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VILLEIN, Eng. law. A species of slave during the feudal times.'
     2. The feudal villein of the lowest order was unprotected as to property, and subjected to the post ignoble services; but his circumstances were very different from the slave of the southern states, for no person was, in the eye of the law, a villein, except as to his master; in relation to all other persons he was a freeman. Litt. Ten. s. 189, 190; Hallam's View of the Middle Ages, vol. i. 122, 124; vol. ii. 199.

References in periodicals archive ?
The writ directed the sheriff to deliver to the lord his villein who had run away from the manor.
And, as you'll also know if you're up on your medieval history, vilains are to Gaul what villeins are to Britain i.
The population was made up of 30 villeins, twelve bordars and one serf - and their families.
she] formed an adulterous alliance with a man of the villein class, and their child was Claudius .
42) By the thirteenth century the requirement to possess arms to participate in the common defense was extended to medieval England's unfree class, the villeins.
Northfield had seven villeins, 16 bordars, six cottars or cottagers, two serfs (probably male slaves), and one female bondswoman (slave) - and their families.
It was a common practice (and very likely a legal prerequisite) in transactions in which a villein was one of the parties to denote his master's permission to draw up that contract.
Not very progressive as regards the lower classes, the villeins who weren't "free men" and not progressive as regards women.
The Villeins, pictured above, will be the main act of the night and the five-piece indie rockers promise to deliver a memorable set having earned their stripes sharing the stage with the likes of VIVA Brother and The Rumble Strips.
When he posits that Bettina has the sweet spirit in her heart ("se la Bettina / porta soave spirito nel core"), he wonders if she is truly noble: noble as contrasted to the uncouth villeins of the rural areas, of course; but also noble, the inner virtuous nature that the base aristocrats lack.
Class struggle between the feudal owners of large land manors and the emerging industrial capitalist bourgeoisie caused a breakdown in feudal class relations (between the lords of the manor and the villeins, peasants or tenant farmers who were legally tied to a lord of the manor) and their replacement with new social relations between labour and capital.
Members having served more than 10,15,20 or 25 years are classed respectively as Villeins, Apprentices, Yeomen or Masters.