OUR LEGAL HERITAGE: King AEthelbert - King George III
S. A. Reilly author
- The Times: 1154-1215 - King Henry II and Queen Eleanor, who was twelve years older, were both intelligent, educated, energetic, well-traveled, and experienced in affairs of state. Henry was the first Norman king to be fully literate and he learned Latin. He had many books and maintained a school. Eleanor often served as regent during Henry's reign and the reigns of their two sons: Richard I, the Lion- Hearted, and John. She herself headed armies. Henry II was a modest, courteous, and patient man with an astonishing memory and strong personality. He was indifferent to rank and impatient of pomp to the point of being careless about his appearance. He usually dressed in riding clothes and was often unkempt. He was thrifty, but generous to the poor. He was an outstanding legislator and administrator. Henry II took the same coronation oath as Edward the Confessor regarding the church, laws, and justice. Not only did he confirm the charter of his grandfather Henry I, but he revived and augmented the laws and institutions of his grandfather and developed them to a new perfection. Almost all legal and fiscal institutions appear in their first effective form during his reign. For instance, he institutionalized the assize for a specific function in judicial proceedings, whereas before it had been an ad hoc body used for various purposes. The term "assize" here means the sitting of a court or council. It came to denote the decisions, enactments, or instructions made at such. Henry's government practiced a strict economy and he never exploited the growing wealth of the nation. He abhorred bloodshed and the sacrifice of men's lives. So he strove diligently to keep the peace, when possible by gifts of money, but otherwise with armed force. Robbers were hanged and any man who raped a woman was castrated. Foreign merchants with precious goods could journey safely through the land from fair to fair. These fairs were usually held in the early fall, after sheep-shearing and harvesting. Foreign merchants bought wool cloth and hides. Frankpledge was revived, now applying to the unfree and villeins. No stranger could stay overnight (except for one night in a borough), unless sureties were given for his good behavior. A list of such strangers was to be given to itinerant justices. Henry had character and the foresight to build up a centralized system of government that would survive him. He learned about the counties' and villages' varying laws and customs. Then, using the model of Roman law, he gave to English institutions that unity and system which in their casual patch-work development had been lacking. Henry's government and courts forged permanent direct links between the king and his subjects which cut through the feudal structure of lords and vassals. He developed the methods and structure of government so that there was a great increase in the scope of administrative activity without a concurrent increase of personal power of the officials who discharged it. The government was self-regulating, with methods of accounting and control which meant that no official, however exalted, could entirely escape the surveillance of his colleagues and the King. At the same time, administrative and judicial procedures were perfected so that much which had previously required the King's personal attention was reduced to routine. The royal household translated the royal will into action. In the early 1100s, there had been very little machinery of central government that was not closely associated with the royal household. There was a Chief Justiciar for legal matters and a Treasurer. Royal government was largely built upon what had once been purely domestic offices. Kings had called upon their chaplains to pen letters for them. By Henry II's reign, the Chancery was a highly efficient writing office through which the King's will was expressed in a flow of writs, and the Chancellor an important and highly rewarded official, but he was still responsible for organizing the services in the royal chapel. Similarly, the chamberlains ran the household's financial departments. They arranged to have money brought in from a convenient castle treasury, collected money from sheriffs or the King's debtors, arranged loans with the usurers, and supervised the spending of it. It was spent for daily domestic needs, the King's alms-giving, and the mounting of a military campaign. But they were still responsible for personal attendance upon the king in his privy chamber, taking care of his valuable furs, jewels, and documents, and changing his bedlinens. There were four other departments of the household. The steward presided over the hall and kitchens and was responsible for supplying the household and guests with food supplies. The butler had duties in the hall and cellars and was responsible for the supply of wine and ale. The marshall arranged lodgings for the King's court as it moved about from palaces to hunting lodges, arranged the pay of the household servants, and supervised the work of ushers, watchmen, fire tenders, messengers and huntsmen. The constable organized the bodyguard and escorts, arranged for the supply of castles, and mustered the royal army. The offices of steward, constable, chamberlain, butler were becoming confined to the household and