TOLLS AND CUSTOMS Florilegium Urbanum

Keywords: medieval London customs exports imports commerce scavage spices food wool leather fur cloth haberdashery produce livestock fish hardware transportation bailiff fees
Subject: Customs charged on imports to and exports from London
Original source: Corporation of London Records Office, Liber Albus, ff. 194-196
Transcription in: Henry Thomas Riley, ed. Liber Albus. Rolls Series, no.12, vol.1 (1859), 229-38.
Original language: French
Location: London
Date: late 1260s


Here are noted the customs which have traditionally been imposed on things coming to, or being taken out of, London for sale; as was presented to the Barons of the Exchequer by the citizens, at the command of our lord king, while the city was in the hands of the king after the disturbance made in the kingdom in the time of Sir Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester.

Customs of the city


This is the inquisition made in the city of London, by its citizens, concerning the levies and customs that the king has the right to take from merchants and merchandize entering and leaving the city; that is, from those who are subject to customs.

  • Forty pence is due as scavage for a load of grain that weighs three hundredweight.
  • Sixpence for a load of pepper weighing three and a half hundredweight.
  • Eightpence for a load of alum weighing four hundredweight.
  • Sixpence is due as scavage for a cargo of sugar, cumin, almonds, brasil, quicksilver, ginger, zedoary, "lake", liquorice, small spices (such as cloves, mace, cubebs, nuts, nutmeg), vermilion, glass, figs, raisins, sumach, sulphur, ivory, cinnamon, gingerbread, rice, turpentine, cotton, whalebone, frankincense, "pioine", anise, dates, chestnuts, orpiment, olive oil, and other kinds of [goods measured by] avoirdupois; of which a cargo should weigh four hundredweight. If there is less than one [full] load, then [the amount of custom is] according to the quantity of the item, down to a quarter [of a load]; that is, threepence for a half load, aand a penny halfpenny for a quarter load. The king has the same customs from fine wares associated with spicery, as well as for small seeds, [the amount] according to the weight, and for confectures of spicery.

Levies on Spanish wool and haberdashery

For packs of Spanish wool, "wadmal", mercery, canvas, marten skins, cony skins, furs, linen, fustian, felt, lorimery, fells, haberdashery, squirrel fur, parmentery, shalloons, Rennes cloths, silk cloths, and on other items that are usually in packs, sixpence; for half of a pack, threepence, and for a quarter of a pack, a penny halfpenny.

One penny [is payable on] a dozen of cordwain, one penny the dozen of "godelmynges", one halfpenny the dozen of basan, one halfpenny the pound of silk, one farthing the pound of saffron. Let it be known that this custom is levied only on goods which come from abroad. No customs are due from wax, verdigris, copper, tin, or grey-work, if they do not pass beyond Thames Street towards the north; if they do pass, they shall pay sixpence for a pack, threepence for half a pack, or a penny halfpenny for a quarter of a pack.

Customs on victuals

The customs applicable to the small trades in the market of London:

