Kingdom, Counties, Hundreds and Below

To fully understand the feudal system, one must first understand the way the land is organized. Warlords are a key part of the system, the primary purpose of which is to make war. The king grants various lands and other rights to his warlords. They, in turn, raise, equip, and train a unit of armored horsemen. Such a grant is called an honour. An honour is composed of a central estate and outliers. Each piece of territory has a value that is a monetary assessment of its parts and parcels.

Kingdom

A kingdom is land that is ruled by a king. In King Arthur Pendragon, kings enjoy varying levels of power. The ruler of Logres commands a great land,
while tribal and feudal kings lord it over smaller domains. All kings have rules — which they must needs obey — that define the relationship between them and their followers. King Uther is very powerful, enjoying near-absolute rule, with few limitations. In smaller kingdoms, the gap between ruler and subject is much smaller. Tribal kings often depend on their people for their status. The ruler of a very small kingdom is often called a pennath.

County

A county is a contiguous body of land that is overseen by a sheriff and which has its own county court. The terms county and shire are synonymous, though county is preferred in King Arthur Pendragon. Logres is divided into 24 counties.

Counties are steps in the royal administrative hierarchy used mainly to collect the royal taxes. Each county has a county town, which has a royal
castle from which the sheriff administers the king’s interests. Each sheriff is appointed by the king, and serves at his pleasure. The sheriff collects taxes and holds them safe between his twice-yearly deliveries to the crown treasury. His castle also has several administrative facilities including a gaol (jail) to hold prisoners until trial and a pound where animals seized from lawbreakers are held. In Uther’s reign the sheriffs are usually also warlords.

Counties should not be confused with the noble rank of count. Counts may have once ruled entire counties, but in the feudal world which is the game’s setting they do not. Even the Count of Salisbury’s holding does not encompass all of County Salisbury.

Hundred

A hundred is a subdivision of a county defined for tax and judicial purposes. The sizes vary so much that they appear entirely arbitrary. In general, the value depends entirely upon the fertility of the land. Rich valley bottoms tend to have smaller hundreds in size, but often with a greater value than average. The hundreds in Cornwall are huge but still impoverished by comparison to other counties. The typical hundred contains 10-20 settlements, and 2-3 towns, perhaps one of which is large.

Most of the agricultural property in Logres is called champion land, which designates rich, highquality land with bountiful yields. “Champion” is derived from champs (Fr. “fields”). In ancient times the hundred was an organization of one hundred hides — a parcel of land capable of supporting a family. This formal definition has been lost, however, and the hundreds of King Arthur Pendragon vary incredibly in size and population. Hundreds are traditionally named after the moot site, the place where the local court meets. It is usually held out of doors in the shade of a great tree or some other prominent landmark, although moot halls are sometimes raised to provide shelter for the proceedings.

Each hundred has a lord — either the king or another — and sufficient administrative apparatus to uphold the law. Hundreds held by the king are
called royal hundreds, and are overseen by a royal bailiff who reports to the local sheriff. Private hundreds are held by a lord other than the king, and overseen by his steward. Even in the private hundreds the king continues to hold many, most, or all of his royal rights, which are called liberties.
The hundred court is the primary seat of local government. It meets every three to four weeks on a wide range of business and judicial matters.

Honour

An honour is the whole collection of lands and rights that a king bestows on a warlord — a barony. This bundle of lands and other rights is considered a whole and indivisible unit, even though its constituent parts may be scattered all over Logres.

Each honour has its own particular and peculiar local nature. The honour is usually named after its caput major (“chief house”), that is located on the largest piece of the holding, commonly called the estate. Here too is the lord’s castle, if he holds one. Barons are often called by this title, e.g. “the Lord Behind the Water.” An honour also includes lands outside of the central estate, called outliers, or parcels. A baronial honour is usually valued between £100-£500 per year, averaging about £300.

