The Independent reports on a project which claims to have identified the facts that Domesday Book was written by a Normandy born scribe who was probably a member of the monastic community attached to Winchester cathedral priory. The thing that is lacking is an actual name for the scribe.
That the writing up of Domesday occurred at Winchester should not surprise us - the city was a principal royal residence, the base for the Treasury, a long m-standing place associated with the processes of government. Recognising the text to be largely the work of one scribe is not suprising given the nature of the work and the desire for an accomplished, clear copy of the results of what we often today term the Domesday Inquest.
Whether a name can ever be attached to the scribe is another matter but intriguing. I imagine most medieval scribes, and particularly monastic ones, were usually content to remain anonymous. Anonymity was perceived as a virtue and an expression of humility. Indications of artistic or similar self-identification were rare at the time - hence the fame of Giselbertus at Autun or St Dunstan’s little pen-portrait of himself. What eventually became known as the Civil Service appear usually to have been and indeed are content with discreet and polite anonymity.
Nonetheless if this interpretation by the researchers is correct it adds to one’s appreciation of the austere Norman work of the transepts in Winchester Cathedral - for the monastic scribe must have witnessed their building.
The article can be read at Revealed: the trusted monk behind Domesday Book