Colchester was a settlement in Domesday Book, in the hundred of Colchester and the county of Essex.
It had a recorded population of 193 households in 1086, putting it in the largest 20% of settlements recorded in Domesday, and is listed under 17 owners in Domesday Book.
The status of households depended on their land and resources. The largest groups recorded are:
Domesday records the heads of families, so the total population was probably around five times larger.
Other households are sometimes noted, including priests, widows, burgesses (townspeople), and Frenchmen (probably a local military presence).
For more information, see the Hull Domesday Project's guide to the peasantry and occupations.
Arable land was recorded in different units, including:
Other taxable resources were also recorded, including:
For more information, see the Hull Domesday Project's guide to manors and to weights and measures.
Livestock was not consistently counted in Domesday Book. It is mainly recorded in Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, and sometimes in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset.
Where livestock is recorded, it counts only the animals belonging to the lord.
Nonetheless, sheep, goats, cows, pigs, cattle, and cobs (horses) are all recorded in substantial numbers. Sheep are by far the most numerous animal recorded.
For more information, see the Hull Domesday Project's guide to livestock.
Most entries record the total annual value of the estate in 1086 and 1066. This was probably to help the Crown calculate how much tax the lord should be charged.
Some estates gain in value between 1066 and 1086: others lose value, and some are wiped out entirely.
For more information, see the Hull Domesday Project's guide to taxation and tax assessment.
Domesday carefully records the owners of each manor (estate) in 1086, as these were the people liable for tax. All land was ultimately owned by the Crown, but held by lords, who provided military resources or tax in return.
Domesday also records the equivalent owners before the Conquest in 1066. For more information, see the Hull Domesday Project's guide to landholding.