Domesday in Eleventh-Century England Essay by GerardIPrudhomme

Domesday in Eleventh-Century England
A look at the medieval document, "Domesday" as a source of evidence of eleventh- century England and the limitations of it as a reliable source.
# 2302 | 1,860 words | 9 sources | 2001 | US
Published on Oct 19, 2001 in History (British) , Literature (English) , Philosophy (History) , International Relations (General)

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A discussion of the limitations of "Domesday" (medieval document of English history) as evidence about the society and the economy of eleventh-century England. The author looks at the authors of the document, how it was written and the type of evidence that it holds.

From the Paper:

"To accept Domesday as completely factual and to never have to verify the many different claims it makes as the final answer to our queries about eleventh-century England would be very easy and tempting. This, however, would leave so many gaping holes in the explanation of England that such a total acceptance in not feasible. Although the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, version E, states "there was no single hide of land, nor indeed one ox or one cow nor one pig which was there left out", this would leave us with hardly enough to keep a small percentage of the population in shoes. The number of pigs noted, as well, would have made bacon a ridiculously rare treat for kings or peasants alike. Therefore, as this example demonstrates, we have to take the Domesday Book with a grain of salt and view it with a critical eye. We must separate the fact from the fiction and salvage what is useful to historians from these epic tomes. In order to do this we must understand the limitations implicit in such a work and do our best to define those limitations."

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