feudal system the social and economic system operating in England from the 11th century and in Scotland from the 12th century and having as its legal manifestation the holding (rather than ownership) of land via a hierarchical system of tenures. Historically it was based upon the receipt of land from the Crown in exchange for homage (a promise to fight for the superior in battle) and an oath of fealty (or fidelity). In England, the main incidents of feudal tenure were abolished in 1660 with the Tenures Abolition Act, although theoretically freehold land is still regarded as being held of the Crown. In Scotland, the feudal system declined in importance after the Land Tenure Reform Act 1974 and it is in the course of being abolished as a result of the Abolition of Feudal Tenure Act 2000. It is still relevant in the Channel Islands.