« السابقةمتابعة »
land copyholds only exist in certain townships of the manor of Tynemouth, in Hexhamshire, in North Sunderland, and, as I am informed, in Bedlingtonshire, also formerly one of the possessions of the church. At the beginning of the seventeenth century the customary farms in Elswick and Benwell are described as copyhold, and “The tenants claimed to hold their lands by Coppie of Court Roll as Coppie holders of inheritance.'68 These manors of Elswick and Benwell had been part of the possessions of the dissolved monastery of Tynemouth, and even after the dissolution the roll was kept at Tynemouth, and the surrenders and admittances were made as of that manor.
There is a statement in Clarkson's Survey of the earl of Northumberland's estate in 1567 70 that the tenants of High Buston should build better houses, 'seeinge they have now their tenements by copyhold, and another statement in the same survey that Roger Clay, one of the tenants of the same town, paid a rent ‘to the late dissolved monastery of Hulme,' would seem to show that these copyholds, too, were connected with ecclesiastical estates.
The word "copyholder,' and the method of conveying by copy of Court Roll, are both things of comparatively modern growth. The customary tenants of a township are, according to Comyns,71 first called 'copyholders' in the first year of the reign of Henry V. They are called 'tenants by the verge’ in the fourteenth year of Henry IV. They are called 'customary tenants' by the statute of Edward I. 'Extenta Manerii,' and that was their usual name or description before the word copyhold came into use.
Professor Maitland72 points out in the proceedings of the bishop of Ely's court at Littleport, a stage in the formation of copyhold tenure. In the cases in Edward the first's reign in which there is
68 Land Revenue Office Survey, Jas. I.
69 Welford, vol. iii. p. 146. William Jenison, who acquired the manor of Elswick under grant from the Crown, bought up the copyhold farms from the holders of them, had them surrendered to him or to trustees for him, and enclosed the common fields. Hodgson MS. Title, Elswick. Since that time the whole of the manor has been held and disposed of as freehold, although the 9 farmholds sometimes called copyhold tenements or farmholds' still linger in the description of the parcels in the deed of partition of the lands of Elswick between George Stephenson and John Hodgson so late as 1776. Benwell has become almost entirely freehold, although traces of existing copybolds are still to be found in that township.
70 Extracted by Mr. J. C. Hodgson (by permission of Earl Percy) for a paper for the Berwickshire Naturalists' Club,
72 Vol. ii. p. 361. 72 Court Baron, p. 122.
litigation in that manor about customary tenements, a jury is employed. At a later date the litigants put themselves not upon the jury but upon the rolls of the court as giving the proper proof of title, and according to the form of the surrender and admittance still in use in the manor of Tynemouth, it is the homage, or jury, who find to this day that the vendor has surrendered his tenement into the hands of the lord before the lord by his steward admits the surrenderee.
Now it is well known that although according to common custom these tenements descended from father to son, or were alienated from tenant to tenant at the manor court, yet the theory of the Norman lawyers was that they were held purely at the will of the lord according to the custom of the manor, and that the lord might oust the tenant when he pleased without any reason.73 Although that legal right in the lord was in many cases exercised, it was controlled by the rights of usage, and was met by emphatic protests on the part of the peasantry, and at length the king's courts felt bound to recognise the universal custom which existed in favour of the customary tenant's right to alienate his lands, and the right of his heir to inherit them; and this conclusion found expression in the reign of Edward IV. in the cases cited in Littleton74 as follows:
But Brian, Chief Justice, said that his opinion hath alwaies been and ever shall be that if such tenant by custome paying his services be ejected by the lord he shall have an action of trespass against him. H. 21. Ed. 4. And so was the opinion of Danby, Chief Justice, in 7 Edward IV. for he saith that tenant by the custome is as well inheritour to have his lands according to the custome as he that hath a freehold at the common law.
Prior to that time and when the harsher rule as to the meaning of the will of the lord' prevailed it would appear an obvious advantage to the customary tenant to have a lease for life or for years of his lands. The big monastic houses, with more clerical assistance at their command, commenced to enter surrenders and admittances upon their court rolls at an earlier date than was done by other lords of manors. It was easier for these lay lords of manors and their less educated stewards to grant a lease in individual cases than to keep a record of all the changes of the tenancy upon the rolls of their court.
78 Gilbert on Tenures, p. 198.
74 Litt. section 77. The passage is not found in the earliest editions. It occurs for the first time in Redmayne's edition in 1530.
These leases, however, operated in the end prejudicially to the customary tenants, for whilst it was held, as stated above, that copyhold tenants having no lease had an estate of inheritance in their lands, it was also held by the courts75 that if a copyholder takes a lease for life or for years the copyhold is destroyed, and for ever gone, and so by taking a lease he would lose his inheritance. It is probable that the customary tenants in Northumberland took these leases where they could not acquire by purchase from the lord the freehold of their holdings. In Cornwall to this day the freehold of all the land in many manors is still in the hands of the lord, all the tenants holding on leases for ninety-nine years determinable on lives.
In the well-known survey of the lands of the baronies of Bywell and Bolbeck, held in 1569 after the attainder of Charles earl of Westmorland for the Great Northern Rebellion, it is stated that all the tenants hold their lands by indenture for term of years which are very fineable when their leases are expired.'
