Vill is a term used in English history to describe a land unit which might otherwise be described as a parish, manor or tithing.

The term is used in the period immediately after the Norman conquest of the 11th century and into the late medieval era. Land units in the Domesday Book are frequently referred to as vills, although the term is not used in Domesday itself. The vill is a geographical subdivision of the hundred and county.[1]

Traditionally, among legal historians, a vill referred to the tract of land of a rural community, whereas 'township' was referred to when the tax and legal administration of a rural community was meant. [2]

An unfree inhabitant of a vill was called a villein.

The word would later develop into ville and village.


  1. Maitland, Frederic William (1897). Domesday Book & Beyond. Cambridge University Press. p. 10.
  2. Winchester, Angus (2000). Discovering Parish Boundaries. Shire Publications. pp. 21–29. ISBN 0-7478-0470-2.
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