Freehold (English Law) - Encyclopedia

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FREEHOLD, in the English law of real property, an estate in land, not being less than an estate for life. An estate for a term of years, no matter how long, was considered inferior in dignity to an estate for life, and unworthy of a freeman (see Estate).

"Some time before the reign of Henry II., but apparently not so early as Domesday, the expression liberum tenementum was introduced to designate land held by a freeman by a free tenure. Thus freehold tenure is the sum of the rights and duties which constitute the relation of a free tenant to his lord." 2 In this 1 Her maiden name was Mary Ludwig. "Molly Pitcher" was a nickname given to her by the soldiers in reference to her carrying water to soldiers overcome by heat in the battle of Monmouth. She married Hays in 1769; Hays died soon after the war, and later she married one George McCauley. She lived for more than forty years at Carlisle, Penn., where a monument was erected to her memory in 1876.

2 Digby's History of the Law of Real Property. sense freehold is distinguished from copyhold, which is a tenure having its origin in the relation of lord and villein (see Copyhold). Freehold is also distinguished from leasehold, which is an estate for a fixed number of years only. By analogy the interest of a person who holds an office for life is sometimes said to be a freehold interest. The term customary freeholds is applied to a kind of copyhold tenure in the north of England, viz. tenure by copy of court-roll, but not, as in other cases, expressed to be at the will of the lord.

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