Hereditary Feudal Lease

Hereditary Feudal Lease

 

in feudal law, the standards formulated in Europe in the 13th and 14th centuries to govern a specific type of land tenancy by peasants and mountaineers. The lease was similar to the emphyteusis in Roman law. It secured for a family the use of a piece of land from generation to generation; the tenant was required to pay the feudal lord a fixed quitrent, usually rendered in cash rather than in kind. This quitrent was known as czynsz in Polish, Zins in German, cens in French, and census in English.

In Western Europe, the use of the hereditary feudal lease spread as the corvée system of peasant exploitation declined; the corvée system became unprofitable for feudal lords as a result of the development of commodity-money relations. In Central and Eastern Europe, the use of the hereditary feudal lease was sharply restricted in the 16th and 17th centuries by the second promulgation of serfdom. In Russia, the lease, which was known as chinshevoe pravo, was used only in limited areas, including the Polish and Lithuanian lands and certain southwestern provinces.

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