The Britannia Lexicon

HALF-TIMBER :
the common form of medieval construction in which walls were made of a wood frame structure filled with wattle and daub.

HAMMER-BEAM :
the projecting sole-piece used as a cantilever to reduce the width between two walls, and for springing the arch-brace.

HANSEATIC LEAGUE :
powertul mercantile league of Baltic ports with premises in London. Established in 1241, it grew to comprise around 100 towns, dominating Baltic trade.

HATCHMENT :
corruption of 'achievement': painted board depicting a deceased person's coat of arms, displayed first on his house, then removed to a church.

HEPTARCHY (seven kingdoms of the):
Names given to the seven pre-Viking kingdoms of England: Wessex, Mercia, Northumbria, Kent, East Anglia, Essex and Sussex.

HERESY :
any religious doctrine inconsistent with, or inimical to, the orthodox beliefs of the church.

HERIOT :
payment which a feudal lord may claim from the possessions of a dead serf or other tenant, essentially a death tax. There are various forms of heriot. Generally if a tenant dies in battle the heriot is forgiven.

HIDE :
unit of measurement for assessment of tax, theoretically 120 acres, although it may vary between 60 and 240 acres. It is, by custom, the land that can be cultivated by one eight ox plow in one year.

HOARDING :
covered wooden gallery affixed to the top of the outside of a tower or curtain, to defend the castle. It was supported on wooden beams inserted into put-log holes. The floor was slatted to allow defenders to drop missiles or liquids on to besiegers below.

HOMAGE :
the ceremony by which a vassal pledges his fealty to his liege, and acknowledges all other feudal obligations, in return for a grant of land.

HONOR :
holding or group of holdings forming a large estate, such as the land held by an Earl.

HOWDEN :
college of secular priests.

HUE AND CRY :
the requirement of all members of a village to pursue a criminal with horn and voice. It is a duty of any person discovering a felony to raise the hue and cry and his neighbors are bound to assist him
in pursuit and capture of the offender.

HUNDRED :
Anglo-Saxon institution; a subdivision of a Shire, in theory, equaling one hundred hides. The hundred, generally, has its own court which meets monthly to handle civil and criminal law. In Danish, the hundred is called a "wapentake".




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