Feudal Rent and Taxes

Labour Service: All the land in Yalding is owned by Hugh de Audley. People living in Yalding rent land from him. The free men and women pay for this land with rent money. Other people in the village are unfree and are called serfs or villeins. Serfs do not pay rent money. Instead they provide labour service. This involves working several days a week on Hugh de Audley's land without pay. The lord of the manor's land is called the demesne. As well as free labour, the serfs also have to provide the oxen plough-team or any equipment that is needed when working on the demesne.

Individual Freedom: Serfs are not allowed to leave Yalding without first obtaining permission from Hugh de Audley or John Giffard. Serfs also have to pay a fee to Hugh de Audley when they leave Yalding. Free men and women in Yalding are usually allowed to leave the village when they want to. However, during harvest time, all villagers have to remain in Yalding.

Heriot: When the head of a family dies in Yalding, the land is usually passed on to another member of the family - usually the eldest son. If the eldest son is under twenty years of age, the land will be rented by the dead man's wife. If the man's wife is dead and he has no sons, the land is passed on to his eldest daughter. Before giving permission to rent this land, the new tenant has to pay a fee called 'heriot' to Hugh de Audley. Like most lords of the manor, Hugh de Audley usually insists that the villagers give him their best animal before he grants them permission to hold this land.

Mortuary: When the head of the family dies the church has the right to claim the dead person's second best animal. This tax is called mortuary.

Merchet: Serfs have to pay 'merchet' to the lord when their daughters get married. The head of the family also has to pay a fine called 'leyrwite' if one of his or her daughters has a child outside marriage.

Tallage: Once a year, the heads of all the unfree families living in Yalding have to pay Hugh de Audley a tallage tax. The amount of tallage that each person pays depends on how much land they rent and how many animals they own.

Toll Tax: If the people of Yalding want to sell an animal they have to first ask Hugh de Audley if he wants to buy it. If they sell the animal to someone else, they have to pay a toll tax to Hugh de Audley.