|Feudal land tenure in England|
Under feudalism in France and England during the Middle Ages, tenure by serjeanty ( // ) was a form of tenure in return for a specified duty other than standard knight-service.
The word comes from the French noun sergent, itself from the Latin serviens, servientis, "serving", the present participle of the verb servo , "to keep, preserve, save, rescue, deliver". "Sergeant" is derived from the same source, though developing an entirely different meaning.
Serjeanty originated in the assignation of an estate in land on condition of the performance of a certain duty other than knight-service, usually the discharge of duties in the household of the king or a noble. It ranged from non-standard service in the king's army (distinguished only by equipment from that of the knight), to petty renders (for example the rendering of a quantity of basic food such as a goose) scarcely distinguishable from those of the rent-paying tenant or socager.
The legal historians Frederick Pollock and Frederic William Maitland (1895) described it as being a free "servantship" in the sense that the serjeant, whatever his task, was essentially a menial servant.However the feudal historian John Horace Round objected that their definition does not cover military serjeanties and glosses over the honorific value of at least some of the services.
The historian Mary Bateson stated as follows concerning serjeanties:
(They) were neither always military nor always agricultural, but might approach very closely the service of knights or the service of farmers ... The serjeanty of holding the king's head when he made a rough passage across the Channel, of pulling a rope when his vessel landed, of counting his chessmen on Christmas Day, of bringing fuel to his castle, of doing his carpentry, of finding his pot-herbs, of forging his irons for his ploughs, of tending his garden, of nursing the hounds gored and injured in the hunt, of serving as veterinary to his sick falcons, such and many others might be the ceremonial or menial services due from a given serjeanty.
The varieties of serjeanty were later increased by lawyers, who for the sake of convenience categorised under this head such duties as escort service to the Abbess of Barking, or of military service on the Welsh border by the men of Archenfield.
Serjeants (servientes) already appear as a distinct class in the Domesday Book of 1086, though not in all cases differentiated from the barons, who held by knight-service. A few mediaeval tenures by serjeanty can be definitely traced as far back as Domesday in the case of three Hampshire serjeanties: those of acting as king's marshal, of finding an archer for his service, and of keeping the gaol in Winchester Castle. It is probable, however, that many supposed tenures by serjeanty were not really such, although so described in returns, in inquisitions post mortem, and other records. The simplest legal test of the tenure was that serjeants, though liable to the feudal exactions of wardship, etc., were not liable to scutage; they made in place of this exaction special composition with the Crown.
Some of the Domesday Book tenants may have been serjeants before the Norman Conquest, in the time of King Edward the Confessor. For instance, a certain Siward Accipitrarius (from Latin accipiter, "hawk"), presumably hawker to Edward the Confessor, held from the king an estate worth £7 in Somerset and did so in an area appropriate to his occupation, close to a water habitat. J. H. Round ascribed the development of serjeanties in England to Norman influence, though he did not dismiss earlier roots. The Anglo-Saxon historian James Campbell has suggested that serjeanties such as the messenger services recorded in the 13th century may represent "semi-fossilised remnants of important parts of the Anglo-Saxon governmental system".
The germ of the later distinction between "grand" (French: grand, "large") and "petty" (French petit, "small") serjeanty is found in the Magna Carta of 1215, the king there renouncing the right of prerogative wardship in the case of those who held of him by the render of small articles. The legal doctrine which developed that serjeanties were inalienable (i.e. non-transferable) and impartible, led during the reign of King Henry III (1216–1272) to the arrentation of those serjeanties the lands of which had been partly alienated, which were thereby converted into socage tenures (i.e. paying money rents), or in some cases, tenures by knight-service. Gradually the gulf widened, and "petty" serjeanties, consisting of renders, together with serjeanties held of mesne lords, sank into socage, while "grand" serjeanties, the holders of which performed their service in person, became alone liable to the burden of wardship and marriage. In Littleton's Tenures (15th century), this distinction appears as well defined, but the development was one of legal theory.
