heriot

heriot

[her-ee-uht]
noun English Law.
a feudal service or tribute, originally of borrowed military equipment and later of a chattel, due to the lord on the death of a tenant.

Origin:
before 900; Middle English heriot, heriet, Old English heregeate, heregeatu, heregeatwa war gear, equivalent to here army + geate, etc., equipment; cognate with Old Norse gǫtvar (plural)

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Collins
World English Dictionary
heriot (ˈhɛrɪət)
 
n
(in medieval England) a death duty paid by villeins and free tenants to their lord, often consisting of the dead man's best beast or chattel
 
[Old English heregeatwa, from here army + geatwa equipment]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

heriot
O.E. here-geatwe (pl.) "army-gear." An Anglo-Saxon service of weapons, loaned by the lord to his retainer and re-payable to him upon the retainer's death; transferred by 13c. to a feudal due upon the death of a tenant, payable to his lord in beasts.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

heriot

in European feudal society, the right of the lord to seize his tenant's best beast or other chattel on the tenant's death. The right grew out of the custom under which the lord lent horses and armour to those of his tenants who served him in battle. When a tenant died, the horse and equipment were returned to the lord. When the tenant became responsible for providing his own equipment, the lord claimed the right to heriot. There were various types of heriot. Heriot service was an incident of both free and unfree land tenure, i.e., both unfree, or villein, tenants and free tenants were subject to the feudal lord's right of heriot. A tenant could make provision for the payment of heriot in his will, but if he died in battle no heriot was required

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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