Cambridge Inquisition

The Inquisitio Comitatus Cantabrigiensis (or Cambridge Inquisition), usually abbreviated to ICC, is a Domesday satellite text for most of the county of Cambridge. Although the ICC - like most satellite texts - survives only in a later copy, it is believed to be an authentic copy of an original text of 1086.

Like other major satellites, the ICC reveals that far more material was gathered by the Domesday Inquest than was eventually included in Great Domesday. As Round also demonstrated, comparison of the texts of ICC and Great Domesday illuminates much of the terminology of Domesday Book and the equivalence of many words and phrases which might otherwise have been thought to convey different shades of meaning. The scribes who wrote these texts 'revelled in the use of synonym and paraphrase'.

But the greatest significance of the Cambridge Inquisition is the important part it has played in debates about the making of Domesday Book. Unlike Domesday, the Cambridge satellite is organised geographically, not feudally. This led J.H. Round to argue that the 'original returns' of the Inquest were probably all in this form and were designed to facilitate the assessment and collection of taxes. Although this view has not found favour in recent decades, the case has been re-opened by David Roffe.

The fundamental study of the ICC remains J.H. Round, Feudal England (1895); for the continuing debate about the light the ICC throws upon the 'making of Domesday Book', see most recently David Roffe, Domesday: the Inquest and the Book (Oxford, 2000).

See also Yorkshire Summary, purpose of Domesday Book.