“Domesday is our most famous and earliest surviving public record. It is a highly detailed survey and valuation of all the land held by the King and his chief tenants, along with all the resources that went with the land in late 11th century England. The survey was a massive enterprise, and the record of that survey, Domesday Book, was a remarkable achievement. There is nothing like it in England until the censuses of the 19th century.” [National Archives: Discover Domesday]
Each entry was intended to record, inter alia, the name of the manor; the identity of the owner(s) in 1066 and 1086; the tax assessment (‘hides’); the number of ploughing teams employed; the population of villagers, smallholders, slaves, etc.; the acreage of various types of land use; and the value of the manor and its components. Local readers will notice that there has been a certain amount of land and property price inflation since 1086 and that Edburton does not appear in the Domesday Book, either by that name or by its Saxon name, Abberton.
- Lewes Rape XII.26: Leofnoth holds Pawthorne from William. He held it from King Edward; he could go wherever [he would]. Then it answered for 4 hides; now for 1.5 hides because the others are in the Rape of William of Braose. Land for 1 plough. It is there in lordship, with 2 smallholders. 3 sites in Lewes at 18d. The value is and was 30s.
- Lewes Rape XII.27: Osward holds Perching from William. He held it before 1066; he could go where he would. Then and now it answered for 3 hides. Land for 2.5 ploughs. In lordship 1; 2 villages and 4 smallholders with 1 plough. 0.5 mill at 40d; meadow, 7 acres; woodland, 2 pigs; 1.5 sites in Lewes at 9d. The value is and was 40s.
- Lewes Rape XII.28: In the same village Tesselin holds 2 hides from William. It answers for as much. It lay in (the lands of) Truleigh, which William of Braose holds. Belling held it from Earl Godwin. In lordship 1 plough; 3 villagers and 2 smallholders with 0.5 plough. 0.5 mill at 13s 4d; meadow, 3 acres; woodland 2 pigs; 0.5 site in Lewes at 2d.
- Lewes Rape XII.29: Tesselin also holds Fulking from William. It lay in (the lands of) Shipley, which William of Braose holds. Harold held it before 1066. Then and now it answered for 3 hides and 1 virgate. 6 villagers with 2 ploughs. These two lands of Tesselin are together. The value is and always was 50s.
- Lewes Rape XII.35: William of Watteville holds Perching. Azor held it from King Edward, and 2 men from Azor. Then and now it answered for 5.5 hides. Then there were 2 halls; now it is in 1 manor. Land for 5.5 ploughs. In lordship 1; 4 villagers and 3 smallholders with 1 plough. 2 slaves; meadow, 3 acres; woodland, 3 pigs; from asture 6d. Value before 1066, 60; later 40s; now 50s.
- Lewes Rape XIII.6: William, a man-at-arms, holds Truleigh from William. Belling [held] it from Earl Godwin before 1066. Then it answered for 4 hides; now for nothing. Land for 2.5 ploughs, In lordship 1 plough; 3 villagers and 6 smallholders with 0.5 plough. 2 mills at 65d. Ansfrid holds 0.5 hide of this land. He has 0.5 plough. Value of the whole manor before 1066 4 pounds; later 60s; now 70s.
- Lewes Rape XIII.7: William himself holds Tottington, in lordship. It lay in (the lands of) Findon. An outlier. Harold held it before 1066. Then it answered for 6 hides; now for 1 hide. Land for 5 ploughs. In lordship 1; 3 villagers and 7 smallholders with 2 ploughs. Meadow, 4 acres. One William holds 2 hides of this land. He has 3 villagers with 1.5 ploughs. Total value before 1066, leter and now 6 pounds.
[Extracts taken from John Morris’s 1976 edition and translation, Domesday Book. Chichester: Phillimore.]
These entries are translations of the heavily abbreviated Latin in which the original manuscript was written. Even if you did Latin at school, you will probably have a hard time making sense of this:
If you want to learn more about the Domesday Book, then both the National Archives and the BBC have excellent reference pages. If they whet your appetite for more then David Roffe, the UK’s foremost Domesday historian, has plenty of material available at his website. And if you decide that you simply must have a facsimile, then a range is available from Addison Publications.