Wards, Court of

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Wards, Court of. This court was set up in 1540 by Henry VIII to enforce the lord's rights of wardship and marriage which had existed, since the Norman Conquest, as feudal incidents. After the statute of quia emptores 1290 ended the practice of subinfeudation, the crown gradually became the lord of many estates. Increasingly payments had taken the place of feudal incidents. The purpose of the Court of Wards was to enforce payment of these ancient feudal dues to the crown and thus to increase the income of the king. This court was later combined with the Court of Liveries to become the Court of Wards and Liveries. It was abolished in 1656.

Maureen Mulholland