In the kingdom of England , a FEUDAL BARONY or BARONY BY TENURE was the highest degree of feudal land tenure , namely per baroniam (Latin for "by barony") 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 cannot now be defined exactly, 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 .
If the estate-in-land held by barony contained a significant castle as its caput baroniae and if it was especially large – consisting of more than about 20 knight\'s fees (each loosely equivalent to a manor ) – then it was termed an "honour ".
This type of barony must be distinguished from a barony, also feudal, which existed within a county palatine , such as the barony of Halton within the Palatinate of Chester .
* 1 Creation
* 2 Servitium debitum
* 2.1 Under- and over- enfeoffment * 2.2 Cartae Baronum
* 3 Summons to parliament * 4 Deemed feudal barons * 5 Baronial relief
* 6 Abolition and surviving vestiges
* 6.1 Geographical survivals
* 7 Lists
* 7.1 Certain baronies * 7.2 Probable baronies
* 8 See also * 9 Notes * 10 References * 11 Sources * 12 Further reading
William the Conqueror established his favoured followers as barons by
enfeoffing them as tenants-in-chief with great fiefdoms to be held per
baroniam, a largely standard feudal contract of tenure, common to all
his barons. Such barons were not necessarily always from the greater
Norman nobles, but were selected often on account of their personal
abilities and usefulness. Thus for example
Turstin FitzRolf , the
relatively humble and obscure knight who had stepped in at the last
minute to accept the position of Duke William's standard-bearer at the
Battle of Hastings
Lands forming a barony were often located in several different counties, not necessarily adjoining. The name of such a barony is generally deemed to be the name of the chief manor within it, known as the Caput , Latin for "head", generally assumed to have been the seat or chief residence of the first baron. So, for instance, the barony of Turstin FitzRolf became known as the barony of North Cadbury , Somerset.
The exact date of creation of most feudal baronies cannot be
determined, as their founding charters have been lost. Many of them
are first recorded in the
The feudal obligation imposed by the grant of a barony was termed in Latin the servitium debitum or "service owed" and was set as a quota of knights to be provided for the king's service. It bore no constant relation to the amount of land comprised by the barony, but was fixed by a bargain between the king and the baron.
It was at the discretion of the baron as to how these knights were found. The commonest method was for him to split his barony into several fiefs of between a few hundred acres possibly up to a thousand acres each, into each of which he would sub-enfeoff one knight, by the tenure of knight-service . This tenure gave the knight use of the fief and all its revenues, on condition that he should provide to the baron, now his overlord, 40 days of military service, complete with retinue of esquires, horses and armour. The fief so allotted is known as a knight\'s fee . Alternatively the baron could keep the entire barony, or a part of it, in demesne , that is to say "in-hand" or under his own management, using the revenues it produced to buy the services of mercenary knights known as "stipendiary knights". A barony which could support more than the number of knights required by the servitium debitum had clearly been obtained from the king on favourable terms.
UNDER- AND OVER- ENFEOFFMENT
Where a baron had sub-enfeoffed fewer knights than required by the servitium debitum, the barony was said to be "under-enfeoffed", and the balance of knights owing had to be produced super dominium, that is "on the demesne". This does not mean they were resident within the baron's demesne, but that they had to be hired with the revenue arising from it.
Conversely, a barony was "over-enfeoffed" where more knights had been enfeoffed than was required by the servitium debitum, and this indicated that the barony had been obtained on overly-favourable terms.
The Cartae Baronum ("Charters of the Barons") was a survey commissioned by the Treasury in 1166. It required each baron to declare how many knights he had enfeoffed and how many were super dominium, with the names of all. It appears that the survey was designed to identify baronies from which a greater servitium debitum could in future be obtained by the king. An example is given from the return of Lambert of Etocquigny:
To his reverend lord, Henry, king of the English, Lambert of Etocquigny, greeting. Know that I hold from you by your favour 16 carucates of land and 2 bovates by the service of 10 knights. In these 10 carucates of land I have 5 knights enfeoffed by the old enfeoffment:
* Richard de Haia holds 1 knight's fee; and he withheld the service which he owes to you and to me from the day of your coronation up to now, except that he paid me 2 marks. * Odo de Cranesbi holds 1 knight's fee. * Thomas, son of William, holds 1 knight's fee. * Roger de Millers holds 2 knight's fees.
And from my demesne I provide the balance of the service I owe you, to wit, that of 5 knights. And from that demesne I have given Robert de Portemort 3/4 of 1 knight's fee. Therefore I pray you that you will send me your judgement concerning Richard de Haia who holds back the service of his fee, because I cannot obtain that service except by your order. This is the total service in the aforesaid 16 carucates of land. Farewell.
