How many people, so much salt!
Now remember that the census was conducted in the third millennium BC. In such a progressive state as Egypt, in the states of Mesopotamia, India, in China, and also in Japan. Even the states of the Aztec and Mayan Indians, whose calendar has been frightening the gullible simpletons for so many years, the population count has been exemplary. Well, and the Incas, all data on the number of people, llamas, land and mats were put on a pile - that is, they recorded it in their nodular letter. The population was taken into account in ancient Greece. So, in Attica in 4 c. BC. they counted the entire adult male population, and the same was done in ancient Rome, where, starting from 435 BC, the so-called qualification, that is, the division of the male population for service in different divisions of the army, was regularly carried out! But in ancient China, the population was determined by the amount of salt that they ate in a year.
Want to know everything!
In medieval Europe, there was such a large number of all sorts of seniors that it was completely impossible to carry out a census in them. And that is why the only exception to this rule in the XI century was England, conquered by the Normans in 1066. It turned out that here the conquerors, who were mostly from Brittany and Normandy, ended up in a completely foreign country, with a population that spoke foreign language. And then William, of course, wanting to maximally strengthen both the military and financial position of his new power, decided to conduct a census of the entire population of England conquered by him. It was supposed to find out, firstly, how much of what is in each estate and thus streamline the collection of taxes (which was called “Danish money”, because earlier this money was used to pay off Danes), and secondly, to find out exactly how many warriors the king can give each land holding or hereditary flax. Although the author of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle described the objectives of this census more prosaically: “the king wanted to know more about his new country, how it was inhabited, and what people”.
This is how it looks like ...
It was decided to conduct a census at the Grand Royal Council on Christmas 1085. Then the king’s representatives went to the English counties. Well, in the counties themselves, commissions were created by royal order, which included the sheriff, as well as local barons and their knights, as well as representatives of the panel of judges, and this is the basis of modern English democracy! - also the village headman, and six villans from each village. Their main duty was to confirm with an oath that the information collected by the pollsters was correct. In addition, the task of the commissions was to settle the emerging land disputes. Moreover, the commissions, as well as the local Anglo-Saxons and the Norman conquerors, were usually included in equal shares, although this was not the case in all counties.
What did the medieval English ask about?
The main objects of the census were land ownership - manor. The holding was carried out on the basis of the rule - "according to the custom of manor and the will of the Lord." That is why the questioning of the witnesses and their oath, confirming the holding of the land according to the “custom” was so important! And in the census process, from each such land ownership, pollsters recorded the following information:
- the name (or names) of the owner (s) of the estate, first in the 1066 year and then on the date of the census;
- the name of the conditional holder of the land;
- total area of arable land in manor;
- the number of real peasants;
- the area of pastures, meadows and forests, as well as the number of mills and places for fishing;
- the value of the manor in monetary terms;
- the size of plots belonging to free peasants.
Interestingly, just like today, pollsters were interested in the prospects for a possible increase in the productivity of estates, that is, their ... “investment attractiveness”!
It should be noted that the king showed a truly rare state wisdom in his desire to fix and evaluate all possible sources of income for his treasury. Interestingly, neither knightly castles, nor any other buildings, unless they were associated with economic activities, were not recorded in the census materials. That is, the castle is a castle, and first of all it was interesting for the king to know what the incomes of his subjects were!
A page from the “Last Judgment Book” dedicated to Baldwin.
Everything is exactly as before God!
The royal census was completed by 1088, after which all the information collected was entered into two thick books, well, and all of it received the frightening name "Dumsday Buk" ("Book of Judgment Day") or "The Day of Doomsday". Such a strange name for her, however, was not chosen by chance. It seemed to say that all the information gathered in it is as accurate as the information that will be presented to the Almighty on the Day of Judgment! The result of the census, by the way, showed that England of that time was a very uncrowded country - only two million people lived in it!
The Small Book or the first volume of Doomsday Book contained information collected in counties like Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, and the second volume (the Big Book) described the whole of England, except for its most northern regions and such cities as London, Winchester and a number of others, where the exact census was very difficult. The materials themselves were grouped by county. First, they described land holdings that belonged to the king, then church lands and possessions of spiritual orders, then large holders (barons) went and, finally, small land holders and ... women, who in England also had the right to be landowners ! In some counties, the urban population was also rewritten. And the most interesting thing is that, in its original form, the “Doomsday Book” has survived to our time practically without any damage and today represents the most valuable national cultural monument of Great Britain!
A page from the “Doomsday Book” dedicated to Bedfordshire.
England peasants, millers and swineherd
The study of the "Book of the Doomsday" gives us the opportunity to learn about the life of England XI century. a lot of things that we just don’t even suspect today. Well, for example, that almost all of the existing settlements in England already existed in 1066, and that there were practically no large unused and wild places in the country at that time! Surprisingly, in England of those years they practically did not hold cows at all, or rather, did not keep milk and meat for their sake, but used it mainly for plowing. Meat was bred mainly sheep and pigs, and the latter were grazed in the forests, where they had to eat grass and acorns. So, England at that time did not have its famous Devon cream, or the equally famous Cheddar cheese, but there was cheese that was made from goat milk, and not from cow's milk at all!
Although it was already the Middle Ages, in England there were still many slaves whom we bought and sold, so this, frankly speaking, a clear division into the era of slavery and serfdom, as we were taught in Soviet high school, at that time there was not observed! But the villagers, the villans, were not at all so poor and unhappy, but rather even well-to-do people, because as for plowing the land they needed eight oxen — that is, four harnessed couples, and they turned out to be many And the lords of such owners appreciated. And, finally, it turned out that almost half of the people that were recorded in the “Book of the Last Judgment” at that time were the Villeins!
Actually, the lords themselves, that is, the people who were at the top of society in 1086, were according to the census only about 200 people. That is, the feudal nobility in England was by its very small number. But there was a lot in England, it was mechanical mills that ground the grain into flour. In 1066, there were as many as six thousand of them - significantly more than even in Roman Britain, although the population at that time was even larger. But in the Roman era, a lot of grain was slaughtered by slaves using hand mills, and in England William, water mills took their place! About 25% of all lands belonged at that time to the Catholic Church.
A page from the “Last Judgment Book” dedicated to Yorkshire.
Save forever as a memory!
At first, the “Book of the Last Judgment” was kept in Winchester, the capital of the Anglo-Norman monarchy until the reign of Henry II. Under him, she and the royal treasury were brought to Westminster, and under Queen Victoria they were transferred to the British Archives. Typically, it was first printed in 1773, and at 1986, for the 900 anniversary of its creation, the BBC produced an electronic version of it with translation into modern English, since this book was originally written in Latin.