Fief Ceremonies 12th Century

The documents on homage ceremony ( vassal's  pledge to lord) illustrate how very personal and individual were these relationships.  

1.      As you read, make a note of the role played by witnesses and by sub-vassals, the public nature of the ceremony, and how not only are obligations spelled out, but so are conditions for dissolving the relationship.  We will discuss the significance of the ceremony in class Monday.

I: Homage and Fealty to the Count of Flanders, AD 1127 [from Galbert de Bruges, Chronicle of the Death of Charles the Good, ed. Pirenne, p. 89]

Through the whole remaining part of the day those who had been previously enfeoffed by the most pious count Charles, did homage to the count, taking up now again their fiefs and offices and whatever they had before rightfully and legitimately obtained. On Thursday the seventh of April, homages were again made to the count being completed in the following order of faith and security.

First they did their homage thus, the count asked if he was willing to become completely his man, and the other replied, "I am willing' ; and with clasped hands, surrounded by the hands of the count, they were bound together by a kiss. Secondly, he who had done homage gave his fealty to the representative of the count in these words, "I promise on my faith that I will in future be faithful to count William, and will observe my homage to him completely against all persons in good faith and without deceit." Thirdly, he took his oath to this upon the relics of the saints. Afterward, with a little rod which the count held in his hand, he gave investitures to all who by this agreement had given their security and homage and accompanying oath.


 Grant of a Fief, 1200 AD [from Quantin: Recueil de Pieces du XIII siecle, No. 2]

Add Thiebaultís (Theobald from the John OíToul doc) feudal relationships to John of Toul's Homage to the Count of Champagne chart.

I, Thiebault, count palatine of Troyes, make known to those present and to come that I have given in fee to Jocelyn d'Avalon and his heirs the manor which is called Gillencourt, which is of the castellanerie of La Ferte sur Aube; and whatever the same Jocelyn shall be able to acquire in the same manor I have granted to him and his heirs in augmentation of that fief I have granted, moreover, to him that in no free manor of mine will I retain men who are of this gift. The same Jocelyn, moreover, on account of this has become my liege man, saving however, his allegiance to Gerard d'Arcy, and to the lord duke of Burgundy, and to Peter, count of Auxerre. Done at Chouaude, by my own witness, in the year of the Incarnation of our Lord 1200 in the month of January. Given by the hand of Walter, my chancellor; note of Milo.

Map Jocelyn's Feudal Relationships beginig with Thiebault:

If it should happen that Peter, count of Auxerre should be at war with  Thiebault, count palatine of Troyes on his own  quarrel, I will aid Thiebault, count palatine of Troyes in my own person and send 3 knights to Peter, Count of Auxerre. But if Peter, Count of Auxerre should make war on hiebault, Count Palatine of Troyes, for his friends, I will aid Peter, Count of Auxerre in my own person and send to Thiebald, Count Palatine of Troy the knights whose whose service I owe to him for the fief which I hold of them. If it should happen that the Duke of Burgandy  should be at war with the Gerard d'Arcy on his own quarrel, I will aid Gerard d'Arcyin my own person, and will send to the Count and the the Duke of  Burgandy  the knights whose service I owe to them for the fief which I hold of them. But if Gerard d' Arcyin shall make war on the Duke of Burgandy on behalf of his friends and not in his own quarrel, I will aid the Duke of Burgandy in my own person and will send one knight to Gerard d'Arcyin for the service which I owe him for the fief which I hold of him, but I will not go myself into the territory of the Gerard d'Arcy.

In Bold: Theobald's Plege granting the fief (land) and his promise that all goods, serfs, profits are also Jocelyns. Thiebold also pledges "not to retain men who wre of this gift" meaning that knights sent to fight for Thiebold will return to Jocelyn once the war is over.

Highlighted: Lords that Joclelyn have pledged to serve in the order by which he served loyalty to; Thiebault would be last on this list.

For thought: Consider the amount of land owned by Jocelyn (he is a vassal to 4 lords = lots of land) as well as the manors that needed to be run on each. Jocelyn  would need multiple vassals to protect this land (wealth) making him a powerful lord as well as a vassal. Jocelyn's vassals pledge loyalty to him and vow to serve in times of war (Lords were always fighting each other for their land-holding). Typicaly, Jocelyn's vassals have also aquired lands from multiple lords (again, land = wealth) making it neccesary for them to aquire vassals as well. And so on, and so forth...