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THE ANCIENT NORMAN FIEF -  CHANNEL ISLANDS

"  FIEF de BLONDEL "  Est. 1179

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Greetings from the Ancient Lords, Dames and Seigneurs of Private Fief Blondel Est. 1179 - "Le Seigneurs de la Fief Thomas Blondel &  Fief de L'Eperons

The Fief of Blondel is One of the Last Private Fiefs registered directly with the Crown in Her Majesty's Crown Dependencies

Fiefdom. In feudalism, a fiefdom (also called a fief, feud, feoff, or fee) was a property or right that an overlord, seigneur or Lehnsherr (sometimes granted directly from a King o Queen) gave a vassal in exchange for fealty or service. This property, of whatever size, could be inherited by the man's heirs. Some Fiefs are Free Fiefs registered directly from the Sovereign such as this Fief. The lords of these Guernsey fiefs were originally all:  liberi homines and franc-tenans, free men, or free tenants. In other parts of Scandanivia, Frankonia, Germania, the name is Free Lord, Free Tenant, or  Feudal Lord.

Friherre af Fief Blondel,  Kanaløyer Est. 1179

History of the Viking Norman Seigneur & Fiefdoms

911AD - The Norse Channel Islands were conquered by the Vikings before 911AD. As a concession to the invaders, Fiefs of the Channel Islands begin with the Grants by King Charles the Simple. In 912, Charles the Simple, King of France, ceded to Rollo, the great Norwegian Chieftain, the province of Neustria, now called Normandy, and Rollo became the first duke of that province. On his baptism and marriage with Gisele, daughter of Charles, he also received Brittany, for which Juhael Berengier, Earl of Rennes, did him homage.

911AD. The Great Viking Chief Rollo Göngu-Hrólfr or Gaange Rolf.
Chief Rollo was a Viking Warrior who became the first ruler of Normandy, a region of France. He is sometimes called the 1st Duke of Normandy and speculations point to Denmark as Rollo's birth place. Guernsey, second largest of the Channel Islands. It is 30 miles (48 km) west of Normandy, France, and roughly triangular in shape. With Alderney, Sark, Herm, Jethou, and associated islets, it forms the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

1020AD - The Fiefdom of Thomas Blondel came about through the medieval fragmentation of Fief Au Canelly and consequently, of the initial half of Guernésiais or Guernsey given by Duke Richard II in 1020 to Neel, Vicomte of the Cotentin.

AD 1179 - We find Legal Reference of Lord Seigneur of Thomas Blondel, a noble fief, in a charter of 1179AD when he is witnessing a grant to St. Michael's Mount. He is Robert Malmarchie (Thomas Blondel).

1204 AD - Fief  Blondel and other Fiefs are Forfeited to the Crown with separation from Normandy and given to loyal Seigneurs and Dames.

1200's AD - The Parish of St. Andrew in which Thomas Blondel lies contained a group of four late 12 century ecclesiastical Fiefs, one held by the Bishop of Countances, the second held by the Abbot of Cormery, Tours, the third held by the Abbot of La Croix St. Lewfroy, Evreux, and the fourth held by the Abbess of Trinity, Caen. The Fief Thomas Blondel derives its name, as we have already observed from the family of Malmarcher or Malmarchy who are recorded in the charters as existing in Guernsey in the 12th Century. Today, The region of The Fief de Thomas Blondel lies in both St Pierre du Bois (St. Peter of the Wood) and of the Parish of Notre Dame de Torteval along with the Blondel Dependency Fief de l'Eperon of Torteval Parish of the Island of Guernsey.

In 1270, on the death of Sir Henry Le Canelly, the Guernsey fief was divided between his daughters. Guilemette, the wife of Henry de Saint Martin obtained a considerable part of the island originating later the Fiefs of Janin Besnard, Jean du Gaillard, Guillot Justice and Thomas Blondel. This was confirmed by the tenants and officers of the Fief in letters patent issued by Guernsey's Royal Court under the Bailiwick Seal in 1463. The original noble, Thomas Blondel was a jurat of Guernsey’s Royal Court from 1421-45. The Blondel family has given several jurats to the island. Later the Columbines and Fiotts were the holders of the title. For a time, the rights over the Fief were divided in two.

In 12th Century Kingdom of France, the term baronnie or Baron was generally applied to all lords or seigneurs possessing an important fief, but later in the 13th century the title of Baron meant that the holder held his  Fief directly from the Crown and was thus more important than a count since counts were typically vassals.

A 1440 Record of the Fiefdom Deed of the Fief of Thomas Blondel which the deed is still at University Leeds, shows the parishes of St Peter of the Wood and Torteval, Guernsey, made by Janet Blondel to Thomas de la Court. attested by Jean Bonamy and Jacques Guille, jurats. According to the Deed, the Fief Blondel further includes the: Fief Blondel territory in the parishes of St Pierre du Bois (St. Peter of the Wood) and of Notre Dame de Torteval along with the Fief de l'Eperon of Torteval, the Bouvée Phlipot Pain, lying in the said parish of St Pierre duBois, and the Bouvée Torquetil and Bouvée Bourgeon lying in the said parish of Torteval.

