••• Surrey Chess
Feudal Grading System


This is based on the division of society around 1086. Players are allocated titles and ranks in accordance with their performance in the field of battle - in this case of the chess board. There are seven titles:

Chess in Surrey
  • Champion
  • Lord
  • Thegn
  • Villager
  • Bordar
  • Cottar
  • Slave
Surrey Hundreds

The Lords were tenants in chief, and could also be members of the church - bishops. The Thegns were the fighting men. It was estimated that it required one hide (approximately 120 acres) to maintain a fighting man. The Villagers (or Villeins) were tied to the Land. They could not leave without the permission of their lord. Nonetheless, they held a position of importance, for they were in charge of a large area of land - on average a virgate (about 30 acres). Next down were the Bordars, equivalent to small holders. Below them came Cottars who would live in a small property with, perhaps, a garden. Finally came the slaves who were in increasingly short supply and gradually faded out in a couple of centuries after 1086.

The divisions were not entirely rigid and in parts of England there were also Sokemen or freemen. These were smallholders who actually owned their land and "could go where they pleased". But as they were prevalent in places like Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Essex - parts of the earlier Danelaw - but not elsewhere in England, I have not included them in the basic structure.

Grading System
How the Tournaments Work
Historical Background
Why Use Old Names?
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