common land (history in England)

Land tenure was communal in Saxon and earlier times, and this largely continued under the Norman feudal system except that the land was ultimately owned by the monarch and tenure depended on military and other service. The progressive enclosure of common land has been associated with social unrest and episodes of revolt beginning with the Peasants’ Revolt in 1381, the demands of which included the abolition of game laws and the free use of forests.

This definition is abridged from A – Z of tree terms: A companion to British arboriculture.
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