manorial system mənôr´ēəl, măn– [key] or seignorial systemsēnyôr´ēəl [key], economic and social system of medieval Europe under which peasants' land tenure and production were regulated, and local justice and taxation were administered. The system was intimately related to feudalism but was not itself feudal, since it had no connection with the military and political concept of the fief. The fundamental characteristic of the manorial system was economic—the peasants held land from the lord (Fr. seigneur) of an estate in return for fixed dues in kind, money, and services. The manorial system prevailed in France, England, Germany, Spain, and Italy and far into Eastern Europe. A similar method of landholding by the peasants has existed in countries outside Europe, notably Japan and India.
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