Customs of Inheritance


Customs of Inheritance


We must now consider a subject of great importance to this inquiry. The customs by which lands and tenements in various parts of England are inherited in some way different from the general law of primogeniture are many and various. None of these have arisen through any legal enactment, but have all come down from a remote antiquity,and are of prescriptive origin. Their existence in some manors and boroughs can be traced back to the Anglo-Saxon period. In addition to these exceptional rules of succession which hare so marked in many separate places, there are other customs that differ from the general law which either have, or had, by long usage all the force of law over great districts.


Some old manors were so extensive as to have been large areas, including many parishes. Since the sixteenth century, however, the manorial system, as it came down from the Old English and later periods, has been passing away, and what remains of it marks only its extreme decay. For the purpose of our present inquiry it is of little importance whether a local custom is still in operation, or in a state of decay, or has entirely gone, provided that it can unmistakably be traced in a particular locality. As the settlers in England came from Continental countries, the comparison of customs prevailing in England with those that are known to have existed in the lands from which they migrated is important, for it is only reasonable to suppose that tribal settlers brought with them to England their old rules of family inheritance, whatever they may have come been. These ancient laws of inheritance enable us to trace, with some degree of certainty, the settlement of people of different tribes or races in various parts of our country. It is certain that old customs, especially those of inheritance, were very persistent, and we exemplified by the survival until the present day of many ancient manorial usages. Various customs of inheritance on the Continent can be traced back to the most ancient legal codes which arose out of the primitive folk-laws, and some of these still exist. In only two of them is a distinction made between movable and immovable property – viz., in the Thuringians law and in the Salic law. Some of the early Thuringians were located on the lower Elbe,(1) near some of the Angles, and in the Thuringian law land was inherited only by males of the male stem, while personalty went to the sons, and failing these, to daughters. In the Salic law sons preceded daughters in succession, and daughters were excluded from succession to land, although they shared with sons in movables.(2) Among the Angles and the Saxons on the Continent male inheritance was the rule. Among the Goths and Frisians daughters appear from an early period to have shared the inheritance with the sons.The early writer on the laws and customs of England, Henry de Bracton, who lived in the thirteenth century, tells us that England in his day differed from other countries in regard to the following of old customs. He says : `Whereas in almost all countries they use laws and written right, England alone uses within her boundaries unwritten right and custom. In England, indeed, right is derived from what is unwritten, which usage has approved.` He continues : `There are also in England several and diverse customs according to the diversity of places, for the English have many things by custom which they have not by (written0 law, as in divers counties, cities and boroughs, and vills, where it will always have to be inquired what is the custom of the place, and in what manner they who allege the custom observe the custom.`(3)

Another and still earlier legal author, Glenville, who wrote in the time of Henry II, tells us in his chapter on inheritance that primogeniture was the rule of common law. In reference to the land of a `free socman,` however, he tells us that it has to be ascertained whether the land was partible by ancient custom. If so, the sons take equally, saving that the first-born has the chief dwelling-house on the terms of making recompense in value to the others. If the land is not partible, then, according to the custom of some, the first-born shall have the whole inheritance ; according to the custom of others, however, the last-born is heir.(4)

If a man owning houses or tenements within the city of Gloucester dies intestate, up to very recently his youngest son, and not the eldest, succeeds to the property. This was a remarkable survival, and a similar custom formerly prevailed, in Leeds, Derby, Leicester, Nottingham, Stafford, and Stamford.(5) It prevailed not only in these boroughs, but in many manors in various counties, especially in Sussex, Suffolk, Surrey, Essex, Norfolk, Middlesex, and in a special part of Somerset. It has been shown t have existed, also , to a less extent, on some few manors in Hampshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Huntingdonshire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Kent, Devon, Cornwall, Rutland, Herefordshire, Berkshire, Shropshire, and Monmouthshire. In Sussex it prevailed on 140 manors, chiefly in the Rape of Lewis, where the custom was almost an exclusive one. This junior right of inheritance of the youngest son, or borough-English, as it has been commonly called, also prevailed in parts of Glamorganshire, where its settlement of the English on the Welsh border. There is no trace of any similar custom under which the youngest son is the sole heir in the ancient laws of Wales.

