- (in feudal England) a fine paid by a tenant, esp a villein, to his lord for allowing the marriage of his daughter
C13: from Anglo-French, literally: market
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Examples from the Web for merchet
The corresponding fines for girls were merchet if they married off the manor and leyrwite if they dispensed with that ceremony.Medieval English Nunneries c. 1275 to 1535
Eileen Edna Power
We often come across such base customs as the payment of merchet in connexion with the 'villain socmen' of ancient demesne.
Merchet was the most striking consequence of unfreedom, but manorial documents are wont to connect it with several others.
Merchet is especially interesting as illustrating the fusion of different duties into one.
I have said already that the succession of the youngest son appears with merchet, reeveship, etc., as a servile custom.