Private Feudal Court of The High Lord of Blondel -
The chief pleas of the Seignorial court of Fief Thomas Blondel were held annually at the mounting block or steps
(perron) of the Church of St. Pierre-du-Bois. Today,
St Peter's Church, known officially as Saint Pierre du Bois is a parish in Guernsey. https://www.stpeterschurchguernsey.co.uk/4/homewelcomeour-building It
is the centre for the Guernsey Western Parishes which includes Torteval, St Saviour's and the Forest. The old
Guernesiais nickname for people from Saint Pierre was etcherbaots which means beetles.
As Fief Blondel is one of the Last Feudal Private Fiefs in the World, The Lord and Officers may conduct court at
anytime and anywhere in the world in ceremony.
The Fief of Thomas Blondel in the parishes of Torteval and St. Peter in the Wood is an authentic Norman title. The
Seignuers (Free Lords) of Blondel existed before formal Baron titles were created. Fief Blondel is part of
the former large Fief of Canelly, once held by William de Chesney (1284) and before him by the Le Canellys until
the separation of Guernsey from Normandy in 1204.
Feudal Courts still meet to this day as reported by the BBC: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-guernsey-27962557
Usually the courts have at least the following members (name in
French as usual at the time, followed by the English equivalent)
-Senechal (Steward). Is
the President of the Court. Usually once it has been designated by the Seigneur it is
for life unless renounced.
-First Lieutenant-Senechal. The first nominated vavasseur
(jury) may act as lieutenant-senechal. Usually once is been
designated by the Seigneur it is for life unless renounced.
-Vavasseurs (jury). A
minimum of two. They may be removed by the Seigneur but only under special
-Prevot (Sheriff). It is
designated for one year (Pour
l’annee…) but may be
hey are allowed to speak but not to vote)
-Greffier (Clerk). It is the secretary (normally a lawyer).
May be removed by the Seigneur but there is no
tradition to change except on very rare occasions
-Sergent (sergeant). May be removed by the
Seigneur but there is no tradition to change
except on very rare occasions.
Procedure for the celebration of the Court meeting
Members, officers and public come and sit. The
may assist or not.
The Sergeant calls to order and says “
”. All stand up
La oraison dominicale
start the prayer “ (
) ”. Then all sit.
Evocation (La Role)
Listing Roll. The
call of persons present.
Ratification des actes
Plaids de cour
New actions are presented in writing by the
or by any member of the public by demand. They are given to the
and read by the
Rapport du Seigneur (optional)
It is read by the
The Seigneur never address the Court directly except with permission of the
(asked by the
” and all stand up.
The seneschal adjourns the Court
Establishment of Court Agenda:
Usually the draft of the agenda (
) is established by the
with the knowledge of the
prepares the final document and it is sent to the
. Even the Royal Court calls by mail. The document is usually not signed.
Appointment and Oath of the Court members:
If there has been no court for years, the Seigneur designated new seneschal should take the
oath at the Royal Court.
For that reason the
must address the Royal Court (with the assistance of a lawyer) for that
If there is a court, the new members are among the public. The
has previously informed verbally to the
the name and post of the new member. Also the
has written an “action document”, as any other action demanded by the
to the court. This document is given to the
reads the “action document” and the
asks the Court if there is any objection. If the vote is favorable, then he calls the new
member and reads the oath to him. Afterwards the new member takes his place.
Officers of a Fief - Here is the Example of The Fief de Blanchelande below:
The court of Fief de Blanchelande consists of senechal (or steward), four vavasseurs (jurats or vassals) and
officers who include the greffier and his deputy (court clerks), a prevot (sheriff), a sergent (sergeant to serve
summonses) and a grenetier (grain store-keeper) The court always met at least three times a year at Chief Pleas
after Michaelmas, Christmas and Easter, although since the German Occupation this has reduced to the one Chief
Pleas after Michaelmas. However, this sitting has continued the long tradition of having a court lunch immediately
afterwards, at La Barbarie Hotel. http://www.labarbariehotel.com/PDF/History.pdf