• Scottish Gaelic, sometimes also referred to as Gaelic 
  • (Gàidhlig [ˈkaːlikʲ] ( listen)
  •  Is a Celtic language native to Scotland.
  •  A member of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic languages.
  •  Scottish Gaelic, like  and Manx, developed out of Middle Irish, and thus is ultimately descended from Old Irish.

Some people in the north and west of mainland Scotland and most people in the Hebrides still speak Scottish Gaelic, but the language has been in decline. There are now believed to be approximately 1,000 native speakers of Scottish Gaelic in Nova Scotia and 60,000 in Scotland.
Relationship to other languages
Scottish Gaelic is closely related to Manx and Irishand was brought to Scotland around the 4th century AD by the Scots from Ireland. Scottish Gaelic was spoken throughout Scotland (apart from small areas in the extreme south-east and north-east) between the 9th and 11th centuries, but began to retreat north and westwards from the 11th century onwards. All Scottish Gaelic dialects are mutually intelligible, and written Irish can be understood to a large extent.
Scottish Gaelic is also distantly related to Welsh(Cymraeg), Cornish (Kernewek) and Breton(Brezhoneg), which form the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages.
It is also known as P-Celtic.  The Celtic languages all have a similar grammatical structure, but have relatively little vocabulary in common.
Here is an illustration of some of the differences and similarities between the Celtic languages using the phrases 'What is your name?' and 'My name is ... / I'm ...':

  • The only word in these examples that is similar in all the languages is name: ainm(Irish), ainm (Scottish Gaelic), ennym (Manx), anv (Breton), hanow (Cornish) andenw (Welsh).
  • The word for what - Cén (Irish), De (Scottish Gaelic), Cre (Manx), Petra (Breton),Pyth (Cornish) and Beth (Welsh) - illustrates one of the sound differences between the branches of the Celtic languages. In the Gaelic languages, apart from Scottish Gaelic, it starts with C, which is why they are called Q-Celtic languages (this sound is sometimes written with a Q in Manx), while in the Brythonic languges it starts with p or b, which is why they are known as P-Celtic. Both sounds developed from the Proto-Celtic [kʷ].
  • There are more similarities within each branch of these languages than between the branches (Gaelic and Brythonic), and the Gaelic languages are closer to one another than are the Brythonic languages.

The earliest identifiable text in Scottish Gaelic are notes in the Book of Deer written in north eastern Scotland in the 12th century, although the existence of a common written Classical Gaelic concealed the extent of the divergence between Irish and Scottish Gaelic.
The Scottish Gaelic alphabet
Scottish Gaelic is written with just 18 letters each of which is named after a tree or shrub. The consonants all have more than one pronunciation depending on their position in a word and which vowels precede or follow them.

A grave accent on a vowel (Àà, Èè, Ìì, Òò and Ùù) indicates a longer version of the vowel, but these are not considered separate letters
The older Gaelic (uncial) script or "corr litir" has not been used for several centuries in Scotland, and has never been used in printed Gaelic. The uncial script is still used in Ireland on road signs and public notices.
The orthography of Scottish Gaelic was regularised in the late 1970s. For details see: http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/gaidhlig/goc/
Pronunciation - vowels (fuaimreagan) and dipht


 Gaelic            Orthography IPA        English 
1 meàirleach        mʲaːləx                   thief 
2 mealladh           mʲalˠəɣ                     deceiving 
3 pana                    pʰanə                        pan 
4 Pabach               pʰapəx                      person from Pabaigh 
5 apag                    aʰpak                        little ape 
6 tana                     tʰana                         thin 



  • ACHIEVEMENT: A full display of armorial bearings.
  • AKETON: a padded and quilted garment, usually of linen, worn under or instead of plate or mail.
  • AMERCEMENT: A financial penalty inflicted at the mercy of the king or his justices, for various minor offences. The offender is said to be "in mercy" and the monies paid to the crown to settle the matter is called "amercement."

  • ANELACE: A heavy, broad-bladed, sharp-pointed, double-edged knife.
  • to attach mail gussets and pieces of armour.

  • APOSTATE: One who leaves a religious order which was considered a serious crime in the eyes of the Church, being not only a breach of faith with God but also with the founders and benefactors of their religious house.
  • ARBALEST: A crossbow with a steel box stave.
  • ARGENT: The heraldic color (tincture) of silver/white.

  • ARMET: a closed helmet consisting of the rounded cap of the bascinet with two cheek pieces overlapping at the front when closed.
  • ARMIGER: A person entitled to bear heraldic arms.
  • ARMING CAP: A small quilted cap worn under a mail coif that offered protection against blows and the friction of mail against the head.
  • ARMING DOUBLET: A quilted garment worn under armour from the early 15th century, equipped with points 
  • ARPENT: A measure of land roughly equal to a modern acre.
  • ARTILLATOR: Maker of bows, arrows, and other archery goods.
  • ASSART: To turn woodlands into pasture or cropland. To "assart" lands within a forest without a license was a grave offense.
  • ASSIZE: The meeting of feudal vassals with the king, or the decrees issued by the king after such meetings.

  • ASYLUM (Right of): The right for a Bishop to protect a fugitive from justice or to intercede on his behalf. Once asylum was granted, the fugitive could not be removed for one month's time. Fugitives who found asylum had to pledge an oath of abjuration never to return to the realm, after which they were free to find passage out of the realm. If found within the borders after a month's time, they could be hunted down as before, with no right of asylum to be granted ever again.
  • AVENTAIL: 1. a mail garment protecting the neck 2. a "curtain" of mail to protect the neck, suspended from the helmet and reaching to the shoulders.
  • ACINET: Relatively light helmet with a rounded or pointed top. Sometimes fitted with a visor and called a bassinet.
  • BADELAIRE: European sword with a heavy, curved blade and S-shaped quillions; used during the 16th century.

