mortmain


mortmain
/mawrt"mayn'/, n. Law.
1. the condition of lands or tenements held without right of alienation, as by an ecclesiastical corporation; inalienable ownership.
2. the perpetual holding of land, esp. by a corporation or charitable trust.
[1250-1300; ME mort(e)mayn(e) < AF mortemain, trans. of ML mortua manus dead hand]

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law
      in English law, the state of land being held by the “dead hand” (French: mort main) of a corporation. In feudal days a conveyance of land to a monastery or other corporation deprived the lord of many profitable feudal incidents, for the corporation was never under age, never died, and never committed felony or married. Statutes were consequently passed between the 13th and the 16th century prohibiting alienation into mortmain without license from the crown. The modern law was contained in the Mortmain and Charitable Uses acts, 1888 and 1891, and in a number of acts that authorized limited companies and some other corporations to hold land without license in mortmain. An unauthorized conveyance into mortmain made the land liable to forfeiture to the crown.

      The law of mortmain was abolished in Britain in 1960. Mortmain legislation still exists, however, in some other jurisdictions in the Commonwealth and in the United States.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mortmain — • History and details of the laws Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Mortmain     Mortmain     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Mortmain — is a legal term that means ownership of real estate by a corporation or legal institution that can be transferred or sold in perpetuity; the term is usually used in the context of its prohibition. Historically, the land owner usually would be the …   Wikipedia

  • mortmain — mort·main / mȯrt ˌmān/ n [Anglo French, from Old French mortemain, from morte (feminine of mort dead, from Latin mortuus ) + main hand, from Latin manus] 1: the possession of real property in perpetuity by a corporate body (as a church); also:… …   Law dictionary

  • Mortmain — Mort main , n. [F. mort, morte, dead + main hand; F. main morte. See {Mortal}, and {Manual}.] (Law) Possession of lands or tenements in, or conveyance to, dead hands, or hands that cannot alienate. [1913 Webster] Note: The term was originally… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • mortmain — (n.) inalienable ownership, mid 15c., from Anglo Fr. morte mayn, O.Fr. mortemain, lit. dead hand, from M.L. mortua manus; see MORTAL (Cf. mortal) (adj.) + MANUAL (Cf. manual) (adj.). Probably a metaphorical expression …   Etymology dictionary

  • mortmain — [môrt′mān΄] n. [ME morte mayne < OFr mortemain < ML mortua manus, lit., dead hand < fem. of L mortuus, pp. of mori, to die (see MORTAL) + manus, hand: see MANUAL] 1. a transfer of lands or houses to a corporate body, such as a school,… …   English World dictionary

  • mortmain — noun /ˈmɔːt.meɪn,ˈmɔɹt.meɪn/ a) The perpetual, inalienable possession of lands by a corporation or non personal entity such as a church. [W]e do hereby grant our especial license and authority unto all and every person to grant sell alien and… …   Wiktionary

  • mortmain — Literally, the dead hand. Property held out of circulation. To alienate land in mortmain was to convey it to a corporation, aggregate, ecclesiastical or temporal. Perm v Carey, 65 US 465, 16 L Ed 701, 708. At one time in England, all purchases of …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • mortmain — Mortification Mor ti*fi*ca tion, n. [F., fr. L. mortificatio a killing. See {Mortify}.] 1. The act of mortifying, or the condition of being mortified; especially: (a) (Med.) The death of one part of an animal body, while the rest continues to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • mortmain — noun Etymology: Middle English morte mayne, from Anglo French mortmain, from morte (feminine of mort dead) + main hand, from Latin manus more at manual Date: 15th century 1. a. an inalienable possession of lands or buildings by an ecclesiastical… …   New Collegiate Dictionary


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