Derbyshire Land and Property

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Descriptive Catalogue of Derbyshire Charters in Public and Private Libraries and Muniment Rooms (1906). Online at Google Books - free.

The Domesday Book

"What is the Domesday Book?

"The Domesday Book is a great land survey from 1086, commissioned by William the Conqueror to assess the extent of the land and resources being owned in England at the time, and the extent of the taxes he could raise. The information collected was recorded by hand in two huge books, in the space of around a year. William died before it was fully completed.

"Why is it called the 'Domesday' Book?

"It was written by an observer of the survey that "there was no single hide nor a yard of land, nor indeed one ox nor one cow nor one pig which was left out". The grand and comprehensive scale on which the Domesday survey took place (see How it was compiled), and the irreversible nature of the information collected led people to compare it to the Last Judgement, or 'Doomsday', described in the Bible, when the deeds of Christians written in the Book of Life were to be placed before God for judgement. This name was not adopted until the late 12th Century.

"What information is in the book?

"The Domesday Book provides extensive records of landholders, their tenants, the amount of land they owned, how many people occupied the land (villagers, smallholders, free men, slaves, etc.), the amounts of woodland, meadow, animals, fish and ploughs on the land (if there were any) and other resources, any buildings present (churches, castles, mills, salthouses, etc.), and the whole purpose of the survey - the value of the land and its assets, before the Norman Conquest, after it, and at the time of Domesday. Some entries also chronicle disputes over who held land, some mention customary dues that had to be paid to the king, and entries for major towns include records of traders and number of houses." Source:The Domesday Book Online, Derbyshire

The Domesday Book records the names of wapentakes but by the early modern period the county appears to be divided into hundreds with one exception, the wapentake of Wirksworth.[2]

  1. *The Domesday Book Online, Derbyshire
  2. "General history: Historical events", Magna Britannia: volume 5: Derbyshire (1817), pp. III-XI. Date accessed: 21 July 2013.