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A Fitto:
Land leased out for a fixed payment.
   (Duby, Georges. Rural Economy and Country Life in the Medieval West, 554)

Language: Italian


Abacus:
The square, uppermost part of a capital. (architecture)
   (Davis, H.W. C. (ed.) Medieval England, 615)

For more information: Medieval Architecture


Abbey:
A monastic community of either monks or nuns. Ruled by an (m.) Abbot or (f.) Abbess Usually founded by a particular monastic order and bound by their rules. Abbeys many times owe some form of feudal obligation to a lord/lady or higher organization. Basically they are self contained with all basic function performed by the residents and needs from the local area.
   (MEDIEV-L. Medieval Terms)

Related terms: Monastery
For more information: Abbey and Monastic Architecture / Religious Orders


Abbot / Abbess:
Superior of a monastery or nunnery; derived from Syriac word abba, "father".
   (Lynch, Joseph H. The Medieval Church: A Brief History, 359)


Abergement:
The right of settlement.
   (Duby, Georges. Rural Economy and Country Life in the Medieval West, 554)


Abjuration:
A renunciation, under oath, of heresy to the Christian faith, made by a Christian wishing to be reconciled with the church.
   (MEDIEV-L. Medieval Terms)


Abonnée:
Regularizing the taille.
   (Duby, Georges. Rural Economy and Country Life in the Medieval West, 554)


Absenteeism:
Holders not residing in the benefice or performing the duties attached to the benefice though still collecting the income from the benefice. An absentee priest would appoint a substitute (vicar) to perform the duties of the parish and pay him a small stipend.
   (Waugh, Scott. England in the Reign of Edward III, 237)


Acanthus:
Plant of which the leaves are represented in a classical capital of the Corinthian order.
   (Wood, Margaret. The English Medieval House, 409)

For more information: Medieval Architecture


Account:
Official report of the receipts and expenses of a manorial estate.
   (Bennett, Judith M. Women in the Medieval English Countryside, 233)


Acre:
A day's ploughing for one plough team. Now 200 X 22 yards. 120 were reckoned to be the average which would support one family, but the acre varied in real size according to local conditions and soil.
   (Wood, Michael. Domesday: A Search for the Roots of England, 213)


Action:
A legal suit to secure the enforcement of one's rights in a court of law.
   (Hogue, Arthur R. Origins of the Common Law, 255)

For more information: English Common Law


Ad Censum:
Status of villeins who pay a cash rent in lieu of labor services.
   (Gies, Joseph and Francis. Life in a Medieval Castle, 243)


Ad Opus:
Status of villeins owing larbor services.
   (Gies, Frances and Joseph. Life in a Medieval Village, 243)


Ad Valorem Duty:
A duty levied upon, and varying with, the value of a commodity.
   (Davis, H.W. C. (ed.) Medieval England, 615)


Adamite:
Member of a heretical religious current that sought to return mankind to Adam's original state in paradise.
   (Fine, John V.A. Jr. The Late Medieval Balkans, 621)


Adulterine Castle:
A castle build with out a person's liege lord's approval.
   (MEDIEV-L. Medieval Terms)

Related terms: Castle
For more information: Castle Architecture


Advowson:
1) The right to appoint a priest to a parish church. Advowsons could be held by laymen and were treated as real property which could be inherited, sold, exchanged, or even divided between co-heiresses (one appointing on one occasion, another on the next, and so on).
   (Waugh, Scott. England in the Reign of Edward III, 237)

2) The right of presentation to a church or benefice.
   (Sayles, George O. The King's Parliament of England, 143)

3) Patronage of a church living; the legal right to present a candidate for installation in a vacant ecclesiastical office.
   (Hogue, Arthur R. Origins of the Common Law, 255)


Affeer:
To settle the amount of an amercement, to assess.
   (Bennett, H.S. Life on the English Manor: A Study of Peasant Conditions, 1150-1400, 337)

Related terms: Affeeror


Affeeror:
Officer responsible for assessing manorial amercements and fines.
   (Bennett, Judith M. Women in the Medieval English Countryside, 233)

