Custom of the Manor – A Glossary: Steward

court document with money

In the general sense, a steward is the senior officer of a household or one who serves at table.  In, royal households, the term became associated with several official state duties.  The manorial steward ran the legal and financial affairs of the manor.

As the primary official of the manorial courts, stewards were responsible for holding court sessions and keeping the court records on behalf of the lord.  Acting as judge or legal advisor in the manorial courts required legal training.  The steward was also responsible for overseeing the collection of dues, rents and services owed to the lord of the manor, and keeping the financial accounts of the manor.

The legal Latin term for a manorial steward is senescallus.