Glossary

Abatis: a term in field fortification for an obstacle formed of the branches of trees laid in a row, with the sharpened tops directed outwards, towards the enemy. The trees are usually interlaced. Abatis

Acre: 43,560 sq. feet or a roughly 210 ft. by 210 ft. square.

Alienation: The act of separating land from the feudal system; typically by giving land to organizations rather than individuals. Also when individuals sell allods to other parties.

Allod: Land held without feudal obligation, owned outright.

Allodial lord: The lord who holds a piece of land without feudal obligation; the “owner” of the land.

Almoner: The personal who distributes alms to the poor, usually employed by lords and ladies.

Alms: Gifts to the poor including food, clothes, coin, and other goods.

Amercement: Fines for infringement of laws.

Bachelor knight: A knight without land supported by grants from his lord.

Barber: Personal grooms, as well as blood letters, surgeons, dentists, and general “medical” man.

Bather: People who run baths or the attendants inside baths.

Beadle: Manorial manager that collects seed at harvest for next year’s crop.

Benefice: A collection of land, rights, buildings, and/or communities given by a lord to his vassal, providing the vassal’s material support, in exchange for military service and counsel.

Bleacher: Those who bleach cloth and other textiles.

Bowyer: People who make bows.

Body servant: A lord’s personal servant who attend to his body, i.e. dressing, hair, bathing, cleaning, etc.

Burage: A plot of land in a city that is owned by a city member called a burgess.

Burgess: A land owning member of a city.

Burgher: A citizen of a city; a freeman who is a member of a guild.

Bushel: A unit of dry volume, roughly 4 pecks (2150.42 cubic inches) or 35.239 liters.

Buttery: Where wine and other drinks are stored, typically next to the kitchen.

Canon law: Ecclesiastical law; law which applies to clergy when they break the law or when a law is broken against them.

Ceremony of Commendation: The ritual where a vassal swears fealty to a lord and receives a benefice.

Chandler: Those who make and sell candles, lanterns, torches, wax, pitch, and soap.

Charter: A legal document stating a town’s or city’s legal status and rights; issued by the town lord or the king.

Chattel: Movable property, usually referring to animals or slaves.

Chevage: A manorial fee for living or living off the manor.

Chevauchee: A raid upon another lord’s resources.

Chicanery: Edging a plow into another man’s strips in the field; a fine worthy offense.

Circuit judge: A traveling royal justice, usually traveling a set annual route.

Cobbler: People who make shoes.

Cooper: People who make barrels.

Copyist: Those who copy text and books, also known as clerks and used as notaries.

Cotter: A jack of all trades on the manor, usually a peasant who does not own any land in the village except their home.

Crenellation: The wall portion of a battlement or parapet, with open spaces for shooting. The raised portions are called merlons, and the openings are called embrasures.

Curtain wall: The outer wall of a fortification or city; usually made of stone and as thick as 25-30 feet.

Cutler: Those who make knives and other cutlery.

Dairy seller: Those who sell milk and cheese.

Defilade: To arrange fortifications or positions in such a way as to give protection from enfilading and other fire.

Demesne: Synonymous with “domain.”

Draper: People who sell cloth.

Ell: A measurement for cloth or wool, around 45 inches.

Eminent domain: The land that a lord personally manages.

Enfilade: a position or formation subject to fire from a flank along the length of its front, to subject (a position or formation) to fire from a flank, to position (troops or guns) so as to be able to fire at a flank.

Enfeoff: To provide a fief to a vassal.

Entertainment: The right of lords to stay at their vassal’s manors all expenses paid.

Entry fee: A fee paid by inheritors, people entering and advancing in guilds, and other social entrances.

Escalade: an assault by the use of ladders, esp. on a fortification.

Escheat: A fee paid by inheritors for assuming vassalage for land.

Eyre court: A royal court that audits other sources of justice for jurisdictional infringement.

Fallow: Cultivated arable land that is not currently growing crops.

Fief: A division of land given in a benefice by a lord to his vassal.

Fishmonger: Those who sell fish.

Fletcher: Those who make arrows.

Foddercorn: Feed for animals.

Forest law: Law prohibiting hunting by anyone other than the lord.

Fulling: A method of treating wool, involving washing and extracting the nap.

Fuller: Those who treat wool and prepare it for weavers.

Furlong: A rectangular plot for farming divided into strips; all the strips in a furlong grow the same crops.

Furrier: Those who sell and repair animal fur.

Garderobe: The toilet; the loo; the water closet.

Gentry: The lowest level of landed society.

Girdler: Those who make girdles and belts.

Glazier: Those who set glass, which involves cutting, coloring, and layering.

Gleaning: Cleaning the field after harvest, a job usually given to the young, old, and poor as a form of charity.

Granger: Manorial worker who protects the stored grain in the barn from theft.

Groom: Those who tend to horses and stables, also known as ostlers.

Ground rent: A set amount of money paid by the city to the town lord.

Guides/tout: Those who act as guides to newcomers of the city.

Haberdasher: Those who sell men’s clothing and accessories.

Hallmote: The manorial court.

Harrowing: Breaking clods in the fields in preparation for soil aeration and seeding.

Harvest boon: A feast provided by a lord for his peasants performing labor at harvest time.

Hayward: Manorial manager who impounds stray animals and tends to livestock.

Household: Those people and places a lord supports, including staff, advisors, visitors, and their entourage.

Household knight: A landless knight who serves the lord’s household, usually with the promise of land in the future; maintained by his lord.

Illuminator: Those who draw and paint illustrations in writings.

Infeudation: A vassal being lord over someone else; your vassal making someone else his vassal.

Investiture: Placing, ratifying, or selecting a candidate for a position.

Maleficium: Harm done to a person or property through magic.

Mendicant: Members of landless monastic orders or wandering unaffiliated monks.

Mercer: People dealing in expensive fabrics.

One year’s gain: One year’s profit.

Pannage: Taking pigs to feed in the forest in autumn.

Pantler: One who supervises the pantry.

Pottage: A porridge made from boiled grains and oats; a daily staple for most peasants.

Relief: The feudal incident allowing lords to charge one year’s gain as an entry fee on the potential inheritor of a fief.

Ridge-and-furrow: The pattern of growth on the fields, with grain grown on the ridge and peas, beans, and vetch in the furrow.

Scutage: A payment in exchange for serving military service to a lord.

Serf: An unfree peasant, legally and socially tied to his lord’s land.

Sheepfold: Collecting the village sheep’s manure to fertilize the lord’s holdings in the fields; collected by penning or by having the sheep graze on the lord’s land.

Skinner: Those who skin animals.

Slater: One who makes and repairs slate roofs.

Subinfeudation: When lordship and vassalage intermingle over and over, creating a web of complex social and legal relationships in feudal society.

Suzerain: A vassal’s lord’s lord.

Tallage: A manorial tax paid by all the lord’s tenants.

Tanner: Those who treat leather for leather workers.

Taxidermist: Those who preserve and stuff dead animals.

Thatch: Reeds dried and bound together; used in roofing and highly flammable.

Thatcher: One who repairs and makes thatch roofs.

Three-field rotation: A method of farming to keep the soil fruitful; where one field is fallow, one field grows winter wheat, and one field goes spring crops.

Tiler: Those who make and/or place tile.

Tinker: Those who fix brass and other metal items.

Town crier: Those who announce the news.

Town lord: The lord whose land a town lies on.

Tun: a large cask used to hold wine.

Utile domain: Land used to acquire (enfeoff) vassals.

Vestment maker: Those who make holy clothing for religions and churches.

Glossary

Straight outta Oakhurst MikeRuff