demesne

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demesne

(dĭmān`), land under feudalismfeudalism
, form of political and social organization typical of Western Europe from the dissolution of Charlemagne's empire to the rise of the absolute monarchies. The term feudalism is derived from the Latin feodum,
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 kept by the lord for his own use and occupation as distinguished from that granted to tenants. Initially the demesne lands were worked by the serfs in payment of the feudal debt. As the serfs' labor service came to be commuted to money payments, the demesne lands were often cultivated by paid laborers. Eventually many of the demesne lands were leased out either on a perpetual, and therefore hereditary, or a temporary, and therefore renewable, basis so that many peasants functioned virtually as free proprietors after having paid their fixed rents. In England the term ancient demesne, sometimes shortened to demesne, referred to those lands that were held by the crown at the time (1066) of William the Conqueror and were recorded in the Domesday Book. The term demesne also referred to the demesne of the crown, or royal demesne, which consisted of those lands reserved for the crown at the time of the original distribution of landed property. The royal demesne could be increased, for example, as a result of forfeiture. The lands were managed by stewards of the crown and were not given out in fief.
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demesne

All lands belonging to the lord of a manor.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

demesne

1. land, esp surrounding a house or manor, retained by the owner for his own use
2. Property law the possession and use of one's own property or land
3. the territory ruled by a state or a sovereign; realm; domain
4. a region or district; domain
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
The task of suppressing the religion resulted in bringing the formerly autonomous feudal domains and their rulers more directly under the control of the shogunate.
To take a prime example, the fact that the outcome of the Meiji Restoration remained uncertain for over three years after the 1868 coup is glossed over, while the question of how a precarious new central government which depended on feudal domains for military support was able to abolish all such domains in 1871 is not even posed.
The nobles, in their turn, could readily grasp that by breaking away from the Papal Church and its universalistic policies they stood to gain both prestige and power in their own feudal domains.