The Custom of 'Borough English'

  • 19 Feb 2023
  • Crime and Legal
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Customs varied from Manor to Manor, and in some cases, the heir may not have been the eldest son. When this was so, the custom was known as 'Borough English', which was based on the ancient law of Mercheta, which gave to the Lord of the Manor, what was known as 'le droit du seigneur', or his right to the first night of the marriage of one of his tenants. Thus a doubt was cast on the legitimacy of the first or eldest son, and the younger brother was preferred. The custom of 'Borough English' prevailed into the 20th century, for a contributor to Notes and Queries, published in the Evesham Journal (1908-09), wrote that to his knowledge, in the Manor of Edgmond, a friend of his became heir to his father's copyholds in preference to the elder brother.