Domesday book: An early fiscal, accounting narrative?

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Domesday Book is one of the most important documents in English history. It has been much studied by social, economic and institutional historians. At its heart it is an accounting document. Domesday Book of 1086 is regarded as a landmark in accounting history, primarily because it heralded a written system of government accounting in England. It introduced an administrative framework from which eventually the English Exchequer and charge and discharge accounting evolved. Domesday Book was compiled during one of the most significant periods in English History just after the Conquest of England by William I. It reflected new King's need to consolidate his power. The purpose of this article is to examine Domesday Book as an historical accounting record, concentrating in particular, on one shire: Herefordshire. It shows how Domesday Book provided the king with comprehensive information about individual landowning and taxable capacity. In addition, Domesday Book is contextualised within the social and economic conditions of the time. Domesday Book is shown to be a device for royal consolidation, a political expression of royal power and a vehicle to raise taxes. It also provided the administrative and territorial basis upon which the Exchequer's embryonic disciplinary power could be developed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-290
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Accounting Review
Issue number3
Early online date26 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Accounting History
  • Disciplinary Power
  • Domesday Book
  • Taxation


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