Lord of the manor is a title given to a person holding the lordship of a manor in the Anglo-Saxon system of manorialism which emanated from feudalism in English and Irish history. In modern England and Wales, it is recognised as a form of property,one of three elements of a manor that may exist separately or be combined, and may be held in moieties:
Manorialism was an organizing principle of rural economies which vested legal and economic power in a Lord of the Manor. He was supported economically from his own direct landholding in a manor, and from the obligatory contributions of a legally subject part of the peasant population under his jurisdiction and that of his manorial court. These obligations could be payable in several ways, in labor, in kind, or, on rare occasions, in coin.
Feudalism as practised in the Kingdom of England was a state of human society which was formally structured and stratified on the basis of land tenure and the varieties thereof. Society was thus ordered around relationships derived from the holding of land, which landholdings are termed "fiefdoms, traders, fiefs, or fees".
English law is the common law legal system of England and Wales, comprising mainly criminal law and civil law, each branch having its own courts and procedures.
A title similar to such a lordship is known in French as Seigneur du Manoir, Welsh as Breyr, Gutsherr in German, Godsherre in Norwegian and Swedish, Ambachtsheer in Dutch and Signore or Vassallo in Italian.
|Lord of the manor|
Historically a lord of the manor could either be a tenant-in-chief if he held a capital manor directly from the Crown, or a mesne lord if he was the vassal of another lord.The origins of the lordship of manors arose in the Anglo-Saxon system of manorialism. Following the Norman conquest, land at the manorial level was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 (the Normans' registry in Sicily was called, in Latin, the Catalogus Baronum , compiled a few years later). The title cannot nowadays be subdivided. This has been prohibited since 1290 in the Statute of Quia Emptores that prevents tenants from alienating their lands to others by subinfeudation, instead requiring all tenants wishing to alienate their land to do so by substitution.
In medieval and early modern Europe the term tenant-in-chief, denoted a person who held his lands under various forms of feudal land tenure directly from the king or territorial prince to whom he did homage, as opposed to holding them from another nobleman or senior member of the clergy. The tenure was one which denoted great honour, but also carried heavy responsibilities as the tenants-in-chief were originally responsible for providing knights and soldiers for the king's feudal army.
A mesne lord was a lord in the feudal system who had vassals who held land from him, but who was himself the vassal of a higher lord. Owing to Quia Emptores, the concept of a mesne lordship technically still exists today; the partitioning of the lord of the manor's estate among co-heirs creating the mesne lordships.
A vassal is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch, in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support by knights in exchange for certain privileges, usually including land held as a tenant or fief. The term is applied to similar arrangements in other feudal societies.
Lord Denning, in Corpus Christi College Oxford v Gloucestershire County Council  QB 360, described the manor thus:
In medieval times the manor was the nucleus of English rural life. It was an administrative unit of an extensive area of land. The whole of it was owned originally by the lord of the manor. He lived in the big house called the manor house. Attached to it were many acres of grassland and woodlands called the park. These were the “demesne lands” which were for the personal use of the lord of the manor. Dotted all round were the enclosed homes and land occupied by the “tenants of the manor”.
The owner of a lordship of the manor can be described as [Personal Name], Lord/Lady of the Manor of [Placename], [ dead link ]sometimes shortened to Lord or Lady of [Placename]. In modern times any person may choose to use a name that is not the property of another. Under English common law a person may choose to be known by any name he sees fit as long as it is not done to commit fraud or evade an obligation; such changes are often made by deed poll (a deed of declaration of change of name).
A deed poll is a legal document binding only to a single person or several persons acting jointly to express an active intention. It is, strictly speaking, not a contract because it binds only one party and expresses an intention instead of a promise.
A manorial lordship is not a noble title, but a semi-extinct form of landed property. Lordship in this sense is a synonym for ownership, although this ownership involved a historic legal jurisdiction in the form of the court baron.The journal Justice of the Peace & Local Government Law advises that the position is unclear as to whether a lordship of a manor is a title of honour or a dignity, as this is yet to be tested by the courts. Technically, lords of manors are barons, or freemen; however, they do not use the term as a title. John Selden in his esteemed work Titles of Honour writes, "The word Baro (Latin for Baron) hath been also so much communicated, that not only all Lords of Manors have been from ancient time, and are at this day called sometimes Barons (as in the stile of their Court Barons, which is Curia Baronis, &c. And I have read hors de son Barony in a barr to an Avowry for hors de son fee) But also the Judges of the Exchequer have it from antient time fixed on them."
