A convent and its farmers – conﬂict and consensus (Abstract)
The impression that charters give us of the relations between feudal landlords and their tenant farmers is highly one-sided. Charters tend to reﬂect only the normative side of the relationship and the conﬂicts. In order to gain insights into the everyday relationship, we need to turn to other sources. In account registers, for example, we ﬁnd information on the routine relations between feudal landlords and their subordinate farmers, as well as on the farmers’ economic situation. By means of charters and account registers, the everyday relations between the Dominican convent St. Katharinen in St. Gallen and the farmers cultivating one of its estates can be retraced in detail. The account registers contain records of the individual payments of dues together with information on the material, the amount and the person delivering these dues to the convent. Irregularities such as long time gaps or unusually large amounts of payment can be brought into connection with conﬂicts recorded in the charters, which opens new perspectives on the conﬂicts and their resolution. It can be shown that the feudal landlords did not insist on their rights in every case, they were, under certain circumstances, prepared to ﬁnd a consensual solution.
Rural History 2013
University of Bern, 19-22 August 2013, http://www.ruralhistory2013.org/