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lettert.gif (243 bytes)his is a short list of some of the terms used in the Cadfael stories and their meanings.

Alltud

This is the name given to a foreigner who lives in Wales

Arbalest

A crossbow with a winding apparatus to enable the bow to be drawn

Baldric

The belt which crossed the chest from the sholder to the hip. Used to support a sword

Bannerole

A thin ribbon which was attached to the tip of a lance or long spike

Bodice

The upper part of a woman's dress, or a top worn by the woman over a blouse

Brychan

A blanket made of home spun wool

Caltrop

A small iron weapon. Made up of four spikes set so that however it was layed on the ground, one spike always pointed upwards. Used against horses and infantry

Capuchon

A hood, similar to a cowl which wrapped around the wearer's neck

Cariad

Welsh for beloved

Cassock

Long garment, used by monks

Castellan

The name given to the ruler of a castle

Chatelaine

The lady of a manor house

Chausses

Worn by medieval men on the legs, similar to tights.

Coif

Cap worn by nuns under their veils.

Conversus

A man who joins the monkhood after living in the outside world.

Cottar

A Villein who is given a cottage in return for his work.

Cotte

A medieval coat usually full length of knee length depending on class.

Croft

A piece of pasture land next to a house.

Currier

A comb for grooming a horse.

Demesne

Any land retained by a lord for his own use.

Diocese 

A district which contains a cathedral.

Dortoir

The monks sleeping area.

Electuary

Medicinal powder which is mixed with honey to be taken orally.

Eremite

A religious hermit.

Espringale

A military machine like a large crossbow.

Frater

The monk's common dining room.

Garderobe

A medieval lavatory. Shafts cut through the thickness of the wall.

Garth

The grassy quadrangle within the monastic cloisters.

Geneth

Welsh for girl.

Gentle

A person from an honerable family.

Glebe

An area of land owned by a clergyman whilst in office.

Grange

The lands and buildings of an outlying farm which belongs to a monastery.

Groat

A small coin

Gruel

Thin watery or milky porridge, usually fed to invalids.

Guild

An association of tradesmen, formed to protect it's members interests and to maintain standards.

Gyve

An iron shackle, usually for the leg.

Hauberk

A chainmail coat, originally to defend the neck and shoulders.

Helm

The medieval helmet.

Horarium

The monastic timetable, divided into canonical hours, or offices, of Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline.

Husbandman

A tenant farmer.

Jess

A short strap attached around a hawk's leg in falconry.

Largesse

Money or gifts, bestowed freely by an important person on a great occasion.

Leat (Leet)

An artificial waterway, used to divert water for use in a mill, etc.

Litany

A series of phrases or prayers recited alternatly by clergyman and congregation.

Llys

The name given to the royal court of Welsh princes. All buildings of the Llys were made of timber.

Lodestar

A star forming a fixed point of reference, such as the Pole Star.

Lodestone

A megnetised piece of metal ore.

Lye

A strone alkaline solution used for washing, cleaning and making soap.

Mandora

An ancient stringed instrument, Ancestor of the mandolin.

Mangonel

A military machine used for hurling bolts, stones and other missiles.

Marl

Soil consisting of clay and lime and valuable as a fertiliser.

Messuage

A house with it's adjoining land and out-buildings, usually rented.

Midden

Dung heap.

Missal

A prayer book, containing all the services for celebrating Mass throughout the year.

Moneyer

A minter of coins.

Mountebank

A trickster or an entertainer.

Mullion

The upright post dividing the lights in a window.

Mummer

An actor or player in a traditional, usually religious, mime or masque.

Murage

The tax levied to pay for building or repair to the walls of a town.

Murrain

An infectious disease in cattle.

Myrmidon

A faithful servant who carries out orders without question.

Nacre

Mother of pearl.

Oblatus

A monk tho had been placed in the monastery from a very young age and therefore, had little experience of the outside world.

Orts

Waste food or scraps.

Ostler

A person who takes charge of horses.

Palfrey

A saddled horse for a woman.

Pallet

A narrow wodden bad or a straw-filled matress.

Palliative

A pain killer.

Pannikin

A small metal cup or saucepan.

Parfytours

Hunting hounds.

Parole

The word of honour given by a prisoner that they would not escape if released from prison.

Patten

A wodden sandal.

Pavage

The tax levied to pay for the paving of streets.

Penteulu

The Welsh rank of captain of the royal guard.

Pommel

The upward pointing front part of a saddle.

Poniard

A dagger.

Prelate

An abbot, bishop or other high ranking member of the church.

Prie-Dieu

The kneeling desk used for prayer

Pyx

A small box or casket, usually to contain the consecrated bread.

Quintain

A target mounted on a post and tilted at by a horseman.

Rebec

A three stringed instrument, played with a bow.

Rheum

A watery discharge from the nose or eyes.

Saeson

An Englishman.

Scabbard

The sheath of a dagger or sword.

Sconce

The wall bracket which held a candle or torch.

Sheepfold

The enclosure for penning in sheep.

Shriven

Someone who has received confession and has been absolved.

Shut

A small alleyway running between the main streets of the town.

Skiff

An open flat bottomed rowing boat.

Sow

A long structure which was used to cover and protect a battery of men who were charging or ramming the walls of a fortress.

Springe

A sprung noose used to snare small game.

Stoup

A tankard or other drinking vessel.

Sumpter

A pack horse.

Synod

A council or assembly of bishops and other church officials.

Tallow

Animal and vegetable fat used to make candles or soap.

Timbrel

An instrument, similar to a tamborine.

Tithe

The tax on labour and produce from the land used to support the clergy, usually 10%.

Torsin

An alarm bell.

Toper

A heavy drinker or drunkard.

Touchstone

A heavy black stone, usually jasper or basalt, used to test the quality of gold or silver.

Trencher

A wooden platter used for food.

Troche

A small medicinal lozenge.

Uchelwr

The nearest Welsh equivalent to an English nobleman.

Vassal

The holder of a small plot of land from a lord. In return for his services, he received protection from the lord.

Villein

A serf or tenant bound to the land and subject to the contril of a lord. He was above the status of a slave, but could not marry without his lord's consent.

Virelai

A short French poem.

Vittles

Food and provisions to be used for human consumption.

Votary

A person bound by vows to follow a certain way of life, usually religious.

Wattle

Sticks interlaced with twigs and branches and used to build huts and fences.

Wicket

A small door or gate built in or beside a larger door.

Wimple

A linen or silk cloth folded round the head and wrapped under the chin. Worn by women especially wives and nuns (cheers POGO).

Yeoman

A respectable freeman, usually a farmer. With the status of just below a gentleman.He could vote in county elections.