This section is from the book "The Law Of Real Property and Other Interests In Land", by Herbert Thorn Dike Tiffany. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise on the Modern Law of Real Property and Other Interests in Land .
From the mere seisin of land, independently of whether the seisin was rightfully acquired, certain rights accrued at common law to the person seised, and accordingly the effect of a disseisin, as the putting of a person out of possession and usurpation of his place was called, was frequently in question. The wrongdoer, or "disseisor," while liable to be turned out by the rightful owner either by actual entry or by process of law, was regarded as having a fee simple estate. The person wrongfully ousted, the "disseisee," was, on the other hand, considered to have a mere "right of entry," and no estate in the land.46 Accord46. Litt. Sec.Sec. 385, 414, 417, 422, 423, 592; Co. Litt. 239a, Butler's note; 3 Blackst. Comm. 169 et seq.; Digby, Hist. Real Prop. 108; Lightwood, Possession of Land, 45.
The person disseised could exercise his right of entry by reentering on the land, or, in case he was forcibly prevented from reentering, he could formally assert his claim near the land, and this assertion of claim, if repeated yearly, constituted what was known as "continual claim." If the disseisee failed to assert his right of entry either by re-entry ingly the disseisor, rather than the disseisee, had the rights which we would associate with the idea of ownership. The disseisor could, and the disseisee could not, transfer his interest. The disseisor's interest, but not the disseisee's, could be subjected to liability for debts. The widow of the disseisor, but not of the disseisee, had a right of dower, and the case was the same as regards the husband's right of curtesy. Finally, the disseisor's estate passed by descent to his heir, so as in turn to pass to the heir of the latter, while the disseisee's right of entry passed to his heir merely as his representative, and on the latter's death, passed, not to the latter's heir, but to the disseisee's heir.47 For the most part these distinctions have, at the present day, disappeared, but the common law rule still applies as regards dower and curtesy,48 and in some jurisdictions the disseisee is still unable to transfer his interest so as to give an estate to his transferee capable of assertion as against the disseisor.49 Even by the modern law, the disseisor, if deprived of the possession by a third person, may, as having a right of possession superior to that of the latter, maintain an action of ejectment to recover the land,50 and he has obviously the present control and enjoyment of the land. In view of the considerations adverted to, and of the further consideration that in case of the failure of a disseisee actively to assert his right of possession within the period fixed by the statute of limitations, the disseisor acquires a title of ownership valid as against the whole world,51 it has been cogently argued that, as between the disseisor and the disseisee.
Or by continual claim, it was lost to him in case the disseisor died, the seisin then passing to the disseisor's heir, or, in case the disseisor had aliened the fee, to the alienee's heir, and in such cases the disseisee was compelled to resort to legal proceedings to assert his rights. See authorities supra. 47. See Professor Ames' remarkable essay on "The Disseisin of Chattels," in 3 Harv. Law Rev. pp. 23, 313, 337, reprinted in 3 Essays in Anglo-American History, p. 541.
48. Post Sec.Sec. 210, 239.
49. Post Sec. 590.
50. See cases cited 10 Am. & Eng. Encyc. of Law at p. 486.
51. Post chapter XXIII (Adverse Possession Of Land).
The former rather than the latter is to be considered the owner of the land.52