hereditary. The Justiciar, Chancellor, and Treasurer are becoming purely state offices and are simply sold or rented, until public pressure resulted in a requirement of ability. Henry's council included all his tenants-in-chief, which included archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons, knights and socage tenants of the crown, whether they made payments directly to him or through a sheriff. The higher ones were served with a writ addressed to them personally. Knights and below were summoned by a general writ to the sheriff. Henry brought order and unity by making the King's Royal Court the common court of the land. Its purpose was to guard the King's peace by protecting all people of free status throughout the nation and correct the disparity in punishments given by local courts. Heretofore, the scope of the King's peace had varied to cover as little as the King's presence, his land, and his highway. The royal demesne had shrunk to about 5% of the land. The Common Law for all the nation was established by example of the King's Royal Court. Henry erected a basic, rational framework for legal processes which drew from tradition but lent itself to continuous expansion and adaptation. A system of writs originated well-defined actions in the royal courts. Each court writ had to satisfy specific conditions for this court to have jurisdiction over an action or event. This system determined the Royal Court's jurisdiction over the church, lords, and sheriffs. It limited the jurisdiction of all other courts and subordinated them to the Royal Court. Inquests into any misdeeds of sheriffs were held, which could result in their dismissal. Henry and Eleanor spoke many languages and liked discussing law, philosophy, and history. So they gathered wise and learned men about them, who became known as courtiers, rather than people of social rank. They lived in the great and strong Tower of London, which had been extended beyond the original White Tower, as had other castles, so that the whole castle and grounds were defended instead of just the main building. The Tower of London was in the custody of one of the two justiciars. On the west were two strongly fortified castles surrounded by a high and deeply entrenched wall, which had seven double gates. Towers were spaced along the north wall and the Thames River flowed below the south wall. To the west was the city, where royal friends had residences with adjoining gardens near the royal palace at Westminster. The court was a center of culture as well as of government. The game of backgammon was played. People wore belts with buckles, usually brass, instead of knotting their belts. London extended about a mile along the Thames and about half a mile inland. It had narrow twisting lanes, some with a ditch down the middle for water runoff. Most of its houses were two stories, the ground floor having booths and workshops, and the upper floor living space. Most of the houses were wooden structures. The richer merchants' and knights' houses were built of stone. Walls between houses had to be stone to a height of 16 feet and thatched roofs were banned because there had been many fires. There was poor compliance, but some roofs were tiled with red-brick tiles. The population was about 40,000. There were over 126 churches for public worship, thirteen monasteries (including nunneries), and St. Paul's Cathedral. All were built of stone. The churches gave a place of worship for every 300 inhabitants and celebrated feast days, gave alms and hospitality to strangers, confirmed betrothals or agreements of marriage, celebrated weddings, conducted funerals, and buried the dead. The synod of Westminster of 1175 prescribed that all marriages were to be performed by the church. Church law required a warning prior to suspension or excommunication. Monastic, cathedral, and parish schools taught young boys grammar so they could sing and read in church services. Nuns taught girls. Fish but no meat was eaten on Fridays. There was dark rye bread and expensive white wheat bread. Vegetables included onions, leeks, and cabbage. Fruits included apples, pears, plums, cherries, and strawberries. Water was obtained from streams running through the town to the Thames and from springs. Only the rich, palaces, and churches could afford beeswax candles; others had home-made tallow [cow or sheep fat] candles which smelled and gave off smoke. Most people washed their bodies. Even the poor had beds and bed clothes. Few babies survived childhood. If a man reached 30, he could expect to live until age 50. Thousands of Londoners died during a hot summer from fevers, plague and the like. In London, bells heralded the start and finish of all organized business. The sellers of merchandise and hirers of labor were distributed every morning into their several localities according to their trade. Vendors, craftsmen, and laborers had their customary places. Some vendors walked the streets announcing their wares for sale. There were craft guilds of bakers, butchers, clothworkers, and saddlers, as well as of weavers. Vendors on the Thames River bank sold cooked fish caught from the river and wine from ships and wine cellars. Cook shops sold roasted meats covered with hotly spiced sauces. London Bridge was built of stone for the first time. It was supported by a series of stone arches standing