This was the first comprehensive national survey of all land and property ownership since the Domesday survey of 1086, organised to establish the rateable values of property in order to tax them more efficiently. The study provides an account of all buildings standing just before World War I, and is useful for researching the value, use or ownership of these properties in some detail.
Records are in plans (maps), and field books. The plans act as an index to the field books. The field books provide information about a property.
Two sets of plans were created: the working plans used in the course of the original valuation, and the record plans made after that valuation was completed. The working plans include the handwritten assessment number (or hereditament number) of the individual property or parcel of land, which is usually marked in red ink. Working plans for Sussex are in the The Keep, with those for Lewes in the series IRV 2/54/1-16 (not all fully marked up with assessment numbers). The record plans are held at The National Archives, with those for the South-Eastern Region listed in the IR 124/1-9 series.
Two sets of books were produced: Valuation Precis or Books (known also as ‘Domesday Books’) were the first major record created by the Valuation Office at the start of the survey. Domesday Books contain information such as the property’s occupier, owner, address, and size. They are distinct from the Field Books, which were the final record compiled after the survey was completed, and which usually contain more information. Domesday books for Lewes are at The Keep: Lewes 1 and Lewes 2 at IRV 1/93 and IRV 1/94, South Malling and Cliffe at IRV 1/95. The Field Books for Lewes are at The National Archives, in the IR 58 series, subseries Brighton. Lewes is covered by IR 58/12843 to IR 58/12871, and South Malling and Cliffe by IR 58/12988 to IR 58/12995.