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Tallage

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Definition: In medieval Europe, tallage was a tax levied by a manorial lord on his unfree peasant tenants. Originally, the details of tallage were up to the lord; he could charge as much as he liked, as frequently as he liked. But wise men knew that there was a limit to what poor peasant tenants could give. Over the years, tradition and experience guided most lords, and by the 13th century there was a generally fixed rate for most tallages.

In England, the term "tallage" became associated strictly with a royal tax on lands owned by the king and on boroughs within his royal domain. Boroughs were particularly profitable; London alone contributed enough revenue to cover more than a third of royal collections. King John was known to frequently levy a tallage, a specific action that was condemned in the Magna Carta.

From the late 13th century onward, royal tallage was gradually replaced by parliamentary taxation. In England, the last royal tallage was levied in 1312.

Alternate Spellings: Taliage
Common Misspellings: Talage
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