In the southern and midland districts the parishes are for the most part subdivided into hamlets or other local divisions known as "tythings," "boroughs," and the like; the distinction between a parish and a subordinate district lies chiefly in the fact that the latter will be found to have never had a church or a constable to itself.
On the edges of these forests stood isolated dwellings like sentinel outposts; while the inhabitants of the scattered hamlets, caves hollowed in the ground, rude circular huts or lake-dwellings, were less occupied with domestic life than with war and the chase.
Scattered over the country were numerous small hamlets, composed mainly of wicker cabins, among which were some which might be called houses; other hamlets were composed of huts of the rudest kind.
Here and there in the neighbourhood of the hamlets were patches of corn grown upon allotments which were gavelled, or redistributed, every two or three years.
The poorer servile classes or cottiers, wood-cutters, swine-herds, &c., who had a right of domicile (acquired after three generations), lived here and there in small hamlets on the mountains and poorer lands of the estate.