Definition of tallage in English:



  • 1A form of arbitrary taxation levied by kings on the towns and lands of the Crown, abolished in the 14th century.

    • ‘The worst of these exactions was ‘the great tallage’ of 1210 in which John demanded 66,000 marks in tax.’
    • ‘Many of the constitutional conflicts in the reigns of John, Henry III, and Edward II turned on aspects of the prerogative - e.g. the king's right to tallage.’
    • ‘There were recurrent scutages (payments for the commutation of military service) and tallages (arbitrary levies) on demesnes, which included boroughs.’
    1. 1.1A tax levied on feudal dependants by their superiors.
      • ‘The tallages might bring in between £70 - £90 each, but still do not seem to have sufficed to avoid borough deficits at a time when many expenses were being incurred to assert, defend or expand borough jurisdictions and liberties.’
      • ‘It appears that the burgesses as a group were responsible for payment of the Domesday custom and for later tallages and aids.’
      • ‘The need to bargain with royal commissioners concerning tallages, and the ability to divide the assessment among citizens according to their property, also required certain financial ability and knowledge of property values.’
      • ‘In 1310 the king granted life exemption from tallages, prises, juries, assizes, and royal ministries to Nicholas de Fakenham of Lynn, who is not known to have held any office.’


Middle English: from Old French taillage, from tailler to cut (see tail).