Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The area of land held by a tenant in villeinage in early English manors, consisting usually of an aggregate of some 30 strips in the open fields with a messuage in the village. In some counties it was 15 acres; in others 20 or 24, and even 40 acres. See holding, 3 . Also yard of land.
- n. English history A measure of area of land in Medieval England, from 15 to 40 acres but varying in size depending on the region.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (O. Eng. Law), obsolete A measure of land of uncertain quantity, varying from fifteen to forty acres; a virgate.
“And now all he, Cadwaladr, had to do was go to the meeting, behave himself seemly before other eyes, as he knew well how to do with grace, and in private surrender not one whit of his demands, and he would regain all, every yardland that had been taken from him, every man of his former following.”
“The tiny hamlet of Preston was barely a mile out of his way, but if this Aldhelm worked with the sheep at Upton, at this hour he might be there, and not in his own cot on his own half-yardland of earth.”
“He has a half yardland by Preston, and works with the sheep at the manor of Upton.”
“And Aelfric in his turn was a younger son, and foolishly accepted service in the manor household when his elder had family enough to run his yardland without him.”
“Aelfric's father was born free as you or I, but younger son in a holding that was none too large even for one, and rather than have it split, when his father died, he left it whole for his brother, and took a villein yardland that had fallen without heirs, on my husband's manor.”
“And true enough, for my father's younger brother, being landless, took the yardland gladly when it fell vacant, and agreed to do service for it, but for all that he was born free, like all my kin.”
“A free man, this Edric was said to be, farming a yardland as a rent-paying tenant of his lord, a dwindling phenomenon in a country where a tiller of the soil was increasingly tied to it by customary services.”
“I grew up on a well-farmed yardland,' he said, noting Meriet's wide eye.”
“And here we are, master, bereft, to make a new start from villeinry, if there's a yardland to be had under any lord.”
“Another type of unfree tenant was the _gebur_, who held a yardland of some thirty or forty acres, which, upon his entrance, was stocked with two oxen, one cow, six sheep, tools and household utensils.”
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