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Related to scutage: disseisin, Novel disseisin, amerced


(skyo͞o`tĭj), feudal payment, usually in cash, given in lieu of actual military service due from a vassal to an overlord. It applied especially to the vassals of the king. Scutage collection increased noticeably in the later 12th cent., no doubt partly because of the rise of a professional military class of knights, with the consequent trend to commutation of military service. Subinfeudation (the system by which a vassal himself became an overlord, granting part of his fief to one who in turn became his vassal) may also have complicated the collection of military service and made money payments more feasible. In England the wars of the king for his French territories in the 12th, 13th, and 14th cent. were a great drain on the kingdom. The king obtained the necessary funds by scutages on his vassals and their subvassals. The barons resisted the imposition of scutage, and one of their major demands against King John concerned scutage. In the Magna Carta (1215), John pledged himself to collect scutage only with the "common counsel" of his barons. In later times the more important vassals collected the scutage from their subvassals, acting as tax farmers. The growth of taxes after the time of Edward III of England entirely displaced the feudal tax of scutage.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a monetary levy collected from the holders of knightly fiefs in medieval England beginning in the mid-12th century; collected for the king in lieu of military service or as partial compensation for service. Although the levy was prohibited by the Magna Carta of 1215, it was collected arbitrarily (”at the will of the king”) until the beginning of the 14th century. A considerable portion of the total was actually paid not by fief holders but by serfs and free peasants.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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(4.) Scutages and fines were dealt with in chapters 3, 12, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, and 55.
* the aid on the knight's fee, called also scutage or shield money (see below for a detailed definition);
In order to examine the extent and nature of these changes in the use of tax, we consider nine sources of revenue: the county farm, the royal forest, scutage, carucage, tallage, dona or auxilia, the tax on movables, and incidental revenue sources.
Scutage: Scutage arose originally as a feudal due (servitia debita) owed to the king in respect of grants of land (fees) made to tenants-in-chief.
In addition to paying scutage, tenants often paid a sum of money in fine.
While perhaps evident in the early years of John's reign, the effect was greater with the more frequent levies of scutage after 1204.
They knew that the king could insist on full military service which would likely be more expensive than scutage proper plus fine.
John and Walter may have also learned from the failure of John's father to extend the scope of scutage. The fine under John is likely to have achieved what Henry II had set out to do, but in a more subtle manner.
Thus, the basis of the scutage was less valid and prompted resistance.
(27) Tallage was collected nine times in one form or another during John's reign often reflecting scutage in the same years.
Aid was often used to refer to a tax in general (for example, scutage was often referred to as an aid on the knight's fee), and a gift might be anything but a gift.
Scutage is directly referred to in Magna Carta, clause 12 where it is stated that no scutage shall be taken unless by common counsel, unless for ransom, making the king's eldest son a knight, or marrying the king's eldest daughter.