Wroth Money

or Wroth Silver. Money paid to the lord in lieu of castle guard for military service; a tribute paid for killing accidentally some person of note; a tribute paid in acknowledgment of the tenancy of unenclosed land. Dugdale, in his History of Warwick-shire, says:

“There is a certain rent due unto the lord of this Hundred (i.e. of Knightlow, the property of the Duke of Buccleuch), called wroth-money, or warth-money, or swarff-penny ... Denarii” vice-comiti vel aliis castellanis persoluti ob castrorum proesidium vel excubias agendas (Sir Henry Spelman: Glossary). The rent must be paid on Martinmas Day, in the morning at Knightlow Cross, before sunrise. The party paying it must go thrice about the cross and say,

“ `The wrath-money,' and then lay it [varying from 1d. to 2s. 3d.] in a hole in the said cross before good witnesses, or forfeit a white bull with red nose and ears. The amount thus collected reached in 1892 to about 9s., and all who complied with the custom were entertained at a substantial breakfast at the Duke's expense, and were toasted in a glass of rum and milk.”

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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