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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 14

The Feudal System

The Feudal System

was simply a territorial organization for military purposes. Prior to its establishment, and from time immemorial, the tenure of Land had involved the obligation to pay for defensive warfare. Feudalism made its tenants not only pay, but in person fight: this was "the essence and condition of the landholders' titles." They could not alienate their lands or dispose of them by will, or even inherit them by descent as a matter of right (see description of the military tenures pp. 186-7); but the custom of Primogeniture, previously established in Continental feudalism, rapidly asserted a foothold, and from the feudal estates spread even to socage land (or that portion of the soil which was independent of military tenure).