Legal Definition and Related Resources of Gavelkind

Meaning of Gavelkind

prior to the Norman Conquest, this was the customary mode of tenure . All lands in England were held in gavelkind and descended to all the sons and, should one son predecease the father but leave behind a daughter, she succeeded to his share in his stead jure representationis. After the Conquest, law of primogeniture superseded gavelkind, except in Kent where all tenures were presumed to be gavelkind unless proven otherwise . Land held in gavelkind yielded the kind of service called gavel, as distinct from Knight’s Service, that is, it yielded rent. It had certain other distinct features such as the dower interest and curtesy extended to one-half of the gavelkind lands.

Gavelkind Alternative Definition

The tenure by which almost all lands in England were held prior to the Conquest, and which is still preserved in Kent. ‘ All the sons of a tenant of gavelkind lands take equally, or their heirs male and female by representation. 104 111. App. 170. The wife of such tenant is dowable of onehalf the lands. The husband of such tenant has curtesy, whether issue be born or not, but only of one-half while without issue. Such lands do not escheat, except for treason or want of heirs. The heir of such lands may sell at fifteen years old, but must himself give livery. The rule as to division among brothers, in default of sons is the same as among the sons. Lord Coke derives gavelkind from “gave all kinde”; for this custom gave to all the sons alike (1 Co. Litt. 140a) ; Lambard, from gavel, rent, that is, land of the kind that pays rent or customary husbandry work, in distinction from lands held by knight service (Perambulations of Kent, 1656, p. 585).

Related Entries of Gavelkind in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Gavelkind in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Gavelkind in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Gavelkind in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Gavelkind in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Coparcener, Coparcenary, Primogeniture.


You might be interested in these references tools:

Resource Description
Gavelkind in the Dictionary Gavelkind in our legal dictionaries
Browse the Legal Thesaurus Find synonyms and related words of Gavelkind
Legal Maxims Maxims are established principles that jurists use as interpretive tools, invoked more frequently in international law
Legal Answers (Q&A) A community-driven knowledge creation process, of enduring value to a broad audience
Related topics Gavelkind in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Gavelkind is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)


Resource Description
Topic Map A group of names, occurrences and associations
Topic Tree A topic display format, showing the hierarchy
Sitemap Index Sitemap Index, including Taxonomies The URI of Gavelkind (more about URIs)

What is Gavelkind?

A definition of gavelkind is: A species of socage tenure common in Kent, In England (for more information on the <a href="https: //lawi. More details on the More details on the”>English legal system and its history, visit the UK legal encycopedia), where the lands descend to all the sons, or heirs of the nearest degree, together; ma’Y be disposed of by will; do not escheat for felony; may be aliened by the heir at the age of fifteen; and dower and curtesy is given of half the land.[1]



  1. “Gavelkind” in the White America Dictionary (New York, Los Angeles, London, New Delhy, Hong Kong, 1989)

See Also




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *