The terminology used in the Medieval period can often cause confusion & dismay amongst both amateur historians & enthusiastic general readers alike!
On the following pages we hope to demystify some of the more common terms that were in current use in the fifteenth century
Eventually, the Glossary will be sub divided into categories such the law, title holders, land, the Church, money, heraldry, buildings etc, some of which will be arbitrary as land, possession & inheritance of land all tended to overlap. Most of the litigation in the Fifteenth century seemingly involved the possession of land either by inheritance or seizure!
Building the Glossary is a slow 'work in progress' so for the time being, until the Glossary grows it will be divided alphabetically, starting with....
The taking of possession of an inheritance by someone who has no right to do so
Monastic community of monks or nuns, ruled by an Abbot or Abbess
Suspension of a title when the right is not vested in one direct heir
A full display of a full coat of arms
Action brought to recover possession of lands etc
Action brought to recover debt, damages or personal injury
A cleric with a doctorate in Canon Law who pleads in Curch courts.
The right to appoint the incumbent of a church or benefice
Transfer of interest in property from one person to another
A religious house subject to the control of a Mother house on the Continent
Taxes levied between 1440 - 1487 on foreign nationals living in England
In English law a financial penalty for a minor offence.
Gold coin worth 6s 8d (33p)
Private accusations brought by an injured party or his/her kinsman for a criminal offence.
A right belonging to a property
A person who has been granted the right to bear a coat of arms.
Inquiry into matters brought under an Assize law eg Assize of weights & Measures
The penalty for treason, the confiscation of a person's goods, titles, land & in many cases his life
Represented clients in aspects of formal litigation taking out writs, instructing pleaders
Ordained clerical monks who followed the Rule of St Augustine - called Black Canons from the colour of their habit
Blue in heraldry
Not a title but a description of a Tenant in Chief holding from the Crown - a member of the nobility
Evolved in later Medieval period - payment in money instead of granting land for military service
An enclosed courtyard
A canopy over the highest place on teh top table in dining
Embroidered cover for bench or chair
Member of the monastic Order of St Benedict. Called black monks from the colour of theri habit
A grant of land given to a monastery, a noble or bishop for limited service. Alternatively, a Church office that returns revenue
A pole type weapon, based on a hedging tool, with one straight & maybe two hook type blades
BLA & BLOT
Black & Blue - an offence
BLANK - MANGER
Dish made from pounded poultry or other white meat boiled with rice, almond milk and sweetened with honey
The description of an armorial bearing
One who makes rough and ready items from rough hewn timber
BOOK OF HOURS
A book of prayers for every hour of the day. usually commissioned by a single person
A town that has been granted a Royal Charter conferring on it the right to self government
A town plot including dwelling, often long & narrow with the narrow end facing the street
Generic middle English name for a flat fish. This was combined with the middle English haly meaning holy to give the name to the largest flatfish, halybutte or halibut a favourite on Holy Days
Place for storing wet goods such as ale, wine and beer. Hence the name of Butler given to the person who served such.
A device with upward presenting spikes used to impede horses
A member of a cathedral chapter, colliegate church or a religious order of canons
System of governing clerics & lay persons who came under the jurisdiction of the church. Also covered cases of family dispute, marriage, bastardy, divorce, slander & the making of wills
The church bell would be rung eight times at each of the following; midnight(matins), 3am (lauds), 6am (prime), 9am (tierce), midday (sext), 3pm (nones), 6pm (vespers) and 9pm (compline)
Collections of deeds, charters & other lagal documents involved with the title to property to a monastery
Principal church of the diocese where the bishop had his throne (cathedra)
Monastic life lived in a community
Officer of the royal household responsible for 'the chamber'. He controlled access to the king, administered the household & royal estates.
Officer of the royal household who acted as the king's notary, responsible for dealing with domestic & foreign affairs.
The endowment of a priest often in perpetuity for the saying of mass for the soul of the donor & kinsman
The daily meeting of monks of the Benedictine Order to hear a 'chapter' from the Rule & discuss monastic business. Alternatively a group of clerics serving a cathedral.
A public document issued by the donor, recording the title of a gift of property
Code of conduct pertaining to knighthood, especialy the idealised virtues of honour & courtly love.
A reformed austere Order of the rule of St Benedict. White Monks
A repairer of footwear as opposed to a maker of footwear
The cheapest white bread
A metal chest also known as an Ark
The body of law built on custom & judicial decisions rather than statutes.
The principal officer of the king, lord, or town
A form of Feudal land tenure where land is held at the will of the lord according to the custom of the manor as copied' in the Manor Court Rolls. Opposing condition is Freehold, free from any Feudal ties
A maker of fine shoes
COURT OF COMMON PLEAS
A common law court that heard pleas between individuals
COUVERT DE BARON
A women whose property was all in the hands of her husband to whom she owed absolute obedience and who was responsible for her conduct. Opposite condition Femme Sole
The fee paid to unload or load a ship using a winch
Licence to - add battlements ie fortify a manor house
A stone that has been hollowed out to be filled with oil & a wick. Sometimes projecting from a wall