The following is based on NetSerf's Medieval Glossary.
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.
Abbot / Abbess Superior of a monastery or nunnery.
Abjuration A renunciation, under oath, of heresy to the Christian faith, made by a Christian wishing to be reconciled with the church.
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.
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.
Adulterine Castle A castle build with out a person's liege lord's approval.
Advent The penitential season leading up to Christmas
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. 2) The right of presentation to a church or benefice 3) Patronage of a church living; the legal right to present a candidate for installation in a vacant ecclesiastical office.
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. 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.
Alb A kind of suplice, with close sleeves.
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.
Almoner Offical appointed to distribute alms.
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".2) Sum paid to the lord by a person "in mercy" for an offense 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.
Amice A square of white linen, folded diagonally, worn by the celebrant priest, on the head or about the neck and shoulders.
Anathema A condemnation of heretics, similar in effect to major excommunication. It inflicts the penalty of complete exclusion from Christian society.
Annates First year's income paid to the papacy by the incumbent of a benefice to which he had been papally provided.
Annuity An annual cash payment, granted for life or a term of years as stipulated in a contract between a lord and a retainer.
Ansange Plot of land to be cultivated by compulsory service of the tenant for the benefit of the master.
Antiphon Small line of text used in worship in response to a larger prayer, or reading
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.
Apostolic Succession The doctrine that the authority of Jesus was passed down in an unbroken line from the apostles to their successors, the bishops.
Apse 1) Part of a building semi-circular in plan. 2) Semicircular or polygonal end to a building.
Arbalest A crossbow with a steel box stave.
Archbishop A Bishop responsible for the oversight of several bishops
Archdeacon A high Catholic Church official, serving more-or-less as executive secretary to a bishop.
Argent White or silver (heraldic).
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.
Armor Helmets: Armet, Bascient, Cabacete, Cerevelliere, Close-Helmet, Coif, Kettle Hat and Sallet. Shields: Buckler, Heater Shield, Pavise and Targe. Types of Armor: Brigandine and Scale Armour. Parts of Armor: Ailette, Aketon, Aventail, Bavier, Besagues, Bevor, Bracers, Burgonet, Byrnie, Couter, Cuisses, Fauld, Gambeson, Gorget, Greaves, Habergeon, Haketon, Haubergeon, Hauberk, Jack, Jupon, Pauldron, Poleyn, Pourpoint, Rerebrace, Sabaton, Sollerets, Spaudler, Surcoat, Tabard, Tassets and Vambrace.
Arrow Loop A narrow vertical slit cut into a wall through which arrows could be fired from inside.
Arts The lowest faculty of the university, taught natural philosophy.
Assize 1) The meeting of feudal vassals with the king it also refers to decrees issued by the king after such meetings. 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. 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.
Asylum, Right of: (also called Right of Sanctuary) 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.
Attainder Conviction of treason or felony and resulting in forfeiture of rights and property.
Attorney Person accepted by a manorial court to stand in the place of another.
Augustinian Canons Religious/monastic rules based on love of God and neighbor, respect for authority, care of the sick, and self-discipline.
Azure Blue (heraldic).
Bailiff: (or bailie, bailo) 1) Manorial official, overseer of the manor, chosen by the lord. 2) Chief representative of a lord on a manor (usually an outsider appointed by the lord).
Ban 1) A King's power to command and prohibit under pain of punishment or death, mainly used because of a break in the King's Peace. Also a royal proclamation, either of a call to arms, or a decree of outlawry. In clerical terms, an excommunication on condemnation by the church. 2) Power originally wielded by the king, but later assumed by counts and castellans to exploit men and levy dues and services in return for protection. Hence ban inférieur, seigneurie banale, etc. 3) A ruler or governor of a large province, usually a subordinate of the King of Hungary (or historically so). The title was used in the western Balkans in Bosnia, Croatia, Slavonia, and Macva. On occassion a banship became hereditary. Sometimes bans were able to achieve considerable, if not complete, independence.
Banneret 1) A military rank, superior to that of a knight. Bannerets bore square banners, rather than long pennons. 2) Lord entitled to have a banner, and drawing higher wages of war than an ordinary knight.
Baptism Christian initiation sacrament consisting of ritual washing
Barber-Surgeon Monastic who shaves faces/heads and performs light surgery.
Baron Lowest English feudal lord
Baronage The leading members of the landed elite, above the bannerets. The title of baron carried no specific duties or rights, though most were treated as peers.
Barony 1) Name given to administrative divisions of certain counties. 2) Land held as a grant directly from the king.
Beadle Manorial official, usually assistant to reeve.
Beguines / Beghards Since the twelfth century, a name for pious women who lived in small voluntary groups for religious purposes, but did not take religious vows. They were free to own property, to leave the group and to marry. Beghards were men who lived the same sort of life. They were prominent in Low Countries and the Rhineland; sometimes suspected by church authorities of heresy.
Benedictine Order Monastic order founded by St. Benedictine. Monks take vows of personal poverty, chastity and obedience to their abbot and the Benedictine Rule.
Benefice: (L. beneficium) 1) A grant of land given to a member of the aristocracy, a bishop, or a monastery, for limited or hereditary use in exchange for services. In ecclesiastic terms, a benefice is a church office that returns revenue. 2) The grant made by a lord, usually of land. 3) An endowed church office. 4) An ecclesiastical office, such as a parish church or prebend, to which specific duties and revenues are assigned. 5) Ecclesiastical appointment, with cure of souls, usually held by rector or vicar of parish church. 6) Normally referring to the income, endowments and rights (or the living) of a parish church, but generally used of any church with income. Derived from beneficium, the feudal land given in return for service.
Bishop A church officer consecrated to the highest of the holy orders; usually the head of a diocese with spiritual authority over the other clergy and laity in that diocese; believed to be a successor to the apostles; word derived from the Greek episcopos, "overseer".
Black Canon A common name for Augustinian Canons, derived from the color of their robes.
Black Death Bubonic plague that ravaged Europe and Asia in the mid-fourteenth century and reappeared periodically in Europe for generations.
