Under the feudal system, lord has a wide, loose and varied meaning. An overlord was the person from whom a landholding or a manor was held by a mesne lord or vassal under various forms of feudal land tenure. The modern term "landlord" is a vestigial survival of this function. A liege lord was a person to whom a vassal owed sworn allegiance. Neither of these terms were titular dignities, rather factual appellations, which described the relationships of two persons within the highly stratified feudal social system. For example, a man might be lord of the manor to his own tenants but a vassal to his own overlord, who in turn was a vassal to the king. Where a knight was a lord of the manor, as was generally the case, he is referred to in contemporary documents as "John (Surname), knight, lord of (manor name)". A feudal baron was a true titular dignity, with the right originally to attend Parliament, yet even a feudal baron, lord of the manor of many manors, was a vassal to the king.
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