  • Three-farthings is payable for every quantity of poultry brought by packhorse, freemen excepted.
  • Every man who brings cheese or poultry, if it is worth fourpence halfpenny, shall pay a halfpenny, freemen excepted.
  • If a man on foot brings 100 eggs or more, he shall give five eggs, freemen excepted.
  • A man or woman who brings any kind of poultry by packhorse, and unloads it, shall pay three-farthings as stallage. If a man transports it on his back and then sets it on the ground, he shall pay a halfpenny, no matter what his franchise.
  • A halfpenny per day is payable for every bread-basket. A bread-basket brought by a baker to the west of the Walbrook is due a penny halfpenny if coming to market on Sunday, but only a halfpenny on other days.
  • Every foreign butcher who sells meat in the market shall pay a penny for stallage on Sunday.
  • A halfpenny is payable from every cart bringing grain into the city for sale; if it enters by Holborn or the Fleet, one penny is to be paid, freemen excepted.
  • Every man who brings grain by packhorse, no matter whether a quarter or a half [quarter], and unloads it shall pay a farthing, no matter what his franchise. If he is a freeman and sells it from his horse, he shall pay nothing.
  • A halfpenny is payable from every cart from Bromley or Stepney which comes to the city with bread. A halfpenny or one loaf is payable from a cart bringing bread into the city from some other town, no matter what the franchise [of the owner].
  • A halfpenny is payable from a cart bringing earthen pots, no matter what the franchise.
  • A farthing is payable from a cart bringing coal for sale, at whatever place the coal is sold, no matter what the franchise.
  • A halfpenny is payable from a cart bringing alder wood for sale.
  • A halfpenny is payable from a cart bringing timber, with or without the bark, except for squared oak timber (which pays nothing).
  • A cart bringing boards for sale, if it brings twenty-five or more, shall give one board; if fewer than that, it gives nothing.
  • A cart bringing oak laths shall give one lath. If it brings beech laths it shall give a halfpenny and one lath.
  • Twopence is payable from a cart bringing nuts or cheese; twopence halfpenny if it enters by the Fleet or by Holborn.
  • Twopence is payable from a cart bringing fish or poultry to West Cheap.
  • Twopence is payable from a hired cart coming to the city with wool, hides or other merchandize. Twopence halfpenny if it enters by Holborn, the Fleet, or Aldersgate.
  • For every dead Jew [to be] buried in London, threepence halfpenny.
  • A halfpenny from every cart bringing bark; if it enters by Holborn or the Fleet, nothing.
  • A halfpenny and one bunch of leeks is payable from every cart bringing leeks during Lent.
  • Sevenpence halfpenny is payable from a cart carrying woad out of the city, if it carries four quarters or more; if less, it shall pay one penny per quarter.
  • A halfpenny is payable from a cart bringing cod, herring or other types of fish.
  • A farthing is payable by any man or woman whom brings bread [worth] fourpence halfpenny from St. Albans to sell.

Smithfield customs

These are the customs [payable] at Smithfield:

  • One penny for every full-grown cow or bull sold, freemen excepted.
  • One penny for every dozen sheep; if there are fewer (or just a single one), a halfpenny.
  • If foreign traders bring bulls, cows, sheep or pigs between Martinmas [11 November] and Christmas, they must give the bailiff the third-best beast, or must reach [some other] agreement with the bailiff before entering the county of Middlesex.
  • If a bailiff takes from the [Smith]field as scavage a bull or cow priced at 13s.4d or more, he must reimburse the trader 3s.4d for the hide.
  • If a foreign trader brings lean pigs for sale between Hokeday and Michaelmas [29 September], he must give the bailiff the third-best pig, unless he pays a fine of sixpence or twelve pence to the bailiff.

Customs of the bridge

These are the customs of the bridge.

