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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 14

13.—Knight-service Tenures

13.—Knight-service Tenures.

The most general species of tenure by which lands were held in England from the time of William I., commonly called William the Conqueror, down to that of Charles I., was that by knight service. To make a tenure of this kind, a certain quantity of land called a knight's fee was necessary. What the precise quantity in value of land that constituted a knight's fee was is not clear, there being a diversity of opinions on the subject. According to some a knight's fee contained 800 acres, according to others 680 b. Lord Coke was of opinion that a knight's fee was to be computed by the quality, and not by the quantity of the land. He says it appears by the act or writ c 1 E. II. de Militibus, that a knight's fee was measured by the value of £20 per annum, and not by any certain content of acres d, Mr. Selden again insists that a knight's fee was estimable neither by the value nor the quantity of the land, but by the services or number of knights reserved e.