it happened that the villein paid small rents in moneys and in kind, labour dues were the most serious part of a villein's obligations. Two or three days week work throughout the year might be combined with two or three extra days per week in harvest to make an apparently insupport able burden. It should be noted, however, that a day's work some times means, by definition, half a day's work, or a fixed measure of reaping or mowing. Moreover, the labour was due from the virgate, and not from each man ; hence a father might send his son to fulfill his obligation. Generally the harvest works (boon days) survived longest as they were available for emergencies.
One of the most important problems in connection with the manor is the local distribution of labour services, and the varying reasons for their commutation. The history of the manor in the f4th century is the story of the change from typical mediaeval methods to an elementary form of the modern farm worked by hired labour. By the end of the 14th century the class of villeins included men of varied economic status; cottiers or bordars holding a plot of 4 or 5 acres and a cottage at one end of the scale were legally in the same position as men who had laid field to field, virgates and enclosures, until they might hold 10o to 200 acres of land, and require the services of wage-paid men, even while they themselves owed "base" services.
A very important factor in the development of the manor was the administrative system, the history of which has as yet been imperfectly explored. This aspect of manorial history is, however, useful in correcting over sweeping generalizations. The lord of a manor might be the king, the duke of Lancaster, a wealthy bishop or monastic house, or, on the other hand the humblest of knights or freemen. Upon his status and the number of his manors depended the character of the administration. The minimum staff would be the lord's bailiff, working with the provost or reeve, who was usually elected by the "homage," and who had under him certain regular servants of the manor—a hay-ward, a reap-reeve, a shepherd, swineherd, bee-keeper, etc. Whenever it happened that the lord held a number of manors, he required a seneschal, or steward, whose office is variously described as agricultural supervision, or as judicial and legal (cf. Walter of Henley, etc.). The seneschal was usually assisted by a group of clerks and auditors, and other offi cials, who were responsible for the final presentation of the man orial accounts. The seneschal and his subordinates were admitted
to office by an oath, closely parallel to that of a royal councillor ; the whole group of officials tended to develop into a private coun cil, which often contained professional lawyers, described as utrius jurisperiti. Rudimentary forms of these private councils may be found in the 12th century, and they were evidently well established by the end of the 13th century (e.g., for the abbey of St. Albans, or the bishoprics of Durham, Worcester and Ely, and the archbishopric of Canterbury).
The manor court is a complicated structure, though the division court leet, court baron and court customary does not belong to its early history. It originally exercised its criminal, civil, or manorial jurisdiction as one court; its names may differ, the parties before it may be free or unfree, but the court is the same. Its president was the lord's steward; the bailiff was the lord's representative and the public prosecutor; and the tenants of the manor, both free and unfree, attended at the court and gave judgment in the cases brought before it. To modern ears the constitution sounds unfamiliar. The president of the court settled the procedure of the court, carried it out, and gave the final sentence, but over the law of the court he had no power. All that is comprised in the word "judgment" was set tled by the body of tenants present at the court. The business of the court may be divided into criminal, manorial and civil. The powers under the first head depended on the franchises en joyed by the lord in the particular manor; for the most part only petty offences were triable, such as small thefts, breaches of the assize of bread and ale, assaults, and the like ; except under special conditions, the justice of great offenses remaining in the king. But offences against the custom of the manor, such as bad ploughing, improper taking of wood from the lord's woods, and the like, were of course the staple business of the court. Under the bead of manorial business the court dealt with the choice of man orial officers, and had some power of making regulations for the management of the manor ; but its chief function was the record ing of the surrenders and admittances of the villein tenants.