noun English Law.
- a feudal service or tribute, originally of borrowed military equipment and later of a chattel, due to the lord on the death of a tenant.
- (in medieval England) a death duty paid by villeins and free tenants to their lord, often consisting of the dead man’s best beast or chattel
Old English here-geatwe (plural) “military equipment, army-gear,” from here “army” (see harry). An Anglo-Saxon service of weapons, loaned by the lord to his retainer and repayable to him upon the retainer’s death; transferred by 13c. to a feudal due upon the death of a tenant, payable to his lord in beasts.