Domesday: The Inquest and the Book by David Roffe

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By David Roffe

Domesday ebook is the most resource for an knowing of overdue Anglo-Saxon England and the Norman Conquest. And but, regardless of over centuries of research, no consensus has emerged as to its objective. David Roffe proposes a significantly new interpretation of England's oldest and most respected public checklist. He argues that historians have signally did not produce a passable account of the resource simply because they've got conflated basically unrelated methods, the construction of Domesday publication itself and the Domesday inquest from the documents of which it used to be compiled. New courting facts is adduced to illustrate that Domesday e-book can't were begun a lot prior to 1088, and previous resources are reassessed to signify that it used to be compiled by way of Rannulf Flambard within the aftermath of the insurrection opposed to William Rufus within the similar 12 months. Domesday e-book was once a land sign in drawn up through one of many maximum (and so much hated) medieval directors for administrative reasons. The Domesday inquest, in contrast, used to be commissioned by way of William the Conqueror in 1085 and was once an company of a special order. Following the specter of invasion from Denmark in that 12 months it addressed the deficiencies within the nationwide procedure of taxation and defence, and its findings shaped the root for a renegotiation of evaluate to the geld and knight carrier. This research offers novel insights into the inquest as a important motor vehicle of conversation among the crown and the unfastened groups over which it exercised sovereignty, and may problem bought notions of kingship within the 11th century and past.

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By  four or five thousand English lords had been replaced by a few hundred tenants-in-chief. There lies at the heart of this analysis the assumption that all of those who are named as holding land in  or before were, in a legal sense, antecessores. It is clear from Domesday Book, however, that this was not always the case. The term antecessor is relatively rare. It is normally found only in the account of lands in dispute and the identity of the predecessor is sometimes provided by jurors of hundred or shire.

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Either the reassessment was a massive administrative mistake and was immediately abandoned, or the ploughland figures are to be differently interpreted. 3 The determination of right is a more exacting test. In one way or another the various accounts of the supposedly executive process that was the Domesday inquest have devolved upon title to land. The question is, of course, central to the ‘Norman order’ view, and, although more peripheral to the argument, it is implicit in the fiscal analyses.

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