The National ArchivesEducation ServiceDomesdayBookWhat can we learnabout England in the11th century?Great Domesday(E31/2/1/26)

Domesday BookWhat can we learn about England in the 11th Century?IntroductionLesson at a GlanceDomesday BookSuitable For: KS3, KS2Domesday Book is the oldest government record held in The NationalArchives. In fact there are two Domesday Books – Little Domesday andGreat Domesday, which together contain a great deal of informationabout England in the 11th century. In 1086, King William I (theConqueror) wanted to find out about all the land in his new kingdom:who owned which property, who else lived there, how much the landwas worth and therefore how much tax he could charge, so he sentofficial government inspectors around England to ask questions in localcourts.Time Period:Medieval 1066-1485Curriculum Link:The development ofChurch, state and societyin Medieval Britain The Norman ConquestThe Viking and Anglo-Saxonstruggle for the Kingdom ofEngland to the Time ofEdward the Confessor Edward the Confessor andhis death in 1066Fixed questions were asked, such as what the place was called, whoowned it, how many men lived there, how many cows were there andso on. For each property, the questions were asked three times to seewhat changes had happened over time so that the king would knowabout the lands in Edward the Confessor’s time (before 1066), whoWilliam I had given it to and what it was worth then, and finally whatthe situation was in 1086 at the time of the survey. All the results ofthese questions were handwritten into the Domesday Book by scribes.Learning Objective:Contents:To closely examine adocument in order todiscover information.Teacher’s notes:3Source One:4To consider what life waslike in England in the 11thcentury.Questions:5Resources needed:Printed sources andquestionsUseful links:British ns/)The story behind the Battle of Hastings and the leaders whofought it out in 1066.The Domesday Book Online( site gives background information to Domesday Book, itscreation, historical context, and a timeline.This resource was produced using documents from the collections of The National Archives. It can be freely modified andreproduced for use in the classroom only.2

Domesday BookWhat can we learn about England in the 11th Century?Teacher’s notesThis lesson could be used for History at key stage 3, within the development of Church, state and society inMedieval Britain 1066-1509.The activities also support the key stage 3 literacy strategy for the development of writing. Students canattempt to locate the English words within the Latin original, and consider the development of the Englishlanguage.Finally, the questions could also be used with key stage 2 pupils, fitting in with studies of Edward theConfessor as well as contributing to the key stage 2 numeracy strategy.BackgroundOn 5 January 1066, Edward the Confessor, the King of England, died. Harold Godwin was crowned King ofEngland. Two other men claimed that the throne belonged to them: Harold Hardrada, King of Norway; theother was William Duke of Normandy. Harold Hardrada invaded the north of England but the King managedto defeat his army. Shortly after, William – had landed in the south of England. On 14 October 1066, theEnglish and Norman armies clashed in a battle just outside Hastings, in which Harold died – legend has it thatKing Harold was shot in the eye by an arrow! William, Duke of Normandy was crowned King of England onChristmas Day 1066.William took all the land and important jobs in the Government and Church away from the Saxons anddivided it up amongst his Norman friends. He built castles to make the English feel so scared that they wouldnot dare even to think about causing trouble. By 1085, William had a shortage of money and also manyNormans had begun to disagree amongst themselves over the land they had been given as a reward forhelping conquer England. William wanted to settle these disputes once and for all. Thus William decided toorder a survey. The survey would list all the land in England. It would list who was looking after each area,what lands they had, and which other people lived there. Importantly, the survey would find out how muchtax-money William could get from this land. Official government inspectors were sent around the country togather information. The people in England spoke Saxon English and the Norman inspectors spoke French andLatin. A jury, which included the local important men such as the village priest and reeve who couldunderstand the different languages, had to decide whether their neighbours were telling the truth.The results of this survey were written into Domesday Book. Great Domesday contains most of the countiesof England and was written by one scribe and checked by a second. Little Domesday, which contains theinformation for Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, was probably written first and is the work of at least six scribes.Domesday Book describes almost all of England and more than 13,000 places are mentioned in it. Most ofthem still survive today. London, Winchester, County Durham and Northumberland were not included in KingWilliam’s survey. In spite of these omissions, the survey gives a wealth of information, as well as highlightingthat a lot of property had been destroyed by William’s invasion in 1066. Most of the land originally owned by2000 Saxons belonged to 200 Norman barons in 1086, showing just how powerful the Norman lords hadbecome!3

Domesday BookWhat can we learn about England in the 11th Century?Source One: Great DomesdayExtract of page from Vol. 1 of Great Domesday, showing survey entry of Preston Hundred in SussexTranscriptIN PRESTETUNE HUND.Ipse Wills ten PICEHA in dnio . Herald tenuit . T.R.E.Tc se desd p LX . hid . m p . XL . Tra . e qt XX . car.In dnio. VIII . car. CXLX.III . uilli XL.V . bord cuqt XX II . car . Ibi aeccla .VI . serui . X . berquarij.Ibi qt XX IIII . ac pti . silua. c . porc.In Lewes . XXVI . hagae . de . XIII . solid.De hac tra ten Ricoard VII . hid . miles ej . I . hid dim.In dnio hnt .II. car . cu . II . bord.T.R.E.ualeb tot . c .lib . post . L . lib .m . qt XX . lib.TranslationIn PRESTON HundredWilliam holds PATCHAM himself, in lordship. Earl Harold held itbefore 1066. Then it answered for 60 hides; now for 40.Land for 80 ploughs. In lordship 8 ploughs;163 villagers and 45 smallholders with 82 ploughs;A church; 6 slaves; 10 shepherds; meadow, 84 acres;woodland, 100 pigs; 26 sites in Lewes at 13s.Richard holds 7 hides of this land; and a man-at-arms of his 1/2 hides.In lordship they have 2 ploughs, with2 smallholders.Total value before 1066 100; later 50; now 80.4

Domesday BookWhat can we learn about England in the 11th Century?Domesday Book - Questions1. Who holds Patcham after 1066? How did the change in ownership of land help William increase hiscontrol over the country?2. What is a ‘hide’? a type of peasant a shelter a measurement of land a place where you cannot be seen3. How many oxen are there in the village? Remember each plough is pulled by a team of eight oxen.4. How many people live in this village?5. Make a list of all the people in the village, starting with those who hold the most land and ending withthe poorest members of the village.6. Name two jobs, apart from ploughing, which this source reveals.7. Work out the number of acres of land in the village. Remember one hide 120 acres; an acre isroughly the size of a football pitch.8. What do you think the woodland was used for?9. What was the value of the land when William the Conqueror became king in 1066? What hadhappened to its value by 1086?10. Think about your answers for question 9. Why do you think King William was interested in knowingthe value of the land?5