Modus Faciendi Homagium & Fidelitatem (The Manner of Doing Homage &
Fealty), c. 1275
The Modus faciendi homagium et Fidelitatem sets out both the proper
words and the proper ceremonies for the swearing of homage and fealty by both free and
villein tenants. It first appears in Common Law statute books written between 1275 and
1290. Thereafter its rate of appearance increases in every period, being included in 54%
of the statute books written through the mid-fourteenth century.
When a Freeman shall do Homage to his Lord of whom he holds in Chief, he shall hold
his hands together between the hands of his Lord, and shall say thus: "I become your
Man from this day forth, for life, for member, and for worldly honor, and shall [owe] you
Faith for the Lands that I hold of you; saving the Faith that I owe unto our Lord the
King, and to [mine other Lords.]
And when a Freeman shall do homage to any other than to his Chief Lord, and for a
simple Tenement, he shall hold his hands together between the Hands of his Lord, and shall
say thus: "I become your Man from this day forth, and shall bear you Faith for the
Tenement which I claim to hold of you; saving the Faith that I owe to our Lord the King,
and to my other Lords."
When a Freeman shall do fealty to his Lord, he shall hold his Right Hand upon a book,
and shall say thus "Hear you my Lord R. that I, P. shall be to you both faithful and
true, and shall owe my Fidelity unto you, for the Land that I hold of you, and lawfully
shall do such Customs and Services, as my Duty is to you, at the times assigned. So help
me God and all his Saints.
When a Villein shall do Fealty unto his Lord, he shall hold his Right Hand over the
Book, and shall say thus, "Hear you my Lord A. that I, B., from this day forth unto
you shall be true and faithful, and shall owe you Faith for the land that I hold of you in
Villeinage; and shall be justified by you in Body and Goods. So help me God and all his
From: A. Luders, ed., The Statutes of the Realm: Printed by Command of His Majesty
King George the Third, in Pursuance of an Address of the House of Commons of Great
Britain, From Original Records and Authentic Manuscripts, 11 vols., (London: Record
Commission, 1810-1828), Vol. I, pp. 227-228.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text may have been modernized
by Prof. Arkenberg.
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© Paul Halsall, August 1998