  • A ship bringing cod, without any other fish, shall give two cod, freemen excepted.
  • A ship coming with cod or rays shall give one cod and one ray, freemen excepted.
  • A ship coming with herring (fresh or salted) shall give 100 herring, freemen excepted.
  • A ship with bulwarks which anchors in the Thames must pay twopence for strandage, freemen excepted.
  • A ship bringing sea-bass, conger [eels], mullet, turbot, shad, [or] eels, pays no custom other than twopence for strandage of the ship.
  • A ship with bales which anchors in the Thames must pay one penny, freemen excepted.
  • A ship bringing mackerel shall give 26 mackerel, freemen excepted. The same [proportion of] custom is to taken by the bailiff from a ship bringing ling or haddock.
  • A boat bringing five panniers of whelks shall give one pannier and one halfpenny, freemen excepted. The same custom is to be taken by the bailiff from a ship bringing ling; it is not to pay more for bringing a larger volume.
  • If a boat belonging to a foreigner brings ling, mackerel, or haddock, but the fish belong to a freeman of the city, no custom is payable except for a halfpenny for strandage of the boat. If the fish belong to a foreigner, the bailiff may take 26 of the fish and the halfpenny for the boat. If half of the fish belong to a foreigner, he only need pay half of the custom.
  • A boat rowed using tholes that comes to Oystergate shall pay one halfpenny, freemen excepted.
  • A boat rowed [with oars] within rowlocks that comes to Oystergate shall pay one penny; if a half-share in the boat belongs to a freeman of the city and the other half to a foreigner, the latter is to pay half of the custom – that is, a halfpenny.
  • If an outsider buys cod in the city and exports it for resale, he is to give twopence per hundred, one penny for fifty, and a halfpenny for twenty-five, freemen excepted.
  • If an outsider buys white herring or red herring in the city, he is to give one halfpenny per thousand of the white, and a farthing per thousand of the other.
  • Merchants who bring fish (cod and rays excepted) into the city by land, by packhorse, are to give one fish per dorser and a halfpenny per horse.
  • Outsider merchants who buy fish in the city and export it for resale are to give a farthing per horseload.
  • If a cart brings a foreigner's salmon into the city, the bailiff may take the second-best salmon as custom, and twopence for the cart. If the salmon belongs to a freeman of the city, the bailiff shall not take any of the fish, only twopence for the cart.
  • A cart bringing white or red herring into the city is to give five herring and twopence for the cart, freemen excepted.
  • A cart bringing mackerel is to give five mackerel and twopence for the cart, freemen excepted.
  • The bailiff may take the same from ling brought by cart.
  • A cart bringing cod is to give one cod and twopence for the cart, freemen excepted.
  • A cart bringing eels is to pay twopence, but nothing for the fish.
  • A halfpenny is payable for a horse bringing apples, pears or other kinds of fruit.
  • A halfpenny is payable for a cart bringing other kinds of fruit.

Fees of the bailiff of the bridge

The bailiff may not take anything from a man [carrying goods]. From every boat bringing sprats, if it is not of the franchise of London, the bailiff may have a basketful and one farthing for the boat. From a ship bringing dabs, twenty-six dabs per hundred are due; if it brings fewer [than a hundred] nothing is due, and if greater no more is due than for a hundred. One penny is payable on a porpoise; if it is cut up for selling by retail, the bailiff shall have the entrails, the tail, and the three fins. From a ship bringing conger the bailiff may take the best and the second-best for his fee, based on the highest price set on their sale; if it is from the Cinque Ports [however], nothing is given. Two salmon are due from a Scottish ship bringing salmon; if it brings salmon and cod, one salmon and one cod are due; if salmon and haddock, one salmon and thirteen haddock; and twopence for the ship. The first ship arriving from Yarmouth with white herring, from which full custom is due, shall give 200 herring; any other ship which arrives afterwards shall give 100 herring, freemen excepted.

