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freedman

Latin, colibertus.

Freedmen were not recorded in the
Danelaw counties, only in Wessex and western Mercia. Over half of them occurred in two counties in circuit 2, Somerset and Wiltshire, and there mostly on royal or ecclesiastical manors. They belonged to the lower ranks of the peasantry but above slaves, occasionally paying rents, making customary payments, or owning oxen. The small number of boors appear to belong to this same category, having a similar distribution; in some entries they are explicitly equated with each other.

For more detail, see F.W. Maitland, Domesday Book and beyond (1897); Paul Vinogradoff, English society in the eleventh century: essays in English medieval history (1908); and H.C. Darby, Domesday England (1977).
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