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The Patrician, Vol. 1

Excerpt from The Patrician, Vol. 1 The origin of the titles of honour which are now held by the peers of the British Empire may be traced to the feudal institutions; and for their introduction into this country wc are indebted to the Normans. Originally, when a tract of land was granted by a sovereign prince to one of his followers to be held by military or other service, it was called a feudum nobile, and conferred nobility on the possessor. In the Liber Feudorum it is said "Qui a principe de ducatu aliquo invcstitus est, dux solito more vocatur. Qui veto de marchia, marchio dicitur. Qui vero de aliquo comitatu investitus est, comes appellatur." Thus it will be seen that feudal sovereigns were accustomed to erect a tract of land into a feudum dignitatis, by affixing to it a particular title of honour; and it appears that the early feudal dignities were originally annexed to the lands, and wore not mere personal distinctions. Although the dignity of Baron is not mentioned in the Liber Feudorum. it is undoubtedly feudal. At the time of the Conquest, the French nobility was divided into three classes; the second of which was the baron, or a person possessed of a seigneurie held directly from the Crown. When the Normans became established in England, William the Conqueror conferred the estates of such of the Saxon thanes as had fallen in the battle of Hastings on his principal followers, as strict feuds to be held by fealty, homage, or other honorable services. These were feudu nobilia; for the tenure of all lands in England being declared to be feudal about the 20th year of William's reign, those persons who held directly under his sovereignty constituted the nobility, or first class of persons in the kingdom. The Conqueror himself holding the Duchy of Normandy under the Crown of France strictly as a feudum nobile, the only ideas of government lie or his followers could have possessed must have been purely feudal. The universal principle of this civil constitution was, that the lord should hold a court, where justice might be administered to his vassals, and for the government of the seigneurie, which was composed of himself and his tenants in chief; the latter being bound by their tenure to present themselves, and afford him the benefit of their advice and assistance. Agreeably to this established principle, the first sovereigns of the Norman line held a court at their Palaces at stated periods of the year, namely, Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide, and at this, which was called Curia Regis, their vassals attended. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.
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