The demesne manor or in your name

Conjectural map of a feudal manor. The brown areas are part of the demesne, the shaded areas part of the “glebe“. The manor house, residence of the lord and location of the manorial court, can be seen in the mid-southern part of the manor. This is similar to Mitton manor and may explain why “Mitton Wood” is an area proximate to Great Mitton Hall. The original lands were probably like this with most being devoted to agriculture on behalf of the lord of the manor.

Note that the manor hall and church itself occupy a very small plot in comparison to the land needed to support the manor. Ralph the Reds lands were quite extensive and included other manors of similar characteristics. It supports the probability that Ralph the Red was a de Lacy to have received so many manors in this area and for them to have been granted in demesne, meaning in ones own name. In many cases the feudal lord would have demanded part of what was produced on the manor. Ralph was free to use his demesne lands as he wished with out obligations to the superior lord except owing knights service when called upon.

Initially the demesne lands were worked on the lord’s behalf by villeins or by serfs, who had no right of tenure on it, in fulfillment of their feudal obligations. In the feudal system the demesne (pron.: /dɨˈmn/ di-MAYN; from Old French demeine ultimately from Latin dominus, “lord, master of a household”)[1] was all the land, not necessarily all contiguous to the manor house, which was retained by a lord of the manor for his own use and support, under his own management, as distinguished from land sub-enfeoffed by him to others as sub-tenants.