SUMMONS TO PARLIAMENT
The privilege which balanced the burden of the servitium debitum was the baron's right to attend the king's council. Originally all barons who held per baroniam received individual writs of summons to attend parliament. This was a practical measure because the early kings almost continually travelled around the kingdom, taking their court (i.e. administration) with them.
A king only called a parliament, or council, when the need arose either for advice or funding. This lack of a parliamentary schedule meant that the barons needed to be informed when and where to attend. As baronies became fragmented over time due to failure of male heirs and descent via co-heiresses (see below), many of those who held per baroniam became holders of relatively small fiefdoms. Eventually the king refused to summon such minor nobles to parliament by personal writ, sending instead a general writ of summons to the sheriff of each shire, who was to summon only representatives of these so-called lesser barons. The greater barons, who retained sufficient power to insist upon it, continued to receive personal summonses. The king came to realise, from the complacency of the lesser barons with this new procedure, that in practice it was not tenure per baroniam which determined attendance at parliament, but receipt of a writ of summons originated by himself.
The next logical development was that the king started issuing writs to persons who did not hold per baroniam and who were not therefore feudal barons, but "barons by writ". The reason for summoning by writ was based on personal characteristics, for example the man summoned might be one of exceptional judgement or have valuable military skills. The arbitrary summons by personal writ signalled the start of the decline of feudalism, eventually evolving into summons by public proclamation in the form of letters patent .
DEEMED FEUDAL BARONS
The higher prelates such as archbishops and bishops were deemed to
hold per baroniam, and were thus members of the baronage entitled to
attend parliament, indeed they formed the greatest grouping of all.
Marcher lords in
Baronial relief was payable by an heir so that he might lawfully take possession of his inheritance. It was a form of one-off taxation, or more accurately a variety of "feudal incident", levyable by the King on his tenants-in-chief for a variety of reasons. A prospective heir to a barony generally paid £100 in baronial relief for his inheritance. The term "relief" implies "elevation", both words being derived from the Latin levo, to raise up, into a position of honour.
Where a barony was split into two, for example on the death of a baron leaving two co-heiresses, each daughter's husband would become a baron in respect of his moiety (mediaeval French for "half"), paying half of the full baronial relief. A tenant-in-chief could be the lord of fractions of several different baronies, if he or his ancestors had married co-heiresses. The tenure of even the smallest fraction of a barony conferred baronial status on the lord of these lands. This natural fragmentation of the baronies led to great difficulties within the royal administration as the king relied on an ever-increasing number of men responsible for supplying soldiers for the royal army, and the records of the identities of these fractional barons became more complex and unreliable. The early English jurist Henry de Bracton (died 1268) was one of the first writers to examine the concept of the feudal barony.
ABOLITION AND SURVIVING VESTIGES
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The power of the feudal barons to control their landholding was
considerably weakened in 1290 by the statute of
Feudal baronies became perhaps obsolete (but not extinct) on the abolition of feudal tenure during the Civil War , as confirmed by the Tenures Abolition Act 1660 passed under the Restoration which took away Knights service and other legal rights.
Under the Tenures Abolition Act 1660, many baronies by tenure were converted into baronies by writ . The rest ceased to exist as feudal baronies by tenure, becoming baronies in free socage, that is to say under a "free" (hereditable) contract requiring payment of monetary rents. Thus baronies could no longer be held by military service. Parliamentary titles of honour had been limited since the 15th century by the Modus Tenenda Parliamenta act , and could thenceforth only be created by writ of summons or letters patent .
Tenure by knight-service was abolished and discharged and the lands
covered by such tenures, including once-feudal baronies, were
henceforth held by socage (i.e. in exchange for monetary rents). The
English Fitzwalter Case in 1670 ruled that barony by tenure had been
discontinued for many years and any claims to a peerage on such basis,
meaning a right to sit in the
House of Lords
Survivals of feudal baronies, in their geographical form, are the Barony of Westmorland , the Barony of Kendal , the Barony of Arundel and the Barony of Abergavenny. These terms now describe areas of the modern county of Westmorland , in the same way that the word "county" itself has lost its feudal meaning of a land area under the control of a count or earl .
Ivor J. Sanders searched the archives, for example Exchequer documents such as fine rolls and pipe rolls , for entries recording the payment of baronial relief and published his results in English Baronies, a Study of their Origin and Descent 1086–1327 (Oxford, 1960). He identified 132 certain baronies where evidence was found of payment of baronial relief, and a further 72 which he termed "probable baronies" where the evidence was less clear. Where he could not identify a Caput Sanders named the barony after the name of the baron, for example the "Barony of Miles of Gloucester". The following lists include all of Sanders' certain and probable baronies.