A few of these Guernsey fiefs are still registered directly with the Crown where a treizième or conge was paid in Royal Court to Her Majesty. A lawyer must be hired to register the fief in French. Conge is part of the feudal past when a due (representing one thirteenth of the property price) was charged on the property changing hands and was paid to the Seigneur of the fief upon which the property sat. It remains due and payable to the Receiver General in respect of the conveyance of fiefs. The owners of Fiefs maintain the legal right to be styled Seigneur or Dam.

In the case of the Fief Blondel, the fee was paid by the Seigneur of Fief Blondel directly to the Crown of the United Kingdom. There may be only a few legally recognized feudal fiefs in the world left at this time which are legally allowed or directly registered with a Sovereign King or Queen.

The Noble Fief of Blondel is one of the island's few feudal titles not held by the Queen.

The Feudal Lord's of Blondel - Approx. Chronology of FreeLords who Held the Norman Title.

  • 1st Seigneur Feudal Duke & Lord - Great Viking Chief Rollo Göngu-Hrólfr or Gaange Rolf  - Le Seigneur of the Noble Fief including Fief Blondel 1179 a Norman Freeholder Lord of property, region, and land rights over small palatinates.   Also known in Northern, Viking, & Scandanavian Countries as: Free Lord - Friherre  - The Fief Thomas Blondel 
  • 1204-5AD - Separation of Guernsey from Normandy, The loss of Normandy by King John in 1204 isolated the Channel Islands from mainland Europe where up to today, Guernsey  is an independent crown dependency. Self governing but loyal to the Crown of England
  • 1254AD - In 1254 Henry granted the Islands to his son, the future Edward I, but at the same time stipulated that the Islands were never to be separated from the English Crown.
  • 2nd Seigneur of the Fief Blondel or Feudal-Free-Lord) Family Le Canellys until 1270  - Fief Blondel and other Fiefs are Forfeited to the Crown with separation from Normandy and given to loyal Seigneurs and Dames. 
  • In 1270AD , on the death of Sir Henry Le Canelly, the large Guernsey fief was divided between his daughters. Guilemette, the wife of Henry de Saint Martin obtained a considerable part of the island which originated the fiefs of Janin Besnard, Jean du Gaillard, Guillot Justice and Thomas Blondel. 
  • 3rd Seigneur of Fief Blondel - Sir William De Chesney 1284   - Sir William De Chesney   is named as the Seigneur of the Fief Thomas Blondel   in 1284 AD which is over 735 years ago  that this noble feudal fief has existed under the direct relationship with the Crown of England.
  • 4th Lord - Le Dame Janet Blondel and Blondel Family until 1440
  • 5th 1440 - Seigneur of Fief Blondel - Sieur Thomas De La Court under the protection of Prince & Duke of Gloucester, Lord of the Islands at the time. 
  • 1481 - Papal Bull in 1481 directed against attacks on the islanders that had the effect, beneficial to trade, of making Guernsey protected by the Vatican .
  • 6th Seigneur of Fief Blondel -  Freeholder-Feudal-Lord & Friherre/Freiherr) George S. Le Couteur, Seigneur of Fief Thomas Blondel     
  • 7th Lord Seigneurs or Freeholder-Feudal-Lord & Friherre or Freiherr) Seigneur Daniel Hardy & Le Dame Marie Guille in the 1700's. 
  • 8th Lord) Seigneur Pierre Robillard of Maison de Pleinmont, Torteval, was the Seigneur of Fief de Thomas Blondel. The rights over the Fief again joined during the XIX century as shown in documents of 11/10/1800 (Reg Tome 26, p 420) and 19/05/1798 - Pierre Robilliard obtained the Fief from Daniel Hardy & Marie Guille. 1800  "Monsieur Pierre Robilliard, Seigneur des fiefs Thomas Blondel, Guillot Justice, Bouvee du Quemin, et fief La Cour Ricard, Decede au Seigneur.
  • 9th Seigneur - Mr. George S. Le Couteur bought and became Seigneur of fief Thomas Blondel. The other three fiefs remained to Dame Mary Robilliard, wife of M. Le P. Coquierre, and so passed to their daughter, Miss Le Coquierre.
  • 9th Seigneurs/Dames of the Fief Blondel -  Seigeur George S. Le Couteur  -Back to The  Le Couteur Family 
  • 10th  Seigneur Count Marcov) The rights of Fief Thomas Blondel acquired by (Count & Seigneur Dr. Marcov of Spain) from Sept.  2000 until December of 2017.     
  • 11th Free Lord & Seigneur -  Commissioner & Counselor George Mentz JD MBA, Seigneur of CounselorMentz Fief of Blondel et L'Epersons ) on the island of (Dgèrnésiais - Guernsey French) in Dec. 2017, the rights of the Private Fief of Thomas Blondel were acquired by George Mentz, Esq of the United States. Acquired by conveyance and payment of: Duty, Treizième & Congé, and Jurats fee, and Fief Permission Fees to the HM/Crown and Receiver General, HM Clerk Greffier and Courts **   Mentz is an international lawyer who studied Common, Civil and French/Latin Law who has a keen interest in maintaining the Feudal Courts of the Fief Blondel because it is one of the oldest feudal courts in the world. Mentz is also the titular feudal Lord Baron of Ancient Longford-Westmeath in Ireland through acquisition from the original sale from Earl and Lord Westmeath.  The Fief of Thomas Blondel also includes the  Fief à Eperon as a dependency.
  • The Seigneury of the Fief of Blondel historically over the last 600 years contains about three bouvées of land called the Bouvée Phlipot Pain, lying in the said parish of St Pierre duBois, and the bouvées Torquetil and Bourgeon along with the Fief de l'Eperon lying in the said parish of Torteval and likewise all and such seigneuries, dignities, liberties, graces and franchises as to the aforesaid fiefs and each of them attach and belong with a certain dinner annually supplied by the fief of the Prior of Lihou. 