Billingsgate customs

  • Twopence is due from every large ship that comes to shore, for strandage. From a small ship with oarlocks that comes to shore, a penny. From a boat that comes to shore, a halfpenny.
  • For two quarters of grain, measured by the king's quarter, a farthing.
  • For one coombe of grain coming by water, one penny.
  • For every quarter of woad exported from the city by water, a halfpenny.
  • For two quarters of sea-coal, measured by the king's quarter, a farthing.
  • For every tun of ale exported overseas by outsider merchants, 4d.
  • For every thousand herring imported or exported by outsiders, a farthing, freemen excepted.
  • If an outsider exports cod from of the city, he is to give twopence per hundred.
  • If an outsider merchant exports overseas butter, tallow, or lard, he is to give threepence halfpenny for the first wey and a halfpenny for every additional wey.
  • For every wey of cheese exported by an outsider, fourpence.
  • For every last of leather exported by an outsider, twelve pence.
  • For a dicker of leather exported, twopence.
  • For nonpareil leather exported, a halfpenny.
  • For every truss of leather tied with cords, fourpence.
  • For every truss of any kind of merchandize, large or small, tied with cords, fourpence.
  • For every truss of cloth, large or small, exported abroad by an outsider, fourpence.
  • For "harpoys" and "fyssheponde", a penny farthing.
  • For a portion of sulphur, a penny farthing.
  • For every tun of wine imported or exported, on which duty is payable, twopence.
  • For every tun of honey on which duty is payable, twelve pence.
  • From every ship bringing nuts, fourpence.
  • For a single store in a ship, fourpence.
  • [For] a cargo of nuts, fourpence.
  • For every cartload of lead exported by an outsider, fourpence.
  • For every hundredweight of iron imported or exported abroad by an outsider, a farthing.
  • For every two quarters of onions imported by an outsider, a farthing.
  • For every hundred bunches of garlic, a halfpenny.
  • For every last of clay and potter's earth imported and exported by an outsider, threepence.
  • For every last of barrelled herring [exported] by an outsider, threepence.
  • For every hundred of the boards called wainscot, a halfpenny.
  • For every hundred of the boards called "Ryghholt", one penny.
  • For one ton of flax imported or exported by an outsider, fourpence; if less than a ton, twopence. For flax that comes in bundles, one penny per dozen.
  • For every wey of feathers [imported] by an outsider, twopence.
  • For horses and other animals exported by an outsider, fourpence a head.
  • For a barrel of litmus [imported] by an outsider, a farthing.
  • For a hundred stockfish coming from Prussia, a farthing.
  • For pottery brought in – that is, tureens, pipkins, patens, earthen pots – or other small wares (other than mentioned above) imported or exported abroad, the bailiff is to take nothing.
It is ordered that no boatman transporting passengers from Billingsgate to Gravesend, or vice versa, is to charge more than twopence per passenger.


In the conflict between Henry III and his barons, London's ruling class were satisfied to remain loyal to the king. Popular discontent however surfaced in the form of an uprising in 1263, which led to de Montfort being welcomed into the city and Londoners furnishing part of his army for the victory at Lewes. Following de Montfort's defeat and death in 1265, London's government was seized into the king's hand for several years. It was in this context that the above record was made of the tolls that could be imposed on various merchandize entering the city.

By the latter half of the thirteenth century, London's population may have been approaching as many as 80,000 residents. This provided an important market. The wealthier citizens, along with the residents of the several monasteries and episcopal households in the suburbs, and the members of the royal court, provided a clientele for luxury goods. London was itself an industrial centre for the production of such goods.

Scavage was a type of import duty collectable from those not citizens (in this case, of London). Half went to the revenues of the sheriffs, while the other half belonged to the citizens who hosted the merchants who brought the goods from which scavage was payable. A further passage, of f.193 of Liber Albus also deals with scavage, but the customs specified there were double those reported to the king; the same being true of the customs on cloths and furs. This is probably because the inquisition of the 1260s ignored the half payable to the hosts.

On some of these items (e.g. wool, cheese, leather, ale), tronage or pesage were also payable, these being fees for weighing merchandize.

The items on which customs were payable give a good sense of merchandize being traded in the city, and of the diet of medieval townspeople. There are represented both luxury goods brought from overseas, and basic foodstuffs and other necessaries – the small trades being those dealing in small quantities (retail) of necessaries – produced in the region around London and brought into the city for sale primarily at Cheapside, although some of the commodities evidently might be sold wherever the seller thought a convenient spot, or wherever buyers might be found. It was assumed that the unloading of goods from a packhorse represented an intention to sell them. Less apparent to the modern eye from the lists is that some of the items listed may have been intended as drugs or medicaments for distribution by apothecaries (a term applied to spicers) or grocers. Spices such as cloves, mace, nutmegs, ginger, cinnamon, almonds, could be used to stimulate the appetite of the sickly. Besides their principal use by the dyeing industry, alum and copperas were applied to wounds (metal sulphates were believed to be antiseptics). Honey was also used to balm wounds – it contains an antibacterial enzyme – and even ink could be used on wounds.

Additional passages following after those above dealt with customs levied at Queenhithe (the earliest harbour/market of the post-Roman city, towards the western end of the walled precinct, in which part the Saxons first settled), the wool market at Woolchurchhaw, and the grain and produce market at Gracechurch, for goods similar to those already noted.