It is certain that this custom could not have arisen spontaneously in so many places and districts widely separated from each other. It has probably come from some general race custom, and ahs been preserved in the localities where it has survived by the attachment of people to the usage of their ancestors. Nothing is more remarkable in the history of mankind than the attachment of people of all races to the customs which have been handed down to them from their forefathers. That junior right was preserved in the boroughs and manors in which it survived through the period of the Middle Ages, when the tendency was one ever growing stronger in favour of primogeniture, is remarkable testimony to its vitality, and the attachment to it of those who lived under it. If we can thus trace it, as we may, as far back as the Old English period, when people certainly were as tenacious of their ancient customs as their descendants were, it is reasonable to conclude that those who lived under it in the Saxon period also inherited it from some earlier forefathers. The custom of junior right is no more likely to have been invented here and there in certain early boroughs and manors of Saxon England than of Mediaeval England. We must look for its origin in the Continental homes of our oldest English forefathers. Some of the evidence which shows that the Anglo-Saxons had forefathers of many different tribes has already been brought forward, and the survival on our manors of so many different examples of ancient customary inheritance points to the same conclusion. On the Continent we find that junior right existed in various degrees, ranging from the descent of the whole inheritance to merely articles of household furniture, in Picardy, Artois and Hainault, in Ponthieu and Vivier, and in districts round Arras, Douai, Amiens, Lille and Cassel, and in the neighbourhood of St. Omer. It has also been noted at Grimberghe in Brabant.(6)

Similar customs prevailed in a part of Friesland, the most notable of which was the `Jus Theelacticum,` or custom of the Theel lands, doles, or allottable lands in East Friesland, not far from the mouth of the Ems. There are inherited allotment was indivisible ; on the death of the father it passed intact to the youngest son, and on his death without issue it fell into possession of the whole community.(7) This was an exception to the more general Frisian plan by which the inheritance was divided. Similar customs which are not superseded by the civil code existed in Westphalia and parts of the Rhine provinces, and also in the Department of Herford near Minden, where, so strong is the hold of the custom, that until quite recently no elder child ever demanded his legal obligatory share, and the children acquiesced in the succession of the youngest.(8) The same custom also prevailed in Silesia and parts of Bavaria, where the newer laws of inheritance failed to breakdown the time-honoured succession of the youngest , the rights being preserved by a secret settlement or by the force of opinion. Similar customs prevailed in the forest of Odinwald and in the thinly-populated district to the north of Constance. Many examples maybe found in Snabia, in the Grisons, in Elsass, and other Teutonic or partly Teutonic countries, where old customs of this kind still influence the feelings of the peasantry, although they have ceased to be legally binding.(9)

The youngest son has his privilege, also, in the island of Bornholm, and a similar right has been observed in the territory of the old Republic of Lubeck,(10) a district where a Slavonic people formerly lived. Junior right also prevails in Saxe-Altenburg, which has an agricultural population of Slavonic extraction.(11)

It maybe noted from this list of localities that the custom in Germany, North-Eastern France, and Belgium, survives in separated districts rather than in whole territories, and it is not necessarily understood that it survives in all places in the districts named. In Germany also it should be noted that it survives where Slavonic influence has been felt, such as in Oldenburg, Saxe-Altenburg, parts of Bavaria, and in Silesia. The same custom survives in parts of Pomerania, mingled in other places with primogeniture.(12)

Pomerania was Slavonic, Oldenburg had an intrusive Slav settlement, and Axe-Altenburg and parts of Bavaria have in a similar way had Slav immigrants, or preserved a remnant of the older race from which the Slavs probably descended. The custom of junior right is clearly not a Germanic institution. It prevails in parts of Germany indeed, but it can be traced to no old German code of laws or general custom, as far as that has been able to discover. On the contrary, Tacitus tells us that equal division among the sons was the custom of succession among the ancient Germans. Germany was undoubtedly in the early centuries A. D. much influenced by the hordes of Slavs on its eastern borders, and received many intrusive colonies of that race. There is evidence to show that junior right spread through the parts of Germany where it prevailed, owing to the migrations of the Slavs, or people of mixed Slavic and Teutonic descent. No instances of this custom occurs in Scandinavia, and at the same time no instances can be adduced of Slav settlement in that peninsula. The custom of junior right is found in the early Russian code, by which the inheritance of the father appears to have passed to males in preference to females, and the youngest son was always to take the paternal house.

