Source Problems in English History


World History


Typical Lists of Manorial Services.

(Translated from summaries in T. W. Page, Die Umwandlung der Frohndienste in Geldrenten, pp. 48–51.)

Ashwell. In the year 1347, 260 acres were sown. The villeins performed 68 works in hoeing, 68 at hay-harvest. Everything else was done by hired labor. About 300 works in harvest were commuted. . . . In 1351, 143 acres were sown, and about the same service rendered or sold as before. . . .

Meesden. In 1347, 219 acres were sown. There were 14 villeins, each of whom owed, during the winter, one work per week. Of the week-works, about 200 were performed and 300 commuted. Besides these, they furnished 30 works in hoeing, and harvested 12 acres of hay and 190 acres of grain. Four ploughmen were hired, and 14s. were paid for hired labor at threshing and 4s. at hoeing, and the hay of 8 acres was harvested by hired labor. . . . In 1350, only 187 acres were sown, "less on account of the pestilence and the small amount of help." The villeins furnished in winter about the same amount of service as before, but harvested only about 90 acres in autumn. The pestilence caused the commutation of a few works into money payments. . . . Various holdings were "in the lord’s hand," that is, they were without holders. The condition was the same in 1358, except that there was a little more service furnished than during the pestilence.

Stevenage. In the year 1334, 325 acres were sown. Several herdsmen, four ploughmen, and one carter were hired. Each of the 14 virgates, "the customary land," was divided among several peasants. Each virgate owed, from Michaelmas to the middle of July, S works per week. There were also four cotters, each of whom performed 2 works per week, and besides were expected to harvest 5 acres of grain. Counting the "boon-works,"1 the services at this time divide thus:

. . . In 1349, 6–1/4 virgates were without holders because of the pestilence; but the bailiff had 300 acres sown. In the autumn he had to give 13 acres of standing grain as pay to hired workers; 16 acres were harvested by hired labor; and 10 acres of grain remained on the stalk through lack of laborers. Though labor was so much needed, yet money payments had to be taken in commutation of 12 acres’ ploughing, 4 acres’ harrowing, 15 cart services, 193 works in winter and 15 in harvest. In 1352, only 219 acres were sown, for 7–1/2 virgates and the holdings of 3 cotters were in the lord’s hand. There was commutation of 22 acres’ ploughing, 12 acres’ harrowing, 91 cart services, 440 winter works, and 60 autumn works. In 1357, 9–1/2 virgates were vacant or let at a money rent; 245 acres of the demesne were sown. The same number of regular hired laborers was employed as before the pestilence, but in addition enough labor was hired by the day to supply about half the work on the demesne. In 1360, there were 10 virgates leased for money and the same number in 1362, when 10d. per acre had to be paid for harvesting, "through scarcity of men caused by the pestilence." In 1373, 11 virgates and 3 cotters’ holdings were leased; 196 acres were sown. At this time the remaining customary service divides thus:

In 1377, 12 virgates and 3 cotters’ holdings were leased; and in 1386, when 230 acres were sown, all the peasant holdings were leased. On this manor there is no further trace of customary service.

Standon. In 1343, 240 acres were sown, and a carter and 4 ploughmen were hired. Two virgates owed 3 works per week in winter, 3 eight-acre holdings owed 2 per week, and 2 cotters’ holdings owed 1. But one eight-acre holding was leased, and rendered no more service. The services were distributed thus: 96 works in threshing, 31 in hay harvest, 10 in repairing buildings, 67 commuted; the villeins owed 67 in making malt, of which 19 were rendered; they were to plough 32–1/2 acres, but ploughed only 3; 6 acres were to be harrowed, but not any of this work was rendered; they owed 107 works in hoeing, and rendered 62; 88 in hay harvest, and rendered 86; 260 in corn harvest, and rendered 210; and, besides, a few "boon-works." Thus the manor remained till 1348. After the pestilence, the holdings came bit by bit into the lord’s hands. In 1362, only 58 customary works were rendered, and in 1376 the manor was leased.

1 Special works, not fixed in amount, character, or time of rendering.


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Chicago: "Typical Lists of Manorial Services.," Source Problems in English History in Source Problems in English History, ed. Albert Beebe White and Wallace Notestein (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1915), 132–135. Original Sources, accessed June 9, 2023,

MLA: . "Typical Lists of Manorial Services." Source Problems in English History, in Source Problems in English History, edited by Albert Beebe White and Wallace Notestein, New York, Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1915, pp. 132–135. Original Sources. 9 Jun. 2023.

Harvard: , 'Typical Lists of Manorial Services.' in Source Problems in English History. cited in 1915, Source Problems in English History, ed. , Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York, pp.132–135. Original Sources, retrieved 9 June 2023, from