General note
The text of the original did not have the various tolls itemized; I have formatted it thus for easier comprehension.

According to Riley, the meaning of scavage derives from the inspection of goods by customs officers; thus it would not so much be a toll as a fee. However, Anglo-Saxon and twelfth-century trade regulations in London make a distinction between goods sold from docked ships, or the adjacent wharf, and those taken to and displayed for sale in the marketplace, where local officials could exercise more supervision over matters of standards and price. This 'shewage' (sceawung in Old English, eschawinge in the twelfth-century text), a toll due the king, may point to the origins of scavage.

A medieval hundredweight – 100 lb. (now 112 lb.) – was equivalent to about 45 kg.

The word here translated "load" was kark, whence our "cargo" and (less commonly used now) "charge"; while those terms are today used in a general sense, they had a more specific use in medieval times – possibly 3 or 4 cwt., as the Liber Albus says at one point – for a kark was given precise definition in the Assize of Weights and Measures.

Used in dyeing cloth; it was the most common, easiest to use, and one of the most effective of several metallic salts that could be used to fix the colour a cloth was dyed. Its main source was trade with Italy.

A common spice grown and used in medieval Europe; while it might have been grown in England, supplies were more likely to have come from the Mediterranean.

A very popular element in medieval cookery. Although Palestine was the probable original source for importing them into Europe, the trees came to be cultivated in many European countries.

A wood originating in the East Indies, or an extract therefrom, used for dyeing and in red ink.

A bitter, aromatic spice originating in the East Indies, with stimulant properties.

May perhaps refer to lilac, used by apothecaries. Riley notes that "lak" was used for a fine linen; however, that meaning would seem out of place in this list.

A sweet root, or the extract therefrom, used by apothecaries; supplies were probably brought from the Mediterranean.

A plant grown in the East Indies, and probably reached Europe through the Middle East; its fruit was bitter and aromatic, and was used as a pepper.

Made from cinnabar, which came from the Red Sea; it was purchased through Italian merchants; it was used for dyeing cloth, and for colouring sealing wax.

The leaves, and to some extent the bark, were a source of tannin, for treating leather, while the berries yield a black dye. There are also medicinal uses, but whether these were known during the Middle Ages, I cannot say. Species of the plant were widely distributed throughout Europe, but the likely source at this period was southern Europe.

Originated in Asia, but reached Europe through trade with the Middle East.

A gum from the Middle East, used in incense because of its sweet odour.

The meaning of "pioine" is uncertain; Riley offered various possibilities: prunes; a sweet liquid; seed of the peony; hemp. My inclination is slightly towards peony seeds, which may have been used by apothecaries, or even perhaps as a spice.

Used for flavouring both foods and drinks. Native to the eastern Mediterranean, it was also cultivated in Central Europe in the Middle Ages.

Orpiment (auripigment) was a mineral – an arsenic – used as a yellow dye.

The term here translated packs (in regard to cloths, furs etc.) is in the original feez. Riley assumed this was a plural form referring to the tolls, and translated the term as "fixed charge". However, I suspect – in part based also on use of the term in the Norwich list of tolls – that it derives from the Latin fessa, which was a type of measure known to have been applied to furs, and is a singular. Not knowing precisely what the measure was, I have chosen the relatively neutral term "pack" as translation.

A thick, coarse kind of woollen cloth, made particularly in Iceland and other northern countries.

This covered all dry goods except those that were bulky (e.g. wool, grain). Although mercers originally traded in a variety of goods, the term came – as growth of the number of merchants led to greater specialization – to be restricted at London to merchants dealing in high-quality imported cloths (e.g. silk, linen) and items made from such cloths, such as ribbons, table coverings, bedding, etc. In the provinces mercers were more likely to continue to trade in a wider range of goods and might have overlapped with grocers.

Leather worked to make harnesses and bridles. Riley thought the reference to a single, specific item, which he hypothesised to be cloth for covering saddles.

