Origin Of The Term Real-Estate

wealthymattersThe oldest document using a term recognizable as ‘real estate’ in historical records is dated 1605.This use of ‘real’ reflects the ancient feudal customs in relation to land and the its ownership introduced into England over 500 years earlier, by William the Conqueror in 1066.The word ‘real’ is descended (like French ‘royal’ and Spanish ‘real’) from the Latin word for ‘king’. In the feudal system,which has left many traces in the common law,the king was the owner of all land, and everyone who occupied land paid him rent directly or indirectly (through lords who in turn paid the king), in cash, goods, or services (including military service). Property tax, paid to the state is a relic of this system.

Not all of England and Wales became ‘real estate’ in the ‘royal’ sense by reason only of the Norman Conquest. The Domesday Book provides evidence that some holdings of land in England and Wales remained in the hands of people, who were not the king. They were allodial land. Two main classes of that allodial land are distinguishable, by inference and synthesis, from, the Domesday Book; the passage and enforcement of the Act of Supremacy 1534 and Laws in Wales Acts 1535-1542 by Henry VIII of England; Welsh Law prior to 1535; and the history of Probate in England and Wales; namely, that of the Roman Catholic Church, and that of the parts of Wales where the custom known as ‘dadunnedd’ under Welsh Law applied.

As a consequence of the radical measures by Henry VIII,mentioned above, the expression ‘real estate’ became an official English expression, and the English ‘law of real estate’ became the official real estate law of England and Wales, because the Laws in Wales Acts 1535-1542 included clauses requiring that, upon the day appointed by the statute, and thereafter, no law or language other than those of England shall be used in the courts of England and Wales. This meant that the laws of the Roman Catholic Church and of the former Welsh kings were eradicated from use throughout England and Wales. The clauses concerning language were repealed by Elizabeth II in 1993, to facilitate use of minority languages in the courts of England and Wales as the populations of those nations had by then become multi-cultural.

English Real Estate Law recognises rights of way, etc., on land beyond the limits of the subject land, including rights of passage and repassage over other lands, including such parts of those other lands between the high and low water marks of tidal waters adjoinging them, for use by the king of the subject land and his servants and assigns for the purposes of travel and transportation, subject to the rule, ‘All that the king has is the right of passage and repassage for himself and his subjects.’ Such rights of passage and repassage were known as the ‘King’s Highways’,or, as nowadays, the ‘Queen’s Highways’, depending on the gender of the monarch, and have a history in England stretching back to at least the year 859 of the modern era and at least the 14th century in Wales, though there is evidence that it was much earlier than both.

Such antiquity and the origins and purposes of the Law of Hywel Dda, and of its supposed blessing by the Pope, strongly suggests that the concept of ‘the King’s Highways’ in law may have originated in the days of the Roman Empire after Christianity became its official religion, and that the ‘king’ in ‘King’s Highways’ meant the Son of God, in his capacity as the ‘King of Kings’, and that it meant all of the earth above sea level apart from the rivers and lakes on it, because, as Christianity teaches, he can walk on water, and that ‘real estate’ originally meant all of the earth and all objects and life on and in it, as that is what Christianity teaches to be his inheritance. It is evidence from the period of the Crusades in Europe that pilgrims, adherents, servants and soldiers of the Roman Catholic Church had similar rights throughout over most, if not all, of that continent, and of parts of the Middle East and North Africa, which again suggests that they originated in the days of the Roman Empire after Christianity became its official religion and originally meant all of that land, not just narrow strips of it.

Though frequently used in official documents, such as property deeds and court records in England for many centuries in common law, the first statutory law of highways was the Highways Act 1555 by Elizabeth I of England, the second daughter of Henry VIII, who sought to rectify the confusion that her sister, Mary I of England, caused by attempting to reinstate the status of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales because she became a Roman Catholic in order to marry Philip of Spain. Until then, with only one exception, namely the Statute of Bridges, the law of highways in England and Wales had relied solely upon the common law of England (and before 1535, on the separate common law of those two nations, hence Henry VIII’s need to eradicate the common law of Wales on 1535).

The reign of Elizabeth I is particularly noteworthy as the start of the growth and development of the British Empire beyond the shores of Great Britain; and, the word ‘highway’ became common currency wherever English was spoken in those parts of the world. Vast tracts of land became regarded as highways in these new territories where wide, open space was common, such as the routes of pony-express riders, wagon trains, cattle droves and gold miners in North America, and, where settlement occurred, roads and streets were formed by the inhabitants under the provisions of the Highways Acts 1555 and 1562, and, any immigrant allowed access to those parts of the world via their borders became regarded as subjects of the Crown of Great Britain for the duration of such visa granted by the border authority, and thus entitled to the use and enjoyment of those highways, roads and streets.

Great Britain retained such rights of passage and repassage for the Sovereign Head of Great Britain and its subjects for the purposes of travel and transportation in, over and across land comprising its former territory overseas when those lands became independent of Great Britain, by declaring them highways before they were awarded independence, such as in the British territories that became independent of Britain in the United States of America due to the American Revolutionary War and Peace of Paris (1783).

