The Manors in the Parish of Lenham in the Domesday Book
...............West to East ..................
From Manor to Farm most of the manors in Lenham and the wider area became farms: East Lenham, New Shelve, Cobham, Court Lodge still operate today as farms. If you want to learn more about some of Lenham's farms in the last century click
WHAT WAS A MANOR? A manor was a landholding that the sovereign granted to a Lord of the Manor in return for services rendered in 'knights fee' military services, when required, or by way of payments to the crown. It was an agricultural business which the lord established on the landholding. Some lords had several manors in various parts of the country. A manor was also a social construct in which people lived and worked together.
In its early medieval form , the manor was almost self-sufficient and only a few commodities such as salt had to be bought. Most manors had a mill and a church or chapel with their own clergy who conducted daily services.
When did the manorial system come to an end?
Serfdom came to an end in England in the late 14th/ early 15th century, but vestiges of the manorial system remained in a few aspects of the law until the early 20th century. The system evolved into a much more benign
social order in which the Lord of the Manor leased land to farmers and employed farm labourers to work on the farm.
Medieval thinking was very much based on the assumption that people were born into a preordained place in society. The king was king by God's will and God bestowed power and privilege, wealth and status. The societal pyramid had the king at the top, the knights, lords and bishops on the second tier, the freemen on the third and the serfs on the very bottom tier.
The manorial system was formally abolished during the Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell. However, when Charles II returned from exile in France in 1660, one of his first decrees was the abolishment of the manorial
(feudal) system. The entrenched belief that this social order came directly from God had cost his father, Charles I, his head.