Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Domesday Book 1086

William the Conqueror following the Battle of Hastings and the suppression of many rebellions divided the lands of England into "Honours" for his magnates, which were further subdivided into manors, and further into fiefs [knight's fees] each supporting a knight.

Essentially the Domesday Book provided the kings of England with the written, documented and sworn evidence unequivocally to exploit their rights and the principal sources of revenue from all the land in the country. In addition it gave the magnates and prelates almost a written title to the land assigned to them. An incredibly important document it decided the distribution of land and wealth in England shire by shire to whom and how much, and the taxes leviable on those lands.

The Domesday Book allowed the king to know all his estates in the country, and the extent of all the estates of his tenants-in-chief. After the Conquest the barons had helped themselves to much of the land in England. The Domesday Book was a formal written record. The king knew precisely what he could take from his barons after a forfeiture for treason or following the death of any of his tenants, and exploit ecclesiastical and secular vacancies.

Writ on every page was the fundamental principle or axiom of feudalism

Nulle terre sans seigneur.

No land without a lord.
No property [land] without a liege.

The only allodial owner of land in the country was the monarch. All other land was held of the king by "knights' service", either directly to the king as suzerain or overlord or by infeudation or subinfeudation to a mesne lord.

Henry I re-inforced this principle in his coronation charter

"Milites qui per loricam terras sues deserviunt."

This was the fief du haubert found in Normandy.


Land recorded as belonging to Archbishop of Canterbury in Domesday Book 1086

The Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England (PASE)

Palmer, J., Electronic Edition of Domesday Book: Translation, Databases and Scholarly Commentary, 1086; second edition  SN: 5694,

'How Land Was Held Before and After the Norman Conquest', in Domesday Book Studies, ed. Ann Williams and R. W. H. Erskine, London 1986, 37-8.

Conquered England. Kingship, succession, and tenure, 1066–1166. By George Garnett. Oxford University Press, 2007. 
Patrick Edward Dove (1888). Domesday Studies: On the study of Domesday book.  Longmans, Green.

Sir Frederick Pollock, Frederic William Maitland, The History of English Law before the Time of Edward I, 2 vols. [1898]
The History of English Law before the Time of Edward I, vol. 2

Frederick Pollock (January 2009). The Land Laws. BiblioBazaar. ISBN 978-1-103-09459-2.

John Horace Round. Feudal England: Historical Studies on the XIth and XIIth Centuries. Cambridge University Press. pp. 225–. ISBN 978-1-108-01449-6.

The history of landholding in England
by Fisher, Joseph, F.R.H.S  (1876)

Book of Fees

Book of Fees - Wikipedia

Cartae Baronum 1166
Lists of knight's fees in Kent : 1166 : Certificates submitted by the king's tenants in chief 

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