An English system of land tenure dating from Anglo-Saxon times and continuing in Kent until 1926, in which land was divided equally among all qualified heirs.
In Great Britain, a system of land tenure by which:
The property of a man dying intestate was divided equally among his sons.
The tenant could dispose of his land by feoffment at the age of fifteen.
The land did not escheat upon the conviction of the tenant as a felon.
(historical) A system of inheritance associated with the county of Kent in England whereby, at the death of a tenant, intestateestate is divided equally among all his sons; also, a similar system employed in Ireland.
Origin of gavelkind
Middle English gavelkinde Old English gafolgavelgavel2 Old English gecyndkindkind2
American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
Gavelkind Sentence Examples
gafol, which survives in "gavel," in gavelkind, and in the name of the office mentioned above.
The old Welsh land tenure by gavelkind was, however, still permitted to remain in force amongst the natives of all Wales, whilst it was henceforth arranged to administer justice in the eight counties by special royal judges, and in the Marches by the officers appointed by the various lords-marchers according to the terms of their tenure.
At the same time all ancient Welsh laws and customs, which were at variance with the recognized law of England, were now declared illegal, and Cymric land tenure by gavelkind, which had been respected by Edward I., was expressly abolished and its place taken by the ordinary practice of primogeniture.
Hence the Anglo-Irish word gavelkind.
The portions of the tribe-land were not occupied for a fixed term, as the land of the sept was liable to gavelkind or redistribution from time to time.