TOWNS AND GILDS

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TOWNS AND GILDS

WHAT is it that distinguishes the town from the village? Superficially, size; the town is bigger, and we some times speak of such and such a village as being almost a town, or of a town as being little more than a village.

But the essential distinction is more important, and rests on the specific function of towns.

Take some modern town of moderate size, such as Salisbury, and consider the occupations of its inhabitants.

Some of them are tradesmen and professional men; others are ecclesiastics; others are personal servants; others again are engaged in some local industry, for example in a brewery; others still are soldiers.

The one sort of men not to be found there are farmers, except on market days, when they come in to sell their stock.

And as Salisbury is to-day, so it has been since the days when the monks of Old Sarum, in the eleventh century, decided to build their new cathedral there.


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Difficulties of Adaptation

Even in the Midlands, however, this process did not go on without resistance; and elsewhere the manor had to adapt itself considerably. In Kent the Normans never succeeded in imposing the "incidents" of villeinage - heriot, merchet, chevage and arbitrary ta1lageson the peasants. Labour services, too, remained exceedingly light compared with those in other parts of the country; and they were imposed not on the tenants personally but on the land - on the jugum, tenementum, or sulung, units already divided by the action of gavelkind among a large number of co-heirs. All that the Kentish manor amounted to... see: Difficulties of Adaptation


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