HOW DID FEUDALISM DEVELOP? Terminology Feudalism ■ Based on a Latin word meaning “grant of land”, feudalism was the medieval practice whereby a lord or noble gave a fief to a vassal who promised to serve and support him. It was a loose social arrangement based on mutual obligations. It was necessary in medieval times as there was a great deal of instability and the feudal system was a means of ensuring that everyone within society was taken care of and society was stable and safe. Fief ■ Plot of land granted to a vassal by a feudal lord in return for loyal support. Vassal ■ Under the medieval feudal system, a vassal was a person who offered their loyalty and service to a lord in return for his support and the granting of a fief. Manor ■ Estate of medieval lord that contained his family home, estate buildings, crop fields and the dwellings of peasants who worked the land. Manorialism ■ System in feudal Europe whereby the lord of a manor allowed peasants to live on his land in return for their labour and taxes. Manorialism was the financial economic structure that went ‘hand in hand’ with the political and social structure of feudalism.