Eves William, The assize of mort d’ancestor in the late 12th and early 13th centuries, (dir. J. Hudson, University of St Andrews)
En cours depuis 2014/In preparation since 2014
My research focusses on the assize of mort d’ancestor, a legal procedure created during the reign of Henry II. The action was designed for use by the nearest heir of a recently deceased tenant to claim seisin of their predecessor’s land (if held in demesne and as of fee) when faced with a lord reluctant to allow this succession. My project aims to investigate the manner in which the assize was used and how it evolved during the early years of its operation. This involves research into the substantive legal issues arising from the assize and also the socio-legal aspects of the action. The latter include questions as to the status of the litigants, the types of cases subject to litigation and the tactical (or otherwise) use of the assize. As the successful litigant would be granted possession (seisin) of their ancestor’s land, but not the ultimate ‘right’ to it, the way mort d’ancestor was used within the context of broader disputes over right to land is also a consideration of my research.