on small man-made islands. It had such a width that a row of wood houses and a chapel was built on top of it. In the spring it was impassable by ships because the flow of water under it varied in height on either side of the bridge by several feet at half tide. The bridge had the effect of slowing down the flow upstream, which invited wherries and rowboats and stately barges of the nobility. In winters in which it froze over, there was ice skating, ice boating, and fishing through holes in the ice. Outside each city gate were clusters of ragged buildings, small monasteries and hostelries, groups of huntsmen's kennels, and fencing schools. Outside one of the gates, a horse market was held every week. Horses wore horseshoes made of iron or of a crude steel. From the southwest gate of the city along the north river bank toward Westminster, there was a gradually extending line of rich men's mansions and bishops' palaces. On the southern bank of the Thames River was growing the disorderly suburb of Southwark, with fishermen's and boatmens' hovels, and taverns and brothels that were frequented by drunkards, rakes, and whores. On the north side of the city was a great forest with fields and wells where students and other young men from the city took walks in the fresh evening air. In some fields, countryfolk sold pigs, cows, oxen and sheep. Mill wheels turned at various streams. Near London in the country was a glass factory. At sunset, the gates of London were closed for the night. All taverns had to be closed, all lights put out, and all fires banked or covered when the bell of the church of St. Martin le Grand rang at 9:00 pm. Anyone found on the streets after this curfew could be arrested. Gangs of young nobles or gangs of thieves, cutpurses, and looters roamed the streets after dark and sometimes rioted. Offenders were often beheaded and their heads placed on spikes on London Bridge. Men in London had begun weaving cloth, which formerly had been done by women. Some of the cloth was exported. The weavers guild of London received a charter by the King in 1155, the first granted to any London craft: "Know that I have conceded to the Weavers of London to hold their guild in London with all the liberties and customs which they had in the time of King Henry [I], my grandfather; and that none may intermeddle with the craft within the city, nor in Southwark, nor in other places pertaining to London except through them and except he be in their guild, otherwise than was accustomed to be done in the time of King Henry, my grandfather ...So that each year they render thence to me two marks [26s.8d.] of gold at the feast of St. Michael. And I forbid that any shall do injury or contumely to them on this account under penalty of 10 pounds [200s.]. Witness T[homas], Chancellor, and Warinus, son of Gerard, Chamberlain, at Winchester." The liberties obtained were: 1) The weavers may elect bailiffs to supervise the work of the craft, to punish defaulters, and to collect the ferm [amount owed to the King]. The bailiffs were chosen from year to year and swore before the mayor of London to do and keep their office well and truly. 2) The bailiffs may hold court from week to week on pleas of debt, agreements, covenants [promises for certain performance], and minor trespasses. 3) If any of the guild members are sued in any other court on any of the above pleas, the guild may challenge that plea to bring it to the guild court. 4) If any member is behind in his share of the payment to the King, the bailiffs may distrain his loom until he has paid this. Paying an annual payment freed the weavers from liability to inconsequent royal fines. Failure to make this payment promptly might have led to loss of the right, hence the rigorous penalty of distraint upon the looms of individual weavers who fell into arrears. The weavers' guild punished members who used bad thread in their weaving or did defective weaving by showing the default to the mayor, with opportunity for the workman to make entreaty, and the mayor and twelve members of the guild then made a verdict of amercement of 1/2 mark [6s.8d.] and the workman of the cloth was also punished by the guild bailiffs according to guild custom. The weavers' guild tradition of brotherliness among members meant that injury to a fellow weaver incurred a severe penalty. If a weaver stole or eloigned [removed them to a distance where they were unreachable] any other weaver's goods falsely and maliciously, then he was dismissed from the guild and his loom was taken by the guild to fulfill his portion of the annual payment to the King. The weavers were allowed to buy and to sell in London freely and quietly. They had all the rights of other freemen of the city. Thus from the middle of the 1100s, the weavers enjoyed the monopoly of their craft, rights of supervision which ensured a high standard of workmanship, power to punish infractions of their privileges, and full control of their members. In this they stand as the prototype of English medieval guilds. These rights represented the standard which all bodies of craftsmen desired to attain. The right of independent jurisdiction was exceptional. In Henry II's charter to London, London did not retain its right to appoint its own sheriff and justice given by Henry I. London's chief magistrate was the mayor, who was appointed by the