Manor - Legal Theory

Legal Theory

The legal theory of the origin of manors refers them to a grant from the crown of a fee from the monarch's allodial lands, as stated in the following extract from Perkins's Treatise on the laws of England:

"The beginning of a manor was when the king gave a thousand acres of land, or greater or lesses parcel of land, unto one of his subjects and his heirs, which tenure is knight service at the least. And the donee did perhaps build a mansion house upon parcel of the same land, and of 20 acres, parcel of that which remained, or of a greater or lesser parcel, before the statute of Quia emptores did enfeoff a stranger to hold of him and his heirs to plough 10 acres of land, parcel of that which remained in his possession, and did enfeoff another of another parcel thereof to go to war with him against the Scots etc., and so by continuance of time made a manor".

It is still as the jurist Sir Joshua Williams terms it, a "fundamental rule" that all lands were originally derived from the crown and that the monarch is lord paramount mediate or immediate of all the land in the realm. A manor then arises when the holder of a parcel so granted or supposed to have been granted by the crown, and who is termed in relation thereto the Lord of the Manor, has in turn granted portions thereof to others who stand to him in the relation of tenants. Of the portion reserved by the lord for his own use, termed the demesne, part was occupied by villeins, with the duty of cultivating the rest for the lord's use. These were originally tenants at will and in a state of semi-serfdom but they became in course of time the copyhold tenants of the later law. It is of the essence of copyhold that it should be regulated by the custom of the manor, as evidenced in the court roll produced by the manorial court. Manors cannot be created at the present day because manorial courts cannot be established with any legal jurisdiction. Scriven stated:

"Length of time being of the very essence of a manor, such things as receive their perfection by the continuance of time come not within the compass of the king's prerogative"

Read more about this topic:  Manor

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