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Free Lords - Vicomtes Feudal Barons and Fief Seigneurs

Historically, The Fief de Thomas Blondel has territory that existed in both of the large Fiefs of Bessin and Cotentin. As per the 1440 Deed of Fief Blondel, the Fief has existed in both St. Pierre Du Bois Parish and Torteval parish for well over 700 years. The original owners of Fief Blondel land and title were called Vicomtes or Viceomes.  The Fiefs existed all the way back to Danish or Viking Territorial Rule of the region.  Almost 1000 years later, the Guernsey Fiefs today are still held directly from the Crown by virtue of registration of fiefs direct with the royal courts and the King.


In 1270, on the death of Sir Henry Le Canelly, the great Guernsey fief Fief Au Canelly was divided between his daughters. Guilemette, the wife of Henry de Saint Martin obtained a considerable part of the island originating  the Fiefs or Lords of Janin Besnard, Jean du Gaillard, Guillot Justice and Fief de Thomas Blondel. SEE DIGITAL FIEF MAP 



The word   viscount   comes from Old French     visconte   (Modern French  :   vicomte  ), itself from Medieval Latin     vicecomitem  , accusative   of   vicecomes  , from Late Latin     vice-   "deputy" + Latin     comes   (originally "companion"; later Roman imperial courtier or trusted appointee, ultimately count).  [4]

In 1020, Duke Richard II divides Guernsey diagonally from two halves, granting from south-east to Néel, Viscount of Cotentin and west to Anchetel, Vicomte du Bessin. 

In 12th Century Kingdom of France, the term baronnie or Baron was generally applied to all lords or seigneurs possessing an important fief, but later in the 13th century the title of Baron meant that the holder held his  Fief directly from the Crown and was thus more important than a count since counts were typically vassals. The holder of an allodial (i.e., suzerain-free) barony was thus called a Free Lord, or Freihere or Baron. The term baron was not used or created until 1387 by Richard II when he created Baron of Kidderminster and in 1433, the second baron was created "Baron Fanhope".

  • France Held Guernsey 1338-1345 - The islands were invaded by the French in 1338, who held some territory until 1345.   
  • Feudal Charter 1341 - Edward III of England granted a Charter in July 1341 to Guernsey, Sark and Alderney, and Jersey confirming their customs, fiefs, and laws to secure allegiance to the English Crown.   
  • 1378 Guernsey Charter Liberties and Tax Treatment - The young King Richard II of England reconfirmed in 1378 the Charter rights granted by his grandfather, followed in 1394 with a second Charter granting, because of great loyalty shown to the Crown, exemption for ever, from English tolls, customs and duties   

A  1440 Record of the Fiefdom Deed of the Fief of Thomas Blondel which the deed is still at University Leeds, shows the parishes of St Peter of the Wood and Torteval, Guernsey, made by Janet Blondel to Thomas de la Court. attested by Jean Bonamy and Jacques Guille, jurats. According to the Deed, the Fief Blondel further includes the: Fief Blondel territory in the parishes of St Pierre du Bois (St. Peter of the Wood) and of Notre Dame de Torteval along with the Fief de l'Eperon of Torteval, the Bouvée Phlipot Pain, lying in the said parish of St Pierre duBois, and the Bouvée Torquetil and Bouvée Bourgeon lying in the said parish of Torteval.

1848 - French Nobility and Titles are eliminated while the Noble Fief Seigneur Titles of Norman Guernsey continue to exist under Ancient British Feudal Norman Laws.

1919 - Nobility eliminated in Germany and Austria. Since 1919 nobility is no longer legally recognized in Germany. Under the Law on the Abolition of Nobility, Austria eliminated its noble classes in 1919. However in Guernsey, the ancient property titles of Fief Seigneur or Free Lord of a Fief continued to exist.

A few of the Ancient Guernsey fiefs are still registered directly with the Crown where a feudal fee of treizième or conge was paid in Royal Court directly to Her Majesty. A lawyer must be hired to register the fief in French even today.

Fief Blondel Historically had Chefs de Bouvee who were in charge of managing tenants within the bouvée. Jean Le Huray was a Chef of the Bouvée de Torquetil in the year 1648, a dependancy of the Fief Thomas Blondel which indicates that Fief Blondel has an ancient history as a Royal Fief.


In 12th-century France the term baron, in a restricted sense, was applied properly to all lords possessing an important fief, but toward the end of the 13th century the title had come to mean that its bearer held his  fief direct from the crown and was therefore more important than a count, since many counts were only mediate vassals.  Citation: baron | title | Britannica  The term baron was not used or created until 1387 by Richard II when he created Baron of Kidderminster and in 1433, the second baron was created "Baron Fanhope".

We must now turn from what may be called the political  side of feudalism in Guernsey to glance at the tenures of our  manors and then at the economical side of feudalism in the  island, the relations existing between the lord of the manor,  the owner of the soil, and his tenants. What first strikes one  is the marvellous vitality of the manorial system. Once  a manor always a manor. It matters not whether, as in  the case of many of our Guernsey fiefs, that a manor was  escheated to the Crown in the days of King John, or at  a much later period, it never loses its identity, is never merged  into one general royal fief, but preserves through all these  centuries its own individuality. It had its own court and  administration, and even to this day it is its " douzaine,"  twelve sworn men, tenants of the manor, who draw up the  " extente," or survey, of the holdings of the tenants.

There were two classes of fiefs  in Guernsey, (1) those  held by military service, grand serjeantry or little serjeantry,  what are styled in France " fiefs hauberts," and " fiefs nobles,"  and (2) those held by yearly rent or its equivalent, such as a  pair of spurs, &c, which may be compared with vavassories.

So the feudal baron ruled his estate as chief among his  principal tenants, who formed his court and administered  justice under his representative, the seneschal. This system  is clearly shown in the records of manor courts in England,  and by the old " franchises " of our Guernsey Fief du Comte,  the earliest copy of which dates from 1406. Here we find  the seneschal, or president of the Manor Court, and the greffier,  or clerk, appointed by the Lord of the Manor. The eight  vavassors, or judges of the court, were the seigneurs of the  eight principal frank-fiefs of the manor, who held their land  by suit of court. By the sixteenth century only three of  these frank-fiefs retained hereditary seigneurs, namely those  of Du Groignet, Du Pignon, and De Carteret, the two first  held by the Le Marchants, and the latter by a Blondel.

These seigneurs served as vavassors either in person or by  deputy chosen by themselves, subject to the approval of the  Seigneur du Comte. The vavassors of the other five franc- fiefs, De Longues, Des Reveaux, Du Videclin, Des Grantes,  and De La Court, were chosen by the lord of the manor,  and presented by him to take oath before the Manor Court.  They bore the title of seigneurs of the franc-fief they  represented whilst acting as vavassors.

The next important officer, the prevot or grangier of the manor, whose duties in some measure corresponded with those of the prevot or sheriff of the Royal Court, was curiously chosen by the tenants of the thirty-two vellein bouvees of the manor. Two of these bouvees in turn choosing

Fiefs information from book.  Banners, Seals, Coins and more. Cite


Style of Seigneur  - As per the The Feudal Dues (Guernsey) Law, 1980 Style of Seigneur of a fief etc. Section 4. The foregoing provisions of this Law shall be without prejudice –
(a) to the right of any person to use, in the case of a male person, the style of Seigneur and, in the case of a female person, the style of Dame, of a fief,
(b) to the feudal relationship between Her Majesty and any person holding an interest in a private fief on or at any time after the commencement of this Law, or to the feudal relationship between any person holding an interest in any fief and any person holding an interest in a dependency of that fief, and
(c) to the right or obligation of any person by virtue of that person holding an interest in any fief which is not a right to which those provisions apply or any obligation correlative thereto.


Freiherr or Free Lord in the feudal system of the Danes, Vikings and Germanic World

The titleFreiherr or Lensbaron (literally fief baron). derives from the historical situation in which an owner held free (allodial) title to his land, as opposed "unmittelbar" ("unintermediated"), or held without any intermediate feudal tenure; or unlike the ordinary baron, who was originally a knight (Ritter) invassalageto a higher lord or sovereign, and unlike medievalGerman ministerials, who were bound to provide administrative services for a lord. AFreiherr or Lensbaron  sometimes exercised hereditary administrative and judicial prerogatives over those resident in his barony instead of theliege lord, who might be the duke (Herzog) or count (Graf). See: Danish nobility - Wikipedia


Some of the older baronial families began to use   Reichsfreiherr  in formal contexts to distinguish themselves from the new classes of barons created by monarchs of lesser stature than the Holy Roman Emperors, and this usage is far from obsolete. Reichsfreiherr is a Germanic title of nobility, usually translated as Baron of the Empire and implies an ancient property title direct from the crown.


