Early meanings of the root gild or geld were expiation, penalty, sacrifice or worship, feast or banquet, and contribution or payment; it is difficult to determine which is the earliest meaning, and we are not certain whether the gildsmen were originally those who contributed to a common fund or those who worshipped or feasted together.
According to Domesday, Ashburton was held in chief by Osbern, bishop of Exeter, and rendered geld for six hides.
According to the Domesday, Amesbury was a royal manor and did not pay geld, but was under the obligation of providing one night's entertainment for the king.
Bridport was evidently of some importance before the Conquest, when it consisted of 120 houses rated for all the king's services and paying geld for five hides.
Congleton (Congulton) is not mentioned in any historical record before the Domesday Survey, when it was held by Hugh, earl of Chester, and rendered geld for one hide.