This early Russian code of laws, known as “The Rousskaia Pravda of Yaroslav,“ which is preserved in the Chronicle of Novgorod, shows that the early Slavs had much the same institutions, such as trial by ordeal and the wager of battle, compensations for injuries, etc., as prevailed among other European nations at the same time.(13) Primogeniture is alien to the spirit of Slavonic institutions.(14) it was first introduced into Russian law by `Peter the Great`, but ,having been found unworkable, was abolished by the Empress Anne. It was so far restored by the Emperor Nicholas in 1830 that a father was then allowed to make his eldest son his heir if he chose to do so.(15) The Slavs are essentially agriculturists, and the tendency of the race is in the direction of co-operation. The primary element of organization in Russia – the village community, or mir,(16) under which the youngest son has a preference – is a survival of the old tenure of village communities that at one time must have been widely prevalent in Europe. When first we meet with the Slavs in history, we find them living in communities. Having all these facts in mind, we may reasonably look eastward of Germany for the origin of the custom by which the youngest son inherits. Nowhere else in Europe, except among the Slavs, can it be traced, so far as is known, in an early code of laws. It can indeed be traced still further eastward among the Mongolsof Asia, but it is unnecessary to follow it so far, for it is possible that it may have been derived by the Slavs from the earlier broad-headed Alpine race, of which they were probably an offshoot.

If we turn now to our country, and consider such a case as that of the manor of Merdon in Hampshire, although the name of the village has for many centuries been changed to Hursley, we find that inheritance by the youngest son is still a living custom among the copyholders,? And this on a manor with a name identical in part with that of the primitive mir, which maybe only an accidental co-incidence. In Sussex, where of all the English counties junior right most largely survives, mer, as part of place names, is also most largely represented. Some of them in their old forms are Keymer, Angermer, Stanmer, Falmer, Jonsmere, Cuckmere, Bormer, Burgemere, Udimer, and Ringmer, and they will be again referred to. These names maybe considered for what they are worth side by side with the existence of junior right in Sussex ; they maybe a coincidence, and no undue stress should be laid on them. That mer or mir is, however, the name of a primitive agricultural community appears from the survival of the name in Russia, and it is certain that such communities came into England from Continental lands during the English settlement. All our available evidence, therefore, points to Eastern Germany, to old Slavic lands, and German territories which were influenced by Slavs, as the source or sources of English junior right. It was apparently a custom that, when once ingrained into the life of a tribe, would remain under more settled conditions of agricultural life, and be passed on from age to age and from country to country.

Turning now to the custom of primogeniture, it will help us in our inquiry if we bear in mind that the eldest son was nearly always preferred in the common law of Scotland,(17) and the Scotch along the east and south-east coasts are largely descended from Anglians and Norse. The eldest son had a preference by the common custom of inheritance in the Isle of Man, which was peopled by Norse colonists ; and there, by the common law of the island, the eldest daughter, in default of brothers, succeeded to the inheritance.(18) Similarly, over a great part of Cumberland, which was colonized by the Norse, in default of sons the eldest daughter succeeded to the paternal estate.(19) Primogeniture was the rural custom of Normandy before the conquest of England. Bede tells us that in his time the eldest son had some preference or birthright in Northumbria,(20) and, considering that Northumbria was occupied by Anglians, Frisians, and Norwegians, this is not surprising, for all these instances of rustic primogeniture point to Norway and the Scandian land as one of its homes. The Normans of Normandy originally came from these northern lands, and the Manx and Cumberland men came from Norway, where the custom of preferring the eldest daughter in default of sons(21) is an ancient one of the country. The evidence of south-eastern Scotland also points to Norway and the earlier Anglian lands, as does that additional evidence derived from isolated districts or manors in England in which, in default of sons, the eldest daughter succeeds to the paternal estate. The evidence of this eldest daughter custom is so strong that we shall probably be right in locating a Norwegian settlement in places where it prevailed. It existed in Surrey at Chertsey, Beaumond, Farnham. Worplesdon, and Pirbright ; in Buckinghamshire at West Wycombe ; in Berkshire at Bray ; in Hertfordshire at Cashiobury and St. Stephens ; in Northamptonshire at Middleton Cheney ; in Herefordshire at Marden ;(22) and in the great manor and hundred of Crondal in Hampshire,(23) close to the border of Surrey.

