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Technically any outright owner of land is a freeholder, but the most regular use of the word historically has been in the context of voting rights. Freeholders were those people who owned property worth 40 shillings (£2) a year and were thus entitled to vote in county elections, at least until the franchise extensions of the 19th cent. The ‘freeholder’ was thought of as an independent voter exercising his legal rights unconstrained by threats.

Subjects: British History.

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