scutage


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Related to scutage: disseisin, Novel disseisin, amerced

scutage

(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.

Scutage

 

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.

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John did not seek to levy scutage proper on an increased number of fees, but he succeeded in raising extra money by way of fine.
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.
24] explicitly refers to it as "heavy national taxation" and sees it, in conjunction with John's more frequent scutage levies, as a measure which "extended the social and fiscal range of royal government" and at the root of clause 14 of the original Magna Carta.
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.
23-24] of instances of apparent double exaction since scutage was paid by individuals whose knights did go on expedition with the king.
This new direction is evident not only from the attempt to develop carucage as a replacement for danegeld, but from the increasing frequency with which taxes such as scutage and taxes on movables were levied.
3) for example, the need to raise scutage in the years 1204-1206
269-270, cited by Chew, 1922, 1923] that the scutage and fine were the same thing; that is, payments inflicted as punishment for disobeying a call to arms, is not now accepted.
37) Henry II levied scutage six times in his 35-year reign at rates of one and two marks and 20 shillings per fee.
Table 1 below lists the scutages levied during John's reign.