Black Monks A common name for members of the Benedictine Order derived from the color of the habits.
Bombard Heavy cannon used in siege warfare, firing gunstones or metal cannon balls of up to 1,000 lb.
Bondman Serf; villein.
Book of Hours Devotional text of prayers for the saying of the hours
Borough: (also O.E. burg, burgh, burh; or L. burgus) 1) A town with the right of self government granted by royal charter. 2) Originally a defended farm or residence but usually used in the meaning current from the ninth to the eleventh centuries, namely an urban settlement, normally fortified.
Bull An authoritiative papal letter, sealed with the lead seal, or bulla, of the pope.
Burgher A townsman.
Burgonet A steel cap with chin-piece; a feature of sixteenth-century armour.
Buttery: (M.E. botelerie) 1) Room for the service of beverages. 2) Storeroom for wine and other beverages.
Buttress Projection from a wall for additional support.
Bylaws Rules made by open-field villagers governing cultivation and grazing.
Cabacete A tall narrow helmet, with a turned-down brim which was drawn up to a point at front and rear, worn by Spanish infantry in the late fifteenth century.
Caliph Muslim ruler, descendant of the Prophet Muhammed; both secular and spiritual ruler.
Caliphate Principality of a Caliph
Camera Chamber, private bed-sittingroom.
Candlemass The feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary, Feb 2, used as one of the four year marking dates for social, religious and economic dues, payments and rents.
Canon Law 1) The body of rules governing the faith, morals and organization of the church. 2) A body of rules administered by courts of the Church.
Canon, Regular A clerk who was not a monk but who lived in a community governed by a rule and belonged to one of the religious orders of canon regulars.
Canon, Secular 1) A clergyman who belonged to a cathedral chapter or collegiate church. Those who observed a written rule, often the Rule of St Augustine, were called regular canons. Those who held personal property and lived in their own houses were called secular canons. 2) A prebendary of a cathedral or collegiate church.
Canton Small division of territory in Switzerland, similar to the English parish.
Caparison Fabric or leather horse covering reaching to the fetlocks and ususlly entirely covering the animal except for openings for eyes and muzzle.
Capitular Relating to a chapter.
Cardinal Member of the Pope's inner administration, usually a bishop. Responsible for oversight of church's interests, either ecclesiastical or secular
Cardinal Virtues Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude and Justice.
Carrack Large square rigged sailing vessel of Genoese origin, clinker built.
Cartulary The record of a landowner's (usually monastic) possessions in book form.
Carucage Tax on ploughland.
Castellan 1) Governor of a castle. 2) A captain of a castle. For example, a Catalan castellan commanded/held a castle of second rank.
Catapult Stone-throwing engine, usually employing torsion.
Cathars Dualist heretics active in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, mostly in southern France; the word derives from the Greek word catharos, "pure".
Cathedra The Bishop's throne
Cathedral Church The church of the diocese where a bishop has the throne (cathedra) and where he presides. Simplified to Cathedral.
Catholic Church Derived from the Greek word catholicos, "universal"; adpoted in the second century by one group of Christians to distinguish themselves from their rivals, particularly the gnostic Christians; more generally, "Catholic" describes those Christian groups which accept the ancient creeds, including Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics and Anglicans.
Cavalcade See Chevauchée
Celibacy The state of being unmarried; required of western clergy in the major orders (bishop, priest, deacon, subdeacon) since the twelfth century.
Cerevelliere Simple, globular steel cap originally worn under the coif and helm as an additional protection for the head, but evolving into the bascinet at the beginning of the fourteenth century.
Cesspit The opening in a wall in which the waste from one or more garderobes was collected.
Chamber Part of the king's household which dealt with his expenditure.
Chamberlain 1) An officer of the royal household. He is responsible for the Chamber, meaning that he controls access to the person of the King. He is also responsible for administration of the household and the privates estates of the king. The Chamberlain is one of the four main officers of the court, the others being the Chancellor, the Justiciar, and the Treasurer. 2) Household official in charge of the lord's chamber.
Chambres des Comptes Accounting office for French royal finances at Paris or for Norman ducal finances at Caen.
Champion Officer charged with defending his lord's cause in trial by battle.
Chancellor The officer of the royal household who serves as the monarch's secretary or notary. The chancellor is responsible for the Chancery, the arms of the royal government dealing with domestic and foreign affairs. Usually the person filling this office is a bishop chosen for his knowledge of the law.
Chancery Part of the king's household and responsible for writing his writs and other instruments of government.
Chantry 1) An institution, often endowed by will or supported by subscriptions through a guild, to pay for the regular saying of masses for the souls of the founder(s) and of friends and relations. 2) Endowments of masses, or of chaplains to say masses, for the souls of deceased testors and their nominees.
Chapel of Ease A subsidiary chapel of a mother church founded to ease the difficulties of parishioners in worshipping, especially where the parish was very large.
Chapter The governing body of an ecclesiastical corporation, whether monsatic community or cathedral clergy.
Charter Official document, usually deed or grant of privilege.
Charter of Franchise Documents granting liberty to a serf by his lord. The term also applies to the freedom granted to the inhabitants of a town or borough. the issue of a Charter of Franchise frees the town from servitude to feudal lords.
Châtelet Principal criminal court at Paris.
Chattels Movable goods, personal property.
Checker Accounts department.
Chevage 1) Payment, typically in kind, owed annually by villein living outside the manor. 2) An annual payment made to a lord by each of his unfree tenants. 3) Poll tax, or personal charge due from dependants.
Chevauchée: (also Cavalcade) 1) Feudal duty to accompany the lord on a minor expedition or as an escort. 2) Mounted raid into hostile territory. 3) Fast-moving campaign, inflicting damage on countryside, partly in the hope of obtaining the allegiance of its inhabitants.
Chevaux-de-Frise Plank or beam covered with iron spikes projecting at all angles, originally designed as a defence against cavalry.
Choir A group of lay clerks or priests (men), sometimes boys attached to the cathedral or collegiate school responsible for singing services. Also the place in the church in which the choir sits, usually in front of the altar.