By the reign of King Edward I (1272–1307), tenure by serjeanty was well on the retreat, as Kimball (1936) observes:
Once it began to give way, serjeanty disintegrated more quickly and easily than the other tenures as the feudal conception of society lost its hold...Its miscellaneous services had...many fates. A large number soon became obsolete; others were commuted to money payments or changed to knight's service; a few that were honourable or ornamental were retained in their original form as part of the coronation ceremony. Some being still useful were performed by deputy, or absorbed into the regular administrative system.
When the military tenure of knight-service was abolished at the Restoration of the Monarchy by King Charles II (1660-1685),that of grand serjeanty was retained, doubtless on account of its honorary character, it being then limited in practice to the performance of certain duties at coronations, the discharge of which as a right has always been coveted, and the earliest record of which is that of the coronation of Queen Eleanor of Provence in 1236. The most conspicuous are those of King's Champion, appurtenant to the manor of Scrivelsby, long held by the Dymoke family, and of supporting the king's right arm, appurtenant to the manor of Worksop.
Although today any surviving remnants of grand sergeanty are regarded as roles of high honour, it should be remembered that originally grand sergeanty was a duty, not a right. Clearly even by the medieval era much grand sergeanty had become in practice merely a token of high honour given by a monarch, where the duty was patently absurd and entirely non-onerous, except for the requirement of the physical presence of the tenant concerned. The duty of supporting the king's right arm was still performed at the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902. Although the first holder of such heritable grand sergeanties was clearly a man well liked and respected by the appointing monarch, and suitable to the role, the character of the tenant's heir in the duty, often involving close personal proximity, might be less pleasing to future monarchs. The meaning of serjeant as a household officer is still preserved in the monarch's serjeants-at-arms, serjeant-surgeons and serjeant-trumpeter. The horse and foot serjeants (servientes) of the king's army in the 12th century, who ranked after the knights and were more lightly armed, were unconnected with land tenure.
Serjeanty is to be distinguished from offices held hereditarily "in gross". These are not serjeanties, as they were not incidents of the tenure of a manor or other land. They are heritable in the same way as baronies by writ, so that they can pass to a daughter where there is no male heir, and be split between daughters as co-heiresses if there are several.
Copyhold was a form of customary land ownership common from the Late Middle Ages into modern times in England. The name for this type of land tenure is derived from the act of giving a copy of the relevant title deed that is recorded in the manorial court roll to the tenant; not the actual land deed itself. The legal owner of the manor land remained the mesne lord, who was legally the copyholder, according to the titles and customs written down in the manorial roll. In return for being given land, a copyhold tenant was required to carry out specific manorial duties or services. The specific rights and duties of copyhold tenants varied greatly from one manor to another and many were established by custom. By the 19th century, many customary duties had been replaced with the payment of rent.
Under the English feudal system several different forms of land tenure existed, each effectively a contract with differing rights and duties attached thereto. Such tenures could be either free-hold, signifying that they were hereditable or perpetual, or non-free where the tenancy terminated on the tenant's death or at an earlier specified period.
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, 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 medieval and early modern Europe, a tenant-in-chief was 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. The tenants-in-chief were originally responsible for providing knights and soldiers for the king's feudal army.
Seisin denotes the legal possession of a feudal fiefdom or fee, that is to say an estate in land. It was used in the form of "the son and heir of X has obtained seisin of his inheritance", and thus is effectively a term concerned with conveyancing in the feudal era. The person holding such estate is said to be "seized of it", a phrase which commonly appears in inquisitions post mortem. The monarch alone "held" all the land of England by his allodial right and all his subjects were merely his tenants under various contracts of feudal tenure.
Quia Emptores is a statute passed by the Parliament of England in 1290 during the reign of Edward I 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 Quo Warranto also passed in 1290, was intended to remedy land ownership disputes and consequent financial difficulties that had resulted from the decline of the traditional feudal system in England during the High Middle Ages. The name Quia Emptores derives from the first two words of the statute in its original mediaeval Latin, which can be translated as "because the buyers". Its long title is A Statute of our Lord The King, concerning the Selling and Buying of Land. It is also cited as the Statute of Westminster III, one of many English and British statutes with that title.
Knight-service was a form of feudal land tenure under which a knight held a fief or estate of land termed a knight's fee from an overlord conditional on him as tenant performing military service for his overlord.
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 Pope Innocent III, who would thus have become overlord to English monarchs.
