One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A person who is entitled to full political and civil rights.
2historical A person who is not a slave or serf.
- ‘Bordars were reported on more than 90 per cent of estates, villans on about 60 per cent and freemen and sokemen on about 10 per cent of estates.’
- ‘Although Norwich's custumal prohibited serfs from becoming freemen, it may be doubted that a thorough enquiry was made of the background of each applicant.’
- ‘These freemen were also responsible for helping the lord of the shire when he went hunting, and for various other services.’
- ‘Above the serfs were the Villeins, freemen who were tied to their lord's land, equivalent to the Saxon gebur.’
- ‘The problem of loyalty was reflected in the ceremonial developments of the act of commendation in which a freeman became a vassal.’
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