King, until 1191. Then the mayor was elected yearly by the aldermen of the city wards and approved by the king. He was typically a rich prince chosen by the barons and chief merchants of London. The commoners had no voice in his selection, but they could still approve or disapprove of the actions of the city government at ward and folk motes. At certain periods, a king asserted royal power over the selection of mayor and governance of the city. There were three ways to become a citizen of London: being the son of a citizen, apprenticeship in a craft for seven years, and purchase of citizenship. London and Westminster growth led to their replacing Winchester as the capital. St. Barthomew infirmary was established in London for the care of sick pilgrims traveling to the shrine of Becket in Canterbury. It had been inspired by a monk who saw a vision of St. Barthomew telling him to build a church and an infirmary. Trading was facilitated by the stabilization of the amount of silver metallic content of the English coinage, which was called "sterling" [strong] silver. The compass, a magnetic lodestone [leading stone] needle mounted on a cork and floated in a bowl of water, assisted the navigation of ships. With it, one could tell the general direction of a ship when the skies were cloudy as well as clear. And one could generally track one's route by using the direction and speed of travel to calculate one's new position. London became a major trading center for foreign goods from many lands. About 5% of the knights were literate. Wealthy men sent their sons to school in monasteries to prepare them for a livelihood in a profession or in trade or to the town of Oxford, whose individual scholars had migrated from Paris and had attracted disciples for a long time. These schools grew up around St. Mary's Church, but had not been started by the church as there was no cathedral school in Oxford. Oxford had started as a burh and had a royal residence and many tradesmen. It was given its basic charter in 1155 by the King. This confirmed to it all the customs, laws and liberties [rights] as those enjoyed by London. It became a model charter for other towns. Bachelors at Oxford studied the arts of grammar, rhetoric, and logic, and then music, arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy, until they mastered their discipline and therefore were authorized to teach it. Teaching would then provide an income sufficient to support a wife. The master of arts was analogous to the master craftsman of a guild. From 1190, the civil law was studied, and shortly thereafter, canon law. Later came the study of medicine. The use of paper supplemented the use of parchment for writing. Irregular edged paper was made from linen, cotton, straw, and/or wood beaten to a pulp and then spread out over a wire mesh to dry. Theologicians taught that the universe was made for the sake and service of man, so man was placed at the center of the universe. Man was made for the sake and service of God. Every freeman holding land of a lord gave homage and fealty to him, swearing to bear him faith of the tenement held and to preserve his earthly honor in all things, saving the faith owed to the king. Homage was done for lands, for free tenements, for services, and for rents precisely fixed in money or in kind. Homage could be done to any free person, male or female, adult or minor, cleric or layman. A man could do several homages to different lords for different fees, but there had to be a chief homage to that lord of whom he held his chief tenement. Homage was not due for dower, from the husband of a woman to whom a tenement was given as a marriage portion, for a fee given in free alms, or until the third heir, either for free mariatagium [a marriage portion which is given with a daughter in marriage, that is not bound to service] or for the fee of younger sisters holding of the eldest. All fiefs to be inherited by the eldest son had to be intact. Every lord could exact fealty from his servants. In this era, the English national race and character was formed. Only a few barons still had lands in Normandy. Stories of good King Arthur were popular and set ideals for behavior and justice in an otherwise barbaric age where force was supreme. His last battle in which he lay wounded and told a kinsman to rule in his place and uphold his laws was written in poem ("Layamon's Brut"). Romantic stories were written and read in English. The custom of "bundling" was started by ladies with their knights, who would lie together in bed without undressing and with one in a sack the top of which was tied around his neck, as part of a romantic courtship. Wealthy men often gave their daughters dowries in case they were widowed. This might be matched by a marriage settlement by a prospective husband. Intermarriage had destroyed any distinction of Normans by look or speech alone, except for the Anglo-Saxon manor villeins, who worked the farm land and composed about two-thirds of the population. Villeins were bound to the land and could, on flight, be brought back to it. They could not give homage, but could give fealty. A villein had the equipment to farm, fish, make cheese, keep poultry, brew beer, hedge, and cut wood. Although the villeins could not buy their freedom or be freed by their lord, they became less numerous because of the preference of