Jointure

Jointure of lands. A Jointure is a settlement of lands and tenements made to a woman in consideration of a marriage; or it is a covenant, whereby the husband, or some friend of his, assureth to the wife lands or tenements for term of her life: it [is] so called, either because it is granted ratione junctura in matrimonio, or for that land in frank-marriage was given jointly to husband and wife, and after to the heirs of their bodies, whereby the husband and wife were made as it were joint-tenants during the coverture. ...

  Jointure is defined to be a bargain and contract of livelihood, adjoined to the contract of marriage; being a competent provision of freehold lands & tenements, &c. for the wife, to take effect after the death of the husband, if she herself is not the cause of the determination or forfeiture of it.

Source: Tomlins, Thomas Edlyne. The Law-Dictionary: defining and interpreting the Terms or Words of Art, and explaining the Rise, Progress, and Present State, of the English Law, &c. London: C. and R. Baldwin, et al, 1810.

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  The term "jointure," though in common use among lawyers to denote the provision ordinarily made out of land for the maintenance of a widow, does not accurately describe either the provision made according to the present usual practice or that made according to the practice which that now prevalent superseded. This general though inaccurate use of the term originated in a still more ancient practice. Before the Statute of Uses was passed it was held that a widow was not dowable of a use. Dower had therefore then, as it has again, ceased to be relied on as a provision for widows, and, instead, it had become usual upon marriage to limit an estate in land to the husband and wife jointly; and that provision was aptly called a jointure. At an early date, however, this practice was superseded by one of limiting in immediate remainder, on the determination of a life estate in her husband, an estate for the widow's life in specified land, and more lately, but yet long ago and very generally, by the present practice of limiting her to a rent-charge.

Source: Valzey, John Savill. A Treatise on the Law of Settlements of Property Made Upon Marriage and Other Occasions. Vol. II. London: Sweet & Sons; Melbourne and Sydney: C.F. Maxwell; Toronto: Carswell & Co.; 1887.

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"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."—Lesley Poles Hartley (1895–1972), The Go-Between (1953).

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