entail

An inheritance of real property which cannot be sold by the owner but which passes by law to the owner’s heir upon his death. The purpose of an entail was to keep the land of a family intact in the main line of succession. The heir to an entailed estate could not sell the land, or bequeath it to anyone but his direct heir. Some entails were tied to a title and were defined in the original letters patent granting the title. The complications arising from entails were an important factor in the life of many of the upper classes, leaving many individuals wealthy in land but still heavily in debt.

This glossary term is categorized as General

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