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Medieval life and Times

Definition of Manorialism
The definition of manorialism is the system by which the Lord of the Manor exploited the serfs or tenants who worked his estate, or Fief. Manorialism extended the concept of the feudal fief, or fiefdom, as a principal land owner, or lord of a Manor. The Manor House was the main dwelling on the Lord of the Manor's estate.

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 building purposes. A peasant's holding, which also included a house in the village, thus formed a self-sufficient unit.

The Reciprocal 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 his peasants

Manorialism - 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.
Medieval Manors
Oath of Fealty
Lord of the Manor
Lady of the Manor
Feudalism in England
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Medieval England

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