In real estate, a landed property or landed estate is a property that generates income for the owner without the owner having to do the actual work of the estate. In medieval Western Europe, there were two competing systems of landed property, on one hand manoralism, inherited from the Roman villa system, where a large estate is owned by the Lord of the Manor and leased to tenants, and on the other hand the family farm or Hof owned by and heritable within a commoner family (c.f. yeoman), inherited from Germanic law.
Modern landed property often consists of housing or industrial land, generating income in the form of rents or fees for services provided by the facilities on the land, such as port facilities. Owners often commission an estate map to help manage their estate as well as serving as a status symbol.
In later times, the dominant role of landed estates as a basis of public service faded. Development of manufacturing and commerce created capitalist means of obtaining income, but ordinarily demanding the attention of the owner; at roughly the same time, governments began imposing taxes to fund government bureaus and the military so that people of talent could perform government services for salaries without need for the proceeds of ownership of farmland. Parts of the United States of America, typically New England, Pennsylvania, and most of the states west of the original colonies never had a landed aristocracy, so their armed forces and government agencies could never be organized on the basis of a landed aristocracy.
- A Sarah Bendall, Maps, Land and Society: A History, with a Carto-bibliography, of Cambridgeshire Estate Maps, 1600-1836 (Cambridge University Press, 1992)
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