The interactive parts of this resource no longer work, but it has been archived so you can continue using the rest of it.

Focus on Domesday

Home Discover the story behind it How was it made? Take a closer look Activities
PDF PDF version


Abbot the monk who was in charge of other monks in a monastery.
Acre a unit of land (4,840 square yards).
Arpent French term for measuring the size of a vineyard.
Bordar/Cottar an unfree peasant, who had very little or no land. They probably lived in a cottage outside the main manor. Most people in England during the Middle Ages were bordars or cottars.
County/Shire a large area of England. In 1086, England was divided up into many counties. Some examples of counties are Essex, Kent, Yorkshire, Gloucester, Norfolk and Wiltshire.
Demesne this means land which only the earl or lord of the manor used. People in the manor would have to work on this land for him.
Dues taxes or money that everyone had to pay to King William.
Earl a lord or powerful landowner, in charge of several counties.
Hide a hide was a piece of land large enough for one family to live on. It could be between 40 and 120 acres.
Hundred part of a county. A piece of land that was 100 hides in size. This was called a wapentake in the northern counties.
Knights soldiers.
Livestock animals - sheep, cattle, pigs.
Manor/Estate a farm belonging to one earl or lord. It was made up of land which the earl or lord owned and land which peasants rented from him.
Meadow land used for grazing animals and for growing hay.
Muid French term for a measure of liquid.
Normans people who came from Normandy in France. They came to England and settled after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. King William was Duke of Normandy as well as King of England.
Pasture land where sheep and cattle grazed.
Plough this means a team of oxen and a plough.
Rebellion a fight against your rulers.
Saxons the English-speaking people who lived in England before the Normans invaded.
Scribe someone whose job is to write things by hand. In the Middle Ages very few people could write. Those who could were often monks who made copies of the bible or wrote important letters for kings, archbishops and earls. There were no printing machines, so any writing had to always be done by hand.
Shilling twelve old pence (five pence in today’s money).
TRE shortened Latin meaning ‘In the time of King Edward’.
Vill a small village.
Victor someone who has won a battle.
Virgate a quarter of a hide.
Villeins a higher class of unfree peasant. Villeins owned land, but they also had to work on the earl’s land or demesne.
Woodland small patches of land for grazing pigs or used for firewood. Anyone could use the woodland.
Top of page top of page