Merchet Also: -ett, -ete, -eit, -eat, -iett, -i(e)te, -iatte, mershet(e), marchet, -eit, market[1] (/ˈmərət/[2]) was a fine paid on a marriage during the Middle Ages in England. The word derives from the plural form of daughter, merched, in old Welsh. Merchet was payment to a peasant's lord, whether by the persons marrying, or by a father for his son or daughter, or by a brother for his sister.[3] There are also records of young Medieval women working in service away from home having saved money to pay a merchet fee for the right to choose their marriage partner.[4] Theories regarding the practice include recompense for the loss of a worker.[5] The etymology of the term may be sought not in the root of any word having reference to maids or daughters in particular, but in the root of an unknown word having reference to blood, to purchase, to redemption or enfranchisement, or the price paid for it, or to a particular kind of tax, fine, impost, or exaction.[3]

See alsoEdit

Mercheta Mulierum, custom on Scottish island of Ulva


  1. ^ "Merchet". Dictionary of the Scots Language, Dictionar o the Scots Leid. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  2. ^ "merchet". Oxford English Dictionary third edition. Oxford University Press. September 2001. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
  3. ^ a b Rolls Series, Volume 31, Issue 2, Part 6; Volume 31, Issue 11. Great Britain. Public Record Office: Longman & Company. 1891. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  4. ^ Fiona Shapland, Mary Lewis, and Rebecca Watts (2015). "The Lives and Deaths of Young Medieval Women: The Osteological Evidence". Medieval Archaeology (59): 272–289.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ "merchet". Your Dictionary. Retrieved 23 January 2018.