Chrism A mixture of oil and balm, used for sacramental rituals, and distributed annually among the churches. The receipt of chrism from a particular authority reflected a jurisdictional relationship between the issuer and the recipient church.
Christendom The collective name for those territories inhabited primarily by Christians.
Christmas Yearly commemoration of the Birth of Christ
Church Place of Christian worship, a building containing an altar
Churching The ritual cleansing of a woman forty days after childbirth
Cinque Ports Originally "Five Ports" like Sandwich on the southeast coast of England with special privileges.
Cistercians A variety of Benedictine monks, who appeared as a reform movement in 1098 and flourished in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries; they advocated a return to the strict, literal observance of Benedict's Rule; name derives from Cîteaux, the first monastery of the order; also called white monks because of the undyed wool in their garments.
Cistern Storage tank for water.
Clergy 1) Term used to include all members of religious orders. The clergy are generally exempt from jurisdiction of civil courts as well as from military service. 2) A collective term for men having any of the holy orders of the Christian church, as distinguished from the unordained members of the church, who were called the laity.
Cob 1) Wall made of unburnt clay mixed with straw.
Cog 1) A type of substantial sailing ship.
College An ecclesiastical corporation having its own legal identity; not applicable to monastic houses, but it does embrace academic - which were then ecclesiastical - communities.
Common Bench Court of common law, stationed at Westminster, to hear "common pleas", i.e., actions between private individuals.
Common Council A lower, or outer, town council in the later Middle Ages, or the inner and outer councils meeting together.
Common Law 1) The term referring to the legal procedures that are becoming universal. 2) Law, originally unwritten, administered in royal courts, as distinct from local customary law, statute, or equity.
Common Pleas Legal cases concerning private rights, as distinct from criminal pleas.
Communion Reception of the Bread and Wine at the Eucharist
Compagnie d'Ordonnance du Roi Company of 500 mounted men, 15 of which were formed by the king of France in 1445 to provide a standing army.
Compline The eighth hour of prayer, said before sleep
Compurgation The process of establishing innocence, or failing to, in an ecclesiastical court, whereby six or usually a dozen men swear to the truth of the accused's assertion of innocence.
Comuni A free city of northern Italy.
Concentric Castle A castle with at least two circuits of walls, one inside the other, the outer wall lower than the inner one so that archers on the latter could fire over the heads of the men on the outer wall. See also: Castle.
Conciliarism The doctrine that the supreme authority in the church is vested in a general or ecumenical council; conciliarism was extremely influential during and after the Great Schism (1378-1414), especially at the Councils of Constance (1414-18), and Basel (1431-49).
Condottiero Captain of a Compagnie di Ventura.
Confession The sacrament of confessing sins and receiving penance.
Confirmation Confirmation of baptism, held usual at the age of conscience
Congé d'Élire The royal licence permitting a cathedral chapter to elect a bishop; monastic houses which claimed the king as their patron or held their land directly from him, in return for a now national feudal service, were also obliged to seek this licence before they elected their superior.
Conquistadores Christians devoted to reconquering Muslim Iberia for Christianity
Conroi Squadron or detachment of cavalry.
Constable The title of an officer given command of an army or an important garrison. Also the officer who commands in the king's absence.
Coppice The system of repeatedly cutting back a woody plant every 6-20 years. The part which remains permanently is the coppice stool. From this coppice stool grow poles, from between about three and eight in number. These economic poles are the product, and are used for fencing, simple furniture, small timber for building, tool handles, etc.
Corpus Christi The feast celebrating the Body of Christ, founded in the thirteenth century
Corvée Labor owed by a serf to his landowner.
Cottager A peasant of lower class, with a cottage, but with little or no land.
Couchants et Levants Burgundian peasants bound to the soil.
Councils Ecclesiastical meetings of several sorts, including a) a meeting of bishops with their archbishop or metropolitan, called a provincial council; b) a meeting of a bishop with his diocesan clergy, called a diocesan synod; c) a meeting of all (at least in theory) bishops under the emperor or the pope, called an ecumenical council; almost a synonym for "synod".
Count The continental equivalent of the English earl. Ranks second only to Duke.
County The English Shire.
Court of Common Pleas A common law court to hear pleas involving disputes between individuals. Almost all civil litigation is within its term of reference, as is supervision of manorial and local courts.
Creed A brief formal statement of belief; the most famous were the Apostles' Creed, the Athanasian Creed and the Nicene Creed.
Crenel Open space in embattled parapet, for shooting through.
Crenelation A notched battlement made up of alternate crenels (openings) and merlons (square sawteeth).
Crest Heraldic device worn on helm.
Crosses Church lands within a liberty, exempt from the jurisdiction of the lord of the liberty, and administered by a royal sheriff.
Crossier A bishop's staff, symbolising a shepherd's crook
Crouée Demesne furlong, arable.
Crown French gold coin weighing 3.99 gm (though weight fluctuated), worth 20.5 sols.
Cruficix Cross commemorating Christ's death and resurrection
Cuisses Plate armour pieces protecting the thighs.
Curate Priest who exercised the cure of souls in a parish or who held an office to which it was attached in a cathedral; in parishes the curate could thus be the rector or vicar or the senior chaplain acting for them in their absence.
Curia 1) Latin for a court - in both senses of that word, royal and legal; applied to the king's court as well as the papal, but usually in this period chiefly with reference to the papal court or household.
Curtana The sword "curtana" was the pointless sword of mercy (as opposed to the pointed sword of justice) borne before the English king at his coronation.
Customs 1) A) Unwritten law; B) levies on imported or exported goods.
Custumal 1) Written collection of manorial customs. 2) Document listing obligations and rights of tenants.
De Heretico Comburendo The English statute of 1401 for the burning of heretics.
Deacon A clergyman holding the holy order just below the priesthood.
Dean Head of a collegiate or secular cathedral chapter. Rural deans were diocesan officers usually appointed from the local clergy.
