The land was measured amongst the Saxons by hides and yard lands {virgatae), of which four usually went to a hide. Thus the Saxon Chronicle, in speaking of Domesday, says - " So very narrowly, indeed, did he commission them to trace it out, that there was not one single hide nor yard land, nay, moreover (it is shameful to tell, though he thought it no shame to do it), not even an ox, nor a cow, nor a swine was there left, that was not set down in his writ" (u). A hide land was supposed to be as much arable land as would maintain a family. It was accordingly called familia by the Venerable Bede (x) though in some rare cases the term "hide" appears to have been applied to pasture and wood (y). But amongst the Normans lands were measured by plowlands (carucatae) and oxgangs (bovatae), terms exclusively applicable to arable land, a plowland being as much as a plough could till, and an ox-gang as much as an ox-team could till (z). A writ for an oxgang of marsh was held ill, "because an oxgang is always of a thing which lies in tillage" (a). Though, as Lord Coke observes (b), "a plowland may contain a messuage, wood, meadow, and pasture, because that by them the plowman and the cattle belonging to the plow are maintained." Gain and tillage were synonymous terms, gaigner signifying to till and gainure tillage. So beasts of the plough and plowlands and oxgangs.

The land was for bread.

In Domesday, meadow measured by-ploughs.

Meadows belonged to land.

Hides and yard lands,

(n) See those of the manor of Wimbledon.

(0) Bawdwen's Translation of Domesday, Middlesex, p. 25.

(p) Sir II. Ellis's Introduction to Domesday, vol. 1, pp. 103, 149, n. (4).

(q) Sharon Turner's Anglo-Saxons, vol. 2, pp. 555, 556.

(r) Stat. 18 Edw. I. c. 1.

(s) Mad. Form. Angl. No. 288, p. 178; No. 296, p. 181; No. 298, p. 182; No. 338, p. 257; No. 3G0, p. 274; No. 362, p. 275; No. 364, p. 276; No. 580, p. 328.

(t) Abbreviatio Placitorum, p. 27. See also Hil. 4 John, p 37.

Gain and tillage synonymous.

(u) Sax. Chro. Anno 1085, p. 289, Ingrain's edit. The learned translator puts "yard of land," which he explains to be the fourth part of an acre; hut the expression is gypbe lanber, yard land, which comprised several acres, varying indifferent places. Gibson rightly translates the passage thus: "ut ne unica esset hyda aut virgata terrae." Gibson's Sax. Chron. p. 186.

(x) Co. Litt. 69 a; Sir H. Ellis's Introduction to Domesday, vol. 1, p. 145.

(y) Sir H. Ellis's Introduction to Domesday, vol. 1, p. 148.

(z) Ibid. vol. 1, p. 156. Lord Coke, however, says that an oxgang was as much as an ox could till.

(a) Fitz. Abr. tit. Briefs, 241. The learned editor of Co. Litt. erroneously supposes that the writ-was held ill on account of the uncertainty of the term oxgang; Co. Litt. 69 a, n. (z). And he further adds, "See infra, a like case as to the uncertainty of virgata." The case referred to appears to be that mentioned by Lord Coke in Co. Litt. 69 a - "A fine shall not be received de una virgata terrae, for the uncertainty; ride 39 Hen. VI. 8." But on reference to the Year Book it will be found that all that was decided was, that if a grant was anciently made of two virgatcs of land, on which two messuages have since been built, and part of which has since been converted into meadow, pasture and wood, the deed of grant must be pleaded in its terms, and the land demanded by the names appropriate to its present state of messuage, land, meadow, pasture and wood, the change being alleged. And in Sheppard's Touchstone, p. 12, bovata and virgata are both mentioned amongst the proper terms to pass land by fine. (b) Co. Litt. 69 a.

cattle, which tilled and manured the laud, were exempt from distress if any other could be found (c). And the ancient law with respect to tithe corresponded with this state of things. As a rule, every kind of produce was titheable. But no tithe was payable for grass used for the agistment or feeding of any cattle or sheep employed in the tillage or manurance of arable laud within the parish; because the parson thereby got better tithes from the arable laud (d). The pasture land was thus treated by law as subservient to the arable, and excused from tithe on the ground that it tended to make the arable land more profitable.

The statutes of Merton (e) and Westminster the second (f) treat tenants entitled to common appendant as a well-known class, the former speaking of them as feoffees, the latter as tenants or the lord's men. Both statutes relate only to common of pasture, that being a right, and the only right, always given by the law; and the latter statute expressly excepts common of pasture claimed by any one in any other manner than of common right he ought to have, "alio modo quam de jure communi habere deberet." By these statutes the lord was enabled to improve his wastes, provided he left sufficient common for the tenants.

The tenants exercising these rights of common were often called generally the lord's freemen. Thus, in the reign of King John, Amauricus Comes Hebraicarum grants to a tenant as to his freeman, for his service and homage, a yard land, with a messuage to the same land belonging, and with all its appurtenances, to hold of him and his heirs to the tenant and his heirs at a certain rent; "and I will," the deed proceeds, " that he shall have common in my town of M. like my other freemen (sicut alii liberi mei homines) in wood- and waters and pastures and ways and paths" (g). So, in the second year of the reign of King John, the men of Prunhull, in Sussex, complain that the abbot of Battle and the abbot of Robertsbridge had levied a fine in the King's Court of a certain marsh which belonged to their free tenement in Prunluill, of which their predecessors were seised as of right in the time of Henry the king's father (h). So the men of Ormadan, to the number of forty, release to the abbess and convent of Dora their rights of common in certain lands (i). So, in the reign of King Henry III., Richard de Stoches grants to the monks of Bruerne certain lands in frankalmoigne, and also grants them common of pasture with the other men of the same fee (k). The men are mentioned generally, not as certain particular tenants, but the whole of the tenants of that fee or feud.