Feudalism and Manorialism
Manorialism represented the economic
portion of feudalism where all aspects of life were centered on the
lordís manor including the village, church, farm land and mill.
Manorialism involved a hierarchy of reciprocal obligations that
exchanged labor or rents for access to land. Manorialism also
encompassed the political relations between the Lord of the Manor and
his peasants. This allowed the Lord of the Manor governmental power
which included the maintenance of a court. Manorialism is sometimes
referred to as the seignorial system, or Seigneurialism.
System of Manorialism
The Middle Ages system of Manorialism was the organization of a rural
economy and society. The Lord of the Manor operated the system of
manorialism which gave him economic and legal power over his tenants. The lord's land was called his
"demesne," or domain which he required to support himself and his
retinue. The rest of Manor land was allotted to the
peasants, who were his tenants. The land was split up into a large number of small strips
(usually about half an acre each). Peasants also had rights to use the common land.
and was allowed to take wood from the forest for fuel and
purposes. A peasant's holding, which also included a house in the
thus formed a self-sufficient unit.
Obligations of Manorialism
The Reciprocal Obligations of Manorialism meant that the peasants who
worked on the manor paid the lord of the manor certain dues in return for the use of
his land. The Lord of the Manor was expected to provide protection for
Rights of the Lord of the Manor
Under the system of Manorialism the Lord of
the Manor had the following rights:
The right of common oven
which required vassals to make use of the mill, the oven, of the
lord. These fees were called 'Banalities'
The right of
jurisdiction under manorialism gave judicial power to the lord of
the manor in cases arising in their domains. These provided revenue by the payment of fines
The right of disinheritance
by which he could claim the goods of a person who died
on their lands and had no direct heir. They also had the right of
claiming a tax when a fief or domain changed hands.