["Simple Fief-Holding" drawn by me, see below for license]
["Fief-Holding, Messy" drawn by me; see below for license]
Nor was all land held in fief. Much of the land held by the nobility, in fact, was what is known as allodial land, held only from God. In other words, they owed fealty to no one for its use. This term also applies to the land owned outright by peasants, for which they owed no rents to any lord.
You may have noticed my lack of gendered pronouns here. Though most vassals and lords were male, under certain circumstances women could and did hold and grant lands in fief. This became less common as time went on, just as the practice of granting of a fief to a deceased vassal’s heir gained popularity.
Honors History - Fief-Holding
Bouchard, Constance Brittain. Strong of Body, Brave & Noble: Chivalry & Society in Medieval France. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998.