Medieval History Term of the Week: Naifty

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The state of being born in bondage or serfdom. (Bennett, H.S. Life on the English Manor: A Study of Peasant Conditions, 1150-1400, 338)

From the Abbot of Battle’s Court at Brithwaltham:

(Court of Brightwaltham holden on Wednesday next before the feast of S. Margaret the Virgin in the twenty-fourth year of King Edward. To this court came John Bolter and in full court confessed himself the born bondman of the lord Abbot of Battle, and he gives his lord two marks of silver that he may freely depart from his lord’s franchise without any claim of naifty being made against his body at any time hereafter. Pledges of the said John that the said fine of two marks will be paid before Michaelmas next, Robert Osmund and Ralph Tailor.

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