Sir Eldaen wrote:
There are four bonding / toll houses marked in the atlas map of Meselynshire (from EH), located in Baseta, Bazine, Olokand, and Greaven.
I'm not sure about Bazine or Greaven because I don't have my Kaldor stuff here at work.
Olokand is a major stop on the Fur trail and most likely a toll/customs stop at that.
Baseta may have one due to its old ties to one of the older kingdoms, otherwise it may be a major collection point for wool or ore.
My question is what their exact purpose is, how many men are stationed in them, what men (tax officials, soldiers...), whose men, what kind of a building this is... anything!
It is a warehouse where merchants can store (bond) their goods prior to paying the hawking tax. Most goods brought into a town are not put up for sale right away, they may have to wait for the market day, inspection, or a prospective buyer. By placing their goods here they have a guarded facility to keep them in and delay payment of the hawking tax till the goods are sold.
The facility is run by a bondmaster, he is responsible for the collection of hawking taxes and import duties. His staff may consist of an assistant or two, scribes, laborers, and guards.
What kind of fees are collected there? Are they collected in cash or kind? How much would you expect to be in there?
Hawking Tax - A tax on all goods brought into a city to be sold, including raw materials for further processing, but excluding foodstuffs. It is usually a percentage of the good's value, the average being 10%.
Bonding Fees - a service fee for using the bonding house, it is payed in advance and the minimum is for one month. It is usually a percentage of the good's value, the average being 1% per month.
Import Duties - these are at GM descretion and usually reflect a protective stance towards locally produced goods or as a percentage of all goods entering into a kingdom as a kind of customs tax. I used a book by Robert Lopez on trade in the Mediterranian in the Middle Ages, don't have the exact title, for ideas on this part.
As plug, check out my article on Mercantylism at Lythia.com