Related terms: Affeer


Affer: [afrus, averius, averus, avrus]
The cheapest form of farm horse.
   (Davis, R.H.C. The Medieval Warhorse: Origin, Development and Redevelopment, 135)

Related terms: Stottus


Affictum:
Short-term lease.
   (Duby, Georges. Rural Economy and Country Life in the Medieval West, 554)

Language: Italian


Afforcement of Court:
Increasement in membership of court.
   (Sayles, George O. The King's Parliament of England, 143)


Agrier:
A levy of 4th, 9th or 12th sheaf of harvest.
   (Duby, Georges. Rural Economy and Country Life in the Medieval West, 554)

Language: French
Location: southern France


Aid:
1) A special obligation of a vassal to provide money for such occasions as his lord's ransom, the marriage of his daughter, the knighting of his son, or for going on Crusade.
   (Gies, Joseph and Francis. Life in a Medieval Castle, 229)

2) Payment to the king on specified occasions - his own ransom, the knighting of his eldest son, the marriage of his eldest daughter once - or to meet a special emergency.
   (Sayles, George O. The King's Parliament of England, 143)


Ailette:
1) "Little wing". (armour)
   (Davis, H.W. C. (ed.) Medieval England, 615)

2) A rectangular, circular or diamond shaped piece of leather or parchment laced to the shoulder, possibly to deflect a swordcut to the neck but more likely decorative, bearing the wearer's coat of arms.
   (Wise, Terence. Medieval Warfare, 246)

Related terms: Armor
For more information: Arms and Armor


Aketon:
Shirt-like garment of buckram stuffed with cotton, worn as padding under the hauberk.
   (Wise, Terence. Medieval Warfare, 246)

Related terms: Armor
For more information: Arms and Armor


Alb:
A kind of suplice, with close sleeves.
   (Davis, H.W. C. (ed.) Medieval England, 615)


Albeitaria: [albeyteria]
A vet; probably derived from Ibn el-Baithar, the Arab pharmacist (d. 1248).
   (Davis, R.H.C. The Medieval Warhorse: Origin, Development and Redevelopment, 135)

Language: Catalan


Albigensians:
Name for the dualist heretics of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries; derived from the city of Albi in southern France, one of their centres of influence; also called Cathars.
   (Lynch, Joseph H. The Medieval Church: A Brief History, 359)

Related terms: Cathars


Alderman:
Derived from O.E. ealdorman and surviving in urban usage to describe the holder of a senior civic office. Two main usages are (I) the chief officer of a guild: occurs in the earlier Middle Ages and later in surviving merchant guilds; (II) the member of a town council, particularly an upper council: increasingly common in the later Middle Ages, probably under London influence.
   (Reynolds, Susan. An Introduction to the History of English Medieval Towns, 197)


Aletaster:
Officer responsible for enforcing the assize of ale.
   (Bennett, Judith M. Women in the Medieval English Countryside, 233)


Alfaracis: [alferaz]
Used for good horses such as destriers in Spain from the ninth century. In Romance aufferant.
   (Davis, R.H.C. The Medieval Warhorse: Origin, Development and Redevelopment, 135)

Note: from the Arabic al faras, the horse
Language: Spanish
Related terms: Faras / Haracium


Alien Priory:
Monastic house or estate dependent upon or subordinate to a continental, usually a Norman, monastery.
   (Heath, Peter. Church and Realm, 1272-1461, 359)


Alienation:
1) Transfer of rights of property to another.
   (Sayles, George O. The King's Parliament of England, 143)

2) The sale or gift of land or rights from one owner to another.
   (Heath, Peter. Church and Realm, 1272-1461, 359)


Allure: [alure]
1) Wall-walk, passage behind the parapet of a castle wall.
   (Gies, Joseph and Francis. Life in a Medieval Castle, 225)

2) The patch along the top of a castle or town wall, providing access to any part of the wall circuit behind the cover of the parapet.
   (Wise, Terence. Medieval Warfare, 246)

