Domesday: The Inquest and the Book

Hardcover | March 16, 2000

byDavid Roffe

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Domesday Book is the main source for an understanding of late Anglo-Saxon England and the Norman Conquest. And yet, despite over two centuries of study, no consensus has emerged as to its purpose. David Roffe proposes a radically new interpretation of England's oldest and most preciouspublic record. He argues that historians have signally failed to produce a satisfactory account of the source because they have conflated two essentially unrelated processes, the production of Domesday Book itself and the Domesday inquest from the records of which it was compiled. New datingevidence is adduced to demonstrate that Domesday Book cannot have been started much before 1088, and old sources are reassessed to suggest that it was compiled by Rannulf Flambard in the aftermath of the revolt against William Rufus in the same year. Domesday Book was a land register drawn up byone of the greatest (and most hated) medieval administrators for administrative purposes. The Domesday inquest, by contrast, was commissioned by William the Conqueror in 1085 and was an enterprise of a different order. Following the threat of invasion from Denmark in that year it addressed thedeficiencies in the national system of taxation and defence, and its findings formed the basis for a renegotiation of assessment to the geld and knight service. This study provides novel insights into the inquest as a principal vehicle of communication between the crown and the free communitiesover which it exercised sovereignty, and will challenge received notions of kingship in the eleventh century and beyond.

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From the Publisher

Domesday Book is the main source for an understanding of late Anglo-Saxon England and the Norman Conquest. And yet, despite over two centuries of study, no consensus has emerged as to its purpose. David Roffe proposes a radically new interpretation of England's oldest and most preciouspublic record. He argues that historians have si...

David Roffe is at University of Sheffield.

other books by David Roffe

Decoding Domesday
Decoding Domesday

Kobo ebook|Jun 21 2007

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Format:HardcoverPublished:March 16, 2000Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198208472

ISBN - 13:9780198208471

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Table of Contents

PrefaceThe Mystique of the BookDomesday and Title to LandThe Inquest and GovernmentThe TextsThe Collection of DataCommissioners and the Limits of their CommissionCircuit ReportsThe Writing of Great DomesdayThe Domesday Inquest and the Domesday BookAfterwordBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

`Roffe has not written a book for the curious nonspecialist who wants a learned introduction to Domesday studies. This is a technical work that assumes considerable familiarity with the concepts and language of land tenure in medieval England. Still, there is intriguing material here evenfor the uninitiated.'Emily Albu, University of California, Davis