HOME
The Info List - English Feudal Barony



--- Advertisement ---


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 .

CONTENTS

* 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

CREATION

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 , was granted a barony which comprised well over twenty manors.

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 Domesday Book survey of 1086.

_SERVITIUM DEBITUM_

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.

_CARTAE BARONUM_

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 Wales often held their lordships by right of conquest and appear to have been deemed feudal barons. The Barons of the Cinque Ports were also deemed feudal barons by virtue of their military service at sea, and were thus entitled to attend parliament.

BARONIAL RELIEF

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

_ This section NEEDS ADDITIONAL CITATIONS FOR VERIFICATION . Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources . Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (December 2013)_ _(Learn how and when to remove this template message )_

The power of the feudal barons to control their landholding was considerably weakened in 1290 by the statute of _ Quia Emptores _. This prohibited land from being the subject of a feudal grant, and allowed its transfer without the feudal lord's permission.

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 , were not to be revived, nor any right of succession based on them. In the _Berkeley Case_ in 1861, an attempt was made to claim a seat in the House of Lords by right of a barony by tenure, but the House of Lords ruled that whatever might have been the case in the past, baronies by tenure no longer existed, meaning that a barony could not be held "by tenure", and confirmed the Tenures Abolition Act 1660. Three Redesdale Committee Reports in the early 19th century reached the same conclusion. There has been at least one legal opinion which asserts the continuing legal existence of the feudal barony in England and Wales, namely that from 1996 of A W & C Barsby, Barristers of Grays's Inn.

GEOGRAPHICAL SURVIVALS

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 .

LISTS

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.

CERTAIN 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

Gloucester (baronial court at Bristol ) Gloucestershire Robert FitzHamon (d.1107) pre 1107

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

Eaton Bray Bedfordshire William I de Cantilupe 1205

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

Hatch Beauchamp Somerset Robert FitzIvo (under Count of Mortain) 1086

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

Hooton Pagnell Yorkshire Richard de Surdeval (under Count of Mortain) (part) Ralph Pagnell (under King) (part) 1086

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

Launceston Cornwall Descent as Earl of Cornwall 1086

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

North Cadbury Somerset Turstin FitzRolf 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

Southoe Huntingdonshire Eustace Sheriff of Huntingdonshire 1086

Stafford Staffordshire Robert I de Stafford 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

Trematon Cornwall Reginald I de Vautort (held from Count of Mortain) 1086

Trowbridge Wiltshire Brictric 1086

Walkern Hertfordshire Derman _temp._ Wm I

Wallingford Berkshire Milo Crispin 1086

Warwick Warwickshire Robert de Beaumont, Count of Meulan 1086

Weedon Pinkeny/Lois Northamptonshire Ghilo I de Pinkeny 1086

Wem Shropshire William Pantulf (held from Roger, Earl of Montgomery) _temp._ Wm II

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) * Feudalism * List of baronies in the peerages of the British Isles * Scottish feudal barony * Scottish feudal lordship * Irish feudal barony * Barony (Ireland) * List of baronies of Ireland * List of Marcher lordships * Tenures Abolition Act 1660 * Land tenure * Land tenure in England * Honour (feudal land tenure) * Feudal baronies in Devonshire

NOTES

* ^ 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 Count of Mortain * ^ Now in Berkshire * ^ Odcombe held from Count of Mortain 1086 * ^ Patricksbourne held from Odo of Bayeux 1086 * ^ Held from the Bishop of Bayeux * ^ Wrinstead: now represented by Wrinstead Court, c. 11 miles NW of Ashford, Kent

REFERENCES

* ^ 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 (Westmorland) * ^ The _caput_ of this _Barony of Gloucester_ is uncertain (Sanders, p.6) * ^ English, B., The Lords of Holderness, 1086–1260: A Study in Feudal Society, Oxford, 1979 * ^ Poulett, Scrope G., The History of the Manor and Ancient Barony of Castle Combe in the County of Wiltshire, privately printed, 1852 * ^ Batten, J. The Barony of Beauchamp of Somerset, in: Proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, 36(1891), pp.20–59 * ^ Powley, E.B. The House of De La Pomerai, Liverpool, 1944 * ^ Hasted, Edward (1798). "Parishes". _The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent_. Institute of Historical Research. 6: 386–393. Retrieved 28 February 2014. * ^ Manchester was held of the Honour of Lancaster, per Sanders (1960), p.130, note 8, therefore possibly more properly a barony within a County Palatine

SOURCES

* 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 position: absolute;" /> Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=English_feudal_barony additional terms may apply. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy .® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. , a non-profit organization.

* Privacy policy * About Wikipedia * Disclaimers * Contact Wikipedia * Developers * Cookie statement * Mobile view

* *

Links: ------