by Duncan Probert
This is the author’s original version of the text. This article has now been accepted for publication in Notes & Queries , published by Oxford University Press (expected in December 2015)
There is often much to be gained by studying errors. The descriptio of England initiated by King William I in late 1085 combined formal and out-of-court sessions, oral testimonies, written submissions and existing records to produce the returns that were later edited at Winchester to form Great Domesday Book itself [hereafter GDB], with the potential for errors and misunderstandings at each stage of the process. Sometimes these errors can be suspected but not proved, the only surviving witness being that recorded by the main and almost certainly English scribe of GDB [hereafter
‘the GDB scribe’]. At other times, however, there survives another witness and the greatest of these is the Exeter Domesday in the Liber Exoniensis [Exeter, Cathedral Library MS 3500, hereafter Exon], the remnants of the exemplar that the GDB scribe almost certainly had to hand as he edited the material relating to the south-western shires...