Statutes of limitation.
Stat. 3 & i WE 4, c. 27.
(s) See 3 Black. Com. 196,306, 307; stat. 21 Jac. I. c. 16; Sugd. Vend. & Pur. 608 et seq. 11th ed.
(t) Stat. 9 Geo. III. c. 16, amended by stat. 24 & 25 Vict. c. 62, and extended to the Duke of Cornwall by stats. 23 & 21 Vict. c. 53, and 24 & 25 Vict. c. 62, s. 2.
(u) Stat. 3 & 4 Will. IV. c. 27, amended as to mortgagees by stat. 7 Will. IV. & 1 Vict. c. 28.
(x) Sect. 2. See Nepean v. Doe, 2 Mee. & Wels. 894.
(y) Sect. 3. See Doe d. Johnson V. Liversedge, 11 Mee. & Wels. 517.
Mortgagee in possession.
(r) Stat. 3 & 4 Will. IV. c. 27, s. 14. See Doe d. Curzon v. Edmonds, 6 Mee. & Wels. 295.
(a) Set. 16.
(b) Sect. 17.
(c) Sect. 18.
(d) Sect. 28. See Hyde v. Dallawuy, 2 IIarc, 528; Trulocli v. Robey, 12 Sim. 402; Lucas v. Dennison, 13 Sim. 584; Starts-field v. Wobson, 16 Beav. 236.
(e) Sect. 30.
The several lengths of uninterrupted enjoyment which will render indefeasible rights of common, ways and watercourses, and the use of light for buildings, are regulated by another act of parliament (l), of by no means easy construction, on which a large number of judicial decisions have already taken place.
On any sale or mortgage of lands, all the title-deeds in the hands of the vendor or mortgagor, which relate exclusively to the property sold or mortgaged, are handed over to the purchaser or mortgagee. The possession of the deeds is of the greatest inportance; for if the deeds were not required to be delivered, it is evident that property might be sold or mortgaged over and over again to different persons, without much risk of discovery. The only guarantee, for instance, which a purchaser has that the lands he contracts to purchase have not been mortgaged, is that the deeds are in the possession of the vendor. It is true that, in the counties of Middlesex and York, registries have been established, a search in which will lead to the detection of all dealings with the property (m); but these registries, though existing in Scotland and Ireland, do not extend to the remaining counties of England or to Wales. Generally speaking, therefore, the possession of the deeds is all that a purchaser has to depend on: in most cases this protection, coupled with an examination of the title they disclose, is found to be sufficient; but there are certain circumstances in which the possession of the deeds can afford no security. Thus, the possession of the deeds is no safeguard against an annuity or rent-charge payable out of the lands; for the grantee of a rent-charge has no right to the deeds (n). So the possession of the deeds, showing the conveyance to the vendor of an estate in fee-simple, is no guarantee that the vendor is not now actually seised only of a life estate; for, since he acquired the property, he may, very possibly, have married; and on his marriage he may have settled the hinds on himself for his life, with remainder to his children. Being then tenant for life, he will, like every other tenant for life, be entitled to the custody of the deeds (o); and if he should be fraudulent enough to suppress the settlement, he might make a conveyance from himself, as though seised in fee, deducing a good title, and handing over the deeds; but the purchaser, having actually acquired by his purchase nothing more than the life interest of the vendor, would be liable, on his decease, to be turned out of possession by his children; for, as marriage is a valuable consideration, a settlement then made cannot be set aside by a subsequent sale made by the settlor. Against such a fraud as this, the registration of deeds seems the only protection. In some cases, also, persons are entitled to an interest, which they would like to sell, but are prevented, from not having any deeds to hand over. Thus if lands be settled on A. for his life, with remainder to B. in fee, A. during his life will be entitled to the deeds; and B. will find great difficulty in disposing of his reversion at an adequate price; because, having no deeds to give up, he has no means of satisfying a purchaser that the reversion has not previously been sold or mortgaged to some other person. If, therefore, B.'s necessities should oblige him to sell, he will find the want of a registry for deeds the cause of a considerable deduction in the price he can obtain. It may here be remarked, that as few people would sell a reversion unless they were in difficulties, equity, whenever a reversion was sold, threw upon the purchaser the onus of showing that he gave the fair market price for it(p). But it is now provided that no purchase, made bond fide, and without fraud or unfair dealing, of any reversionary interest in real or personal estate shall hereafter be opened or set aside merely on the ground of undervalue (q).
Commons, ways, watercourses, and light.
(f) Stat. 3 & 4 Will. IV. c. 27, s. 33.
(g) Sect. 40. This section extends to legacies payable out of personal estate; Sheppard v. Duke, 9 Sim. 567. And in this case absence beyond seas is now no disability. Stat. 19 & 20 Vict. c. 97, s. 10.
(h) Dean of Ely v. Bliss, 2 De Gex, M. & G. 459.
(i) Stat. 3 & 4 Will. IV. c. 27, s. 1. As to the time required to support a claim of modus decimandi, or exemption from or discharge of tithes, see stat. 2 & 3 Will. IV. c. 100, amended by stat 4 & 5 Will. IV. c. 83; Salkeld v. Johnston, 1 Mac. & Gord. 242. The circumstances under which lands may be tithe free are well explained in Burton's Compendium, ch. 6, sect. 4.
(k) Sect. 34; Scott v. Nixon, 3 Dru. & War. 388; De Beauvoir v. Owen, 5 Ex. Rep. 160.
(I) Stat. 2 & 3 Will. IV. c. 71.
Importance of their possession.
Possession of deeds no safeguard against a rent-charge.
Nor against the vendor being tenant for life only.