One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An area of common land granted by charter to a private owner before the Norman conquest.
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
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.
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