landholders for tenants motivated to perform work by potential loss of tenure. Also, the Crown's protection of all its subjects in criminal matters blurred the distinction between free and unfree men. The boroughs were dominated by lords of local manors, who usually had a house in the borough. Similarly, burgesses usually had farmland outside the borough. Many boroughs were granted, by the king or manor lord, the right to have a common seal for the common business of the town. Some boroughs were given the authority to confer freedom on the villein by enrolling him in their guild or allowing him to stay in the borough for a year and a day. The guilds met frequently in their drinking halls and drew up regulations for the management of their trade. Each borough was represented by twelve reputable burgesses. Each vill was represented by a reeve and four reputable men. Certain towns sponsored great seasonal fairs for special goods, such as cloth. About 5% of the population lived in towns. In the early 1180s, the horizontal-axle windmill was invented, probably in eastern England, on the analogy of the horizontal-axle watermill. It was very useful in flat areas where streams were too slow for a watermill unless a dam were built. But a dam often flooded agricultural land. London guilds of craftsmen such as weavers, fullers, bakers, loriners (makers of bits, spurs, and metal mountings of bridles and saddles), cordwainers (makers of leather goods such as shoes), pepperers, and goldsmiths were licensed by the King, for which they paid him a yearly fee. There were also five Bridge Guilds (probably raising money for the future construction of London Bridge in stone) and St. Lazarus' Guild. The wealthy guilds, which included the goldsmiths, the pepperers, and three bridge guilds had landholding members who had been thegns or knights and now became a class of royal officials: the King's minters, his chamberlain, his takers of wines, his collectors of taxes. The weavers of Oxford paid 27s.[two marks] to hav ea guild. The shoemakers paid 67s.[five marks]. In 1212, master carpenters, masons, and tilers made 3d. per day, their servers (the journeymen of a later time) made 11/2 d., free- stone carvers 21/2 d., plasterers and daubers, diggers and sievers less. All received food in addition or 11/2 d. in its stead. Sandwich was confirmed in its port rights by this charter: "Henry II to his sheriff and bailiffs of Kent, greeting. I will and order that the monks of the Holy Trinity of Canterbury shall have fully all those liberties and customs in Sandwich which they had in the time of King Henry my grandfather, as it was adjudged in pursuance of his command by the oath of twelve men of Dover and twelve men of Sandwich, to wit, that the aforesaid monks ought to have the port and the toll and all maritime customs in the same port, on either side of the water from Eadburge-gate as far as markesfliete and a ferry-boat for passage. And no man has there any right except they and their ministers. Wherefore I will and firmly command you and the men of Sandwich that ye cause the aforesaid monks to have all their customs both in the port and in the town of Sandwich, and I forbid any from vexing them on this account." "And they shall have my firm peace." Henry gave this charter to the town of Bristol in 1164: "Know ye, that I have granted to my burgesses of Bristol, that they shall be quit both of toll [a reasonable sum of money or portion of the thing sold, due to the owner of the fair or market on the sale of things tollable therein. It was claimed by the lord of the fee where the fair or market was held, by virtue of a grant from the Crown either ostensible or presumed] and passage [money paid for crossing a river or for crossing the sea as might be due to the Crown] and all custom [customary payments] throughout my whole land of England, Normandy, and Wales, wherever they shall come, they and their goods. Wherefore I will and strictly command, that they shall have all their liberties and acquittances and free customs fully and honorable, as my free and faithful men, and that they shall be quit of toll and passage and of every other customs: and I forbid any one to disturb them on this account contrary to this my charter, on forfeiture of ten pounds [200s.]." John, when he was an earl and before he became King, granted these liberties to Bristol about 1188: 1) No burgess may sue or be sued out of Bristol. 2) The burgesses are excused from the murder fine (imposed by the king or lord from the hundred or town where the murder was committed when the murderer had not been apprehended). 3) No burgess may wage duel [trial by combat], unless sued for death of a stranger. 4) No one may take possession of a lodging house by assignment or by livery of the Marshall of the Earl of Gloucester against the will of the burgesses (so that the town would not be responsible for the good behavior of a stranger lodging in the town without first accepting the possessor of the lodging house). 5) No one shall be condemned in a matter of money, unless according to the law of the hundred, that is, forfeiture of 40s. 6) The hundred court shall be held only once a week. 7) No one in any plea may argue his cause in miskenning. 8) They may lawfully have their lands and tenures and mortgages and debts throughout my whole land, [from] whoever owes them [anything]. 