After the Norman Conquest, as is well known, under the Norman influence and the growth of feudalism, primogeniture overpowered the other customary rights of succession, and became the general law of the country ; but before that time there existed, as these surviving instances show, a rustic primogeniture of remote origin, which, like the custom of Normandy, can be traced to Norway itself.

This succession by the eldest daughter in default of sons is a remarkable usage, and maybe a survival in an altered form of an archaic rule, by which inheritances passed through the female in preference to the male line. S. Baring-Gould(24) has drawn attention to a custom that prevails in parts of the Black Forest, where land always descends through the female hand. It goes to the eldest daughter, and if there are no daughters, to the sisters or the sister`s daughter. The Black Forest is within the parts of Central Europe where descendants of the broad-headed Alpine race maybe traced, and if this custom is prehistoric, which is extremely likely, its origin must probably be ascribed to that race. There are, however, in Norway traces of a broad-headed brown race, distinct from the Lapps, the existence of whom has been already mentioned, and they have been described by Ripley as probably of the Alpine stock. It is quite conceivable that this eldest daughter custom in Norway may have been derived from these older Norwegian people and preserved in its present form in parts of that country.

After the Norman Conquest the strict rule of Norman feudal primogeniture was deliberately applied by the Norman kings wherever possible, not only to English military fiefs, but to agricultural holdings of all kinds. The urban customs of the French portions of Hereford and Nottingham appears to have been altered in this way. The rural primogeniture of Normandy and Picardy, however, long remained in an exceptionally vigorous form, which may, perhaps, have been due to the Scandinavian origins of the Normans, and to the vitality of their ancient customs among the people. It is certain also that this rustic primogeniture has survived over a wider area of Cumberland, of which the continued existence of the right of the eldest daughter, in default of sons, is sufficient proof. That this part of the custom, which is one of the marks that distinguishes it from the feudal primogeniture, survived at all in England is proof of its vitality, and evidence that it must have come with the Norse people of Cumberland from Norway, where it prevails to the present day, and, so far as known, nowhere else in Northern Europe, Except in similar ancient Norwegian colonies. It was a custom in parts of Saxon England, and helps us to trace the origin of the English people of these districts. Its absence elsewhere in England, where Norse settlements from other evidence can be shown to have existed, maybe due to the rigour by which the newer primogeniture of the feudal type was enforced.

The earliest references t the custom of dividing the inheritance among the sons which prevailed among the ancient German tribes is that of Tacitus. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the earliest reference, so far as known, is that of the time of Clothair, and is contained in his code of laws. It confirms the several customs of inheritance which at that time prevailed.(25) the date of this is about A. D. 560, which shows that at this time the customs of succession had become various. Between the time of Tacitus and that of this king the people of Germany must have become considerably changed, for Teutonic tribes had left it and pushed on to the South and West, while Slavonic tribes had migrated into it from the East. In one instance a whole nation had come – the Slavic Czechs – who had in the fifth century driven out their predecessors, the Teutonic Marcomanni,(26) from Bohemia, as these had previously driven out the old Celtic Boii. The old name Boii, however, remained, and became the German designation for a new race. The Wilte had probably come into Frisia, and had settled around Utrecht(27) and in other districts in the Rhine valley. Migrations of Saxons and other races had also occurred.

The ancient custom of inheritance generally prevailing in Frisia was one under which all the children alike inherited. It is so described in a work in Frisain jurisprudence written in the sixteenth centuy.(28) In Holland at the present day we may look almost in vain for large landowners, for under the Dutch law all children share their father`s possessions.(29) Among the Frisians there were some communities, however, probably of mixed descent, who had apparently the custom of junior right already mentioned.

It may reasonably be conceded that where the Frisians settled in England they would be likely to take with them their own mode of inheritance. Similarly, we cannot doubt that those tribes which had a custom of junior right would continue it in the new land. One settlement may have had one custom, and the next another ; but when , as was in some instances the case, a number of old settled villages became parts of one great lordship or manor, and a general custom for the whole manor or lordship was adopted, it may well have been a compromise between the two older customs, and in this way a system of partible inheritance, with preference to the youngest son in regard to the homestead, may have arisen.

