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posted 01-06-2000 10:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for godsman777@earthlink.net   Click Here to Email godsman777@earthlink.net     Edit/Delete Message
hi my name is j.d. and i am in the 9th grade and i am doing a school project. i was wondering if you could give me information on what the ''freemen'' do and what purpose they serve in the castle. thank you very much

Philip Davis
posted 01-07-2000 05:38 PM           Edit/Delete Message
I'm unsure as to what you mean.
Freedmen were slaves who had been freed by their masters. Slavery was fairly common in Anglo-Saxon England, where those unable to pay their debts sold themselves. Most crimes, including murder, were punished by a fine under Anglo-Saxon law, so criminals could easily end up slaves. However masters would sometimes free their slaves, particularly if they were dying and wanted forgiveness for sins. The child of a slave was a slave and the child of a freedman might also be know as a freedman even when grown up.
So a freedman could, in theory, do virtually any job (The grandfather of King Harold may well have been a freedman). Although most were peasant farmers. Slavery rapidly diminished in England following the Norman invasion and few castles existed in England before then so there is no association between Freedmen and castles in England that I know of.
Perhaps if you give some more detail of what the project is I'll be able to help more.

posted 01-08-2000 04:43 AM           Edit/Delete Message
There were also 'freemen', as are still honoured in the presentation of the keys of the city in modern times. This is an ancient honour, and just as today was purely a symbolic gesture. The idea was that if a knight or other performed some act in the service of the city/town which was beyond the call of duty, they were given the keys and allowed to roam freely without hinderance. It is purely an honour, a sybolic gesture granted by implying trust in the individual.The freeman in this case had no specific role or duties.

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