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The Doctrine Of Tenure Notes

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This is an extract of our The Doctrine Of Tenure document, which we sell as part of our History of English Law Notes collection written by the top tier of Oxford students.

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The Doctrine of Tenure - The relationship between lord and man Land as Wealth and Jurisdiction Wealth: Importance of land as wealth is apparent as a major form of capital wealth, though not to be over-estimated. More important in this period as there were no shares etc. Jurisdiction: Land was not only property; it was also jurisdiction and power. Rights of land holders were rights over the people on the land, or over lessor lords, not just over the land itself. Feudal Structure:??

Top: The King (always lord, never a tenant). The honour: Tenants in chief (direct tenants of the king). Lord of the honour. The manor: Lowest level of jurisdiction. Lowest unit of lordship. Lord of the manor. Peasants: Hold the land of the lord of the manor.

Writ of Henry I in 1108: If in future there should arise a dispute concerning the allotment of land, or concerning its seizure, between tenants in chief, let this be tried in the king's own court. If the dispute is between barons let it be held in the court of their common lord. It is a communal court, like the county council, which collectively makes decisions. The lord, or his steward, presides over the court as the sheriff, but he is not the judge.
+ Milsom: Sees the honour and the manor as 'feudal states in miniature'. Milsom derived from work of Stenton. Within the honour, or the manor, the lord was the supreme authority, and disputes in the manor or honour court were determined according to the custom of the manor/honour by the collective suitors of the court, not by the common law. Court is exclusively concerned with land holding. Free from external interference - sovereignty.
+ Megarry and Wade: There are ... two fundamental doctrines in the [English] law of real property: (i) Doctrine of tenures: All land is held of the Crown, either directly or indirectly, in one or other of the various tenures. Concerned with the terms upon which land is held; and (ii) Doctrine of estates: Land held in tenure is also held for an estate for some period of time. The estate determines for how long.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------'Tenure': Name given to the relationship whereby a tenant 'holds' of the land of a lord. Initially a social fact, rather than a legal concept. Underpinned the Anglo-Saxon feudal system. After Conquest subinfeudation produced a chain of dependent tenures. 1) Whole system based on idea that service will be provided. King 2) At some point in the line there is a move from fee tenure (where the service is fixed) to unfree tenure (tenure held by those who are socially inferior - more servile in nature). Common law unconcerned with unfree tenure until 16th c; it Tenants in chief left it to the manors. Lord could demand T did anything. 3) Many parties wear to hats - they are both tenants and lords, apart from peasants and the king. 4) In reality it more like a web. All tenants can hold lands of many lords. 5) Lease is closest analogy in modern times, but his freehold.

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