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Copyhold in 17th century manor courts

Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:43 pm

I have some records from the manor court of the village where my ancestors lived. The first instance is the transfer of property from John Galloway to his widow after his death. The copyhold is then transferred to their daughter Abigail on the death of her mother, there being no living male children that I am aware of. However, John Galloway had been previously married and he had a son by his first wife. I have failed to find a burial record for the son and he is not mentioned in John's will. When Abigail died, the copyhold passed to her son Henry Chatward.

The above is straightforward but I have a question regarding the next transfer. Following is an extract form the court records of 1696:

To this court have come Henry Chatward and Elizabeth, his wife. And the aforementioned Elizabeth, first alone and separately examined by the Steward aforesaid, has surrendered into the hands of the Lords, all those two cottages or tenements, etc. At which the same Henry was admitted tenant at the court held for the manor aforesaid [in] the year of [our] Lord 1686, to the use of Sarah Savell, wife of Elias Savell of Belchamp Saint Paul aforesaid, carpenter, her heirs and assigns. And now to this court comes the aforesaid Sarah, and humbly has entreated of the Lords herself to be admitted tenant to the premises aforesaid, the which Lords, by their steward aforesaid, have granted.

My query: why was the transaction made between Henry's wife and Sarah Savell. Sarah's husband was still living at the time. Any thoughts or explanations are welcome.
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