Traces of leases for lives are found in titles to landed estates in various districts of Northumberland. They still exist in the township of Stamfordham. The form of lease prevalent in that township contains a covenant by the lessor for the renewal of the lease upon the dropping of any life, and this covenant was supposed to render the Stamfordham leases perpetual. The question was tested in 1884 in the action of Swinburne v. Milburn.76 It was held in that action by Lord Esher the Master of the Rolls and Lord Justice Bowen that the covenant in the lease in question was one for perpetual renewal. This decision was, however, overruled by the House of Lords, who held that the covenant in the lease was for renewal, not perpetually, but only as often as any one of the three lives for which it was originally granted should drop. In consequence of this ruling these leases for lives will probably become extinct in Stamfordham, as they have already become extinct, or nearly so, in other parts of Northumberland.
With regard to the nature of the services rendered by the tenants, it will be remembered that Mr. Seebohm, as the result of his researches upon the subject in various parts of England, summarises the services and payments of the villan which he finds to have been prevalent under the following heads7?:
75 Comyns, vol. iii. p. 409. Gilbert on Tenures, p. 290. 76 L. R. 9 App. Cas. 844. 77 P. 78, 79.
STAMFORDHAM, TYNEMOUTH, ETC.
Week-work, i.e., work for the lord for so many days a week, mostly three days. Precariæ, or boon-work, i.e., special work at request. Payments in money or kind or work rendered by way of rent or “Gafol,” and payment of other dues under various names. The requirement of the lord's licence for a marriage of a daughter, and fine on incontinence. The prohibition of the sale of oxen, etc., without the lord's licence. The obligation to use the lord's mill, and to do service at his court. The obligation not to leave the land, without the lord's licence.
He also sets out78 the services of a gebur or farmer of a yardland or customary farm from a document entitled “The services due from various persons,"79 the Saxon version of which dates probably from the tenth century. This document sets out the above services and states of the gebur that if he do carrying he has not to work while his horse is out,' and later on ‘he shall have given to him for his outfit ii oxen and i cow and vi sheep. And he must have given to him tools for his work and utensils for his house. Then when he dies his lord takes back what he leaves.' 'Let him who is over the district take care that he knows what the old land customs are and what are the customs of the people.'
Remnants of similar services may be traced in Northumberland from the fourteenth century to the present day. A document dated 1378 and entitled Customs and Works that the men of Tynemouth ought to do and from ancient times have been accustomed to observe and perform' is extracted by Brand80 from the Tinmouth Chartulary. That extract sets out that:
All of Tynemouth who hold land shall plough once a year for the food of the Prior with their own ploughs. All those who hold lands and tofts shall give three boon days in the autumn with one man only and a fourth boon day with their whole family (except the house-wife) at which the four sworn men of the township shall be reapers. All the 'selfodes '81 shall give each three boon days only. All the 15 tenants shall each do one' inlade' without food or sheaf, viz., from the field of Tynemouth withersoever they have been directed by the cellarer. Each shall bring one cart load from Seaton Delaval and each of them
73 P. 131.
81 Vinogradoff, p. 250, notices this term in Northumberland in an inquisition post-mortem 55 Henry III. where it is spelt selfoder.' He thinks it means *self-other,' but ‘self-owned' would appear to be an equally probable interpretation, As to the tenures by theinage, by drengage, and by cornage which existed in Northumberland and Durham, see Professor Maitland's article in the Royal Historical Review, vol. v. p. 625 ; Mr. Bates's Border Holds, p. 312; and Canon Greenwell's Glossary in the Appendix to the Boldon Book, Surtees Society edition.
s VOL. XVI.
who shall with another companion make carriage as is aforesaid shall have food and sheafs except 'ulryg. ’83
The men of Tynemouth shall guard the prisons, and if there shall happen any escape they shall pay for each escape £8 sterling. And they who reside on the chief tenements called the V. shall have common of pasture in open time. Also every cottager of the township of Tynemouth shall have common for his animals in the common moor, viz., Schiremoor, at all seasons of the year and not elsewhere. And all the waste places called Balkes are the separate soil of the Prior.
And no tenant holding inland or outland can alienate or give any part of his holding without paying a fine in the court of the said Prior. And if a heir by blood is entitled to entry into his inheritance he shall pay a relief or double his rent (suam firmam) at his entry and shall do fealty and suit of Court from 3 weeks to 3 weeks.
And all the tenants of Tynemouth on occasion shall pay layrewyt (that is a fine for incontinence) for their daughters or handmaidens; and also merchet for giving their daughters in marriage except the Lord Philip of Marston who is exempt from that service. 84
In the year 1784 an Act was passed for dividing and allotting part of the town fields and the whole of the town green of Elrington in the parish of Warden in the county of Northumberland. By that Act, after reciting that there were within the said township certain lands called the town fields and town green and that the greatest part of the lands lay intermixed and dispersed, and that other part thereof was held by the proprietors as tenants in common, and that Fewster Johnson, Esq., as owner of the capital messuage called Elrington hall and the demesnes of Elrington, was entitled to divers rents issuing out of three several tenements in the said township, and was also entitled for each and every of the said three tenements to one heriot (that is to say the best beast or forty shillings at his election at the death of the owner of the said capital messuage and the owner of the said three tenements and each of them), and was also entitled yearly for each of the said three tenements to two mow dargues and two shear dargues or days' works, and also to three hens and three catches or carriages yearly from Elrington aforesaid to the town of Hexham, and also reciting
82 • And he (the villan) is bound to carry sheaves, and for each service of this kind he will receive one sheaf called "mene sheaf," and whenever he is sent to carry anything with his cart he shall have oats as usual so much namely as he can thrice take with his hand.' Chartulary of Christ Church, Canterbury, cited in Vinogradoff, 175.
$3 I cannot find an explanation of this term in any glossary.
$4 Compare the very similar services rendered by the 14 serfs of the vill of Wridthorp in Lincolnshire in 1109. Ingulph. Bohn's edition, 240.