Seigneur

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

 
Jump to: navigation, search

Seigneur (English: Lord, German: Herr) was the name formerly given in France to someone who had been granted a fief by the crown, with all its associated rights over person and property. This form of lordship was called seigneurie, the rights that the seigneur was entitled to were called seigneuriage, and the seigneur himself was the seigneur justicier, because he exercised greater or lesser jurisdiction over his fief. Since the repeal of the feudal system on 4 August 1789 in the wake of the French Revolution, this office has no longer existed and the title has only been used for sovereign princes by their families.

In common speech, the term grandseigneur has survived. Today this usually means an elegant, urbane gentleman. Some even use it in a stricter sense to refer to a man whose manners and way of life reflect his noble ancestry and great wealth. In addition, Le Grand Seigneur is the French name for a Turkish sultan; Le Seigneur is used in French church language as the name of God the Father, whilst Notre Seigneur is preferred for Jesus Christ.

The word seignorage is also derived from seigneur.

The word shares the same provenance as the Italian Signore, Portuguese Senhor and Spanish Señor, which in addition to meaning "Mr" were used to signify a feudal lord.

The title is still used for the hereditary ruler of Sark, an island in the English Channel which swears fealty to the British Crown.