  • BAN: A King's power to command or prohibit any action, under pain of punishment or death, usually because of a break in the "King's Peace." Also a royal proclamation, either of a call to arms or a decree of outlawry. In clerical terms, a ban was an excommunication or condemnation by the church.
  • BANALITIES: Fees which a feudal lord imposed on his serfs for the use of his mill, oven, wine press, or similar facilities. It sometimes included part of a fish catch or the proceeds from a rabbit warren.

  • BADGE: An emblematic figure, placed on some prominent part of the clothing of servants and retainers, such as the breast, back, sleeve, etc., to show to what household they belonged; found also on flags, and buildings.
  • BALDRIC: A silk sash or leather band slung over one shoulder and round the opposite hip. In medieval times it was decorated by silver or gold bells. Later it was fastened on the left hip and carried the sword holder.

  • BARBER-SURGEON: A monastic who shaved faces/heads and performed light surgery.
  • BARBETTE (also GORGET): A piece of white linen pinned to a woman's hair at each side of the head and draped around the chin and in front of the neck. Survives in nun's attire. Worn in the 13th and 14th centuries.
  • BARBICAN: The gateway or outerworks defending the drawbridge to a castle.
  • BARBUT (also called BARBUTE and BARBUTA): An open-faced shoulder-length helmet, made in one piece, with a T-shaped face opening.
  • BARD: A minstrel or poet who glorified the virtues of the people and his chieftains.
  • BARON: A vassal who served as a member of the king's great council. It was not, of itself, a title, but rather a description of the Tenants-in-Chief class of nobility.
  • BARONET: Originally English Barons who had lost the right of their individual summons to Parliament. Often these titles were sold to gentlemen willing to set up plantations in Ireland or Nova Scotia.
  • BASELARD: 13th century European thrusting sword with a straight diamond-shaped blade.
  • BASILICA: rectangular building used as a meeting hall.
  • BASTARD SWORD: large, double-edged sword with a long grip which could be wielded with either one or two hands.
  • BASTION: A small tower located either at the end of a castle's curtain wall or in the middle of the outside wall.
  • BATTLEMENT (also CRENELATION): A narrow wall built along the outer edge of a castle's wall walk to protect the soldiers from attack.
  • BEC-DE-CORBIN: type of war-hammer used in Europe in the 14th and 15th centuries; pick-like head was fitted with a spear like point for thrusting; normally mounted on a wooden haft with metal reinforcing bands extending down from the head.
  • BEGUIN (also FLEMISH HOOD): A rectangle of linen carefully folded into a symmetrical headdress and caught together at the nape of the neck.
  • BENEFICE: A grant of land given to a member of the aristocracy, a Bishop, or a monastery, for limited or hereditary use, in exchange for services. In ecclesiastic terms, a benefice was a church office that returned revenue.
  • BENEFIT OF CLERGY: A privilege enjoyed by members of the clergy, placing them beyond the jurisdiction of secular courts.
  • BERM: The flat space between the base of the curtain wall and the inner edge of the moat.
  • BIGGIN: A cap men wore to bed which tied under the chin with laces or ribbon.
  • BIRNIE: A mail shirt, the precursor of the hauberk.
  • BISACUTA: Adouble-pointed pick used by European foot soldiers in the 14th century; metal head mounted on a wooden haft.
  • BLACK MONKS: A common name for members of the Benedictine Order, derived from the color of their habits.
  • BLAZON: The technical language for the written description of armorial bearings.
  • BLIAUD: An over-tunic worn by both sexes in the early Middle Ages. It was fairly long and belted at the waist, while the skirt was often slit at the sides or in front to allow easier movement. A knee-length bliaud was worn by both peasants and soldiers.
  • BODICE: 1. The close fitting upper part of a woman's dress. 2. A woman's wide, sleeveless vest tightly laced in front, worn over a blouse or dress, usually low-cut.
  • BOLTS, CROSSBOW: Shortened arrows used in arbalests; small stocky missiles know for being capable of incredible penetration.
  • BOMBAST: Padding made of cotton and rags used to stuff in the linings of 16th-century garments.
  • BONGRACE (1530-1615): A flat, square cap with a short flap of velvet on each side.
  • BOROUGH: A town granted the right of self-government, by royal charter.
  • BOWYER: Bow maker.
  • BRACERS: Plate armour for the arms.
  • BRAIES: Loose drawers or breeches belted or tied with cord at the waist, the lower end tucked into the hose below the knee. After the 13th century, braies become shorter in the leg as the hose grew longer and, by the later 15th century, became short underpants.
  • BRAQUEMAR: European sword with a short, double-edged blade.
  • BREECHES: Trousers reaching to the knees.
  • BREHON LAWS (also Feinechus): An ancient Gaelic legal system.
  • BRIGANDINE: 1. Metal splints sewed upon canvas, linen, or leather and covered with similar materials; a material used in making light armour; a "pair of brigandines" is a body-coat of this material, in two pieces 2. Defensive jacket of metal plates on cloth 3. A canvas or leather jacket with small plates of metal stitched inside.
  • BUM-BARREL (also BUM-ROLLER, WAIST BOLSTER): A padded roll tied around the waist and worn under the skirt, to hold it out.
  • BUCKLER: 1. A small round shield carried by infantry to deflect blows. 2. A small round shield held by a handle at arm's length. 3. A shield worn on the left arm.
  • BURGESS: The holder of land or a house within a borough.
  • BURGONET: Steel cap with chin-piece; from 16th century armour.
  • BURNOOSE: A sort of upper garment, with a hood attached. 1. Cloaklike garment and hood woven in one piece, worn by Arabs. 2. Combination cloak and hood worn by women. 3. Long hooded cloak woven of wool in one piece; worn by Arabs and Moors.
  • BUSKIN: Footed leggings with thick sole made from expensive soft leathers and embroidered and brocaded fabrics.

