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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: October 2019

11 - New Words in the Countryside

from Part V - The Aftermath of Conquest


Domesday Book was linguistically speaking an Anglo-Norman record using Latinized versions of French, not English, terms. This chapter asks: did Norman Latin bring into England some Norman ideas about land and people? There was no Old English equivalent for manerium : ‘manor’ was a word which the Domesday enquiry itself made necessary. Domesday Book’s terms for the mass of people, such as villani , are also imports and reflect Norman views of peasants. Key terms in Domesday entries are those connected with holding land from another person: the debate about how we might interpret these is briefly visited before concluding that tenure itself was a Norman idea imported in Norman heads.