The need for departure from the ‘royal’ sense of ‘real estate’ in the United States of America sprang from the British Crown’s abandonment of any claims to its territories in the United States of America by the Treaty of Paris, 1783; but, events that had happened in England and Wales since the Fall of the Roman Empire had consequences in the United States of America both before and after its former British territories acquired independence from Britain, to this day, which are worthy of note in the context of the meaning, protection and assertion of the ‘real estate’ of Great Britain throughout the world, but in the United States of America in particular.

The connection between king and church throughout history since Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire is the reason for those consequences. Whilst Christianity believes that God can be and is everywhere at once throughout the universe, it is not physically possible for a king to be everywhere at once on all parts of his kingdom and throughout the rest of the world to superintend all of the ‘real estate’ in the ‘royal’ sense, of all of the property and rights of passage and repassage entrusted to him until, as Christianity believes, the ‘king of kings’, in the form of the resurrected Son of God, returns to reclaim God’s kingdom on earth and rule over it.

The Roman solution to this dilemma had been typically organisational: partitioning its empire into divisions and appointing suitably qualified and trusted persons for the purpose of superintending those divisions and the development of settlements, roads, bridges, etc. within them, under a pyramidal hierarchy of governance reaching up to the emperor himself, similar to many other empires, states, and nations in the history of world civilization, be they monarchical, democratic, republican or communist.

This challenged the remaining occupants of the abandoned divisions when the Roman organisation model collapsed on the demise of its Empire, hence the emergence of kings (‘king’ from Old English ‘cyning’, ‘cynig’; ‘cynn’ meaning ‘race’; Old Welsh ‘cynog’, Old Saxon ‘kuning’) to superintend and govern so much of the former Roman Empire as they were able to acquire by agreement or by conquest, or as much of it as fell to them by election or by inheritance, on behalf of God, under the pyramidal organisational umbrella of the Roman Catholic Church headed by the Pope.

There is evidence that these kings may have claimed, or have been attributed to be, direct descendents of the Son of God from his visit to earth in human form at the time of the Roman Empire in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa , hence the ‘royal blood line’ which Henry VIII claimed to have, by direct lineage via the claim of his father, Henry VII, the first of the Tudor dynasty, to be descended from Rhodri Mawr, the first king of Wales, via Hywel Dda;which he regarded as giving him divine authority to set up the Church of England and confiscate all the property of the Roman Catholic Church in both England and Wales, which the Pope did not prevent, even by force, which suggests that he thought too. So, even in late Medieval times, regal minds were still centred on the emergence of kings on and after the demise of the Roman Empire to govern the territories they acquired and what were those kings’ claims to kingship.

The dilemma that a king could not be everywhere at once on his kingdom and all the earth to superintend the ‘real estate’ interests he had a duty of God to assert and protect, was solved in England and, subsequently, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the English Channel Islands, the British colonies and the rest of the world, by the king of England chartering and commissioning civilian and military personnel, called esquires, specifically for the task, appointed under sworn oath to assert and protect the works and highways interests of the English crown on those territories, and the tradition continues to this day,under the Queen of Great Britain and its Territories, Elizabeth II of England.

During the massive expansion of British territory into the British Empire that began in the late 16th century, there had to be a consequential increase in the number of thus qualified people to assert and protect the ‘real estate’ comprising the new territory and because the title had no protection under common or statutory law from being used by persons who were not royally entitled to use it, people who were not awarded the title by the Crown Head of Great Britain, or authorised to award the title by the Crown of the Great Britain, assumed the title unto themselves and awarded it to others who were also not so royally entitled, even their children, including foreign nationals relative to Britain, to give them the appearance of being qualified by the British Crown. In time, even the Palace administration began addressing letters using the subnominal title or its abbreviated form regardless of whether the addressees had been so chartered and commissioned, giving the addressees that had not been so chartered and commissioned the appearance of also having been  qualified by the British Crown.

Consequently, the long-standing merit of the title, of certifying that the background, physical and mental health, education, training, experience, commitment, morality and loyalty of the person entitled to use it had been examined and found suitable by the Crown to assert and protect its real estate interests at home or abroad, was undermined.For example, the Parish Tithe Maps and Schedules of England and Wales produced under the Tithe Commutation Act 1836 included many entries with the abbreviated postnomial title ‘Esq.’ written after the names of respective property holders, whereas the enumerators books for the 1841 population census of the United Kingdom, at about the same time as the Parish Tithe Maps and Schedules were being published, contained instructions to enumerators, including, with regard to the “Names” column, “Insert without distinction or omission, every living person who abode or slept in each house…The words “Lord”, “Lady”, “Sir”, “Rt. Hon.”, “Hon.” may be put before the names to whom they belong.” and with regard to the column headed “Profession, Trade, Employment, or Of Independent Means”, “Rank, or any such term as “Esq.” or “Gentleman” must not be entered in this column.” Effectively this meant the terms “Esquire” and “Esq.” were expressly excluded from the census.



About Keerthika Singaravel

2 Responses to Origin Of The Term Real-Estate

  1. BellyBytes says:

    Wow! This was really very interesting and informative.

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