The exhibition Manor Life

The exhibition Manor Life


The employees of a Manor Farm, who remained in the employ

of their master for a longer period of time, were described as

servants (day-labourers were not described as servants).

The rights of the servants were extremely limited. In principle

they could be asked to take on any odd job, and they were

completely subordinated to their master.

The Danish Law made it clear that their master possessed the

same right to inflict corporal punishment as for his children.

By statuary order of Parliament in 1832 it was decided, that all

servants should have a conduct book. That was a something

between a grade book and a passport.

Without a conduct book a servant could not move away from

his or hers parish of birth. Loss of a conduct book could cause

punishment. During employment as servant the conduct book

was in the possession of the master. Thus it was impossible to

leave at the wrong time.

In 1854 the Parliament passed the Servants Law in order that

they should have some protection from the master. To a wide

extent this law upheld the miserable legal position for the

servants, however.

The table below provides a summary of important events from

the history of servants in Denmark.

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