The collection of the first scutage in England, in A.D. 1159, was associated with the establishment of an orderly system of taxation. It was really a commutation of military service in terms of a money payment, and was exacted from each knight's fief.
Gervase, First Collection of Scutage, 1159:
This year King Henry took a scutage from all England, of which the total was one hundred and eighty thousand pounds of silver.
Dialogue of the Exchequer, 1177, Book 1.
IX. What Scutage is and Why it is so called.
Master: Occasionally it comes to pass that by the machinations of enemies the country is thrown into confusion and there is rebellion in the country. Then the king decrees that a certain sum be paid from each knight's fief, namely, a mark or a pound, whence come the pay and gratuities for the soldiers. For the prince prefers to thrust into the vortex of war mercenary troops rather than domestic forces. And so this sum is paid in the name of shields and is therefore called scutage. Moreover, they who sit at the exchequer are quit of this.
The Red Book of the Exchequer, Notices of Scutages Entered in the Pipe Rolls for 1195.
The sixth year of the reign of King Richard, for his redemption, a scutage of twenty shillings:
In the sixth year of King Richard a scutage of twenty shillings was assessed universally; there were no exemptions.
KentThe Honor of Robert of Dover ,14 14 knights' fiefs. The Honor of Walter of Mayenne ,29 29 knights' fiefs. Simon of Avranches ,21.10s. 212 knights' fiefs. Abbot of St. Augustine's Canterbury ,13.5s. 13 knights' fiefs. (for one 1/4 of his land) (in this county). Warenne Fitz-Gerald 40s. 2 knights' fiefs. (in this county). Hugh Bardulf 20s. 1 fief in Hove. 1 knight's fief.
These have quittance by writs: Alexander Arsic, Ranulf of Auberville, etc.Oxford Alexander Arsic ,20 20 knights' fiefs. Gerard of Camville 20s. 1 knight's fief. Roger of Linguire 20s. 1 knight's fief. Henry of Ouilly ,22.6s.8d. 22: knights' fiefs. Randulf son of Wigan 5s. 3 knight's fief. Philip of Hampton 20s. 1knight's fief. Fief of Wakelin Harenge 20s. 1 knight's fief.
From: William Stubbs & H. W. C. Davis, eds., Select Charters of English Constitutional History, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913), pp. 152, 218; Hubert Hall, ed., The Red Book of the Exchequer, Rolls Series, (London: HMSO, 1896), pp. 79, 83; reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 369-370.
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© Paul Halsall, September 1998