1) This traditional tax on houses in Scarborough suggests that ‘gabelle’ meaning tax may have been confused with ‘gable’ as part of the house.

The term can be traced to 1155-63 when Henry II granted liberties to the town on the understanding that each house with its gable towards the street should pay him 4d, and those with the side towards the street 6d: 1250 ‘the said eight messuages ... yielded to the King in gabelage by the year 3s 10d

but now ... included in one messuage, they ought ... to yield nomine unius Gabulagii sixpence’

1307 ‘The messuage is held of the King, and pays him 6d a year pro gabulagio suo’

1407 ‘land in the street called Paradyse ... Paying the gabulage due to the King’

1546 to the baylyffe there for a certen rent callyd gabulage

1601-2 ‘to the bailiffs of Scarborough for the gabulage and all other rents falling due’. Writing about Scarborough in 1697, Abraham de la Pryme said this custome of gavelage is a certain tribute that every house pays. Similarly, the custom in Malton in c.1450 was that every Burgese schall gyff to the Lord ... a farme for hys tenement, the qwhyche is called the gaffelege: this was then said to be for every tenement that hath j dore j d. Note: c.1311 ‘paying 1d at Christmas for all services saving husgable to the king’, York

1357 Item pro husgabelle iiijd, York.

spellings gaffelage gavelage husgable
places York Scarborough
dates 1155-1163 1250 1307 1311 1357 1407 1450 1546 1601-1602 1697

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Photo by Kreuzschnabel CC BY-SA 3.0