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Lincolnshire & The Domesday Book ~ An Overview

The Domesday Book & Lincolnshire
As I so often quote from the 1086 Domesday Book I thought it worthwhile giving it a quick historic overview for those who have a passing interest in it
It’s a tremendous thing . . .

For those unaware a brief overview of the Domesday Book itself
The Domesday Book is an incredible medieval record of English Heritage and was commissioned by William the Conqueror in 1086.
It’s divided into 37 counties which then break down into cities, towns and hamlets.
The aim was to literally catalogue the assets of England, a sort of census, primarily for the purposes of taxation.
A typical village entry may include how many households, landowners, freemen and villains - the presence of a mill, how many plough teams, the amount of pasture land etc

The Domesday Book of 1086
Now Housed at the National Archives

Lincolnshire in the Domesday Book

Lincs is the second biggest county in England but in 1086 it also had the second largest population in England, the primary reason being agriculture - back then it required huge amounts of manual labour.

Lincoln was also one of the 4th largest cities in with London, York and Norwich (Norfolk being the most populated county at the time) - it was clearly a very important part of the country.

I believe Lincolnshire still today has an important characteristic that was probably in place in 1086 . . . isolation!
Lincolnshire was heavily part of the Danelaw and massively influenced by the influx of Danes, add to that the remote Fenlands and marshlands, plus the rural nature of farming and agriculture I can’t help but feel it was perhaps like an island within an island.
Today, much still feels ‘rural’ plus the lack of major roads do not interlink us with counties as they do elsewhere in the country.

We’re gradually producing pages which will cover all Lincolnshire towns, villages and churches, on those pages we often have specific Domesday information, they can be seen here List of Linolnshire Churches

Many of the listing for Lincolnshire are all but the same, sometimes the only differences being the absence or presence of a church or mill - another thing that becomes repetitive is the Lords or landowners.
One of my favourite parts of Domesday is that it lists the local Lords pre the Norman Conquest and post it - so we get all those wonderful Anglo-Saxon Lords which their wonderful names - then ousted for the French interlopers from Normandy – a couple of lines of medieval script denotes a complete sea-change in England which changed the island forever.

All in all it’s a wonderful insight into the life of real people and the times in which they lived.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this overview and I welcome any snippets of Lincolnshire related Domesday information

Feudally yours,


  1. Paul Rowe said,

    April 21, 2013 @ 10:12 pm

    Can I ask for the opinions of yourself and the many knowledgeable commentators on this site. ( I may be talking a load of rubbish!)The Danes occupied the Northern areas north of the Danelaw line and had a prosperous country with York (Yorvik) as its capital If you look at England today you still can see the North South divide in the way people speak and in prosperity as if there are two England’s one northern poor and a rich south.It is possible to trace a line across England where the Danelaw is and on each side local people pronounce certain words differently on each side.In days gone past it was not the thing to have a “Northern” accent and people who wanted to get on had to learn to speak like a B.B.C. newsreader in what was called “received pronounciation”.(personally I am very proud of my Grimsby accent and I still am after 35 years in Southern Africa). In Southern England the counties near London are still called the,”Home’ counties as if everything revolves around Southern England and London.Am I right in my way of looking at Two Englands even today or am I talking a load of codswallop? Another question I have is that most Englishmen are descended from Danes whether they are Anglo Saxon or Dane as the Angles and Jutes were from Denmark anyway but England does not seem to have had a very special relationship with the”Mother” country like the Afrikaaners of South Africa have had with France and Holland.In fact the opposite in 1807 the British navy bombarded Copenhagen doing much damage and destroying many buildings and taking many lives.I live in South Africa and doing so makes one look differently at England especially when looking at the Afrikaans mix of Dutch,French, German And English.

  2. Rod said,

    April 22, 2013 @ 6:52 am

    back then the north south divide was the River Humber, mentioned by the Venerable Bede and King Alfred to name but 2.

    The south, areas such as Dumnonia, were more prosperous, my presumption being warmer weather so better crop yields. I suspect it’s a chicken and egg thing as well - if Alfred had centred his Kingdom in Lincoln or York then perhaps today they would be the heart of the country rather than London.

    The difference still remains today and is perpetuated, I believe, by the best people moving to the ‘best places’
    The harsh reality is if you’ve really got a lot about you and want to make serious money then you’ll not, by and large, do it in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire etc - you move to London etc.

    This takes all the ‘best’ people from certain areas and continues to reinforce ‘the gap’

    Wales has suffered badly here, recently business there complained about Public Sector pay being too high and that businesses could afford to match it so all the best people either worked in the Public Sector or left Wales for Southern England leaving them unable to recruit key staff.

    I’ve thought for a long time that housing etc will force a spread of business and jobs outside the London ring but it never really seems to happen and the fact is if you live in Grimsby there are, apart from senior public sector jobs, virtually no opportunities for higher salary jobs . . .

    Just my theory of course

  3. Paul Rowe said,

    April 23, 2013 @ 5:03 pm

    Thanks Rod! Very interesting comment!

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