Rents of English Peasantry in the 16th — Beginning of the 17th Centuries
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Rents of English Peasantry in the 16th — Beginning of the 17th Centuries
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The article is devoted to the problem of rents in the pre-revolutionary English village (16th — beginning of the 17th c.). Peculiarities of various kinds of rents (corvee, money rents, entry fines, heriots, etc.) are shown. It is evident, that level of rents might depend on a number of factors: 1. economic potency of land, including presence or absence of their commercial types (e.g., pasture for sheep); 2. pecuniary position of a tenant; 3. class status of a tenant (thus, gentry and townspeople on the copyhold paid lower rents or were free of them, and the last factor might be considered to be an explanation of their desire to penetrate into copyhold); 4. terms of a copyhold (very often more privileged “copyholders by inheritance” paid lower rents than “copyholders on lives”); 5. different periods of manorial custom’s formation. As far as manorial surveys testify, peasantry might be released from rents in the next cases: e.g., when a copyholder was linked by surrender with a representative of a local gentry elite; in case of a low yearly worth of a peasant economy; when a peasant was fixed as a freeholder in the same or in another manor (combination of statuses might add “a peasant freedom” to a tenant). Widows and copyholders on the terms of lives (7—21 years) were also free of the yearly rents. Thus, some local areas of England (for example, manor Rochdale in Lancashire) might be not profitable for the land owners, although rather profitable for a local gentry or peasant elite.
England, 16th century, manor, rents, peasantry, copyhold
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