9) With regard to debts which have been lent in Bristol, and mortgages there made, pleas shall be held in the town according to the custom of the town. 10) If any one in any other place in my land shall take toll of the men of Bristol, if he does not restore it after he is required to, the Prepositor of Bristol may take from him a distress at Bristol, and force him to restore it. 11) No stranger-tradesman may buy within the town from a man who is a stranger, leather, grain, or wool, but only from a burgess. 12) No stranger may have a shop, including one for selling wine, unless in a ship, nor shall sell cloth for cutting except at the fair. 13) No stranger may remain in the town with his goods for the purpose of selling his goods, but for forty days. 14) No burgess may be confined or distrained any where else within my land or power for any debt, unless he is a debtor or surety (to avoid a person owed a debt from distraining another person of the town of the debtor). 15) They shall be able to marry themselves, their sons, their daughters and their widows, without the license of their lords. (A lord had the right of preventing his tenants and their families from marrying without his consent.) 16) No one of their lords shall have the wardship or the disposal of their sons or daughters on account of their lands out of the town, but only the wardship of their tenements which belong to their own fee, until they become of age. 17) There shall be no recognition [acknowledgement that something done by another person in one's name had one's authority] in the town. 18) No one shall take tyne [wooden barrel with a certain quantity of ale, payable by the townsmen to the constable for the use of the castle] unless for the use of the lord Earl, and that according to the custom of the town. 19) They may grind their grain wherever they may choose. 20) They may have their reasonable guilds, as well or better than they had them in the time of Robert and his son William [John's wife's grandfather and father, who were earls of Gloucester when the town and castle of Bristol were part of the honor of Gloucester]. 21) No burgess may be compelled to bail any man, unless he himself chooses it, although he may be dwelling on his land. We have also granted to them all their tenures, messuages [dwelling house with adjoining land and adjacent buildings], in copses [thicket from which wood was cut], in buildings on the water or elsewhere to be held in free burgage [tenant to pay only certain fixed services or payments to his lord, but not military service (like free socage)]. We have granted also that any of them may make improvements as much as he can in erecting buildings anywhere on the bank and elsewhere, as long as the borough and town are not damaged thereby. Also, they shall have and possess all waste land and void grounds and places, to be built on at their pleasure. Newcastle-on-Tyne's taxes were simplified in 1175 as follows: "Know ye that I have granted and by this present charter have confirmed to my burgesses of Newcastle upon Tyne, and to all their things which they can assure to be their own, acquittance from toll and passage and pontage and from the Hanse and from all other customs throughout all my land. And I prohibit all persons from vexing or disturbing them therein upon forfeiture to me." We grant to our upright men on Newcastle-on-Tyne and their heirs our town of Newcastle-on-Tyne with all its appurtenances at fee farm for 100 pounds to be rendered yearly to us and our heirs at our Exchequer by their own hand at the two terms, to wit, at Easter 50 pounds and at Michaelmas 50 pounds, saving to us our rents and prizes and assizes in the port of the same town. Ranulph, earl of Chester, made grants to his burgesses of Coventry by this charter: "That the aforesaid burgesses and their heirs may well and honorably quietly and in free burgage hold of me and my heirs as ever in the time of my father and others of my ancestors they have held better more firmly and freer. In the second place I grant to them all the free and good laws which the burgesses of Lincoln have better and freer. I prohibit and forbid my constables to draw them into the castle to plead for any cause, but they may freely have their portimoot [leet court] in which all pleas belonging to me and them may be justly treated of. Moreover they may choose from themselves one to act for me whom I approve, who a justice under me and over them may know the laws and customs, and keep them to my counsel in all things reasonable, every excuse put away, and may faithfully perform to me my rights. If any one happen to fall into my amercement he may be reasonably fined by my bailiff and the faithful burgesses of the court. Furthermore, whatever merchants they have brought with them for the improvement of the town, I command that they have peace, and that none do them injury or unjustly send them into court. But if any foreign merchant shall have done anything improper in the town that same may be regulated in the portimoot before the aforesaid justice without a suit at law." Henry confirmed this charter of the earl's by 1189 as follows: I have confirmed all the liberties and free customs the earl of Chester granted to them, namely, that the same burgesses may well and honorably hold in free burgage, as ever in the time of the father of