Socage

Socage was one of the feudal duties and hence land tenure forms in the feudal system. A farmer, for example, held the land in exchange for a clearly-defined, fixed payment to be made at specified intervals to his feudal lord, who in turn had his own feudal obligations to the Crown. In theory this might involve supplying the lord with produce but most usually it meant a straightforward payment of cash, i.e., rent.

In this respect it contrasted with other forms of tenure including serjeanty (the farmer paid no rent but had to perform some personal/official service on behalf of his lord, including in times of war) and frankalmoin (some form of religious service). For those higher up the feudal pyramid, there was also knight-service (military service) as a condition of land tenure.

The English statute "Quia Emptores" of Edward I (1290) established that socage tenure passed automatically from one generation to the next (unlike leases). As feudalism declined, socage tenure increased until it became the normal form of tenure in England. In 1660, the Statute of Tenures ended the remaining forms of military service and all free tenures were converted into socage.

The holder of a "soc" or socage tenure was referred to as a "socager" (Anglo-Norman) or "socman" (Anglo-Saxon).

ee also

*Soke (legal)
* Quia Emptores

External links

* [http://s98822910.onlinehome.us/thousandyears/the_story_of_our_law.pdf The Story of Our Law for Little Children (A simple history of the word Socage)]


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  • Socage — Soc age, n.[From {Soc}; cf. LL. socagium.] (O.Eng. Law) A tenure of lands and tenements by a certain or determinate service; a tenure distinct from chivalry or knight s service, in which the obligations were uncertain. The service must be certain …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • socage — [säk′ij] n. [ME: see SOKE & AGE] a medieval English system of land tenure in which a tenant held land in return for a fixed payment or for certain stated nonmilitary services to his lord …   English World dictionary

  • socage — /sok ij/, n. Medieval Eng. Law. a tenure of land held by the tenant in performance of specified services or by payment of rent, and not requiring military service. Also, soccage. [1275 1325; ME sokage < AF socage, equiv. to soc SOKE + age AGE] *… …   Universalium

  • socage — /sowkaj/ A species of tenure, in England, whereby the tenant held certain lands in consideration of certain inferior services of husbandry to be performed by him to the lord of the fee. In its most general and extensive signification, a tenure by …   Black's law dictionary

  • socage — Land tenure by nonmilitary service. See common socage; free socage; guardian in socage; simple socage …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • socage — soc•age [[t]ˈsɒk ɪdʒ[/t]] n. law (in medieval England) the system permitting a tenant to hold land in exchange for specified services or the payment of rent, and not requiring military service on behalf of the lord • Etymology: 1275–1325; ME… …   From formal English to slang

  • socage — n. (also soccage) a feudal tenure of land involving payment of rent or other non military service to a superior. Etymology: ME f. AF socage f. soc f. OE socn SOKE …   Useful english dictionary

  • socage — also soccage noun Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo French, from soc soke Date: 14th century a tenure of land by agricultural service fixed in amount and kind or by payment of money rent only and not burdened with any military service •… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Socage — Tenure of land for which a rent of money or kind such as labour at sowing time and harvest or ploughing was given but which did not include military service. [< 12c Lat. socagium = form of free tenure] …   Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases

  • Socage —    Plough service, a tenure inferior to tenure by knight service. In London in later times it seems to have been a payment arising out of a tenement or holding in a soke, due to the owner in respect of such holding.    There are references to… …   Dictionary of London


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