1) Used as a verb, to do with sub-letting property and was seen as an offence in most places.

As a verb this occurs in Yorkshire from the fourteenth century and it was quite frequent in the Tudor period. It evidently has a longer history, for Latin references have been noted in co. Durham from 1365 and in north Yorkshire in 1453. In most contexts the practice clearly had to do with sub-letting property, and the first English usage is in an undated fifteenth-century document: yhe schall inquiere if any man have tavernede his place … or any parcel of his lande, Fountains Abbey. It was seen as an offence in most places, since it led to smaller holdings, especially in regions where partible inheritance was general. In 1511, when the Hardcastle family held the tenancy of Thrope in Nidderdale they were instructed not to taberne nor lat to ferme thair said tenement ne no parcel thairof unto any oder persone. In 1551, Christopher Dodsworth left an instruction in his will that if his wife happened to latt or taverne any parte of the said fermehold, his son was to have it, Jolby. There were other considerations, especially where the tenement was barely able to support one person. In 1575, in State Papers the argument was that if such a tenant died and divided the holding between two sons 'the taverninge of the Queynes lande ys hinderance for kepinge of hors and armor'. The latest reference that I have noted is in a survey of the East Riding village of Settrington in 1600. A clause inserted into tenancy agreements there restricted sub-letting, saying that no part of the tenement was to be tauerned butt so as all may returne & continue together the last five yeares before the end of the lease. The use of the verb in this way appears to have been a northern practice but the word shares the same origin as tavern in the sense of ‘public house’. The OED explanation is that both referred initially to sheds or small buildings, and that to ‘tavern’ first meant to build a cottage on a tenement.

dates 1365 1400-1499 1453 1511 1551 1600

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