Sunday, July 23, 2017

Question from Arthur - Confiscation of manors

In the course of research for my novel I have come across a question that I thought someone here might be able to help with...

When a nobleman had his estates and properties confiscated by the crown after he was executed for treason, for example

1) What happened to the estates? Sometimes you see them restored later to a son or descendent suggesting that they had not been disposed of in the intervening time and 2) how did an heir get them back?

Also on the same issue. If a nobleman had gifted a manor say to one of his children, either in a Will if he knew he was going to be executed, or earlier say as a dowery or wedding gift..would they be confiscated too, even if the technically belonged to the son or son in law or something?

Lastly I very rarely read of noble families becoming destitute due to lands being confiscated..this might suggest they did not loose how did they support themselves until they could get lands back?

Sorry its a lot of questions in one but they all interlinked I think.

1 comment:

PhD Historian said...

When properties were seized in the wake of an attainder for treason in the mid to late Tudor period, the Exchequer and the Court of Augmentations took possession of the attainted person's properties on behalf of the Crown. Family members (wives, sons, daughters, etc) could petition the Crown for the restoration of individual portions or whole properties. The widow of John Dudley, attainted Duke of Northumberland, successfully petitioned to reclaim some tapestries from Syon, for example.

To be clear, persons attainted for treason were barred from making a will since ALL of their property was considered forfeit to the Crown. But any property legally transferred to another party prior to the attainder remained in the legal possession of the recipient as new owner. But the property had to have been fully and legally transferred so that the new owner was in full legal possession, not merely renting or making courtesy use of the property.

Families seeking restoration of seized properties could usually rely on relatives for support during the petitioning process. Remember, in the Tudor period, the focus was on a FAMILY, not on an individual. When one member of the family prospered, usually the entire family did as well. E.g.: Anne Boleyn or Jane Seymour and their families. It was rather rare for one member of a family to be wealthy while others (brothers, sons, nephews, etc) remained poor. And attainders applied only to one individual, so that the other members of the family retained whatever lands and goods they owned separately, usually leaving them able to aid the immediate family (i.e., widow, minor children) of the person attainted.