Friday 15 April 2011

M is for Manor – that’s what M is for ...

The moat of Ightham Mote
(mote means meeting place).  
Ightham, dating from 1320, has been ambitiously
restored – dismantling much of the building
and recording its construction methods
before rebuilding it.

The Romans brought with them the villa system for organising rural life – the ‘English’ lived beyond the walls ...  but once the Romans had left “Limes Britannicus” as they knew Britain, the English started adopting their way of life.

The lord of the manor owned a large tract of land, known as the demesne, around his house, and local people were obliged to work on this land for a certain number of days a year.

Beyond the demesne was arable land, divided into several (often three) large fields and cultivated on a strip system.  Beyond these were the common land – the forest and heath used by the commoners for grazing their animals and gathering wood.

The great hall at Penshurst Place, Kent,
mid 14th.c. The hall was of central importance
to every manor, being the place where the lord,
surrounded by dependants,
expressed his position of dominance.
As rulers started organising their lives – the Crown proclaiming ownership of land – the heyday of the manorial system was from 1,000 AD to 1,300 AD before it largely disappeared two hundred years later ...

... as the Crown exchanged land for armies of men or taxes - more power was given to the Church and Knights of the realm - when the feudal society finally transitioned into a cash for labour system.

Remnants of stone manor houses dating back to the 1100s have been found; these would consist of one large room where lord, family, servants and even livestock lived side by side.

Stokesay Castle, viewed from the church yard,
showing the north tower, with its Tudor residential
additions, in the foreground.
Over time these rooms were divided and larger additions added to the Manor giving new wings, minstrel galleries, a chapel, kitchens, pantry, buttery, wardrobe etc, while outside there would be servant’s quarters, stables, barns as required.

Some manors were fortified, but most became ever larger houses on estates, or within moated walls, as their domains and grounds were already established.  The manor house is usually still the largest house in the village or town and often provides a leadership role in the neighbourhood.

This is Manor - that is what M is for ..    

Part of the ABC - April 2011 - A - Z Challenge - Aspects of the British Countryside

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


... Paige said...

My Beloved's ancestors had a castle where a certain Queen lived in Scotland
My ancestors had a castle in England

As always enjoy your tibits of history and they way you say it.

Mason Canyon said...

An interesting look at manors. Your post always offer insight into intriguing areas. Stokesay Castle looks like an interesting place.

Thoughts in Progress

Anonymous said...

Now that is interesting. Who knew? Not me. Sounds like the setting for some great scary books. Castles are too big I think. So a manor would fit the bill.

baygirl32 said...

those Manors are something else! great m post

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Paige .. crumbs! I think I'd better come over to bow and scrape?! Has he been to visit and find out more? Very interesting ancestry I would think ..

Delighted you enjoy coming over - many thanks.

@ Mason .. I just thought it would make a different subject .. and I agree Stokesay got put in because it did look very interesting! I think I must visit one day ...

@ Stephen .. great - delighted to see you're 'amused' by it all .. I agree castles are a fort unto themselves - massive great things.

I think I must start visiting some soon .. Ightham Mote is nearby .. I should go there one day.

They thought there was a lady buried within Ightham .. but when they were painstakingly restoring it .. nothing was found - so the myth hasn't been written into the new handbook!

@ Baygirl 32 .. the manor houses do look wonderful - expensive to run, but brilliant to be a part of.

Thanks Paige, Mason, Stephen and Baygirl .. delighted the M is entertaining you! Cheers Hilary

K.C. Woolf said...

I always wonder what living in those types of communities must have been like. Our home and the degree to which we are confronted with others / depend on others has such an effect on our development.

Interesting post, thanks!

Jeremy [Retro] said...

i so want to travel somewhere outside my own head... these photos and post is awesome..
A to Z Blog Challenge Participant
Jeremy [iZombie]

Bossy Betty said...

AH! I learned a lot today! Thanks!

TALON said...

The history in your country is amazing, Hilary! That castle is incredible!


A wonderful post Hilary, I enjoy visiting these sort of places and hopefully will continue.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi KC .. fait accompli really - not much choice .. very few would have left and changed their status way back when. It was the norm and we grow up with 'the norm' .. I am sure again educated people would have influenced their children .. as Burns' father did .. which gave Burns openings to better himself - which then allowed him to be creative. Interesting thought though - thank you.

@ Jeremy - good to meet you .. yes getting away and living in someone else's world can be such a relief.

Delighted you're here .. and glad you enjoyed the photos and post: thank you!

@ Bossy Betty .. Thank you .. my thoughts are with you over the weekend ..

@ Talon .. our history is incredible - you are so right .. and that castle is a fortified manor house - believe it or not!!

@ Yvonne .. these large houses are glorious to walk around, see the gardens and reflect back to their times ..I look forward to being able to do more in due course.

Thanks everyone .. lovely having you here .. enjoy the weekend - Hilary

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Hi Hilary,

Thanks for telling about manor houses. What is so amazing is learning about houses dating back to the 1100s. In Virginia, we are so impressed with our houses from the 1700s which are really, really old to us.

All the best,

Sara said...

This was interesting, Hilary. I've seen a lot of manor houses, but it nice when you talk about them in your special way.

I can't believe you're already up to M!! I am so impressed. And look at your followers!!

I hope your and your mom have a great weekend. Cheers:~)

Talli Roland said...

Interesting! I had no idea that's how it originated. Thanks, Hilary.

Hope you're feeling better now? Have a great weekend!

The Myasthenia Kid said...

Loving you A-Z well done.

Just the kind of blog I love full of wonderful information.

