Domesday Book – Part 4 of 4

Return to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Domesday stayed with the Royal Treasury at Winchester from the late 11th century onwards, although it also moved about with the royal household from time to time. In the 13th century it went to Westminster in London and there, from King John’s reign to Queen Victoria’s, was kept in the Treasury of the Receipt of the Exchequer.

The Book travelled north with Edward II during the wars with the Scots. It went to York in 1300, and to Lincoln. To escape the ravages of the plague during Elizabeth I’s reign, the volumes would have been taken to Hertford. And in September 1666, Domesday must have gone with His Majesty’s treasure and records to Nonsuch Palace after the Great Fire of London.

By 1631 Domesday was said to be in Tally Court, Westminster, and scholars were studying it as a unique historical source rather than a legal record. From the 17th century it was kept in a stout wooden chest, reinforced with iron straps, and with three locks. It was then moved to Westminster Abbey, Chapter House before finding another home in 1859 in the new Public Record Office, Chancery Lane, London.

Fear of bombing in 1918 saw Domesday evacuated to Bodmin Prison in Devon, and in the summer of 1939 it was sent under armed guard to Somerset, to sit out the second world war in the women’s wing of Shepton Mallet Prison.

Restored in London in 1945, it now resides with The National Archives at Kew.

Source: Secrets of the Domesday Book – The Pitkin Guide

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