Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Feoffment

Feoffment, a form of transferring a freehold in land, whether it be a fee-simple, a fee tail, or an estate for life. [Estate.] It is not at the present time much in use, and it is effected by the person who is in possession (the feoffor) delivering up the possession to another (the feoffee), and expressing at the same time what estate in the land the feoffor intends that the feoffee shall have. Before the Statute of Frauds (29 Charles II., ch. 3) came into operation no writing was necessary to show for what purpose, or for what estate, possession was given of the land, but this statute requires a writing which is usually a deed. [Deed.] There is a copy of an ancient charter of feoffment in the appendix of vol. ii. of Blackstone's Commentaries. The giving up of possession is termed "livery of seizin," the word seizure indicating a freehold interest. [Freehold.] The word feoffment is derived from feof, fief, feud. This livery of seizin may take place on the land when the feoffor and feoffee are both present there by the feoffor declaring his will to give up possession, and by the feoffee showing that he takes possession. It has been erroneously supposed that the delivery on the land by feoffor to feoffee of a clod of earth, or of a twig broken from the land, is a delivery of a symbol of possession. No symbol would satisfy the purpose, the feoffor must actually give up possession, and the feoffee must take possession, and the delivery of a clod of earth, or twig, are merely modes of showing the intention of the parties, and are not necessary. A feoffment may be made in view of the land if there be vacant possession, but the feoffee must take possession or he will not have got seizin. The writing must express the estate or interest which it is intended to convey to the feoffee; if no quantity of estate is expressed the feoffee acquires an estate for his life only. In order to convey the fee the word heirs must be used in the writing of feoffment. Livery of seizin may be made and taken by attorney. If land be on lease no livery can be made without the consent of the lessee or his representative in title, and who occupies the land. In gavelkind a feoffment may be made by any one of the age of 15 years. [Gavelkind, Feudal System.]