INCIDENT (from Lat, ineidere, to fall upon, from in, in + eadcre, to fall). In a right, privilege, or burden inseparably annexed to an estate or tenure of lands. Thus, rent reserved upon a lease fur life or years is incident to the reversion, or estate of the landlord, and passes with the latter upon its assignment ; and it right to distrain is incident to a rent charge and at tends it into whosesnever hands it may mane: a court baron is incident to a manor (Tv.). which, indeed. cannot exist without such a court. lu the same sense, the rights of inheritance and of free alienation are incidents of an estate in fee simple, and the right to take estovers (q.v.) is an incident of a tenancy fur life or years, while dower and curtest' are among the incidents of estates of inheritance.
More specifically, the term incident is em ployed in English law to describe a certain class of obligations attaching to the several forms of feudal tenure. Viewed from the standpoint of the lord of whom the lands were held, these were certain legally defined rights which inured to him by virtue of his superior or paramount title. They were due, as a matter of legal obligation, from all land held by such tenure. and not by virtue of any understanding or agreement—which fact distinguishes them from the sorters due from the tenant to the lord, which were entirely a matter of agreement.
The most important of these 'feudal incidents; as they are termed, were aids, reliefs, and escheats, which were due from all secular tenures, and wardship and mnrriage, which were peculiar to the military tenures. These will he described under their appropriate titles. Though differing greatly in the kind and amount of the burden which they imposed upon the land, they had this in common, that they came to be regarded as the essential and distinguishing eharaeteristies of the several forms of tenure to which they were appropriate. The military structure of the feudal system in England decayed rapidly after the Conquest, and the expression military tenure, or tenure in chivalry, was regarded not as tenure for which military service was in fact to be ren dered. but tenon' attended by the burdensome in cidents of wardship and marriage; while socage tenure was not so much a tenure by a fixed and determinate service, as one free from those in cident-s. • Most of the incidents of tenure were done away with by the famous statute which abolished mili tary tenures (12 Chas. II., e. 14), and only the right of escheat remains to remind Ds of the feudal origin of our laud law. See FEUDALISM: