The earliest surviving public record – the Domesday Book – will make a once-in-a-generation trip to Lincoln Castle as part of a major exhibition for 2017.
The iconic document was commissioned in 1086 by William the Conqueror following his successful invasion 20 years earlier. Domesday gave the king a picture of his realm by recording the taxable value and resources of all the boroughs and manors in England.
The document will be on loan to Lincoln Castle from its permanent home at The National Archives, London. On display in the Magna Carta vault from 27 May to 3 September, Domesday will be one of a number of local and national treasures showcased as part of Battles and Dynasties, an exhibition brought together by Lincolnshire County Council, Lord Cormack and the Historic Lincoln Trust.
Coun Nick Worth, executive councillor for heritage, says: "This is an unmissable chance for visitors to see the book within the grounds of a castle built by the same king that ordered it to be written. Following the investment in Lincoln Castle and The Collection, we're lucky to have the state-of-the-art conditions to display special items like this here in Lincoln. I'd like to thank all the staff in the heritage service that have been working very hard with our partners to make this happen."
Jeff James, Chief Executive and Keeper at The National Archives says: "There simply is no other document like Domesday. It is our nation’s earliest, most important and most treasured public record, a work of the greatest historic significance. It offers an insight into life and society in England more than 900 years ago and just as importantly it still has the power to engage and inform us today. As a national institution we are delighted that the most iconic public record is going out to the public, allowing visitors a unique opportunity to view it as part of a fascinating exhibition in the fine medieval surroundings of Lincoln Castle this summer."
Lord Cormack, chairman of the Historic Lincoln Trust, says: "This will be a very special exhibition with major works of art and manuscripts which have never been seen together before. I am particularly thrilled that Domesday Book which is the single most important item in our national archive, and which records the Lincolnshire of 1086 in meticulous detail, will be on display in the David PJ Ross Magna Carta Vault. I am most grateful to Mr Ross and to other generous sponsors for making this historic exhibition possible."
The Domesday Book will be included as part of the Lincoln Castle all-inclusive ticket which also includes Magna Carta, the Medieval Wall Walk and the Victorian Prison. Adults £12, concessions £9.60, child £7.20 and under 5s free. You can buy your ticket now at www.lincolncastle.com and receive a 10% discount for booking online.
The full Battles and Dynasties exhibition will be shown at The Collection in Lincoln, tickets on sale soon from www.thecollectionmuseum.com.
Battles and Dynasties has been brought together by Lincolnshire County Council and Lord Cormack in partnership with the Historic Lincoln Trust, The National Archives, the British Library and the Royal Collection.
This exhibition has been made possible as a result of the Government Indemnity Scheme. Lincolnshire County Council would like to thank HM Government for providing Government Indemnity and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England for arranging the indemnity.
Photo credit: The National Archives UK
The Domesday Book is a detailed survey of the land held by William the Conqueror and his people, the earliest surviving public record, and a hugely important historical resource. The survey was a massive enterprise, and the record of that survey, Domesday Book, was a truly remarkable achievement. There is nothing like it in England until the censuses of the 19th century.
The name ‘Domesday’ may refer to the Biblical Day of Judgement, or ‘doomsday’, when Christ will return to judge the living and the dead. Just as there will be no appeal on that day against his decisions, so Domesday Book had the final word – there was to be no appeal beyond it as evidence of legal title to land. For many centuries Domesday was regarded as the authoritative register regarding rightful possession and was used mainly for that purpose. It was called Domesday by 1180. Before that it was known as the Winchester Roll or King’s Roll, and sometimes as the Book of the Treasury. Domesday Book survives as two volumes; Little Domesday, which deals with survey returns from Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, is perhaps an example of an earlier and fuller stage in the writing up process by which Great Domesday, the larger volume, was compiled – it is Great Domesday that is being loaned to the Lincoln exhibition.
For more than 900 years Domesday has been at the very heart of the nation. Historians have argued that Domesday is, the most important and significant document in English history. As an irreplaceable national treasure and aged artefact it can only be loaned on rare occasions and it is not on permanent display at The National Archives in Kew.
More information about Domesday Book can be found on The National Archives website: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/domesday-book/