In England, a county in which the tenant in chief exercised powers normally reserved for the King, including the exclusive right to appoint justiciary, hold courts of chancery and exchequer, and to coin money. The King's writ was not valid in a County Palatinate.
Light saddled horse, often ridden by women.
Sturdy wooden fence usually built to enclose a site until a permanent stone wall could be constructed. Often built on a raised earth bank to give further protection. Sometimes these were built as an extra defence or as a temporary protection while a more permanent structure was being built.
Food such as acorns that swine (pigs), etc., feed on in the woods. The right to let your swine feed in the woods. Often restricted to a certain number of days per year or to a set period.
In the "New Forest" in Hampshire, "New Forest Commoners" still have this right. Each autumn their pigs eat the green acorns. This also protects the wild "New Forest" ponies from eating acorns and being poisoned.
Toll (tax) levied for passage or wayleave.
Toll (tax) levied on pasturage.
Volume. A dry measure of 2 gallons, or ¼ bushel.
Also, a "large" amount.
Tower stronghold without outer defensive walls. Common in the border areas of Scotland. Examples include Bonshaw Tower.
Also Pentise, Penthouse or Lean-to building.
Money paid for breaking the ground to set up booths at the fairs held at places such as market towns, charter towns and abbeys.
Modern term for a small enclosed fortified gun emplacement, normally constructed with reinforced concrete. See also Sangar.
The area of arable land capable of being tilled by one eight-oxen plough team. Equivalent to one Hide. But also used as a notional unit for taxation.
The holding of more than one church living at the same time.
Dagger with a slender blade.
Toll (tax) levied for crossing a bridge.
A heavy timber and iron grille suspended in special grooves in a gate house, in front of a gate, that could be dropped to block the gateway. The Hemyock gatehouse has a portcullis slot.
A side or less important gate into a castle. Often used for raids on besieging forces, or for escape. Traces of a postern gate have been found in the remains of Hemyock Castle's NW tower.
16 ounces (Avoirdupois), 7000 grains (Troy). Many other weights have been used at different times, in different places, and for weighing different materials.
The right of the eldest son to inherit the estate or office of his father.
Any religious house administered by a prior or prioress. If the prior was subject to a resident abbot, the house was called an abbey or monastery. The title prioress was held in certain religious houses for women. See also monastery.
A hole intentionally left in the surface of a wall for insertion of a horizontal pole. Such holes held scaffolding used during construction, floor joists, or supported hourdings. Hemyock Castle has many such holes.
2 stones ie. 28 pounds.
Days when rents and taxes were due.
In September 1752, the English calendar was reformed and 11 days were "lost." Also, the official first day of the civil year was moved from Lady Day to 1st January. However, the English tax year which had started on Lady Day, the official first day of the old civil and legal year, just moved 11 days to the 6th April. This is still the official start of the tax year (although some parts of government use other dates).
See also New Year's Day and Scottish Term Days.
Exempt, normally from specific taxes or duties. Also acknowledgement of payment.
Exemption, normally from specific taxes or duties. Also a receipt or acknowledgement of payment.
Battering-ram. Also the reinforced projection from the bows of some warships.
Defensive earth or stone wall surrounding castle.
Sussex equivalent of a hundred.
Money given or pledged for the performance of a legal obligation to do, or not to do, some particular act.
Royal official, or a manor official appointed by the lord or elected by the peasants.
Fee paid by the heir of a deceased person on securing possession of a fief. Effectively, inheritance tax. The amount demanded was determined by tradition.
Administrative unit of land. Third part of a shire, eg. the Yorkshire Ridings (North Riding, East Riding, West Riding) which were established in the 9th century by the Danes. (Not necessarily exactly a third.)
Traditional decorative item or figure made using cut straw, fixed to a thatched roof or thatched hayrick. Often (loosely) called a Corn Dolly.
A random mixture of rocks and mortar, often used to fill the space between inner and outer faces of walls. See also mortar.
Weight. Five fotmal (of lead). A sack of wool was 364 pounds. But other commodities used different weights: For example, a sack of grain was 280 pounds.
Hallowe'en. 31st October. Eve of All Saints Day. See also Beltane Eve.
Temporary protection of fugitives from pursuit, pending investigation or exile. By reaching a church or certain land under church jurisdiction, a fugitive from the king's justice could claim refuge for forty days after which they had to leave its safety and submit to justice or abjure the realm as an outlaw. Some church buildings had large Sanctuary Rings or door knockers. Some had marker posts showing the extent of the safe area.
This right was widely abused by fugitives and their pursuers. It was later repealed. See also Asylum.
Modern term for a breastwork of earth, stone or concrete. Often used for a small Pillbox.
Undermining of a wall, above or below ground, by attackers. One siege technique was to dig a tunnel under the castle walls and support the tunnel roof with timbers. Setting fire to the timbers would collapse the tunnel - and the wall.
