1) The legal seizure and detention of a person’s property, for the purpose of satisfying an alleged debt or claim.
1444 the said George in name of distrisse late took and drove awaye certayne catell of the said William Popelaye, Birstall
1543 the defendauntes dyd peaceably dryve the same beystes to the kynges castell of Pomfrett as they haue euer used to do with theyr distresses, Shitlington
1642 to Commaund yow to levy upon the severall goods of the hereunder written ... by way of distresse and saile of theire said goods, Elmswell. Typically abbreviated: 1577 Rec. of Mr Spence for an old paire of boots being an old stresse, 6d, Beverley.