TENANTS AND TENURES

Agist : Land let out in the summer to graze cattle at a fixed price per head.

Akerman : A tenant holding an acre.

AKDodium : A term to describe some estates in Hampshire, Kent, Surrey, Sussex ahd Berkshire. It-is thought by some authorities that the term, found in the Domesday Survey of 1086, referred to holdings which were not subject to an overlord, and for which no services were given. However, Professor Maitland in his 'Domesday Book and Beyond' maintains that there is scant evidence for this suggestion.

Allotment : In this context, a term which referred to land distributed by the Enclosure Commissioners in exchange for rights and holdings held in the open-field system. It could also mean land given to a parish or manor official.

Ancient Demesne : Land which belonged to the Crown during the reigns of Edward the Confessor and William 1; it is described as terrae regis (Eduardi) in the Domes-day Survey. The tenants were exempt from the jurisdiction of the shire reeve and were not liable to serve on juries and inquests outside the manor; they were not taxed for the upkeep of roads and bridges and were free from market tolls. The tenants could only be sued or sue on matters affecting their lands in the Court of Common Pleas or in the Court of Ancient Demesne of the manor. The tenure was abolished in 1925.

Anilepman : A sub-tenant on a smallholding.

Basket Tenure : The tenant of this holding was required to make baskets for the Crown.

Bond Tenants : A name sometimes given to copyholders or other customary tenants.

Bookland : A Saxon term for land held by title deed or by 'book' of the Crown. The tenants were probably exempt from a number of public services such as defence and bridge-building. Alternatively called Charterland and Deedland.

Borough English : A widespread form of tenure in which it was customary for the youngest son to inherit. It was abolished in 1924.

Burgage : A tenure in an ancient borough which was held of the Crown or the lords of the borough. In Saxon times the rent was called a landgable or hawgable. The land or tenement was held subject to the customary rents and services of the borough. It was sometimes called Burgage Holding in Scotland.

Chivalry : An alternative name for a Knight's Fee (qv).

Copyhold : Originally a tenure dependent upon custom and the lord's will, carrying obligations to perform certain services for the lord. The Black Death in the 14th century brought about a scarcity of labour and hastened the commutation of these feudal services to money payments. The tenant was protected not by national law but by title written on the manor court rolls, of which he was provided with a copy - hence the name of the tenure. When transferring the property the tenant first surrendered it to the lord who held the fee-simple, and then the new tenant was admitted on payment of a fine. Copyhold tenure was abolished in 1922. Alternatively called Tenancy by Copy and Tenancy by the Verge.

Cottier : An annual tenure, the main feature being that the land was let direct to a labourer who made the highest public bid for it.

Customary Freehold : Land held by custom and not by the will of the lord - in this it differed from Copyhold tenure. The tenure was abolished in 1922. Alternatively called Frank Tenure.

Demesne : Land of the manor held in the lord's own hands. The villein tenants, as part of their obligations in return for their own land holdings, had to work regularly on the demesne lands.

Disseisin : Unlawful dispossession of a person's house or land.

Engrossment : The drawing together of two or more holdings into one.

Farm : Before its modern agricultural meaning, the term could denote land let on lease.

Fee : Land or freehold property which could be inherited.

Fee-Farm Rents : In this context, a term which describes a group of Crown revenues, amongst which borough rents are the most significant. The chief residents of a borough paid the Exchequer a fixed sum for the privilege of collecting and retaining the borough's revenues.

Fee Simple : A freehold estate which passes without restriction to the lawful heir.

Feudal Tenure : A tenure of land originally subject to military service, later commuted to money payments.

Frank Fee : A tenure which required no services. Sometimes called an Improper Feud.

Frankalmoign : Land granted by a layman to an ecclesiastical body which then received any income derived from it. Usually the gift was conditional upon the provision of a chantry after the donor's death, or the offer of obits and prayers for his and his decendants' souls in perpetuity. The tenure was free of manorial services except for the Trinoda Necess-itas (qv), and was abolished in 1925.

Frankmarriage : A tenure with an entailed interest. It arose in cases where a landowner granted land to a man marrying his daughter or sister. The couple were then possessed of the land exempt from any services to the donor and this applied until the fourth generation had held the tenure.

Free Warren : A franchise obtained from the Crown empowering the grantees to kill or keep game and beasts.