An honour’s parcels are always kept together as long as the honour exists. It may be dissolved only if it returns to the king, and he is the only one
with the authority to do so. A typical honour has:

  • An estate that holds the caput major (chief manor), which is the primary residence of the honour holder.
  • A hall, or perhaps a castle, at the caput major, the upkeep and defense of which is the warlord’s responsibility. The king has the right to enter any castle in Logres any time he chooses to do so.
  • A priory or small abbey, which is closely associated to the local ruler. It is probably an advowson, which means that the baron gets to appoint the abbot. Warlords patronize the religious order of their choice. Players who establish one can choose their favorite type of monk, depending on the
    particulars of the campaign.
  • Private hundreds, which provide additional income needed to maintain the warlord and his lifestyle, usually without an obligation to provide knight-service. Many of these are Fee Farms (ferms).
  • Named manors — usually outliers.
  • Other possible resources, as explained below, in “Resources.”

Estate

An estate is the largest type of holding — rarely less than £50, often about £100, sometimes even more — and the core of the honour. It is the warlord’s chief house, a great manor centered upon a castle or ancient holding. An estate often comes with additional hundreds or various liberties , like a nearby lake, mine, forest, or chase.

Manor

A manor is a single holding. The typical knightly manor provides £10. This is the minimum income a knight needs to maintain a lifestyle appropriate to this station. Landlords are reluctant to grant away their income, so knights rarely get more. However, due to changes over time or simply exceptional circumstances, manors can range from £2 to £20 or more in Annual Income.

Historically, any land held directly from a king was a “manor.” Thus there were sargeantry manors of small value, even as small as £⅛. In the game,
the term is generally used to designate a knight’s holding.

Free Manor

A Free Manor is a holding that has certain privileges, especially those which are normally held only by the king. These are different from normal manors in that the holders do not answer to the county sheriff, but have a direct relationship with the king (and his institutions). Although labeled a “manor,” it is often the size of an estate.

Outliers

Parts of an estate or honour that generally lie outside of the immediate vicinity of the caput major, are called outliers. Smaller parcels may be scattered across many counties. Outliers are a matter of surety — if a noble rebels, half of his income can be easily seized. They typically include some scattered manors, perhaps an unfortified estate, as well as miscellaneous benefits from local resources.

Settlements

Collections of human habitations that house only commoners of various ranks are called towns, villages, hamlets and clusters. The difference between them is their population: Towns have around 500 people, villages around 250, hamlets around 75, and clusters have fewer than that.

Market Town

Market Towns have obtained a charter for special rights from the king. Market Towns are where merchants set up shop and visiting traders can
come to sell their wares. Importantly, they pay taxes only to the king. Each Market Town has its own royal bailiff to collect it, and he pays it to the sheriff. Importantly, Market Towns must pay in coinage. Some have their own mint to make coins. All Market Towns are walled.

Market Towns are almost always outside of a baron’s jurisdiction. They are all under royal protection, and warlords are not responsible for fortifying
or garrisoning them. During the Anarchy Period these towns must seek a protector, usually the strongest local warlord.

The advantage of these centers of commerce is that local and regional trade benefits the neighboring lands by making it easier to acquire outside goods, so they are cheaper. This general and widespread savings is expressed as income. Each hundred that includes a Market Town gains a variable bonus to its render, depending on the Period, which is income that is paid to the lord. This is gained by each holding within the hundred.

Cities

Cities are settlements ruled according to ancient Roman law. Additionally, they are really big Market Towns, being larger in both area and population than smaller settlements and offering more products and services as well. They also have special privileges, including a mint for coin-making, their own court of justice, and the privilege of selfdefense. Cities are well protected, having maintained their old Roman walls.

Landholdings that are in the same county as a city gain a bonus.

Ports

A Port is a place where foreign goods are sold. The definition of “port” has changed in modern times. Some ports in Britain are actually located far inland, so the word does not necessarily designate a coastal settlement. Places on the coast that are not designated by the king as Ports are called harbors. Harbors cannot import goods. If they do, they are smuggling.

Kingdom, Counties, Hundreds and Below

Knights of the Realm DerkG DerkG