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Lords and Lordship in the British Isles in the Late Middle Ages$
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Rees Davies and Brendan Smith

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199542918

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199542918.001.0001

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Dependence, Service, and Reward

Dependence, Service, and Reward

Chapter:
(p.197) 8 Dependence, Service, and Reward
Source:
Lords and Lordship in the British Isles in the Late Middle Ages
Author(s):

R. R. Davies

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199542918.003.0009

The late appearance of documents which detail dependence, such as the indenture, may obscure the ancient nature of the institution itself. Scottish ‘bonds of manrent’ demonstrate the endurance of the personal bond of lordship as does the persistence of the ceremony of swearing homage and fealty. Dependence was ultimately personal in nature and relied on the promise of protection from the lord. If exercised effectively, lords could rely on it to control local areas and protect them in times of political turmoil. They distributed their livery even to judges, but contemporary criticism of this practice needs to be modified. The same is true for the lord's affinity which is often discussed in the context of ‘bastard feudalism’, and for the practice of ‘maintenance’, that is the improper support offered by a lord to his man in his disputes (legal or otherwise) with others.

Keywords:   indenture, homage and fealty, protection, livery, contemporary criticism, bastard feudalism, maintenance

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