Below the gebur were the theows (or ðeows) – slaves or bondsmen. Although theows were slaves they did have many rights not
traditionally associated with slavery, and there were rules set down for what they should be provided with:
"One slave ought to have as provisions: twelve pounds of good corn and the carcasses of two sheep and one good cow for eating and
the right of cutting wood according to the custom of the estate. For a female slave: eight pounds of corn for food, one sheep
or threepence for winter supplies, one sester of beans for Lenten supplies, whey in summer or one penny. All slaves ought to
have Christmas supplies and Easter supplies, an acre for the plough and a 'handful of the harvest', in addition to their necessary rights."
Theows were allowed to own property and could earn money in their spare time. If they earned enough they could even buy their freedom,
although slaves were sometimes freed by their owners "for the good of their souls", often on their owners deathbed as a manumission.
Sometimes, when times were particularly hard, people sold themselves into slavery to ensure they were provisioned, and thus survived.