The employment of the precarium by the Church seems to have been one of the surest means by which this form of landholding was carried over from the Romans to the Frankish period and developed into new forms. It came to be made by degrees the subject of written contract, by which the rights of the holder were more definitely defined and protected than had been the case in Roman law.
The numerous townships which then sprang_up acquired rights of self-government according to German law, Breslau being refounded about 1250 as a German town, and a feudal organization was introduced among the landholding nobility.
The dominant element in this minority is the rich landholding interest, and the constitution and the laws of the first half-century were framed for the special protection of that interest.
They turned their attention to other grievances, real or fancied, connected with the system of landholding, the administration of justice and other matters, and a state of terrorism quickly prevailed in the district.
But the worst vices of the Inquisition were the widespread system of delation it encouraged by paying informers out of the property of the condemned, and its action as a trading and landholding association.