In the countryside, where most of the population lived, the most important man in a fourteenth century village to be the reeve. Back he to be a villein, he had an excellent responsibility. The town housed the serfs and tenants that the mr of the manor. There to be three main officials that ran the manor:

the reeve

The first two looked out completely for the lord’s interests, but the reeve likewise had obligations to the villagers.

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Men who worked the land to be either free or serfs (cottagers, smallholders or villeins). Serfs were not slaves, but they might do very tiny without the permission the the lord of the manor. The reeve to be a villein, which supposed he was a serf. He to be selected because that the place by the various other villagers. Commonly he came from one of the better-off families. The place of reeve meant that that had additional opportunity to increase his wealth.

He came right into the place at Michaelmas (29th September). This was as soon as the farming year began. He served a solved term, a variety of years, and one that his main jobs was to make sure that those who owed labour come the lord reported because that work and gave what lock owed. He was responsible because that every activity on the lord’s demesne and the livestock. The demesne to be the farm that the lord preserved for his very own benefit. The remainder of the land was leased to tenants. The demesne was worked by the lord’s own serfs, that were normally required to work-related for the for three days a week and also to provide added services in ~ ploughing and harvest times. The serfs lived off their very own strips that land, which they operated when they were not working for the lord. These strips additionally belonged come the lord.

Some reeves sold create from the lord’s demesne and also some built up rents. The reeve had to administer the demesne account in ~ the end of the farming year, i beg your pardon he typically did by reading the clues on his tally stick to the lord’s clerk, who wrote it down.

The reeve was no paid with money, however the benefits he received made the position more than worthwhile. The did not have actually to carry out any farming labour come the lord, and also he can eat sometimes at the lord’s table. In countless places, however, wherein quotas were compelled to it is in met by the village, the reeve would probably have to make up any kind of shortfall himself.

Reeves were sometimes accused of utilizing their master’s property, seed and also labour detailed by the villeins on their very own holdings.

One the the reasons why the position of reeve was unpopular (some guys paid to stop the responsibility) was that the demesne to be usually around ten time or more the size of something the reeve had managed before and there was always the danger that he can not be capable of regulating it, if it was his very first term. The risk of a bad choice being made by the villagers to be felt by both the lord and the reeve. The reeve had local expertise of the land, the labour, the nearby markets, the ideal crops to grow and also the best pets to raise, but he to be responsible for making it all occupational together, ensuring that the harvest was sufficient for the lord’s household with sufficient to spare for sale. Over there was always a chance that an inexperienced reeve would certainly be overwhelmed by the size of the task. The mr bore an additional risk – that the reeve would certainly prove to be dishonest. To alleviate this risk many manors had stewards and also auditors to check on the reeve.

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If he to be any good a reeve could usually do a benefit from his office, not however, to the extent portrayed in the Canterbury Tales. Over there is an old reeve among Chaucer’s pilgrims. Chaucer suggests that that is as lot a crook as the miller, his other pilgrim, because he is richer 보다 his lord.