Tacitus told his roman readers that the Germans knew nothing of testament or the power of bequeathing property by will, but he said they had rules of intestate succession. The property set free by aman`s death did not pass to any body of persons who stood in different degrees of relationship to the dead man, but kinsmen were called to the inheritance class by class.(30) First the sons, if there were any ; failing them, the brothers ; and failing them, the uncles, divided the inheritance between them. This is the same custom that we find prevailed on manors in various parts of England. Partible inheritance in English custom was subject in different places to many variations in detail. In Kent it was mixed up with a preference for the youngest son, who by the Kentish custom claimed the paternal house, apparently by making compensation to his brothers. This corresponded to the custom of one part of Frisia.(31)

The three several systems of inheritance – the succession of the youngest son to the whole estate ; the succession of the eldest ; and the partible custom by which all shared alike, whether sons only, or sons and aughters – stand out, however, as three well-marked ancient systems. Can we trace them to their primitive sources ? Junior right, as far as the Teutonic nations are concerned, apparently came from the East, and rustic or primitive primogeniture from the north ; but the question remains, from what source did the Germanic people derive their custom of partible inheritance ? It prevailed among the Romans and the Greeks, but it is not at all probable that any custom of Germany beyond the pale of the Roman Empire could have been derived from the Empire and have been adopted by the German people. Bearing in mind that there wad an ancient trade route between the Baltic and Greece by which Scandinavia was brought into commercial intercourse with the south-east of Europe, and the probable origin of the Old Northern runic letters from characters of the ancient Greek alphabet, it is possible that the Northern Teutons learnt this custom from the Greeks, as they did the basis for their runes. It is probable that the very earliest Teutonic home was the Scandian peninsula, and that for centuries there was a steady flow of fair-complexioned, long-headed people from Scandinavia into Germany. This migration began at an early period, before, indeed, the Northern runes were invented, as is shown by the absence of runic inscriptions on fixed objects in German. It is unlikely, therefore, that the custom of partible inheritance among Germanic people was derived from the Greeks. The custom of dividing the inheritance is one which may easily have arisen spontaneously from its fairness.

We search in vain for any ancient exclusive examples of junior succession on a large scale among the purely Teutonic nations. In Germany partible inheritance prevailed among both nobles and peasants, and even late as the Middle Ages asserted its ancient right over primogeniture. The partible tendency in Germany resulted in the Middle Ages a division of the principalities, which has left its mark on that country to the present day. As generations went on, Saxony was split up into Saxe-Weimar, Saxe-Eisenach, Saxe-Gotha, Saxe-Meiningen, Saxe-Coburg, Saxe-Romhild, saxe-Eisenberg, Saxe-Saalfeld, Saxe-Hildberghausen, etc. Hesse, similarly, was divided into Hesse-Cassel, Hesse-Darmstadt, Hesse-Rheinfels, and Hesse-Marburg. Other parts of the country exhibit similar examples of subdivision, the Reusses being, perhaps, the smallest into which principalities were divided.(32) Primogeniture was adopted in Germany to save the princely families from extinction. The custom of parting the father`s property was clearly based on a sense of justice to all the children alike. Its primitive form was probably that in which the sons and daughters all had their shares. This was the custom of Frisia, and apparently that of the Northern Goths, for we find that some of their descendants at the present time in Sweden have the custom, and cling to it tenaciously. In Dalecarlia, where the people are of the purest Gothic descent, land is divided equally among all the children,(33) and consequently the divisions have in some cases become very small. A farmer in Dalecarlia at the present time occasionally has 300 parcels of land over a district four miles square.(34) In Gotaland, also, the land is parable, and in case of sale the relatives have the first right of purchase.(35) It is not difficult to understand how a warlike people like the Saxons, or even the Goths themselves after they had left their Northern home, a modification of the partible inheritance custom of their ancestors might have been found necessary, and so that which in more ancient and perhaps more peaceful times had been shared by both males and females was limited under different conditions of life to male children only. This was the custom of the Germans as described by Tacitus. Male inheritance was the custom of the Saxons,(36) and in gavelkind, by which daughters shared only in default of sons, it was, and still, the custom of Kent ? which was settled by Goths and Frisians.

