Feb 14, 2020

Wordology, Quit Rent

Most quit rents are relics of medieval agreements. A few examples include: Some English landowners must produce a variety of quit rents: a bucket of snow on demand, three red roses, a small French flag, a salmon spear. Some rents only kick in if the king or queen visits: the renter must provide the crown with a bed of straw, in another the renter must offer a single white rose.

There is a quite recent one in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, USA. It started when the city imported a bridge from London (which had spanned the Thames river) and was auctioned off in the late 1960s. Robert McCulloch, Lake Havasu City’s founder, bought the bridge, and by the early ’70s, the bridge had been reinstalled in Arizona.

As a gift to London, during the dedication ceremony, McCulloch offered an acre of Arizona land and years later, when the city wanted to use that land for a visitor’s center, London agreed to lease it back to Lake Havasu. They settled on a token quit rent: a Kachina doll (a carved Hopi figure representing an immortal being).

No comments:

Post a Comment