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The Golden Gloss

The medieval glossary of English (old/middle/modern) words as used in the middle ages. Of highlight are words misunderstood or unknown to the general public (or newer participants.)

UPDATED 10/05/2022


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There are currently 11 terms in this directory beginning with the letter C.
C
Caltrop
A spiked device, designed so there's always an upward facing spike, and used to slow down men and horses by injuring their feet or deterring their travel.

 
Cattle [after the 14th century]
y the early 14th century this word began to develop the modern reference to livestock, though still referred more generally to mobile capital to include cows, but also horses, sheep, pigs, etc. It did not start meaning exclusively bovine until the 16th century.

 
Cattle [before the 14th century]
A general term for property, money, lands, assets, etc.

 
Chattel
A general term for tangible property and goods such as possessions, wealth, and belongings of value.

 
Clerestory
A section set high into a wall which includes regular windows, not intended to look through specifically, but set above head height to allow light and/or air into the building Also known as clear storey, clearstory, clearstorey, overstorey. Can also refer to more specific architectural features of a Roman basilica or gothic church.

 
Cotlander
An English peasant holding about a dozen acres of land, though the numbers are not so exact and it refers more to the middle ground between holding less than a half-virgate, but more than a quarter-virgate of land.

 
Cottager
An English peasant who holds no land save for a cottage and messuage. Similar to Cotter and Bordar.

 
Cotter
An English peasant who holds no land save for a cottage and messuage. Similar to Cottager and Bordar.

 
Crenels (crenellated, crenellations)
Gaps or indentations, usually rectangular and set at regular intervals, in the parapets of a castle's walls, roofs, and towers serving a similar function to machicolations by allowing space for defenders to launch missile weapons and other projectiles while also being able to retreat to the defense of the parapet itself. Also known as carnels and embrasures. Fun fact, to crenellate a structure in medieval England usually required a license issued by the crown.

 
Cuirass (armor)
A general term referencing the assemblage of armor which covers the torso and hips, generally consisting of a front and back piece and a fauld or tassets.

 
Cuisse (armor)
A piece of armor which covers the upper leg.

 


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