yardland


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yardland

(ˈjɑːdˌlænd)
n
an archaic medieval unit of land, between 15 and 40 acres depending upon the locality, a virgatea peasant who holds this land
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Dyer records entry fines per yardland of 3 [pounds sterling]-8 [pounds sterling] in the 1530s, while Howell notes entry fines of 14 [pounds sterling]-15 [pounds sterling] per virgate in Kibworth Harcourt by the end of the sixteenth century.(77) So it is possible to imagine why, even in the sixteenth century, after servile restrictions had ended, East Anglian tenants were keener to participate in the land market than their Midland equivalents: their land was more valuable because its tenure was more secure and the entry fines payable to the manor were generally lower.
This is demonstrated by the fact that standard-sized holdings -- virgates or yardlands -- are ubiquitous in `Midland' manors, but virtually non-existent in `East Anglian' manors, where holdings are simply measured in acres and rods, and no particular holding size dominates.(60) The presence of manorial policy hostile to the splitting of holdings is explicitly stated in some studies, for instance, those by Barbara Harvey, Christopher Dyer and Phillipp Schofield, and implicit in others, such as Howell's study of Kibworth Harcourt.(61) The presence of half- and quarter-virgates indicates that some splitting was allowed, perhaps with the manorial lord's permission.