One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A system of inheritance in which a deceased person's land is divided equally among all male heirs.
- ‘The Irish gavelkind, it will be seen, is quite different from the gavelkind customary in the county of Kent.’
- ‘Undeniably, however, subdivision of holdings took place on a large scale and continued to do so notwithstanding the formal abolition of gavelkind following the union with England.’
- ‘Only in Kent and in Wales did the custom of gavelkind produce the partible inheritance which reduced many noble families to penury on the continent.’
- ‘The redistribution by gavelkind on each occasion extended to the clan or sept - not beyond.’
- ‘In particular, it appeared to the Crown that they were relying on the customs of tanistry and gavelkind.’
Middle English: from obsolete gavel ‘payment, rent’ + kind.
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