As a result of the rebellion of 1173-1174 it was provided that an oath of fealty should be taken by all, to wit, barons, knights, freeholders and even villeins (rustici)", and that any one who refused should be arrested as the king's enemy, and the justices were to see that the castles whose demolition had been ordered were completely razed.
The landowners found thousands of the crofts on which their villeins had been wont to dwell vacant, and could not fill them with new tenants.
The villeins, as hard hit as their masters, resented the tightening of old duties, which in some cases had already been commuted for small money rents during the prosperous years preceding the plague.
Gradually the landowners discovered that the only practical way out of their difficulties was to give up the old custom of working the manorial demesne by the forced labor of their villeins, and to cut it up into farms which were rented out to free tenants, and cultivated by them.
The marrorial system was already doomed, and the rent-paying tenant farmers, who had begun to appear after the Black Death, gradually superseded the villeins as the normal type of peasantry during the two generations that followed the outbreak that is generally known as Wat Tylers rebellion.