Related terms: Castle


Almoner:
Official appointed to distribute alms.
   (Gies, Joseph and Francis. Life in a Medieval Castle, 299)


Ambo:
Pulpit.
   (Martindale, Andrew. Gothic Art, 268)


Ambulatorius (equus):
An ambler or pacing horse, which moves by lifting the two feet on one side together, alternately with the two feet on the other.
   (Davis, R.H.C. The Medieval Warhorse: Origin, Development and Redevelopment, 135)

Related terms: Gradarius / Haquenai / Pacing Horse / Trottarius


Amercement:
1) A financial penalty inflicted at the MERCY of the king or his justices for various minor offences. The offender is said to be "IN MERCY" and the monies paid to the crown to settle the matter is called "amercement".
   (MEDIEV-L. Medieval Terms)

2) Sum paid to the lord by a person "in mercy" for an offense.
   (Bennett, Judith M. Women in the Medieval English Countryside, 233)

3) A pecuniary punishment or penalty inflicted at the "mercy" of the king or his justices for misdemeanours, defaults, breach of regulations, and other minor offences. The offender was said to be "in mercy", he was "amerced", and paid an "amercement". To be distinguished from damages (compensation to an injured party) and from fine.
   (Warren, W.L. Henry II, 633)


Amice:
A square of white linen, folded diagonally, worn by the celebrant priest, on the head or about the neck and shoulders.
   (Davis, H.W. C. (ed.) Medieval England, 615)


Anathema:
A condemnation of heretics, similar in effect to major excommunication. It inflicts the penalty of complete exclusion from Christian society.
   (MEDIEV-L. Medieval Terms)


Anchoret: [ancre (Middle English)]
A hermit, or recluse (L. anachoreta, one who has withdrawn from the world).
   (Davis, H.W. C. (ed.) Medieval England, 615)


Ancient Demesne:


Anelace:
A heavy, broad-bladed, sharp-pointed, double-edged knife.
   (Davis, H.W. C. (ed.) Medieval England, 615)


Angle Buttress:


Annates:
First year's income paid to the papacy by the incumbent of a benefice to which he had been papally provided.
   (Heath, Peter. Church and Realm, 1272-1461, 359)

Related terms: Services


Annuity:
An annual cash payment, granted for life or a term of years as stipulated in a contract between a lord and a retainer.
   (Waugh, Scott. England in the Reign of Edward III, 237)


Annusus:
A colt in its first year, usually unweaned and following its dam.
   (Davis, R.H.C. The Medieval Warhorse: Origin, Development and Redevelopment, 135)


Ansange:
Plot of land to be cultivated by compulsory service of the tenant for the benefit of the master.
   (Duby, Georges. Rural Economy and Country Life in the Medieval West, 554)

Related terms: Lot-Corvee


Apange:
Royal lands granted by a French king to a younger son for his maintenance, with the title of duke or count.
   (Seward, Desmond. Henry V: The Scourge of God, 221)

Language: French
Related terms: Appanage


Apostate:
The term used to describe one who leaves religious orders after making solemn profession. It is considered a serious crime in the eyes of the church, being not only a breach of faith with God but also with the founders and benefactors of their religious house.
   (MEDIEV-L. Medieval Terms)


Apostolic Life:
The way of life of the apostles, emphasizing their poverty and preaching; a powerful religious ideal, particularly in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
   (Lynch, Joseph H. The Medieval Church: A Brief History, 359)


Apostolic Succession:
The doctrine that the authority of Jesus was passed down in an unbroken line from the apostles to their successors, the bishops.
   (Lynch, Joseph H. The Medieval Church: A Brief History, 359)


Appanage:
A large land grant by a ruler to a member of his family. Usually not hereditary. Holder usually had rights of internal administration and local tax revenue but owed military service to his superior and was allowed no independence in foreign affairs.
   (Fine, John V.A. Jr. The Late Medieval Balkans, 621)

Related terms: Apange


Apparels:
Small rectangular pieces of embroidered stuff, used as ornaments to the alb and amice.
   (Davis, H.W. C. (ed.) Medieval England, 615)


