Westminster, Second Statute of
WESTMINSTER, SECOND STATUTE OF
In 1285 King Edward I summoned the great lords and councillors of England to a parliament in Westminster to consider changes in how land could be conveyed. The result was the enactment of the Second Statute of Westminster, which is sometimes referred to as the Statute de Donis Conditionalibus (Latin, "concerning conditional gifts"). It converted estates in fee simple conditional into estates in fee entail and rendered them inalienable, thereby strengthening the power of the nobility.
Under feudalism in England, the crown and nobility controlled all of the land. The nobility sought to restrain the transfer of real property and to ensure that property would stay within family lines.
The Second Statute of Westminster addressed this issue by changing property law. At common law, an estate in fee simple conditional was a title to land limited to some particular heirs, exclusive of others. Under fee simple conditional, relatives other than a person's children could inherit the person's estate. The statute changed this by converting such an estate into a fee entail, which restricted ownership of land to a particular family line. Thus, an estate in land descended to a person's children and through them to the person's grandchildren in a direct line. However, upon the death of the first owner of the estate who did not have living children, the land would revert to the original grantor's line, which meant that the land would revert to the local lord or to the crown.