Decretal 1) A papal letter or an excerpt from one which rules on a point of canon law. 2) A judicial decision made by or on behalf of the pope with reference to a particular case, but often collected afterwards to provide or illuminate legal principles.
Decretum A major collection of canon law texts arranged topically by the monk Gratian in the 1140s; used in church courts and law schools from the twelfth century onward. The formal title of the book was the Concordance of Discordant Canons.
Demesne 1) The part of the lord's manorial lands reserved for his own use an not allocated to his serfs or freeholder tenants. Serfs work the demesne for a specified numbers of days per week. The demesne may either be scattered among the serfs land, or a separate area, the latter being more common for meadow and orchard lands. 2) Lands exploited directly by the manorial lord (as distinct from lands rented to tenants). 3) Land devoted to the lord's profit, whether a manor, or a portion of land within a manor, worked by peasants as part of their obligations. 4) Lands and rights retained for direct exploitation by lord or king rather than being granted out to others. 5) That land retained in the landlord's hand and cultivated by himself or leased out, as opposed to tenant land held by hereditary peasant tenants. 6) The Dialogus de Scaccario defines demesne lands as "those which are tilled at the cost or by labour of the owner, and those held from him by villeins". Such lands were said to be "in demesne" (in dominico). The demesne did not include estates which belonged to the lord but which had been let by him as fiefs to vassals in return for services (such lands being said to be in servitio).
Demesne, Royal All land in the realm which had not been put into private hands, and from which the Crown derived rents and other revenues through custodians or "farmers".
Denarius The English silver penny, hence the abbreviation "d" and the coin most common circulation.
Denier A French coin of very small value, roughly equivalent to a penny.
Destrier Charger, warhorse.
Dexter Heraldic: on right hand of shield, i.e. on the spectator's left.
Diocese The geographical jurisdiction of a bishop
Dispensation A papally granted licence to do what is not permitted by canon law, or at least by the human laws of the church; it cannot alter what is deemed to be divine law, e.g. the Ten Commandments.
Divine Office The religious services sung or red by priests and religious at the canonical hours, i.e. seven fixed times during each day and once during the night.
Double Monastery Combined monastery for men and women but sexually separated. Ruled by either an abbot or abbess.
Dualism The theological view that the universe is divided between two radically different powers, one good and one evil; groups holding dualistic views included Gnostics in the ancient church and Cathars during the Middle Ages.
Duke A title from the Roman Dux, which has been held over from Roman time by the ruler of a district called a duchy. In England the title is reserved for members of the royal family.
Earl 1) The highest title attainable by an English nobleman who is not of royal blood. 2) Count; highest English title in the Middle Ages.
Easter The religious celebration of Christ's resurrection, held on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after 21 March. It was the oldest and greatest annual Christian religious feast.
Ecumenical An adjective meaning "universal", derived from the Greek word oikoumene, "the inhabited world" or "the whole world".
Electors The Six most powerful lords in the Holy Roman Empire who elected the next Emperor. Three were Bishops, three were secular rulers.
Escheat 1) The right of a feudal lord to the return of lands held by his vassal, or the holding of a serf, should either die with out lawful heirs or suffer outlawry. 2) Reversion of property to feudal lord or Crown upon default of heir or upon conviction of treason or felony. 3) The reversion to a lord of a fief for default of heirs or the outlawry of the holders.
Estate The nature and extent of one's interest in land.
Estates Consultative assembly of representatives of the three estates of nobles, clergy and bourgeois.
Eucharist The sacrament of the holy meal prepared by the priest and commemorates the last supper with Christ and His apostles.
Exchequer 1) The financial department of the royal government. The chief officers of the Exchequer are the Treasurer, the Chancellor and the Justiciar. Sheriffs, in their role as regional chief accountants, present reports to the exchequer at Easter and Michaelmas. 2) A) Department for receiving and auditing Crown revenues; B) Court of law, dealing particularly with actions involving such revenues.
Excommunication 1) Exclusion from the membership of the church or from communion with faithful Christians. Those judged "tolerati" may still mingle with the faithful, but those "vitandi" cannot and are exiled. 2) The formal suspension or expulsion of a person from the communion of the church; in the Middle Ages, excommunication had serious social and legal consequences. 3) Exclusion from communion of Church as method of enforcing jusdgements of church courts. 4) A sentence (in various forms and different degrees), pronounced in a court or by a bishop, which excluded the offenders to whom it applied from the sacraments and church services, or in the case of greater excommunication from law and society, until absolution was granted.
Extreme Unction The sacrament of anointing an individual near death. Also known as last Rites.
Farm: (also Ferm; L. firma; Saxon feorme, food-rent) 1) A fixed sum, usually paid annually, for the right to collect all revenues from land; in effect, rent. Lords may farm land to vassals, receiving a fixed annual rent in place of the normal feudal obligation. Many sheriffs farm out their shires, contracting in advance to pay a fixed annual sum to the crown, thus obtaining the right to collect any additional royal revenues for their own profit. 2) A fixed annual payment, a lease. 3) A fixed annual payment. The "borough farm" or "fee-farm" (firma burgi) was the basic lump sum from a town which had to be paid into the Exchequer each year either by the sheriff of the county or by the town's own officials.
Fealty, Oath of 1) The oath by which a vassal swore loyalty to his lord, usually on a relic of saints or on the Bible. 2) The fidelity of a feudal vassal to his lord; a promise under oath to be loyal. 3) An oath of fidelity. Sometimes confounded with homage since both were commonly performed together when a vassal received a fief from a lord. An oath of fealty. however, could be performed to one from whom no land was held. Fealty to the Crown overrode all other obligations even that of homage to a lesser lord.
Felony 1) In feudal law, any grave violation of the feudal contract between lord and vassal. Later it was expanded in common law to include any crime against the King's peace and has come to mean any serious crime. Example: Murder is now a Felony, taking the burden off prosecution from the victim's family and giving it to the crown. 2) A serious crime such as murder, arson, rape, highway robbery: the convicted felon forfeits lands and goods and is sentenced to lose "life or member".
Feoffment A gift and grant of land by which the recipient acquires a freehold.
