A manor house is a country house that historically formed the administrative centre of a manor, the lowest unit of territorial organisation in the feudal system in Europe. The term is applied to country houses that belonged to the gentry and other grand stately homes. There were manor houses in most European countries, where they were sometimes referred to as castles, palaces, and so on.
"Manor house" is also a technical term in the UK for a minor late-medieval country house. They were often fortified but this was intended more for show than for defence.
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“A severe though not unfriendly critic of our institutions said that the cure for admiring the House of Lords was to go and look at it.”
—Walter Bagehot (18261877)