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If a mesne lord when he has received service from his tenant does not acquit him against the superior lord.

[002] When one has taken the homage, or the oath of fealty, of his tenant and his service,
[003] and, though he is mesne, does not acquit him against the superior lord but puts
[004] the whole into his own purse,1 [the tenant], if this is proved and attested before
[005] worthy and lawful men, may, without acting contrary to law, acquit himself by
[006] his own hand and do his service to the chief lord. The mesne lord, because of the
[007] bond of homage, will nevertheless be bound to warrant.2

Of those who are bound to an oath of fealty.

[009] We have explained above how homage must be done. [Now we must speak] of those
[010] who are bound to an oath of fealty, as those who hold in free socage or for life in some
[011] way.3 How they ought to do fealty and4 to whom, may be drawn well enough from
[012] what has been said.5

Of the giving of reliefs.

[014] 6When homages and oaths of fealty have been taken from those of full age, the
[015] tenement which was in the hands of their ancestors, and the inheritance which
[016] lies vacant by their decease, is raised again in the hands of the heirs, and because
[017] of such relevatio a certain payment must be made by7 heirs which is called a relief,8
[018] [from military fees and serjeanties and other [tenements] from which homage is
[019] done and royal service; from socages, from which de jure no homage ought to be
[020] done9 a payment is made which is not called a relief10 but is a kind of relief, like a
[021] heriot,11 [given], so to speak, in place of a relief, which ought sometimes to be given
[022] before the oath of fealty, sometimes after it.]12 Thus we must first see how much a
[023] reasonable relief is, who ought to give a relief, to whom it is to be given, how often
[024] and when. And first of the military fee.

What a reasonable relief is.

[026] How much the ancient reasonable relief of a military fee is is made clear in the charter
[027] of liberties, that is, 13for the whole barony of an earl a hundred pounds are to be
[028] given for relief by the earl's heir; by the heir of a baron for a whole barony one
[029] hundred marks;14 by the heir of a knight for a whole knight's fee a hundred
[030] shillings at most, and whoever owes less let him give less, according as he holds


1. Supra 227, infra iv, 216

2. Supra 240

3. Deleted

4. ‘et’

5. Supra 226, 232

6. New section

7. ‘ab’, all MSS.

8. Glanvill, ix, 4

9. Supra 110, infra 248

10. Infra 248, 249

11. Cf. infra 250

12. Infra 249

13-15. Magna Carta (1215) ca. 2; (1225) ca. 2

14. Magna Carta reads ‘pounds’; reduced in 1297: Ch. B‰mont, Chartes des libert‰s anglaises, 27, 47 n.; Holt in T.R.H.S., (5th ser.) xiv, 70, 71, 73, 78

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