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Related to gavelkind: Ultimogeniture


An English system of land tenure dating from Anglo-Saxon times and continuing in Kent until 1926, in which land was divided equally among all qualified heirs.

[Middle English gavelkinde : Old English gafol, gavel; see gavel2 + Old English gecynd, kind; see kind2.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. (Historical Terms) a former system of land tenure peculiar to Kent based on the payment of rent to the lord instead of the performance of services by the tenant
2. (Historical Terms) the land subject to such tenure
3. (Law) English law (formerly) land held under this system
[C13: from Old English gafol tribute + gecynd kind2]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈgæv əlˌkaɪnd)

n. Eng. Law.
1. land tenure paid for in money or produce rather than labor or military service.
2. a system of tenure in which land was divided equally among the holder's heirs.
[1175–1225; Old English gafel gavel2 + (ge)cynd kind2]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


British. Obsolete. 1. the equal division of the land of an intestate deceased among his sons.
2. a tenant’s right to dispose of his land by feoffment at age fifteen.
3. land not escheating in the event the tenant was convicted as a felon.
See also: Property and Ownership
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Because of this, even potentially confusing issues such as dower, tails male, jointure, gavelkind and socage are made accessible.
Gavelkind, which allowed all of the sons to inherit equally, predated primogeniture and predominated up to the Norman conquest of 1066.
Unlike other national groups, the Welsh failed to unify, partly because of the effects of gavelkind - equal division of property among sons - within a territory lacking rich agricultural land as a route to wealth and hence trade and urban development.
They asserted that Henry's claim to the lands trumped hers because of the custom of gavelkind, an ancient form of land tenure that still survived mainly in Kent.
In Kent it was gavelkind; in London, it was the power of devise.
inheritance customs (borough English and gavelkind) were permitted by