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Property I
University of Iowa School of Law
Kurtz, Sheldon F.

I. HISTORY, TENURE, & SEISEN
a. The Norman Settlement (1066)
i. William the Conqueror took over England.
ii. William distributed land to his men (Tenants in Chief = TIC)
iii. Men closest to William got big chunks of land.
b. Introduction of Feudal Times
i. Feudalism – generic term to describe the social structure of Western Europe in middle ages.
ii. Lord (L) gave lands to vassals (Tenants (T))
iii. Most lords who were granted lands had an obligation to supply a specified # of knights to the King – Military Service.
iv. Ecclesiastic tenants in chief had to also provide knights.
c. The Creation of Sub-Tenures
i. TIC made allotments of land to their knights who there upon became T’s to their L’s.
ii. Some services due from tenant weren’t military.
iii. Other services: Marshal, Steward, Butler, Chamberlain
iv. Some gave their land to a L to be given back in exchange for service. L would give T protection.
d. The Domesday Book
i. After 20 yrs. The king wanted to see how land was distributed.
ii. King had people go around and collect information.
iii. Put info into book.
e. Legal Relations of Lord & Tenant
i. There was a legal relationship between L & T – Partly Contract/Partly Prop.
ii. L owned protection & warranty. T owed services
iii. Tenant Rights: Posses, use, enjoy land.
iv. Service owed to king from TIN bound T regardless of the # of Sub Tenure created or sub-divisions made.
v. This was a pyramid structure, at top king = always L, never T.
1. Next in line TIC
2. Barons next
3. Peasants at bottom
f. Classification of Tenure
i. In 1200’s the great division of tenures into free & Unfree had been established
ii. Tenant holding in free tenures was protected by the king’s court & had benefit of real action.
iii. Unfree T only had remedy in his L’s court.
iv. Types of Free Tenure
1. Tenure by Knight Service
a. Most TIC’s held this way.
b. Obligation to render military service by supplying knights
c. King Henry later encouraged monetary pmt. Instead.
2. Serjeanty Tenure
a. Personal service
b. Ranged from honorable to menial
c. Later commuted into payment of rent & converted into socage.
3. Frankalmoin
a. Gift of land to church or religious body in return for masses or prayer
b. Strictly religious not secular
c. Grant could only be made by King or by his permission.
4. Free & Common Socage
a. Agriculture or monetary nature
b. Whatever it was, it was definite – not dependant on will of L, this makes it different from Unfree Tenure
c. Surviving form of tenure
d. Unfree Tenure
i. Demense lands retained by L
ii. Tenants were Villeins – Serfs who worked demesne lands.
iii. Villeins had no rights against the L.
iv. Villeins later became free – service no l

ot cool cuz a new tenure was created &
could reduce incidents to L.
v. The Statute Quia Emptores was enacted in 1290. This statute gave mesne tenants the right to alienate their lands w/o payment of a fine to the overlord but the transferee would hold not under the transferor but under the transferor’s L.
vi. This statute allowed for free alienation, by substitution but not sub-infeudation.
vii. The pyramid started to break down and bring more tenures under the king.
viii. Statute only applicable to fee simple.
ix. Money rents became obsolete as well as homage an fealty.
x. Incidents were still profitable.
xi. After a strong central gov’t was developed there wasn’t a need for incidences but they were continued cuz it provided revenues for the King.
xii. In the 1600’s incidences were deemed intolerable and parliament afforded relief by enacting the Tenures Abolition Act in 1660.
By the beginning of the 20th century most land was held in common socage, a substantial part was held by copyhold, and a small amount in frankalmoin. By the 1st ¼ of the 20th century all tenure was reduced to common socage.