Baron is a rank of nobility or title of honour, often hereditary. The female equivalent is baroness.
The Freedom of the City is an honour bestowed by a municipality upon a valued member of the community, or upon a visiting celebrity or dignitary. Arising from the medieval practice of granting respected citizens freedom from serfdom, the tradition still lives on in countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand – although today the title of "freeman" confers no special privileges. The Freedom of the City can also be granted by municipal authorities to military units which have earned the city's trust; in this context, it is sometimes called the Freedom of Entry. This allows them the freedom to parade through the city, and is an affirmation of the bond between the regiment and the citizenry.
John Selden was an English jurist, a scholar of England's ancient laws and constitution and scholar of Jewish law. He was known as a polymath; John Milton hailed Selden in 1644 as "the chief of learned men reputed in this land."
John Martin Robinson, Maltravers Herald Extraordinary and co-author of The Oxford Guide to Heraldry, gave his opinion that "Lordship of this or that manor is no more a title than Landlord of The Dog and Duck".The style 'Lord of the Manor of X' or 'Lord of X' is, in this sense, more of a description than a title, somewhat similar to the term Laird in Scotland. King's College, Cambridge have given the view that the term 'indicated wealth and privilege, and it carried rights and responsibilities'.
Since 1965 Lords of the Manor have been entitled to compensation in the event of compulsory purchase.Before the Land Registration Act 2002 it was possible for manors to be registered with HM Land Registry. Manorial incidents, which are the rights that a lord of the manor may exercise over other people's land, lapsed on 12 October 2013 if not registered by then with the Land Registry. This is a separate issue to the registration of lordships of manors, since both registered and unregistered lordships will continue to exist after that date. It is only their practical rights that will lose what is called 'overriding interest', or in other words the ability to affect land even if the interests or rights are not registered against that land, as of 12 October 2013. Manorial incidents can still be recorded for either registered or unregistered manors; however, proof of existence of the rights may need to be submitted to the Land Registry before they will be noted and they may not be registered at all after affected land is sold after 12 October 2013. This issue does not affect the existence of the title of lord of the manor. There have been cases where manors have been sold and the seller has unknowingly parted with rights to unregistered land in England and Wales.
In England in the Middle Ages, land was held of the English monarch or ruler by a powerful local supporter, who gave protection in return. The people who had sworn homage to the lord were known as vassals. Vassals were nobles who served loyalty for the king, in return for being given the use of land. After the Norman conquest of England, however, all land in England was owned by the monarch who then granted the use of it by means of a transaction known as enfeoffment, to earls, barons, and others, in return for military service. The person who held feudal land directly from the king was known as a tenant-in-chief (see also Land tenure).
Military service was based upon units of ten knights (see Knight-service). An important tenant-in-chief might be expected to provide all ten knights, and lesser tenants-in-chief, half of one. Some tenants-in-chief 'sub-infeuded', that is, granted, some land to a sub-tenant. Further sub-infeudation could occur down to the level of a lord of a single manor, which in itself might represent only a fraction of a knight's fee. A mesne lord was the level of lord in the middle holding several manors, between the lords of a manor and the superior lord. The sub-tenant might have to provide knight-service, or finance just a portion of it, or pay something purely nominal. Any further sub-infeudation was prohibited by the Statute of Quia Emptores in 1290. Knight-service was abolished by the Tenures Abolition Act 1660.
Manors were defined as an area of land and became closely associated to the advowson of the church and often by default the advowson was appended to the rights of the Manor, sometimes separated into moieties.Many lords of the manor were known as squires, at a time when land ownership was the basis of power. While some inhabitants were serfs who were bound to the land, others were freeholders, known as 'franklins', who were free from feudal service. Periodically all the tenants met at a 'manorial court', with the lord of the manor (or squire), or a steward, as chairman. These courts, known as courts baron, dealt with the tenants' rights and duties, changes of occupancy, and disputes between tenants. Some manorial courts also had the status of a court leet, and so they elected constables and other officials and were effectively magistrates' courts for minor offences.
