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Related to Seneschals: Grand seneschal, Sénéchal


1. a steward of the household of a medieval prince or nobleman who took charge of domestic arrangements, etc.
2. Brit a cathedral official



(1) The administrator of the royal palace in the Frankish state of the fifth through eighth centuries. In the eighth century the seneschal also came to have judicial and military responsibilities. Great seigniors also had seneschals.

(2) In southern and western France, beginning in the 13th century, a royal official in charge of a judicial and administrative district known as a seneschalsy. Seneschals, who had broad judicial, administrative, financial, and military authority, were chosen mainly from among the local feudal nobility. In the 16th century, the seneschals lost all but their military responsibilities. The post was abolished during the French Revolution. In the northern part of France the seneschal’s functions were performed by the bailli.

References in periodicals archive ?
Kings are absent in Gondor, the city governed for centuries by seneschals.
The Satraps Nixon, Frei, and Pinochet up to this day this bitter month of September 1973, with Bordaberry, Garrastazu and Banzer hyenas ravening our history, rodents gnawing at flags that were raised with so much blood and fire, hellish predators wallowing in haciendas satraps bribed a thousand times over and sellouts, scared by the wolves of Wall Street, machines starving for pain, stained by the sacrifice of a martyred people, prostitute merchants of bread and American air, deadly seneschals, a herd of whorish bosses with no other law but torture and the lashing hunger of the people.
The lords and barons of the smaller fiefs become vassals to larger holding companies, owing their allegiance not to Britain or the United States but to Citibank or Bertelsmann or Matsushita, and all present (stewards, castellans, knights-at-arms, seneschals, waiting women, and the court fool) depend upon a corporate overlord not only for the means but also for the terms of their existence--gladly relinquishing the rights of free citizens in return for a greybound and a room with a view of the Rhine.