Manorial System

by: Lauren Mack and Kimberly Anderson


Manorial System- An economic and social system of medieval Europe where the peasants’ land production and ownership was controlled and organized, and local justice and taxation were governed. The peasants held land for the lord (Fr. seigneur ) of an estate and an exchange for fixed dues in kind, money, and services.

In simpler words

It's a society where the leisured class depends on others for their agriculture. Landlords are seen as patricians (wealthy, noble people) living in their Roman villas(original version of the European manor) or feudal knights lived in castles and defended manor houses (a development dating from Carolingian times).

How the Knights controlled the Peasants

The knights (landlords) are able to terrify their peasants to where they can control them. Their armor represents safety and protection so it became very significant to the peasants acceptance of the knight because they needed his protection from their enemies. And having the knight they are less likely to personally defend themselves, willing to do whatever the knight wanted them to do. They were “willing” so they weren’t considered slaves.


  • Life on a manor is the medieval version of a relationship which occurs, between a landlord and a peasant.
  • The manorial system is also known as the seigniorial system.
  • This system is closely related to feudalism(the holding of land that is a valuable and movable property) but it was not exactly the same because it had nothing that related to the military and political concept of the fief. Instead the fundamental concept of the manorial system was economic.
  • The manorial system spread into France, England, Germany, Spain, and Italy and far into Eastern Europe. There were also similar systems that existed outside of Europe, mainly India and Japan.
  • Fifteen to thirty peasant families was responsible for supporting one knight's family. This relationship between the knight and his peasants is considered the manorial system.

Medieval Manor

Medieval Manor - British Social History - Changing Lives - 1066-1984 on

Essential Questions

1. In the manorial system, the knights were superior over the peasants, are there people today that are considered superior over others, if so how?
2. In the manorial system peasants are required to work for the knights so they can receive protection, how does that relate to situations that happen in life today?