  • C
  • CABACETE: Type of war hat popular in fifteenth century Europe with a turned-down brim which was drawn up to a point in the front and rear with an almond-shaped skull.
  • CANIONS (1570-1620): Tubular, thigh-hugging extensions worn from breeches to knee. Separate "netherstocks" could be gartered either over or under them.
  • CANTING ARMS: A coat of arms where the "charge" is a pun on the owner's name.
  • CASQUE: A light open helmet, these were often similar in shape to the burgonet and popular in the 15th and 16th centuries.
  • CASSOCK (1530-1660): Worn by men and women, this was a loose, hip-length coat with a small collar or hood.
  • CAT-O'-NINE TAILS: European whip used in flogging; leather thongs were usually knotted at their ends and were sometimes fitted with metal spikes to tear the flesh of the victim.
  • CERVELLAIRE: Small skull cap worn under the great helmet (greathelm) during the last part of the 13th century and into the early 14th century.
  • CAUL: A skull cap of silk, worn alone or under a hat, often worn by maidens, or a bag-shaped hair net (of gold mesh lined with silk, or made entirely of silk thread with human hair), which held the hair back in a coil.
  • CESTROSPHENDONE: Sling dart consisting of a wooden pole with a leaf-shaped blade, attached behind with two or three fixed vanes of wood; sling was fitted at the tip and behind the vanes and the dart then spun above the head; effective range was about fifty meters.
  • CHAINSE: A white long-sleeved undertunic of fine linen worn in the early Middle Ages. In feminine costume it was ground-length. Later it developed into the shirt and the chemise.
  • CHAMBERLAIN: An officer of the royal household responsible for the Chamber, meaning that he controled access to the person of the king. He was also responsible for administration of the household and the private estates of the king. The Chamberlain was one of the four main officers of the court, the others being the Chancellor, the Justiciar, and the Treasurer.
  • CHANCELLOR: The officer of the royal household who served as the monarch's secretary or notary. The Chancellor was responsible for the Chancery, the arm of the royal government dealing with domestic and foreign affairs. Usually the person filling this office was a Bishop chosen for his knowledge of the law.
  • CHANFRON: Armor for a horse's head.
  • CHANSONS DE GESTE: Literally "songs of deeds," they were epic poems composed by troubadours and sung by jongleurs to audiences gathered at the halls of nobles, or in public places.
  • CHAPEL DE FER: An iron cap that was a domed helmet, made in three or more pieces, with a wide brow around the outside. During the 14th century it was widely used by English and French men-at-arms and bachelier knights who could not afford a bascinet.
  • CHARGE: The generic term for pictorial representations that can be placed on various parts of a shield (such as animals, plants, or objects).
  • CHARTER OF FRANCHISE: Documents granting liberty to a serf by his lord, or the freedom of servitude to feudal lords, granted to the inhabitants of a town or borough.
  • CHAUSSES: Mail protection for the legs (particularly the thighs), either in the form of mail hose or strips of mail laced round the front of the leg.
  • CHIVALRY: Code of behavior/ethics for knights, based on telling the truth, keeping one's word and protecting those weaker than oneself.
  • CINQUEFOIL: A stylized flower with five radiating petals or leaves, used in heraldry.
  • CIRCLET: A circular band worn as an ornament on the finger, arm, neck or head.
  • CLAYMORE (also called greatswords): Large two-handed swords popular in Scotland during the 15th, 16th and the 17th centuries. Ranging in length from 50" to 72", they possessed handles that were 18" - 21" in length.
  • CODPIECE (or Braguette): Originally an inverted triangular section of cloth sewn into the hose around a man's groin, the codpiece by the 16th century was padded and boned and became so large that it was often used to carry small weapons, jewels, or food (hence the reference to a man's genetalia as the "family jewels").
  • COFFER: 1. A chest in which money or valuables are kept. 2. A treasury; funds.
  • COG: A type of substantial sailing ship.
  • COIF: 1. A cap that fits the head loosely. 2. A thick skullcap, as of leather, formerly worn under a hood of mail. 3. Mail hood covering the head.
  • CONSTABLE: An officer who commanded an army or an important garrison, or the officer who commanded in the king's absence.
  • CORSLET: A light half-armour popular in the sixteenth century for general military use; consisted of a gorget, breast, back and tassets, full arms and guantlets.
  • COTE ARMOUR: Quilted garment worn over a breastplate, cote of plates, or as the sole body defense during the 14th century.
  • COTEHARDIE: A term used extensively for both feminine gowns and masculine tunics from 1300 until 1430. It is generally applied to fitting garments, buttoned part- or full-length, and having long or half sleeves.
  • COTTAGER: A peasant of lower class who owned a cottage, but owned little or no land.
  • COUNT: The continental equivalent of the English Earl, ranked second only to a Duke.
  • CRESPIN (or CREPPIN): A fine, linen cap.
  • CREST: A generic term for the ornaments mounted on helmets.
  • CROSS-GARTERING: Strips of linen wound round the braies to hold them in position.
  • CUDGEL: European practice sword made of wood and fitted with a basket hilt; used in broadsword practice.
  • CUIRASS: Plate defense for the body. Consisting of a breast and backplate, hoops of steel to defend the hips known as faulds, and tassets to defend the hips.
  • CUISSES: Plate armor pieces protecting the thighs.
  • CULDEES: Meaning "servant of God," they were Irish/Scottish preservers of old Gaelic customs.
  • CURTAIN WALL: The high wall that surrounded the inner ward, or the open area in the center of a castle.
  • CUTLASS: A short, thick, curving sword with a single cutting edge.

  • D
  • DAUB: A mud and clay mixture applied over wattle to strengthen and seal it.
  • DEMESNE: The part of the lord's manorial lands reserved for his own use and not allocated to his serfs or freeholder tenants. Serfs worked the demesne for a specified numbers of days a week.
  • DENARIUS: The English silver penny, hence the abbreviation "d."
  • DEXTER: The right-hand side of a shield.
  • DIMIDIATION: In heraldry, the method of impalement in which the dexter half of one coat of arms was joined to the sinister half of the other.
  • DIOCESE: A district subject to the jurisdiction of a Bishop/Archbishop. The name was derived from the administrative districts created by the Roman emperor Diocletian.
  • DOLOIRE: (wagoner's axe) European battle axe used in the 15th century; socketed steel head is fitted to a wooden haft.
  • DOUBLET: A masculine tunic worn especially from the 15th to 17th century. Originally of quilted manufacture, although its style changed over the years, it remained a fundamental outer body garment.
  • DUKE: From the Roman Dux, a Duke ruled a district called a duchy. In England, the title was reserved for members of the royal family.
  • DUN: A Scottish single-family hill fort.

