Historically, a trust was seen as coterminous with the fiduciary duty owed by the trustee; it was defined by the duty of the trustee to the beneficiary:
I should define a trust in some such way as the following – when a person has rights which he is bound to exercise on behalf of another or for the accomplishment of some purpose he is said to have those rights in trust for that other or for that other purpose and he is called a trustee.
The law of trust arose in the fourteenth century: the “ancestor of the modern trust (the feoffment to uses), enjoyed a popularity at least from the reign of Edward III (1327-1377).” Originally, enforcement of uses fell to the courts of the Church of England which used canon law to regulate the conduct of the trustee (the feoffee). In the fifteenth century, Chancery took over the role of enforcing these antecedents to the modern trust. The evolution from the ecclesiastic courts to Chancery carried forward the application of canon law based norms to the Equity Courts. Presumably, these ecclesiastic origins count, at least in part, for the moralistic overlay that informs the fiduciary duty of trustees.
 FREDERIC W. MAITLAND, EQUITY: A COURSE OF LECTURES (A.H. Chaytor & W.J. Whittaker eds., 1st ed. 1909, reprinted Fred B. Rothman & Co. 1999), 44.
 R. H. Helmholz, “The Early Enforcement of Uses,” 79 Colum. L. Rev. 1503 (1979).
 Id. At 1504-5.
 Id. At 1512.
 “The evolution of the enforcement of uses from the ecclesiastical to Chancery jurisdiction serves as an example of the role that canon law has played in the growth and development of our common law. Modern students of legal history may regard it as part of the long continuing absorption into the secular law of remedies once available only in the courts of the Church. The rise of the Chancery jurisdiction over feoffees to uses is not, therefore, the story of the creation of a legal remedy where previously there had been none. Rather it is the story of continuing enforcement in a new setting.” Id., at 1513.
 “Beginning in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, beneficiaries increasingly turned for justice to the Chancellor who granted relief on the theory that he was ‘compelling the trustee to act upon the dictates of his conscience.’ In other words, the Chancellor’s role was to force the trustee to abide by his pre-existing moral or ethical obligation…Thus, the duty of loyalty developed as an equitable doctrine to support and enforce pre-existing moral norms.” Leslie, “Trusting Trustees,” supra note 13, at 73.