Feudalism is the name given to the peculiar system of land tenure and of government which existed in Europe in the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The term ‘feudal’ is drawn of the word ‘feud’ which means land held on condition of service.
Therefore, the system which kings of Europe evolved during the period from eleventh to thirteenth century under which land was given to the landlords and their tenants in return for military services and other services is known as feudalism.
It was a system of society in which all social, political and economic rights were closely related to the system of land holdings. Prof. Maitland has defined feudalism as “a state of society in which all or great part of public rights are inextricably interwoven with the tenure of land and in which the whole governmental system-financial, military and judicial-is a part of law of private property.”
According to Prof. Stubbs feudalism may be described as “a complete organization of society through the medium of land tenure, in which, from the king down to the lowest land-owner, all are bound together by obligation to service and defence: the lord to protect his vassal, the vassal to do service to his lord.”