The tenure of the freeholders was protected by the royal courts. After the Black Death, labour was in demand and so it became difficult for the lords of manors to impose duties on serfs. However their customary tenure continued and in the 16th century the royal courts also began to protect these customary tenants, who became known as copyholders. The name arises because the tenant was given a copy of the court's record of the fact as a title deed. During the 19th century manor courts were phased out. In 1925, copyhold tenure formally ended with the enactment of Law of Property Acts, 1922 and 1924, converting copyhold to fee simple. Although copyhold was abolished, the title of Lord of the Manor remains, and certain rights attached to it will also remain if registered under the Land Registration Act 2002, which Act ended manorial incidents unprotected by registration at HM Land Registry after October 2013.The Land Registration Act 2002 does not affect the existence of unregistered lordships after October 2013, only the rights that would have previously been attached to the same.
During the latter part of the 20th century, many of these titles were sold to wealthy individuals seeking a distinction. However, certain purchasers, such as Mark Roberts, controversially exploited the right to claim unregistered land.A manorial title (i.e. Lord of the Manor) is not a title of nobility, as in a peerage title.
Feudal lordships of the manor exist today in English property law, being legal titles historically dating back to the Norman invasion of England in 1066. Being incorporated into property law (whether physical or non-physical) they can be bought and sold, as historic artifacts. The title itself as stated below can be separated from the physical property just as any other right can. Rights like the lordship, mineral and sporting can all be separate from the physical property. The title since 1290 cannot be sub-divided. Land, sporting rights, and mineral rights can be separated. Property lawyers usually handle such transactions.
There are three elements to a Manor (collectively called an Honour):
These three elements may exist separately or be combined, the first element being the title may be held in moieties and may not be subdivided, this is prohibited by the Statute of Quia Emptores preventing subinfeudation whereas the second and third elements can be subdivided.
The Historical Manuscripts Commission maintains two Manorial Document Registers that cover southern England.One register is arranged under parishes, the other is arranged under manors and shows the last-known whereabouts of the manorial records, the records are often very limited. The National Archives at Kew, London and County Record Offices maintain many documents that mention manors or manorial rights, in some cases manorial court rolls have survived, such documents are now protected by law.
The issues of land claims were raised in the UK Parliament in 2004 and were debated with a reply on the subject from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs acknowledging 'need for reform of the remnants of feudal and manorial law' as a case was highlighted in Peterstone Wentloog, Wales, where villagers were being charged excessive fees to cross manorial land to access their homes.
In 2007, a caution against first registration caused houses to stop selling in Alstonefield after Mark Roberts, a businessman from Wales also previously involved in the Peterstone Wentloog case, registered a caution against first registration for 25,000 acres (100 km2) after purchasing the lordship of the manor of Alstonefield for £10,000 in 1999. Judith Bray, land law expert from Buckingham University, speaking to BBC about the case, said that "the legal situation is very confusing because a piece of legislation in the 1920s separated manorial rights from the ownership of land."
In reports about the Alstonefield case, the BBC stated, "Scores of titles are bought and sold every year, some like the one Chris Eubank bought for fun, others seen as a business opportunity. It is entirely lawful, and there is no doubt the titles can be valuable. As well as rights to land like wastes and commons, they can also give the holder rights over land." The report goes on to say that the Law Commission in England and Wales were considering a project to abolish feudal land law but would not review manorial rights.
In many cases, a title of lord of the manor may not have any land or rights, and in such cases the title is known as an 'incorporeal hereditament'. Before the Land Registration Act 2002 it was possible to volunteer to register lordship titles with HM Land Registry; most did not seek to register. Dealings in previously registered Manors are subject to compulsory registration; however, lords of manors may opt to de-register their titles and they will continue to exist unregistered.Manorial rights such as mineral rights will no longer be able to become registerable after midnight 12 October 2013.
A manorial lordship or ladyship is not connected to the British honours system, but rather the feudal system.Ownership of a manorial lordship can be noted on request in British passports through an official observation worded, 'The Holder is the Lord of the Manor of ................'. The feudal title of lord of the manor, unlike titles of peerage, can be inherited by females. In addition it is the only title that can be purchased. Lordships of the manor are considered non-physical property in England and are fully enforceable in the English court system. Like their English counterparts, by 1600 manorial titles in the formerly Norman territories in France and Italy did not ennoble their holders in the same way as, for example, did a barony. The status of lord of the manor is associated with the rank of esquire by prescription.
