HERIOT, by derivation the arms and equipment (geatwa) of a soldier or army (here); the O. Eng. word is thus here-geatwa. The lord of a fee provided his tenant with arms and a horse, either as a gift or loan, which he was to use in the military service paid by him. On the death of the tenant the lord claimed the return of the equipment. When by the 10th century land was being given instead of arms, the heriot was still paid, but more in the nature of a " relief " (<?..). There seems to have been some connexion between the payment of. the heriot and the power of making a will (F. W. Maitland, Domesday Book and Beyond, p. 298). By the 13th century the payment was made either in money or in kind by the handing over of the best beast or of the best other chattel of the tenant (see Pollock and Maitland, History of English Law, i. 270 sq.). For the manorial law relating to heriots, see COPYHOLD.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)