bordar, or smallholder

Latin, bordarius

Bordarius, translated as smallholder in the Phillimore edition, is more commonly rendered as bordar.

Smallholders formed the second largest group among the peasantry, constituting almost a third of the recorded population. They were recorded in every county.

On average, they possessed 5 acres of land and might have a share in the villagers' plough teams, though their holdings could be more meagre. In some counties, they are difficult to distinguish from Cottagers or cottagers, who normally possessed little more than a garden; and indeed the term bordar (of French origin) quickly disappeared from normal usage, bordars becoming subsumed in the groups below (or above) them in Domesday Book. There are already signs in Domesday itself of uncertain classification, bordars sometimes occurring exclusively in some Hundreds, Cottagers or cottagers in others. It has been suggested that high concentrations of bordars among the population might indicate areas of economic opportunity and expansion, either in land clearance or urban development.

For more detail, see F.W. Maitland, Domesday Book and beyond (1897); Reginald Lennard, Rural England, 1086-1135: a study of social and agrarian conditions (1959); H.C. Darby, Domesday England (1977); Sally P.J. Harvey, ''Evidence for settlement study: Domesday Book', in English medieval settlement, edited by Peter H. Sawyer (1979); and Christopher C. Dyer, 'Towns and cottages in eleventh-century England', Studies in medieval history presented to R.H.C. Davis (1985), pages 91-106.