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In the late Middle Ages, this method of land holding was increasingly replaced by a new kind of tenure, based around the possession of large areas of land. This started with the first sale of the church forests and the creation of the new Sherborne Hundred in 1174. The process culminated in 1350, when the four original Hundreds were broken up into hundreds and hundreds into wapentakes. Most freeholders have managed to survive, but subsequent land sales have resulted in the loss of some of their land.

In the 17th century, officials, such as Commissioners of Charitable Uses were empowered to act as administrators for the estate owners by stressing the view that land should be held "for the greatest benefit of the parishioners".

Although it is true that there are many more families in Britain who trace their descent from the tenants of a manor (or manorial estate) than simply those families who can trace their descent from the original lord, it is incorrect to state that a person must have at least one ancestor who held a manor to be a manorial tenant.

Many modern manors were originally manors held by men of the Church. Originally, these were held under licence from the Crown and demesne lands were lands that were the property of the king. These lands were often attached to existing manors and often transferred after the Norman conquest of England. In addition, when the Church lands were sequestered, of their unsold revenues, the king was obliged to keep the sum of 40 shillings per church for his service of maintaining a chaplain, i.e. a church where a priest was to serve a small number of worshippers. The income from these church lands were mainly given to the king and sometimes the private use of the king by the Church. Where the Church lands were given to the king, the individual parish priests had great freedoms in electing the wardens and rectors, so that Church lands would not necessarily bring the revenue and responsibility to the privately held manors. d2c66b5586

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