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Home > Catalogue > The Fee Tail and the Common Recovery in Medieval England
The Fee Tail and the Common Recovery in Medieval England
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  • Page extent: 520 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.81 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 346.4204/32
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: KD854 .B53 2001
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Entail--England--History
    • Restraints on alienation--England--History
    • Fines and recoveries--England--History

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521806466 | ISBN-10: 0521806461)

DOI: 10.2277/0521806461

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

 (Stock level updated: 17:00 GMT, 30 November 2015)


Fee tails were a basic building block for family landholding from the end of the thirteenth to the beginning of the twentieth century. The classic entail was an interest in land which was inalienable and could only pass at death by inheritance to the lineal heirs of the original grantee. Biancalana's study considers the origins, development and use of the entail in later medieval England, and the origins and early use of a reliable legal mechanism for the destruction of individual entails, the common recovery. He untangles the complex history surrounding medieval landholding in this detailed study of the fee tail, the product of extensive research in original sources. This book includes an extensive index of over three hundred common recoveries with discussions of their transactional contexts. A major work which will interest lawyers and historians.

• Almost entirely based on original sources • A comprehensive history of fee tails and an explanation of the origins of the common recovery • Includes a catalogue of more than three hundred common recoveries with discussions of their transactional contexts


Acknowledgments; List of abbreviations and abbreviated citations; Introduction; Part I. Fee Tails Before De Donis: 1. Grants in fee tail; 2. The transformation of maritagium; 3. Maritagium and fee tails in the King's court: the development of the formedon writs; Part II. The Growth of the 'Perpetual' Entail: 4. Reading De Donis; 5. The statutory restraint on alienation and the descender writ; 6. The duration of entails for reversions and remainders; Part III. Living with Entails: 7. The change from maritagium to jointure; 8. The frequency and use of entails; Part IV. Barring the Enforcement Entails other than by Common Recovery: 9. The doctrine of assets by descent; 10. The doctrine of collateral warranty; 11. Barring entails by judgment; Part V. The Origin and Development of the Common Recovery: 12. The origin and growth of common recoveries; 13. Development of procedure and doctrine; 14. The double voucher recovery; Part VI. The Common Recovery in Operation: 15. The uses of recoveries; 16. Social acceptance of the common recovery; Appendix to Part VI; Bibliography; Subject and selected persons index; Index to persons and places in appendix to Part VI.


'A short review cannot do justice to the scope and value of this book. … essential reading not only for those interested in land law but also for all converned with the history of English landed society.' Oxford Academic Journals

'… any further work in this field will have to start from the information and interpretation of this magisterial monograph.' The Cambridge Law Journal

'… an extended and engrossingly technical study of the development, from the late twelfth to the fifteenth century, of the fee tail … The text is meticulously researched and diligently footnoted, and is ample witness to the author's long hours in the Public Record Office wrestling with the Plea Rolls of the Court of Common Pleas … Biancalana not only has taken us back to the drawing board, but has inked out what is, in many respects, a new - and immensely thought-provoking - picture.' Legal History

'… a masterly survey of a wealth of unpublished primary materials regarding the origins and development of entails and the methods used to bar them.' Legal Studies

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