scutage (skyoo-tij), n. [fr. Latin scutum ¡°a shield¡±] Hist.

1. A monetary payment levied by the king on barons as a substitute for some or all of the knights to be supplied to the king by each baron. ? This payment seems to date from the 12th century, Henry II (1154¨C1189) having levied five scutages in the first 11 years of his reign.

2. A fee paid by a tenant-in-chief by knight-service in lieu of serving in a war.

3. A tax on a knight’s estate to help furnish the army.

¡ª Also termed escuage.

¡°Scutage …. Shield-money, in mediaeval feudal law, a payment in lieu of military service, paid by a tenant-in-chief in respect of the service of knights which he owed to the Crown. His personal obligation to serve could not be discharged by scutage but only by fine. Payment of scutage, though known in France and Germany, was most highly developed in England where it became a general tax on knights’ estates at rates which by the thirteenth century were standardized. King John demanded frequent and heavy scutages and Magna Carta forbade the levying of scutage without the consent of a general council. Scutage was divided between the King and the tenants-in-chief who gave personal service in the campaign. It became obsolete by the fourteenth century.¡± David M. Walker, The Oxford Companion to Law 1121 (1980).

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