1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Butlerage and Prisage

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BUTLERAGE AND PRISAGE. In England there was an ancient right of the crown to purveyance or pre-emption, i.e. the right of buying up provisions and other necessities for the royal household, at a valuation, even without the consent of the owner. Out of this right originated probably that of taking customs, in return for the protection and maintenance of the ports and harbours. One such customs due was that of "prisage," the right of taking one tun of wine from every ship importing from ten to twenty tuns, and two tuns from every ship importing more than twenty tuns. This right of prisage was commuted, by a charter of Edward I. (1302), into a duty of two shillings on every tun imported by merchant strangers, and termed "butlerage," because paid to the king's butler. Butlerage ceased to be levied in 1809, by the Customs Consolidation Act of that year.