AD CENSUM Status of villeins who pay a cash rent in lieu of labor services.

AD OPUS Status of villeins owing labor services.


ASSART Tract of wasteland cleared or drained to be added to village arable.

ASSIZE OF BREAD AND ALE Royal law fixing prices and standards.

BAILIFF The lord’s chief official on the manor.

BALK Turf left unplowed to provide separation between strips.

BEADLE Manorial official, usually assistant to reeve.

BONDMAN Serf, q.v., villein.

BOON-WORK Obligation of tenants for special work services, notably the lord’s harvest.

BYLAWS Rules made by open-field villagers governing cultivation and grazing.

CELLARER Official of a monastery responsible for food supplies.

CENSUARIUS Tenant ad censum.

CHARTER Official document, usually deed or grant of privilege.

CHEVAGE Payment, typically in kind, owed annually by villein living outside the manor.

CORRODY Old age pension, usually purchasable from a monastery, consisting of lodging, food, and incidentals.

COTTER Tenant of a cottage, usually holding little or no land.

CROFT Garden plot of a village house.

CURIA Courtyard.

CUSTUMAL Document listing obligations and rights of tenants.

DEMESNE Part of the manor cultivated directly by the lord.

DISTRAINT Summons or arrest.

ESSOIN Excuse for non-attendance in court, or delay permitted a defendant.

EXTENT Document enumerating lands, services, and rents of a manor.

EYRE Royal circuit court (“justices in eyre”).

FARM Lease.

FEE, FIEF Land granted by a lord in return for services.

FEUDALISM Medieval social and political system by which the lord-vassal relationship was defined.

FRANKPLEDGE Police system by which every member of a tithing was responsible for the conduct of every other member.

FURLONG Plot of arable land, subdivision of a field.

GERSUM Entry fee for taking possession of a tenancy.

GLEBE Land assigned to support the parish church.

GORE Wedge of arable land created by irregularity of terrain and plowing in strips.

HALLMOTE Manorial court.

HAMSOKEN Assault in the victim’s own house.

HAYWARD OR MESSOR Lesser manorial official; assistant to reeve.

HEADLAND Segment of land left at end of plow strips for turning plow around.

HERIOT Death duty, usually “best beast” or other chattel, paid to lord.

HEUSHIRE House rent.

HIDE Tax assessment unit of land area, varying in size, theoretically 120 acres.

HUE-AND-CRY Criminal apprehension system by which all within earshot were required to give chase to the malefactor.

HUNDRED Administrative division of English shire (county).

INFANGENETHEF Right to prosecute thieves caught in the act within a territory and to confiscate their goods.

LEIRWITE Fine levied against an unmarried woman for sexual misconduct.

LOVE-DAY (DIES AMORIS) Opportunity given litigants to reconcile differences.

MANOR Estate consisting of lord’s demesne and tenants’ holdings.

MERCHET Fee paid by villein for a daughter’s marriage.

MESSUAGE House and yard.

MORTUARY Death duty paid by villein to parish church, usually second-best beast or chattel.

MULTURE Portion of meal or flour kept by the miller in payment for his services.

PANNAGE Fee to allow pigs to feed on forest mast.

PINFOLD OR PUNFOLD The lord’s pound for stray animals.

PLEDGING Legal institution by which one villager served as guaranty for another’s court appearance, veracity, good conduct, payment of a debt, etc.

QUARTER Unit of volume, eight bushels.

REEVE Principal manorial official under the bailiff, always a villein.

RING Unit of volume, four bushels.

SEISIN Legal possession of a property.

SELION Plow strip.

SERF Peasant burdened with week-work, merchet, tallage, and other obligations; bondman, villein.

STEWARD OR SENESCHAL Chief official of an estate, supervisor of the lord’s manors.

SUIT Attendance.

TALLAGE Annual tax levied by lord on villeins.

TALLY, TALLY-STICK Reeve’s method of accounting for manor’s production, deliveries, receipts, and expenditures; notched stick on which it was kept.

TITHE Payment to church consisting of a tenth of produce.

TITHING Unit of ten or twelve village men mutually responsible for each other’s conduct.

TOFT Yard of a village house.

VILLEIN English term for serf.

VIRGATE Land unit theoretically sufficient to support a peasant family, varying between 18 and 32 acres (in Elton, 24).

WARDENS OF AUTUMN Officials appointed by the villagers to help supervise harvest work.

WARDSHIP Right of guardianship exercised by a lord over a minor.

WEEK-WORK Principal labor obligation of a villein, comprising plowing and other work every week throughout the year.

WOODWARD Manorial official in charge of the lord’s woodland.

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