reeve

Latin, prepositus.

Reeves were officials found at every level of manorial life or administration, from the manorial reeve up to the shire-reeve, the
sheriff. There were reeves of manors, vills, Hundreds, and shires, and there were reeves acting for individual landowners, for institutions, and for the Crown. Reeves played an important role in the Domesday Inquest. Though mentioned in just 200 of the entries in Great Domesday, their numbers must have run into many thousands.

Domesday normally records them only in relation to royal business or to their misdeeds, often the same thing. As the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle put it, the king and his nobles 'did not care how sinfully the reeves had got [money] from poor men, nor how many unlawful things they did' to raise the sums they demanded from their estates.

For the significance of these neglected jacks-off-all-trades, see Reginald Lennard, Rural England, 1086-1135: a study of social and agrarian conditions (1959); and James Campbell, 'Some agents and agencies of the late Anglo-Saxon state', in Domesday studies, edited by J.C. Holt (Woodbridge, 1987), pages 201-18, reprinted in The Anglo-Saxon state (2000).
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