Conveyance, a term formerly equivalent to voluntary alienation, and including all modes of transferring real estate by the act of the owner, whether by feoffment and livery of seisin, which was a delivery of the possession of the lands themselves in the presence of witnesses; or by an instrument in writing, signed and sealed by the person making the sale, which instrument was commonly called a deed; or by matter of record, as in the cases of fines and common recoveries, which in form were judicial proceedings, but were in fact modes of voluntary alienation; or lastly, by will, which, although like the deed it was an instrument in writing, and required the signature of the testator (but not a seal), did not take effect till after the death of the party executing. Most of the old English forms of conveyance have become obsolete. The deed of bargain and sale, which is more used than any other in England for the ordinary transfer of the fee of lands, is founded upon the statute 27 Henry VIII., called the statute of uses. (See Bargain and Sale, and Common Law.) This last mode of conveying real estate became the basis of the forms of deeds used in this country; but in most of the states a still simpler form has been adopted, corresponding more nearly with the grant or common law conveyance of incorporeal estates.

In several of the states the form of deed is prescribed by statute; and various provisions have been enacted in relation to its legal effect, as that no covenant shall be implied, and what words employed shall constitute covenants, and the legal effect thereof.