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Domesday Book

consists of two volumes, one a large folio, and the other a quarto, the material of each being vellum. It was formerly kept in the Exchequer, under three different locks and keys, but is now kept in the Record Office. The date of the survey is 1086.

Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Durham are not included in the survey, though parts of Westmoreland and Cumberland are taken.

The value of all estates is given, firstly, as in the time of the Confessor: secondly, when bestowed by the Conqueror; and, thirdly, at the time of the survey. It is also called The King's Book, and The Winchester Roll because it was kept there. Printed in facsimile in 1783 and 1816.

Stow says the book was so called because it was deposited in a part of Winchester Cathedral called Domus-dei, and that the word is a contraction of Domus-dei book; more likely it is connected with the previous surveys made by the Saxon kings, and called dom-bocs (libri judiciales), because every case of dispute was decided by an appeal to these registers.

Then seyde Gamelyn to the Justice ...
Thou hast given domes that bin evil dight,
I will sitten in thy sete, and dressen him aright.

Chaucer: Canterbury Tales (The Cookes Tale).

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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