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also vil·lain·age  (vĭl′ə-nĭj)
1. The legal status or condition of a villein.
2. The legal tenure by which a villein held land.


(ˈvɪlənɪdʒ) ,






(in medieval Europe) n
1. (Historical Terms) the status and condition of a villein
2. (Historical Terms) the tenure by which a villein held his land


or vil•len•age

(ˈvɪl ə nɪdʒ)

1. the tenure by which a villein held land from a lord.
2. the condition or status of a villein.
[1275–1325; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French]


the type of tenure under which a villein held his land. Also called villanage.
See also: Property and Ownership
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.villeinage - the legal status or condition of servitude of a villein or feudal serf
legal status - a status defined by law
servitude - state of subjection to an owner or master or forced labor imposed as punishment; "penal servitude"
2.villeinage - tenure by which a villein held land
land tenure, tenure - the right to hold property; part of an ancient hierarchical system of holding lands


also villainage
A state of subjugation to an owner or master:
References in periodicals archive ?
a maker or seller of brooms' MED); Bucmanger 1221, Bucmonger 1275, Bukemonger 1314, Bugmongger 1332, Bukmonger 1346 (bukke-monger 'venison dealer' MED); Boterer 1280, Buterar 1327, Buterar 1332 (buterer 'a maker or seller of butter' MED, 'a maker or seller of butter' Reaney); Butercharl 1192 (OE ceorl 'a freeman of the lowest rank', ME 'a tenant in pure villeinage, serf, bondman', 'countryman, peasant'); buttermon 1296-7, Butterman 1301, 1302, 1327, Botreman 1327 (buter(e~man 'a maker or seller of butter' MED); Buttermonggere 1306, Buttermangger 1329 (buter(e~monger 'a seller of butter' MED; cf.
While it is true that villeinage was still present in the sixteenth century, the institution of slavery had largely disappeared in England.
Though the opening part concerning the decline of servitude has been thoroughly researched in past scholarship, Bailey offers many new components: a reconsideration of the decline of serfdom during some hundred and fifty years after the Black Death, an exploration of the relationship between customary land values and the decline of villeinage, and an examination of how different types of land tenure emerged out of serfdom and formed England's subsequent economic development.
The social universe of the English Bible was re-drawn to populate the Bible with English-style household servants, ubiquitously indispensable in sixteenth-and seventeenth-century England, whereas medieval villeinage was by then extinct.
The book's failure to connect the variable narrative of ethnological geohumoralism to that of the equally erratic narrative of English slavery before the slave trade (in the sixteenth century transitions from villeinage to indentured servitude and apprenticeship)--and which has the unfortunate effect of confirming the contemporary fallacy of believing that the slave trade sprang up full-grown in the later seventeenth century--weakens the effectiveness of its argument.