Feudalism 1) The system of governing whereby semiautonomous landed nobility have certain well defined responsibilities to the king, in return for the use of grants of land (fiefs) exploited with the labor of a semi-free peasantry (serfs). 2) Medieval social and political system by which the lord-vassal relationship was defined.
Fief: (also Fee or Feud) 1) A) Heritable lands held under feudal tenure; the lands of a tenant in chief. Sometimes this can apply to an official position. Often called a Holding. B) Normally a land held by a vassal of a lord in return for stipulated services, chiefly military. Sometimes unusual requirements were stipulated for transferring a fief. For example: Henry de la Wade held 42 acres of land in Oxfordby the service of carrying a gyrfalcon whenever King Edward I wished to go hawking. 2) Land or revenue-producing property granted by a lord in return for a vassal's service. 3) Property producing income; a grant by a lord to a vassal to secure the services of the vassal. 4) An estate in land (in England normally heritable): held on condition of homage and the performance of services (both customary and specified, including, essentially, military service) to a superior lord, by whom it is granted, and in whom the ownership remains.
Fletcher Arrow maker.
Franciscan A member of the Catholic Order founded by Saint Francis of Assisi.
Gabelle Tax on salt - a commodity which could only be bought at royal (in Normandy, ducal) depots.
Gestum A guest's portion: an allowance of meat and drink.
Glebe 1) The landed endowment of a parish church. 2) Land assigned to support the parish church.
Good Friday Yearly commemoration of the Crucifixion of Christ
Greek Fire Incendiary mixture used primarily in siege warfare.
Green An area of common grassland within a village used for grazing.
Haubergeon Shortened version of the hauberk, worn by both infantry and mounted men, those for the former usually having short sleeves.
Heresy Any religious doctrine inconsistent with, or inimical to, the orthodox beliefs of the church.
Heretic A person who obstinately holds to a view that is contrary to one or more of the fundamental beliefs of the church; it is not mere error, but obstinate holding to the error when instructed by a properly constituted authority.
Holy Orders: (also Major Orders) Subdeacon, deacon and priest, to whom marriage was forbidden.
Homage 1) The ceremony by which a vassal pledges his fealty to his liege, and acknowledges all other feudal obligations, in return for a grant of land. 2) Acknowledgement by feudal tenant in return for his land that he is his lord's man (homme). 3) A ceremony by which a man acknowledges himself to be the vassal of a lord; an act showing respect and deference, usually a preliminary step in the procedure by which a lord grants a fief to a vassal.
Host: (or ost) 1) Feudal military service in the lord's army. 2) The consecrated bread of the mass.
Hours The Canonical Hours of prayer during the course of day and night
Imam Muslim cleric
Indenture A contract, drawn up in two parts, one to be kept by each party. The two were written on a single piece of parchment, which was then divided by a jagged or indented cut.
Indulgence A grant of remission of penance for sins, usually emanating from the pope, but also, on a lesser scale of remission, from bishops; always in return for some specifically required act and on the assumption of full contrition by the recipient.
Infidel Any one having a strong adversity to Christianity.
Interdict The ecclesiastical banning in an area of all sacraments except for baptism and extreme unction. In general it does not ban high feast days. Used to force persons/institution/community or secular lords to a view dictated by the church/pope.
Investiture The act of formally putting someone into an office or a landholding; it was a major occasion of dispute in the eleventh and twelfth centuries when reformers opposed lay rulers who invested clergy with the symbols of their positions.
Islam The religion founded by the Arab prophet Mohammed (570-632); an Arabic word meaning "submission to the will of God".
Janissary Derived from Yeni çeri, literally, the "new corps"; a member of a very effective Turkish infantry corps, armed with fire-arms. Its members were originally drawn from the devsirme (the child) levy.
Journeyman A wage-worker, generally assumed to be one who has served out an apprenticeship.
Keep 1) The main tower of a castle, usually free-standing.
Knight The retainer of a feudal lord who owes military service for his fief, usually the service of one fully equipped, mounted warrior. The ideals to which a knight may aspire are notably prowess, loyalty, generosity and courtesy.
Laity The unordained people of the church, as distinct from the clergy; derived from the Greek word laos, "the people".
Lauds The second hour of prayer, said early morning
Law Graduate faculty teaching both secular and spiritual law
Legate: (L. legatus) 1) A papal representative. There were two distinct categories: (I) legatus natus (literally "born legate"), a status accorded to the archbishops of Canterbury and York ex officio to reinforce their supremacy within their provinces; (II) legatus a latere ("legate from the side"), directly commissioned by the pope, always a cardinal, and with powers which gave him quasi-papal status within the area of his legation. 2) A representative or ambassador, usually a cardinal, sent by the pope to represent him in a particular territory or for a particular purpose. 3) Normally refers to the legate a latere, who was a papal plenipotentiary sent to reform the local church and overriding archiepiscopal authority. The English archbishops had a courtesy title of legate natus.
Lent The forty days before Easter in commemoration of Christ's forty days in the Judean wilderness
Liege Lord The principal lord, or tenant-in-chief, to whom knights rendered their service in exchange for land.
Liturgy The formal prayers and rituals in the church, including such things as the mass, the divine office and the anointing of kings.
Livery 1) To be given land as a gift from the king. Also means to be given the right to wear a lord livery (modified form of his coat of arms). 2) The tunic worn by a servant or follower of a lord, being in the colours of the lord's arms and bearing his badge.
Living The ecclesiastical benefice of a rector or vicar.
Mace A weapon used for smashing opponents, composed of a stick with a large head of metal at one end.
Man-At-Arms 1) A soldier holding his land, generally 60-120 acres, specifically in exchange for military service. Sometimes called a Yeoman.
Manichee A member of a dualistic religion (opposing light against darkness) based on the teaching of a third-century Persian named Mani. Damned as a heresy by the Christian Church. The term was frequently used for later medieval dualists and generally as a term of abuse.
