Trinoda necessitas

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Trinoda necessitas ("three-knotted obligation" [1] in Latin) is a term used to refer to a "threefold tax" in Anglo-Saxon times. Subjects of an Anglo-Saxon king were required to yield three services: bridge-bote (repairing bridges and roads), burgh-bote (building and maintaining fortifications), and fyrd-bote (serving in the militia, known as the fyrd). Rulers very rarely exempted subjects from the trinoda necessitas, because these services were the lifeblood of an Anglo-Saxon kingdom.[2][3] After the Norman Conquest, exemptions from the trinoda necessitas became more common.[4]

The term "trinoda necessitas" was rarely used in Anglo-Saxon times: its only known use is in a grant of land near Pagham, Sussex from King Cædwalla of Wessex to Saint Wilfred.[5] The Wilfred grant used the term trimoda (Latin for "triple"); trinoda (Latin for "triple-knotted") was an error introduced by John Selden in 1610.[5][6]

Instead of the term "trinoda necessitas", it was common for Anglo-Saxon land grants to spell out the three obligations individually. For example, the land grant of Æthelberht of Kent to a thegn in 858 was free of obligation, except explicitly for military service, bridge repair, and fortification.[4]

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  1. ^ Souter, Alexander (1968). Oxford Latin Dictionary. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-198-64224-5. 
  2. ^ Lapidge, Michael; John Blair; Simon Keynes; Donald Scragg (2000-11-15). The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 456–457. ISBN 0-631-22492-0. 
  3. ^ Stenton, Frank M. (2001-09-20). Anglo-Saxon England: Reissue with a new cover (3 ed.). Oxford University Press, USA. p. 289. ISBN 0-19-280139-2. 
  4. ^ a b Hollister, C. Warren (1962). Anglo-Saxon Military Obligations on the Eve of the Norman Conquest. Oxford University Press. p. 60. 
  5. ^ a b Stevenson, W.H. (October 1914). "Trinoda Necessitas". The English Historical Review. 29 (66). 
  6. ^ "Trinoda Necessitas". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1911.