What was life like in the West Country 1000 years ago? Unique document goes on display in Somerset

The document was created in 1086 and is the most detailed surviving draft of the Domesday book Credit: South West Heritage Trust

From today people in Somerset will get the chance to see a unique piece of history dating from the age of William the Conqueror

This is the Exon Domesday - which has gone on display at the Museum of Somerset in Taunton.

The document was created in 1086 and is the most detailed surviving draft of The Domesday Book - the vast survey of England ordered by its Norman conqueror, William I.

One strange and unexplained element is the mark of a medieval spearhead imprinted across two of the Somerset pages:


The Exon Domesday was drafted


pages of parchment in the document

It covers the five western counties of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire; giving a picture of the landscape and people of the South West at the time the Normans were taking control.

The Exon Domesday includes much information that Domesday Book leaves out, including unique accounts of the levying of the geld, the principal royal tax.

It's one of England's most important historical documents. Credit: Museum of Somerset

It is an extraordinary document and a unique survival. Without it we would know far less about South West England in those turbulent years of conquest and change.

om Mayberry, Chief Executive of the South West Heritage Trust

It has been preserved for many centuries in Exeter Cathedral Library and is named after the Latin word for Exeter (Exonia).

Visitors have until April the 1st to see it and entry is free.