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industries

Apart from milling, fishing, and salt, industrial activity is only fleetingly and erratically recorded in Domesday Book.

Seven lead mines are named in Derbyshire, six on royal estates. None are noticed elsewhere, and tin mining is not mentioned at all. Of the mining industries, iron occurs most frequently, though the only reference to mines is at Rhuddlan; stone quarrying is alluded to on seven occasions.

Among other industries which must have had a significant place in eleventh-century England, there is not a single direct reference to the textile industry, and only four references to wool, two of these to a
customary payment known as the Queen's wool. Yet there will have been more sheep than people in Domesday England.

After milling, fishing and mining, bee-keeping is the most commonly noticed industry, though the bulk of the references occur in Little Domesday. Honey, of course, was the only available sweetener, and wax from the hives was used for candle-making.

No other industry gets more than a handful of references. Bakers and brewers have fewer than a dozen notices a-piece, yet brewing was significant enough for Cheshire and Herefordshire to have
bye-laws regulating the industry. If Domesday Book were taken literally, the entire population of brewers - 40 in all - was to be found on a single manor in Cornwall (CON 1,2). Similarly, potters are enumerated on only one manor and alluded to on another: this is the sum total of references to what the archaeological record documents as a major area of manufacturing.

Coastal and overseas trade must have been a significant element in the economy of late eleventh-century England. Yet although there are more than a score of references to ships, only one entry (LIN CS 39) gives any indication of their commercial activity or of its scale; most refer to
military obligations or renders to the king.

The sparse record of industry and trading in Domesday Book has led many historians to conclude that they were not important in the eleventh century. However, in view of the unsystematic nature of what is recorded, it is more likely that these subjects have suffered from Domesday's preoccupation with rural
manors and royal dues.

For further detail on trade and industry, see H.C. Darby, Domesday England (1977); Edward Miller and John Hatcher, Medieval England: towns, commerce and crafts, 1086-1348 (1995).
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