Definition of bookland in English:



  • [mass noun] An area of common land granted by charter to a private owner before the Norman conquest.

    • ‘The evidence suggests that those who held bookland in the time of King Edward were expected to ‘defend’ their property in person in the royal host.’
    • ‘Those who held bookland were territorial lords with local interests, and were thus far more likely to seek terms with the Danish invaders, if they could save all or part of their inheritance.’
    • ‘This long delay is not surprising, however, since the movement towards the acquisition of bookland - that is, land alienated from the tribe by use of the land-charter - was not a steady one.’


Old English, from bóc ‘charter’+ land. The term was applied eventually to all land that was not folcland, i.e. land subject to traditional communal obligations.