The Fief territory itself is spread over areas in the parishes of St. Pierre-du-Bois and Torteval and contains within it ancient buildings, beachfront, ocean access, & port lands of the island. The private Fief Blondel may be one of the few Legal Fiefs in the World that does not require or demand annual or periodic fealty or oaths to and from the Crown. Thus, it is an independent and free fiefdom and one of the oldest surviving fiefs and lordships in the world. The Lord of a Channel Island Fief would be called a Seigneur or Dame or in other languages a Feudal Lord, Lehnsherr (Germanic), Friherre (Viking/Danish), or føydalherren (Norwegian). As this free lordship direct from the Crown is Norman and predates typical baronial titles, it is one of the most ancient fief titles in continuous use in the world.

The Chief Pleas of the Seignorial court of Seigneurial court of Fief Thomas Blondel were held annually at the mounting block or steps (perron) of the Church of St. Pierre-du-Bois.

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The Fief Blondel is a private fief dating back to 1179 in the Crown Holding Island of Guernsey where the owners of a fief directly from the Crown are called a Seigneur according to present law.

A Fief of Fiefdom – is a feudal area of land for which residents once paid fees or rendered services to the Lord Baron or Seigneur in return for the right to use the land in commerce. The Free Fief Blondel is in two parishes or counties of Torteval and St. Peter of the Wood. The Fief sits on the Eastern part of the island and includes areas in the North, Central and South East Sections of the Island including: beach, woods, buildings, common areas, sacred lands, and other commercial buildings and farm land along with potentially including small islands offshore of the fiefs beach and foreshore.

Historically, fiefs and small baronnies of land, were granted as a form of over-lordship, giving the Free-Lord or Seigneurs the rights over the people and property on that land under the ancient Northman/Norman feudal system.

Style of Seigneur - As per the The Feudal Dues (Guernsey) Law, 1980 Style of Seigneur of a fief etc. Section 4. The foregoing provisions of this Law shall be without prejudice –
(a) to the right of any person to use, in the case of a male person, the style of Seigneur and, in the case of a female person, the style of Dame, of a fief,
(b) to the feudal relationship between Her Majesty and any person holding an interest in a private fief on or at any time after the commencement of this Law, or to the feudal relationship between any person holding an interest in any fief and any person holding an interest in a dependency of that fief, and
(c) to the right or obligation of any person by virtue of that person holding an interest in any fief which is not a right to which those provisions apply or any obligation correlative thereto.
www.guernseylegalresources.gg/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=71301&p=0

Most of the legal rights formerly enjoyed by the Seigneurs of fiefs having been abolished by law in 1966 but international law and custom still pertains to the rights of beaches, airwaves, underground, common areas, foreshore, and other rights such as hunting and fishing.

A fief owner does register the title in an act of legal title conveyance with Her Majesty's Receiver General much like the transfer of land rights, mineral rights or water rights and the fief buyer pays special consideration of Treizième & Congé fees to the CROWN for the transfer and rights. The Fief holder can be styled Seigneur (or Dame) du Fief de la .....

Generally speaking, the title is not normally used except in formal settings. A fief, in legal theory, is held directly from the Crown. However, this fief does not owe homage or any other services but does maintain rights to conduct customs and formalities such as creating honorific  Fief Officers and Courts or possibly representing the Fief in any unclaimed area of law such as foreshore, airwaves, water rights, hunting and fishing rights etc.

The International Court of Justice Addresses many issues of Normandy, The English Crown, and ownership of the Channel Island Fiefs in various cases.

 

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