• WordNet 3.6
    • n socage land tenure by agricultural service or payment of rent; not burdened with military service
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Socage (O.Eng. Law) A tenure of lands and tenements by a certain or determinate service; a tenure distinct from chivalry or knight's service, in which the obligations were uncertain. The service must be certain, in order to be denominated socage, as to hold by fealty and twenty shillings rent.Socage is of two kinds; free socage, where the services are not only certain, but honorable; and villein socage, where the services, though certain, are of a baser nature.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n socage In law, a tenure of lands in England by the performance of certain determinate service: distinguished both from knight-service, in which the render was uncertain, and from villeinage, where the service was of the meanest kind: the only freehold tenure in England after the abolition of military tenures. Socage has generally been distinguished into free and villein—free socage, or common or simple socage, where the service was not only certain but honorable, as by fealty and the payment of a small sum, as of a few shillings, in name of annual rent, and villein socage, where the service, though certain, was of a baser nature. This last tenure was the equivalent of what is now called copy-hold tenure.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Socage sok′āj the tenure of lands by service fixed and determinate in quality
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
From Soc; cf. LL. socagium,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. sóc, a right of holding a court—sóc, pa.t. of sacan, to contend.


In literature:

A third part he divided among husbandmen, to hold of him in socage.
"Landholding In England" by Joseph Fisher
SOCAGE, name given to a feudal tenure by a certain and determinate service other than knight service.
"The Nuttall Encyclopaedia" by Edited by Rev. James Wood
Those few coerls whose land was not taken by a baron remained free and held their land "in socage" and became known as sokemen.
"Our Legal Heritage, 5th Ed." by S. A. Reilly
As they claim as joint-heirs or parceners, the land must have been subject to partibility, and therefore of socage tenure.
"Notes and Queries, Number 68, February 15, 1851" by Various
His right to the land, in fact, was not freehold, but tenure by villein socage.
"The Philippine Islands" by John Foreman
Lands in New-Brunswick are held in fee simple or free socage.
"First History of New Brunswick" by Peter Fisher
But did any hold of the king in socage, except on his demesne lands?
"View of the State of Europe during the Middle Ages, Vol. 3 (of 3)" by Henry Hallam
Socage and mortification have long since disappeared.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 10, Slice 3" by Various
They were thus brought dangerously near to ancient demesne socage, which was originally nothing but base customary tenure.
"Villainage in England" by Paul Vinogradoff
The agricultural services of the socage tenants had long disappeared.
"The Agrarian Problem in the Sixteenth Century" by Richard Henry Tawney