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Tenure in United Kingdom

Definition of Tenure

A right of holding or occupying land for a certain period of time.

Tenure and Medieval Law

Tenure and Legal History

Meaning of Tenure

The following is an old definition of Tenure [1]: Holding; possession. See Tenere. Tenure of land. The manner of possessing land held of a superior, in consideration of services to be rendered. Simply, the mode of holding an estate in land. May import any kind of holding, from mere possession to owning the inheritance. Tenure is inseparable from the idea of property in land, according to the theory of the English law. All land in England is held mediately or immediately of the king. There are there no lands to which ” tenure ” does not strictly apply. So thoroughly does this notion pervade the common-law doctrine of real property that the king cannot grant land to which the reservation of tenure is not annexed. The idea also pervades, to a considerable extent, the law of realty in this country. The title to land is essentially allodial (see, in this resource, the term), and every tenant in fee-simple has an absolute and perfect title, yet, in technical language, his estate is called an estate in fee-simple, and the tenure free and common socage, see, in this resource, the term This technical language is very generally interwoven into the jurisprudence of the States, though no vestige of feudal tenure may remain. See Feud. Tenure of office. The manner of holding or of exercising the duties of an ofiice; also, the duration or term of office. The Constitution is silent with respect to the power of removal from office, where the tenure is not fixed. Offices not so fixed are held during good behavior, or during the life of the incumbent; or at the will of some department of the government, and subject to removal at pleasure. In the absence of express regulation the power of removal is incident to the power of appointment. The tenure of ancient common-law offices depended on ancient usage; but with us there is no ancient usage. See Behavior; Office. ‘Tenure of Office Acts. The act of Congress of March 2, 1867 (14 St. L. 4.30), wiis repealed as to sections one and two, and amended, by act of April 5, 1869 (16 St. L. 6), and finally repealed entire by act of March 3, 1887 (24 St. L. 500) – the repeal not affecting ” any offlcer heretofore suspended ” under R. S. §§ 1767-72, ” or any designation, nomination, or appointment heretofore made by virtue of the provisions thereof.” “4


Notes and References

  1. Concept of Tenure provided by the Anderson Dictionary of Law (1889) (Dictionary of Law consisting of Judicial Definitions and Explanations of Words, Phrases and Maxims and an Exposition of the Principles of Law: Comprising a Dictionary and Compendium of American and English Jurisprudence; William C. Anderson; T. H. Flood and Company, Law Publishers, Chicago, United States)


See Also

  • Judicial Review (in this legal Encyclopedia)
  • Judicial Review (in this legal Encyclopedia)
  • Medieval Roman Law (in this legal Encyclopedia)
  • Guilt (in this legal Encyclopedia)
  • Lordship Rights (in this legal Encyclopedia)

Bibliographies of English Law History

  • Maxwell, William H. A Legal Bibliography of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Volume 1: English Law to 1800. London: Sweet and Maxwell, 1955-
  • Beale, Joseph H. A Bibliography of Early English Law Books. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1926.
  • Winfield, Percy H. The Chief Sources of English Legal History. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1925.

English Law: Tenure in the Past

The way in which lands or tenements are holden. [1]


Notes and References

  1. Partialy, this information about tenure is based on the Bouvier´s Law Dictionary, 1848 edition. There is a list of terms of the Bouvier´s Law Dictionary, including tenure.

See Also

Concept of Tenure

Traditional meaning of tenure [1] in the English common law history: I. Allodial tenure is not properly tenure at all, being absolute ownership, as distinct from (II.) feudal tenure: where lands were held of some superior lord by services or rent; see 2nd Book (“The Rights of Things”), Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England 59; Rob. El. L. Rev. ed.; § 90; FEUDUM; FEE. Tenure differs, — A. According to the nature of the service. 1. Frank tenure or free- hold: hy free services. This includes (a.) Knight-service, (b.) socage, (c.) spiritual service, (a.) Knight-service, military tenure, tenure in chivalry, comprises knight-service proper, where lands were held by the service of attending the lord in war, furnishing armed men, horses, etc.; or paying escuage in commutation therefor; grand serjeanty, a tenure of the Crown, by performing some special or personal service, which was not considered base because rendered to the King; and cornage, a kind of grand serjeanty, by winding a horn at the approach of the Soots or other enemies. All these tenures were abolished by the 12 Car. II. c. 24. (b.) Socage, service of the plough, comprising free and common socage, by fixed, free agricultural services; usually rent, either in farm-produce or money; petty serjeanty, which was a socage tenure held of the Crown, by some small annual rent or render; burgage, a socage tenure in old boroughs, affected by local customs. In socage tenures the lands anciently descended to all the sons in common, which custom persisted in Kent; whence the Kentish socage tenure is called Gavelkind, (c.) Spiritual service ; which included frankalmoign and Divine service; see FRANKALMOIGN. 2. Base tenure or Villenage; which was either pure or privileged according as the services, though base, were certain or uncertain. This only survived in copyhold tenures; see COPYHOLD; CUSTOMARY FREEHOLD; ANCIENT DEMESNE. B. According to the lord of whom the land is held; as (a.) in capite, of the King, either ut de corona (as of the Crown) or ut de honore, in virtue of some honor, dignity, or manor of which the King was proprietor; (b.) of a mesne lord, the origin of one variety of base fee; (c.) of the lord of a manor, copyhold. C. According to the duration of the interest; see ESTATE; TENANT.


Notes and References

  1. Based on A concise law dictionary of words, phrases and maxims, “Tenure”, Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1911, United States. This term and/or definition may be absolete. It is also called the Stimson’s Law dictionary, based on a glossary of terms, included Tenure.

See Also

Law is our Passion

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Schema Summary

  • Article Name: Tenure
  • Author: B. Hepple
  • Description: Definition of Tenure A right of holding or occupying land for a certain period of time. Tenure and Medieval Law Tenure and [...]

This entry was last updated: July 12, 2020

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