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|Estates, and the rights and responsibilities of their owners
Written by LizW
(Monday, 10 January 2011, at 9:34 p.m.)
I'm trying to better understand the role and responsibilities of gentlemen who own large estates. I know they owned vast amounts of land, others worked on it, and they superintended and received their income from the profits. However, other roles are sometimes included; the estate is the center and seat of a village and the master bears some responsibility for the well-being of the residents. Is this always the case? If not, when is oversight of a parish or village part of the package? The Martins are "renting a large farm of Mr. Knightley, and residing in the parish of Donwell." Elizabeth realizes that as master of Pemberley, Darcy is "a brother, a landlord, a master... many people's happiness were in his guardianship." Are Darcy’s and Knightley’s roles identical? What else do they encompass? Were renting farmers like Robert Martin the typical farming arrangement on an estate, or is this something different and more independent? Would a smaller landowner like Mr. Bennet be a landlord or have responsibilities for residents of his village? Delaford is somewhere in between; the income is small, but there is at least a living to present. Mr. Knightley is also a magistrate in his parish; is that true of all men in his situation or particular to him?
Sorry for the many questions. I would love to understand this better.
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