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The origin of the fee simple: a talk and reception with Professor Sir John Baker QC

Date: 3 November 2021

Registration Opens: 5:30pm 

Seminar: 6:00pm 

Reception: 7:00pm 

Location: Gatehouse Chambers, 1 Lady Hale Gate, Gray’s Inn and online via Zoom

Online registration is now closed, to register please email

The Property Bar Association has the great pleasure of inviting its members to hear from Professor Sir John Baker QC, the Downing Professor Emeritus of the Laws of England and the leading authority on English legal history, on a subject which should be of interest to all those who specialise in land law.

In the centuries after the Norman conquest ‘ownership’ of land was divided by contract between lords and tenants. Both owned the land, though for the lord this meant the seignory and for the tenant it meant ‘seisin’ under the lord. Inheritability arose from contracts to let a tenant’s ‘heirs’ continue in seisin; but an heir succeeded when designated by the lord’s court rather than by operation of law. The working of inheritance changed as a consequence of legal reforms under Henry II following the anarchy of Stephen’s reign. The lord was ‘dissolved out’. The unintended result was the fee simple, perpetual ownership.

Tickets: free to PBA members, but registration is essential.  Please email to register


  • Registration: 05:30 PM
  • Talk begins: 06:00 PM
  • Reception: 07:00 PM


03 November 2021


Gatehouse Chambers

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