Exeter Cathedral possesses one of the most important manuscripts from medieval England: Exon Domesday was almost certainly presented to William ‘the Conqueror’ at a meeting of his barons at Old Sarum on 1 August 1086. Its core is the immediate source of that magnificent abbreviation ‘the Domesday Book’ (Great Domesday), for the five-south-western counties. It also contains lists, summaries, tax accounts and details of changes to the structure and obligations of manors. It gives more personal and place-names than its successor and it counts animals. Now a large fragment but offering significant proof of the reach and sophistication of the early English state. Its booklets were written at speed by two dozen Francophone scribes whose erasures and corrections together with its content and arrangement provide key evidence for the ‘Domesday Process’.
Since 2014 researchers from King’s College London and the University of Oxford have been studying the manuscript intensively combining state-of-the-art digital technology with traditional scholarly methods, aiming to understand how the manuscript was made, what it contains, and to present this to a wider public.
Professor Stephen Baxter, University of Oxford, Co-Investigator of the Exon Project, will give a landmark lecture in the Cathedral setting out the historical implications of the team’s discoveries. The evening event follows on from a series of Drop-in Masterclasses earlier in the day.