  • E
  • EARL: The highest title attainable by an English nobleman who was not of royal blood. Also known in earlier times as Ealdorman.
  • EIRE: Ireland.
  • EMBRASURE: The low segment of the alternating high and low segments of a battlement.
  • EPAULE DE MOUTON: Steel defense for the complete arm; developed during the 15th and 16th centuries; used exclusively in jousts.
  • ESCHEAT: The right of a feudal lord to the return of lands held by his vassal, or the holding of a serf's land, should he either die without lawful heirs or suffer outlawry.
  • ESCUTCHEON: A small charge in the form of a shield.
  • ESPADON: European two-handed sword of the 15th century.
  • ESTOC: Long, stiff and sharply-pointed sword for thrusting at the joints in plate armour, first introduced in the second half of the fourteenth century.
  • EXCHEQUER: The financial department of the royal government. The chief officers of the Exchequer were the Treasurer, the Chancellor, and the Justiciar. Sheriffs, in their role as regional chief accountants, presented reports to the Exchequer at Easter and Michaelmas.
  • EYRE: The right of the king (or justices acting in his name) to visit and inspect the holdings of any vassal, usually done at intervals of a few years.

  • F
  • FAIRE: A market held at regular intervals, usually once to twice a year. Fairs tend to offer a wider range of goods than normal markets and were generally licensed by either the king, a local lord, or a chartered town.
  • FALCHION: 1. Short, heavy, broad-bladed sword with a single edge, bearing a similarity to a heavy scimitar. 2. Short, curved single-edged sword with a broad blade.
  • FALLING BAND (also FALLING COLLAR) (1540-1670): Any turned-down collar, often lace-edged, and worn instead of a ruff.
  • FARM: A fixed sum or rent, usually paid annually, for the right to collect all revenues from land. Lords could "farm" land to vassals, receiving a fixed annual rent in place of the normal feudal obligation. Many sheriffs "farmed" out their shires, contracting in advance to pay a fixed annual sum to the crown, thus obtaining the right to collect any additional royal revenues for their own profit.
  • FARTHINGALE: The canvas or linen petticoat containing whalebone hoops worn in the 16th century.
  • FAULD: Skirt of overlapping lames riveted to leather and protecting the wearer below the waist, usually attached to a breastplate.
  • FEALTY (Oath of): The oath by which a vassal swore loyalty to his lord, usually on a religious relic or on the Bible.
  • FEUDALISM: The system of governing whereby semiautonomous landed nobility had certain responsibilities to the king, in return for the use of grants of land (fiefs), worked by the labor of a semi-free peasantry (serfs).
  • FIEF: Heritable lands held under feudal tenure, or the lands of a Tenant-in-Chief. Often called a Holding.
  • FIELD: In heraldry, the surface of a shield on which charges are placed.
  • FIST MACE: Iron or steel mace used in Europe shaped like a clenched fist.
  • FLAIL: Large foot soldier's weapon used in Europe; normally made of wood and reinforced with metal bands; some were fitted with hooks to keep the head from swinging around while marching.
  • FLAMBERGE: European two-handed sword with a undulating blade.
  • FLAXEN: Pale-yellow in color: straw-colored.
  • FLETCHER: Arrow maker.
  • FLEURET: European fencing sword with a cup hilt.
  • FOREPART: Any underskirt-usually highly decorated-which was revealed through the inverted-V opening in the front of a skirt.
  • FORMARRIAGE (also MERCHET): The sum commonly paid by a serf to his lord when the serf's daughter married a man from another manor.
  • FRANK PLEDGE: The legal condition under which each male member of a tithing (district) over the age of 12 was responsible for the good conduct of all other members of the tithing.
  • FRENCH HOOD (1530-1630): A small bonnet made on a stiff frame and worn far back on the head. Folds of material fell below the shoulders from a short flat panel at the back. They were usually dark in color but decorated with "biliments" (borders of silk, satin, or velvet, and trimmed with gold or jewels) and worn over a crespin.
  • FULLER: Broad groove running down the center of each side of some sword blades (usually to make the sword lighter in weight, not to allow a "channel" for blood to drip off the sword as commonly thought).
  • FYRD: The Anglo-Saxon militia. Special "King's Peace" prevailed while journeying to, from, or during Fyrd service.

  • G
  • GABARDINE: A long, loose overcoat with hanging sleeves, worn by both sexes and of all classes.
  • GAEL: A name given to Celtic inhabitants of Scotland, Ireland, and the Isle of Mann.
  • Galligaskins (also Slops): Wide, loose breeches.
  • GAMBESON: Quilted linen jacket stuffed with flax or rags, worn as a body defense by infantry and over the hauberk by poor knights and sergeants.
  • GAMBOISED: A padded defense made of linen, flax or other fabric, sometimes reinforced and studded. Gamboised cuisses were often worn as an early addition to mail chausses during the late 13th and early 14th centuries.
  • GARDEROBE: A small latrine or toilet built into the thickness of a castle's wall.
  • GARRETT: A room within the roof of a house, an attic.
  • GARTH: Small piece of enclosed land next to a house, often a garden.
  • GATLINGS: Small joint defense on a finger gauntlet, usually attached to a leather or canvas base by sewing or by rivets.
  • GARDE-CORPS: A 14th-century garment which evolved from the surcoat, which was either sleeveless or had elbow-length wide sleeves.
  • GAUNTLET: 1. A medieval glove, usually of leather covered with metal plates, worn to protect the hand from injury in combat. 2. A long glove with a flaring cuff covering the lower part of the arm.
  • GILDED: Covered with a thin layer of gold-leaf.
  • GORGET: 1. Piece of plate armour protecting the neck. 2. Plate defense covering the throat, meeting the breastplate at the shoulders and chest.
  • GREAVES: Defense for the lower leg, usually made of plate.
  • GUIGE: The strap affixed to the back of the shield by which a shield could be carried over the shoulder.
  • GUILD: Trade associations formed to protect members from the competition of foreign merchants and to maintain commercial standards. Guild apprentices served a master for five to seven years, before becoming a journeyman at about age 19. Journeymen worked in the shop of a master until they could demonstrate that they were ready for master status. Guild members were forbidden to compete with each other, and merchants were required to sell at a just price.
  • GULES: The heraldic color (tincture) of red.

