My ancestor’s entry in the Domesday Book 1086CE

The Domesday Book  is a manuscript record of the ‘Great Survey’ of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086CE by order of King William the Conqueror. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states:

‘While spending the Christmas time of 1085 in Gloucester, William had deep speech with his counsellors and sent men all over England to each shire to find out what or how much each landholder had in land and livestock and what it was worth.’

It was written in Medieval Latin, was highly abbreviated, and included some vernacular native terms without Latin equivalents. The survey’s main purpose was to determine what taxes had been owed during the reign of King Edward the Confessor. Here is an extract from the Somerset chapter of the Book regarding the land of St. Mary of Glastonbury.

Harding holds of the Abbot Crenomelle. He likewise held it at the time of King Edward and gelded for 12 hides [2800 acres]. The arable is 10 cascuates. Thereof in demesne are 6 hides, and there are 6 servants and 8 villanes and 2 bordars and 7 cottagers and 3 ploughs. There is a mill of 30 pence rent and 50 acres of meadow and 50 acres of pasture and 100 acreas of wood. It is worth 4 pounds. The land cannot be separated from the Church.’

I have a family tree going back from my name to 1480CE in the same area of Somerset. So it is reasonable to assume that this Harding referred to in the Domesday Book was one of my ancestors.

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