demesne

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demesne

land held by a person's own right and not through another and more particularly that surrounding a house or manor, retained by the owner for his own use. Ancient demesne signifies land held by the Crown at the time of the Norman Conquest and recorded in the Domesday Book.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

DEMESNE, Eng. law. The name given to that portion of the lands of a manor which the lord retained in his own hands for the use of himself and family. These lands were called terra dominicales or demesne lands, because they were occupied by the lord, or dominus manerii, and his servants, &c. 2 Bl. Com. 90. Vide Ancient Demesne; Demesne as of fee; and Soil assault demesne.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.