BibliographyS. E. Thorne, 'Livery of seisin' in idem, Essays
in English Legal History (1985), 31-50.
In general, the dispositive words were in the past (perfect) tense, in the
The indication is thus that the giving
and granting have already taken place and that only confirming is done by the
charter. In short, the charter is assumed to have been evidentiary and not
dispositive -- it records an action which has already taken place.
- in the first person singular past -- dedi, concessi et hac presenti
carta mea confirmavi (I have given, granted and by this my present charter
- with the accusative and infinitive in the past infinitive: Sciatis me
dedisse concessisse et et hac presenti carta mea confirmasse (where
me is the accusative).
The putting into possession probably occurred by a symbolic livery, by a
representative sod of earth, or placing an object on an altar in the case of
gifts to religious houses, or in a public assembly. The charter simply allowed a
more permanent record of what had occurred than the memory of witnesses
(although that change was gradual).
In the early 12th century, however, the tense of the words is quite often the
present: do et concedo.