E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Land which a tenant holds [or rather, held] without any deed of transfer in his own possession. His only document is a copy of the roll made by the steward of the manor from the court-roll kept in the manor-house.
The villein took an oath of fealty to his lord for the cottage and land which he enjoyed from his bounty . These tenements were suffered to descend to their children and thus the tenure of copyhold was established.Lingard: England (vol. ii. chap. i. p. 27, note).