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A guide to Modern Domesdays

March 21, 2017

Who owns England?

“The King [held] a large meeting, and very deep consultation with his council, about this land; how it was occupied, and by what sort of men. Then sent he his men over all England into each shire; commissioning them to find out… what, or how much, each man had, who was an occupier of land in England, either in land or in stock, and how much money it were worth.”

So speaks the Ango-Saxon Chronicle on the compilation of Domesday Book by William the Conqueror – the greatest swag-list ever created. Having seized all England for the Crown after the Conquest, the king was in his counting-house, counting out all his money.

It’s unusual that what is essentially a government tax assessment should still be remembered by the bulk of the population a thousand years after it was carried out. But then, Domesday is unusual. It was an unprecedented piece of…

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