In the laws of the Visigoths land is stated to be hereditary property, and there is special reference to its division among co-heirs.(37) The rule of this code was equal division among sons and daughters alike.(38) Just beyond the present day border of Goteborg, on the south-eastern frontier of Norway, the river Glommen flows into the sea, and on an island near the mouth of this river a remarkable inscription in Gothic runes was discovered on a stone weighing many tons.(39) The size and weight of the stone are sufficient to prove that this inscription was no wanderer. It could not have been carried from place to place or from country to country, as a ring or brooch with runic characters might have been. The inscription is in pure Gothic, such as Bishop Ulphilas wrote for the Moeso-Goths who migrated from the north and settled near the mouth of the Danube. This inscription is not perfect, but what remains has been translated as follows :

` Three daughters shared . . .Wodarid st.

They the heiresses share the heritage. `

The daughters of the Gothic race still share the heritage in Dalecaria, in Frisia, and, after the sons, they still share it by ancient custom in Kent and other parts of England. ? They did not share it in Norway, nor in Old Saxony, nor among the Angles, nor in the tribes of Germany closely connected with them. Among the Continental Angle tribes the distinct feature of succession which can be most strongly traced is that of male inheritance. This is found in the laws of the Angles and Warings that were sanctioned by Charlemagne. Similarly, among the Continental Saxons the rule of inheritance gave the preference to descendants of males over those of females as far as the fifth generation.(40)

In England there is a reference to the descent of land being limited to male succession in a charter dated A. D. 963, relating to a lease, for three lives, of land at Cotheridge in Worcestershire. In this it is expressly stipulated that the land is to descend on the spear hand.(41) Still further back the Anglian custom of limiting the succession to males must have prevailed in parts of Mercia, for in A. D. 784 Offa made a grant of land in which the succession is limited to the male line.(42) The only places in the Midland counties where we can race old custom of inheritance that give a reversion to females after males are those that were comprised within the Soke of Rothley in Leicestershire,(43) and Leicestershire apparently had some Gothic or Frisian settlers. The Mercian customs generally show a marked difference from the Kentish custom, and that which and be traced in parts of the South-Western counties.

The custom of rustic primogeniture, ultimogeniture, or succession by the youngest, and partible inheritance, all of them with some variations in detail, remain as witnesses before us of the tree chief schemes under which the land of England in Anglo-Saxon time passed from fathers to their successors ; and the three systems can be traced to different parts of the Continent from Angles, Saxons, and Jutes or Goths came. Of these, the partible custom was the widest spread in Germany, and probably in England and Scandinvia ; rustic primogeniture in the North of England and Norway ; and junior right on many English manors and scattered districts on the Continent, but on the east of the Elbe it prevailed as accustom over great territories.

The general absence of testamentary power among the Germanic tribes was long continued by their descendants who settled in England. It was not until a comparatively recent time that persons who held estates as manorial tenants, known as copyholders, could by their wills bequeath their lands and tenements to whom they wished. By the custom of many manors, however, they could devise their holdings by a process of surrendering them into the hands of the lord in his court. Those manors and boroughs, consequently, whose tenants and burgesses had the right of bequeathing their states without reference to their lords and their courts possessed a valuable privilege, which had come down from the remote time of the Anglo-Saxon period. This power was extended to all copyholders by the Statute of Wills passed in the reign of Henry VIII.(44) That such an Act was necessary in the sixteenth century shows what an exceptional privilege among the lower class of tenants the old customary right, where it prevailed, really was ; and as it did not prevail among the ancient German tribes, its origin may perhaps be traced to settlers of Northern descent.

