from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Plural form of herbergeour.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Almost of necessity the former class resorted for food and shelter to the public-houses, which were of two kinds -- the inns kept by hostelers, and the lodging-houses kept by herbergeours.
The necessity of hostelers and herbergeours being freemen was due apparently to the survival of the old Saxon law of frank-pledge, which was still in force at the close of the reign of Edward III.
Obviously there would have been much unfairness in making hostelers and herbergeours answer for the misdeeds of persons with whom they had only transient relations, if there had been no system for preventing the escape of dishonest and desperate characters who would be especially susceptible to the attractions of a great city and could not be held in check by the fatherly admonitions of an anxious host.
It has been supposed that by "freemen" are intended native freemen, but this is doubtful, since cases occur of strangers and foreigners being admitted to the freedom for the very purpose of becoming hostelers and herbergeours.