Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    In old English law. A manor or chief messuage with lands and tenements thereto appertaining, which belonged to the priory of St. John of Jerusalem, in England; he who had the government of such a manor or house was styled the "commander," who could not dispose of it, but to the use of the priory, only taking thence his own sustenance, according to his degree. The manors and lands belonging to the priory of St John of Jerusalem were given to Henry the Eighth by 32 Hen. VIII. c. 20, about the time of the dissolution of abbeys and monasteries; so that the name only of commanderies remains, the power being long since extinct. Wharton.