Kavanaugh v. Cohoes Power & Light Corporation
State of New York
114 Misc. Rep. 590, 187 New York Supplement 216 (1921).
[187 N.Y.S. 216, 231] In this manner was the relation of lord and tenant created. There may have been a long train of subordinate lords between the king and the actual tenant of the land. The duties owing by each tenant to his superior constituted the tenure of the land, and the corresponding right in each superior was called seignory. Burton on Real Prop. p. 316. Where the tenant paravail was a tenant in fee, the tenure was perfect, and constituted a substantive and independent seignory. The seignory somewhat resembled a reversion, as this term is used in the law of estates. Burton on Real Prop. c. 6. Thus, as one of the fruits of a seignory is escheat, which signifies properly when by accident the lands fall to the lord of whom they are held, as by the tenant's failure of heirs or attainder of treason, it resembled a reversion. 2 Britton, c. VI; Co. Litt. 13a. Indeed, an escheat has been called a reversion, though improperly. Digby's Real Prop. (5th Ed.) p. 226, note 1. A reversion proper arose when a tenant in fee simple made a gift in tail, or a least for life or years. Lord Coke, in his Commentaries on Littleton, gives other examples, but in the last analysis it appears that in these there is always a remnant of the fee left in the grantor, however complicated the limitation. Co. Litt. 22b.
In the year 1290 the custom of subinfeudation had become intolerable, whereupon the statue of quia emptores was enacted. 18 Edw. I, c. 1. Thereafter no new tenure could be created on a feoffment in fee simple, unless by the king or a tenant in capite, which it is not here necessary to notice, because by the force of the statute all lands and tenements so granted were held of the chief lord of the same fee by such services and customs as the feoffor held before. Burton on Real Prop. p. 317; 2 Black. Comm. 91. The effect of this statute was to prevent subinfeudation, and to permit alienation of lands in fee, free and clear of any new tenure.
Before the statute of quia emptores, if a man made feoffment in fee simple, yielding to him a certain rent, this was a rent service, and a tenure was created between the parties. The relation of landlord and tenant was thereby created, and as an incident thereto the landlord, by reason of the relationship, might distrain as of common right. So, too, where a feoffment in fee was made before the statute, and there was no reservation of any rent or service, yet the feoffee held of the lord paramount. In such a case a tenure was created, and the relationship of landlord and tenant came into existence, for the feoffee held of the feoffor, and not of the lord next paramount to the feoffor. After the statute this would not be a fact. When the feoffor parted with his fee, the relationship of landlord and tenant did not spring up [187 N.Y.S. 216, 232] as between the feoffor and the feoffee, but the lands were held by the feoffee under the old tenure; that is, of the landlord of whom his donor held.