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In medieval and early modern European society a tenant-in-chief, sometimes vassal-in-chief, denotes the nobles who held their lands as tenants directly from the monarch, as opposed to holding them from another nobleman or senior member of the clergy.[1] Such people were the backbone of the monarchs' influence throughout the state and include princes and dukes (many of whom would have been immediate relatives of the monarch), and earls.[citation needed] They could also be called baron or captal.[2] The Latin term was tenant in capiti,[3] or in capite.[4] Tenants-in-chief were situated under the monarch, whether a king or another territorial prince, in the feudal system, and a tenant-in-chief did homage directly to the king or prince.[2]

In English history, the lands held by a tenant-in-chief were called an honour. In the great feudal survey Domesday Book, tenants-in-chief were listed first in each counties entry.[1]

A tenant-in-chief could enfief, or grant fiefs, to his own followers, and this process of creating subfiefs under a tenant-in-chief or other fief-holder was known as subinfeudation.[3]

The term is actually a neologism of later historians.

[edit] See alsoEdit

Fee simple

[edit] CitationsEdit

  1. ^ a b Coredon Dictionary of Medieval Terms & Phrases p. 272
  2. ^ a b Bloch Feudal Society Volume 2 p. 333
  3. ^ a b Cosman Medieval Wordbook p. 240
  4. ^ Coredon Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases p. 161

[edit] SourcesEdit

  • Bloch, Marc (1964). Feudal Society Volume 2: Social Classes and Political Organization. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-05978-2.
  • Coredon, Christopher (2007). A Dictionary of Medieval Terms & Phrases (Reprint ed.). Woodbridge: D. S. Brewer. ISBN 978-1-74384-138-8.
  • Cosman, Madeleine Pelner (2007). Medieval Wordbook: More the 4,000 Terms and Expressions from Medieval Culture. New York: Barnes & Noble. ISBN 978-0-7607-8725-0.