The Feudal Manor

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The Feudal Manor

At this point, however, the picture needs correcting in another respect.

It shows, so far, a number of free and equal families cultivating the soil communally but cultivating it for themselves, without being obliged to provide either work or money for anyone else except the King. Perhaps, if one went far enough back to the origins of the village, that picture would be fairly adequate; but by the eleventh century it would be badly out.

Even before the Norman Conquest most men had a lord, to whom they owed labour or rent; and with the Conquest we find the village merging into a new form - the feudal manor.

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He could not breed selectively; flocks and herds ran together. In fact the whole system, though it allowed the individual household to keep the produce of its particular holding, and was therefore not communist in the modern sense, subordinated individual wishes and convenience to those of the village as a whole. It was a conservative and stable arrangement in which changes could be made only by common consent - unless they were imposed forcibly from outside. As such, it suited most people and was accordingly long-lived; remarkably so to us, accustomed as we are to continual economic change in our... see: COMMUNAL FARMING

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