The New Student's Reference Work/Domesday Book
Domesday (or Doomsday) Book, the name given to an old record which contains a description of all the lands of England in the time of William the Conqueror. Commissioners were sent out by William, and were met wherever they went by representatives of the people, who told them the name of each estate or manor and the name of its owner; the amount of land, how much was wooded, how much was pasture, and how much meadow; how many mills and how many fishponds belonged to it; and the value of the whole in the time of Edward the Confessor as well as of William. The number of tenants on the land was also given, and the amount of their cattle and live stock, as well as the number of serfs. The king thus obtained a complete account of the wealth of the kingdom and of the military strength of each county in case of war. A record was also made of the lands the possession of which was in dispute. Domesday Book, thus, is now a valuable record for the study of the history of ancient England.