« IndietroContinua »
lord. Customary, called also copyhold lands, may be entailed by surrender, such entail barring the widow's estate. No courtesy of England to the widower of an heiress unless by surrender to him. Heirs, being infants, accounted to be in possession, and the next of kin and farthest from inheritance is to occupy the premises for the benefit of the infant till it come to discretion. The lord has no power to grant tuition or wardship of the infant or its customary lands.
Any customary tenant may, in the manor court, make feoffees of trust to uses upon customary lands, and may alienate at the ancient rent and services. The wife of any customary tenant has her widow's estate on all customary lands of which her husband died seized, or of any estate of inheritance in fee simple, so long as she remains a widow.
A leet or law day is kept for the manor; also a court is held every three weeks, unless deferred for the benefit of the tenants. This court has power to determine real actions relating to title to any customary lands in the manor, and any personal action for a matter not exceeding at its commencement £1:19:11. Also, every amercement is to be affeered by the most sufficient and honest suitors of the court, sworn for the purpose by the stewards. No amercement for trespass is to exceed the damage sustained. No customary tenant to be amerced on an inquisition or quest of office, but at suit of parties only.
Customary tenants owe suit of court every three weeks, and chief rents at May and Michaelmas. The chief rent paid for each tenement is 10s. 8d.: 1s. 10d. in May, and 8s. 101d. at Michaelmas. Payment "pro rata" for half tenements. All customary tenants vote at Michaelmas before the grand jury of the court leet for a bailiff to collect the lord's dues, and the jury select three names, from which the steward chooses one, as bailiff, and swears him in for a year. If he absconds or dies after having collected, the responsibility to the lord is upon the tenants. In the same way one or
more ale-tasters are appointed to see that good drink at good measure is sold in the manor.
The bailiff may excuse any three customary tenants from attendance at any court. The bailiff has twentyshillings from the lord for collecting, and the profits on trying and sealing hoops, measures and meteyards at fairs and markets.
The manor contains two grist water-mills, Waterton and Wadd mill, to which the tenants owe service; each to the mill in his own precinct. All are subject to the duty of carrying mill stones when needed.
A heriot is payable upon the death of a customary tenant, on the alienation of his estate. If there be more than one tenement, a heriot for the first, and sixpence for every other. There are some local differences of custom in these respects. The heriot is usually the best beast, and in default of it five shillings. A tenement seems, generally, to have contained thirteen acres of land, arable, meadow, pasture, and wood. A heriot of the best, called a turf heriot, is paid at the death of every resiant.
Each customary tenant is to haul large timber for Coyty Castle at one penny per day for his meat, and find one day's work in reaping the lord's corn, at one penny, a piece of larder, and a bottle of good ale.
The lord owns and levies royalties upon several quarries of limestone, freestone, and potters' clay. One iron-work in 1631 paid six shillings and eightpence, two hens, and two days' work annually; and one pit paid twopence, and another sixpence and a hen.
There was a weekly Saturday market in Bridgend, and fairs on Ascension day and St. Leonard's day (6th November).
In 1631 the chief rents on freeholds, including 8d. for
The customary rents were in May
£3 13 6 .20 5
£9 10 8
23 19 0
Coyty Wallia. The tenants were classed under the four localities of Pencoed, Trebelleg, Rhwng-y-Ddwynant, Hendîr, and St. Brides. The commons are Cefn Hirgoed, Bryn-y-Garn, Hirwaun, Mynydd-y-Garn, Bryn, Coyant, Rhiw Wastedwen, and Cefn-tir-y-Coyty, in which the free and customary tenants and resiants have common as in Coyty Anglia. The tenures are Socage, customary or copyhold, and by lease or at will on the lord's demesne lands. Free lands descend to the eldest son; customary lands, being estate of inheritance, are equally divided between the sons, and failing sons to daughters, and failing these to the right heirs for ever.
A claim to a customary estate is commenced by placing, before the court, sixpence on the record, and praying for six customary tenants to try the claim. The lord has the lands until trial. After the claim, issue is to be joined at the next court, and trial had at the third,
Infants may inherit at birth: the next of kin of the whole blood, not being heir, holds the property for the child, and is guardian of it till it reaches years of discretion. A woman holds jointure lands for life only, though surrendered to her in court by rod. A male child may at fourteen years surrender and pass his estate, and a female at thirteen years. The steward has fourpence on giving judgment on a "restraint" or non-suit. Actions on title, if entered in the court, to be tried there, and no demurrer allowed.
