Domesday (or Doomsday) Book, the record of an official survey of England made in 1086. The survey was ordered by William the Conqueror, perhaps to help in the collection of taxes, especially the Danegeld, a land tax. However, historians are not agreed as to the exact purpose of the book. The survey became the official register of land ownership. It is valuable not only for the information it gives on the holding of land, but also for the many incidental details useful for studying the political, economic, social, and church history of the period.
King's officers were sent to each county to hold public hearings attended by representatives of townships and of local lords. The truthfulness of each report was sworn to by 12 men called jurors, six Norman and six Saxon. The information recorded included the name of the estate and the holder; its Danegeld assessment; the amount of farmland, pasture, meadow, and forest; and the number of workers and farm animals. The estimated yearly value of the estate was also given.
The original Domesday Book is preserved in London at the Public Record Office.