Domesday Book, our oldest and most famous public record, describes the condition of England south of the river Tees in 1066 and 1086.

Ordered to investigate ‘how the country was occupied, and with what sort of people ... how much each had ... and how much it was worth’, the Conqueror’s commissioners conducted their survey so thoroughly that ‘not one ox, nor one cow,’ was left unrecorded.

As with the Last Judgement, all were called to account in Domesday Book; hence the name, Domesday, or Doomsday, from the Anglo-Saxon word doom, meaning 'law' or 'judgement'. Like the Last Judgement, there could be no appeal from Domesday.

The Domesday Inquest has bequeathed an unparalleled body of evidence. For 99 per cent of the 15,000 places named there, Domesday provides the first recorded description of their human and natural resources. The history of most English villages begins with Domesday Book, as does the continuous history of the English countryside, of the landowning classes and of the peasantry. On the economy and taxation, military service, other public obligationsadministrative structures, government, legal customs and practice, place-names and personal names and many more miscellaneous topics, Domesday Book is the primary source for several centuries of English history. The bulk of the evidence for the settlement of the English in the fifth century and of the Vikings in the ninth comes from Domesday Book. It is overwhelmingly the most important source for the impact of the Norman Conquest, perhaps the most significant divide in English history..

See also: The Hull ProjectDomesday Facts, Domesday Book, Bibliography, Links

Creative Commons LicenceThis site contains resources for students, scholars, or anyone interested in exploring Domesday Book.  The material contained here is the work of the research and development team, and is licensed for use under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Domesday Book

These pages give an overview of the Domesday Inquest, Great Domesday, and the purpose, structure, and terminology of Domesday Book, with references for further study.

Domesday Explorer
Domesday Explorer is software which allows you to explore Great Domesday, searching an updated Phillimore English translation.  The text has been tagged with over 500,000 codes, and a powerful search engine lets you easily find entries of interest, map them, display the facsimile and the translation, along with indexes of places and names.

AHRC Project

The AHRC Project (2007) produced a freely available electronic and fully encoded text of Great and Little Domesday, a database of major Domesday statistics for all people and places, and a scholarly commentary on all matters of interest in the 25,000 entries.  A second edition (2010) revised some of this data and added a file of identifications - IDs.rtf -  of the lords of 12,000 manors named in Domesday Book only by their Christian names. 

Open Domesday is the first free online copy of Domesday Book, with search and mapping of Domesday places, images of the facsimile and entry level statistics. The site was built as a non-profit project by Anna Powell-Smith, in collaboration with the research and development team.

Downloads and other material

Some downloads are provided for offline use of the material here, and there is an update for Domesday Explorer. (version 1.1)  For further reading, see the Bibliography, and for more Domesday resources on the web see Links.