Upon the death of the tenant, his rights passed to his heir or heirs, provided the tenant had an estate of inheritance, as it was called, -that is, an estate which, by the terms of the grant, would pass to his heirs. This descent of lands was absolutely fixed by law, and the tenant had usually no power, by the making of a will, to defeat the rights of the heir, though this was allowed by custom in some parts of the kingdom.20 The heir was, except when there was a custom to the contrary, as in the case of gavelkind tenure, the eldest son of the deceased tenant; while, if there were daughters only, all the daughters were joint heirs.21

The right of the tenant's heir, if of full age, to take possession of the land in place of his father, was sub17. Litt. Sec.Sec. 103, 110; 2 Blackst. Comm. 67-70; 1 Pollock & Maitland, Hist. Eng. Law, 299 et seq.

18. Co. Litt. 76a, 91a; 2 Blackst. Comm. 64; 1 Pollock & Maitland, Hist. Eng. Law, 330.

19. Co. Litt. 13a; 2 Blackst.

Comm. 72; 1 Pollock & Maitland, Hist. Eng. Law, 332.

20. Litt. Sec.Sec. 1-9, 167; Co. Litt. 111b. and Hargrave's note; Leake, Prop. in Land, 66; 1 Pollock & Maitland, Hist. Eng. Law. 288; Digby, Hist. Real Prop. 94.

21. See post Sec. 487.