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 .
The law of estates in land, as heretofore stated and explained, was established in the courts of common law. At a later period, the court of chancery established a concurrent jurisdiction over land by means of the system of uses, which latter subsequently, owing to the Statute of Uses, became a part of the law of land as recognized in the common-law courts, and exercised a profound influence, more particularly upon the law of future estates and the transfer of interests in land, while in the court of chancery it developed into the modern law of trusts.
[ Sec. 95
The practice of conveying land to one person to the use of another seems, according to the investigations of the modern writers, to trace its origin to the German law, rather than to the system of fidei commissa which existed in Roman law, as stated by the older authorities.1 Beginning soon after the Conquest, land was sometimes conveyed by one man to another, to the use of a third, and so land was occasionally conveyed to religious houses to some particular "use," or, as we would say, for some particular purpose. But the idea of conveying lands to one person for the benefit of another seems to have been chiefly applied, in those times, in the conveyance of lands to a person to the use of a religious order, which was, by its constitution, forbidden to own any property. The same device was also employed as a means of avoiding the payment of one's debts, and as a means of evading the statutes of mortmain,3 and a statute was consequently passed giving creditors the right of execution against property collusively conveyed away by the debtor to his own use4 and likewise a statute putting uses for the benefit of religious houses within the operation of the statutes of mortmain.5