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Socage ( // ) was one of the feudal duties and land tenure forms in the English feudal system. It eventually evolved into the freehold tenure called "free and common socage", which did not involve feudal duties. Farmers held land in exchange for clearly defined, fixed payments made at specified intervals to feudal lords. The lord was therefore obligated to provide certain services, such as protection, to the farmer and other duties to the Crown. Payments usually took the form of cash, but occasionally could be made with goods.
Socage contrasted with other forms of tenure, including serjeanty, frankalmoin and knight-service.
The English statute Quia Emptores of Edward I (1290) established that socage tenure passed from one generation or nominee to the next would be subject to inquisitions post mortem, which would usually involve a feudal relief tax. This contrasts with the treatment of leases, which could be lifelong or readily subject to forfeiture and rent increase.
As feudalism declined, the prevalence of socage tenure increased until it became the normal form of tenure in the Kingdom of England. In 1660, the Statute of Tenures ended the practice of estates requiring owners to provide military or religious service, and most freehold tenures and other were converted into "free and common socage".
The holder of a soc or socage tenure was referred to as a socager (Anglo-Norman) or Socman (Anglo-Saxon, also spelt sochman, from the legal concept of a soke, from the verb 'to seek'). [ dubious ] The etymology of socage according to William Blackstone is the old Latin word for a plough.In German-speaking Europe, the broad equivalent was a Dienstmann .
Copyhold was a form of customary land ownership common from the Late Middle Ages into modern times in England. The name for this type of land tenure is derived from the act of giving a copy of the relevant title deed that is recorded in the manorial court roll to the tenant; not the actual land deed itself. The legal owner of the manor land remained the mesne lord, who was legally the copyholder, according to the titles and customs written down in the manorial roll. In return for being given land, a copyhold tenant was required to carry out specific manorial duties or services. The specific rights and duties of copyhold tenants varied greatly from one manor to another and many were established by custom. By the 19th century, many customary duties had been replaced with the payment of rent.
Escheat is a common law doctrine that transfers the real property of a person who has died without heirs to the crown or state. It serves to ensure that property is not left in "limbo" without recognized ownership. It originally applied to a number of situations where a legal interest in land was destroyed by operation of law, so that the ownership of the land reverted to the immediately superior feudal lord.
Under the English feudal system several different forms of land tenure existed, each effectively a contract with differing rights and duties attached thereto. Such tenures could be either free-hold, signifying that they were hereditable or perpetual, or non-free where the tenancy terminated on the tenant's death or at an earlier specified period.
In English law, a fee simple or fee simple absolute is an estate in land, a form of freehold ownership. A "fee" is a vested, inheritable, present possessory interest in land. A "fee simple" is real property held without limit of time under common law, whereas the highest possible form of ownership is a "fee simple absolute," which is without limitations on the land's use.
The Statutes of Mortmain were two enactments, in 1279 and 1290, passed in the reign of Edward I of England, aimed at preserving the kingdom's revenues by preventing land from passing into the possession of the Church. Possession of property by a corporation, such as the Church, was known as mortmain, which literally meant "dead hand". In medieval England, feudal estates generated taxes for the King, principally on the grant or inheritance of the estate. If an estate became owned by a religious corporation which could never die, could never attain majority, and could never be attainted for treason, these taxes never became payable. It was akin to the estates being owned by the dead, hence the term.
Lord of the Manor is a title that, in Anglo-Saxon England, referred to the landholder of a rural estate. The lord enjoyed manorial rights as well as seignory, the right to grant or draw benefit from the estate. The title continues in modern England and Wales as a legally recognised form of property that can be held independently of its historical rights. It may belong entirely to one person or be a moiety shared with other people.
In feudal Anglo-Norman England and Ireland, a knight's fee was a unit measure of land deemed sufficient to support a knight. Of necessity, it would not only provide sustenance for himself, his family, and servants, but also the means to furnish himself and his retinue with horses and armour to fight for his overlord in battle. It was effectively the size of a fee sufficient to support one knight in the ongoing performance of his feudal duties (knight-service). A knight's fee cannot be stated as a standard number of acres as the required acreage to produce a given crop or revenue would vary depending on many factors, including its location, the richness of its soil and the local climate, as well as the presence of other exploitable resources such as fish-weirs, quarries of rock or mines of minerals. If a knight's fee is deemed co-terminous with a manor, an average size would be between 1,000 and 5,000 acres, of which much in early times was still "waste", forest and uncultivated moorland.
Allodial title constitutes ownership of real property that is independent of any superior landlord. Allodial title is related to the concept of land held "in allodium", or land ownership by occupancy and defense of the land.
As a legal term, ground rent specifically refers to regular payments made by a holder of a leasehold property to the freeholder or a superior leaseholder, as required under a lease. In this sense, a ground rent is created when a freehold piece of land is sold on a long lease or leases. The ground rent provides an income for the landowner. In economics, ground rent is a form of economic rent meaning all value accruing to titleholders as a result of the exclusive ownership of title privilege to location.
