Hence, it was more or less inevitable that Lord Mansfield, the judge in the Somerset case, would decide on June 22, 1772, that villeinage
did not apply and that slavery was "so odious" that, unless Parliament specifically legalized it, it was incompatible with English common law.
The unfree peasants, chafing under seignorial oppression, longed for freedom -- freedom from villeinage
and freedom to take advantage of the new economic opportunities.
On the 14th Richard agreed to the demands, which included a general pardon, abolition of villeinage
, liberty to trade and the fixing of land rent at four pence per acre.
The classic account of enclosures and the decline in villeinage
and copyhold farms were almost non-present in this region of Denmark in the first half of the 19th century, while more than 60% of the farmers on the eastern isles of Denmark were copyholders (Bjorn, 1988).
Although a compromise of sorts appears to have been worked out to prevent large scale exodus abroad, pre-conquest hereditary rights were not restored and growing numbers of Englishmen were reduced to villeinage
Baker's delineation of the gradual elimination of villeinage
in England, and Donald R.