Land leased by Espmethis son of Osoroeris to Nekhthmonthes son of Horos. Scribe Harsiesis 2 son of Khenstephnakhthes 2
Papyrus, written with black ink, legal document dated year 51 of Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II
15.5 centimetres x 27.7 centimetres
The British Museum, London
Plan of houses & ground in and near Holbourn, held by Thomas Lee Esqr. under lease from the Crown
Pen and ink on paper
368 x 610 mm
Maps Crace Port. 15.25
The British Library, London
The late Margaret Thatcher once said: "There is no prouder word in our history than “freeholder”"
However our tenure is leasehold and not freehold
George Herbert once expressed the thought beautifully in his poem Redemption
HAVING been tenant long to a rich Lord,
Not thriving, I resolved to be bold,
And make a suit unto him, to afford
A new small-rented lease, and cancell th' old.
In heaven at his manour I him sought: 5
They told me there, that he was lately gone
About some land, which he had dearly bought
Long since on earth, to take possession.
I straight return'd, and knowing his great birth,
Sought him accordingly in great resorts; 10
In cities, theatres, gardens, parks, and courts:
At length I heard a ragged noise and mirth
Of theeves and murderers: there I him espied,
Who straight, Your suit is granted, said, & died.
George Herbert, (1593 – 1 March 1633) Redemption
This of course is not a new idea and reminds us of the Jubilee laws in Leviticus
In Steven Wedgworth The Jubilee and Land Ownership we learn:
"Leviticus 25:23 says, “The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me.” This is the fundamental principle which controls the surrounding restrictions on property redemption. We should keep in mind that the land in question is the Promised land, “When you come into the land which I give you…” (Lev. 25:2). There is no true ownership of this land because it is a gift from the Lord. ...
The land cannot be sold permanently. It can only be rented for 50 year periods....
The best Christian understanding of the Jubilee is certainly one that closely follows the 4th chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, noting that the Promised Land was a type of the eschatological rest which was still future. After explaining Israel’s history of rebellion, we are told:
`Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said:“So I swore in My wrath,‘They shall not enter My rest,’”although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest.”
Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying in David,
“Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said:“Today, if you will hear His voice,Do not harden your hearts.”For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. (Heb. 4:1-11)`"