The process of the consolidation of individual properties had gone hand in hand with the growing sense of England as a discrete, integrated physical and political unit. In the context of the Middle Ages, there had not been the same basis for conceiving of fixed interests. In the old 'open' dispensation, everyone, lord or tenant, had held lands on rents or obligations, in widely dispersed forms, and with the loosest of barriers and borders. The claims of the king and nobles had often extended into other realms, and the lands of the church were literally anywhere across the whole of Christendom. But there had since emerged a different context, where the gentry and yeomanry filled out a more clearly defined national land, as an occupying majority of absolute property owners, and by the later decades of the seventeenth century, they held three-quarters of the land of England.