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Feudalism & Daily Life
Terms and Definitions


General Information on Feudalism
Terms and Definitions
Who's Who in the Feudal System
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Here are some terms and definitions that may help you better understand Feudalism...

Ancilla - A female slave.

Arpent - a measure of land roughly equal to a modern acre.

Assize - meeting of feudal vassals with the king. Also refers to decrees issued by the king after such meetings.

Banalities - fees which a feudal lord imposes on his serfs for the use of his mill, oven, wine press, or similar facilities. It sometimes includes part of a fish catch or the preceeds from a rabbit warren.

Benefice-The grant made by a lord, usually of land.

Fief, fee, or feud - Land or revenue-producing property granted by a lord in return for a vassal's service.

Host or ost - Feudal military service in the lord's army.

Regalian - Royal.

Relief - A fine paid by the heir of a vassal to the lord for the privilege of succeeding to an estate.

Sheriff - The official who was the chief administrative and judicial officer of a shire. Many of his jobs were taken over by the itinerant justice, coroner, and justice of the peace. He collected taxes and forwarded them to the exchequer after taking his share. Also responsible for making sure the king's table was well stocked while the king was in his county.

Shire - English county.

Vassal - A free man who held land (fief) from a lord to whom he paid homage and swore fealty. He owed various services and obligations, primarily military. He was also required to advise his lord and pay him the traditional feudal aids required on the knighting of the lord's eldest son, the marriage of the lord's eldest daughter, and the ransoming of the lord should he be held captive.

Knight Pointing Left


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