AskDefine | Define copyhold

Dictionary Definition

copyhold n : a medieval form of land tenure in England; a copyhold was a parcel of land granted to a peasant by the lord of the manor in return for agricultural services

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A former form of tenure in which the title deeds were a copy of the manorial roll


  • 1990, John Updike, Rabbit at Rest,
    "[...]this quiz with all the strange old terms in it, curtilage and messuage and socage and fee simple and fee tail and feoffee and copyhold and customary freehold and mortmain and devises and lex loci rei sitae."

Derived terms

Extensive Definition

At its origin in medieval England, Copyhold tenure was tenure of land according to the custom of the manor, the "title deeds" being a copy of the record of the manor court.
Copyholds were gradually enfranchised (turned into ordinary holdings of land—either freehold or 999-year leasehold) during the 19th century. Legislation in the 1920s finally extinguished the last of them.

Other defunct forms of tenure

Tenure in feu (the general name for the following)
Tenure in chivalry
Tenure by grand sergeanty
Tenure by petty sergeanty
Tenure of Knight-service
Tenure by frankalmoin or free alms
Tenure by socage (including such forms as)
borough English
Tenure of villeinage (which preceded copyhold).

Further reading

  • Andrew Barsby (1996) Manorial Law
copyhold in Russian: Копигольд

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

equitable estate, estate at sufferance, estate for life, estate for years, estate in expectancy, estate in fee, estate in possession, estate tail, fee, fee simple, fee tail, feod, feodum, feud, feudal estate, fief, lease, leasehold, legal estate, paramount estate, particular estate, remainder, reversion, vested estate
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