No heriot paid on alienation of a part of a fee. Customary tenants not punishable for waste, nor does his land escheat, so long as there are heirs of blood.
If a woman has no jointure she has one-third of any customary lands her husband may have held during coverture, in dower, for life. No courtesy of England. Tenants may demise customary land for any term of years at pleasure.
Free or customary tenants, dying in, and seized of, lands in the manor, are subject to heriots; if their
value be above ten shillings and under twenty shillings, of ten shillings only. If the tenant of the manor die, the lord has the best beast, if worth twenty shillings or upwards to forty shillings, and if any beast be there. If the real rental of the lands be forty shillings the heriot shall be forty shillings. If an estate of inheritance, one best beast. If also of land held of the lord, two best beasts, one for the free and one for the customary lands. The heriots to be of ten shillings, twenty shillings, or forty shillings, as the case may be, one sum for the free and one for the customary lands.
This presentment or inquisition is one of many such documents in use under the Tudor sovereigns, which throw much light upon the local government of rural England, and the relations between the over and mesne lords of manors and their tenants. They exhibit the details of the feudal system as it then existed, and are the more valuable because much of what they describe is now swept away.
Like most ancient customs, manorial laws and regulations were introduced to meet a particular state of society, and are not ill-fitted to its wants. By means of the courts leet and baron, justice was brought within the reach of all; crimes against the person were dealt with, and the transfer of real property was rendered simple, expeditious and cheap, being under copy of courtroll with the delivery of seizin by the steward or seneschal. Guards were introduced against expensive litigation on trifling matters, and in some cases the seneschal or steward, the president of the court, and the bailiff, its executive officer, were chosen jointly by the tenants and the lord. The principle of self government was admitted.
The jury system was also in general use. A dozen or more men of property and intelligence, residing in the manor, were chosen both to sit in court and, as here, to inquire into and report upon the boundaries and customs of the manor. In this way encroachments were checked by either lord or tenant, and the right of each
4TH SER. VOL. VIII.
laid down. Among the tenures are found Gavelkind and Borough-English, and one very singular condition, that of paying a quarter of a pound of pepper, which the lord was to fetch away upon a wain drawn by eight white oxen. Tenure by a red rose at Midsummer was not uncommon. The provision that lodged the wardship of an infant in the hands of his next of kin, not the heir of the estates, seems sound.
The whole system, when laid down and perfected, was probably suited to the wants of the people. When society became complex and its conditions wholly altered, the old customs became vexatious, and have wisely been removed.
Carta Walteri Waleran Pagano de Turbervilla terrarum in Mersfelda. (Francis MSS.)
Sciant presentes et futuri quod ego WALTERUS WALERAN dedi et concessi PAGANO de TURBERVILLA totam terram quam teneo de feodo Comitis GLOVERNIE in MERSFELDA in bosco in plano et in omnibus pertinentiis ad eandem villam sicut illam unquam melius et liberius in dominio tenui sibi et heredibus suis Tenendum de me et de heredibus meis in feodo et hereditate Reddendo inde mihi et heredibus meis annuatim unum sprevarium sorum in Nativitate Sancti JOHANNIS Baptiste Jamdictus autem PAGANUS debet acquietare predictam terram de MERSFELDA de omnibus servitiis regalibus et de omnibus servitiis que pertinent ad Comitem GLOVERNIE de eadem terra In recognitione etiam hujus donationis dedit mihi prefatus PAGANUS sexaginta marcas argenti et ISABELLE uxori mee ij bisantos Et ut donatio ista firma sit et rata illam sigilli mei impressione signavi Hiis testibus CECILIA matre WALTERI WALERAN Et SIBILLA filia sua WILLIELMO de LOND' [?] RICARDO fratre suo THOMA de LOND' et WALTERO fratre suo Et JOHANNE de KARDENVILLA WILLIELMO SLEMAN ADE WALETIS GILBERTO de TURBERVILLA WALERANO filio HERBERTI WALERAN REGINALDO de BETTESTORNE Hugone de LUVERE RADULFO FULCHER......DO de KARDENVILLA Et SIMONE clerico Et multis aliis.
The seal of green wax is attached by a twisted cord of red and yellow silk. Device, a male figure on horseback, reins in his right hand, on the left a hawk. Legend, + SIGILLUM WAL...W...E..AN. Endorsed in a