Rectangular towers like those at Bodiam castle were more easily damaged by undermining than the round towers of Hemyock Castle.
Temporary wooden framework built next to a wall to support both workers and materials.
See also New Year's Day and Quarter Days.
Wooden partition at the lower or kitchen end of a hall. The screens passage lay between it and the kitchen etc. Traces still remain at Hemyock.
Small wallet or bag carried by monks and pilgrims.
Sum that the holder of a knight's fee could pay his lord in lieu of military service. Sometimes used as a form of tax.
Bonded peasant who worked his lord's demesne and paid him certain dues in return for the use of land, the possession (not ownership) of which was heritable, and protection. These dues, usually called corvee, were usually in the form of labour on the lord's land. Generally this averaged three days a week. Some serfs worked as craftsmen, provided transport or other specialized service.
Usually, serfs were bonded to the land rather than to a particular lord: This meant that they could not be sold to a new "owner" unless the relevant parcel of land was also sold. Serfs were generally classified as: Cottagers, small-holders, or villeins although villeins originally meant free peasants who were burdened with additional rents and services.
Servant who accompanied his lord to battle, or a horseman of lower status used as light cavalry. Also meant a type of non knightly "tenure in service" owed to a lord. Such persons might carry the lord's banner, serve in the wine cellar, make bows/arrows or any of a dozen other occupations. Sergeants paid the feudal dues of wardship, marriage, and relief but were exempt from scutage (non knightly).
Also called Viscount. Official who was the chief administrative and judicial officer of a shire. Many of his jobs were carried out by the itinerant justice, coroner, and justice of the peace. He collected taxes and forwarded them on to the exchequer, after taking his share. He was also responsible for making sure that the King's table was well stocked while King was in his county (ie Royal Game Preserve). In Devonshire, the post was usually hereditary.
Measure of money used for accounting purposes and equal to 12 old pennies. Until modern times, there was no actual coin. (Now replaced by 5 new pence.)
English county. The shire court conducted the administrative, judicial and financial business of people living in the county.
Military tactic that involved the surrounding and isolation of a castle, town or army by another army until the trapped forces were starved or frightened into surrender. Hemyock Castle was besieged and captured by the Royalist forces in 1644, during the Civil War.
In 1373, while Sir William Asthorpe was Keeper of the Channel Islands, Mont Orgueil (then known as Gurri or Gorey Castle) was besieged by a large French force led by In 1373, Bertrand du Guesclin, Constable of France, (also called "The Sword of France") and Duc du Bourbon.
The buying or selling of spiritual things, particularly church livings, offices and benefices.
Property of his lord, or occasionally of a wealthier peasant. Normally had no land or other property. Could be bought and sold. People were sometimes "sold into slavery" or forced to accept it because of misfortune, poverty or as a punishment for crime. See also serf.
In 1086, Devon seems to have had a high proportion of slaves – almost one in five people – and church lands often had the highest numbers of slaves.
Destruction of (captured enemy) fortifications, to prevent their future use (by enemies). Widespread after the English Civil War. Hemyock Castle was slighted at this time, reputedly on the orders of King Charles II.
Arrow-slit. Narrow opening in a wall for discharge of arrows and admittance of light. See also arrow-loop.
Middle ranking peasant, farming more land than a cottager but less than a villein. A typical small holder would have 10-20 acres of land, often as separate strips in different fields. He was also required to work on his lord's land or to provide a service to his lord. Also known as a Bordar.
Term in Northern Danelaw for land considered to be the property of the occupying peasants, rather than the lord. See also Inland and Outland.
Another name for a free villager, especially in Danelaw regions.
Upper level private withdrawing room, often on a balcony over the great hall, used by the lord and his guests. The Hemyock manor house still has traces of the old solars above the great hall. Long ago, the great hall was converted to form two storeys.
Compact staircase often built into the walls of castles. Usually designed so that attackers climbing a clockwise staircase would find it hard to fight with their right hand, whilst descending defenders would have their right (sword) arm free.
Tax levied on trading booths or stalls at markets and fairs. Not paid by hawkers or peddlers.
The body of law based on statutes rather than on custom and judicial decisions. See also common law and equity.
Man responsible for running the day to day affairs of the manor or castle in absence of the lord. See also Bailiff.
Usually 14 pounds Avoirdupois, as decreed by King Edward III in 1340 when Flemish / Florentine measures were adopted to aid England's vital international wool trade.
Other definitions have been used in other places and for different materials. At least two of these survived into the 20th century:
Measurement of land in Kent. Roughly equal to two hides, although still considered to be the area of land which could be cultivated using a single plough-team of eight oxen.
Packhorse, pony, mule or other animal
Hemyock Castle, Hemyock, CULLOMPTON, Devon, EX15 3RJ, UK.
© 2001–2015. Prepared and published by Curlew Communications Ltd