Manor 1) A small holding, typically 1200-1800 acres, with its own court and probably its own hall, but not necessarily having a manor house. The manor as a unit of land is generally held by a knight (knight's fee) or managed by a bailiff for some other holder. 2) Estate held by a lord and farmed by tenants who owed him rents and services, and whose relations with him were governed by his manorial court. 3) An estate with land and jurisdiction over tenants. Not necessarily a whole village, which might have several manors, just as one manor might own land in more than one village. 4) Unit of rural lordship, varying greatly in size.
Mark 1) A measure of silver, generally eight ounces, accepted throughout western Europe. In England is worth thirteen shillings and four pence, two thirds of one pound. 2) Money of account, worth thirteen shillings and fourpence, or two-thirds of a pound.
Market A place where goods may be bought or sold, established in a village or town with the authorization of a king or lord. This noble extends his protection to the market for a fee, and allows its merchants various economic and judicial privileges.
Marshal Household official in charge of the stables, later a royal officer.
Mass The common name for the Eucharist
Matins The first hour of prayer, said before dawn
Maundy Thursday Yearly commemoration of the Last Supper
Mendicants 1) Beggars; the term referred to members of religious orders who were forbidden to own personal or community property and were required to live on charity; they sometimes sought their income by begging; mendicant is another term for such friars as the Franciscans, Dominicans and Carmelites. 2) The orders of friars, especially but not only the Franciscans, who lived by begging and not upon landed endowments like the traditional monastic orders.
Metropolitan 1) Archbishop having jurisdiction over a province containing several dioceses. 2) A major bishop, standing over a major diocese, ranking below the patriarch and above the archbishops.
Michaelmas The feast of St Michael and All Angels, Sept 29, used as one of the four year marking dates for social, religious and economic dues, payments and rents.
Mortmain 1) Applied to the way in which undying institutions, especially those connected with the church, held real property, and thereby could not be liable for the exactions which would be due to a lord at the death of an individual. 2) Literally "dead hand", applied to property held by ecclesiastical corporations. 3) Literally "dead hand", a term which was applied to land granted in perpetuity to the church; also the title of the English statute of 1279 which barred all such grants.
Motet Piece of sung music at mass
Nones The sixth hour of prayer, said mid afternoon
Oblate A child who was offered to a monastery by his/her parents; the practice was already recognized in the sixth-century Rule of St Benedict, and was legislated out of existence in the late twelfth century by the popes; often contrasted to a conversus, one who entered monastic life as an adult.
Or Gold (heraldic).
Ordeal: (O.E. ordel, judgement) 1) A method of trail in which the accused is given a physical test (usually painful and/or dangerous) which can only be met successfully if he is innocent. 2) A form of proof in a court of law, by which a divine sign of guilt or innocence was invoked. The person who was required to undertake the ordeal (usually the accused but sometimes the accuser) performed some feat such as carrying hot iron or plunging a hand into boiling water, and innocence was demonstrated if the wounds healed cleanly. The ordeal of cold water was customarily reserved for the unfree, but was the required ordeal for all those prosecuted under the Assize of Clarendon (1166).
Orders: (Minor/Major) 1) The grades or steps of the Christian ministry; the so-called minor orders were acolyte, lector, exorcist, and doorkeeper; the so-called major orders, which bound their holders to celibacy, were bishop, priest, deacon and subdeacon. 2) Referring either to the grades of clerkship (holy or minor orders) or to the different associations of religious.
Ordination The ceremony by which clergy are promoted through the various grades, or orders, of clerkship. Also refers to the legal instrument by which a vicarage is endowed and permanently established.
Orthodox Correct belief. A term used for mainstream Church in East and West until the Church split. Subsequently the term came to refer to the Eastern Churches in communion with Constantinople, while the term Catholic, also originally used to refer to the Church both in the East and West, came to refer solely to the Church of Rome.
Orthodox Church The dominant form of Christianity in the Byzantine Empire and in the Slavic lands converted from that empire. Its leaders were the patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Jerusalem and Antioch; after 1054 the Orthodox churches broke with the fifth patriarch, the bishop of Rome and refused to recognize his authority. Orthodoxos is a Greek word meaning "right belief"..
Oyer and Terminer Commissions issued to a panel of justices to "hear and determine" specific complaints raised by individuals.
Palatinate In England, a county in which the tenant in chief exercises powers normally reserved for the king, including the exclusive right to appoint justiciar, hold courts of chancery and exchequer, and to coin money. The kings writ is not valid in a County Palatinate.
Parish Generally a subdivision of a diocese; administered by a resident priest who might have other clergy as his assistants; it was the basic unit of ordinary church life in western Europe.
Parlement Supreme court of appeal in the kingdom of France, situated at the Palais de Justice in Paris.
Pavage A toll charged to pay for the paving of a town's streets, or some of them.
Peace of God A movement that arose in southern France in the tenth and eleventh centuries to place limits on fighting; it placed certain classes of people - non-combatants, women, clergy and the poor - under the protection of the church and threatened those who used violence against them with excommunication.
Penitentiary The official of the papal court responsible for overseeing the processing of the majority of dispensations.
Pike Long spear with small iron head.
Plenitude of Power The plenitudo potestatis or the papal claim to sovereignty over the clergy and church property.
Ploughland Amount of potential arable land on an estate (that is, the number of ploughs there was scope for) expressed as a tax assessment which varied according to regional conditions and class of soil.
Pluralism 1) The holding by one person of more than one church office or benefice at the same time; it was a favourite way for secular and church officials to support their bureaucrats; in the later Middle Ages it was a widespread abuse. 2) The practice of holding more than one benefice at a time, often leading to absenteeism. 3) The holding of two or more benefices simultaneously, either within the limits approved by the law of the church or without them (when it required a dispensation or was punishable).
Pontifical Anything to do with the Pope
Postern 1) Secondary gate or door.
Praemunire Name of the writ and of two English statutes (of 1353 and 1393) which threatened severe penalties for those who sued in church courts on matters which were deemed to be subject to the king's authority.
