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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a principal form of feudal land tenure by peas-ants in late medieval and early Renaissance England.

Copyhold arose out of villein tenure about 1400 and became widespread in the 15th century. A copy of an excerpt from the manor’s court roll was given to the peasant, attesting to his right to own a plot. Copyhold reflected the emancipation of villeins from serfdom, the actual and legal strengthening of the peasant economy, and the replacement of the lord’s arbitrary power with customary law. However, copyholders did not have legal protection under common law and were burdened with many obligations. In most cases copyhold tenure was for life, but it was not hereditary. During the agrarian revolution that began in the 16th century, an enormous number of copyholders were deprived of their land.

The English bourgeois revolution in the 17th century kept the copyholders in the position of landholders whose rights were not recognized by common law. Copyhold tenure became obsolete as a result of parliamentary enclosures, but it was not legally abolished until 1925.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Dudley again obtained one-sixteenth for his manorial rights, and allotments for his right of coney warren and to enfranchise copyholds which secured him 46 per cent of the surface, largely along the line of the canal and over the most easily won coal.
(41) Villein tenure became slowly transformed to copyhold during the later 14th and 15th centuries.
In fifteenth-century East Anglia, servile land tenure most commonly developed into copyhold of inheritance.(72) This was the established form of tenure in Hevingham by the sixteenth century.
The churchwardens, lay officers in charge of church property, bear "scrolls / of copyhold' (151), legal documents that authorize the tenure of land by right of the court of the manor -- a remnant of feudal law.
Much more important was the legalized ability of the artisan manufacturers to raise mortgages on tbeir freehold and copyhold lands.
Miss PRUDENCE M DAILEY, Chairman, Prayer Book Society, The Studio, Copyhold Farm, Lady Grove, Goring Heath, Reading RG8 7RT
In 1922 the Law of Property Act abolished the form of land tenure called copyhold. This removed the last useful function of medieval manorial courts, which were still being held in places where copyhold was prevalent.
Such preservationist zeal was especially evident in the laws of land or tenement tenure by copyhold, under which the retention of the document (deed or copy of court roll) was essential to establishing ownership.
Here, as always, he is careful to define his terms--custom itself, copyhold, and their relationship with the common law.
Even so, fines for encroaching were less a matter of deterrence than of fiscal pragmatism on the part of landlords, since those presented had the appropriated land granted to them in copyhold at an appropriate rent.
Thirsk introduces the rural chapters by surveying food prices, disputes over ownership of coastal lands, improvement of the commons, conflict over copyhold, and the search for concealed crown lands.
PRUDENCE M DAILEY, Chairman, Prayer Book Society, The Studio, Copyhold Farm, Goring Heath, Reading RG8 7RT (tel: 01189 842 582; email: