The question posed for decision is whether or not the words “to the nearest 'heirs” as they ¡appear in Item Three of the will of John' S. Chappell bring this devise within the rule -in Shelley’s ease.
In the ease of Allen v. Hewitt, 212 N.C. 367, 193 S.E. 275, this Court said: “The terms ‘loam’ and ‘lend’ when used in a will ¡are given the interpretation of the words ‘.give’ ¡and ‘devise’ unless it is manifest that the testator intended otherwise. Sessoms v. Sessoms, 144 N.C. 121 (56 S.E. 687), citing Cox v. Marks, 27 N.C. 361; King v. Utley, 85 N.C. 59; Robeson v. Moore, 168 N.C. 388 (84 S.E. 351, L.R.A. 1915D 496); Waller v. Brown, 197 N.C. 508 (149 S.E. 687). * * *
“It is established by repeated decisions of this Court that the rule in Shelley’s case is still recognized in this jurisdiction, and where the same obtains it does so as ¡a rule of property without regard to the intent of 'the grantor or devisor. (Citations omitted.)” See Hammer v. Brantley, 244 N.C. 71, 92 S.E. 2d 424, and Strong's North Carolina Index, Volume 4, Section 32, page 513.
Likewise, in Crisp v. Biggs, 176 N.C. 1, 96 S.E. 662, Jesse Mizelle devised the tract of land in question to his son, Hardy Mizelle, “to have *740(and to hold in fee ©imple all the day© >o.f his life, then it shall descend •to his nearest heins.” The question to be determined wiais whether the devise to- Handy Mizelle wa® in fee simple under the rule in Shelley’s ease. Clark, C.J., ©peaking fioor the Court, ©aid: "The mile in Shelley’s ©ase wa© first stated, 1 Coke, 104, in 1581, .and is as follows: “When an ancestor, by 'any gift or 'conveyance, taketh an estate of freehold, and in the same gift or conveyance an estate is limited, either 'mediately or immediately, ito his heirs in fee or in tail, the word heirs is a word of Imitation of the estate, and mot a word oif purchase.’ * * *
Also, in the case of Ratley v. Oliver, 229 N.C. 120, 47 S.E. 2d 703, •the devise -was to W. A. Ratley “for his natural life, >amd at hi© death to his nearest heins.” The Count said: “And the principle seems to have Ibeen established by the .adjudications of this Court that the words ‘nearest heir©,’ ©tending alone, should be understood .in their technical sense as denoting .an -indefinite succession of lineal descendants who ■are to- take by inheritance * * *, .and that the role in Shelley’s case applies as a rule of law and of property, vesting fee simple title in. the first taker.”
In Rose v. Rose, 219 N.C. 20, 12 S.E. 2d 688, the devise was -as follows: “I give land bequeath to my son, W. W. Roise, the Pierce place where he now lives * * his lifetime, then to hi© wife, Sarah, her lifetime or -widowhood but in case said W. W. Roise have iany heirs ©aid •land -go to said heirs.” Stacy, C.J., ©peaking for the Court, said: “Reduced to- its simplest terms, the devise .in question is one to W. W. Roise for Efe, remainder to hi© wife Sarah for life, remainder to his heirs. Rowland v. Building & Loan Assn., 211 N.C. 456, 190 S.E. 719. This under the rule in Shelley’s case gives to- W. W. Rose an estate for life in possession, with >a fee ©imple in expectancy. Hileman v. Bouslaugh, 13 Pa. St. 344. He may deal with the property -als full owner and convey it, subject only to the intervening ilife estate and its incidents. Welch v. Gibson, supra (193 N.C. 684, 138 S.E. 25); Smith v. Smith, 173 N.C. 124, 91 S.E. 721; Cotten v. Moseley, 159 N.C. 1, 74 S.E. 454. As 'the intervening life estate is at an end, he may convey it absolutely and in fee simple.”
In Smith v. Smith, 173 N.C. 124, 91 S.E. 721, the devise w.as to testator’© eon, “to have during hi© life, .at hi© death to- his bodily heir© and to his wife her lifetime or widowhood.” Tire Court held in this caise that the son .took ¡a fee simple title to the devised land ©u'bj ect only to tihe life estate of 'his wife, or until she remarried, and that the precedent Efe estate in her did not affect the operation o;f the rule in Shelley’s caise insofar 'a© the heirs were concerned.
*741In light of our deoisiomis, we hold that the heins of John S. Chappell, Jr., are the owners in fee simple of the tract of land devised in Item Three of the will of John S. Chappell, subject to the life estate of Bessie Chappell.
The judgment of the eourt below is, in all respects,