Making of the Dependent Peasantry in England in the 9th — 11th Centuries and Its Status on the Early Stages of Feudalization

Publication type Article
Status Published
EditionVolume 5 Issue 6 (29)
AbstractOn the basis of acts and judicial sources the author of the article deals with the processes of making and evolution of the dependent peasantry in England of 9th — 11th centuries. The most extensive information on the status of the dependent country population is given by the primary sources, which describe the situation in the different manors of the south-west England: the so called Rectitudines singularum personarum and Be Gesceadwisan Gerefan also; the latter comprises the list of an estate steward’s duties. The sources’ investigation gives an opportunity to analyze the formation of the different grades of the dependent inhabitants of the Anglo-Saxon patrimony and their social and legal conditions. It is demonstrated, that each manor had its own regime, characteristic of this or that region, since the feudal system which were taking shape were yet not strong enough to level completely local traditions and consuetudes which existed for centuries. Extraordinary heterogeneity of the dependent population of the early Anglo-Saxon manor, the differences between the main characteristics of the origins and manifestation of its feudal bondage (from slaves to free cearls) conditioned considerable diversity of its dependent inhabitants' exploitation and presence of all three forms of feudal rent, neither of which can be qualified as the foremost. Using royal legislation the author lays emphasis on the fact that the formation of the feudally dependent peasantry in England of 9th — 11th centuries was accompanied by its gradual exclusion from the sphere of the royal authority and submission to the political power of the developing feudal strata. Possessing such means of noneconomic coercion as private jurisdiction, the right of the court fees collecting, police control in the framework of individual patronage (glafordship) the latter had the broad opportunities of intrusion into the peasantry's daily life for the purpose of its exploitation’s increase. However, Anglo-Saxon feudal class didn't fully succeeded in the elimination of the dependent peasantry out of the public law's domain. The interference of the kingship into the glafordship interrelations demonstrate, that Anglo-Saxon feudalizing aristocracy of the 9th — 11th centuries was not sufficiently strong to control English peasantry without the assistance of the state entirely and directly.
KeywordsEngland, 9th — 11th cc., Anglo-Saxon, feudalization, manor, dependent peasantry, grades of peasantry, community
Publication date10.11.2014
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