contenement (k[schwa]n-ten-[schwa]-m[schwa]nt). Hist.

1. Freehold land held by a feudal tenant, esp. land used to support the tenant. ? Magna Carta exempted this property from seizure.

¡°Contenement, (contenementum) seemeth to be the free hould land, which lyeth to a mans tenement or dwelling house, that is in his owne occupation. For magna carta. ca. 14. you have these words: A free man shall not be amerced for a small fault, but after the quantity of the fault: and for a great fault, after the maner thereof, saving to him his contenement or free hould. And a merchant likewise shal be amerced saving to him his merchandies: and any other villaine then owers, shal be amerced saving his wainage ….¡± John Cowell, The Interpreter (1607).

2. A person’s reputation or standing in the community. ? Though contenement as used in this sense is also rooted in the ownership of land, it may stem from the Law French contenance (¡°countenance¡±) rather than the Law Latin contenementum (¡°with tenement¡±), as used in sense (1).¡°Contenement signifies his Countenance, Credit, or Reputation, which he hath, together with, and by reason of his Freehold; and in this sense does the Statute of 1 Edw. 3 and Old Nat. Br. use it, where Countenance is used for Contenement: The Armor of a Soldier is his Countenance; the Books of a Schollar, his Countenance; and the like.¡± Thomas Blount, Nomo-Lexicon: A Law-Dictionary (1670).

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