Prebend 1) Cathedral benefice set aside for support of member of chapter. 2) A benefice in a cathedral chapter designed to support one of the members of the chapter with income supplied by a manor belonging to the cathedral. 3) The endowment and income of a cathedral or collegiate canonry; could be estates or parish churches and their estates or even a fixed cash sum. Hence often a synonym for canonry, and a canon was often referred to as a prebendary.
Prelate Archbishop, bishop or head of a religious house.
Priest: (or Presbyter) A man who held the second highest of the holy orders, after that of bishop and above that of deacon; term derived from the Greek word presbuteros, "elder".
Prime The third hour of prayer, said mid morning
Primogeniture 1) The right of the eldest son to inherit the estate or office of his father. 2) System of inheritance by which the first-born son succeeds to all his father's landed property.
Prior In Benedictine monasteries, the second in command after the abbot; also a term for the head of a religious house that did not have the legal status of a monastery.
Prioress Either the head of a priory, or in an Abbey the Abbess' deputy.
Priory Any religious house administered by a prior or prioress. If the prior was subject to a resident abbot, the house is called an abbey or monastery. The title prioress is held in certain religious houses for women.
Province Usually referring to a group of bishoprics subordinate to a metropolitan or archbishop; some religious orders, particularly the friars, were also organized into provinces.
Provost 1) Feudal or royal magistrate. 2) Royal officer responsible for overseeing administration of justice.
Quadrivium Arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music; the scientific subjects in the seven liberal arts; the three literary subjects were called the Trivium.
Rebeck A musical instrument, having three strings, and played with a bow; an early form of the fiddle.
Rector 1) The holder of a rectory. 2) Incumbent whose tithes have not been alienated.
Reeve: (O.E. gerefa; L. praepositus, prepositus) 1) A royal official, or a manor official appointed by the lord or elected by the peasants. 2) Manorial overseer, usually a villager elected by tenants of the manor. 3) Officer responsible for the general management of a manor (usually selected from among the manor's tenants). 4) The lord's official on the manor who supervised labour dues and renders owed by peasants. 5) Principal manorial official under the bailiff, always a villein.
Regular Clergy Monks, canons, friars and other clergy who lived in communities under a rule; word derived from the Latin word regula, "rule"; often contrasted with the secular clergy, the bishops and priests who worked in the world.
Relic An object venerated by believers because it was associated with a saint; a relic could be something owned by the saint, such as a piece of clothing or a book, but most often was a part of the saint's body.
Relief: (relevium, from relevare, to take up) 1) The fee paid by the heir of a deceased person on securing possession of a fief. Tradition determines the amount demanded. 2) A fine paid by the heir of a vassal to the lord for the privilege of succeeding to an estate. 3) Payment due to a manorial lord upon inheritance.
Romanesque The architecture of the eleventh and twelfth centuries in Europe, sometimes called Norman in England.
Rosary Sequence of prayers aided by the use of a beaded string.
Sacraments Seven sacred acts which were deemed in medieval theology to confer grace; the most esteemed was the celebration of the mass, sometimes simply referred to as "the sacrament".
Saint Holy christian individual, immediately upon death enters heaven
Salut Lancastrian French equivalent of the gold crown.
Schism A formal split in the church over a disagreement about a matter of practice; distinct from heresy because the split is not over belief; the schism of 1054 marked the formal break between Roman Catholicism and the Greek Orthodox church; the Great Schism (1378-1414) was the split in the western church between those loyal to the pope at Rome and those loyal to the pope at Avignon; derived from the Greek word schisma, "split or tear".
Scutage 1) The sum that the holder of a knight's fee may pay his lord in lieu of military service. Sometimes used as a form of tax. 2) Shield-tax, a tax paid in lieu of military service. 3) Feudal payment in place of knight service in the field. 4) Literally "shield-money"; a payment in lieu of military service, paid in respect of the knights which a tenant-in-chief owed to the Crown. The personal obligation to serve of the tenant-in-chief himself could not be discharged by scutage, but only by fine.
Secular Clergy 1) The clergy who were not separated from the world by a written rule or by life in a monastic community; it included the bishops and priests who worked with the laity; often contrasted to the regular clergy who lived under a rule; word derived from saeculum, "world". 2) Any cleric who was not a regular, but lived under no rule and outside communities, in the world or in saeculo. The term applied to nearly all the parish clergy, most collegiate clergy and the canons of the secular cathedrals.
Sede Vacante Vacant see (or bishopric).
Seignorial Jurisdiction The right of a lord of a manor to hold a court for the tenants of the manor.
Seneschal: (or Steward) 1) Manager of an estate or a household. 2) Steward or chief officer of lord.
Serf 1) A semi-free peasant who works his lord's demesne and pays him certain dues in return for the use of land, the possession (not ownership) of which is heritable. These dues, usually called corvée, are almost in the form of labor on the lord's land. Generally this averages to three days a week. Generally subdivided into classes called: cottagers, small holders, or villeins although the later originally meant a free peasant who was burdened with additional rents and services. 2) Slave; property of the lord. 3) Peasant burdened with week-work, merchet, tallage, and other obligations; bondman, villein.
Sergeant 1) A servant who accompanies his lord to battle, or a horseman of lower status used as light cavalry. Also means a type of tenure in service of a nonknightly character is owed a lord. Such persons might carry the lords banner, serve in the wine cellar, make bows/arrows or any other dozen occupations. Sergeants pay the feudal dues of wardship, marriage, and relief but are exempt from scutage (nonknightly).
Sext The fifth hour of prayer, said at midday
Sheriff 1) The official who is the chief administrative and judicial officer of a shire. Many of its jobs where taken over by the itinerant justice, coroner, and justice of the peace. Collected taxes and forwarded them on to the exchequer, after taking his share. Also many times responsible for making sure that the Kings table is well stocked while king is in his county (I.e.. Royal Game Preserve). 2) Royal official in charge of a shire or county.
Simony 1) The buying or selling of spiritual things, particularly church offices and benefice. 2) The buying or selling of sacred things, such as sacraments and ecclesiastical positions; owrd derived from Simon the Magician (Acts 8:18-24), who tried to buy spiritual power from St Peter.
