What can we learn about England in the 11th century?
Domesday Book is the oldest government record held in The National Archives. In fact there are two Domesday Books - Little Domesday and Great Domesday, which together contain a great deal of information about England in the 11th century. In 1086, King William I (the Conqueror) wanted to find out about all the land in his new kingdom: who owned which property, who else lived there, how much the land was worth and therefore how much tax he could charge, so he sent official government inspectors around England to ask questions in local courts.
Fixed questions were asked, such as what the place was called, who owned it, how many men lived there, how many cows were there and so on. For each property, the questions were asked three times to see what changes had happened over time so that the king would know about the lands in Edward the Confessor's time (before 1066), who William I had given it to and what it was worth then, and finally what the situation was in 1086 at the time of the survey. All the results of these questions were handwritten into the Domesday Book by scribes.
1. Who holds Patcham after 1066? How did the change in ownership of land help William increase his control over the country?
- a type of peasant
- a shelter
- a measurement of land
- a place where you cannot be seen