Apparitor:
An official of the ecclesiastical courts, who summoned people to appear before them.
   (MEDIEV-L. Medieval Terms)


Appropriation:
The conversion of the right of presentation to a rectory into possession of that rectory, usually by a religious house or collegiate church.
   (Heath, Peter. Church and Realm, 1272-1461, 359)


Apse:
1) Part of a building semi-circular in plan.
   (Martindale, Andrew. Gothic Art, 268)

2) Semicircular or polygonal end to a building.
   (Wood, Margaret. The English Medieval House, 409)


Arbalest:
A crossbow with a steel box stave.
   (Wise, Terence. Medieval Warfare, 246)


Arcade:
A range of arches supported on piers or columns. Hence arcade posts if of timber.
   (Wood, Margaret. The English Medieval House, 409)


Arcade-Plate: [arcade plate]
Longitudinal horizontal beam carried on the arcade posts of an aisled hall to support the rafters of nave and aisle. Square-set, then developed into a purlin.
   (Wood, Margaret. The English Medieval House, 409)


Arch:


Arch, Caernarvon:


Arch, Depressed:
Flattened elliptical, or straight head with only the angles rounded.
   (Wood, Margaret. The English Medieval House, 409)

Related terms: Arch / Depressed Arch


Arch, Drop:


Arch, Elliptical:


Arch, Equilateral:
Pointed arch formed on an equilateral triangle, i.e. the radii equal to the span.
   (Wood, Margaret. The English Medieval House, 409)

Related terms: Arch / Equilateral Arch


Arch, Four-centred: [Tudor arch]
Arch with curves struck from four centres, the two outer (lower) arcs struck from the springing line, the inner (upper) from below the springing line. In later work the upper arcs are represented by straight lines.
   (Wood, Margaret. The English Medieval House, 409)

Related terms: Arch / Four-centred Arch


Arch, Lancet:
Pointed arch formed on an acute-angled triangle, the radii greater than the span.
   (Wood, Margaret. The English Medieval House, 409)

Related terms: Arch / Lancet Arch


Arch, Ogee:
Pointed arch of double curved sides, the upper arcs convex, the lower concave.
   (Wood, Margaret. The English Medieval House, 409)

Related terms: Arch / Ogee Arch / Ogee


Arch, Pointed: [two-centred arch, drop arch]
Arch struck from centres on the springing line.
   (Wood, Margaret. The English Medieval House, 409)


Arch, Relieving:
Often rough, placed in the wall over an opening to relieve it of superincumbent weight.
   (Wood, Margaret. The English Medieval House, 409)

Related terms: Arch / Relieving Arch


Arch, Round:


Arch, Segmental:
A single arc struck from a centre below the springing line.
   (Wood, Margaret. The English Medieval House, 409)

Related terms: Arch / Segmental Arch


Arch, Segmental-Pointed:
A pointed arch struck from two centres below the springing line.
   (Wood, Margaret. The English Medieval House, 409)

Related terms: Arch / Segmental-Pointed Arch


Arch, Semicircular:
A single arc, forming half of a circle from the springing line. Common in the 11th and 12th centuries.
   (Wood, Margaret. The English Medieval House, 409)

Related terms: Arch / Arch, Round / Semicircular Arch


Arch, Shouldered:
Lintel on corbels which are concave on the under side. Sometimes called Caernarvon arch because of its prevalence in that castle, and found in the late 13th and 14th centuries. A late 12th century type (e.g. Boothby Pagnell) has the corbels convex to the opening.
   (Wood, Margaret. The English Medieval House, 409)


Arch, Skew:
Arch not at right angles to its jambs.
   (Wood, Margaret. The English Medieval House, 409)

Related terms: Arch / Skew Arch


Arch, Stilted:
Arch with springing line raised above the level of the imposts - i.e. with upright masonry between the imposts and feet of the arch.
   (Wood, Margaret. The English Medieval House, 409)

