In the English feudal society which followed the Norman Conquest
, custom permitted the king, at times of exceptionally heavy expenditure, to take an ‘aid’ (auxilium
) from his tenants-in-chief; a lord, similarly, could exact an aid from his free tenants. There was continual conflict about the occasions and amounts of such aids. Magna Carta
(1215) listed three occasions when the king, or a lord, might demand a ‘reasonable’, but unspecified, amount. These were: the knighting of his eldest son; the marriage of his eldest daughter (once); and the ransom of his own person from captivity. In 1275 in the statute of Westminster
, the king also set a limit on the amounts which could be claimed.
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