the tribal territory, after having destroyed the tribal organization, leaving only a portion of wild moor and a tract of forest land, also a little arable land, for the members of the community whom he converted into serfs. They tilled the land, kept flocks and herds, and supplied him with what meat, wool, yarn, and grain he required; they met under his presidency in the hall at his courts. The tenants were of various sorts; some were bordarii or cotters, rendering occasional service for the use of their houses and bits of land; others, the villains, in complete servitude.
At the Norman Invasion, the Saxon thanes were themselves humbled in turn; the manors were given a more legal character and transferred to favourites of William the Conqueror. But the old Saxon chiefs in each manor were probably very rarely turned out neck and crop, but were retained as holders of the estate subject to the new lords, managing them and rendering to their masters certain dues.
In Saxon times there were book-land and folk-land, the former the private property of thanes and churls, the latter common