The most familiar instance of a tenure is given by a common lease of a house or land for a term of years; in this case the person letting is still called the landlord, and the person to whom the premises are let is the tenant; the terms of the tenure are according to the agreement of the parties, the rent being usually the chief item, and the rest of the terms of tenure being contained in the covenants of the lease, but, if no rent should be paid, the relation of landlord and tenant would still subsist, though of course not with the same advantage to the landlord. This, however, is not a freehold tenure; the lessee has only a chattel interest, as has been before observed (a); but it may serve to explain tenures of a freehold kind, which are not so familiar, though equally important. So, when a lease of lands is made to a man for his life, the lessee becomes tenant to the lessor (6), although no rent may be reserved; here again a tenure is created by the transaction, during the life of the lessee, and the terms of the tenure depend on the agreement of the parties. So, if a gift of land should be made to a man and the heirs of his body, the donee in tail, as he is called, and his issue, would be the tenants of the donor as long as the entail lasted (c), and a freehold tenure would thus be created.

But if a gift should be made to a man and his heirs, or for an estate in fee simple, it would not now be lawful for the parties to create a tenure between themselves, as in the case of a gift for life, or in tail. For by the statute of Quia emptores (d), we have seen that it was enacted, that from thenceforth it should be lawful for every free man to sell, at his own pleasure, his lands or tenements, or part thereof, so nevertheless that the feoffee, or purchaser, should hold the same lands or tenements of the same chief lord of the fee, and by the same services and customs as his feoffor, the seller, held them before. The giver or seller of an estate in fee simple is then himself but a tenant, with liberty of putting another in his own place. He may have under him a tenant for years, or a tenant for life, or even a tenant in tail, but he cannot now, by any kind of conveyance, place under himself a tenant of an estate in fee simple. The statute of Quia emptores now forbids any one from making himself the lord of such an estate; all he can do is to transfer his own tenancy; and the purchaser of an estate in fee simple must hold his estate of the same chief lord of the fee, as the seller held before him. The introduction of this doctrine of tenures has been already noticed (e), and it still prevails throughout the kingdom; for it is a fundamental rule, that all the lands within this realm were originally derived from the crown (either by express grant or tacit intendment of law), and therefore the Queen is sovereign lady, or lady paramount, either mediate or immediate, of all and every parcel of land within the realm (f).

A lease for years.

A lease for life.

A gift in tail.

Fee simple.

(a) Ante, p. 8.

(J) Litt. s. 132; Gilb. Tenures, 90.

(c) Litt. s. 19; Kitchen on Courts, 410; Watk. Desc. p. 4, n. (m); pp. II, 12 (4th ed.).

The rent, services and other incidents of the tenure of estates in fee simple were, in ancient times, matters of much variety, depending as they did on the mutual agreements which, previously to the statute of Quia emptores, the various lords and tenants made with each other; though still they had their general laws, governing such cases as were not expressly provided for (g). The lord was usually a baron, or other person of power and consequence, to whom had been granted an estate in fee simple in a tract of land. Of this land he retained as much as was necessary for his own use, as his own demesne (h), and usually built upon it a mansion or manor house. Part of this demesne was in the occupation of the villeins of the lord, who held various small parcels at his will, for their own subsistence, and cultivated the residue for their lord's benefit. The rest of the cultivable land was granted out by the lord to various freeholders, subject to certain stipulated rents or services, as "to plough ten acres of arable land, parcel of that which remained in the lord's possession, or to carry his dung unto the land, or to go with him to war against the Scots" (i). The barren lands which remained formed the lord's wastes, over which the cattle of the tenants were allowed to roam in search of pasture (j). In this way manors were created (k), every one of which is of a date prior to the statute of Quia emptores (l), except, perhaps, some which may have been created by the king's tenants in capite with licence from the crown (m). The lands held by the villeins were the origin of copyholds, of which more hereafter (n). Those granted to the freemen were subject to various burdens, according to the nature of the tenure. In the tenure by knights' service, then the most universal and honourable species of tenure, the tenant of an estate of inheritance, that is, of an estate of fee simple or fee tail (o), was bound to do homage to his lord, kneeling to him, professing to become his man, and receiving from him a kiss (p). The tenant was moreover at first expected, and afterwards obliged, to render to his lord pecuniary aids, to ransom his person, if taken prisoner, to help him in the expense of making his eldest son a knight, and in providing a portion for the eldest daughter on her marriage. Again, on the death of a tenant, his heir was bound to pay a fine, called a relief, on taking to his ancestor's estate (q). If the heir were under age, the lord had, under the name of wardship, the custody of the body and lands of the heir, without account of the profits, till the age of twenty-one years in males, and sixteen in females; when the wards had a right to require possession, or sue out their livery, on payment to the lord of half a year's profits of their lands. In addition to this, the lord possessed the right of marriage {maritagium), or of disposing of his infant wards in matrimony, at their peril of forfeiting to him, in case of their refusing a suitable match, a sum of money equal to the value of the marriage; that is, what the suitor was willing to pay down to the lord as the price of marrying his ward; and double the market value was to be forfeited, if the ward presumed to marry without the lord's consent (r). The king's tenants in Wardship and marriage were no parts of the great feudal system, but were capite were moreover subject to many burdens and restraints, from which the tenants of other lords were exempt (s). Again, every lord, who had two tenants or more, had a right to compel their attendance at the court baron of the manor, to which his grants to them had given existence; this attendance was called suit of court, and the tenants were called free-suitors(t). And to every species of lay tenure, as distinguished from clerical, and whether of an estate in fee simple, in tail, or for life, or otherwise, there was inseparably incident a liability for the tenant, whenever called upon, to take an oath of fealty or fidelity to his lord(u).