wardship

wardship

[wawrd-ship]
noun
1.
guardianship; custody.
2.
Law. the guardianship over a minor or ward.

Origin:
1425–75; late Middle English; see ward, -ship

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
wardship (ˈwɔːdʃɪp)
 
n
the state of being a ward

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

wardship

in feudal law, rights belonging to the lord of a fief with respect to the personal lives of his vassals. The right of wardship allowed the lord to take control of a fief and of a minor heir until the heir came of age. The right of marriage allowed the lord to have some say as to whom the daughter or widow of a vassal would marry. Both rights brought the lord increased revenue. In the right of marriage a woman would often pay to have a suitor accepted by the lord or to get out of marrying the lord's choice for her. This was particularly true in medieval England, where these rights became increasingly commercial and were often sold. Wardship rights were generally exercised in fiefs held by military service but sometimes also in fiefs held by socage, or agricultural service. The lord received the income of a fief belonging to an heir in his minority until the heir was old enough to render the military and other services required of him, at which time the lord released the fief to him in the material condition in which the lord had originally received it.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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