The Manor of Worksop is a feudal entity in the Dukeries area of Nottinghamshire, England. Held in Grand Serjeanty by a lord of the manor, it was originally connected with nearby Worksop Manor, a stately home.
Scrivelsby is a village and ecclesiastical parish in the East Lindsey district of the County of Lincolnshire, England. It is situated 2 miles (3.2 km) south of Horncastle and is on the B1183 road 1 mile (1.6 km) east from the A153 road. It is administered by the civil parish of Mareham on the Hill.
The Honourable The King's Champion is an honorary and hereditary office in the Royal Household of the British sovereign. The champion's original role at the coronation of a British monarch was to challenge anyone who contested the new monarch's entitlement to the throne to trial by combat. Although this function was last enacted at the Coronation of George IV in 1821, the office continues to descend through the Dymoke family.
A feudal baron is a vassal holding a heritable fief called a barony, comprising a specific portion of land, granted by an overlord in return for allegiance and service. Following the end of European feudalism, feudal baronies have largely been superseded by baronies held as a rank of nobility, without any attachment to a fief. However, in Scotland, the feudal dignity of baron remains in existence, and may be bought and sold independently of the land to which it was formerly attached.
The Dymoke family of the Manor of Scrivelsby in the parish of Horncastle in Lincolnshire holds the feudal hereditary office of King's Champion. The functions of the Champion are to ride into Westminster Hall at the coronation banquet and challenge all comers who might impugn the King's title.
The Tenures Abolition Act 1660, sometimes known as the Statute of Tenures, was an Act of the Parliament of England which changed the nature of several types of feudal land tenure in England. The long title of the Act was An act for taking away the Court of Wards and liveries, and tenures in capite, and by knights-service, and purveyance, and for settling a revenue upon his Majesty in lieu thereof.
(John) Horace Round was an historian and genealogist of the English medieval period. He translated the portion of Domesday Book (1086) covering Essex into English. As an expert in the history of the British peerage, he was appointed honorary historical adviser to the Crown.
The Book of Fees is the colloquial title of a modern edition, transcript, rearrangement and enhancement of the medieval Liber Feodorum, being a listing of feudal landholdings or fief, compiled in about 1302, but from earlier records, for the use of the English Exchequer. Originally in two volumes of parchment, the Liber Feodorum is a collection of about 500 written brief notes made between 1198 and 1292 concerning fiefs held in capite or in-chief, that is to say directly from the Crown. From an early date, the book comprising these volumes has been known informally as the Testa de Nevill, supposedly after an image on the cover of the volume of one of its two major source collections. The modern standard edition, known colloquially as "The Book of Fees" whose three volumes were published between 1920 and 1931, improves on two earlier 19th-century efforts at publishing a comprehensive and reliable modern edition of all these mediaeval records of fees. The nomenclature Book of Fees is that generally used in academic citations by modern scholars to refer to this 20th-century modern published edition of the ancient collected documents.
In the kingdom of England, a feudal barony or barony by tenure was the highest degree of feudal land tenure, namely per baroniam, under which the land-holder owed the service of being one of the king's barons. The duties owed by and the privileges granted to feudal barons are not exactly defined, but they involved the duty of providing soldiers to the royal feudal army on demand by the king, and the privilege of attendance at the king's feudal court, the precursor of parliament.
Feudalism as practiced in the Kingdoms of England during the medieval period was a state of human society that organized political and military leadership and force around a stratified formal structure based on land tenure. As a military defense and socio-economic paradigm designed to direct the wealth of the land to the king while it levied military troops to his causes, feudal society was ordered around relationships derived from the holding of land. Such landholdings are termed fiefdoms, traders, fiefs, or fees.
Baron Bardolf or Bardolph was a title in the Peerage of England.
Dillegrout or dilligrout is a dish traditionally presented at the coronations of kings and queens of England by the holders of the manor of Addington in a kitchen serjeanty. It is generally thought to be a soup or stew made from almond milk, capon, sugar, and spices, but a porridge-like dish of other ingredients has been described. Dillegrout was first presented in 1068 at the coronation of Matilda of Flanders, wife of William the Conqueror, and its final presentation was at the coronation of George IV in 1821.