Medieval Glossary

Soke

A complicated system of tenure that allowed a lord to lease a plot or parcel of land to a smallholder or sokesman. Manorial estates were often divided into smaller plots/parcels of land. In the case of a soke, a smallholder would lease one of these plots of land from the manorial lord, to whom he would in exchange owe allegiance and a certain amount of obligations. The smallholder would still retain his rights as a freeman.

The plot or parcel of land that is part of the lease agreement is also referred to as a soke. If the sokesman sold his plot of land, then the new owner would take on the former owner's obligations to the lord.

In a judicial sense, a soke could also refer to the privilege that a lord had to hold court within a certain area, which would be defined by the extent of jurisdiction.

Related term(s): Lord; Manor; Smallholder; Sokesman
Category: Government and Law
Added: 09.06.04
Last modified: 08.06.05
Contributor(s): Alan Chanter

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