Related terms: Arch / Stilted Arch


Arch, Three-Centred: [Elliptical arch]
Arch formed by three arcs, the middle (uppermost) struck from a centre below the springing line.
   (Wood, Margaret. The English Medieval House, 409)


Arch, Two-Centred:


Arch-Brace:
A curved timber across the angle between principals, etc. and tie- or collar-beam, two forming an arch below the latter.
   (Wood, Margaret. The English Medieval House, 409)


Archdeacon:
A high Catholic Church official, serving more-or-less as executive secretary to a bishop.
   (Fine, John V.A. Jr. The Late Medieval Balkans, 621)


Archon:
A leader; term used in a variety of ways. Sometimes pertained to the Greek landed nobility.
   (Fine, John V.A. Jr. The Late Medieval Balkans, 621)


Arçons:
The high, enclosing cantle and pommel of a knight's saddle.
   (Wise, Terence. Medieval Warfare, 246)


Ard-Righ:
High King in Gaelic. Righ meaning King.
   (MEDIEV-L. Medieval Terms)

Language: Irish
Location: Ireland


Argent:
White or silver (heraldic).
   (Wood, Margaret. The English Medieval House, 409)


Arianism:
View defended by Arius, a fourth-century priest in Alexandria, that Jesus was not the same as God, but was the greatest of all creatures; Arianism was the version of Christianity held by important Germanic kingdoms, including the Visigoths and the Lombards, between the fifth and seventh centuries.
   (Lynch, Joseph H. The Medieval Church: A Brief History, 359)


Armatoloi: [Martolozi]
During the Ottoman period, Christians of a locality mobilized and armed to serve under one of their number (a captain) to keep local order.
   (Fine, John V.A. Jr. The Late Medieval Balkans, 621)


Armet:
A closed helmet consisting of the rounded cap of the bascinet with two cheek pieces overlapping at the front when closed.
   (Wise, Terence. Medieval Warfare, 246)

Related terms: Armor


Armigerous:
Those ranks of society, esquires and above, who were entitled to bear a coat of arms.
   (Waugh, Scott. England in the Reign of Edward III, 237)


Armor:


Arpent:
A measure of land roughly equal to a modern acre.
   (MEDIEV-L. Medieval Terms)


Arquebus:
1) An improved hand-gun, either a match-lock or wheel-lock.
   (Davis, H.W. C. (ed.) Medieval England, 615)

2) A matchlock firearm originally manufactured in Germany in the mid-fifteenth century (from hakenbüsche).
   (Wise, Terence. Medieval Warfare, 246)


Arrière-Ban:
The national militia or shire levy of France.
   (Wise, Terence. Medieval Warfare, 246)


Arrow Loop:
A narrow vertical slit cut into a wall through which arrows could be fired from inside.
   (MEDIEV-L. Medieval Terms)

Related terms: Castle / Loop, Arrow / Meurtriere


Articulated: [Laminated]
Constructed with overlapping plates. (armour)
   (Davis, H.W. C. (ed.) Medieval England, 615)


Ashlar:
1) Square-edged stonework with even faces.
   (Kenyon, John R. Medieval Fortifications, 211)

2) Worked stone, masonry or squared stones in regular courses.
   (Wood, Margaret. The English Medieval House, 409)


Ashlar-Piece:
A short timber rising vertically from the inner end of the sole-piece to the underside of the common rafter.
   (Wood, Margaret. The English Medieval House, 409)


Assart:
1) Land cleared for use in arable farming.
   (Bennett, Judith M. Women in the Medieval English Countryside, 233)

2) Tract of wasteland cleared or drained to be added to village arable.
   (Gies, Frances and Joseph. Life in a Medieval Village, 243)

3) A piece of forest or waste, converted into arable by grubbing up the trees and brushwood.
   (Bennett, H.S. Life on the English Manor: A Study of Peasant Conditions, 1150-1400, 337)

4) To assart was to make a clearing (known as "an assart") on virgin land by rooting out trees and rendering the ground suitable for agriculture. To assartain the royal forest without a licence was a grave offence. Land assarted with licence was subject to annual payments to the exchequer.
   (Warren, W.L. Henry II, 633)


