Secure property rights are usually considered to be essential for sustained economic development; in England, it is debated whether property rights had been secure since the medieval period or if they were only established after the Glorious Revolution. In this context, the paper examines the Court of Wards, which from 1540 to 1646 administered the Crown’s right to take custody of children and their lands when these were held by feudal-military tenures. The paper shows that wardship was a common occurrence, its exactions arbitrary but often heavy, and that it reduced the value of lands held by these tenures.
|Journal||Journal of Economic History|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 27 Jan 2022|