“… to great thinning through soldiers and other military belligerents the property came …” A Consideration of the Effect of the Thirty Years’ War in the Transfer of Serfs’ Real Estate in the Mělník Demesn
Abstract: This paper focuses on selected aspects of the rural environment of Mělník manorial estates during the 17th century, i.e. a rather small type of agrarian aristocratic unit, which was situated in the fertile lands along the river Elbe. Thanks to its accessibility and situation in the most fertile area of Bohemia, the manorial complex under consideration was one of those complexes, which emerged greatly damaged from the Thirty Years War, with a high proportion of deserted and ruined farmhouses.
The study follows the issue of property transfers of serf’s real estates against a background of overall development. A more complex analysis pointed out that the Thirty Years’ War had consequences for forms of land holding: the overall dynamic and frequency of property transfers changed and alterations made during the life of the tenant decreased primarily. It also changed the priorities of buyers who sought smaller farmhouses by preference. The biggest change, however, was noted in the financial aspects of property transactions; overall, a considerable decline in the economic wellbeing of Mělník’s serf farmers is observable. Even during the war years there was a noticeable decline in the price of farmland around Mělník and the existing framework of real estate repayments changed accordingly. The institutions of pledge disappeared almost completely and the size of regular payments for property purchases also significantly decreased.
Key words: 17 century, serfs, serf real estate, property transfer, land books, Mělník demesne
PhDr. Jiří Koumar, Ph.D., odborný asistent na Filozofické fakultě Univerzity Jana Evangelisty Purkyně v Ústí nad Labem, se zaměřuje na problematiku českého raně novověkého venkova (Jiri.Koumar@ujep.cz)