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Such as were sold once were afterwards considered resaleable on the payment of a fine; and thus was the number of entailed estates constantly diminishing. In this manner began and continued the system of purchase, and consequently of de- , vise. What a man could alienate in his life time, he could devise at his death. If he died intestate, the purchased lands which he possessed descended as estates of inheritance, but the heir was obliged to pay the value of the lands to the executors of the deceased, to be divided as a personal estate. But at present no distinction is made between estates of inheritance and of purchase, except so far as concerns the wife’s or widow's right; the whole, with this exception, falling, without any compensation to be made in return, to the heir at law.
The isle was divided into six hundred portions, called quarterlands; but according to Feltham the present number is seven hundred and fiftynine ; all other estates appear to be allotments out of, or encroachments upon, these.
In the possession of land, no distinction is made between natives and aliens.
A title to land may be acquired by the sentence of a court of law, or by occupancy, as
well as by descent, devise, or purchase. Th first, being founded upon some pre-existing right, I shall pass over, and speak only of occupancy. .. If a person had unmolested possession o land for ten years, after the true proprietor ha a title to it, and who was not of the age o: twenty-one years, non compos mentis, imprisoned, 'or beyond seas, it became the absolute property of the occupier : but, if such incapacities existed in the proprietor, he maintained his title for five years after they were removed. The first period has been since extended from ten to twenty-on years, and the last reduced from five to two. · Every landholder has a right, by prescription, or immemorial custom, of feeding his sheep or cattle upon the commons, their number being in proportion to the quantity of land which he holds. Every inhabitant possesses the same right of quarrying stone for his own use; and also, on the annual payment of one halfpenny to the Lord, a sum not now demanded, of digging peat upon the mountains. * i
* Statute:bopk, Anno 1583, 1637, 1643, 1645, 1647, 1662, 1703,
In cases of treason or felony, estates, real as well as personal, are forfeited to the Lord.*'
A title to things personal may be acquired by prerogative, by forfeiture, by descent, by devise, by purchase, by action at law, by occupancy, by marriage, by custom, by gift, by exchange, by distreint for rent, or by execution, subsequent to the judgment of a court. A few of these heads require some explanation. :;;;?'. '
All wrecks not claimed within a year and a day, and all mines, are the Lord's, by his prerogative. Forfeitures of felons' goods were made to the Lord, except goats to the Queen, and certain perquisites or fees to the Coroner and Deemster, never to the Bishop, or other Barons, even when they held their own courts. The right of treasure-trove has been transferred from the LordProprietor to the King of England, but no case relative to felons' goods has occurred since the revestment. Appeal bonds, hereafter to be mentioned, are payable to the King, as are all legal fines. Game belonged to the Lord by his prerogative. The killing of a hawk, heron, hart, or
* Statute-book, 1665.
+ Statute-book, Anno 1577; “ The old customary Laws of the Isle of Man put in writing."
hind, without his licence, subjects the party to a penalty of 31.; one half to the Lord, and one half to the informer : the shooting of a pigeon, partridge, or grouse, to a penalty of 1l. Thus a pigeon is accounted game; but a hare is not so, A licence for a year may generally be obtained by application to the proper officer, and the payment of the fee of half-a-crown. The former penalties were 71. to the Lord for every animal. accounted game, that was killed; for every tame deer, killed or taken, 101. besides a discretionary , imprisonment; for every hawk or heron, 31.; and for their eggs, 81. each. The game laws are now nearly obsolete.
A widow becomes entitled, on the death of her husband, to half the real and personal estate, entails excepted, possessed by them, whether he has made a will or not. * If he dies intestate, the children, or their representatives, inherit the other half in equal portions ; and if there are no children, or their representatives, the next of kindred, in equal degree, representatives among collaterals, after brothers and sisters. If there is no widow, children being excluded, the whole is
• Statute-book, 1777.
249 divided as the half would otherwise be. A will should be proved within three months of the death of the party; and the legacies are to be paid, or the estate divided, within fourteen days of the probation of the will, or the granting of letters of administration. For some cause, apparently very adverse to the public good, the executors are not obliged, by law, to pay the debts of the deceased, before the expiration of three years from the time of his death. • All civil actions, except on accounts current, must be brought within three years of the cause of action, unless the Plaintiff is a minor, non
compos mentis, beyond seas, or has any other le .gal imperfection. In these cases it must be brought within three years of the removal of the imperfection. Thus a title by occupancy is sometimes obtained.*
If a tenant quits the farm on the May half year day he is entitled to the standing crops.
Marriage is a sort of partnership, and does not afford an exclusive title to estates, either real or personal.
Right by custom is now nearly obsolete, except that of some clerical fees. Certain 'articles