(redirected from investitures)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.


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.



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 ?
Whilst Lloyd George was recognised as an eminent politician, did he really, as a true Welshman, want an investiture, knowing full well of the English dominance and significance?
The choice of Caernarfon Castle for Prince Charles' investiture 'exposed divisions' says Alun Ffred Jones
The July ceremony at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in his native city Edinburgh could be televised live to the nation - a first for an investiture.
The Investiture was a great occasion I AM honoured that the connoisseur of all things Celtic, Mr Gary Owain Ashbrook, chose to put my recent letter under the microscope.
The Presiding Officer also believes there should never be another investiture ceremony such as the grand one Prince Charles enjoyed at Caernarfon Castle nearly 40 years ago.
SIR - At the recent investiture at Cardiff Castle I accompanied my disabled sister, Miss Hazel Dickson, when she received the MBE from the Prince of Wales.
DOCUMENTARY filmmakers are on the hunt for anyone who attended the Prince of Wales Investiture at Caernarfon Castle.
Jacqueline James, from Penarth, near Cardiff, fears her investiture at Cardiff Castle tomorrow, St David's Day, will be in a ground-floor corridor instead of in an upstairs banquet hall with the 40 other recipients.
Around 25 investitures are held each year, with most staged in the Ballroom at Buckingham Palace, but others take place at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh and at Windsor Castle.