Ashley's Economic History, while Vinogradoff's Villenage in England and The Growth of the Manor, as well as Maitland's Domesday Studies, are of great importance to the student of early economic institutions.
- For more detailed information the reader is referred to the articles English Law; France: French Law and Institutions, Villenage; Manor; Scutage; Knight Service; Hide.
This increase of villenage morally depressed the peasantry, and widened still further the breach between the yeomanry and the gentry.
VILLENAGE (VILLAINAGE, VILLANAGE, VILLEINAGE), a medieval term (from villa, villanus), pointing to serfdom, a condition of men intermediate between freedom and slavery.
Gradually, however, the exception of villenage became firmly settled.
Bracton fits his definition of villenage into the Romanesque scheme of Azo's Summa of the Institutes, and the judges of the royal courts made sweeping inferences from this general position.
So much as to the proof of villenage by birth or previous condition.
Another service, the performance of which established a presumption as to villenage, was compulsory service as a reeve.
While the occasional services, even when agricultural, in no way established a presumption of villenage, and many socmen, freemen and holders by serjeanty submitted to them, agricultural week-work was primarily considered as a trait of villenage and must have played an important part in the process of classification of early Norman society.
As is shown by the Hundred Rolls, the Domesday of St Paul, the Surveys of St Peter, Glouc., Glastonbury Abbey, Ramsey Abbey and countless other records of the same kind, the customary conditions of villenage did not tally by any means with the identification between villenage and slavery suggested by the jurists.
Economically the institution of villenage was bound tip with the manorial organization - that is, with the fact that the country was.divided into a number of districts in which central home farms were cultivated by the help of work supplied by villein households.
Still, even at that time it might happen that a freeholder owned some land in villenage by the side of his free tenement, and that a villein held some land freely by agreement with his lord or with a third person.
The personal condition of villenage did not, however, disappear at once with the rise of copyhold.
This mode of colonization was especially favourable to the peasantry, who seem in Brandenburg to have retained the disposal of their persons and property at a time when villenage or serfdom was the ordinary status of their class elsewhere.