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CONCERNING THE STEWARD.
Powers of steward.
Disability of steward.
Of his power to make Grants, take Surrenders, and
grant Admittances; and as to his Fees. The steward of a manor has very extensive powers vested in him, and may execute all ministerial acts. He may take surrenders, though out of the manor, and admit out of court, though not out of the manor: but he cannot, in his mere character of steward, admit or make grants out of the manor, though the lord may by deed authorize him so to do. (1)
Though the steward be an infant, or non compos, an idiot, lunatic, or outlaw, yet what things soever he performeth as incident to his office, can never be avoided for any such disability. (2)
A steward is usually appointed during the lord's pleasure; but if the office be granted to one for life, such grant will be good. (3) A steward may also be retained by parol. (4)
A custom that the steward or his deputy shall have the sole right of preparing all copyhold surrenders within
Custom as to surrenders.
the manor, has been held good, the custom being advantageous to the tenant, as the steward is bound to prepare the surrender for a fixed sum. (1)
On the admission of a tenant to several copyholds, the Steward's fees. steward is entitled to be paid according to a quantum meruit, unless certain fees are proved to be due by the custom of the particular manor. (2) From the case of Garland v. Jekyll, (3) which decided against a continued multiplication of heriots, on the re-union of several estates in one entire tenement, it would seem that the steward, whose fees had been multiplied by the creation of several estates in one tenement, would be reduced to single fees on a re-union of those estates.
By the 48 G. 3, c. 149, s. 34, the steward, previously Fees on surto accepting a surrender, or granting or making an admit- renders, &c. tance, voluntary grant, or license to demise in court, may insist on payment of his fees for the same, and for the copy of court roll to be made out thereof, together with the stamp duty payable on such copy.
An under-steward, though he may take a surrender out Under-steward. of court, cannot, it is said, admit out of court, without special authority or custom. (4)
(1) Rex v. Rigge, 2 Bar. & Ald. 550.
CONCERNING THE TENANT.
SECT. I.-1. Of the Tenant's Interest in the Copy
hold Lands, and the Extinguishment and Forfeiture of the Tenure: herein as to various Acts of Forfeiture, and the consequences thereof; as to the Forfeiture and Escheat of Legal and Equitable Estates; and of the statute 4 g. 5 W. 4, c. 23, respecting the Escheat and Forfeiture of Real and Personal Property.
Extinguish. ment of copyhold interest.
If a copyholder in fee by any act relinquish his tenancy into the lord's hands, the copyhold interest will be extinguished; but the demisable property not being lost, the lord may afterwards grant out the land as copyhold. And if a tenant purchase the manor, the tenancy will be extinguished, though the copyhold may be regranted. (1)
The acceptance of a common law lease for years by a copyholder, or the acquisition by him of the freehold interest in the particular copyhold, will operate as an absolute extinguishment of the copyhold interest. (2)
Though a copyholder be in the estimation of the law but tenant at will to the lord, yet so long as he observes
the customs, and performs the services of the manor of which his lands are held, his estate is as permanently established as that of a freeholder; but there are many acts, the commission or omission of which will cause the copyhold to become forfeited to the lord.
The creation of any common law interest for years, Forfeiture. beyond the period of a year, unless with the lord's license, or supported by custom, will create a forfeiture. But such an interest, being good against all persons except the lord, is voidable only, and not void, and, therefore, is a forfeiture at election only, and may be waved. (1)
If the tenant enfeoff another, and give livery of seisin, a'forfeiture will be incurred. (2) Yet a surrender to Surrender no another for a larger estate than the surrenderor has, will be no cause of forfeiture.(3) Neither will an agreement for a lease not operating as an actual lease, be any cause of forfeiture. (4)
Conviction for felony will not constitute an act of for- Felony. feiture without a special custom; but if there be judgment of attainder, there will be a forfeiture. (5)
Attainder. The felling of trees, and digging of mines and pits Felling of trees, when not warranted by the custom, the ploughing up of &c. meadow land, and pulling down of houses, and omitting to repair, will among other acts amount to a forfeiture of the estate.(6)
But a mortgagee in possession of copyholds may pull Mortgagee. down ruinous houses, and build better ones, without being guilty of waste:(7) for to constitute waste, the act done must be injurious to the inheritance, either by diminishing
Neglect to attend court, &c.
Forfeiture by tenant for life.
the value of the estate, by increasing the burthen upon it, or by impairing the evidence of title. (1)
So the copyholder's neglecting to attend the lord's court, his refusing to be sworn on the homage, or to pay the customary fine or rent, will be acts of forfeiture.(2)
But the non-performance of suit will be no cause of forfeiture, unless the copyholder be personally summoned; yet if being sworn on the homage he wilfully refuse to present, he will incur a forfeiture. (3)
Should A., tenant for life of copyhold property, with remainder to B., commit a forfeiture of his estate, the interest of B. will receive no prejudice. If A.'s estate were limited to him during his natural life, the lord will become entitled for the remainder of that period: if it were limited during his life generally, or if B.'s estate were limited to commence on the forfeiture or determination of A.'s estate, then B, will become entitled immediately on the forfeiture of A.: but in either of the last mentioned cases the lord would be entitled to enter and bring ejectment. (4)
It is to be observed, that a remainder man or reversioner is in the seisin or tenancy so as to be capable of committing a forfeiture. (5)
Of forfeitures, some are absolute, and extinguish the copyhold interest; while others are forfeitures at election only, and capable, therefore, of being waved.(6)
When the forfeiture is absolute, the succeeding lord may avail himself of the same; when it is not absolute, but at election only, and no advantage is taken thereof by
Forfeiture ab solute and at election.
(1) Doe v. Earl of Burlington, K. B. T. & M. T. 1833.
(4) Doe v. Clements, 2 Maule & Selw. 68. Co. Cop. s. 59. Cop. 412, [4th ed.]
(5) 1 Watk. Cop. 409, [4th ed.] (6) 1 Watk. Cop. 420, [4th ed.]