  • H
  • HALASAN: Sword with a cylindrical hilt made of horn and no guard.
  • HALBERD: Axe-headed polearm, usually with a rear and top spike.
  • HALF-TIMBER: The common form of medieval construction in which walls were made of a wood frame structure, filled with wattle and daub.
  • HANSEATIC LEAGUE: An association of merchants and towns in northern Germany.
  • HAUBERK: 1. Mail coat. 2. Armour of chain mail in the shape of a tunic to protect the body. 3. Mail shirt covering the body as far as the knees, the arms ending in mittens, and with a hood for the head.
  • HEATER-SHIELD: Semi-cylindrical shield with a flat top edge.
  • HERIOT: A payment which a feudal lord could claim from the possessions of a dead serf or other tenant; essentially a death tax. Generally, however, if a tenant died in battle, the heriot was forgiven.
  • HIDE: A unit of measurement for assessment of tax, approximately 120 acres (although it may have varied between 60 and 240 acres), or the amount of land that could be cultivated by an eight-ox plow in one year.
  • HOARDING: A temporary wooden balcony suspended from the tops of walls and towers and erected before a battle, from which missiles and arrows could be dropped or fired.
  • HOMAGE: The ceremony by which a vassal pledged fealty to his liege and acknowledged all of his other feudal obligations, in return for a grant of land.
  • HONOR: A holding, or group of holdings, forming a large estate, such as the land held by an Earl.
  • HOUPELANDE: A garment common to nobility during end of the 14th century; characterized by long flowing sleeves, sometimes dagged in many interesting patterns. Often worn as court attire and later adopted in place of the surcoat, particularly in Germany during the late 14th century.
  • HOWDEN: A college of secular priests.
  • HUE AND CRY: The requirement of all members of a village to pursue a criminal with horn and voice.

  • I
  • IMPALED: In heraldy, describes a shield divided per "pale" to incorporate the arms of two different families, side by side.
  • INTERDICT: The ecclesiastical banning of all sacraments-except for baptism and extreme unction and for sacrements performed on high feast days. Interdicts were enforced to force persons, institutions, a community, or a secular lord to accept a view dictated by the Church or Pope.

  • J
  • JACK: 1. Defensive leather coat, either of several layers or quilted, often reinforced with metal studs or small plates. 2. Canvas or leather jacket reinforced by metal or horn plates stitched between the layers of material.
  • JERKIN: 1. A short, close-fitting coat or jacket, often sleeveless, worn in the 16th and 17th centuries. 2. A short, sleeveless vest worn by women and girls.
  • JONGLEUR: French wandering minstrels (which included musicians, acrobats, jugglers, and clowns), usually from the lower class, who entertained with tales of epic battles and heroes.
  • JUS PRIMAE NOCTIS (First Night): The right by which a Lord  or King could sleep with the bride of a newly married serf on the first night of their marriage, although the custom could be avoided by the payment of a fine.
  • JUPON: A tightly fitted garment resembling a leather tunic worn over armor (particulary chain mail) in the 14th century, often blazoned with one's coat-of-arms.
  • JUSTICIAR: The head of the royal judicial system and the king's viceroy, when the actual viceroy was absent from the country.

  • K
  • KASTANE: A sword which often had European blades which were slightly curved and single-edged; handle, pommel, and ends of the quillions are carved in the form of monsters' heads; entire hilt is often made of silver or gold and inlaid with jewels.
  • KETTLE HAT: Strong, light weight, open-faced helmet, having a conical crown and wide brim.
  • KIRTLE: 1. A short skirt worn by women. 2. A long gown or dress worn by women. 3. A long tunic worn by men.
  • KLAPPVISIER: The first visored defense for the bascinet. The klappvisier featured a pointed (pignose) or rounded (roundnose) snout to deflect arrows and bolts and a raised area around the eyes. It first defended the area of the face not already defended by the aventail.
  • KNIGHT: The retainer of a feudal lord who owed military service for his fief. The ideals to which a knight could aspire were notably prowess, loyalty, generosity, and courtesy.
  • KNIGHT'S FEE: In theory, a fief which provided sufficient revenue to equip and support one knight, which was approximately 12 hides or 1,500 acres (although the term applies more to revenue a fief could generate than its size).
  • KRIS: A double-edged, wavy-bladed knife/short sword designed primarily for thrusting.
  • KASTANE: A sword which often had European blades which were slightly curved and single-edged; handle, pommel, and ends of the quillions are carved in the form of monsters' heads; entire hilt is often made of silver or gold and inlaid with jewels.
  • KETTLE HAT: Strong, light weight, open-faced helmet, having a conical crown and wide brim.
  • KIRTLE: 1. A short skirt worn by women. 2. A long gown or dress worn by women. 3. A long tunic worn by men.
  • KLAPPVISIER: The first visored defense for the bascinet. The klappvisier featured a pointed (pignose) or rounded (roundnose) snout to deflect arrows and bolts and a raised area around the eyes. It first defended the area of the face not already defended by the aventail.
  • KNIGHT: The retainer of a feudal lord who owed military service for his fief. The ideals to which a knight could aspire were notably prowess, loyalty, generosity, and courtesy.
  • KNIGHT'S FEE: In theory, a fief which provided sufficient revenue to equip and support one knight, which was approximately 12 hides or 1,500 acres (although the term applies more to revenue a fief could generate than its size).
  • KRIS: A double-edged, wavy-bladed knife/short sword designed primarily for thrusting.

