NEH banner [Return to Query]

Products for grant FA-252523-17

Activating Texts: Mediated Documents and Their Makers in Medieval Europe
Carol Symes, Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois

Grant details:

Doing Things beside Domesday Book (Article)
Title: Doing Things beside Domesday Book
Author: Carol Symes
Abstract: This article examines the oldest surviving textual artifacts associated with the inquest of William the Conqueror. Most so-called “Domesday satellites” survive only in later manuscript compilations which do not preserve evidence of their original material formats and uses. However, two bodies of text do provide such information. The first, known as “Exeter Domesday,” is an extraordinary trove of the inquest’s raw data digested into 103 individual parchment libelli, probably produced by a team of scribes working at Winchester. The second consists of two texts made at the Benedictine abbey of Burton-upon-Trent in Staffordshire: a fragmentary roll of parchment constituting a working draft survey of the abbey’s lands and an endorsed copy of its Anglo-Saxon foundation charter, both of which preserve a list of manors that derived from an intermediary draft of the Domesday *descriptio*. Analysis of these invaluable artifacts makes several contributions to our knowledge of the textual landscape that produced Domesday Book: they are witnesses to the flexible yet exacting mechanisms of data collection that made the royal inquest possible; they shed new light on the near-immediate reception of the inquest’s documentation; and they support recent scholarly conjectures that Great Domesday was not the premeditated outcome of the inquest, but a later project, possibly not initiated until sometime after the Conqueror’s death. Finally, and most importantly, they show that the king’s motives for ordering the inquest, and the uses which he and his advisors may have envisioned for it, are not the only motives and uses that matter.
Year: 2018
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: This is the publisher's website. The article will be Open Access through 1 January 2019.
Access Model: via subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Speculum
Publisher: Speculum (Medieval Academy of America)