The Fief

  • David Herlihy
Part of the The Documentary History of Western Civilization book series (DHWC)


The following document is another example of a model charter from the Merovingian period of Frankish history (see Document 10). It represents a precarium, sometimes precaria, equivalent to a benefice, by which a church alienated the use of a property while retaining a distant right of ownership over it. This sort of conditional and nonhereditary land grant is considered to be the direct ancestor of the fief. The model charter, translated by D. Herlihy, comes from Formulae merovingici et karolini aevi, ed. Zeumer, p. 139.


Twelfth Century Unusual Circumstance Intimate Friend Direct Ancestor Deceased Count 
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Recommended Readings

  1. J. M. W. Bean, The Decline of English Feudalism (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1968).Google Scholar
  2. Marion Gibbs, Feudal Order: A Study of the Origins and Development of English Feudal Society (New York: Schumann, 1953).Google Scholar
  3. C. H. Haskins, Norman Institutions (New York: F. Ungar, 1960).Google Scholar
  4. C. Warren Hollister, The Military Organization of Norman England (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965).Google Scholar
  5. F. Kern, Kingship and Law in the Middle Ages (Oxford: B. Blackwell, 1956).Google Scholar
  6. Archibald Lewis, The Development of Southern French and Catalan Society, 718–1050 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1965).Google Scholar
  7. Bryce Lyon, From Fief to Indenture: The Transition from Feudal to Non-Feudal Contract in Western Europe (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1957).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. F. W. Maitland, Domesday Book and Beyond: Three Essays in the Early History of England (New York: Norton, 1966).Google Scholar
  9. C. E. Odegaard, Vassi and Fideles in the Carolingian Empire (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1942).Google Scholar
  10. Michael Powicke, Military Obligation in Medieval England: A Study in Liberty and Duty (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962).Google Scholar
  11. Ivor J. Sanders, Feudal Military Service in England (London: Oxford University Press, 1956).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© David Herlihy 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Herlihy

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