  • L
  • LAMES: Narrow overlapping plates used to make the flexible parts of an armour.
  • LANTERN SHIELD: Itallian shield weapon; consisted of a round buckler-type shield to which was attached a number of offensive weapons; handle projected from the inside of the forward edge of the shield which was grasped by the hand, protected by plate gauntlet; center of the shield was fitted with a projecting spike; also made with a fitting in front and the necessary hardware in back so a small lantern could be attached to it (lanterns used by some fencers in effort to dazzle opponents).
  • LATTEN: Brass, bronze or a mixture of the two; generally a copper base metal with elements of tin or zinc plus other trace elements; often used to create armor with or to decor armor.
  • LEASE FOR THREE LIVES: A term of lease of land usually for the life of its holder, his son or wife, and a grandson.
  • LIRIPIPE: The lengthened peak of the medieval hood.
  • LUTE: String musical instrument, shaped like half a pear and similar to a guitar, with six to thirteen strings.

  • M
  • MAIL: Interwoven links of iron wire riveted together to form a kind of defensive metal cloth, highly resistant to slashing but less effective against piercing or crushing wounds.
  • MAIN GAUCHE: Left-hand daggers for rapier dueling.
  • MAN-AT-ARMS (also Yeoman): A soldier holding his land, generally 60 to 120 acres, in exchange for military service.
  • MANDILION (1520-1560, 1577-1620): A loose, thigh-length overcoat with a standing collar and loose sleeves.
  • MANOPLE: Gauntlet sword consisting of a double-edged blade with two short, curved side blades.
  • MANOR: A small holding, typically from 1,200 to 1,800 acres, with its own court and probably its own hall, but not necessarily having a manor house. The manor as a unit of land was generally held by a knight (knight's fee) or managed by a bailiff for some other holder.
  • MANTLE: A loose, sleeveless cloak or cape.
  • MANTLING: Cloth decor suspended from a helmet, commonly illustrated in armorial artwork.
  • MARCHER LORDS: The name commonly given to Norman landholders on the Welsh border.
  • MARK: A measure of silver, generally eight ounces. In England, a mark was worth 13 shillings and four pence, or two thirds of one pound.
  • MARQUESS (or Marquis): Lords responsible for guarding border areas, known as "marches." In some cases, the eldest son of a Duke was known as a Marquess.
  • MEAD: A wine made of fermented honey.
  • METHEGLIN: Spiced or medicated mead, popular in Wales.
  • MINSTREL: A poet and singer who lived and traveled off the largess of the aristocracy.
  • MONEYER: A person licensed by the crown to strike coins. He received the dies from the crown and was allowed to keep 1/240 of the money coined for himself.
  • MONMOUTH CAP (1570-1625): A knitted wool cap that fit the head, and had a brim and a long peaked top that hung over one side and ended in a tassel. Common especially among soldiers and sailors.

  • N
  • NIGHT RAIL: A garment in which some wealthy women slept. Sleeping in the nude or in a shift was more common, however.

  • O
  • OR: The heraldic color (tincture) of gold, or yellow.
  • ORDEAL: A trial in which the accused was given a physical test (usually painful and/or dangerous) which could only be met successfully if he was innocent.

  • P
  • PALATINATE: In England, a county in which the Tenant-in-Chief exercised powers, normally reserved for the king, including the exclusive right to appoint a Justiciar, hold courts of Chancery and Exchequer, and to coin money.
  • PALE: In heraldry, a charge in the form of a broad vertical band in the center of the shield.
  • PALISADE: A sturdy wooden fence usually built to enclose a site until a permanent stone wall could be constructed.
  • PANTALOONS: A bifurcated garment for a man, covering the body from the waist downwards, and consisting of breeches and stockings in one.
  • PANTOFFLE: In the 16th century, this was an overshoe which was slipped on top of the shoe or hose and had no back. Later the word was used for slippers.
  • PARTICOLORING: A medieval system of decoration wherein one half or one quarter of a garment was in one color and design and the other(s) were of a different one.
  • PATTEN: A wood, leather, or cork undersole which was fastened on the foot by straps and buckles and worn out-of-doors to protect the hose and soft shoes.
  • PAVISE: 1. Large, free-standing shield on hinged support used by archers as protection when shooting. 2. Large rectangular shield carried by spearmen and used to provide cover for crossbowmen.
  • PEASECOD-BELLY: The unusual masculine silhouette produced by padding the doublet front to give a paunch shape. The fashion spread from Spain and was especially extreme in France.
  • PEERAGE: Hereditary titles (such as Count, Duke, and Earl), often linked to lands, powers, or responsibilties. For instance, English and Scottish peers had the right of summons to parliament.
  • PERRY: A liquour made from pears.
  • PICADILS: The scalloped or tabbed edge at the neck and armhole, fashionable in late 16th and early 17th-century dress. The name "Piccadilly" was given to this London thoroughfare because of a tailor there who specialized in making picadils.
  • PIKE: Long spear with small iron head.
  • PIPKIN (1565-1595): A taffeta hat trimmed with ostrich feathers and decorated with jewels. It had a moderate crown, a narrow, fairly flat brim, and was worn over a caul.
  • PLASTRON: An armor metal breastplate or the fur front of the sideless surcoat worn by medieval ladies.
  • PLATE: A general term for iron defenses fashioned from sheet iron or steel. "Plate" defenses were during the Middle Ages first introduced during the late 13th century, first as reinforcing for mail defenses and later as defenses on their own.
  • POLEARM: The general term for a group of pole-mounted weapons usually featuring a cutting or slashing weapon on one end. The halberd, guisarm, bill, bec-de-corbin, and poleaxe are all specific kinds of polearms.
  • POMANDER: From the French pomme d'ambre, a hollow, perforated sphere containing a waxed perfumed ball impregnated with scent, such as ambergris, musk, cloves, or hartshorn. Men wore pomanders suspended from a chain; women attached them to their girdles. Especially fashionable in the 16th century.
  • POMMEL: Knob at the top of a sword-hilt, counterbalancing the weight of the blade.
  • PORTCULLIS: A heavy timber grille that could be raised or lowered between the towers of each gate house.
  • POSTERN GATE: A side, or less important gate, into a castle.
  • POULAINE: The style of footwear which had an extended or exaggerated length at the toes. As the fashion was said to be most extreme in Poland, the English versions were termed "Krackows" after the Polish city of that name.
  • POURPOINT: An arming garment worn under or as an aketon.
  • PRIMOGENITURE: The right of the eldest son to inherit the estate or office of his father.
  • PRIORY: Any religious house administered by a prior or prioress. If the prior was subject to a resident abbot, the house was called an abbey or monastery.
  • PURPURE: The heraldic color (tincture) of purple.

