• Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Gavelkind (O. Eng. Law) A tenure by which land descended from the father to all his sons in equal portions, and the land of a brother, dying without issue, descended equally to his brothers. It still prevails in the county of Kent.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n gavelkind Originally, in old English law, the tenure of land let out for rent, including in that term money, labor, and provisions, but not military service; also, the land so held. The most important incident of this tenure was that upon the death of the tenant all his sons inherited equal shares; if he left no sons, the daughters; if neither, then all his brothers inherited equal shares. When the feudal system introduced the law of primogeniture, the county of Kent and some other localities were privileged to retain this ancient custom of inheritance.
    • n gavelkind Hence In general use, land in Great Britain or Ireland, or an estate therein, which by custom having the force of law is inheritable by all the sons together, and therefore subject to partition, instead of going exclusively to the eldest. The word has been used in the following different senses, of which only the first and second are strictly correct: socage tenure in England before the Conquest (see socage); immemorial socage tenure in the county of Kent, England; the body of customs allowed on ancient socage lands in Kent; the customs of partible descents in Kent; any custom of partition in any place. Elton.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • ns Gavelkind a tenure now peculiar to Kent by which the tenant at fifteen can sell the estate or devise it by will, the estate cannot escheat, and on an intestacy the lands descend from the father to all sons in equal portions
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. gavelkynde, gavelkende,. See Gavel tribute, and Kind (n.)
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. gafol, tribute; cog. with giefan, to give.


In literature:

Is it primogeniture, or gavelkind, or borough English?
"The Miscellaneous Writings and Speeches of Lord Macaulay, Vol. 4 (of 4)" by Thomas Babington Macaulay
GAVELKIND, descent of property to all the sons alike, the oldest to have the horse and arms and the youngest the homestead.
"The Nuttall Encyclopaedia" by Edited by Rev. James Wood
Gavelkind, however, could be but a temporary provision.
"The Customs of Old England" by F. J. Snell
In the Saxon times, land was divided equally among all the male children of the deceased, according to the custom of gavelkind.
"The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.I., Part A. From the Britons of Early Times to King John" by David Hume
The customs of "gavelkinde" and "tanistry" were attended with the same absurdity in the distribution of property.
"The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.I., Part D. From Elizabeth to James I." by David Hume
Their tenures were the gavelkind once prevalent over most of the world.
"Thomas Davis, Selections from his Prose and Poetry" by Thomas Davis
The estates of persons dying intestate are distributed analogous to the custom of gavelkind in Kent.
"First History of New Brunswick" by Peter Fisher
This rule did not apply to lands held in gavelkind in the county of Kent.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 10, Slice 6" by Various
Believed in universal suffrage and law of gavelkind, 100.
"Benjamin Franklin; Self-Revealed, Volume II (of 2)" by Wiliam Cabell Bruce
The tenure of Gavelkind prevails principally in the County of Kent.
"Legal Lore" by Various
I mean the Kentish gavelkind tenantry.
"Villainage in England" by Paul Vinogradoff
A History of GAVELKIND, and other remarkable Customs in the County of KENT, by CHARLES SANDYS, Esq., F.S.A.
"Notes and Queries, Vol. IV, Number 107, November 15, 1851" by Various
Two legal decisions swept away the customs of tanistry and of Irish gavelkind, and the English land system was violently substituted.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 14, Slice 7" by Various