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Lords, tenants and attitudes to manorial office-holding, c.1300– c.1600

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Recent revisionist scholarship has challenged the view that the relationship between lords and tenants in late medieval England was inherently conflictual. However the consequences of this revisionism for the position of manorial officials, individuals drawn from a lord's tenants to help run his manor, have not yet been fully considered. Using the surviving court rolls of three case-study manors, this article demonstrates that tenants were invested in an effectively functioning system of officers, which met their needs in the manor court. To preserve this system, tenants policed both officials and the wider community independently of seigneurial pressure to ensure officers performed their work correctly. This 'positive' attitude of tenants towards manorial office-holding in turn has greater ramifications in explaining the persistence of manorial structures into the sixteenth century and implying that the exercise of manorial lordship was as much collaborative as conflictual.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2019

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  • Agricultural History Review is the leading journal for the publication of original research in all aspects of agricultural and rural history. First published in 1953, the Review reflects the diversity of approaches which are possible in rural history. Its editors welcome submissions in any aspect of the history of agriculture, rural society and rural economy over the past millennium. Whilst it is not concerned with current policy debates, it is interested in considering discussions of the historical dimensions of current problems in rural society and food supply. The Review is especially strong in British rural history, but actively seeks submissions in European and American rural history and has no bar on submissions concerning the remainder of the world. It is also the journal of record for book reviews in the discipline.

    Agricultural History Review has an international editorial board. The current editors are Professor P. S. Warde, University of Cambridge, UK, who is responsible for articles, and Dr J. E. Morgan, University of Bristol, UK, who serves as editor for book reviews. The Review is fully peer-refereed.

    Agricultural History Review is published by the British Agricultural History Society from whom personal subscriptions may be obtained.
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