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
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