|Land tenure is largely a feudal concept, codified by William the Conqueror, in which all land is held and owned by the crown. Those who subsequently received grants of lands or estates from the crown in exchange for money payments and/or services of a military, religious or official nature were 'tenants-in-chief'. They could then in their turn divide it among lesser tenants, usually for money rents but sometimes also for services. This evolved into the Manorial system, where the Lord of the manor distributed and controlled through his manorial courts copyhold, leasehold [for a number of years or for a number of lives] or freehold tenancies. |
The doctrine of tenure and the associated rights, obligations and payments declined in importance as the manorial system decayed, and were gradually replaced by the modern concepts of land ownership and landlord/ tenant relationships. Nevertheless, most of the substantial Estates that still remain in Ewyas Lacy and the surrounding areas have their roots in the tenure of lands granted by the crown and the subordinate tenancies established through manorial courts.