Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 5.djvu/358

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350


NOTES AND QUERIES. [9'" s. v. MAY s, 1900.


might have been distributed rateably amongst the several agrarian divisions of which any hide was, for fiscal purposes, made up, and such a distribution was, no doubt, the general practice. Clear evidence of the apportionment of house-room amongst the various tenants of a hide appears in the ' Domesday of St. Paul's ' (pp. 43-47), which mentions " qucelibet domus de hida" and "unaquceque domus hidae."

Since the quantity of a man's agrarian rights depended on the size of his house we may be sure that he would do nothing that would be likely to diminish those rights. If his house fell into ruin he would rebuild it as soon as possible on the old site and in the same form, and equality and regularity in the size of tofts would favour the transportation of wooden houses from one site to another. If he could not immediately rebuild, he would at least preserve the territorial evidence of his title. He would keep the stones on which his decayed forks or pillars stood in situ, or the bare forks themselves would remain on their stone bases as dumb, but visible witnesses. On the other hand, he would do nothing that would be likely to increase his obligations. If he had a single bay of 240 square feet, on which he paid a shilling for chief rent or royal tribute, he would not build another bay to his house, and so incur the danger of paying twice as much chief rent. Or, to put it in another way, if he was taxed by the number of forks which supported his house, i.e., at the rate of one fork to a bay, he would not add another fork, and so possibly become liable to pay twice as much gafol.

What, then, was the poor man to do as his family grew larger, and wanted bedrooms or other decencies of life 1 He could get over the difficulty in two ways : he could make a little chamber in the roof, or he could affix "outshots" to the ends of his one bay, or even on its sides. In * The Evolution of the English House' I have given plans of old Lancashire houses in which there was no upper story, and in which the central and forK-built living-room had received these lateral additions. The "outshots" were not fork-built ; they were smaller than the living- room or single bay which formed the central or original dwelling. This living-room was there called the " house-part," and elsewhere the same room is known as the " house-place " house." I took this "house" to be an


or


abbreviated expression for "fire-house," or room containing the fire, but I now see that the "house-part" was the only part of the building which was fiscally recognized. I do not know whether the window tax imposed


by the statute 7 Will. III., c. 18, immediately followed an older tax on the bays of the houses, though the window tax itself has been aptly compared to the Koman ostiarium or tax on the doors of houses. What I do know is that people did their best to escape the window tax by building up windows, and, in farmhouses, by painting "cheese- room " or " dairy " over the sills, so as to come within the authorized exemptions. And this having been the case, we may be sure that the same thing was done in an earlier time when people were taxed, not by the window, but by the fork or bay. I do not say that the Lancashire cottages which I have described were old enough to have been once subject to gafol or bay tax. They may, or may not, have been so subject, but, at any rate, the form in which they were built seems to be a record or survival of attempts to escape taxation, if not of the due maintenance of an equality of ratios between house and land.

To meet the possible objection that I am here relying too much on recent evidence, and, moreover, that this evidence is drawn from one English county, I will " put in " a German builder's plan* of the year 820. Amongst other things it describes a gardener's cottage, consisting of a single room with narrow "outshots," which Prof. Henning calls Verschlage, or partitions, on three sides. The "outshot" or partitioned space on the long side has an entrance passage in the middle, and the remaining parts of the partitioned space contain the cubilia famu- lorum, or servants' beds. One of the '"out- shots " at the ends is the gardener's private chamber, warmed by a small stove in the corner, the "outshot" at the opposite end being the storeroom where his tools and seeds are kept. The resemblance between the plan of this house and the plans of the Lancashire houses which I have described is most striking ; even the very storeroom and chamber at the ends are reproduced. But the important point to notice is that the single room round which the little "out- shots " are grouped is described on the plan as ipsa domus, i.e., the house itself, or "house-part." Those who believe in the abiding force of custom will see nothing strange in these parallels. Irregular "out- shots ' or appentices could not have been measures of land.

The rule was : no house, no gavel. In his


  • Henning, 'Das deutsche Haus,' 1882, p. 143.

The plan was printed in facsimile by Ferdinand Keller at Zurich in 1884, and relates to the monastery of St. Gall.