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In ecclesiastical law, one of the formalities by which an archbishop confirms the election of a bishop. During the feudal ages, the rite by which an overlord granted a portion of his lands to his vassal.
The investiture ceremony, which took place in the presence of other vassals, consisted of the vassal taking an oath of fealty to the overlord who, in turn, gave him a clod of dirt or a twig, symbolic of the open and notorious transfer of possession of the land. The ritual, used at a time when writing and record keeping were not widely practiced, fixed the date of the vassal's acquisition of the land and, in cases of disputes over the land, provided a source of evidence in the form of testimony of the vassals who witnessed the proceedings.
INVESTITURE, estates. The act of giving possession of lands by actual seisin
When livery of seisin was made to a person by the common law he was invested
with the whole fee; this, the foreign feudists and sometimes 'our own law
writers call investiture, but generally speaking, it is termed by the common
law writers, the seisin of the fee. 2 Bl. Com. 209, 313; Feame on Rem. 223,
2. By the canon law investiture was made per baculum et annulum, by the ring and crosier, which were regarded as symbols of the episcopal jurisdiction. Ecclesiastical and secular fiefs were governed by the same rule in this respect that previously to investiture, neither a bishop, abbey or lay lord could take possession of a fief. conferred upon them previously to investiture by the prince.
3. Pope Gregory VI. first disputed the right of sovereigns to give investiture of ecclesiastical fiefs, A. D. 1045, but Pope Gregory VII. carried. on the dispute with much more vigor, A. D. 1073. He excommunicated the emperor, Henry IV. The Popes Victor III., Urban II. and Paul II., continued the contest. This dispute, it is said, cost Christendom sixty- three battles, and the lives of many millions of men. De Pradt.