The Domesday Book was ordered by William the Conqeror to assess the value of his
conquered kingdom 20 years after defeating Harold at the Battle of Hastings . The
delay in assessing his kingdom, was that until 1080, the Norman invaders were still
subdueing and allocating land to their soldiers, the last of the land allocated was
in the early 1080's in Northumbria.
The commisioners were authorised to search out the value of the land before the
invasion, then after, and finally in 1086, they were also requested to find the
landowners, who were the ones to be taxed.
Further commissioners were sent out to check up on the first commissioners, to
ensure bribery was not an issue. The details recorded, are still available to us,
and provide interesting reading, with details such as the number of ploughs,
villagers and even each pig and cow in each hamlet.
Some of the details for this area, are that the value of properties near to Battle
were significantly less immediately after the Battle, with the values increasing
as you travel further from the battlefield. The values did not increase by much
before the survey as a high proportion of the population had been killed within
an area 10 miles from Senlac Field. This was due to the Normans tactic of sacking
and razing the area to try to draw Harold into conflict, especially as one of
Harold's manors was at Whatlington.
The total population across Britain was about 2,000,000 people in 1086, a small
number compared to the 65,000,000 of today. Nowadays, a large number of the villages
or buildings in this area are marked with a Domesday Plaque, if they were mentioned
in the tome.
The Domesday book was the first major census in the British Isles, and was more
comprehensive than current census's, as properties such as farms, mills, bakeries
and other industry was recorded, so showing the wealth of the area, not just