patrimony


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patrimony

the endowment of a church

Patrimony

 

(Russian, votchina).

(1) The aggregate of feudal landed property (land, buildings, livestock, and dead stock) and land-related rights over feudal dependent peasants. Synonyms of “patrimony” include “seigneury,” “manor,” the German Grundherrschaft, and “estate” (in its broad sense). The patrimony was an organization for the appropriation by the feudal patrimonial landowner of the surplus labor of dependent peasants and the products of this labor, and it was the basis of the power of feudal lords in medieval society. The basic components of the patrimony were a feudal economy (demesne) and peasant holdings. To maintain his rights to a patrimony, the proprietor depended on his own apparatus of coercion and on the central power. The economic structure of patrimony was characterized by one or another relationship of the demesne and the holdings and a varied combination of the principal forms of exploiting serfs under the patrimonial system (corvee, quitrent in kind, and monetary quitrent). During various periods of feudalism different economic structures of the patrimony prevailed, depending on general socioeconomic conditions. Thus, in Western Europe during the eighth through tenth centuries, on a significant number of patrimonies (primarily the large ones), extensive use of the corvee to cultivate the demesne was typical, and most of the patrimonial lands (at least two-thirds) were in the hands of serf-tenants who were obliged to pay a quitrent in kind or some-times in money. Beginning in the 11th and 12th centuries, with development of internal colonization and the growth of cities and trade, the portion of land occupied by serf-tenants began to increase, and the extent of the demesne and the role of corvee, to diminish. As a result, the patrimony without demesne appeared in the 14th and 15th centuries in Western Europe and became typical in the 16th and 17th centuries. The feudal lord kept only the right to receive from the peas-ants a fixed payment (usually monetary). In the countries of Central and Eastern Europe until the 14th-15th centuries, patrimonies prevailed in which the basic form of exploitation of the serfs was the levying of monetary quitrents or quitrents in kind. In the 14th and 15th centuries, a form of large or medium-sized patrimony appeared and predominated by the 16th-18th centuries. Most of the land was occupied by a noble owners’ economy, using corvee labor by peasants. In the Scandinavian countries and the majority of the eastern countries the privately owned patrimony did not exist, or where it did, a demesne economy as such was not wide-spread.

REFERENCES

Skazkin, S. D. Ocherkipo istorii zapadnoevropeiskogo krest’ianstva v srednie veka. Moscow, 1968.
Kosminskii, E. A. Issledovaniia po agrarnoi istorii Anglii XIII v. Moscow-Leningrad, 1947.
Duby, G. L’Economie rurale et la vie des campagnes dans L’Occident médievale, vols. 1-2. Paris, 1962.
Slichter van Bath, B. H. The Agrarian History of Western Europe: A.D. 1500-1850. London [1966].
(2) A type of feudal land property in Russia. The votchina could be transferred by inheritance, exchanged, sold, and so forth. The term votchina is derived from the word otchina— father’s property. The first records of princely patrimony in Kievan Rus’ date from the tenth century. Boyar and monastery patrimonies were known from the 11th-12th centuries. The votchiny were served by the labor of dependent smerdy (peasants) and kholopy (male slaves). During the 11th and 12th centuries the feudal rights of the votchinniki (owners of patrimonial estates) found their written expression in the code of laws Russkaia pravda. In the period of the fragmentation of feudalism, in the 13th-15th centuries, the votchina became the dominant form of feudal land tenure. In addition to the princes and boyars, those who held votchiny included members of their retinues, monasteries, and the higher clergy. Separate princedoms, which had been received by a prince as an inheritance from his father, became votchiny. The quality and size of the votchiny increased by means of the seizure of communal peasant lands, and by reward, purchase, exchange, and so forth. In addition to their general patrimonial rights, votchinniki had special immunity privileges in the courts and in the collection of state taxes, the payment of trade duties, and so forth.
An important period in the history of the votchina began in the late 15th century with the formation of a unified Rus-sian state. Several appanage princes and a part of the hereditary nobility opposed the expansion and strengthening of the centralized state. Therefore, in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, when the territories of Novgorod, Tver’, and Pskov were united with the Muscovite principality, many large votchinniki in several of these regions were deprived of their holdings. Their lands were transferred to the dvorianstvo (nobility or gentry), on whose support the power of the grand prince depended. Patrimonial rights and immunities were increasingly limited. In the 1550’s the votchinniki were given the same status as the dvorianstvo in regard to military duties, and the right of patrimonial redemption was limited. In the late 16th century many large votchinniki, who were unable to adapt to the developing money exchange relations, sold or mortgaged their lands. Consequently, in the late 16th century the pomest’e (fief) became the prevailing form of feudal land tenure.
Patrimonial land tenure increased again beginning in the early 17th century. The government rewarded nobles for loyal service, distributing land to them as votchiny. The judicial rights of pomest’e owners were broadening, and the process of making the pomest’ia equivalent to the votchiny was going on. In the late 17th century patrimonial land tenure already predominated over pomest’ia in the central regions of the country. By the decree of Mar. 23, 1714, on uniform inheritance, the pomest’ia were legally given equal status with the votchiny. Later, the term votchina was used to signify any feudal landed property.

REFERENCES

Grekov, B. D. Krest’iane na Rusi s drevneishikh vremen do XVII v., 2nd ed., books 1-2. Moscow, 1952-54.
Cherepnin, L. V. Obrazovanie russkogo tsentralizovannogo gosudarstva v XIV-XV vv. Moscow, 1960.
Veselovskii, S. B. Issledovanii po istorii klassa sluzhilykh zemlevladel’tsev. Moscow, 1969.

I. A. BULYGIN

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