The Tribal Hidage is an early English document which is a list of the land owned and hence the tribute or taxation due in respect of each 'tribe' located within the kingdom of Mercia. It basically gives the name of each 'tribe' and the number of hides reckoned for each tribe.( A hide being an old English unit of land.)

The consensus view is that this was drawn up sometime in the late seventh century and represents the growing power of the Mercian kings as they set out a schedule of all their tributary territories. The monority viewpoint promoted by the historian N.J. Higham is that is a Northumbrian document, drawn up in the 620s and representing the overlordship of Edwin, king of Northumbria over Mercia. 1

Whichever interpretation is correct, the document represents Mercia as a complex of tribal groups, some with apparently Brythonic names and provides a useful spurce of information on the political divisions in early medieval Anglo-Saxon England. It is available in three slightly different versions;

  • Recension A - from a manuscript at the British Library, MS Harley 3271, f. 6v.
  • Recension B - from Henry Spelman's Arch├Žologus in modum Glosarii ad rem antiquam posteriorem, published in 1626, which is believed to be derived from a Latin version of the Tribal Hidage
  • Recension C - from six manuscripts of the 13th or 14th century. 2

That Tribal Hidage in full 3

  • Myrcna landes 30,000
  • Wocen saetna 7,000
  • Westerna 7,000
  • Pec saetna 1,200
  • Elmed saetna 600
  • Lindes farona mid Haethfeld land 7,000
  • Suth Gyrwa 600
  • North Gyrwa 600
  • East Wixna 300
  • West Wixna 600
  • Spalda 600
  • Wigesta 900
  • Herefinna 1,200
  • Sweord ora 300
  • Gifla 300
  • Hicca 300
  • Wihtgara 600
  • Noxgaga 5,000
  • Ohtgaga 2,000
  • Hwinca 6,000
  • Ciltern saetna 4,000
  • Hendrica 3,500
  • Unecung ga 1,200
  • Aro saetna 600
  • Faerpinga 300
  • Bilmiga 600
  • Widerigga 600
  • East Willa 600
  • West Willa 600
  • East Engle 30,000
  • East Sexena 7,000
  • Cantwarena 15,000
  • Suth Sexena 7,000
  • West Sexena 100,000

NOTES

1 See NJ Higham An English Empire Manchester UP

2 Listed in full at the georgetown.edu source

3 This list was obtained from the berkeley.edu source and they took it from Wendy Davies, and Hayo Vierck, The Contexts of the Tribal Hidage: Social Aggregates and Settlement Patterns, Fruhmittelalterliche Studien 8 (1974), 223-93.

SOURCES

  • http://ishi.lib.berkeley.edu/history155/slides/tribalhidage/
  • http://www.georgetown.edu/labyrinth/library/oe/texts/hidage.html