Seisin denotes the legal possession of a feudal fiefdom or fee, that is to say an estate in land. It was used in the form of "the son and heir of X has obtained seisin of his inheritance", and thus is effectively a term concerned with conveyancing in the feudal era. The person holding such estate is said to be "seized of it", a phrase which commonly appears in inquisitions post mortem. The monarch alone "held" all the land of England by his allodial right and all his subjects were merely his tenants under various contracts of feudal tenure.
Quia Emptores is a statute passed by the Parliament of England in 1290 during the reign of Edward I that prevented tenants from alienating their lands to others by subinfeudation, instead requiring all tenants who wished to alienate their land to do so by substitution. The statute, along with its companion statute Quo Warranto also passed in 1290, was intended to remedy land ownership disputes and consequent financial difficulties that had resulted from the decline of the traditional feudal system in England during the High Middle Ages. The name Quia Emptores derives from the first two words of the statute in its original mediaeval Latin, which can be translated as "because the buyers". Its long title is A Statute of our Lord The King, concerning the Selling and Buying of Land. It is also cited as the Statute of Westminster III, one of many English and British statutes with that title.
A mesne lord was a lord in the feudal system who had vassals who held land from him, but who was himself the vassal of a higher lord. Owing to Quia Emptores, the concept of a mesne lordship technically still exists today: the partitioning of the lord of the manor's estate among co-heirs creating the mesne lordships.
Under feudalism in France and England during the Middle Ages, tenure by serjeanty was a form of tenure in return for a specified duty other than standard knight-service.
Frank almoin, frankalmoign or frankalmoigne was one of the feudal land tenures in feudal England. Its literal meaning is 'free pity/mercy', from Norman French fraunch aumoyne, 'free alms', from Late Latin eleemosyna, from Greek ἐλεημοσύνη, 'pity, alms', from ἐλεήμων 'merciful', from ἔλεος, 'pity'. By it an ecclesiastical body held land free of military service such as knight service or other secular or religious service, but sometimes in return for the religious service of saying prayers and masses for the soul of the grantor. Not only was secular service not due but in the 12th and 13th centuries jurisdiction over land so held belonged to the ecclesiastical courts, and was thus immune from royal jurisdiction.
The Tenures Abolition Act 1660, sometimes known as the Statute of Tenures, was an Act of the Parliament of England which changed the nature of several types of feudal land tenure in England. The long title of the Act was An act for taking away the Court of Wards and liveries, and tenures in capite, and by knights-service, and purveyance, and for settling a revenue upon his Majesty in lieu thereof.
In English property law, a rentcharge is an annual sum paid by the owner of freehold land (terre-tenant) to the owner of the rentcharge (rentcharger), a person who need have no other legal interest in the land. They are often known as chief rents in the north west of England but the term ground rent is used in many parts of the country to refer to either a rentcharge or a rent payable on leasehold land. This is confusing because a true ground rent is a sum payable in relation to land held under a lease rather than freehold land. As a result, the first question a conveyancer or other adviser, such as the free Rentcharges Unit, will demand is information from the Land Registry, which the public can also obtain cheaply, as to whether the subjected land is freehold or held on a lease.
The history of English land law can be traced back to Roman times, and subsequently through the Early Middle Ages under post-Roman chieftains and Saxon monarchs where, as for most of human history, land was the dominant source of personal wealth. English land law transformed further from the Saxon days, to post-Norman Invasion feudal encastellation, from the Industrial Revolution and over the 19th century, as the political power of the landed aristocracy diminished, and modern legislation increasingly made land a social form of wealth, subject to extensive social regulation, such as for housing, national parks, and agriculture.
Even before the Norman Conquest, there was a strong tradition of landholding in Anglo-Saxon law. When William the Conqueror asserted sovereignty over England in 1066, he confiscated the property of the recalcitrant English landowners. Over the next dozen years, he granted land to his lords and to the dispossessed Englishmen, or affirmed their existing land holdings, in exchange for fealty and promises of military and other services. At the time of the Domesday Book, all land in England was held by someone, and from that time there has been no allodial land in England. In order to legitimise the notion of the Crown's paramount lordship, a legal fiction—that all land titles were held by the King's subjects as a result of a royal grant—was adopted.
In the kingdom of England, a feudal barony or barony by tenure was the highest degree of feudal land tenure, namely per baroniam, under which the land-holder owed the service of being one of the king's barons. The duties owed by and the privileges granted to feudal barons are not exactly defined, but they involved the duty of providing soldiers to the royal feudal army on demand by the king, and the privilege of attendance at the king's feudal court, the precursor of parliament.
Feudalism as practiced in the Kingdoms of England during the medieval period was a state of human society that organized political and military leadership and force around a stratified formal structure based on land tenure. As a military defense and socio-economic paradigm designed to direct the wealth of the land to the king while it levied military troops to his causes, feudal society was ordered around relationships derived from the holding of land. Such landholdings are termed fiefdoms, traders, fiefs, or fees.
Tenants who owned such tenures were called 'sochmen', and the tenure itself was called 'socage'
Soccage in Lower Canada: An act to explain and amend the laws relating to lands holden in free and common soccage in the province of Lower Canada