The tenants were termed "mesne-lords," with regard to those holding from them, the immediate tenant being tenant in capite. The lowest tenant of all was the freeholder, or, as he was sometimes termed tenant paravail. The Crown, who in theory owned all lands, was lord paramount.
The great lords looked with dissatisfaction on the increase of such subtenures. Accordingly in 1290 a statute was passed, Quia Emptores, which allowed the tenant to alienate whenever he pleased, but the person to whom he granted the land was to hold it for the same immediate lord, and by the same services as the alienor held it before.