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Lords and Lordship in the British Isles in the Late Middle Ages$
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Rees Davies and Brendan Smith

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199542918

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199542918.001.0001

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Land, Family, and Marriage

Land, Family, and Marriage

(p.140) 5 Land, Family, and Marriage
Lords and Lordship in the British Isles in the Late Middle Ages

R. R. Davies

Oxford University Press

The acquisition and transmission of land, and the present and future wellbeing of family members, were matters that preoccupied the nobility, as is demonstrated by the care that they took in the production and safe-keeping of legal documents related to these issues. Especially in England land was the source of wealth and power, and was most usually acquired through royal patronage and/or marriage. New legal devices such as the entail (or its Scottish equivalent, tailzie), and the enfeoffment to use grew up to meet the desire to control inheritance and keep estates intact. Lords sought to provide for their wives and other family members, and competed among themselves for eligible marriage partners for their children. Marriages could be expensive, depending on the size of the marriage portion, and might be derailed by the unwillingness of daughters to agree to the marriages contracted.

Keywords:   land, royal patronage, marriage, entail, enfeoffment to use, wives, marriage portion, daughters

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