Demonstration of Livery of Seisin, and William Penn Hands over the Turf and Twig

November 19th, 2012

A friend recently closed on a house. That got me thinking that if I ever purchase a house, I think I would insist on performing the ritual of livery of seisin, if for no other reason than fliming it and putting it on YouTube. I thought, that would have to be a first. Right?

Nope. There is an awesome video where a lawyer demonstrates (albeit on a small piece of turf) how livery of seisin is performed. Watch this video. It start at 1:00. It is too cool!

One bit I did not know. English courts began to require that witnesses to the livery of seisin sign an affidavit attesting that they witnessed the deed of transfering the clump of dirt. This is the origin of the word deed!

In other livery news, I also learned that William Penn performed the livery of seisin on October 27, 1682 upon his arrival in what is now New Castle, Delaware, but became part of Penn’s Woodlands (also known as Pennsylvania). There is a historical marker commemorating the event.

Near here October 27, 1682, William Penn first stepped on American soil. He proceeded to the fort and performed Livery of Seisin. “He took the key, thereof,…we did deliver unto him 1 turf with a twig upon it, a porringer with river water and soyle, in part of all.”

I did some more googling, and found a photo of a statue of Penn holding a twig and tuf where else? Al Brophy!