From the circumstances that the custom of dividing the father`s lands prevailed among the socmen of the Danish districts in England during the later Saxon period, we may conclude that partible inheritance was a custom of Denmark. The two leading features of socage holdings were : (1) That it was certain both in tenure and the service due from the holder ; (2) it was held by custom of the manor.(45) Socmen were thus freemen, and they are chiefly mentioned in Domesday Book in districts within the Danelaw. As Scandinavian settlements, however, can be traced in counties west of the great Danish districts in England, so many socmen or freemen of this kind are mentioned in Domesday Book outside the Danelaw in the central and western counties. It appears to be certain that much of the land which was held by socage tenure remained partible until some time after the Conquest.(46) The preference in the partition of land, according to the Norwegian custom, which the eldest son enjoyed has already been pointed out. A similar preference appears to have existed largely on the socage lands that were by custom divided in England, so that the change by which the eldest son became the sole heir, instead of the first of them, crept in by degrees, probably in imitation of feudal tenure, the owners of socage lands choosing rather to deprive their youngest sons of their customary share than that the elder should not be in a position to keep up the family influence or dignity.(47)


(1)Droysen, G., `Allgemeiner Historische Handatlas.`

(2)Lodge, H. C., `Essays in Anglo-saxon Law,` p. 137, quoting `Lex Salica,` 59.

(3)Bracton, H. de, `De legibus et consuetudinibus Angliae., edited by Twiss, i. 45.

(4)Glanville, R. de, `Tract. De leg. Et cons. Reg. Angl.,` 1vii., and Pollock, F., `Land Laws,` Appendix, 214, 215.

(5)Elton, C. I., `Gavelkind,` Index ; Ibid., `Origins of English history,` 184.

(6)Elton, C. I., `Origins of English History,` p. 190, note, quoting references.

(7)Ibid., 191.

(8)Ibid., 192.

(9)Elton, C. I., loc. cit., p. 193.

(10) Ibid., p. 193.

(11) Hall, H., Notes and Queries, Seventh Series, ix. 449.

(12) Ripley, W. Z., `Races of Europe,` 248, quoting Baring-Gould.

(13) Morfill, W. r., `Slavonic Literature,` p. 84.

(14) Morfill, W. R., `Russia,` p. 192.

(15) Ibid. 284.

(16) Ibid., 350.

(17) Cecil, Evelyn, `Primogeniture,` p. 61, quoting Erskine, `Inst.,` book iii., 8, 6.

(18) Ibid., pp. 66, 67.

(19) Elton, C. I., `The Law of Copyholders,` p. 134.

(20) Beda, `Life of St. Benedict,` s. 11.

(21) Du Chaillu, P. B., `Land of the Midnight Sun,` 280, 290.

(22) Elton, C. I., `The Law of Copyholdres,` p. 134.

(23) Baigent, F. J., `The Hundred and Manor of Crondall,` p. 163.

(24) Baring-Gould, S., `Germany, Past and Present, p. 69.

(25) Monumenta Germaniae, Legum, tome i., edited by Pertz.

(26) Morfil, W. R., `Slavonic Literature,` 34.

(27) Beda, `Eccles. Hist.,` book v., chap. Ii.

(28) De Haau Hettema, `Jurisprudentia friesca,` Jahrh., ii., 100 ff.

(29) Meldrum, D. S., `Holland and the Hollanders,` 26-28.

(30) Pollock and Maitland, `History of English Law,` ii. 248, quoting `Germania,` chap. Xx.

(31) Robertson, E. W., `Scotland under her Early Kings,` ii. 266.

(32) Cecil, Evelyn, `Primogeniture` pp. 120, 121.

(33) du Chaillu, P. B., loc. cit., ii. 255.

(34) Baring-Gould, S., loc. cit., 84.

(35) Du Chaillu, P. B., loc. cit., ii. 336.

(36) Vide `Iuris Provinci alis quod speculum Saxonum vulgo nuncipatur Samosci,` 1502.

(37) Lex Visogothum, viii.

(38) Cecil, Evelyn, `Primogeniture,` p. 153.

(39) Vigfusson, G., and York Powell, F., `Corpus Poeticum Boreale,` i. 573.

(40) Lappenburg, J. M., `England under the Saxon Kings.` ii. 120.

(41) Cart. Sax., iii. 339.

(42) Codex Dipl., Introd., xxxiii.

(43) Archaeologia, x1vii. 97.

(44) Elton, C. I., and Mackay, H. J. H., `Law of Copyholds,` 83.

(45) Vinogradoff, P., `Villainage,` 197.

(46) Glanville, R. de, loc. cit., 1vii., chap. i.

(47) Elton, C. I., `Gavelkind,` 17.

Taken from the book =`origin of the Anglo-Saxon Race.`

Author= T. W. Shore.