NAME OF BARONY COUNTY OF CAPUT FIRST KNOWN TENANT EARLIEST RECORD
Aldington Kent William FitzHelte 1073
Arundel Sussex Roger de Montgomery pre 1087
Ashby Lincolnshire Gilbert de Neville 1162
Ashfield Suffolk Robert Blund 1086
Aveley Essex John FitzWaleran 1086
Bampton Devon Walter de Douai 1086
Biset – Manasser Biset (d.1177) pre 1177
Miles of Gloucester/Brecon Brecon Miles de Gloucester 1125
Basing Hampshire Hugh de Port 1086
Beckley Oxfordshire Roger d\'Ivry 1086
Bedford Bedfordshire Hugh de Beauchamp 1086
Belvoir Leicestershire Robert de Todeni 1086
Benington Hertfordshire Peter I de Valoynes 1086
Berkeley Gloucestershire Robert FitzHarding tempore H II, pre 1166
Berkhampstead Hertfordshire Robert, count of Mortain 1086
Beverstone Gloucestershire Robert de Gurney 1235
Blagdon Somerset Serlo de Burci 1086
Blankney Lincolnshire Walter I de Aincourt 1086
Blythborough Suffolk William FitzWalter 1157
Bolham Northumberland James de Newcastle 1154
Bolingbroke Lincolnshire Ivo de Taillebois 1086
Bourn Cambridgeshire Picot 1086
Bradninch Devon William Capra 1086
Bulwick Northamptonshire Richard FitzUrse 1130
Burgh-by-Sands Cumbria Robert de Trevers tempus H I(1100–1135)
Burstwick/"Holderness" Yorkshire Drogo de Brevere 1086
Bywell Northumberland Guy de Balliol tempus W II(1087–1100)
Cainhoe Bedfordshire Nigel d'Aubigny 1086
Castle Cary Somerset Walter de Douai 1086
Castle Combe Wiltshire Humphrey de Insula 1086
Castle Holgate Shropshire "Helgot" 1086
Cause Shropshire Roger FitzCorbet 11th century
Cavendish Suffolk Ralph I de Limesy 1086
Caxton Cambridgeshire Hardwin de Scales 1086
Chatham Kent Robert le Latin (held under Odo Bp. of Bayeux) 1086
Chester Cheshire Gerbod the Fleming 1070
Chipping Warden Northamptonshire Guy de Reinbuedcurt 1086
Chiselborough Somerset Alured "Pincerna" 1086
Clare Suffolk Richard fitz Gilbert c. 1090
Clifford Hereford Ralph de Tony 1086
Cogges Oxfordshire "Wadard" (held under Odo Bp. of Bayeux) 1086
Cottingham Yorkshire Hugh FitzBaldric 1086
Crick Derbyshire Ralph FitzHubert 1086 I.J.Sanders Page 37 & 84.
Curry Malet Somerset Roger de Courcelles 1086
William I de Cantilupe
Eaton Socon Bedfordshire Eudo Dapifer 1086
Ellingham Northumberland Nicholas de Grenville tempus H I
Embleton Northumberland John FitzOdard tempus H I
Erlestoke Wiltshire Roger I de Mandeville tempus H I
Ewyas Harold Herefordshire Alfred of Marlborough 1086
Eye Suffolk Robert Malet 1086
Field Dalling/St.Hilary Norfolk Hasculf de St James 1138
Flockthorpe in Hardingham Norfolk Ralph de Camoys 1236
Folkestone Kent William de Arques (held under Odo Bp. of Bayeux) c. 1090
Folkingham Lincolnshire Gilbert I de Ghent 1086
Framlingham Suffolk Roger I Bigod 1086/tempus H I
Freiston Lincolnshire Guy de Craon 1086
Great Bealings Suffolk Hervey de Bourges 1086
Great Torrington Devon Odo FitzGamelin 1086
Great Weldon Northamptonshire Robert de Buci 1086
Greystoke Cumberland Forne son of Sigulf 1086
Hanslope Buckinghamshire Winemar the Fleming 1086
Robert FitzIvo (under
Headington Oxfordshire Thomas Basset 1203
Headingham Essex Aubry I de Vere 1086
Helmsley Yorkshire Walter Espec temp.H I
Hockering Norfolk Ralph de Belfou 1086
Holderness (see caput:Burstwick)
Hook Norton Oxfordshire Robert d\'Oilly 1086
Richard de Surdeval (under
Hunsingore Yorkshire Erneis de Burun 1086
Kendal Westmorland Ivo de Taillebois tempus W II
Kington Herefordshire Adam de Port c. 1121
Kirklinton Cumberland Adam I de Boivill(?) post temp. H I
Knaresborough Yorkshire William de Stuteville c. 1175
Leicester Leicestershire Hugh de Grandmesnil 1086
Long Crendon Buckinghamshire Walter I Giffard 1086
Marshwood Dorset Geoffrey I de Mandeville temp. Henry I
Monmouth Monmouthshire Wethenoc of Monmouth c. 1066
Morpeth Northumberland William I de Merlay temp. Henry I
Much Marcle Herefordshire William FitzBaderon 1086
