Chettle, England: Ticklish Feudal Society

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Several readers have written in to criticize the lack of coverage the feudal system has been getting as of late.

“I’m sorry but to me the concept of ticklish encompasses three things: lords, vassals and fiefs,” commented one anonymous contributor. “In this day and age we all want to have land,” he continued, “and I think I speak for all of us when I say we’re willing to provide military service in exchange for the use of that land.”

Most of us, however, consider the feudal system to be merely a fond memory, a political and societal system that made the middle ages incredibly ticklish but has no real use today. Think again!

The English village of Chettle might remind you of your small, charming hometown: gorgeous old brick houses, a closely-knit community, virtually non-existent crime. Chettle even one-ups most small towns, as it has no unemployment and its prospering businesses completely defy market trends. The secret? Chettle is completely owned by the lord of the manor, every last square inch of land, and has operated under a feudal system for the last thousand years. The Tickle City Award Committee was unable to get an interview with lord Peter Bourke, but he appears to be doing a great job in keeping his vassals in good spirits, as tenant farmers say they wouldn’t change anything about the system and that their experience there is fantastic.

It is estimated that ten or so villages in England have decided to say “no thanks” to the new ideas brought forth by the Renaissance and to this day remain completely under feudal principles.

Chettle, England, looking pretty ticklish.

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