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Frederic Seebohm (historian)

Personal information
Birth dateNovember 23, 1833
Place of birthBradford, West Yorkshire, England
Date of deathFebruary 6, 1912(age 78)
Death placeHitchin, Hertfordshire, England
OccupationEconomic historian
Notable worksThe English Village Community Examined in its Relations to the Manorial and Tribal Systems and to the Common or Open Field System of Husbandry

     Home | Writer | Frederic Seebohm (historian)

Frederic Seebohm (November 23, 1833 February 6, 1912) was a British economic historian, born in Bradford. He became a barrister in the Middle Temple in 1856.

His English Village Community (publ. 1883) placed him in the foremost rank of economic historians. Before this work, the prevailing view held that primitive Anglo-Saxon society consisted of communal groups of freemen holding land in common (the mark), and that the continual aggression of native and foreign leaders the village community had degenerated into the manor, in which the tenants, originally free, became serfs. Seebohm attempted to show that there is no satisfactory ground for believing that the free community ever existed in England.

He emphasised similarities between the Roman villa and the manor, the implication being that the mediæval manor can be explained as an amalgamation of the Roman villa with the Germanic tribal system.

He married Mary Ann Exton in 1855, and they had a family of a son and four daughters - of whom their daughter Juliet married Sir Rickman Godlee, the surgeon. Seebohm was the grandfather of Frederic Seebohm, Baron Seebohm (1909 1990), the British life peer and banker.

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