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Estates

The smallest governing body of the nobility and royalty. Each estate is self sufficient and self sustaining. It is the means by which settlements are organized. Hamlets supplying the villages with raw materials, which then produce resources as well as food for the hamlets and towns alike. The resources are taken to towns for manufacturing and finishing, and then to larger towns or cities for sale by merchants. Royalty grants the land, nobility pays rent and provides knights, knights provide protection and military service, and the peasants provide food and labor to all.

Execution

An estate is a settlement and its surrounding acreage. Three to four estates together make up a Fief, four to seven Fiefs together make a Shire, and four to seven Shires together make up a Province. Estates normally have one large town or city at its administrative center.
  • Cities are granted a royal writ making them sovereign and free from noble rule, led by an elected council, and represented by a mayor chosen from the councilors. They have their own courts and collect their own taxes.
  • Towns are settlements built around cross roads and bridges, they have populations in the tens of thousands. They focus on manufacturing, commerce, and public service. A mayor appointed by the gentry rules.
  • Villages are built around a church, guild hall, or manor house. Their populations are normally in the hundreds and their economies are built around food production and providing for the gentry and any nearby cities. They are led by a member of the gentry, or by their appointed representative, such as a reeve or bailiff.
  • Hamlets are small settlements with populations in scores. They have very few services if any. Usually built around a single industry, such as a mill, mine, forest, camp, or dock. They are led by an aristocratic official who runs the industrial camp.

Participants

The village is the most basic component of the estate. It is led by a single gentry family. That family gives land to Virgaters to work. Either whole, half, or quarter virgaters. A virgate being approximately 30 acres. There are also many small holders who have approximately 5 acres, which is only enough to sustain themselves. With 50-75 households in the average village, 250 people, only about 30 households meet the prerequisite of having at least 8 acres to owe services to the gentry. Half a days labor per week for eight acres, and a full days labor for fifteen acres. The small holders are usually tradesmen such as carpenters, smiths, and plowmen.
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