There were fears in 2014 and earlier,that holders of the manorial rights would allow fracking under the homes and near local communities of people living within the manorial estate after a disclosure that 73,000 applications to assert manorial mineral rights had been received by the land registry. Many of the applications received were from the Duchy of Lancaster and the Duchy of Cornwall asserting their historic "manorial mineral ownership".
Copyhold tenure was a form of customary tenure of land common in England from the Middle Ages. The land was held according to the custom of the manor, and the mode of landholding took its name from the fact that the "title deed" received by the tenant was a copy of the relevant entry in the manorial court roll. A tenant – or mesne lord – who held land in this way was legally known as a copyholder.
Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power over others acting like a master, a chief, or a ruler. The appellation can also denote certain persons who hold a title of the peerage in the United Kingdom, or are entitled to courtesy titles. The collective "Lords" can refer to a group or body of peers.
Escheat is a common law doctrine that transfers the real property of a person who died without heirs to the Crown or state. It serves to ensure that property is not left in "limbo" without recognized ownership. It originally applied to a number of situations where a legal interest in land was destroyed by operation of law, so that the ownership of the land reverted to the immediately superior feudal lord.
False titles of nobility are claimed titles of social rank that have been fabricated or assumed by an individual or family without recognition by the current or past government of a country in which titles of nobility exist or once existed. They have received an increasing amount of press attention, as the number of schemes that attempt to confer or sell such honorifics have proliferated coincident with broadened access to and use of the internet. Concern at the use of titles which lack legal standing or a basis in tradition have prompted increased vigilance and denunciation.
In common law systems, land tenure is the legal regime in which land is owned by an individual, who is said to "hold" the land. It determines who can use land, for how long, and under what conditions. Tenure may be based both on official laws and policies, and on informal customs. In other words land tenure system implies a system according to which land is held by an individual or the actual tiller of the land. Its determines his rights and responsibility in connection with his holding. The French verb "tenir" means "to hold" and "tenant" is the present participle of "tenir". The sovereign monarch, known as The Crown, held land in its own right. All private owners are either its tenants or sub-tenants. Tenure signifies the relationship between tenant and lord, not the relationship between tenant and land. Over history, many different forms of land ownership, i.e., ways of owning land, have been established.
In feudal Anglo-Norman England and Ireland, a knight's fee was a unit measure of land deemed sufficient to support a knight. Of necessity, it would not only provide sustenance for himself, his family, esquires and servants, but also the means to furnish himself and his retinue with horses and armour to fight for his overlord in battle. It was effectively the size of a fee sufficient to support one knight in the ongoing performance of his feudal duties (knight-service). A knight's fee cannot be stated as a standard number of acres as the required acreage to produce a given crop or revenue would vary depending on many factors, including its location, the richness of its soil and the local climate, as well as the presence of other exploitable resources such as fish-weirs, quarries of rock or mines of minerals. If a knight's fee is deemed co-terminous with a manor, an average size would be between 1,000 and 5,000 acres, of which much in early times was still "waste", forest and uncultivated moorland.
In English law, seignory or seigniory, is the lordship (authority) remaining to a grantor after the grant of an estate in fee simple.
In English law, subinfeudation is the practice by which tenants, holding land under the king or other superior lord, carved out new and distinct tenures in their turn by sub-letting or alienating a part of their lands.
Quia Emptores is a statute passed in the reign of Edward I of England in 1290 that prevented tenants from alienating their lands to others by subinfeudation, instead requiring all tenants who wished to alienate their land to do so by substitution. The statute, along with its companion statute of Quo Warranto (1290), was intended to remedy land ownership disputes and consequent financial difficulties that had resulted from the decline of the traditional feudal system during the High Middle Ages.
