Medieval Glossary


A tenure of lands held by knights on condition of performing military service. It was abolished in the time of Charles II of England.

The system of knight-service introduced into England by William the Conqueror empowered the king, or even a superior lord who was a subject, to compel every holder of a certain extent of land, called the knight's fee, to become a member of the knightly order. A knight's investiture was accounted proof that he possessed the requisite of knightly arms and was sufficiently trained in their use. After the long war between France and England, it became the practice for the sovereign to receive money compensations from subjects who were unwilling to receive knighthood. A series of grievances developed out of this system.

Related term(s): Tenure; Knight; Fee; Knighthood; Knightly; Arms
Category: Knighthood and Chivalry
Added: 07.04.06
Source information: Wilhelm, Thomas. A Military Dictionary and Gazetteer. Philadelphia: L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1881. 263-4.


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