The Domesday Book has cropped up twice in the last couple of weeks. Firstly, one kind reader of the Coleridge Way Companion Guide noticed that I had misspelt the name, calling it the Doomsday Book. This has now been corrected, but my mistake prompted me to research the spelling and it appears that whilst there are 532,00 references to Domesday Book there are 4,350,000 references to Doomsday Book.15.12.08 Domesday

Now, whilst some of the references are to the fictional super-villain from the DC Comics’ stable (an adversary of Superman), the vast majority relate to the William the Conqueror’s 1086 record for 13,418 settlements in the southern part of England. Even the British Museum manages to spell it incorrectly!

However, when the records were compiled they had no name as such; just known as the King’s brevia (writings), rotulus (roll),  liber (book) or carta (document). It wasn’t until 1221 that the name ‘Domesday’ was officially documented.

Domesday is the Day of Judgment and the name adopted as an unalterable statement of what was owned at that specific time in history – with no appeal. It was a tax record to discover the values of all the boroughs and manors in England allowing William to tax, levy rents, and calculate resources for the army.

The Coleridge Way Companion Guide contains five references to Domesday (now all spelt correctly) which brings me on to the second occasion recently when Domesday has been mentioned.

At a local quiz evening in Taunton one of the questions was “What is the only Somerset town mentioned in the Domesday Book?”. I can’t remember what the answer was but what I do know is that there are hundreds of mentions. Needless to say I didn’t guess the right answer but did mention to my teammates that the question was flawed – very helpful!