noun[mass noun] historical
The tenure or status of a villein in the feudal system.
- So long as villeinage had importance, the courts reinforced status by requiring some labour services over and above that fixed by custom and practice.
- Rents had been low, too, on peasants' customary holdings; labour services had been commuted, and servile villeinage had virtually disappeared by 1485.
- In particular, they rejected villeinage - the condition of hereditary unfreedom - which bore down on them in a variety of ways.
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