World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Copyhold

Article Id: WHEBN0000066192
Reproduction Date:

Title: Copyhold  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Heydon's Case, National Land Company, Whitley Hall, August Decrees, The Villas
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Copyhold

Copyhold tenure was a form of feudal tenure of land common in England from the Middle Ages until the 19th century, and surviving in residual form until 1922. The land was held according to the custom of the manor, and the mode of landholding took its name from the fact that the "title deed" received by the tenant was a copy of the relevant entry in the manorial court roll. A tenant who held land in this way was known as a copyholder.

Principles

The privileges granted to each tenant, and the exact services he was to render to the Lord of the Manor in return for them, were described in the roll or book kept by the Steward, who gave a copy of the relevant entry to the tenant. Consequently these tenants were afterwards called copyholders, in contrast to freeholders.[1] The actual term "copyhold" is first recorded in 1483, and "copyholder" in 1511-12.[2] The specific rights and duties of copyholders varied greatly from one manor to another and many were established by custom, though generally they laid out rights to use various resources of the land such as wood and pasture, and copyholds very commonly required payment of a type of death duty called a heriot upon the decease of the copyholder.

Inheritance

Two main kinds of copyhold tenure developed:

  • Copyhold of Inheritance: with one main tenant landholder who paid rent and undertook duties to the Lord. When they died, the holding normally passed to their next heir(s) – who might be the eldest son or, if no son existed, the eldest daughter (primogeniture); the youngest son or, if no son existed, the youngest daughter ("Borough English" or ultimogeniture); or all sons or all children in equal or otherwise prescribed shares (partible inheritance or "gavelkind"), depending upon the custom of that particular manor. In practice, local rules of inheritance were often applied with considerable flexibility. During their life the tenant could usually 'sell' the holding to another person by formally surrendering it to the lord of the manor on the condition that the lord regrant it to the 'buyer'. This three-party transaction was recorded in the manorial roll and formed the new 'copyhold' for the purchaser.
  • Copyhold for Lives: three named persons were nominated, the first-named was the holder tenant and held for the duration of their life. The other two were said to be "in reversion and remainder" and effectively formed a queue. When the first life died, the second-named inherited the property and nominated a new third life for the end of the new queue. These were recorded in the court rolls as the "copyhold" for this type of tenant. It was not usually possible for these holdings to be sold, as there were three lives with an entitlement. Copyhold for Lives is therefore regarded as a less secure tenancy than Copyhold for Inheritance.[3]

Copyhold land often did not appear in a will. This is because its inheritance was already pre-determined, as just described. It could not therefore be given or devised in a will to any other person. In many instances, the executor of the estate held the copyhold for the term of one year after the decease of the testator, which was called the "executor's year", in parallel with the same concept in common law. Language regarding the disposal of the profits of the executor's year or of a heriot often indicates a copyhold.

Abolition

Copyholds were gradually enfranchised (turned into ordinary holdings of land – either freehold or 999-year leasehold) as a result of the Copyhold Acts during the 19th century. By this time, servitude to the Lord of the Manor was merely token, discharged on purchasing the copyhold by payment of a "fine in respite of fealty". Part V of the Law of Property Act 1922 finally extinguished the last of them.

See also

Tenure in feu (the general name for the following)
Tenure by grand sergeanty
Tenure by petty sergeanty
Tenure of Knight-service
Tenure by frankalmoin or free alms
Tenure by Socage (including such forms as)
gavelkind
borough English
burgage
Tenure of villeinage (which preceded copyhold).

References

  1. ^ Bland, W., Enclosure of Commons and Waste Lands, formerly in the townships of Belper, Duffield, Hazelwood, Heage, Holbrooke, Turnditch, and elsewhere in the old Parish of Duffield, jjb.uk.com
  2. ^ "copyhold, copyholder".   (subscription required)
  3. ^ William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England (1753), Book 2, Chapter VI "Of the Modern English Tenures"

Further reading

  • Scriven, John, (Serjeant at law), A treatise on copyhold, customary freehold, and ancient demesne tenure: with the jurisdiction of Courts baron and Courts leet; also an appendix, containing rules for holding Customary courts, Courts baron and Courts leet, forms of court rolls, deputations, and copyhold assurances, and extracts from the relative acts of Parliament, 2 vols., 2nd. ed., London, 1823
  • Andrew Barsby (1996) Manorial Law
  • Gray,C.M. (1963) Copyhold, Equity and the Common Law
  • Tawney,R.H. (1912) The Agrarian Problem of the Sixteenth Century

External links

  • Encyclopædia Britannica 11th Edition
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.