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 .
Things of a real character were formerly referred to by the inclusive phrase "lands, tenements and hereditaments," which is still occasionally used. The meaning of these words, particularly the last two, calls for a brief consideration.
Land includes whatever is parcel of the terrestrial globe, or is permanently affixed to such parcel.50 This statement of the meaning of the term is sufficient for our present purpose, and the complex questions frequently arising as to whether specific things or classes of things are, under particular circumstances, owing to their connection with or annexation to the soil, to be regarded as a part of the land, are reserved for consideration in connection with a discussion of the rights incident to the ownership of land.51
'Tenement is defined as anything which may be the subject of common law tenure,52 or, as Blackstone says, it "signifies everything that may be holden, provided it be of a permanent nature, whether it be of a substantial and sensible, or of an unsubstantial, ideal, kind."53 The word, the meaning of which will more clearly appear after a consideration of the system of feudal tenure, to which the next chapter is devoted, is of a more extensive signification than land, which it includes, in addition to most of what we have referred to as incorporeal things real. In fact, it appears at all times to have been regarded as a convenient term by v. J. S. Morgan & Co., 108 111. 326; Johns v. Johns, 1 Ohlo St. 350; Lindley, Companies (5th Ed.) 451; Cook, Corporations, Sec. 12. 50. Co. Litt. 4a, 6a; Challis, which to designate these incorporeal things, provided they had what was regarded as a connection with the land, it being thus improperly applied to some things which were not in fact the subjects of common law tenure.54
Real. Prop. (3rd Ed.) 4.
51. Post chapter IX (Rights Of Enjoyment Incident To Ownership).
52. Challis, Real Prop. 42.
53. 2 Blackst. Comm. 17.
"Hereditament" includes whatever, upon the death of the owner, passes, in the absence of disposition by will, by the act of the law, to the heir, and not to the executor. The term is more extensive in its signification than the word "tenement," which it generally, though not always, includes,55 and it may, in England at least, include things of a personal character.56
54. See 2 Pollock & Maitland, Hist. Eng. Law, 148; Challis, Real Prop. 42; Co. Litt. 18a; Gray, Perpetuities, Sec. 43, note; 24 Halsbury, Laws of England, p. 158.
55. Co. Litt. 6a; 2 Blackst. Comm. 17; Challis, Real Prop. 44.
56. Co. Litt. 6a; Challis, Real Prop. 46; Earl of Stafford v. Buckley, 2 Ves. Sen. 170; v. Mitchell v. Warner, 5 Conn. 497, 518. The term "hereditament" seems to be susceptible of considerable uncertainty in its application as between things and estates in things. See Challis, Real Prop. 3rd Ed.) 44; 24 Halsbury, Laws of England, pp. 160, 161. Compare Mr. Sweet's note, Challis, op. cit. at p. 49.