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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 14

7.—Privileges of Crown Tenants in Ancient Demesne

7.—Privileges of Crown Tenants in Ancient Demesne.

Those estates, which are called in Domesday terra regis, are called the Ancient Demesnes of the crown; and the tenants of such portions of them as were granted out on a species of socage tenure, the services reserved on which were to cultivate the land and supply a certain quantity of provisions for "the king's household," were called tenants in ancient demesne o. These tenants had six privileges:—

1. They could not be impleaded for their lands, &c., out of the manor. 2. They could not be impannelled to appear at Westminster or elsewhere, upon any inquest or trial. 3. They were free and quiet from all manner of tolls in fairs and markets, for all things concerning husbandry and sustenance. 4. And also of taxes and talliages by Parliament, unless specially named. 5. And also of contribution to the expenses of the Knights to Parliament. 6. If severally distrained for other services, they might all join in a writ of monstraverunt p.

These privileges did not extend to those who held such manors by knight service. But though in course of time most of those manors were granted by the crown to subjects, the socage tenants preserved their ancient privileges, even though the services were commuted for money rents q. The manor itself, and such parts of it as were held by knight service, were not considered as ancient demesne, but as frank-fee r. The above privileges were annexed to the tenants of those lands for the same or a similar reason that certain privileges are annexed to the persons of Peers, or Members of page 185 Parliament, viz., for the public good. It seems unreasonable to demand that the privilege should remain when the public is no longer benefited by it s.