(68) Bethlehem was not the only place that cared for the insane; the chaplain Robert de Denton applied to found a hospital for lunatics in his messuage
in the parish of All Hallows Barking, between 1370 and 1371.
It is not until 1592 that we hear (from Richard Hudson) of "the Theatre or playhouse there," though in 1595 the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral refer to the Newington Butts "messuage
or tenement [...] now called the playhouse," which may indicate that the latter term describes this kind of building or was in fact its name.
There are words that have fallen out of general use, such as 'messuage
' (a dwelling house with its outbuildings), and 'buck house' (the outhouse used for cleaning and dying) that appear regularly in certain types of document.
The 'squire'--a term widely synonymous with the fool character--of the Brightwalton morris was Robert Brown, a yeoman farmer who, a poll book of 1768 tells us, was a freeholder with his own land and messuage
. (88) 'An assessment for raising money upon houses, Windows and lights, 1767' assessed Robert Brown at three shillings for five lights.
High House in Old Warwick Road, Rowington, Warwickshire, was described in 1743 as "a messuage
built by Richard Bethem Esq", messuage
being an ancient term for a dwelling house together with its outbuildings, curtilage and adjacent land.
The privy, barn, stable, cow-houses, dairy-houses, if they are parcel of the messuage
, though they are not under the same roof, or adjoining or contiguous to it, are included within the curtilage." (citations and internal quotation marks omitted)).
(56) George Henshawe had married Dorothy Villers, daughter of a gentry family, and Robert's arrangements of his copyhold lands in the early seventeenth century were concerned partly with appropriate provision for her: a cottage and garden in Fishpool Head, a messuage
and virgate, three cottages in Churchgate, and a messuage
or tenement in Baxtergate with the appurtenant bovate of land.
The jointure deed of February 11, 1568, was to be enforced "without the lawful lett impediment or deniall of the said Robarte Laystone his heires or assignes," meaning that Alice was to "have houlde and enioye All that messuage
called the crosse keyes ...
Agricultural productivity became part of the agenda for national prosperity, and it came to include the idea of both large farm and small plot: "Adaptable to the broad market represented by suburban prosperity, the ideal of the messuage
permitted a modern notion of private ownership, Lockean in cast, with a national memory of the cottage and its enclosed plot, and a convenient biblical precedent.
He bequeathed to his daughter Isabella, wife of Joseph Dobinson, after the death of his wife, the right to occupy his messuage
(a dwelling house with outbuildings and land), including the gardens, pleasure grounds, and lands, providing she paid all the taxes and kept it in repair.
Many of the spurious words owe their existence to typographical errors or other mistakes: "One such is messuage
, a legal term used to describe a house, its land, and buildings.