Mulgrave Yorkshire Nigel Fossard 1086
Nether Stowey Somerset Alfred de Hispania 1086
Nocton Lincolnshire Norman I de Darcy 1086
Odell Bedfordshire Walter le Fleming 1086
Okehampton Devon Baldwin FitzGilbert 1086
Old Buckenham Norfolk William d\'Aubigny Pincerna temp. Henry I
Oswestry Shropshire Warin the Bold (held from Roger of Montgomery ) temp. William II
Pleshy Essex Geoffrey I de Mandeville 1086
Poorstock Dorset Roger I Arundel 1086
Prudhoe Northumberland Robert I de Umfraville temp. William I
Pulverbatch Shropshire Roger I Venator (held from Roger of Montgomery ) 1086
Redbourne Lincolnshire Jocelin FitzLambert 1086
Richard\'s Castle Herefordshire Osbern I FitzScrob 1086
Salwarpe Worcestershire Urse d\'Abitot held from Roger of Montgomery ) 1086
Shelford Nottinghamshire Geoffrey de Alselin 1086
Skelton Yorkshire Robert de Brus temp. Henry I
Skirpenbeck Yorkshire Odo the Crossbowman 1086
Snodhill Herefordshire Hugh the Ass 1086
Sotby Lincolnshire William I Kyme (held from Walden the Engineer) 1086
Stainton le Vale Lincolnshire Ralph de Criol temp. Henry I
Stansted Mountfitchet Essex Robert Gernon 1086
Staveley Derbyshire Hascuil I Musard 1086
Stoke Trister Somerset Bretel St Clair 1086
Styford Northumberland Walter I de Bolbec temp. Henry I
Sudeley Gloucestershire Harold de Sudeley 1066
Tarrington Herefordshire Ansfrid de Cormeilles 1086
Tattershall Lincolnshire Eudo son of Spirewic 1086
Thoresway Lincolnshire Alfred of Lincoln 1086
Totnes Devon Juhel de Totnes 1086
Reginald I de Vautort (held from
Trowbridge Wiltshire Brictric 1086
Walkern Hertfordshire Derman temp. Wm I
Wallingford Berkshire Milo Crispin 1086
Robert de Beaumont,
Weedon Pinkeny/Lois Northamptonshire Ghilo I de Pinkeny 1086
Weobley Herefordshire Walter de Lacy temp. Wm I
West Dean Wiltshire Waleran the Huntsman 1086
West Greenwich Kent Gilbert de Maminot , Bishop of Lisieux (held from Odo Bishop of Bayeux) 1086
Whitchurch Buckinghamshire Hugh I de Bolbec 1086
Wigmore Herefordshire William FitzOsbern temp. Wm I
Winterbourne St Martin Dorset widow of Hugh FitzGrip 1086
Wolverton Buckinghamshire Manno le Breton 1086
Wormegay Norfolk Hermer de Ferrers 1086
Writtle Essex Isabel, sister -webkit-column-count: 2; column-count: 2;">
Barony (country subdivision)
* ^ The term 'caput baroniae ' is often shortened to 'caput '
* ^ The survey in fact covered all the king's tenants-in-chief ,
not just those who held per baroniam, which adds much uncertainty as
to the exact meaning of the term "baron".
* ^ Chiselborough held from Robert
* ^ Sanders (1960), p.138, refers to the "Lord" of Halton being the
hereditary constable of the County Palatine of Chester, and omits
Halton from both his lists.
* ^ A B Sanders (1960), p.68
* ^ Passage on servitium debitum based on Douglas (1959), p.894
* ^ Douglas (1959), p.915
* ^ Roskell, J.S.
History of Parliament , House of Commons
1386–1421, Stroud, 1992, vol.1, p.751, Constituencies, Cinque Ports
* ^ A B C Sanders (1960), preface, v.
* ^ Collins\'s
Peerage Claims, P287"the nature of a Barony by
tenure being discoursed, it was found to have been discontinued for
many ages, and not in being, and not fit to be revived, or to admit
any pretence of right of succession thereupon: And that the pretence
of a barony by tenure being declared for weighty reasons not to be one
to be insisted upon"
* ^ (1861) 8 H.L.C. 21 at 74
* ^ Manorial Law, A W p.103-4 probable Barony of Appleby
* ^ The caput of this Barony of Gloucester is uncertain (Sanders,
* ^ English, B., The Lords of Holderness, 1086–1260: A Study in
Feudal Society, Oxford, 1979
* ^ Poulett, Scrope G., The History of the
* Sanders, I.J. English Baronies, a Study of their Origin and Descent 1086–1327, Oxford, 1960. * Douglas, David C. & Greenaway, George W., (eds.), English Historical Documents 1042–1189, London, 1959. Part IV, Land