james36army at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 20 10:25:28 BST 2008
Subjugation in England by means of the land
The acknowledged expert on the land laws by which the medieval English were subjugated and society divided, turns out to be a tsarist professor of Moscow University, Professor Paul Vinogradoff, "Villainage in England",(O.U.P.), 1892
Since Bede wrote "A history of the English Church and People" around the year 700, there has been no excuse for not knowing that ownership of land carries with it the penalty of injuring people. There we learn
(King Ethelwahl granted 87 hides of land near Selsey to Bishop Wilfrid ) ….
" the king had given him not only the land but all the inhabitants on it. " - so we learn incidentally that 250 male and female slaves were part of the deal. It is to the credit of the good bishop that he granted them their freedom, but unless they somehow obtained land to sustain them this would have been a doubtful privilege.
Ignoring the basic truth, that purchases or gifts of land carry an injurious human consequence is inexcusable since ever people read -
( Joshua,) "there distributed the land to the Israelites according to their tribal divisions" ( J 18.10)
The fate of the Hittites etc who inhabited the land, the men, women and chidren contrasts unfavourably with that of the Selsey slaves. You can learn of the Hittites fate in Numbers 31.
What emerged about the reality of serfdom in England when the professor explored the shelves of the Bodleian Library, of the Records Office and of the Abbey cartularies?
- a radical viewpoint with which to judge our origins and of just what constitutes British history.
- how the peasantry, especially women were omitted from our history unless they were heads of households and generally that day laboureres and squatters were groups who fell through the legal and historical net.
- You also get an understanding of the defects of present land law, based on feudal law which was, in his words, 'one-sided'. He found it had 'abortive features' because it failed to describe and match the reality of everyday life.
- that land is not only important in the agricultural context but causes social divisions and shapes our politics, the economy and costitution and so affects us all.
The foundations of our modern laws are questioned and their dependence on Norman law
which was socially divisive as against customary law which had a tradition of a free peasantry and arose from a strong communal village society.
Law was not immaculate- it often trailed behind day to day life- and did not match changing ideas of fairness.
Here is the name of one peasant, Emma Lovel. Another is Ralph Crips, both alive shortly before the time of the peasants revolts in the 1300's, whose names we can now introduce into the electronic age and do something however small to acknowledge their place in our history.
JA August 2008
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