Keith Briggs

This page was last modified 2024-01-21  


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Domesday Book place-name forms

NB: new pdfs 2014-02-09 with corrections.

Though the Domesday Book is kept at The National Archives (TNA), their search facility here in fact only searches a modern English translation, with both place-names and personal names modernized. Thus to search for Ricardus filius Gisleberti you somehow have to know what you want to search for is Richard fitz Gilbert, despite the fact that the word fitz was not used before 1300. This makes the resource useless for name studies.

The Electronic Edition of Domesday Book also omits the original spellings of place-names, as do the Domesday Explorer and the CD-ROM version. As far as I know, no electronic edition has included the original spellings.

So I have written a program to do thousands of National Archives web searches, in such a way as I can be sure that every folio was searched for every county, and then I searched the search results for place-name forms, and assembled them into pdf files.


Each of these pdfs is built from the same database, but organizes the material differently. Each pdf file is about 1 Mbyte, and has about 32.4k name-forms. The third version is useful for finding all names with a particular last element, such as -forda.


Folio numbers for Essex, Norfolk, and Suffolk refer to the Little Domesday Book (LDB). Folio numbers for all other counties refer to the Great Domesday Book (GDB). I use a and b for folio sides, rather than r and v.

These files are intended for broad statistical studies (like "roughly how many Stoches are there?") and for quickly finding the relevant folios for a specific name, but should not be relied upon for any particular spelling. Always check a facsimile as well for such uses.

I have corrected numerous errors in the TNA data, and I have informed TNA of these errors, which they are gradually correcting.

As far as I can tell from the NA terms of use, this is all permissible.

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