Skip to main content

ceorl

ceorl is one of the terms used in the early (7th- and 9th-cent.) English laws for the lowest class of freeman. Thus in Wessex his blood-price was 200 shillings: that of other free classes was 600 and 1,200. In Kent his relative status was higher. Even the West Saxon ceorl appears as the head of a free peasant household, owing military service, capable of owning slaves, and with significant legal status. At the same time such men could be in a condition of economic dependence. In the later period the term is one of several used for free peasants, though it occurs in the laws only as meaning ‘husband’. An early 11th-cent. tract on status envisages the possibility of such a man's prospering to attain the rights of a thegn. Nevertheless in the 11th cent. the status of free peasants often fell. It is indicative that by 1300 the word was acquiring its modern sense of disparagement.

James Campbell

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"ceorl." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"ceorl." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/ceorl

"ceorl." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/ceorl

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.