Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Medieval Manor Terms

It's time again to bone up on our medieval vocabulary with a terms that might come in handy with your next medieval/historical/fiction/fantasy story. I love to use archaic terms such as these for my medieval fiction and you might find other glossaries there useful. I have only chosen a several simple terms for this post but if you want to see more, I have included the link to this glossary by T. J. Ray: The Eclectic Eccentric.  

Manorial Terms

Amercement - Fine.

Bondman - Serf, q.v., villein.


Charter - Official document, usually deed or grant of privilege.

Cotter - Tenant of a cottage, usually holding little or no land. 

Croft - Garden plot of a village house. 

Distraint - Summons or arrest. 

Fair - A market held at regular intervals, usually once or twice a year. Fairs tend to offer a wider range of goods than normal markets. They are generally licensed by either the king, the local lord, or a chartered town. 

Hallmote - Manorial court.

Quarter - Unit of volume, eight bushels.

Ring - Unit of volume, four bushels.   

Tithe - Payment to church, consisting of a tenth of produce. 

Villein - The wealthiest class of peasant. Villeins usually cultivated 20-40 acres of land, often in isolated strips. 

Woodward - Manorial official in charge of the lord's woodland. 

I must caution the writers of medieval stories (fiction and non) to be careful when using the terms found in any of these glossaries. It will make readers tired or bored quickly if they have to look such terms up in a dictionary, and you don't want that! Provide a glossary of any terms you use at the back of the book as an appendix or at the bottom of the page where you used the term. 

And if you have any other suggestions on how to use these medieval terms without putting off the reader, please comment below. I am sure there are other clever ways to make the book enjoyable without confusing the reader by such words.

Here is the link where I got the terms above. Manorial Language  Enjoy and feel free to comment!