SOCCAGE (more correctly socage) in its original signification, according to Bracton, Littleton, and others, is service rendered by a tenant to his lord by the soc (soke) or ploughshare. The term was afterwards extended to all services ren dered which were of an ignoble or non military character, and were fixed in their nature and quality. The certainty of the services to be rendered distinguished tenure from tenure in chivalry, or service, on the one hand, and from tenure in pure villenage by sr• bitrary service, on the other; and there fore Littleton says, § 118, " A man may hold of his lord by fealty [Fest.ry) only; and such tenure is a tenure in socage ; for every tenure which is not a tenure in chi. valry is a tenure in socage." Socage is said by old writers to be of three kinds : socage in frank tenure ; so cage in antient tenure ; and socage in base tenure. (Old Tenures, 125, 126; Old Arafura Breviuns, title Garde.) The second and third kinds are now called re spectively tenure in autient demesne and copyhold tenure. The first kind is called free and common socage, to distinguish it from the two others, though as the term Image has long ceased to be applied to the two latter, socage and free and com mon socage now mean one and the same thing.
Besides fealty, which the tenant in so ilage, like every other tenant, is bound to do when required, the tenant in soeage, or, as be was formerly called, the 'meager or sockman, is bound to give his attendance at his lord's court-baron, if the lord holds a court-baron either for a manor[Marroa] or for a seigniory in gross. A tenant in socage may hold by fealty only (Littleton, § 130), for fealty is a service. if the tenant in socage holds by fealty and cer tain rent to pay yearly, &c., the lord shall have of the heir of his tenant as much as the rent amounts unto which he payeth yearly. This payment on the death of a tenant is a relief. Many of these rents are of little value, as a pound of pepper, a number of capons or hens, or a pair of gloves (Littleton, § 128).
Both forfeiture and escheat are incident to tenure in socage, as they were also to tenure by knight s service. [ESCHEAT.] In that species of socage tenure which is called gavelkind [GAvalarEn] there is no forfeiture.
Wardship is also incident to this tenure. But this incident is not, as formerly in knight's service, a benefit given to the lord, but a burthen imposed on the in fant's next friend of full age, who must however be a person not capable of inhe riting the estate upon his young kins man's death.
By the mutual consent of lord and te nant, socage tenure might have been con verted into tenure by knight's service, or tenure by knight's service into tenure in socage. It sometimes happened that the tenant held by knight's service of a lord who held in socage ; and, more frequently, that a tenant held in socage of a lord who held by knight's service.
In particular districts some of the in cidents of tenure by knight's service were by custom annexed to the tenure in so eage. Thus in the diocese of Winchester the lord claimed the wardship and rage of his socagers.
Before the abolition of feudal burthens by the Commonwealth, confirme4 upon the Restoration by 12 Car. H. c. 24, te pants in socage were bound to pay 20a upon every 201. of annual value, as an aid for making the lord's son a knight, and the same for marrying the lord's eldest daughter. This tenure was also subject to the payment of fines upm alienations. By the above statute, the provisions of which were extended to Ireland by the Irish act of 14 & 15 Car. II. c. 19, te nure by knight's service was abolished, and all lands, with the exception of eccle siastical lands held in free alms [Femme simmers], were directed to be held in free and common soilage, which, with the limited exception in favour of lands held in frankalmoigne, is now the universal tenure of real property throughout Eng land and Ireland, and those colonies which have been settled by the English.
It is true that a large portion of the soil of all those countries is held by lease holders, and in England also by copy holders; but the freehold of the land held by leaseholders and copyhoklers is in their lords or lessors, who hold that free hold by socage tenures. (On socage te nures, see Coke on Littleton, § 117, &c., and the notes in Butler's edition.)