Hyde Law and Legal Definition

The hyde was a unit used in assessing land for liability to "geld", or land tax, in Anglo-Saxon England from the 7th to the 11th centuries. It continued in use for some time after the Norman Conquest of England. The hyde was not a fixed area of land. Originally the hyde seems to have represented an amount of land sufficient to support a peasant and his household, but it became the basis of an artificial system of assessment of land for purposes of taxation. As each local community had the task of deciding how its quota of hides should be divided between the lands held by that community, different communities used different criteria, depending on the type of land held and on the way in which an individual's wealth was reckoned within that community. For this reason, no single comprehensive definition of hyde is possible.