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Property conveyance

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

Okay, here's what I'm thinking of telling the Mayor et al:


The principals would include:  his Honor the Mayor (as representative of the 
sovereign people of the City) and representatives of each of the three 
separate groups receiving land:  the Chancellor or Provost of the University 
(as representative of the Faculty of the University); the Chairman of the 
Board of the Corporation (as the representative of the shareholders of the 
Corporation); and the President of the College.

Traditionally, two other groups of witnesses would be invited:  other 
"vassals" of the Sovereign, and members of the local populace.  In this 
context, the place of the "vassals" could be taken by representatives of 
other local public organizations that have benefitted from and benefit the 
City -- for example, major hospitals, CEOs of local companies, etc.  Other 
local government representatives such as members of the Board of Aldermen 
should also be present.  The presence of the public at large makes the 
transfer of ownership "open and notorious," which is one of the necessary 
indicia of effective transfer.

Although some effort was made to memorialize land transfers in medieval 
times through writing (using church and parish records, family documents, 
etc.) the most traditional way of recording such transactions was by fixing 
them in the mind of local witnesses.  For that purpose, healthy young boys 
 were chosen to witness the transaction, and various means were used to make 
it memorable for them (usually a combination of receiving gifts and having 
their ears boxed).  While boxing childrenIs ears isnIt currently acceptable, 
a number of children between ages 7 and 10 should be present on the podium 
to witness the transaction, and the Mayor should give them small 
commemorative gifts at the end of the proceeding.


To transfer an inheritable title or an estate for life (instead of merely an 
estate for years such as a lease) it was necessary to effect "livery of 
seisin," or the transfer of actual possession of the land.  Thus, the 
ceremony of transfer should occur on the land to be transferred.  Since 
there are three separate but contiguous parcels being transferred, and since 
some of the land is neither passable nor photogenic, I would suggest 
choosing the most accessible and attractive spot on the whole area.


To create the recipient as a "tenant in frankalmoign," which creates a 
permanent estate held by a corporation without the return of any defined 
service to the donor, the tenant must acquire the land by these words:  "to 
have and to hold to itself in free alms."  Thus, the ceremony should start 
with a declaration by the Mayor that it is the intent of the City to 
transfer this land to the University, etc., to have and to hold to itself in 
free alms.


After the statement of intent to create the present estate (#III above), the 
Mayor delivers to the Chancellor/Chairman/etc. in the presence of the 
witnesses "a key, twig, or some other thing, as a symbol of the delivery of 
the land."  The "clump of dirt" we discussed earlier is one item that can be 
used as indicative of livery of seisin.  However, I would suggest something 
more permanent and more attractive, such as a gilded twig from the property 
glued to a commemorative plaque.


If the land were being conveyed to the Chancellor, Chairman and President as 
individuals, or in exchange for specific services due, medieval law would 
have had them swear "fealty" to the Mayor in recognition of the rights they 
were receiving and the obligations they were undertaking.

However, because there are no specified services due from them, the grant of 
rights is said to be "in free alms," and no oath of fealty is required. 
 However, it would be fitting for the recipient to make a statement to the 
Mayor, as representative of the City, acknowledging receipt of the land, and 
pledging to work with the City to attain whatever goals theyIve agreed on, 
whether it is increased employment, access to education, or the like.


"Beating the bounds" of a defined area is a medieval custom that did not 
clearly coincide with property transfers, but falls within the same logic -- 
when the land is transferred, some method ought to be used to make clear 
what the boundaries of the transferred area is, and to fix it in the minds 
of the witnesses.  Traditionally, bounds were marked by a parade of all the 
children in a village, but if the ground is unsafe one modern alternative 
would be a release of balloons from the corners of the parcel.

Okay, folks, any last suggestions, embellishments, corrections, etc. before 
I send this out?  Bear in mind that you didn't get the footnotes, since my 
mail system won
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