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Juries

Although the word itself is never used, Domesday Book is full of references to juries. In Domesday terminology, it is the 'men of the shire', the 'men of the Hundred', or (once) 'the men of the vill' who bear witness, often abbreviated to the 'shire testifies', 'the Hundred testifies', etc. In Kent, Sussex, Lincoln and Yorkshire, juries of the Lathes, Rapes, and Ridings gave evidence, as did those of Holland and Kesteven. Elsewhere, the testimony of burgesses, of monastic institutions, and of tenants-in-chief are also recorded. Joint sessions of some of these juries also bore witness at times.

The
Inquisitio Eliensis records that the jurors included the reeve, priest and six villagers of every vill. On a conservative estimate, this means that well over 50,000 jurymen gave or confirmed evidence at the Domesday Inquest.

For more information on Domesday juries, see Chris P. Lewis, 'The Domesday jurors', Haskins Society Journal, vol. 4 (1995); Robin Fleming, 'Oral testimony and the Domesday Inquest', Anglo-Norman Studies, vol. 17 (1995), pages 101-22; Robin Fleming, Domesday Book and the law: society and legal custom in medieval England (1998).
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