Sergey Alexandrovich Nikonov,

Doctor of Historical Sciences, Murmansk Arctic University, Murmansk, Russia, e‑mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Contractors of the Epiphany Ukhtostrovsky Parish in the 17th Century


 DOI: 10.31518/2618-9100-2024-2-4

 The article deals with the problem of peasant contract on the lands of the church parish of the Russian North. The order was studied mainly on the materials of the monastic patrimony. The object of the study is the contract on villages and lands (arable and hay) of the Epiphany Ukhtostrovsky church parish of the Dvinsky district of the 17th century. Peasants who lived on church lands often contracted for several generations. The procedure for making a contract, fulfilling duties (rental payment of monetary and in-kind debts) are reflected in the act sources (contract charter) and account books. The contract was most often made for a ten-year period, which corresponded to the cycle of three-field crop rotation. In addition to performing agricultural work, maintaining the good condition of buildings, the contractor paid taxes, performed public duties, and paid rental payment. Outwardly, these conditions resembled a contract msde by monastic peasants, but there were also significant differences. Thus, the church parish did not pay loans, which implied the well-being of a decent peasant, his ability to bear increased obligations. Also, the church parish did not have a staff of administration capable of monitoring the fulfillment of the obligations assumed by the contractor. The conscientiousness of compliance with the terms of the contract was fixed by the institution of surety. The quantitative composition of the contractors in the last third of the 17th century remained stable, not exceeding forty people. The reserves of church lands did not increase, which prevented the expansion of the contractors. The contractors were involved in the social life of the church parish, performing work for hire, holding elected positions, participating in procedures for monitoring and verifying the activities of churchwardens. Thus, the contractor was connected with the church parish by many threads – economic, administrative, business, etc., which leads the contract out of the relationship of ordinary lease, which assumes only timely payment and conscientious use of the land.

Publishing: 28/04/2024

The article has been received by the editor on 15/01/2024

Original article >

How to cite: Nikonov S.A. Contractors of the Epiphany Ukhtostrovsky Parish in the 17th Century // Historical Courier, 2024, No. 2 (34), pp. 50–64. [Available online:]

Links: Issue 2 2024

Keywords: Russian North; Epiphany Ukhtostrov; contract; church parish; peasant