In medieval and early modern European society a tenant-in-chief, sometimes vassal-in-chief, denotes the nobles who held their lands as tenants directly from the monarch, as opposed to holding them from another nobleman or senior member of the clergy. Such people were the backbone of the monarchs' influence throughout the state and include princes and dukes (many of whom would have been immediate relatives of the monarch), and earls. They could also be called baron or captal. The Latin term was tenant in capiti, or in capite. Tenants-in-chief were situated under the monarch, whether a king or another territorial prince, in the feudal system, and a tenant-in-chief did homage directly to the king or prince.
The term is actually a neologism of later historians.
- ^ a b Coredon Dictionary of Medieval Terms & Phrases p. 272
- ^ a b Bloch Feudal Society Volume 2 p. 333
- ^ a b Cosman Medieval Wordbook p. 240
- ^ Coredon Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases p. 161
- Bloch, Marc (1964). Feudal Society Volume 2: Social Classes and Political Organization. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-05978-2.
- Coredon, Christopher (2007). A Dictionary of Medieval Terms & Phrases (Reprint ed.). Woodbridge: D. S. Brewer. ISBN 978-1-74384-138-8.
- Cosman, Madeleine Pelner (2007). Medieval Wordbook: More the 4,000 Terms and Expressions from Medieval Culture. New York: Barnes & Noble. ISBN 978-0-7607-8725-0.