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The National Archives Labs

Was your home town mentioned in Domesday Book?

In today’s blog, I’d like to discuss our new interactive map service that provides easier access to Domesday’s information.

Using the interactive map

A current OpenStreetMap map shows all of the places which are mentioned in Domesday. Clicking on a place brings up the place’s name in 1086, so you will be able to find out your home town’s eleventh century name. You can discover the names of the people who held land there and, for a charge of £2.00, you can download a copy of the relevant page along with an English translation.

We’ve added a postcode search too. So, inputting TW9 4DU will take you to a map of Kew and the surrounding area; if you click on Petersham, you will learn that in 1086 there was a fishery, which captured 1,000 eels and 1,000 lampreys every year.

Why it matters

Did you know that there were about 46 vineyards mentioned in Domesday Book? Most seem to have been planted since the Norman Conquest of 1066 and all were south of a line between Ely and Gloucestershire. Clearly these were a reflection of the Norman fashion for drinking wine and probably evidence of a warmer climate than existed a few centuries later. This kind of additional geographical and environmental information is one of the most significant aspects of Domesday.

As an example of the kinds of information you can find in Domesday, we’ve added special features to the maps so you can see the number of places with Viking names, reflecting the Danish settlement after 865CE, and also the names of places where cranes (once a common English bird) can be found.

Domesday tells us great deal about the relationship between the King, the church, the great landlords and ordinary people. Something of the flavour of life in Old Romney can be learned from this entry:

The same Robert has 50 burgesses in the borough of OLD ROMNEY; and from these the king has every service, and they are by reason of service at sea quit of every customary due except these 3: theft, breach of the peace, and highway robbery.

How you can help

The links between the maps and Domesday were generated automatically so there may be a few errors. Please let us know if you find any. No prizes – just our grateful thanks.

Director of Technology and Chief Information Officer – David Thomas

As a senior archivist and records specialist at The National Archives, David’s career has focused on developing access to archives and information in both government and the archive sector.

David is responsible for information technology services at The National Archives, and is leading on the major cross-government project to develop a shared service for preserving digital records.

Comments (17)

  • BPalmer

    Thanks for another good addition to the line-up. It’s good to see that TNA are taking a lead on historic mapping data.

    I was interested on a technical level why you chose to use OpenStreetMaps for the map and not Ordnance Survey.

    The National Archives reply:

    Thanks for your comments. The purpose of the Labs site is to develop prototypes and try things out – we felt it would be useful to try OpenStreetMap, alongside Ordnance Survey’s OpenSpace, which we use for the UK History Photo Finder and the Valuation Office map finder.

    Please do let us know what you think.

  • JBrusby

    A very interesting development, although it’s a shame more data layers aren’t available on the map. You say copies can be purchased for £2.00, however the links take you through to the TNA website where the cost is £3.50. Am I missing something?

    The National Archives reply:

    Sorry for the confusion. The systems have now been updated and the correct cost of £2 will apply.

  • Adrian Simpson

    Dear David,

    Sounds like a great service. Is the £2 fee full cost recovery?


    Adrian Simpson

  • David Thomas

    The current price for downloads via DocsOnline is £3.50 which when previously calculated, was reflective of the cost to deliver the service. The Domesday downloads contain substantially less information than a standard DocsOnline download so we were able to set a price that more closely reflects provision of that service and good value to the customer. We are currently in the process of reviewing all our pricing structures with a longer term view to adjusting if required

  • Wendy Dodson

    Got the site details from the Bucks Herald but cannot get any maps, just a basic road map of the area.

  • Roger MANLEY

    What appears to be a fascinating range of online services was completely spoiled for me by the fact that the Home Page and subsequent sub-pages took far too long to load. After waiting over 4 minutes for some pages to load I gave up in frustration.

  • Bob Douglas

    Map service seems to be down

  • carol metcalfe

    takes forever to load maps – very disappointing

  • Colin Shelton

    I really did not discover if it was mentioned .However I found out stuff that I really did know before but it had not connected properly in the old noggin.

  • Chas Jones

    The interactive map is excellent – Is it a work still in progress? I notice that the place I have been researching, modern day Fulford (the one just south of York) is missing. The wonderful assistants at Kew transcribe these entries for me about a decade ago. Fuelford and Fuelthorpe can be easily realted to the modern location through their pre and post conquest owners.

  • D. MacLeod

    Congratulations, this fantastic site will keep many of us enthralled for hours! Will you however, be listing those ‘Place Names’ in the Domesday Book where you were unable to trace the location? A ‘pull-down’ of yours below ‘location’ mentioned that the name I was looking for was perhaps amongst this list. Thank You!

  • edward keogh

    Unable to find RYHOPE, or the old names of reshopa, ryhopa and many other names, I know it was mentioned in the Doomsday book

  • Trevor Glenton

    A great idea but I searched for Wigston Magna and it’s not there! On the map, you seem to have the places around it but there’s a big hole where it should be. Maybe there’s a bit more work to do on some of the data quality for this site?

  • Gina

    Very disappointing.I could not move from the Get Started. I notice thta others are having problems. Help

  • Sheilagh Stones

    How can the names mentioned in the folders for Dawlish, Devon, be identical to those listed for Ide, Exeter??

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