Small wares made of cloth; Riley, however, thought the reference to a single specific item, suggesting hapertas or hauberget, a cloth whose name might derive from a distinctive weave pattern that resembled the chain-mail of hauberks; hauberget was often a coarse, thick cloth (such as that used for monks' habits), but could be produced in finer varieties too.

Clothing made out of leather

Originally produced in Châlons, they were loosely woven, lightweight woollen cloths, often used for lining clothes.

The original Reynes might also be translated at Rheims, but the city of Rennes, Brittany, had a reputation for fine linen in the Middle Ages.

In relation to some goods (e.g. cloth), "dozen" represented a volume rather than a quantity.

"cordwain" "godelmynges"
Cordwain was a soft, fine-grained leather usually made from sheep or goat skin, tawed with alum; originally produced in Cordoba, Spain, it was particularly used in shoemaking. "Godelmynges" appear to have been the same, except using the skins of young animals; Riley suggested this term derived from Godalming, Surrey.

Leather made from sheep-skin and tanned using the bark of an oak or larch. Possibly named after Bazan in Spain. It was inferior to cordwain, although unscrupulous cordwainers might sometimes try to pass off basan for cordwain; there was a separate branch of leatherworkers using basan.

Used to produce a yellow dye; it was both grown domestically and imported. The imported version, the most expensive of the spices, was also used for colouring and flavouring foods.

"No customs"
The items from which no customs were due are referred to elsewhere as merchandize brought by German merchants, and presumably relates to exemptions from customs the Hanse towns had acquired from the king . Evidently they were only exempt from custom if sold on the quayside.

The meaning of the term in the original, argoil, is uncertain. Riley believed it meant cream of tartar (used in dyeing), but noted that others had interpreted it as potters clay (Fr. argile). Archil (Lat. arguella), a violet dye obtained from a lichen, is a further possibility. However, given the contextualization of the term at London in association with copper and at Ipswich in association with copperas, I favour the translation of verdigris (Lat. argelzarus), a green or blue compound involving copper that is today used as a paint pigment and was used in the cloth-dyeing process in the Middle Ages.

A type of fur.

Stallage was a fee for the right to set up a stall from which to sell goods. Traders in small quantities of goods might not bother with a stall, or might carry the goods around the streets, like pedlars. Therefore it was considered that unloading of poultry from the horse's back, to display them on the ground, was tantamount to selling from a fixed place and ought to be subject to the equivalent of stallage.

"Walbrook" "West Cheap"
The Walbrook was a stream running between the Thames and the northern stretch of wall, dividing the city into eastern and western halves, each half having its own market – the former one (East Cheap) serving particularly goods brought by the Thames, the latter (West Cheap) more for land-transported goods. The reference here seems to indicate the the toll was applicable only to West Cheap.

In this context, foreign means someone not a freeman of the city.

"Holborn or the Fleet"
The names refer to streets that crossed the River Fleet (ran into the Thames just west of the walled precinct); Fleet street entered the city at Ludgate, and Holborn at Newgate. These were the two western entrances into the city.

"Bromley or Stepney"
Stepney is on the Thames, just east of the city, of which it was considered a suburb. There is a Bromley a few miles south of London, although Riley thought the reference was to an Essex location. Why these two places were treated differently from others, I do not know.

A thin plank used for walls and ceilings in house construction.

The original is Allgate. Aldersgate being on the same side of the city as the Fleet and Holborn, Riley preferred this interpretation to Aldgate (which was on the east side of the city).

The only official Jewish cemetery in England was in London (although other cities with large Jewish communities did develop cemeteries locally); this toll was likely not on the burial itself, but on carts bringing corpses into the city.

"St. Albans"
St. Albans is well to the north of London. It is interesting that a commodity as common and as perishable as bread might be brought from so far away.

(West) Smithfield was the extensive site of the livestock markets, in the northwest suburb.

A county eliminated in the late 20th century, it was under the jurisdiction of the London authorities.

A fee/toll paid for the official inspection of goods brought into the city for sale.

