The Britannia Lexicon

UNDERCROFT :
crypt.

USURY :
the interest charged on a loan. Forbidden by church law, but commonly used by Knight Hospitallers and Knights Templar in later medieval times.

VASSAL :
free man who holds land (fief) from a lord to whom he pays homage and swears fealty. He owes various services and obligations, primarily military. But he is also required to advise his lord and pay him the traditional feudal aids required on the knighting of the lords eldest son, the marriage of the lords eldest daughter and the ransoming of the lord should he be held captive.

VAULT :
arched covering of space in stone (or brick or wood).

VERDERER :
judicial officer of the King's forest, sworn to maintain the forest assizes and prevent poaching.

VICE :
spiral staircase from ground to roof, the steps winding round a central pillar.

VICOMTE :
peer acting as a sheriff for a duke or an earl.

VILL :
parish or township, the smallest feudal unit. A villein was a labourer bound to a vill and its lord.

VILLEIN :
wealthiest class of peasant. they usually cultivate 20-40 acres of land, often in isolated strips.

VIRGATE :
one quarter of a "hide".

VOUSSOIR :
wedge-shaped stone forming part of an arch.





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