Sinister Heraldic; on left side of shield, i.e. on spectator's right.
Spiritualities: (L. spiritualia) 1) Ecclesiastical revenues, derived from tithes. 2) Income or rights arising directly from the exercies of spiritual, sacramental or pastoral authority and duties.
Squire 1) Knight-aspirant. 2) Apprentice knight, aged between 13 and 21, classes as a man-at-arms in action.
Star Chamber Building erected next to the exchequer in Westminster where the royal council met, probably called that because stars were painted on the ceiling.
Steward The man responsible for running the day to day affairs of the castle in absence of the lord.
Subinfeudation A Western feudal practice by which a vassal of a superior lord could also have vassals of his own. In contrast, in the Orthodox lands all fiefs were held from the crown and all service was owed the ruler.
Sub-Tenant Free tenant holding land of intermediate lord rather than directly of king.
Sultan Title of the Ottoman sovereign.
Suzerain A feudal overlord. The king as suzerain was the highest feudal lord in the kingdom.
Synod 1) An ecclesiastical meeting; see definitions under "council"; word derived from Greek synodos, "a coming together".
Tabard Short, loose garment, open at the side and having short, wide sleeves, worn from c. 1425 by some knights.
Tallage 1) A tax levied on boroughs and on the tenants living on royal estates. 2) Tax levied at the will of the lord on unfree tenants, or tax levied on towns at the king's discretion. 3) Annual tax levied by lord on villeins. 4) Arbitrary levy, especially on property of unfree tenants and ancient demesne of Crown. 5) An occasional direct tax of a relatively arbitrary kind, taken from those who (like villeins) were personally unfree or (like towns) had a customary obligation to pay; thus distinguished from aids, which were regarded as more freely granted. In towns, used in two main senses: A) royal tallages, i.e. lump sums levied by the king before they were superseded by parliamentary taxes; B) town or borough tallages levied by town authorities for their own use.
Temporalities: (L. temporalia) 1) The non-spiritual holdings of the church such as lands, markets and liberties. 2) Secular possessions of ecclesiastics. 3) Income or rights arising from the possession of estates or the exercises of jurisdiction over, or in virtue of, them.
Tenth The common rate of clerical taxation, usually granted in multiples or fractions (e.g. half or moiety) of tenths.
Terce The fourth hour of prayer, said late morning
Tithe 1) One tenth of a person's income given to support the church. 2) The payment of a tenth of one's income to support the church and the clergy; based on texts in the Old Testament books of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, and made mandatory in the eighth century by the Carolingian kings Pepin and Charlemagne. 3) Tenth part of agricultural produce, owed for support of local clergy. 4) A tax of one-tenth levied by the church on harvests and animals for the support of the parish priest.
Tonsure 1) The rite of shaving the crown of the head of the person joining a monastic order or the secular clergy. It symbolizes admission to the clerical state. 2) A clipping of hair or shaving the top of the head; tonsure was the ceremony that dedicated a person to God's service; it was the first step of entry into the clergy.
Trebuchet 1) War engine developed in the Middle Ages employing counterpoise. 2) Stone-throwing siege engine operated by means of a counterweight.
Trivium Grammer, rhetoric and logic, the literary components of the seven liberal arts; the other four subjects were called the quadrivium.
Truce of God A movement that began in the eleventh century which sought to forbid fighting on Sundays and the chief religious seasons and feasts.
Ulema The doctors of Muslim religious law, tradition, and theology.
Usury The interest charged on a loan. Forbidden by church law (based upon biblical). Commonly used by Knight Hospitallers and Knight Templars in later medieval times.
Vassal 1) A freeman who holds land (fief) from a lord to whom he pays homage and swears fealty. He owes various services and obligations, primarily military. But he is also required to advise his lord and pay him the traditional feudal aids required on the knighting of the lords eldest son, the marriage of the lords eldest daughter and the ransoming of the lord should he be held captive.
Vespers The seventh hour of prayer, said at sunset
Vestments Garments worn by a priest
Vicar 1) In its basic meaning, a person who substitutes for another; in many medieval parishes the resident priest was not the legal holder of the parish. 2) Substitute for a rector and holder of the vicarage.
Vill 1) Township, local district; small unit of lordship or fiscal assessment. 2) The smallest unit of government covering the village, or township, and the surrounding countryside. It was roughly equivalent to the parish, the smallest unit in ecclesiastical administration.
Villein 1) The wealthiest class of peasant. they usually cultivate 20-40 acres of land, often in isolated strips. 2) A non-free man, owing heavy labor service to a lord, subject to his manorial court, bound to the land, and subject to certain feudal dues. 3) The highest class of dependent peasantry, often holding between 30 and 100 acres; above them were "freemen" and "sokemen". 4) Peasant bound to lord or estate; in England regarded as unfree from about 1200. 5) English term for serf. 6) In England, the holder of a villein tenement for which he usually owes agricultural services to his lord. The villein's rights in his tenement are customary and not enforeceable against his lord by medieval common law. Personally free against all men but his lord, the villein nevertheless does not fully enjoy the rights of a free man. He is a tenant at the will of the lord; he cannont serve on a jury dealing with the rights of a free man; he cannot take ecclesiastical orders with emancipation; he cannot make a will; if he leaves his duties on the lord's manor, the lord can use all necessary force to bring him back to perform them.
Wardship 1) The right of a feudal lord to the income of a fief during the minority of its heir. The lord is required to maintain the fief and to take care of the material needs of the ward. When the ward come of age, the lord is required to release the fief to him in the same condition in which it was received. 2) Right of guardianship exercised by lord over a minor. 3) Right of feudal lord to act as guardian during minority of heir.
Writ 1) Sealed document, transmitting an order from the king or his courts. 2) A royal order to a definite person; a mandate commanding something to be done, usually by the sheriff of the county wherein an injury is committed or is supposed to be, requiring him to command the wrongdoer or party accused, either to do justice to the complainant or else to appear in court and answer the accusation against him.
Year Book Reports of legal arguments in courts, usually common bench or eyre, and, with the invention of printing, published annually.