Freehold : A tenure which was not subject to the customs of the manor or the will of the lord and which could be disposed of without restriction. Alternatively called Frank Tenement or Freeland.

Glebe : Land assigned to the incumbent of a parish as part of his benefice and the endowment of the church.

Glebae Adsciptitii : Villein tenants who could not be removed from their holdings as long as they performed the services due from them.

Head-Right : The right granted to emigrants to acquire land where they were going to settle, usually in the USA.

Joint Enfeoffment : The settlement of a property jointly on a man and his wife, a device which allowed a widow to escape paying an entry fee for the tenure on the death of her husband.

King's Widow : A widow of a Tenant-in-Chief (qv). She was unable to marry again without the Crown's permission.

Knight's Fee : A feudal tenure which obliged the holder to provide military assistance to the Crown. This military service would normally require a fully-armed knight and his servants for forty days a year. The tenure was quite often commuted to a money payment and was finally abolished in 1660 by the Tenures Abolition Act. Alternatively called Knight's Service.

Lay Fee : Land held of a lay lord rather than of an ecclesiastical body.

Leasehold : Tenure held by lease, sometimes for a fixed number of years, or for a certain number of 'lives' recorded in the original lease. When one of the lives' died a new name could be inserted into the lease on payment of a fee.

Mesnalty : An estate held by a mesne lord who held the land directly of the Crown.

Mortmain : A term meaning 'dead hand', in this case, of the Church. When land was granted by laymen to ecclesiastical bodies it became free of escheats, reliefs etc and this resulted in a loss of income to the manorial lord both at that time and for the forseeable future. When Henry III revised the Magna Carte in 1217 he prohibited the transfer of land to an ecclesiastical body without the lord's permission in an effort to control this 'dead hand' on income. Further legislation in 1279 added penalties for causing land to come under Mortmain.

Overland : A west-country term for a tenure which had no common rights attached to it.

Plight : A holding of land.

Purpresture : An illegal tenure which occurred when Crown lands were encroached upon. The offence could mean the forfeiture of the encroacher's land but often the offence was merely noted and a rent levied.

Quit Rent : A fixed annual rent which released a tenant from feudal services to a manorial lord.

Rack-rent : The highest rent that a tenement will fetch in a year, or at least two thirds of this.

Reveland : Crown land in the hands of a sheriff, reeve, bailiff or other deputy.

Sac and Soc : A jurisdiction claimed by lords as part of their manorial tenure. It included a right to hold a court, and to receive manorial profits and services.

Seisin : A term meaning possession rather than ownership which probably predates the Norman Conquest. A grant of land was valid only when the tenant had been given livery of seisin - a symbolic gift, such as a piece of turf from the land in question, by the outgoing tenant or by the lord of the manor. The new tenant was then 'seised in deed'. Before this procedure the incoming tenant was 'seised in law'. A tenant was said to be seized of his land if he possessed it and disseized when dispossessed.

Serjeanty : A tenure dependent upon a wide variety of services, some 'grand' and some 'petty'. Grand Serjeants did military service and paid fines; most serjeants performed personal services for their lord - the king, for example, might make serjeants of his tailor, physician or gamekeeper.

Socage : A free tenure without the obligation of military service. The holding could be alienated by the tenant and inherited without restriction, although primogeniture was the most common rule of inheritance. The heir paid a fee to enter the land. Socage was of two kinds: free socage, where the services were honourable and fixed, and villein socage, where the services were of a humbler nature and fixed. It was abolished in 1660.

Soiled Land : Land converted from freehold to copyhold tenure.

Tenancy at Will : A tenure granted by the lord and at his disposal. It was mainly granted by the Crown to reward servants.

Tenant-in-Chief : A tenant who held land immediately of the Crown. Alternatively known as Tenant-in-Capite.

Termor : A tenant for a term of years.

Tontine : (a) A financial scheme in which subscribers to a common fund each secured an annuity during his lifetime; the value of each annuity increased as subscribers died until one person enjoyed the whole income. A tontine was a popular device in the 18th and 19th centuries to provide a public amenity, such as a village hall. (b) More generally, an 18th-century method to raise governmental funds. Money was invested by private individuals in a scheme and the surviving subscribers received a gradually increasing income.

Undersettic : A sub-tenant of a smallholding.