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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Oct, 2012 12:18 pm    Post subject: Feuldal holdings and homogeny?         Reply with quote

Hi again!

I remember reading somewhere (possibly here) years ago that it was normal in England for those of higher feudal ranks (who held more and more valuable lands to reflect their rank) to hold lands that were rather far apart. It appears they spent considerable amounts of time travelling from one holding to another, with some kind of steward to run it when they were gone. I belive the original question was related to the number of hides required to make one a thegn in Pre-Invasion times, and how one acquires more land if your neighbors have what borders you.

I assume this was also the norm on the continent? More to the point, I'm running a table top game and for believability I'm having one non-player character, who is a Count / Graff in a region somewhat similar to the Holy Roman Empire have his lands distributed in a realistic fashion.

Just how spread out can these feudal holdings get? Dozens or hundreds of miles? Scattered across an entire realm? Or generally within a small area?

Especially when someone becomes something like a Count, which implies they hold some kind of County, which in turn implies it's rather contiguous. Not sure if I worded all this well.

Thanks,

M.

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Kurt Scholz





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PostPosted: Mon 22 Oct, 2012 3:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Look at a map from the Wars of the Roses to answer that question.
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Elnathan Barnett




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Oct, 2012 4:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Going off the top of my head:

Depends on the time and place. During the Merovingian and Carolingian periods, I believe that it was common among the Franks and their subject peoples for lands to be granted scattered in several different regions - after the breakup of Charlemagne's empire, many nobles held land in more than one kingdom. This was a problem for the monarchs insofar as it encouraged nobles to play different monarchs off against each other and meant that nobles were less likely to throw their support unequivocally behind one monarch if their lands in another kingdom could be confiscated, but it did have the advantage that lords were less able to stage revolts in their own right. In Germany, during the Ottonian and later eras, it was precisely the ability of the great lords to build up regional powerbases, and therefore have a kind of miniature kindom within the empire from which to resist imperial authority, that kept the Holy Roman Emperors from being as powerful as their titles might suggest.

If you are trying to emulate the HRE, then I suggest that most of the Graff's lands be in a fairly small area, though not necessarily always adjacent.

Other post Carolingian nations I am not sure about, though I believe that the French and Low Countries tended to also have regional lordships. The 15th century Burgundian Dukes did end up with some widely scattered territories, though, one of the reasons why Charles the Bold was ultimately unable to prevail against the French king.
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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Oct, 2012 6:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://domesdaymap.co.uk/

Look through the site at some of the larger Land Holders (in the Names Section) and you'll get an idea

For example, here the holdings of CountRobert of Mortain
http://domesdaymap.co.uk/name/450800/count-robert-of-mortain/
Of course he is the second largest land holder post Conquest, but its all over southwest England


And the holding of a mid-sized land holder, Drogo of Montacute
http://domesdaymap.co.uk/name/151500/drogo-of-montacute/
As you see, they are scattered but all still in Somerset and Devon

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Daniel Wallace




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Oct, 2012 8:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

there was a book a read some time back can't remember the source, where a knight was not directly tied to their king, but by oaths among lords. and their 'service' in the field was very complicated. one lord may acquire a knight for so many months of the year and have responsibilities in his area of the country, while another could have the knight would have his service for the remainder of the year elsewhere in the country. what got even more complicated (by the mention of the book i'm unsure if this was true of not) was if a paretical lord or king began a war, some treaties between kingdoms would push this knight into the service of another country altogether (and win possible rewards from the other king one not from his own country.)
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Wed 24 Oct, 2012 10:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Is it known as to wether you can recend properties granted if, for example, they are rather isolated? I figure if you inherit them you'll be able to simply not pay the release.

Robin, thanks for that link, it's pretty useful. Crazy how spread out one man's holdings can be, even within the same region. I am guessing one place will be his regional headquarters, but that's my modern business management training coming into play.

So large clumps of holdings spaced out over a hundred or more miles would not be unusual, then?

Also, tangentally related question. Looked up English Baronies and noted that they appear to be very important, and large, holdings, wherein much of the subdivision of land begins. However, it appears of if the title "Baron" is rather low on the list of peerage, and that not always does a Barony belong to a Baron. Any places I could further my understanding on that?

M.

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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Wed 24 Oct, 2012 7:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg II wrote:
Is it known as to wether you can recend properties granted if, for example, they are rather isolated? I figure if you inherit them you'll be able to simply not pay the release.


The Holy Roman Empire is a different case from England, because a large number of holdings were allods, rather than fiefs. This means that they are the legal possession of the lord who owns them, and cannot be rescinded the way a fief can. England is a peculiar case, because in the 1080s, William the Conqueror passed a law which abolished allodial land holding in England- a shrewd move that gave the monarch more leverage- but this was not the norm on the continent, where properties were both allods and fiefs.

Quote:
Also, tangentally related question. Looked up English Baronies and noted that they appear to be very important, and large, holdings, wherein much of the subdivision of land begins. However, it appears of if the title "Baron" is rather low on the list of peerage, and that not always does a Barony belong to a Baron. Any places I could further my understanding on that?

M.


In England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings, Robert Bartlett indicates that, during the 12th century, the people of London themselves were considered to be "barons". So apparently, "baron" in England was not an aristocratic title in the sense that we normally think of, and it extended to people who had comparitively little land and legal power. The easiest way to understand the situation is to realize that the vast majority of the land was either part of the royal fisc, or owned by the great magnates of the realm, such as the earls and some of the churchmen.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Thu 25 Oct, 2012 4:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg II wrote:
So large clumps of holdings spaced out over a hundred or more miles would not be unusual, then?


It could be the norm when you get to the top--and not all those lands were necessarily granted by the same lord either. Remember that both the Bruce and the Balliol lineages in the Scottish succession dispute at the end of the 13th century held a great deal of land in England as vassals of the English king, and this led Edward I to claim that they were English subjects even in their capacity as Kings of Scotland. In turn, English kings up to the end of the Hundred Years' War always held large amounts of land in France as vassals of the French king in addition to the English lands they held in their own right (or, in medieval political theory anyway, by divine right), and this led to troubles like great English lords (who held lands in France too) appealing their English cases to the French royal court. The English kings couldn't have liked that! (And obviously becoming the king of France as well as England was an attractive solution, hence the War.)

To add more complications, the Church was a major temporal power (and power-broker), and the Investiture Controversy in the Empire was all about the issue of whether bishops owed more of their authority to the King or to the Pope.

Let's not forget that personal unions of far-flung lands existed long after the end of the Middle Ages; for quite a long while the Kings of England were also Electors of Hanover, and many of these Hanoverian troops fought on for England in the King's German Legion after Napoleon overran their German homelands.


Quote:
Also, tangentally related question. Looked up English Baronies and noted that they appear to be very important, and large, holdings, wherein much of the subdivision of land begins. However, it appears of if the title "Baron" is rather low on the list of peerage, and that not always does a Barony belong to a Baron. Any places I could further my understanding on that?


"Baron" can be a specific rank or degree of peerage. However, it can also be used as a general word for the entire kingdom's titled nobility, and it was in this sense that the "Barons' War" (the general rebellion of English lords against poor King John) was named. "Baron" in the specific sense wasn't always the lowest rank of nobility either; in (parts of) Spain it was way up near the top.
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