Tenures Abolition Act 1660

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The Tenures Abolition Act 1660[1]
Long title An Act takeing away the Court of Wards and Liveries and Tenures in Capite and by Knights Service and Purveyance, and for setling a Revenue upon His Majesty in Lieu thereof.[2]
Citation 12 Car 2 c 24
Status: Amended
Text of statute as originally enacted
Revised text of statute as amended

The Tenures Abolition Act 1660 (12 Car 2 c 24), sometimes known as the Statute of Tenures, was an Act of the Parliament of England which effectively abolished feudal land tenure in England. The long title of the Act was An act for taking away the Court of Wards and liveries, and tenures in capite, and by knights-service, and purveyance, and for settling a revenue upon his Majesty in lieu thereof.

This Act was partly in force in Great Britain at the end of 2010.[3]

Passed in 1660 by the Convention Parliament shortly after the English Restoration, the Act replaced various types of military and religious service tenants owed to the Crown with socage, and compensated the monarch with an annual fixed payment of £100,000 to be raised by means of a new tax on alcohol. (Frankalmoin, copyhold, and certain aspects of grand serjeanty were excluded.) It completed a process that had begun in 1610 during the reign of James I with the proposal of the Great Contract.

The Statute is best known because of its constitutional significance in terms of the shift away from feudalism. It is also important because of the establishment of a new type of tax – the excise – and the machinery to collect it. Section 3 of the Act repealed the Acts 32 Hen 8 c 46, and 33 Hen 8 c 22, thereby abolishing the Court of Wards and Liveries, established in 1540, which had been responsible for revenue collection under the feudal tenure system. It was also the first Act (section 14) to impose an excise duty on tea,[4] as well as on coffee, sherbet and chocolate; the duty was placed on the manufactured beverage, and not the raw tea or coffee, treating it in much the same way as beer or spirits.

The Act also let a father, by will, designate a guardian for his children. The rights of this guardian superseded those of the children's mother.[5][6]


  1. The citation of this Act by this short title was authorised by section 5 of, and Schedule 2 to, the Statute Law Revision Act 1948. Due to the repeal of those provisions, it is now authorised by section 19(2) of the Interpretation Act 1978.
  2. These words are printed against this Act in the second column of Schedule 2 to the Statute Law Revision Act 1948, which is headed "Title".
  3. The Chronological Table of the Statutes, 1235 - 2010. The Stationery Office. 2011. ISBN 978-0-11-840509-6. Part I. Page 63, read with pages viii and x.
  4. 'Book 1, Ch. 14: From the Restoration to the Fire', A New History of London: Including Westminster and Southwark (1773), pp. 210-30. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=46731. Date accessed: 07 March 2007.
  5. Barnett (1998-09-01). Introduction to Feminist Jurisprudence (1 ed.). Routledge Cavendish. ISBN 1-85941-237-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. O'Halloran, Kerry (December 1999). The Welfare of the Child: The Principle and the Law. Ashgate. ISBN 1-85742-290-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • The Law & Working of the Constitution: Documents 1660-1914, ed. W. C. Costin & J. Steven Watson. A&C Black, 1952. Vol. I (1660–1783), p. 2-4
  • 'Charles II, 1660: An Act takeing away the Court of Wards and Liveries and Tenures in Capite and by Knights Service and Purveyance, and for settling a Revenue upon his Majesty in Lieu thereof.', Statutes of the Realm: volume 5: 1628-80 (1819), pp. 259–66. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=47272. Date accessed: 5 March 2007.
  • Perrins, Bryn (2000-01-01). Understanding Land Law (1 ed.). Routledge Cavendish. ISBN 1-85941-538-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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