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Ancient demesne land recorded in Domesday Book as belonging to the Crown. (Demesne, meaning the lands of an estate, comes in Middle English from Old French demeine (later Anglo-Norman demesne) ‘belonging to a lord’, and ultimately from Latin dominus ‘lord’.)

ancient lights the right of access to light of a property, established by custom and used to prevent the construction of buildings on adjacent property which would obstruct such access. Recorded from the mid 18th century, from lights meaning ‘light from the sky’.

Ancient Mariner eponymous hero of Coleridge's poem, sole survivor of a disastrous voyage in which the ship after a storm is drawn to the South Pole, who stops one of three wedding guests and forces him to listen to his story.

The mariner had shot an albatross and brought down a curse on his ship; the dead albatross was hung round the mariner's neck as a penance. The rest of the crew died, but the mariner lived on, and was finally released from the burden. Afterward he was compelled constantly to travel and tell his story as an exemplum of divine grace, and the term Ancient Mariner is sometimes used allusively to denote someone's unwanted presence.

Ancient of Days a name for God, from the scriptural title in Daniel 7:9, ‘the Ancient of Days did sit, whose garments were white as snow’.


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