12 Car. II. Cap. 24. (A. D. 1660.)

An act for taking away the court of wards and liveries, and tenures in capite, and by knights-service, and purveyance, and for settling a revenue upon his Majesty in lieu thereof.

Whereas it has been found by former experience, That the courts of wards and liveries, and tenures by knights-service, either of the King or others, or by knights-service in capite, or socage in capite of the King, and the consequents upon the same, have been much more burdensome, grievous and prejudicial to the kingdom, than they have been beneficial to the King: (2) And whereas since the intermission of the said court, which hath been from the fourth and twentieth day of February which was in the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred forty and five, many persons have by will and otherwise made disposal of their lands held by knights-service, whereupon divers questions might possibly arise, unless some seasonable remedy be taken to prevent the same; (3) be it therefore enacted by the King our sovereign lord, with the assent of the lords and commons in parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, and it is hereby enacted, That the court of wards and liveries, and all wardships, liveries, primerseisins, and ouster-lemains, values and forfeitures of marriages, by reason of any tenure of the King's Majesty, or of any other by knights-service, and all mean rates, and all other gifts, grants, charges incident or arising, for or by reason of wardships, liveries, primer-seisins, or ousterlemains be taken away and discharged, and are hereby enacted to be taken away and discharged, from the said twenty-fourth day of February one thousand six hundred forty-five; any law, statute, custom or usage to the contrary hereof in any wise notwithstanding; (4) And that all fines for alienations, seizures and pardons for alienations, tenure by homage, and all charges incident or arising, for or by reason of wardship, livery, primer-seisin, or ousterlemain, or tenure by knights-service, escuage, and also aid pur file marrier, and pur fair fitz chivalier, all other charges incident thereunto, be likewise taken away and discharged, from the said twenty-fourth day of February one thousand six hundred forty and five; any law, statute, custom or usage to the contrary hereof in any wise notwithstanding; (5) And that all tenures by knights-service of the King, or of any other person and by knights-service in capite, and by socage in capite of the King, and the fruits and consequents thereof, happened or which shall or may hereafter happen or arise thereupon or thereby, be taken away and discharged, any law, statute, customer or usage to the contrary hereof in anywise notwithstanding; (6) and all tenures of any honours, manors, lands, tenements or hereditaments, or any estate of any inheritance at the common law, held either of the King, or of any other person or persons, bodies politick or corporate are hereby enacted to be turned into free and common socage, to all intents and purposes, from the said twenty-fourth day of February one thousand six hundred forty-five, and shall be so construed, adjudged and deemed to be from the said twenty-fourth day of February one thousand six hundred forty-five, and forever thereafter turned into free and common socage; any law, statute, custom or usage to the contrary hereof in any wise notwithstanding.

II. And that the same shall forever hereafter stand and be discharged of all tenure by homage, escuage, voyages royal and charges for the same, wardships incident to tenure by knights-service, and values and forfeitures of marriage, and all other charges incident to tenure by knights-service, and of and from aide pur file marrier and aide pur fair fitz chivalier; any law, statute, usage or custom to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding; (2) And that all conveyances and devises of any manors, lands, tenements and hereditaments made since the said twenty-fourth day of February, shall be expounded to be of such effect, as if the same manors, lands, tenements and hereditaments had been then held and continued to be holden in free and common socage only; any law, statute, custom or usage to the contrary hereof in any wise notwithstanding.

III. And be it further ordained and enacted by the authority of this present parliament, That one act made in the reign of King Henry the Eighth, intituled, An act for the establishment of the court of the King's wards; and also one act of parliament made in the thirty-third year of the reign of the said King Henry the Eighth, concerning the officers of the court of wards and liveries, and every clause, article and matter in the said acts contained, shall from henceforth be repealed and utterly void.

IV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all tenures hereafter to be created by the King's majesty, his heirs or successors, upon any gifts or grants of any manors, lands, tenements or hereditaments, of any estate of inheritance at the common law, shall be in free and common socage, and shall be adjudged to be in free and common socage only, and not by knights-service or in capite, and shall be discharged of all wardship, value and forfeiture of marriage, livery, primer-seisin, ousterlemain, aide pur faier fitz chivalier, and pur file marrier; any law, statute or reservation to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.

V. Provided, nevertheless, and be it enacted, That this act, or any thing herein contained, shall not take away, nor be construed to take away, any rents certain, heriots or suits of court belonging or incident to any former tenure now taken away or altered by virtue of this act, or other services incident or belonging to tenure in common socage, due or to grow due to the King's majesty, or mean lords, or other private person, or the fealty and distresses incident thereunto; (2) and that such relief shall be paid in respect of such rents as is paid in case of a death of a tenant in common socage.

VI. Provided always, and be it enacted, That anything herein contained shall not take away, nor be construed to take away, any fines for alienation due by particular customs of particular manors and places, other than fines for alienations of lands or tenements holden immediately of the King in capite.

VII. Provided ako, and be it further enacted, That this act, or anything therein contained, shall not take away nor be construed to take away, tenures in Frank Almoign, or to subject them to any greater or other services than they now are; (2) nor to alter or change any tenure by copy of court roll, or any services incident thereunto; (3) not to take away the honorary services of grand sergeantry, other than of wardship, marriage and value of forfeiture of marriage, escuage, voyages royal and other charges incident to tenure by knights-service; and other than aide pur faier fitz chivalier and aide pur file marrier.

VIII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That where any person hath or shall have any child or children under the age of one and twenty years, and not married at the time of his death, That it shall and may be lawful to and for the father of such child or children, whether born at the time of the decease of the father, or at that time in ventre sa mere, or whether such father be within the age of one and twenty years, or of full age, by his deed executed in his lifetime, or by his last will and testament in writing, in the presence of two or more credible witnesses, in such manner, and from time to time as he shall respectively think fit, to dispose of the custody and tuition of such child or children, for and during such time as he or they shall respectively remain under the age of one and twenty years, or any lesser time, to any person or persons in possession or remainder, other than popish recusants; (2) and that such disposition of the custody of such child or children made since the twenty-fourth of February one thousand 6ix hundred forty-five or hereafter to be made, shall be good and effectual against all and every person or persons claiming the custody or tuition of 6uch child or children as guardian in socage or otherwise; (3) And that such person or persons, to whom the custody of such child or children hath been or shall be so disposed or devised as aforesaid, shall and may maintain an action of ravishment of ward or trespass, against any person or persons, which shall wrongfully take away or detain such child or children, for the recovery of such child or children; (4) and shall and may recover damages for the same in the said action, for the use and benefit of such child or children.

IX. And be it further enacted, That such person or persons, to whom the custody of such child or children hath been or shall be so disposed or devised, shall and may take into his or their custody to the use of such child or children, the profits of all lands, tenements and hereditaments of such child or children; and also the custody, tuition and management of the goods, chattels and personal estate of such child or children, till their respective ages of one and twenty years, or any lesser time, according to such disposition aforesaid; (2) and may bring such action or actions in relation thereunto, as by law a guardian in common socage might do.

X. Provided also, That this act or anything therein contained, shall not extend to alter or prejudice the custom of the city of London, nor of any other city or town corporate, or of the town of Berwick upon Tweed, concerning orphans; nor to discharge any apprentice from his apprenticeship.

XI. Provided also, That neither this act, nor anything therein contained, shall infringe or hurt any title of honour, feodal or other, by which any person hath or may have right to sit in the lords house of parliament, as to his or their title of honour, or sitting in parliament, and the privilege belonging to them as peers; this act, or anything therein contained to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.