Boundaries: Description v. Survey

These propositions I first encountered as a student in law school. At that time they struck me as rather startling propositions, which could not be reconciled with other things I had learned about the law of conveyancing. I do not recall exactly how they were disposed of: whether they were to be regarded as the law on the subject or merely as a couple of striking aberrations. There were too many other matters demanding attention at that time to allow much fretting over so small a question. Upon returning to the classroom some years later-but now sitting on the other side of the desk-I had to cope with these cases again. Now it was not so easy to pass them off; and so I have been confidently announcing for some time that this was not the law, or at least should not be. Still I could not be sure, at least of what the law was, for, so far as I could tell, nobody had ever gone into it very far. I thought perhaps the question had not come up very often; for if it had, we would have heard more about it. This probably served as a basis for my pronouncements to students; for unless there were extensive authority for the above-quoted propositions, it seemed doubtful that they could or would find general acceptance. But I was not content to leave the question there, and so set off to see what could be found in the reports, moved principally to satisfy my own curiosity. The number of relevant cases turned up in this inquiry proved to be all out of proportion to the magnitude of the question. But I had a growing feeling that, however narrow the question might be, the answer might have not a little practical value to conveyancers by and large. So I saw the matter through, and this article is a report of that endeavor.