OFFICE FOUND. By the common law of England, where the king is en titled, upon the occurrence of certain events, to take possession of real or per sonal propnly previously belonging to a subject, the facts upon which the king's title accrues must be first ascertained by an inquisition or inquest of office. This inquiry is executed by some officer of the crown, such as the escheator, coroner, or sheriff, or persons specially commis sioned for the purpose, and the facts are ascertained by a jury of an indeterminate number, but consisting usually, though not necessarily, of twelve men. Such in quests were much more frequent before the abolition of military tenures, when inquisitions post mortem were instituted upon the death of any of the king's tenants, to inquire of what lands he died possessed, and of any other matters tend ing to establish the king's rights respect ing the property of the deceased. [Junin]
When an inquisition of this kind has been executed and returned, it is said to be an office found. Thus where treasure has been discovered under circumstances which do not give it to the owner of the land, an inquest is held, and the king, upon office found, takes it ; and where a person of illegitimate birth dies intestate, the king (if he is the immediate lord of the fee), upon office found, is entitled to all his land: in the latter case however the land is generally granted again to some person or persons who can make out the most reasonable claim to it. So also the verdict of a jury upon a coro ner's inquest, declaring a person to have died ut felo de se, is an office found, upon which the king becomes entitled to take possession of the property of the de ceased.