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The Doctor and Student (1518)
Christopher St. Germain
For what things a man may lawfully distrain
Stud. A man may lawfully distrain for a rent-service, and for all manner of services, as homage, fealty, escuage, suit of court, reliefs, and such other. Also for a rent reserved upon a gift in tail, a lease for term of life, for years, or at will, if he reserve the reversion, the feoffor shall distrain of common right, though there be no distress spoken of. But in case a man make a feoffment, and that in fee by indenture, reserving a rent, he shall not distrain for that rent, unless a distress be expressly reserved and if the feoffment be made without a deed reserving a rent, that reservation is void in law, and he shall have the rent only in conscience, and shall not distrain for it. And like law is where a gift in tail, or a lease for term of life is made, the remainder over in fee, reserving a rent, that reservation is void in the law.
Also, if a man seised of land for term of life granteth away his whole estate, reserving a rent, that reservation is void in the law, without it be by indenture; and if it be by indenture, yet he shall not distrain for the rent, but a distress be reserved. And for amerciaments in a feet the lord shall distrain: but for amerciaments in a Court-Baron he shall not distrain.
Also, if a man make a lease at Michaelmas for a year, reserving rent payable at the feasts of the Annunciation of our lady, and St. Michael the arch-angel; in that case he shall distrain for the rent due at our Lady-day, but not for the rent due at Michaelmas because the term is expired.
But if a man make a lease at the feast of Christmas, for to endure to the feast of Christmas next following, that is to say, for a year, reserving a rent at the aforesaid feasts of the Annunciation of our lady, and St. Michael the archangel; there he shall distrain for both the rents as long as the term continued, that is to say, till that aforesaid feast of Christmas.
And if a man hath land for term of life of John at Noke, and maketh a lease for term of years, reserving a rent, the rent is behind, and John at Noke dieth; there he shall not distrain, because his reversion is determined.
Also, if he to whose use feoffees been seesed maketh a lease for term of years, or for term of life, or a gift in tail reserving a rent; there the reservation is good, and the lessor shall distrain.
And if a township be amerced, and the neighbours by assent assess a certain sum upon eyery inhabitant, and agree that if it be not paid by such a day, that certain persons thereto assigned shall distrain; in this case the distress is lawful. If lord and tenant be, and if the tenant do hold of the lord by fealty and rent; and the lord doth grant away the fealty, reserving the rent, and the tenant atturneth; in this case he that was lord may not distrain for the rent, for it is become a rent-seck. But if a man make a gift in tail to another, reserving fealty and certain rent, and after that he granteth away the fealty, reserving the rent and the reversion to himself; in this case he shall distrain for the rent, for the grant of the fealty is void, for the fealty cannot be severed from the reversion. Also, for heriot-service the lord shall distrain; and for heriot-custom he shall seise, and not distrain, Also, if rent be assigned, to make a partition or assignment of dower legal, he or she to whom the rent is assigned may distrain. And in all these cases abovesaid, where a man may distrain, he may not distrain in the neght, but for damage feasant; that is to say, where beasts do hurt in his ground; he may distrain in the night. Also for wastes, for reparations, for accompts, for debts upon contracts, or such other, no man may lawfully distrain.