An overlord in the English feudal system was a lord of a manor who had subinfeudated a particular manor, estate or fee, to a tenant. The tenant thenceforth owed to the overlord one of a variety of services, usually military service or serjeanty, depending on which form of tenure the estate was held under. The highest overlord of all, or paramount lord, was the monarch, who due to his ancestor William the Conqueror's personal conquest of the Kingdom of England, owned by inheritance from him all the land in England under allodial title and had no superior overlord, "holding from God and his sword", although certain monarchs, notably King John (1199-1216) purported to grant the Kingdom of England to the Pope, who would thus have become overlord to English monarchs. A paramount lord may thus be seen to occupy the apex of the feudal pyramid, or the root of the feudal tree, and such allodial title is also termed "radical title", "ultimate title" and "final title". William the Conqueror immediately set about granting tenancies on his newly won lands, in accordance with feudal principles. The monarch's immediate tenants were the tenants-in-chief, usually military magnates, who held the highest status in feudal society below the monarch. The tenants-in-chief usually held multiple manors or other estates from the monarch, often as feudal barons who owed their royal overlord an enhanced and onerous form of military service, and subinfeudated most to tenants, generally their own knights or military followers, keeping only a few in demesne. This created a mesne lord - tenant relationship. The knights in turn subinfeudated to their own tenants, creating a further subsidiary mesne lord - tenant relationship. Over the centuries for any single estate the process was in practice repeated numerous times. In early times following the Norman Conquest of 1066 and the establishment of feudalism, land was usually transferred by subinfeudation, rarely by alienation, which latter in the case of tenants-in-chief required royal licence, and the holder of an estate at any particular time, in order to gain secure tenure, and if challenged by another claimant, needed to prove "devolution of title" evidenced by legal deeds or muniments back up the chain of subinfeudations to a holder whose title was beyond doubt, for example one who had received the estate as a grant by royal charter witnessed and sealed by substantial persons. Although feudal land tenure in England was abolished by the Tenures Abolition Act 1660, in modern English conveyancing law the need to prove devolution of title persisted until recent times, due to a "legal fiction" that all land titles were held by the monarch's subjects as a result of a royal grant. Proving devolution of title is no longer necessary since the creation of the land registry and the requirement to compulsorily register all land transactions on this governmental record, which registration provides a virtually unchallengeable and perfectly secure title of ownership.
Scam titles are titles which have no legal validity.
The manorial courts were the lowest courts of law in England during the feudal period. They had a civil jurisdiction limited both in subject matter and geography. They dealt with matters over which the lord of the manor had jurisdiction, primarily torts, local contracts and land tenure, and their powers only extended to those who lived within the lands of the manor: the demesne and such lands as the lord had enfeoffed to others, and to those who held land therein. Historians have divided manorial courts into those that were primarily seignorial – based on feudal responsibilities – and those based on separate delegation of authority from the monarch. There were three types of manorial court: the court of the honour; the court baron; and the court customary, also known as the halmote court.
The Manorial Society of Great Britain Limited is a private limited company and incorporated on the 30/12/1996. It has a membership of approximately 1,900, comprising Lords of the Manor and feudal barons, peers, as well as historians, mainly from the United Kingdom but also some from Ireland.
A heerlijkheid was a landed estate that served as the lowest administrative and judicial unit in rural areas in the Dutch-speaking Low Countries before 1800. It originated as a unit of lordship under the feudal system during the Middle Ages. The English equivalents are manor, seigniory, and lordship. The heerlijkheid system was the Dutch version of manorialism that prevailed in the Low Countries and was the precursor to the modern municipality system in the Netherlands and Flemish Belgium.
The history of English land law can be traced into Roman times, and through the Dark Ages under Saxon monarchs where, as for most of human history, land was the dominant source of personal wealth. English land law transformed from the industrial revolution and over the 19th century, as the political power of the landed aristocracy diminished, and modern legislation increasingly made land a social form of wealth, subject to extensive social regulation, such as for housing, national parks, and agriculture.
Even before the Norman Conquest, there was a strong tradition of landholding in Anglo-Saxon law. When William the Conqueror asserted sovereignty over England in 1066, he confiscated the property of the recalcitrant English landowners. Over the next dozen years, he granted land to his lords and to the dispossessed Englishmen, or affirmed their existing land holdings, in exchange for fealty and promises of military and other services. At the time of the Domesday Book, all land in England was held by someone, and from that time there has been no allodial land in England. In order to legitimise the notion of the Crown's paramount lordship, a legal fiction - that all land titles were held by the King's subjects as a result of a royal grant - was adopted.
An Irish feudal barony was a customary title of nobility: the holder was always referred to as a Baron, but was not the holder of a peerage, and had no right to sit in the Irish House of Lords. In 1614 the Dublin Government noted that there were "diverse gentlemen" in Ireland who were called Baron, yet: "Never was any of them Lord Baron nor summoned to any Parliament".