BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


The Souls of Black Folk

W. E. B. DuBois


Vanity Fair

William Thackery


The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas


Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man

Friedrich Schiller


Historic byways and highways of Old England

by William Andrews

Excerpt:

The information collected was entered in two books of different sizes, one being a folio, and the other a quarto, with vellum leaves. The penmanship is beautifully and clearly written. In the larger volume are 382 double pages, written in small characters, and embracing thirty-one counties, commencing with Kent and closing with Lincolnshire. The smaller book contains 450 double pages, the penmanship is in larger characters, and only Essex, Norfolk, and Suffolk

The reading, freed from contractions, runs as follows:—

Rex tenet in dominio Stocbae. De firms regis Edwardi fuit. Tunc se defendebat pro xvij hidis. Nichil geldaverunt. Terra est xvj caructse. In dominio sunt ij caructse xxiv villani x bordarij cum xx carucatis. Ibi ecclesia quam Willelmus tenet de rege cum dimidia hida in elemosina. Ibi v servi ii molini de xxv sol. & xvi acrae prati. Silva xl porcorum ipsa est in parco regis.

Tempore Regis Edwardi &* post valebat xij lib. Modo xv lib. Tamen qui tenet reddit xv lib. ad pensum. Vicecomes habet xxv solid,

The entire work is now known as Domesday Book, but in former times was designated byother titles. At one time it was deposited in the Royal Treasury in the city of Winchester, and on this account was called the Liber de Wintona, or Book of Winchester, and sometimes Rotulus Wintonice, or Roll of Winchester. Another title was Liber Regis, or the King's Book; another regal designation was the Scriptura Thesauri Regis, or Record of the King's Treasury. It was carefully guarded with three locks and keys, and with it was kept the King's seal. It was sometimes named Liber Censualis Anglice, or Rate-book of England. Respecting the origin of the title of Domesday Book, Dr. E. Codham Brewer observes, "Stow says the book was so called because it was deposited in the part of Winchester Cathedral called Domus-dei, and that the word is a contraction of Domus-dei-book; more likely it is connected with the previous surveys made by Saxon kings, and called dom-bocs (libri judicid Ids), because every case of dispute was decided by an appeal to these registers." Ingulphus states the book was so called because it was as general and conclusive as the last judgment will be.

The year 1085 was one fraught with considerable anxiety to the English monarch. He was threatened with an invasion from Denmark and Flanders, and extensive preparations were made for the defence of the country. The King directed that all land lying near the sea-shore was to be laid waste. A large army was raised, the largest ever formed up to this time in the country. It is stated by a contemporary writer in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle that the King billeted the soldiers upon his subjects, every man according to the land he held. The same author records the visit of the King to Gloucester in mid-winter, and narrates that "he had great consultation, and spoke very deeply with his Witan [i.e., great council of Parliament] concerning this land, how it was held, and what were its tenantry. He then sent his men all over England, into every shire, and caused them to ascertain how many hundred hydes of land it contained, and what lands the King had in it, what cattle there were in the several counties, and how much revenue he ought to get yearly from each. He also caused them to write down how much land belonged to the archbishops, to his bishops, his abbots, and his earls, and—that I may be brief—what property every inhabitant of all England possessed in land or in cattle, and how much money this was worth. So very strictly did he cause the survey to be made, that there was not a single hyde, nor a yard land of ground, nor—it is shameful to say what he thought no shame to do—was there an ox, or a cow, or a pig passed by, that was not set down in the accounts, and then all these writings were brought to him." The chief men engaged in this undertaking were called King's Justiciaries, and they had the assistance of the leading men in all parts of the country. The facts collected were forwarded to a board sitting at Winchester for consideration and arrangement.

The Domesday Book a great writer calls "the most precious document of English history." In it we find glimpses of life under our first Norman king. Much information is given respecting high personages, such as the Norman barons and Saxon thanes, and the services they had to render to the Crown. The regal officials were numerous, embracing many occupations representing war and pleasure. We find bow-keepers and standard-bearers, hawk-keepers and providers of carriages. Law men and mediciners are mentioned. Forests, foresters, and hunters receive attention. Forest-law brought much misery to the people of England, and old writers give pathetic pictures of the sufferings of the poor. On this subject, says Ordericus Vitalis, in his account of the death of Richard, William's second son: "Learn now, my reader, why the forest in which the young prince was slain received the name of the New Forest. That point of the country was extremely populous from early times, and full of wellinhabited hamlets and farms. A numerous population cultivated Hampshire with unceasing industry, so that the southern part of the district plentifully supplied Winchester with the products of the land. When William I. ascended the throne of Albion, being a great lover of forests, he laid waste more than sixty parishes, compelling the inhabitants to emigrate to other places, and substituted beasts of the chase for human beings, that he might satisfy his ardour for hunting." Of William's interest in deer, says the Saxon Chronicle, he "so much loved the high deer as if he had been their father."


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