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Gavelkind

lands, tenure, kent, common, issue and land

GAVELKIND, a customary tenure existing at this day in the county of Kent only. It seems that this tenur2 was the common socage tenure among the Anglo-Saxons (Glanvil, 1. 7, c. 3), and the reason of its continuance in Kent has been ascribed to the resistance which the inhabitants of the county made to the Norman invaders. This tenure also pre vailed in Wales until the 34th Henry VIII., when it was abolished by statute. Various derivations of the term Gavel kind have been suggested : that adopted by Sir Edward Coke and his contempo raries was, gave all kinde, from the con sequences of the tenure—an etymology worthy of Coke. But that generally received at the present day is from the Saxon Gavel (Rent); Gavelkind, that is, laud of such a kind as to yield rent. A very elaborate examination of the several proposed derivations is given in the 1st chapter of Robinson's ' Treatise on Ga velkind.' The chief distinguishing pro perties of this tenure are : " Tin t upon the death of the owner without a v ill the land descends to all the sons in equal shares, and the issue of a deceased son, whether male or female, inherit his part ; in default of sons, the land descends in equal shares to the daughters ; in default of lineal heirs, the land goes to the brothers of the last holder ; and in de fault of brothers, to their respective issue." The tenant may aliene at 15 years of age, by means of a feoffment, and the estate does not escheat in case of an attainder and execution, the maxim being, " the father to the bough, the son to the plough.' The husband is tenant by cartesy of a moiety of his wife's lands, without having any issue by her ; but if he marries again, not having issue, he forfeits his curtesy. A wife is endowed of a moiety of the lands of which her husband died seised, not for life as by the common law, but during chaste widowhood only. Gavelkind lands were

generally devisable by will before the statute of wills was passed.

Several statutes have been passed, at the request of holders of Gavelkind lands, to render them descendible according to the course of the common law, or as it is called, to disgavel them. These sta tutes however only alter the partible quality of the customary descent ; they do not affect the other incidents to the tenure. And notwithstanding the extent of the disgavelling statutes, it is always presumed that lands in Kent are of this tenure until the contrary is proved. The names of all the persons whose lands h. Kent have been disgavelled may be found in Robinson's Treatise, before mentioned, p. 381. This was one of the tenures proposed to be abolished or modified 1/ the Real Property Commissioners in their third Report. (2 Blackstone, Com. ; Robinson's Gavelkind.) This tenure existed also in Ireland as an incident to the custom of tanistry and as such ceased with that custom in consequence of the judgment against it. (Davis's Reports, 28.) In the reign of Queen Anne, with the view of weakening the Roman Catholic interest in Ireland, the land of Roman Catholics was made descendible according to the custom of Gavelkind, unless the heir conformed within a limited time ; but by the stat. 17 and 18 Geo. III., c. 49 (Irish), the lands of Catholics are made descendible according to the course of the common law. (Robinson, p. 21.) This customary descent is followed in some manors, particularly in the manors of Stepney and Hackney. (See the cus tumal of these manors printed in 2 Wat kins, Copgh., 508.)