Quia Emptores, Subinfeudation, and the Decline of Feudalism in Medieval England

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The focus of this thesis is threefold. First, Edward I enacted the Statute of Westminster III, Quia Emptores in 1290, at the insistence of his leading barons. Secondly, there were precedents for the king of England doing something against his will. Finally, there were unintended consequences once parliament passed this statute. The passage of the statute effectively outlawed subinfeudation in all fee simple estates. It also detailed how land was able to be transferred from one possessor to another. Prior to this statute being signed into law, a lord owed the King feudal incidences, which are fees or services of ... continued below

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Garofalo, Michael August 2017.

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  • Garofalo, Michael

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Description

The focus of this thesis is threefold. First, Edward I enacted the Statute of Westminster III, Quia Emptores in 1290, at the insistence of his leading barons. Secondly, there were precedents for the king of England doing something against his will. Finally, there were unintended consequences once parliament passed this statute. The passage of the statute effectively outlawed subinfeudation in all fee simple estates. It also detailed how land was able to be transferred from one possessor to another. Prior to this statute being signed into law, a lord owed the King feudal incidences, which are fees or services of various types, paid by each property holder. In some cases, these fees were due in the form of knights and fighting soldiers along with the weapons and armor to support them. The number of these knights owed depended on the amount of land held. Lords in many cases would transfer land to another person and that person would now owe the feudal incidences to his new lord, not the original one. This amount collected by the lord effectively reduced the payments to the original lord. During the early Middle Ages, feudal incidences began to change to a monetary exchange which would be used to purchase outside knights and soldiers. At this time, lords throughout England were losing revenue because of the subinfeudation. The Statute of Quia Emptores stopped subinfeudation and prevented lords from transferring land to another by any method except for subsitution. The statute itself was short but it covered all land in England. I will argue in my thesis that this statute had more to do with the ending of feudalism than any other single event. I will further argue that it was not King Edward I's intention to end feudalism. The ending of feudalism was an unintended consequence of the enactment of his statute in 1290.

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  • August 2017

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  • Oct. 9, 2017, 11:44 a.m.

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Garofalo, Michael. Quia Emptores, Subinfeudation, and the Decline of Feudalism in Medieval England, thesis, August 2017; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1011861/: accessed November 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .