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Copyhold

surrender, rolls, court, admittance, copy and land

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COPYHOLD. Under the feudal system villeins were permitted by their lords to hold plots of land, and in return the villeins had to perform certain services for the lords. The land belonged absolutely to the lords, who could remove the villeins from their holdings at will, but so long as the services were duly rendered, the tenants were no doubt permitted to remain upon the land in peace. When one died, his holding would be taken by his successors, and so from generation to generation the land would pass from one to another. Blackstone says (se " Commentaries of the Laws of England," vol. ii, p. SO, Kerr's Fourth Edition) : " From what has been premised, it appears that copyho]ders are in truth no other but villeins, who, by a long series of immemorial encroachments on the lord, have at last established a customary right to those estates, which before were held absolutely at the lord's will Which affords a very sub stantial reason for the great variety of customs that prevail in different manors, with regard both to the descent of the estates, and the privileges belonging to the tenants." And again : " The generality of villeins in the kingdom have long ago sprouted up into copyholders ; their persons being enfranchised by manumission or long acquiescence ; but their estates, in strict ness, remaining subject to the same servile conditions and forfeitures as before . though, in general, the villein services are usually commuted for a small pecuniary quit rent." In early times the name of the tenant was written upon the rolls of the manor. along with a note of the services he had to render or the amount he had to pay. The parchment " roll " is now substituted by a book, but the tenant of a copyhold is still said to be en rolled or entered upon the rolls of the manor. A copy of the entry on the rolls was given to the tenant as evidence of his enrolment, whence he was called a copyholder ; that is, a holder of the land by copy of the entry.

In connection with the transfer of copy holds, there is usually a covenant to sur render : that is, a deed in which the vendor covenants to surrender the land to the lord of the manor to the use of the purchaser.

The actual transfer is effected by surrender and admittance. By the surrender an equitable interest only is vested in the surrenderee and admittance is required to perfect his title. A surrender may be made either in court or out of ( ourt. If made in court, it is entered on the rolls and a copy of the surrender is given to the purchaser. If the surrender is made out of court, a memorandum in writing of it is prepared and signed by the parties and the steward, and it is then entered upon the rolls.

The mode of surrender is for the person on the rolls, either himself or by duly appointed attorney. to attend before the steward and surrender, either directly or pursuant to a covenant to surrender, the copyhold tenement to the lord to the use of the purchaser, and the steward then makes out the surrender, which is a copy of the entry on the court rolls, and has it stamped. The purchaser may attend at the same time and take admittance, or he may attend at some subsequent court or out of court to take admittance. In the former case the surrender and admittance usually appear on the copy of the court rolls delivered by the steward to the purchaser. In the latter case there are two copies of the court namely a surrender and an admittance. The surrender is the instrument required to be stamped, but the admittance does not require a stamp. Sometimes, in practice, where there is a covenant to surrender in a deed which deals with both freehold and copyhold property, such deed is impressed with the usual ad valo, cm stamp on the full purchase money, and in that case the surrender bears only a ten shilling stamp. otherwise it must be stamped according to the purchase price of the copyholds.

In the case of a devisee under a Nv i 11 or in an intestacy, there is no surrender, and the admittance merely sets out that A. B. has been admitted as devisee or copyhold heir at-law of the deceased tenant on the rolls.

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