Hokeday is heard of from the twelfth century, in the context of a date on which an instalment of rent or other debt was due. Hocktide was a moveable feast, the precise dating of which remains uncertain: Hockdays occurred on the second, or possibly third, Monday and Tuesday following Easter. The festival of Hocktide became associated with a form of misrule involving pretend kidnappings and the ransoming of the victims, typically with women the perpetrators and men the victims on one day, and vice versa on the second; it has therefore often been interpreted as having a status-reversal or transgressive function, and may have been a predominantly urban practice, though on the whole we know too little of its context to be sure. The practice was doubtless a nuisance to some, and disapproved of by the Church. It was banned at London in 1406 – this represents our earliest clear reference to the ritual, which, unlike Hokeday itself, may not have had any pedigree, although it perhaps represents a point where authorities felt the play-acting was getting out of hand. It was also banned at Worcester in 1450, but later made a temporary comeback in at least some towns, as a means of raising money for parish churches.

"the bridge"
This is of course London Bridge, the only medieval bridge linking the city with the southern shore of the Thames (there having been a ford and perhaps a bridge in the vicinity of London since before the Romans arrived, it crossing the river near the site of the present Vauxhall bridge, west of the site of the medieval city). The Thames bank on either side of the bridge held a concentration of wharfs and was effectively the city's port at that time. The bridge was a logical place to collect customs and may have been one location where fish were sold, although not the city's principal fishmarket.

Scaltres is the original term translated by Riley as bulwarks, which were the protective siding which extended above the upper deck of a ship; here the possession of bulwarks is apparently being used as a criterion for differentiating a larger from a smaller ship.

A fee for use of the beach (strand), in this case for anchorage (or stranding).

Rings attached to a ship for tying ropes that supported other elements of the vessel.

Riley suspected that ling (merling) might refer to whiting; Tingey followed this in his translation of the Norwich list of tolls. However, the term could have referred to various types of sea-fish.

Large baskets intended for carrying a volume of materials.

"tholes" "rowlocks"
Tholes were wooden pegs set in pairs into the gunwale on each side of a boat, to support oars. Oarlocks, or rowlocks, implied a larger boat.

One of the wharfs on the Thames.

A type of basket, of which one was slung over each side of a packhorse.

Perhaps the second oldest of the London harbours, in use by late tenth century. At the time the tolls were recorded in the 1260s, it was not, however, London's fishmarket; it acquired a royal charter recognising market rights in 1327, but was a general market for water-borne goods, and was not exclusively a fishmarket until the post-medieval period.

Half a quarter.

So-called, despite being mined from the ground, either because it was usually transported by sea (notably from Newcastle) or perhaps due to the fact that it was first quarried from coastal outcroppings. The name was used to distinguish this mineral coal from charcoal, which was often referred to simply as coal.

A cask holding the equivalent of 2 pipes (or 252 gallons).

A last was a weight or measure that varied according to the type of material. The term was applied to any pack of goods used to transport merchandize, on which the toll called lastage was levied. In the case of leather, it comprised two hundred hides. Regarding fish, it would probably have comprised several barrels worth; in the case of herring, possibly 12 barrels.

A measure of ten hides.

In this context may have meant pieces of leather of different (irregular) sizes.

A bale, possibly containing roughly 50 hides.

"harpoys" "fyssheponde"
Harpoys, according to Riley, was a mixture of tallow, wax and tar, used to waterproof the exterior of ships; he was less certain about fyssheponde but suspected it to mean a container in which a catch was stored aboard fishing-vessels (i.e. fish-pound).

The item containing reference to a "store" (garner), since it does not specify what of, may relate to the preceding and succeeding clauses concerning nuts – unless perhaps the term connotes "storage" rather than "cargo". The term also appears in the Ipswich list of customs, applied to nuts and other victuals.

Wood from Riga.

Used as a dyeing agent; it was made from lichens found principally along the Mediterranean coast.

"tureens, pipkins, patens"
A tureen was a large, deep vessel (for broth), whereas pipkins were small earthen pots. Patens were flat dishes.

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Created: August 18, 2001. Last update: September 21, 2016 © Stephen Alsford, 2001-2016