others. Catalogue reference: E 31/1/3 f.450
Pages from Little Domesday for Essex showing the lands of Odo bishop of Bayeux, the half-brother of William I; Catalogue reference: E 36/1/1 f.23v-24
Pages from Little Domesday for Essex showing the lands of Odo Bishop of Bayeux, the half-brother of William I;
Catalogue reference: E 31/1/1 f.23v-24