John Hudson

in The Oxford History of the Laws of England

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780198260301
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191740640 | DOI:

Series: The Oxford History of the Laws of England


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This chapter discusses ownership, succession, bailment, and sale and grant. By the late twelfth century the distinction between movables and immovables, familiar in later English law, is clear. The Dialogue of the Exchequer says of the fugitive convicted ‘through the set law of the assize’ that ‘all his movables [mobilia] fall to the treasury, but immovables to his lords’. The movables here are the chattels [catalla] of the Pipe Rolls, as the Dialogue itself indicates. The distinction between movables and immovables was made partly under the influence of the learned laws, and Glanvill distinguishes res mobiles and res immobiles in his treatment of debt, where his language shows particular Roman influence. In the thirteenth century, chattels came to include other rights such as leases for terms of years, wardships, and control of marriages, what would come to be known as ‘chattels real’. This change leaves some marks on Bracton but not, it seems, on Glanvill.

Keywords: immovables; ownership; succession; bailment; sale; grant; Dialogue of the Exchequer; Glanvill

Chapter.  6273 words. 

Subjects: History of Law

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