What is Manorialism?
Manorialism was an essential element of feudal society. It was the organizing principle of rural economy that originated in the Roman villa system of the late Roman Empire, and was widely practiced in medieval western and parts of central Europe as well as China. It was slowly replaced by the advent of a money-based market economy and new forms of agrarian contract. Manorialism was characterised by the vesting of legal and economic power in a Lord of the Manor, 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 the jurisdiction of himself and his manorial court. These obligations could be payable in several ways, in labor, in kind, or, on rare occasions, in coin.
What is a Manor?
A manor in English law is an estate in land to which is incident the right to hold a court termed court baron, that is to say a manorial court. The proper unit of tenure under the feudal system is the fee (or fief), on which the manor became established through the process of time, akin to the modern establishment of a "business" upon a freehold site. The manor is nevertheless often described as the basic feudal unit of tenure and is historically connected with the territorial divisions of the march, county, hundred, parish and township.
The Feudal Title of "Lord of the Manor"
In British or Irish history, the lordship of a manor is a lordship emanating from the feudal system of manorialism. 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:
the title - deriving from the Roman concept of dignitas
the manorial - comprising the manor and/or its land
the seignory - rights granted to the titular holder of the manor
Though some lords were noblemen, a lordship of a manor did not denote English nobility and Lords of the Manor were not part of the peerage. Rather, they were members of the landed gentry in the British social class system. In the feudal society, the wealthier and influential Lords of the Manor would often negotiate to be granted a Baronetcy or Knighthood. True servitude to the monarch would often be inducted into the peerage. 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. In Italy, especially in the Kingdom of Sicily before 1812, the feudal title Signore was often used; like its English equivalent, it came into wide use under the Normans as Seigneur.
Officers of the Manor
The Lord of the Manor had officers to help him run the manor. Some of these elected or appointed officers include:
Steward - in charge of the manorial records and holding the Lord's manorial court
Bailiff - the Lord's agent and general overseer of the estate
Reeve - responsible for cultivation of the lands and sale of livestock and grain
Hayward - responsible for the Lord's woods, corn and meadows
Constable - keeper of the peace and supervises the pound
Ale Taster - ensures a high standard of beer was produced
The Manorial Court
The manorial courts were the lowest courts of law in England during the feudal period. They had a limited civil jurisdiction and dealt with matters which the Lord of the Manor had jurisdiction. There are three types of manorial court:
Court of Honour
Official Warrant of Manors by Her Majesty's Government
Manors are of ancient origin dating from before Norman times. The extent of the manor was usually determined by the original grant from the Crown or superior lord. A manor was self-contained with its own customs and rights within its defined area. In modern times, Manors are Officially Warranted by Her Majesty’s Land Registry, a non-ministerial department of Her Majesty's Government created in 1862 to register the ownership of land and property in England and Wales.
Under Her Majesty's Land Registry’s Practice Guide 22, there are three separate elements of manors:
Lordship of the Manor - whoever owns the lordship of the manor is entitled to refer to themselves as lord of that manor, for example, Lord of the Manor of Freckenham or Lord of Freckenham
Manorial Land - because a manor was a defined area it included the physical land within that area. Such land could either be freehold or leasehold
Manorial Rights - rights which were part and parcel of the manorial title and which were usually kept by the lord on disposal of parts of the manorial land, for example, the right to hunt, shoot or fish
These elements may exist separately or be combined. The lordship title cannot be subdivided, but the manorial land and the manorial rights can be. Confusion can be caused, as ‘manor’ can refer to either the lordship and/or the manorial land.
For more information, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/manors/practice-guide-22-manors
Confirmation and Official Courtesy Calls
Datu Matthew Pajares Yngson DCPS KCR FRSA was conveyed the Lordship of the Manor of Freckenham by its immediate past Lord, Professor Nathaniel Geoffrey Barnardiston CBiol MRSB on March 27, 2018. This was confirmed by the Manorial Society of Great Britain, and officially published on The London Gazette public record on May 11, 2018. Prof. Barnardiston remains to be the Lord of Thorndon Parva and the Lord of Staverton-cum-Bromswell. His family have been the Lords of Freckenham for two centuries.
The Manorial Society of Great Britain, originally founded in 1906, is recognised by Her Majesty's Government as the organisation of Lords of the Manor, Feudal Barons, Peers and Historians. It's Governing Council included The Earl of Shannon, The Rt. Hon. Sir Desmond de Silva QC PC KStJ, and Cecil Humphery-Smith OBE FSA FHS FRHSC. Both Datu Yngson and Prof. Barnardiston are members of this recognised society.
As the new Lord of Freckenham, Datu Yngson made a courtesy call with the Freckenham Parish Council, the elected civic leaders of the village of Freckenham. Though some manorial rights may still be accorded to the Lord of the Manor, Datu Yngson has opted to forego these rights and has instead volunteered to be a Village Ambassador and Heritage Holder of Freckenham with intention to spread its important and rich heritage across continents.
Official Notice published by The London Gazette: https://www.thegazette.co.uk/notice/3026394
Public Documents from the Freckenham Parish Council which include the current Lord of Freckenham: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AvwHmU7fx2PAmmrgaqRnx_3ICglz