  • Q
  • QUARTERSTAFF: Polearm weapon which was merely a long wooded pole.
  • QUILLIONS: Bar (usually iron) forming the crossguard of a sword or dagger.

  • R
  • RAMPANT: In heraldry, describes quadrupeds (often a lion) shown erect, one back paw raised, looking to the dexter.
  • REBATO (1580-1635): Of Spanish origin, a collar or ruff wired to stand up around a low-necked bodice.REBUS: A heraldic device that is a pictorial pun on the name of the bearer.
  • REEVE: A royal or manor official appointed by the lord or elected by the peasants.
  • RELIEF: The fee paid by the heir of a deceased person on securing possession of a fief. Tradition determined the amount demanded.
  • REREBRACE: Defense for the upper arm (arm greaves).
  • ROUNDELl: Round metal attachment at the base of a polearm to keep the hands from sliding down the shaft and onto the blade.
  • RUFF (1550-1630): A circular collar in the form of a starched and crimped or pleated frill. From 1562 to 1577, ruffs measured about three inches wide and two inches deep, becoming separate articles of clothing by 1570. The cartwheel ruff was in fashion from 1550 to 1610 and the fan-shaped ruff, made almost entirely of lace, from 1570 to 1625. Men's ruffs were generally higher in back than in front, following the line of the jaw, to frame the face and set off the shape of the skull.

  • S
  • SABLE: The heraldic color (tincture) of black.
  • SALLET: A light, rounded helmet with projecting neckguard and, often, a visor, worn in the 15th century.
  • SALTIRE: A charge in the form of a St. Andrew's cross.
  • SAMITE: A heavy silk fabric worn in the Middle Ages: it was sometimes interwoven with gold.
  • SAUSCIWERTER: European hunting weapon normally used by the nobility; consisted of a hand-and-a-half hilt; could be used with one or two hands if necessary
  • SCABBARD: A sheath or case to hold the blade of a sword or dagger.
  • SCALE ARMOR: Small rectangular plates of metal, attached to a leather or linen coat, lighter and more flexible than mail.
  • SCHIAVONA: Broadsword; used in the 16th century.
  • SCRIBE: A person who copied books by hand before the invention of printing.=
  • SCUTAGE: The sum that the holder of a knight's fee would pay his lord in lieu of military service. Sometimes used as a form of tax.
  • SERF: A semi-free peasant (cottagers, small holders, or villeins) who worked his lord's demesne and paid him certain dues in return for the use of land, the possession (not ownership) of which was heritable. These dues ("corvee"), were in the form of labor on the lord's land, averaging three days a week.
  • SERGEANT: A servant who accompanied his lord to battle, a horseman of lower status used as light cavalry, or a type of tenure in service of a non-knightly character who might have carried the lord's banner, served in the wine cellar, or made bows and arrows. Sergeants paid the feudal dues of wardship, marriage, and relief, but were exempt from scutage.
  • SHEAF ARROW: Heavy armour piercing arrow used by longbowmen at close range.
  • SHERIFF (from "Shire Reeve"): The chief administrative and judicial officer of a shire. He collected taxes and forwarded them on to the Exchequer, and was also responsible for making sure that the King's table was well stocked.
  • SIEGE: The military tactic that involved the surrounding and isolation of a castle, town, or army, by another army, until the trapped forces were starved into surrender.
  • SIMONY: The buying or selling of spiritual things, particularly Church offices and benefices.
  • SINISTER: In heraldry, designates the left-hand side of the shield, or the right for the spectator.
  • SLOP-HOSE: Sailor's breeches.
  • SMALL HOLDER: A middle class peasant, farming more land than a cottager but less than a villein. A typical small holder would have farmed 10 to 20 acres.
  • SNOOD: 1. A tie or ribbon formerly worn around the hair, especially by young unmarried women. 2. A netlike bag worn at the back of a woman's head to hold the hair.
  • SNUFKIN (also SNOSKYN): A muff made of cloth or fur, the smaller models of which hung suspended from a woman's girdle.
  • SPADROON: European cut-and-thrust sword with a light, flexible blade; double-edged near the point
  • SPAULDER: 14th and 15th century defense for the shoulder, featuring a small dished defense for the shoulder point and a number of lames extending down the arm.
  • STEWARD: The man responsible for running the day-to-day affairs of the castle when the lord was absent.
  • STOMACHER: A separate front panel of rich decorative fabric which ended in a point at the waist and was worn on top of the bodice.
  • SUGARLOAF: A transition helmet between the heaulm and the bascinet, where the skull of the helmet was pointed like a bascinet and the sides enclosed like a heaulm.
  • SULONG: A measurement of land equal to two hides.
  • SURCOAT: Long flowing garment worn over armour.
  • SWISH-WASH: A liquour made with honey and water and spiced with a dash of pepper.