From the Middle Ages onward, each head of a Swedish noble house was entitled to vote in any provincial council when held, as in the Realm's Herredag, later Riddarhuset. In 1561, King Eric XIV began to grant some noblemen the titles of count (greve) or baron (friherre). The family members of a friherre were entitled to the same title, which in time became Baron or Baronessa colloquially: thus a person who formally is a friherre now might use the title of "Baron" before his name, and he might also be spoken of as "a baron".

However, after the change of constitution in 1809, newly created baronships in principle conferred the dignity only in primogeniture.[11] In the now valid Swedish Instrument of Government (1974), the possibility to create nobility is completely eliminated; and since the beginning of the twenty-first century, noble dignities have passed from the official sphere to the private.

In Denmark and Norway, the title ofFriherre or Lensbaron  was of equal rank to that of Baron, which has gradually replaced it. It was instituted on 25 May 1671 withChristian V'sFriherreprivileges. Today only a few Danish noble families use the title ofFriherreand most of those are based in Sweden, where that version of the title is still more commonly used; a DanishFriherregenerally is addressed as "Baron".[12]The wife of a Danish or NorwegianFriherreis titledFriherreinde, and the daughters are formally addressed asBaronesse.[10]With the first freeConstitution of Denmarkof 1849 came a complete abolition of the privileges of the nobility. Today titles are only of ceremonial interest in the circles around theMonarchy of Denmark[13]


Tenants In Chief


Citation: Hull Domesday Project - tenant-in-chief ( Tenant-in chief is a modern coinage which, 'like many other supposedly technical terms of feudalism , seems to be a creation of medievalists rather than of the middle ages' (Reynolds, Fiefs , page 324).


By convention, tenants-in-chief are those landowners who held their lands directly from the Crown after the Conquest. In Domesday Book they are individually listed at the beginning of each county , where they are each assigned a separate section, or chapter, conventionally known as their fief . The totality of their county fiefs are conventionally called Honours . Whether, at this stage, tenancies-in-chief owed defined quotas of military service to the Crown is unclear; Domesday Book is unforthcoming on the subject.

The minor landowners who held directly from the Crown were normally grouped together in a collective fief at the end of the text for each county, though Domesday Book is not entirely consistent in its classification of major and minor tenants-in chief. At a later date most of these lesser tenants-in-chief would be known as sergeants .

On fiefs and feudalism, see Susan Reynolds, Fiefs and vassals: the medieval evidence reinterpreted (1994); and on military quotas, see J.H. Round, Feudal England (1895); and John Gillingham, 'The introduction of knight service into England', Anglo-Norman Studies, vol. 4 (1982), pages 53-64; 181-87. See also baron , codes for landowners, subinfeudation , and tenure .


Guernsey Fief Seigneurs have been Directly Recognized by Various Nations  

The Fief Seigneurs of Guernsey are extremely Unique in that the Feif Seigneurs or Lord Barons  were recognized formaly by several nations. The fiefs were recognized by Normandy, then by France, Then by England, Then by the Kings/Queens/Emperors of the English Empires, Then by the United Kingdom, and even recognized direclty they the German Occupying Forces.   The Guernsey Fiefs were generally recognized as territorial domains granted directly by the Emperor, King or Crown.  As the fiefs are not part of UK, England, Vatican, or the EU or France, the fiefs have their own sovereign recognition and status in a royal domain. In the same way, in the German Holy Roman Empires, the fiefs recognized direct from the crown were caled  RFRHR or Reichsfreiherren.  The German equivalent of baron, Freiherr, or “free lord” of the empire, originally implied a dynastic status, and many Freiherren held countships without taking the title of count (Graf). When the more important of them styled themselves counts, the Freiherren sank into an inferior class of nobility.  Even today, the fief Seigneur and island of Sark has its own tax jurisdiction, parliament and laws. 


Viking Expansion