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Crown Lands

act, sovereign and income

CROWN LANDS, English, territories the British Isles formerly the private property of the sovereign. Since George III, however, every British monarch has on accession sur rendered the Crown lands to be disposed of by Parliament. The income from them, like the other revenues of the state, are now devoted to the public service. The administration. thereof is in the hands of the commissioners of woods, forests and land revenues. The produce for 1915-16 amounted to $3,912,720, of which sum $2,750,000 was paid into the Exchequer. Before the Norman conquest (1066) all the so-called became terra ref*. or king's land. The confiscations of Liam the Conqueror greatly increased these terrains, but their redistribution among the king's followers so reduced them again that an Act of Resumption was passed under Henry III, and during the reign of Edward II an act was in force prohibiting the alienation of Crown lands. The Wars of the Roses and the confisca tions of Henry VIII enlarged the possessions by forfeiture and seizure, but the necessities of James I and Charles I compelled the disposal of the whole estates. These were partially re

covered at the Restoration by the sales being declared void. An important constitutional effect was produced by the wholesale granting away of the Crown lands; being thus deprived of a private income, the monarch had perforce to apply to Parliament and the nation for his income, which was not infrequently granted only on condition of good government. The extravagance of William III led to an act being passed in the reign of Queen Anne (170244) by which further alienation was greatly checked, but in 1800 the act was declared not to apply to the private property of the sovereign acquired by purchase or inheritance from any person other than a sovereign of England. In 1910 the Civil List of the king was fixed (after the usual surrender of hereditary revenues, i.e., the Crown lands) at $2,350,000.