When did serfdom die in England?

Oct 2012
211
Some writers say that serfdom was dead in England by 1400; others say by 1500. Can anyone point to any good studies that nail this down?

Thanks.
 

sculptingman

Ad Honorem
Oct 2009
3,614
San Diego
Three things killed serfdom in europe.
The black death- which made labor more valuable, and land less costly.

The Freemason's Strike- which established for the first time that a man had the right to live as well as his talents and industry allowed.

And Aristocratic snobbery- Arsitocrats were the true leisure class- they derived their wealth from tenant farmers on land they themselves did not work- as such they came to see 'work' of any kind beneath them.
When the industrial revolution started, the Aristocracy was perfectly content to let the "lower classes" dirty their hands with manufacturing and such... and as a result, a good many commoners made not only themselves rich- but offered good paying jobs that were NOT as tenant farmers and fieldworkers.

that was the final nail in the coffin of serfdom.
 
Mar 2019
1,784
Kansas
Some writers say that serfdom was dead in England by 1400; others say by 1500. Can anyone point to any good studies that nail this down?

Thanks.
The Black Death. Finally there were so few peasants left. They could offer their services to the highest bidder
 

sculptingman

Ad Honorem
Oct 2009
3,614
San Diego
PS-
at least- the serfdom of land tenancy.

The new wealth of the commoners who made it big in industry eventually led them to be a new form of aristocracy- and it was not long before the captialist robber barrons had everyone working for meagre wages and living in perpetual debt to their employers-
which resulted in the labor riots and communist revolutions of the early 20th century.

the great recession finally saw wealth brought to heel for a period of 60 years or so-
but now we see a resurgence as wealth has corrupted democratic governance thru manipulation of the electorate via media- and once again income inequality is near the level of the robber barons and wages have been suppressed for 25 years now.
The new serfdom is immediate and perpetual debt. No so much to any one boss- but to the banks that fund all the purchases you have to make to participate in the economy- such that you become a slave to debt service.

Today- entire government have become serfs.
 
Oct 2012
211
Some writers say that serfdom was dead in England by 1400; others say by 1500. Can anyone point to any good studies that nail this down? I'm looking for the course of events in the 1300-1500s, documented.
 

Tulun

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
3,860
Western Eurasia
Three things killed serfdom in europe.
The black death- which made labor more valuable, and land less costly.
...
You meant Western Europe, east of the Elbe we enjoyed it well up to the middle of 19th century :))
 

notgivenaway

Ad Honorem
Jun 2015
5,743
UK
Around the 15th century.
This is when it became functionally dead, and most landowners paid stipends or wages instead of mutual land bondage.
The Black Death and the wars of the Roses effectively ended serfdom in England, especially as the Yorkists and Lancastrians needed troops to fight and thus had to pay money to enlist them.

Legally serfdom ended around the Restoration, but there were hardly any serfs at that point. Most lower-class people were workers with wages, or merchants. They may have worked for lords on their lands for a wage, or been self-employed, or otherwise banded together to form guilds.
 
Mar 2015
865
Europe
Legally serfdom ended around the Restoration, but there were hardly any serfs at that point. Most lower-class people were workers with wages, or merchants. They may have worked for lords on their lands for a wage, or been self-employed,
No.
That situation came about only with agricultural improvements of 18th century. And even enclosures only started in 16th century.

Until the enclosures and improvement, a lot of lower class people were yeomen and cottars, who worked on land plots they managed themselves but the tenants had to pay rents to a private landlords.

The villeins eventually became copyhold tenants, whose rent obligations to the landlord were fixed in written down customs, but who had become free in that they had the legal rights to sue in King´s courts and leave their land plot if they wanted to rent land from another landlord, become a hired labourer in countryside or town or take up business.

As villeins, they would have lacked the standing to sue in King´s courts and the right to move from their master to pick a new master.

Statute of Labourers generally forbade labourers from charging excessive wages. But the remedy seems to have been fining the labourer - not fining a master for paying excessive wages, and not forcible return of a servant to previous master.

After Statute of Labourers, were there any cases where parties were denied standing to sue in King´s courts because villeins, or were forced to return to owner because villeins?
 

notgivenaway

Ad Honorem
Jun 2015
5,743
UK
No.
That situation came about only with agricultural improvements of 18th century. And even enclosures only started in 16th century.

Until the enclosures and improvement, a lot of lower class people were yeomen and cottars, who worked on land plots they managed themselves but the tenants had to pay rents to a private landlords.

The villeins eventually became copyhold tenants, whose rent obligations to the landlord were fixed in written down customs, but who had become free in that they had the legal rights to sue in King´s courts and leave their land plot if they wanted to rent land from another landlord, become a hired labourer in countryside or town or take up business.

As villeins, they would have lacked the standing to sue in King´s courts and the right to move from their master to pick a new master.

Statute of Labourers generally forbade labourers from charging excessive wages. But the remedy seems to have been fining the labourer - not fining a master for paying excessive wages, and not forcible return of a servant to previous master.

After Statute of Labourers, were there any cases where parties were denied standing to sue in King´s courts because villeins, or were forced to return to owner because villeins?
There were no serfs in England in the 18th century. Poor people were free to move and work as they pleased, for a wage. There was no landed tenure at that point for anybody.