  • T
  • TABARD: A sleeveless or short-sleeved tunic worn over armor in the Middle Ages. Where appropriate, arms decorated the garment, making it a coat-of-arms.
  • TALLAGE: A tax levied on boroughs and on the tenants living on royal estates, to help liquidate royal debts.
  • TARGE: Round or oval shield used by knights.
  • TARTAN: A plaid textile design of Scottish origin consisting of stripes of varying width and color usu. patterned to designate a distinctive clan.
  • TASSET (or TACES): 15th century defense for the hips that attached to the fauld; usually a plate of iron or steel, often featuring one or more fluted ribs and a thick rolled edge for strength.
  • TENANT-IN-CHIEF: A lord or institution (the Church being most common) holding land directly from the king. All Earls were Tenants-in-Chief.
  • THANE: Originally meaning a Military Companion to the King, a thane was a man holding administrative office.
  • TINCTURE: The generic term for the heraldic metals, colors, and furs.
  • TIPPET: Name given to the streamers hanging from the elbow-length sleeves of the medieval tunic or gown. Also, a short shoulder cape for women.
  • TITHE: One tenth of a person's income given to support the church annually.
  • TONSURE: The rite of shaving the crown of the head of a person joining a monastic order or the secular clergy, symbolizing admission to the clerical state.
  • TORSE: A colorful cloth worn around the crown of the helmet, from which the mantling was attached (used from the 13th century through the 15th, torses and mantling helped to identify knights in war and provided a colorful expressive tool for tournaments and pageants of the 15th century).
  • TOWN AIR IS FREE AIR: Words used in town charters to proclaim freedom of any serf who lived there for a year and a day, without being claimed by his lord.
  • TREASURER: The chief financial officer of the realm and senior officer of the Exchequer.
  • TROUBADOUR: Composers of epic poems, such as the Chansons de Geste, and love songs, often sung by wandering minstrels.
  • TRUNCHEON: 1. A short, thick staff, similar to a policeman's baton. 2. European club made of wood.
  • TRUNK HOSE (1540-1625): A style of breeches for men who wanted to show off their legs. Trunk hose consisted of a padded ring from the waist around the hips, to which long netherstocks were sewn.
  • TUNIC: 1. A loose, gownlike garment worn by men and women in ancient Greece and Rome. 2. A blouselike garment extending to the hips or lower, usually gathered at the waist, often with a belt.
  • TURRET: A small tower rising above and resting on one of the main towers of a castle, usually used as a look-out point.

  • U
  • USURY: Interest charged on a loan; a practice forbidden by Church law.

  • V
  • VAMBRACE: Plate defense for the forearm.
  • VASSAL: A free man who held land (fief) from a lord to whom he paid homage and swore fealty. He owed various services and obligations, primarily military, but he also advised his lord and paid him the traditional feudal aids required on the knighting of the lord's eldest son, the marriage of the lord's eldest daughter, and the ransoming of the lord, should he be held captive.
  • VENETIANS: Breeches fastened at the knee and separate from the netherstocks, distended with vertical rolls of padding down the inside of each side seam. A codpiece was not worn with Venetians, which buttoned or tied in a concealed front opening.
  • VERDUN: Long European thrusting sword with a diamond or square-sectioned blade used in the 16th century.
  • VERT: The heraldic color (tincture) of green.
  • VILLEIN: The wealthiest class of peasant, they usually cultivated 20-40 acres of land, often in isolated strips.
  • VIRGATE: One quarter of a hide.
  • VISCOUNT: The fourth level of peerage, a viscount was a lieutenant or deputy of a count (from "vice-count"), or the title of courtesy for the eldest son of an Earl or Marquess.

  • W
  • WAISTCOAT (1485-1625): An optional male undergarment, usually quilted, to which the breeches were fastened. A woman's dressing jacket was also called a waistcoat.
  • WALL WALK: The area along the top of a castle's walls from which soldiers defended both castle and town.
  • WARDSHIP: The right of a feudal lord to the income of a fief during the minority of its heir. The lord was required to maintain the fief and to take care of the material needs of the ward. When the ward came of age, the lord was required to release the fief to him in the same condition in which it was received.
  • WATTLE: A mat of woven sticks and weeds.
  • WIMPLE: A simple headcovering worn by women. A piece of material, square or circular in shape, was draped over the head to the shoulders and held in place by a band around the brow. Later a wimple was worn with a barbette or chin band so that the throat and chin were also covered.
  • "Here is alittle blessing to ya all"
  • Using some of those words



His  name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer.  One day,
while trying to make a living for his family,
 he heard a cryfor
help coming from a nearby boy.  He  dropped his tools and ran to
 the boy.
There,  mired tohis waist in black muck, was a
terrified boy,
 screaming andstruggling to free himself. Farmer
 Fleming savedthe
lad from what couldhave been a slow  and terrifying
The  next day, afancy carriage pulled up to the
Scotsman's sparse
surroundings. Anelegantly dressed nobleman  stepped
out and introduced
himself as the fatherof the  boy Farmer Fleming
 had saved.
'I  want torepay you,' said the nobleman.
'You saved my son's
'No,  I can'taccept payment for what I
did,' the Scottish farmer
replied waving offthe offer. At that moment, the
 farmer's ownson came
to the door of the family hovel.
'Is  that yourson?' the nobleman  asked.
'Yes,'  thefarmer replied  proudly.
'I'll  make youa deal. Let me provide him
with the level of
 education my own son will enjoy  If the lad is
anything  like
his father, he'll nodoubt grow to be a man we both
 will be proudof.'
And that he did.  
Farmer Fleming's  son attended the very best
schools and in
 time, graduated from St. Mary's  Hospital
Medical  Schoolin
London, and went on to become known throughout   the
world as the noted
Sir Alexander Fleming, the  discoverer of Penicillin.
Years afterward, the same nobleman's son who was
saved from  the bog
was stricken with pneumonia.
What  saved his life this time?  Penicillin.
The  name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill ..
His  son's
Sir  WinstonChurchill.
Someone  once said:
What goes around  comes
Work  like you don't need the money.
Love  like you've never been hurt.
Dance  like nobody's watching.
Sing  like nobody's listening.
Live  like it's Heaven on Earth.
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