Township (England)

From Academic Kids

The term township generally means the district or area associated with a town. However in some systems no town need be involved. Specific use of the term to describe political subdivisions has varied by country, usually to describe a local rural or semi-rural government within a county.

In England the township has been long obsolete.

The 'ship' in township in England is thought to mean 'cheap' or 'chepe', an old name for a market. There are townships in England known by names like Shipley, Skipton, Shepton. Many Lords of the Manor specifically created townships on their land, with market rights. The land and the people there were no longer under the jurisdiction of the manorial court. Townships were set up with an incorporated body to run the market and they were centered around the market place. The lord of the manor often taxed transactions in the market. He would also make money out of it from rents. Free men could live and trade in townships (i.e. men who were not the lord's servants, villeins or bonded labour - these still had to live on manorial land). Some townships were established right next to the castle or manor house, others near a river crossing or crossroads. Later on, many townships grew and swallowed up the manorial lands, but in others the market declined and went out of existence.

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