It had to be
- clear, certain, and consistent
- obligatory and exercised as of right
- geographically local
- in conformity with any applicable statutes (otherwise these overrode the custom)
- continuously held since "time immemorial"
Time immemorial, per se, meant a time antedating any legal history. However, for clarity, this was taken by reference to a particular voyage of the King of England to France. In 1275/6, again to avoid complication, this was finally fixed to have been at the beginning of the reign of Richard I in 1189.
This had the additional effect that a claimed custom could thereafter be defeated simply by showing that its exercise would hve been impossible at that time -- for example a claimed customary right of grazing on land which, on enquiry, proved to have been underwater at or since 1189.
A custom is a levy or duty applied on something.
Quoting from Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
- [A custom is] a tax imposed by the Romans. The tax-gatherers were
- termed publicans (q.v.), who had their stations at the gates of cities,
- and in the public highways, and at the place set apart for that
- purpose, called the "receipt of custom" (Matt.9: 9; Mark 2:14),
- where they collected the money that was to be paid on certain
- goods (Matt.17:25). These publicans were tempted to exact more
- from the people than was lawful, and were, in consequence of
- their extortions, objects of great hatred. The Pharisees would
- have no intercourse with them (Matt.5:46, 47; 9:10, 11).
- A tax or tribute (q.v.) of half a shekel was annually paid by
- every adult Jew for the temple. It had to be paid in Jewish coin
- (Matt. 22:17-19; Mark 12:14, 15). Money-changers (q.v.) were
- necessary, to enable the Jews who came up to Jerusalem at the
- feasts to exchange their foreign coin for Jewish money; but as
- it was forbidden by the law to carry on such a traffic for
- emolument (Deut. 23:19, 20), our Lord drove them from the temple
- (Matt. 21:12: Mark 11:15).
Modern customs are an important consideration when purchasing itemd from overseas. In Australia customs require special clearances etc when the value of your goods exceeds $1000AUD (including postage costs). In addition they will charge you a duty, on top of which they will place an additional tax on the entire amount (a tax on a tax).
- Period Manners
- Addressing Royalty
- the difference between lack of manners and not knowing polite manners
- Real weapons in the SCA