Nursery Rhymes

Feudal System

Middle Ages - Lords and Ladies

Feudal System
The Feudal System was sustained by the rights and privileges given to the Upper Classes and in most cases enacted by laws. Everything was a source of privilege for the nobles. They had a thousand pretexts for establishing taxes on their vassals, who were generally considered "taxable and to be worked at will." Kings and councils waived the necessity of their studying, in order to be received as bachelors of universities.

If a noble was made a prisoner of war, his life was saved by his nobility, and his ransom had practically to be raised by the "villains" of his domains.

The Feudal System Right of Hunting
The Feudal System right of hunting was of all privileges dearest to and most valued by the nobles. Not only were the severest and even cruellest penalties imposed on "villains" who dared to kill the smallest head of game, but quarrels frequently arose between nobles of different degrees on the subject, some pretending to have a feudal privilege of hunting on the lands of others

The Feudal System Right of Jurisdiction
The right of jurisdiction, which gave judicial power to the nobles and lords in cases arising in their domains, had no appeal save to the King himself.

The Feudal System Right of Safe Convoy
The Feudal System right of Safe Convoy. A right which feudalists had the greatest interest in observing, and causing to be respected, because they themselves might with their wandering habits require it at any moment, was that of safe convoy, passage or guidance. This right was so powerful, that it even applied itself to the lower orders, and its violation was considered the most odious crime.

The Feudal System Right of Wearing Spurs
The Feudal System right of wearing spurs. Nobles possessed among their privileges that of wearing spurs of silver or gold according to their rank of knighthood

The Feudal System Rights of Knighthood
The Feudal System rights of Knighthood. Knights had the right of receiving double rations when prisoners of war; the right of claiming a year's delay when a creditor wished to seize their land; and the right of never having to submit to torture after trial, unless they were condemned to death for the crime they had committed. If a great baron for serious offences confiscated the goods of a noble who was his vassal, the latter had a right to keep his palfrey, the horse of his squire, various pieces of his harness and armour, his bed, his silk robe, his wife's bed, one of her dresses, her ring, her cloth stomacher etc etc

The Feudal System Right of having seats of honour in churches and Monuments
The Feudal System right of having seats of honour in churches. The nobles alone possessed the right of having seats of honour in churches and in chapels and to erect funereal monuments. The epitaphs, the placing of tombs, the position of a monument, were all subjects for conflicts or lawsuits.

The Feudal System Right of Disinheritance
The right of disinheritance: The nobles enjoyed also the right of disinheritance, that is to say, of claiming the goods of a person dying on their lands who had no direct heir. They also had the right of claiming a tax when a fief or domain changed hands.

The Feudal System Right of common oven
The right of common oven: the right of common oven required serfs to make use of the mill, the oven, of the lord

Feudal System Rights of Treasure Trove
The Feudal System rights of treasure trove which gave full power to nobles over all minerals and treasure found on their properties.

The Feudal System Right of Shipwrecks
The Feudal System right of shipwrecks which gave nobles the right of appropriating the contents of ships which happened to be wrecked on their shores.

The Feudal System Right of Shelter
The right of shelter, was the principal charge imposed upon the noble. When a great baron visited his lands, his tenants were not only obliged to give him and his followers shelter, but also provisions and food, the nature and quality of which were all arranged beforehand with the most extraordinary detail. Heavy dues fell upon the privileged class themselves to a certain degree, and that if they taxed their poor vassals without mercy, they had in their turn often to reckon with their superiors in the feudal hierarchy of the Feudal System.

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