Assassins:
The followers of the Old Man of the Mountain, were so-called because they were addicted to the drug "hashish", which kept them in the requisite state of intoxication to perform their atrocious deeds. The modern meaning of the word is derived from their habit of committing violent murders.
   (Shaw, M.R.B. Joinville & Villehardouin: Chronicles of the Crusades, 359)


Assize:
1) The meeting of feudal vassals with the king it also refers to decrees issued by the king after such meetings.
   (MEDIEV-L. Medieval Terms)

2) A) Rule or regulation; B) procedure in legal actions concerning land. See darrein presentment, mort d'ancestor, Novel Disseisin, utrum; C) itinerant court in which such actions were tried.
   (Sayles, George O. The King's Parliament of England, 143)

3) A rule, regulation, or law, enforced on the authority of the Crown, though with the assent of the barons, which modified or changed the customary law. By tranference the term came to be applied to legal procedures under assize law (e.g., the "assize" of novel disseisin), and eventually to the courts which entertained such actions and the justices who administered them.
   (Warren, W.L. Henry II, 633)


Assize of Bread and Ale:
1) Thirteenth-century statue imposing standards of measurement, quality, and pricing upon commercial bakers and brewers; local authorities used the assize as a licensing system by amercing all sellers of bread and ale for supposed infractions of its regulations.
   (Bennett, Judith M. Women in the Medieval English Countryside, 233)

2) Royal law fixing prices and standards.
   (Gies, Frances and Joseph. Life in a Medieval Village, 243)

3) The statutory regulation or settling of the price of bread and of ale, with reference to that of grain, in accordance with the ordinance of 51 Henry III.
   (Bennett, H.S. Life on the English Manor: A Study of Peasant Conditions, 1150-1400, 337)

Related terms: Assize


Asylum, Right of:
The right for a bishop to protect an fugitive from justice or to intercede on his behalf. Once asylum is granted the fugitive cannot be removed, until after a month's time. Fugitives who find Asylum must pledge an oath of adjuration never to return to the realm, after which they are free to find passage to the borders of the realm by the fastest way. If found within the borders after a month's time they may be hunted down as before with no right of asylum to be granted ever again.
   (MEDIEV-L. Medieval Terms)


Attainder:
Conviction of treason or felony and resulting in forfeiture of rights and property.
   (Sayles, George O. The King's Parliament of England, 143)


Attorney:
Person accepted by a manorial court to stand in the place of another.
   (Bennett, Judith M. Women in the Medieval English Countryside, 233)


Augustinian Canons:
Religious/monastic rules based on love of God and neighbor, respect for authority, care of the sick, and self-discipline.
   (MEDIEV-L. Medieval Terms)

Related terms: Black Canons


Aula Regis:
The king's household court.
   (Sayles, George O. The King's Parliament of England, 143)


Aumbry:
A cupboard in a church in which to lock up sacred vessels, etc. (O.F. armarie; L. armaria, -um, a cupboard, originally for arms).
   (Davis, H.W. C. (ed.) Medieval England, 615)


Autocephalous:
Self-headed, autonomous. Used to describe a branch of the Orthodox Church (e.g., the Serbian Church) that could, while remaining in communion with Constantinople, elect its own bishop and administer itself; such a Church, however, did not have the power to alter doctrine.
   (Fine, John V.A. Jr. The Late Medieval Balkans, 621)


Aventail:
1) A mail garment protecting the neck.
   (Prestwich, Michael. Armies and Warfare in the Middle Ages: The English Experience, 347)

2) A "curtain" of mail to protect the neck, suspended from the helmet and reaching to the shoulders.
   (Wise, Terence. Medieval Warfare, 246)

Related terms: Armor


Axial Line:
The central line round which or in common relation to which, the parts of a building are arranged. (architecture)
   (Davis, H.W. C. (ed.) Medieval England, 615)


Azure:
Blue (heraldic).
   (Wood, Margaret. The English Medieval House, 409)



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