Fixtures are such things annexed to buildings or land as are of an accessory character merely; and if they are let into the soil, or cemented, or otherwise attached to some building, become the property of the freeholder or landlord at the end of the tenancy. But, although the original rule still applies, there are many exceptions, and even such things as barns, etc., resting on brickwork, may be removed by the tenant if it can be done without injury to the freehold.
Things fixed to the freehold for purposes of trade or manufacture are removable by the tenant if no material injury is caused to the estate. They include furnaces, coppers, brewing vessels, fixed vats, salt pans, and the like; machinery in breweries, collieries, and mills, such as steam-engines, cider-mills, etc.; and buildings for trade, such as a varnish-house built on plates laid on brickwork.
Recent legislation has enlarged the rights of a tenant of an agricultural holding to remove improvements effected by him or to be compensated for the same. And the old rule as to fixtures and emblements does not now apply to market-gardeners, who have the right to remove fruit-trees and strawberry plants, planted by them, or to have the same taken over at a valuation.
Tenant's fixtures which are removable by him or his personal representative on his decease include those set up for ornament or domestic convenience, such as hangings, tapestry, and pier-glasses, whether nailed to the walls or put up in lieu of panels, marble, or other ornamental chimney-pieces, marble slabs, window blinds, grates, ranges, and stoves, although fixed in brickwork, iron backs to chimneys, fixed tables, coppers and water-tubs, fixed coffee-mills, cupboards fixed with holdfasts, clock-cases, iron ovens, and so forth, always remembering that the separation must cause little or no damage.
A freehold estate is practically equivalent to absolute ownership, and on the decease of the owner descends to his heirs, or, if he does not leave any, devolves upon his relatives, however remote. Originally, freehold tenure was the holding of land by free services such as a freeman might perform, but knight-service was abolished by Charles II., and an agricultural service, or payment of a pecuniary rent, substituted for it. To go into all the varieties of freehold tenure, such as " grand sergeantry," " ancient demesne," etc., and the divisions of quasi-freehold, would only confuse the reader.
A copyhold estate is part of the lands of a manor held at the lord's will and according to the custom of the manor. There must be a manor, a court, the land must be part or parcel of the manor, and it must have been demised by copy of court roll from time immemorial. Originally, the tenants held strictly at the will of the lord, who might dispossess them at his pleasure. Then the law intervened to protect the interests of the tenants, and the latter acquired a legal right to their estate in the land. And now rents, fines, heriots (the lord's right on the death of his tenant to the deceased's best beast or other best caw 906 personal chattels) may be commuted or extinguished under the Copyhold Acts. And the effect is that the land is practically the same as freehold. But any rights of common of the tenant - e.g., of feeding his horses and sheep on the wastes of the manor - or any. right of the lord or tenant in any mines or minerals, or any right of holding fair or market, or in respect of game, fish, etc., are not affected by enfranchisement under the Copyhold Acts. When a copyholder marries the lady of the manor the copyhold is suspended during the marriage but not extinguished. Manor Courts There are two courts incident to every manor, a court baron, or freeholders' court, and a customary court, which only relates to the copyhold tenants who form the "homage" and transact the necessary business, the lord, or more usually his steward, presiding as judge. The court baron is a domestic court which regulates the interests of the freeholders, and in which the freehold tenants were the judges. In some manors a court of criminal jurisdiction, called a "court leet," was also held for the redress of misdemeanours and nuisances. All manors which exist at the present day must have existed as early as 1290, none having been created since. The characteristics of a manor are much the same at the present day as in early times, except that the court baron and the court leet have lost all their original judicial powers.