At the latter date besides seventy-three villeins, bordars and serfs there were forty cervisarii, a species of unfree tenants who rendered their custom in the form of beer.
After the treaties with the Danes, the tendency is to simplify distinctions on the lines of an opposition between twelvehynd-men and twyhyndmen, paving the way towards the feudal distinction between the free and the unfree.
The duties which the count should perform passed to the proprietor, who now represented the government for all his tenants free and unfree.
Even in Roman days the proprietor had exercised a jurisdiction over the disputes of his unfree tenants.
In the course of time the status of the ceorl was probably reduced; but although his political power was never large, and in some directions his freedom was restricted, it hardly seems possible previous to the Norman Conquest to class him among the unfree.