Reginald Argentein died in 1307, a survey of his possessions included
the Manor of Halesworth, which he held from the Crown by the service
of one knight's fee. This practice of providing the King with armed
soldiers in times ot trouble is one part of the feudal system which
was introduced by William at the time of his invasion of England. The
Barons were not given their lands for nothing, as they had in return
to promise to provide mounted knights whenever he needed them. He
made exact arrangements, requesting a specific number of knights from
each of his nobles, depending on the size of their lands.
lands in the kingdom belonged to the King, but those estates handed
out to the Barons, Earls or Bishops made them 'tenants-in-Chief' and
they swore a promise of homage saying 'I
promise to become your man,
to hold these lands faithfully and perform my due service'.
Barons, as tenants-in-Chief in turn granted small estates to their
more faithful knights, which were manors, usually containing a
village in each. These knights became the 'under-tenants' and they
too swore homage to their lord, in the same way he had sworn homage
to the King. These under-tenants kept some land in their manor for
their own use, known as the 'demesne'
and divided the rest of their
land among the peasants of the manor, either for rent or for
services. So each man was responsible to the one above him, and he in
turn to the next, but William made sure that everyone realised that
they must be faithful to the king first of all, before any other
person in the realm.