Domesday Economy: A New Approach to Anglo-Norman History

Domesday Economy: A New Approach to Anglo-Norman History

Domesday Economy: A New Approach to Anglo-Norman History

Domesday Economy: A New Approach to Anglo-Norman History


This book provides a new interpretation of the English economy between 1066 and 1086 by using methods not previously applied to Economic theory and statistical techniques to reappraise the information recorded in the Domesday book. It is the first major reinterpretation of the Domesdayeconomy since the work of J. H. Round and F. W. Maitland almost one hundred years ago, and its publication in 1986 coincided with the 900th anniversary of Domesday.


An attempt has been made in this book to analyse aspects of the English economy in the late eleventh century. For this purpose we have employed contemporary economic and statistical methods to examine the remarkably detailed data in Domesday Book. By bringing new techniques to bear upon an ancient document, which is now 900 years old, we have crossed the boundaries of a number of disciplines. Fortunately we have been listened to with forbearance, and have received generous assistance and advice. Indeed, this has been one of the most rewarding aspects of our project.

Over the past few years we have accumulated many intellectual debts from colleagues who specialize in medieval history, economic history, political science, economics, and econometrics. While it is not possible to mention everyone, there are a number who should be named because of their valuable comments upon earlier drafts of one or more of the chapters in this book. Amongst the medievalists are J. Campbell, R. Fleming, J. Hatcher, P. D. A. Harvey, J. C. Holt, H. R. Loyn, and G. H. Martin; the economic historians and political scientists include P. A. David, S. Fenoaltea, C. H. Feinstein, G. R. Hawke, M. Levi, D. N. McCloskey, and D. C. North; and the economists and econometricians are J. Aldrich, D. Hendry, J. Hutton, R. Manning, T. Mills, G. Mizon, G. Phillips, P. Wagstaff, and A. Zellner. Many others provided helpful comments in seminars given in Australia, the United Kingdom, and North America.

Throughout the preparation of this book we were fortunate in receiving valuable research and typing assistance from a number of people. We are particularly grateful to Eva Aker, who assisted greatly in processing the data, proof-reading the various drafts, and offering helpful suggestions. Beverley Vickers also provided valuable research assistance. Special thanks go to Mary Cherin who, with remarkable cheerfulness and efficiency, coped with our illegible manuscript and unreasonable deadlines.

We are grateful to to the editors of the Economic History Review, the Journal of Economic History, and the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society for permission to use sections of our earlier articles on the Domesday economy. We thank Allen & Unwin for permission to reproduce (in Table 3.1) data from J. H. Round, Feudal England; Longman for permission to use (in Figure 2.1) material from F. Barlow, The Feudal Kingdom of England; and Cambridge University Press for permission to reprint (in Tables 3.2 and 3.3) data from H. C. Darby (ed.), The Domesday Geography of England, volumes v and vii. Finally we acknowledge the financial support provided by the Australian Research Grants Scheme and Flinders University.



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