The villein , halfslave as he was in some respects, held lands of his own which he tilled on those days of the year when his lord had no claim upon him or his oxen.
If the courts decided that a slave was merely a modern-day villein , or serf, then his master might be legally entitled to transport him to Jamaica.
It was another victim of the plague: by 1358 permission was given to turn its fields into a park because every villein was dead and the village no longer had any taxpayers.
Neither a serf nor a villein (a class of serf attached as a bondsman to a specific lord and/or manor) rightfully owned the land upon which he worked.
At the lowest end of the social scale this was self-evidently true of slaves, but it was also true of many other categories of tenant - the English villein , the Scottish neif, the Welsh taeog, and the Irish betagh.
The grounds around the manor were permitted for the hunting recreation of the lord and lady alone; no such serf, villein , or peasant could so much as touch a tattered bow and expect to shoot anything with it.
The absolute powerless nature of their position may be summarized: ‘There was no custom, no tradition to which they could refer, as could the villeins or tenants, in the care of an autocratic master.’
All villeins and cottars in the Seven Kingdoms gather to celebrate the successful harvests of the summer seasons and to prepare for the coming winter.
He and his children were in 1353 released by Alan Reyner of nearby Roughton from any claim of being Alan's villeins .
Typically, villeins were required to work on their lord's lands at harvest time and to carry his produce to the market.