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Understanding Feudal and Royal Government

Feudal Government
Feudalism is one of the most common forms of government and social organization
in the world. All land is owned by the sovereign (king), who then grants fiefs
(counties) to tenants-in-chief (counts or dukes) to provide for local government and
To aid them in governing their fief and meeting their obligations to the crown,
tenants-in-chief (counts or dukes) grant portions of their fiefs to mense lords
(barons), a process known as subinfeudation. Mense lords (barons), in turn, grant
portions of their fiefs to manor lords (lord).
Tenants-in-chief and mense lords only subinfeudate some of their fiefs. The
portions not subinfeudated are held directly by them and managed by a constable
(keep, castle, or unfree town) or bailiff (manor).
These grants are inheritable, although the grantor may revoke them for
treason or rebellion.
The sovereign is the ruler of the realm. They own all the land. To assist the
sovereign in ruling the realm, the sovereign breaks the realm into large contiguous
fiefs known as counties and grants these fiefs to tenants-in-chief. The sovereign
also acts as a tenant-in-chief of their own fief. The sovereign holds the title of king.
A tenant-in-chief rules a county held from the sovereign. To assist the tenant-inchief in ruling the county, the tenant-in-chief breaks the county into smaller
contiguous fiefs known as estates and grants some of these estates to a mense
lord. The tenant-in-chief also acts as a mense lord. The tenant-in-chief holds the
title of count or, in some cases, duke.
If a realm has dukes, the sovereign will also be a duke; otherwise, the sovereign
will be a count. A count holds a county. A duke holds two or more counties.
Between half and two-thirds of a realm’s counties will be held by dukes. While
dukes may hold the majority of counties, counts will still outnumber dukes.
The seat of a tenant-in-chief will be a castle (usually a count), an town (usually a
duke), or in smaller kingdoms, a keep. Estates held by the tenant-in-chief are
known as a canton.
Mense Lord
A mense lord rules an estate held from a tenant-in-chief. To assist the mense lord in
ruling the estate, the mense lord breaks the estate into smaller fiefs known as
manors and grants some of these fiefs to a manorial lord. The mense lord holds the
title of baron and the estate is known as a barony.
The seat of a mense lord will be a keep, a castle (rarely), or in smaller kingdoms,
a large manor.
Manorial Lord
Clustered around the seat of every tenant-in-chief’s or mense lord’s keep, castle, or
city are manors. These manors form the basic building block of a feudal
government. The manorial lord holds the title of lord.

the realm is divided into judicial provinces called shires. fiefs in a royal government are generally noncontiguous. A tenant-in-chief’s or mense lord’s lands may be spread throughout the realm. Unlike in a feudal government where fiefs are continuous. The boundaries of shires and hundreds often cut across the holdings of tenants-in-chief and mense lords. Shires are administered by a sheriff and a hundred is administered by a bailiff of the hundred. Sovereign Tenant-in-Chief Mense Lord Manor Lord King Duke/Count Jarl Baron . which are subdivided into hundreds.Royal Government In a royal government.