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wardship


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The right of the Crown to hold and administer the estates of heirs of tenants‐in‐chief until they reached the age of 21, or 14 for an heiress. During this period the Crown received the revenues of the estate and could determine the marriage of the heir or heiress. These rights were enforced from Henry VII's reign (1485–1509) until the abolition of feudal tenures in 1660. Wardships were frequently sold to nobility and gentry, and were, of course, lucrative assets. Often wards were married off to a child of the person who got wardship; sometimes relations got wardship. See J. Hurstfield, ‘Lord Burghley as Master of the Court of Wards, 1561–98’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 4th ser., 31 (1949). See also Wards and Liveries, Court of.

Subjects: History.


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