Great Britain Historical Geographical Information System (GBHGIS)

1. domesday book, 1086: cambridgeshire

The "Domesday Book" is "probably the most remarkable statistical document in the history of Europe" (Darby, 1976, p.39). As it was a survey of property rather than place it is also very difficult to map accurately however as the Vill the property was in was also provided we have attempted to for Cambridgeshire as shown below. The data for this map were provided by Dr. John Palmer of the University of Hull. Work at Hull and then at QMW has attempted to allocate an 1871 parish to each vill and this has, as the map shows been surprisingly successful.

The boundaries shown are Civil Parishes for the Ancient County of Cambridgeshire in 1871. The only modifications to these have been to merge the parishes of Great & Little Wilbraham, and Shudy & Castle Camps to form Wilbraham and Camps respectively. The parish of Exning has been added to Cambridgeshire from Suffolk. The data were aggregated to Vill level with Great & Little Linton being aggregated to Linton.

Based on this 93.6% of the "total population" from the transcription could be mapped and 27 1871 parishes covering 16% of the area of Cambridgeshire had no data. The areas with no data are concentrated in the northern parts of the county. This is not surprising as in 1086 these were likely to be marshland and largely uninhabited. The map shows the location of villeins in the county, these were "unfree tenants of manorial land under the feudal system...[who] held his land by agricultural services, by working on the demesne, and by boon work." (Hey, 1996, p. 476). The "total population" figure must be treated with care as it only means the total enumerated. Many people, such as women, may not have been included.

Domesday sampler