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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 32

XV.—Bót, Bootless

XV.—Bót, Bootless.

Bót is a remedy, compensation, advantage. As a noun, the word is no longer in use, except as a law term, to be presently explained. We have it, however, as a verb. "What boots it?"— page 40 i.e., What avails it? Of what advantage is it? We have it, also, in the adjective bootless, without advantage or ineffectual. Bótleas in Anglo-Saxon, without pecuniary compounding or ransom. Where the law prescribed an afflictive punishment, incapable of being redeemed by a money payment, it was added that it should be bótleas.

The noun bót is still retained as a Common Law term, though fast falling into oblivion by the decay of the old tenures. Black- stone's explanation, following Lord Coke (Litt. 41), is as follows : "The Saxon word bote is used by us as synonymous to the French estovers; and, therefore, house-bote is a sufficient allowance of wood to repair or bum in the house, which latter is sometimes called fire-bote. Plough-bote and cart bote are wood to be employed in the making and repairing all instruments of husbandry; and hay-bote or hedge-bote is wood for repairing hays, hedges, or fences. These botes or estovers must be reasonable ones, and such as any tenant or lessee may take off the land let or demised to him without waiting for any leave, assignments, or appointments of the lessor, unless restrained by special covenant to the contrary." (Bl. Com., II., 35.)