The exhibition Manor Life

The exhibition Manor Life

Tenant farms and tied labour

The soil was economic basis for the manor farms. Prior to the

agricultural reforms at the late 18 th century the arable land was

divided between the manor farm and the peasants. The land of the

squire was sited adjacent to the manor, while that of the tenants

was located adjacent to their villages. Tenant farmers were

copyholders and paid rent in various ways for instance by villainage.

Initially the tenant paid a sum for the tenancy and subsequently a

yearly rent either in cash or in kind. Tenant farms located near the

manor were to provide labours services, so-called villainage.

Peasants located further away and with a long walking distance paid

instead of villainage a further sum of money.

Peasants were expected to provide their own horses to draw the

heavy wheeled ploughs. Reaping was carried out using scythes or

sometimes sickles, which caused less wastage.

The numbers of tenant farms which belonged to the two manors of

Estrup and Soenderskov varied according to the period in question.

In 1785, when both manors still were in possession of their tenant

farms, Estrup had 100 tenant farms and 35 smallholders while

Soenderskov had 103 tenant farms, 14 smallholders, and 3 settlers.

As a consequence of the agricultural reforms at the late 18 th century

the tenant farms of both manors were sold, at Estrup during the

years 1795-1805 and at Soenderskov during the years 1786-97.

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