E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
A word used in Magna Charta, meaning the lands and chattels connected with a tenement;
also whatever befits the social position of a person, as the arms of a gentleman, the merchandise of a trader, the ploughs and wagons of a peasant, etc.
In every case the contenement (a word expressive of chattels necessary to each mans station) was exempted from seizure.Hallam: Middle Ages, part ii. chap. viii. p. 342.