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Browsing: Legal Papers of John Adams, Volume 2

This note contained in document ADMS-05-02-02-0007-0003-0002
9. That is, Coke, Littleton §117, appearing in 1 Coke, Institutes 85b: “Tenure in Socage, is where the Tenant holdeth of his Lord the tenancie by certain service for all manner of services, so that the service be not Knights service: As where a man holdeth his land of his Lord by Fealty and certaine rent, for all manner of services: or else where a man holdeth his Land by homage, fealty, and certain rent, for all manner of services, for homage by it selfe maketh not Knights service. The patent of the New England Council (note 2 above), the Plymouth Patent (note 3 above), and the Plymouth deed of the Kennebec lands (note 1218 below), were all grants in socage, one of the four ancient feudal tenures. At this period the tenures had largely lost their military and political significance and were only descriptive of differing proprietary relationships. When they could, English rulers were glad to grant lands by Knight Service, which had profitable incidents such as scutage and wardship and marriage. Socage, under which there were few fixed requirements of service, had become much more common, however, especially in grants like these, where some inducement was necessary for the grantees. See Sir William Holdsworth, Historical Introduction to the Land Law 21–29 (London, 1927), Haskins, “Gavelkind and the Charter of Massachusetts Bay,” 34 Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns. 483–484, 496 (1943); Barnes, “Land Tenure,” Essays in Colonial History 7, 10, 33.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.