The Battle of Hastings in 1066 resulted
in the successful Norman conquest of England.
As England's new king, William the
Conqueror needed to know how much tax he could expect to
collect from the people who lived in England.
To find out, he appointed groups of officials and
sent them out to nearly every hamlet in the country. Their job was
to count every pig, every person, every farm, every rooster in the
kingdom. It was the first census since Roman times.
The officials reported their findings back to King
William. Their reports were entered in a book called the Domesday Book.
The Domesday Book is actually two books, or one
book in two volumes. One volume is called the Little Domesday and the
other The Great Domesday.
Today, this book is important because it tells us a
great deal about the people of the time. To William the Conqueror, this
census was important because it not only identified who owned tax, it
also identified who owed allegiance to him. The law of the time was the
Feudal System, a system of allegiance. William was counting his warriors
as well as his coin.
Domesday Book Online
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