Investiture

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Investiture

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.

Cross-references

Feudalism.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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, n. (z).
     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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Defenders of lay investiture deemed it a purchase of land; opponents thought it to be a scandalous mongering of spiritual goods.
The reforms of Gregory VII (1073-85) included attacks on nepotism, simony, clerical corruption and the interference of lay rulers in the internal governance of the church (the lay investiture issue).
With a stroke of the pen Paschal had signed away almost all of the tenets for which the reform papacy and Paschal himself had fought for decades" ("Opposition to Pope Paschal II: Some Comments on the Lateran Council of 1112," 83): lay investiture, lay homage, and, indirectly, free elections.