feudal land tenure


feudal land tenure

System by which land was held by tenants from lords. In England and France, the king was lord paramount and master of the realm. He granted land to his lords, who granted land to their vassals and so on down to the occupying tenant. Tenures were divided into free and unfree. Free tenure included tenure in chivalry, as in the case of knight service, and socage (tenure by agricultural service fixed in amount and kind). The main type of unfree tenancy was villenage, a limited form of servitude. See also feudalism, fief, landlord and tenant, manorialism.

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