Glossary of terms used on the Wingerworth Hall website.


Latin, carucata.

In most of the Danelaw counties, the public obligations were assessed in carucates and bovates. The word carucate is derived from caruca, Latin for a plough; bovate from bos, Latin for an ox. Since the standard Domesday plough team was drawn by eight oxen, the carucate contained eight bovates. An eight-oxen plough team could plough one ploughland in the course of an agricultural year. Carucate, bovate, ploughland, and plough team were thus conceptually linked, and all derived from agricultural processes.

Domesday Book, however, makes it clear that the real world bore only a rough and ready approximation to these Platonic ideals. There were many estates where teams exceeded ploughlands, or ploughlands exceeded teams; and carucates and ploughlands were often related in an artificial manner. Many of these anomalies were due to royal grants and exemptions which had distorted the original assessments. Domesday Book itself records sweeping reductions in the assessment of estates in many counties. But as J.H. Round demonstrated more than a century ago, the system was artificial from its inception. Assessments were arrived at by allocating a round number of units to a county, then dividing them among the constituent Wapentakes, then further subdividing these among the vills in each Wapentake. Assessments arrived at in this manner could never be more than approximately equivalent to each other, or to any given area. In no sense could they be considered to be exact measurements.

For further information, see J.H. Round, Feudal England (1895); F.W. Maitland, Domesday Book and beyond (1897); Reginald Lennard, ‘The origin of the fiscal carucate’, Economic History Review, first series, vol. 14 (1944-45), pages 51-63; and Cyril Hart, The Danelaw (1992).


demise is an old-fashioned expression meaning to lease or transfer (convey) real property for years or life, but not beyond that it is the deed that conveys real property only for years or life.

hearth tax

was levied between 1662 and 1689 on each householder according to the number of hearths in his or her dwelling. The administrators were required to compile lists of householders with the number of their hearths according to county.
It is claimed that the Hearth Taxes from 1662-1689 are the most important population sources for England between the Domesday Book and the 1801 Census. The hearth tax was required in England from 1662-1689, however the records available are mostly from the years 1662-1666 and 1669-1674. These lists included the occupiers (not owners) of houses and number of hearths in their house.
They were to pay 2 shillings for each hearth. This was to be paid in two installments on Lady Day (25th March) and Michaelmas (29 September). There could be as many as two lists for each year from a particular town. Although the poorest people were exempt, they will often be listed on the lists with their exempt status noted. In returns from 1664-1666 they are often listed separately and in the early 1670s separate forms are found where the exempt poor could be listed separately.


In the history of England and Wales, recusancy was the state of those (not necessarily Roman Catholic) who refused to attend Anglican services and individuals were known as “recusants”. There was a a statutory requirement to attend the local parish church at least one Sunday in four.
The term, which derives ultimately from the Latin recusare – to refuse or make an objection, and was first used to refer to those who remained loyal to the Roman Catholic Church and did not attend Church of England services, with a 1593 statute determining the penalties against “Popish recusants”.
The “Recusancy Acts”, which began during the reign of Elizabeth I and which were repealed in 1650, imposed a number of punishments on those who did not participate in Anglican religious activity, including fines, property confiscation, and imprisonment.
Despite their repeal, restrictions against Roman Catholics were still in place until full Catholic Emancipation in 1829. In some cases those adhering to Catholicism faced capital punishment, and a number of English and Welsh Catholics executed in the 16th and 17th centuries have been canonised by the Catholic Church as Christian martyrs,


 A tessellated floor is one made from small pieces of coloured stone fitted together to make a pattern or picture.