The Britannia Lexicon

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

FAN VAULT :
where all the ribs have the same curve and diverge equally in every direction.

FARM :
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.

FEALTY (Oath of):
the oath by which a vassal swore loyalty to his lord, usually on a relic of saints or on the Bible.

FEATHER EDGE :
tapered on both sides to a point and inserted into a V-shaped opening in the next plank.

FEATHERING :
series of small arcs or foils separated by projecting points or cusps applied to the decoration of an arch.

FELONY :
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.

FENESTRATION :
the arrangement and proportion of windows.

FERETORY :
space (usually behind high altar) for the shrine of a saint.

FEUDALISM :
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).

FIEF :
normally, 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 (see: falconry birds)
when ever King Edward I wished to go hawking. Often called a Holding.

FIEF DE HAUBERT :
11 cent French term equivelant to the knight term Knights Fee (see: knighthood) becuase of the the coat (hauberk*) of mail* which it entitled and required every tenant to own and wear when his services were needed. This provided a definite estate in france, for only persons who had this estate or greater were allowed to wear hauberks.

FIEF-RENTE :
money paid by a lord in an annual manner to a vassal in return for homage, fealty, and military service (usually knight service) and it could include various other things than money, such as wine, cheese, chickens or wood.

FIFTEENTH :
traditional parliamentary tax upon the value of moveable property; invariably coupled with a tenth of real property.

FILLET :
small moulding surrounding a pier or placed horizontally or vertically dividing two mouldings.

FINE :
sum of money paid to the Crown to obtain some grant, concession, or privilege. Unlike amercement, a fine os not a monetary penalty, although failure to offer and pay a customary fine for some right, will undoubtedly lead to an amercement.

FINIAL :
the top ornament of a pinnacle or gable used generally with crockets.

FIRRED :
to camber by placing firred pieces on the top of a beam, that is, to use tapering pieces to raise to the required height.

FITZ :
Anglo-Norman prefix meaning son.

FLECHE :
small timber or lead-covered spire.

FLUSHWORK :
decorative use of dressed stone in flint walling to provide (often elaborate) patterns.

FLYING BUTTRESS :
section of an arch in stone bridging from one wall to another and used as an abutment against stone vaulting.

FOILS :
feathering, producing trefoils, quatrefoils and cinquefoils in a window.

FORFEITURE :
the right of a feudal lord to recover a fief when a vassal fails to honor his obligations under the feudal contract.

FORMARIAGE (also called merchet):
the sum commonly paid by a serf to his lord when the serf's daughter marries a man from another manor.

FOUR-CENTRED ARCH :
the head of a window or doorway struck from four centres.

FRANK PLEDGE :
the legal condition under which each male member of a tithing (district) over the age of twelve is responsible for the good conduct of all other members of the tithing.

FRATER :
monastic refectory.

FRIEZE :
horizontal band filled in with ornament or carving.

FRONTAL :
embroidered drapery to cover an altar.

FYRD :
the Anglo Saxon Militia. Special King's Peace prevailed while to or from or during Fyrd service.




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