It seems obvious that the simplest way to convey ownership of a property from one person to another is a straightforward contract where the seller promises to deliver the property to the buyer in exchange for a payment.

In England the Statute of Uses of 1535 effectively formalized this “bargain and sale” contract.  It provided that any written document transferring use of land automatically transferred title as well.  However, the Statute of Enrollment, which was enacted a year later, in 1536, required that such a contract conveying land not only had to be written down, but also enrolled or recorded in a public registry.  Landowners were very sceptical of this enrollment as it put the sale and purchase of land into the public domain.  As these statutes were enacted in the reign of (money hungry) King Henry VIII there was also the suspicion that it would be a small step to tax property transactions once ownership was documented. Consequently, a nice little legal wheeze was found to avoid the requirement to enroll  property transactions in the registry. 
A grant was a type of conveyance which was used to give someone a future interest in land.  Due to some legal quirk it could not be used to convey a current interest.  I could (perhaps for a payment) grant you land on my death or your 21st birthday,  but I could not grant it now.  However, (and there’s always that when the law is involved) there was a special form of grant called a release which could be used to convey or give a future interest in a property to someone who already had a current interest. 

This resulted in a very popular form of conveyance or sale contract known as a lease and release.  Two agreements were required.  First, a contract was executed by the seller to convey a lease on the land. This gave the purchaser a current interest in the property.  The key point was that a lease was not a sale so did not have to be enrolled in the public registry!  The seller then separately executed a release to grant to the buyer (who was now his tenant) a reversion of the seller’s (future) interest.  This effectively transferred title to the buyer, since he now owned both the current and future interests in the land. 

So the contract consisted of two documents (i) a lease on one day; (ii) a release on the following day. In the lease the consideration was nominal (usually 5s.) and the term of the lease was one year. The release was executed the day after the lease, releasing the property to the 'lessee' in perpetuity; the full purchase price (consideration) is stated (recited) in the release, also  the lease of the previous day; the release is executed 'according to the statute for converting uses into possession' (the Statute of Uses).

The lease and release form of property transfer was widely used in England until late into the 19th century.  There are several examples in the Deeds of Winmour Cottage.