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Re: Ceremonies of property transfer

Poster: PETERSR@spiegel.becltd.com (Peters, Rise J.)

Gentle lords and ladies,  I am gradually putting together quite a nice 
image, with your help, of what the land conveyance ceremony should entail. 
 I've found some nice touches (see the discussion on livery of seisin 
below), but want to clear up a few points.

Please help me puzzle this through.  The good Pedro de Alcazar said, go to 
Littleton, and look at the chapter on fealty, not on homage.

But, of course, one can hardly stop reading just because the chapter 
changes, and so I've found text as follows:

"Sec. 90.  Note, none shall do homage but such as have an estate in fee 
simple, or fee tail, in his own right, or in the right of another.  For it 
is a maxim in law, that he which hath an estate but for term of life shall 
neither do homage nor take homage."

This looks promising, since the estate we are trying to create here is a fee 
simple.  But the ceremony for making homage would probably be hard to "sell" 
to the Mayor and the various recipients (Chancellor, CEO and college 
president) involved:

"Sec. 85.  [Inter alia] when the tenant shall make homage to his lord, he 
shall be ungirt [is this "disarmed?"] and his head uncovered, and his lord 
shall sit, and the tenant shall kneel before him on both his knees, and hold 
his hands jointly together between the hands of his lord, and shall say 
thus:  I become your man from this day forward, of life and limb and of 
earthly worship, and unto you shall be true and faithful, and bear to you 
faith for the tenements that I claim to hold of you, saving the faith that I 
owe unto our sovereign lord the king; then the lord, so sitting, shall kiss 
"Sec. 86.  But if an abbot, or a prior, or other man of religion, shall do 
homage to his lord, he shall not say, I become your man, &c., for that he 
hath professed himself to be only the man of God.  But he shall say thus:  I 
do homage unto you, and to you I shall be true and faithfuland faith to you 
bear for the tenements which I hold of you, saving the faith which I do owe 
unto our lord the king."

Lord Pedro de Alcazar having kindly provided the details of the ceremony of 
fealty, I shan't repeat them; I just want to confirm that, in spite of what 
Littleton says about the fee simple, fealty and not homage is what's wanted 

However, I do think I've figured out the role of the clump of dirt; it's 
part of the requirement of  "livery of seisin."   I quote from Walker, 
Estates with Respect to Duration (1846) [property law doesn't change really 
fast... we're still studying medieval law in school, and this is from my own 
first-year textbook]:

"As a feud, once created, could not be terminated by the mere will of the 
lord, whatever could be held as a feud, was called a frank tenement or 
freehold.  Now feuds could not be conferred for a term of years, but were 
either for life or hereditary; and hence freeholds included only estates in 
fee, and for life.  Again, feuds were always conferred by corporeal 
investiture; and hence by the common law, freeholds could not be created 
without livery of seisin.  This term, seisin, seisina, originally signified 
actual possession of land under a feudal grant.  But when feuds became 
hereditary, and the heir succeeded by law to the rights of the ancestor, a 
distinction was made between seisin in fact, which was the actual possession 
before mentioned, and seisin in law, which was the right of possession 
acquired by the here before entry, but not perfected into actual possession 
until entry.  A similar distinction is held to prevail now, where the 
ceremony of livery of seisin is still in use, which signifies that formal 
delivery of possession requried to perfect the conveyance of a freehold. 
 The parties, grantor and grantee, with their witnesses, go to or upon the 
land, and the grantor actually delivers to the grantee a ke
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