Rach xx

Ann said...

An interesting read about Manor. You even threw in Moat. Well done, two M's for one.

vered said...

I love imagining how people used to live, back then...

Amy @ Soul Dipper said...

As a Canadian, I am still awed over the layers and layers and layers of history on that little island of yours, Hillary!! I stood on street corners in London as a young traveler and imagined how many centuries were under my feet.

Thanks for you very interesting bits!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Monti .. I know .. when I was over in the States for the 1976 bicentennial event .. the Americans were raving about 200 hundred years . I was very non-plussed, I'm afraid .. and had difficulty holding my tongue.

What fascinates me is still how much we're finding out .. two thousand years later ..

Human life and exploration is amazing and almost unbelievable ..

@ Sara .. how lovely seeing you here .. I imagine you've visited a few, as I have .. but now I too know and understand a little more.

I can't quite believe we're halfway .. and my followers are creeping up - very lucky me .. great people too!!

Thanks Sara .. Mum and I toddle on .. we'll be watching the London Marathon.. if she wakes up! Or some of it! You too have a great weekend ..

@ Talli .. thank you - it's good for me to be reminded how things started out ... but you too - how's your wrist - I guess somewhat better if you're back commenting again. I'm almost over mine .. the worst has gone thank goodness - now I feel human again. You too enjoy the London Marathon??!!

@ Rachel .. good to see you here - and delighted to read that you're finding the posts interesting and informative .. takes your mind of things for a short time - take care ..

@ Ann .. I did manage two too .. and moat and mote .. glad you enjoyed it, that is the main thing.

@ Vered - it is quite daunting how life has changed over the centuries .. I'm quite glad I'm alive now - I like my mod cons!!

@ Amy .. yes you described it well .. the layers and layers of buildings, society, people, change etc that's occurred on this tiny island .. we were the jumping off point to be conquered, or for new shores across the seas.

I can't really imagine what it's like to be a new person coming into England for the first time .. and thinking about those onion skins of life that had been around since time immemorial ...

... the 'culture and feel' of my country is a part of me .. I don't like being away for long periods .. the States was too new, South Africa had no longevity either .. but then I'm looking at it from an English point of view .. and not an indigenous person ... who also feels those ties back to their country, which have been around for much much longer than our two thousand years ..

Lots to think about that's for sure .. and delighted you found it interesting .. enjoy the weekend ..

Thanks everyone .. lovely having you here .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Susanne .. lovely seeing you again .. and glad yo enjoyed the post.

@ Daria .. nice to meet you - you're so right the lakes are just wonderful to look at .. especially up in the Lake District .. the photos are courtesy of Wikipedia.

Thank you Susanne and Daria .. enjoy your weekends .. Hilary

Susan Scheid (Raining Acorns) said...

You are developing a treasure trove of information here, no question! I take comfort, as I'm unable to keep up as each post arrives, by knowing that there will be an archive of fascinating information to explore. Kudos to you for putting this all together so nicely.

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

Oh, how interesting. Now I understand why a few nursing homes include the word "manor" in their names.

Your posts are so educative. I'm glad I'm following them closely :-))


Daria said...

Enjoyed your "M" story about manors and their beginnings and as always, I very much appreciate the related images. Keep them coming... :)

Anonymous said...

As always, a wonderful history lesson. Now I know what a manor is. As usual, I love the photographs. Thank you for taking the time to write such beautiful and informative posts!
Ann Carbine Best’s Long Journey Home

Anonymous said...

The word manor is not used that often here in the USA. Thanks for sharing some great photos and info on your "M" word... Manor :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Raining Acorns .. many thanks - delighted you enjoy the little treasures! .. and that you want to take the time to come back and read - that's great knowing.

@ Doris - of course .. I hadn't thought of that - and you're right .. the large Manor houses can 'easily' be converted into Care Homes/Nursing Homes. Of course they keep their name.

Well - I certainly could say the same for your lessons on life, and in particular Alzheimers .. so many thanks

@ Daria .. good to see you here - and thanks re the information matching the photos .. seems to help don't they

@ Ann .. so delighted you're here and thinking of you on the home front. Glad you can take some time out of your care schedule for a little relaxation away from the norm ... and read these, enjoy the photos etc

@ Ron .. how lovely to see you - I hadn't thought of the name manor for a large house not being so named. Interesting .. many thanks for coming by.

Thank you so much for visiting enjoy your weekends .. Hilary

Al said...

I love stately homes.
Thanks for sharing.

Laura Pauling said...

History is so cool. I love the pictures.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Al .. yes I know you enjoy your history! Good to see you here ..

@ Laura .. glad you enjoyed it!

Anonymous said...

Wow i didn't know that. Stokesay Castle is amazing looking, looks like a good location for a story. :O)

Theresa Milstein said...

When I went drove through Ireland, one of my favorite things to do was to stop and look at castles, manors, and ruins.

Lovely pictures.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Madeleine - it's so interesting finding out or remembering how things developed. Stokesay Manor does look a wonderful setting .. for some fascinating scene stealers - doesn't it.

@ Theresa .. Ireland is brilliant too - I don't know it so well .. each property .. be it a ruin, a manor house or a castle has so much history tied up in it.

Glad you enjoyed the pix ...

Thanks Madeleine and Theresa .. lovely seeing you - enjoy Sunday .. Hilary

J.D. Meier said...

I'm a fan of castles and Stokesay Castle looks like a great place to play hide and seek.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi JD .. by the look of the outside I would think you could stay hidden for 100 years in Stokesay - if you so wish!!

Cheers - great to see you here .. Hilary