the beforesaid earl, or other of his ancestors, they may have better or more firmly held; and they may have all the laws and customs which the citizens of Lincoln have better and freer [e.g. their merchant guilds; all men brought to trade may be subject to the guild customs and assize of the town; those who lawfully hold land in the town for a year and a day without question and are able to prove that an accuser has been in the kingdom within the year without finding fault with them, from thence may hold the land well and in peace without pleading; those who have remained in the town a year and a day without question, and have submitted to the customs of the town and the citizens of the town are able to show through the laws and customs of the town that the accuser stood forth in the kingdom, and not a fault is found of them, then they may remain in peace in the town without question]; and that the constable of the aforesaid earl shall not bring them into the castle to plead in any case. But they may freely have their own portmanmoot in which all pleas appertaining to the earl and to them may be justly treated of. Moreover they may choose one from themselves to act for the earl, whom I approve, who may be a justice under the earl and over them, and who to the earl may faithfully perform his rights, and if anyone happen to fall into the earl's forfeiture he shall be acquit for 12 pence. If by the testimony of his neighbors he cannot pay 12 pence coins, by their advice it shall be so settled as he is able to pay, and besides, with other acquittances, that the burgesses shall not provide anything in corrody [allowance in food] or otherwise whether for the said earl or his men, unless upon condition that their chattels shall be safe, and so rendered to them. Furthermore, whatever merchants they have brought with them for the improvement of the town they may have peace, and none shall do them injury or unjustly send them into suit at law. But if any foreign merchant has done anything improper in the town that shall be amended [or tried] in the portmanmoot before the aforesaid justice without a suit. And they who may be newcomers into the town, from the day on which they began to build in the town for the space of two years shall be acquit of all charges. Mercantile privileges were granted to the shoemakers in Oxford thus: "Know ye that I have granted and confirmed to the corvesars of Oxford all the liberties and customs which they had in the time of King Henry my grandfather, and that they have their guild, so that none carry on their trade in the town of Oxford, except he be of that guild. I grant also that the cordwainers who afterwards may come into the town of Oxford shall be of the same guild and shall have the same liberties and customs which the corvesars have and ought to have. For this grant and confirmation, however, the corvesars and cordwainers ought to pay me every year an ounce of gold." A guild merchant for wool dominated and regulated the wool trade in many boroughs. In Leicester, only guildsmen were permitted to buy and sell wool wholesale to whom they pleased or to wash their fells in borough waters. Certain properties, such as those near running water, essential to the manufacture of wool were maintained for the use of guild members. The waterwheel was a technological advance replacing human labor whereby the cloth was fulled. The waterwheel turned a shaft which lifted hammers to pound the wet cloth in a trough. Wool packers and washers could work only for guild members. The guild fixed wages, for instance to wool wrappers and flock pullers. Strangers who brought wool to the town for sale could sell only to guild members. A guildsman could not sell wool retail to strangers nor go into partnership with a man outside the guild. Each guild member had to swear the guildsman's oath, pay an entrance fee, and subject himself to the judgment of the guild in the guild court, which could fine or suspend a man from practicing his trade for a year. The advantages of guild membership extended beyond profit in the wool trade. Members were free from the tolls that strangers paid. They alone were free to sell certain goods retail. They had the right to share in any bargain made in the presence of a guildsman, whether the transaction took place in Leicester or in a distant market. In the general interest, the guild forbade the use of false weights and measures and the production of shoddy goods. It maintained a wool-beam for weighing wool. It also forbade middlemen from profiting at the expense of the public. For instance, butchers' wives were forbidden from buying meat to sell again in the same market unless they cooked it. The moneys due to the king from the guilds of a town were collected by the town reeve. When the king wanted to raise an army, he summoned his major baron tenants-in-chief, who commanded their own armed dependent vassals, and he directed the sheriffs to command the minor tenants-in-chief and supply them with equipment. A baron could assemble an army in a day, but might use it to resist any perceived misgovernment by a king. Armed conflict did not interfere much with daily life because the national wealth was still composed mostly of flocks and herds and simple buildings. Machinery, furniture, and the stock of shops were still sparse. Life would be back to normal within a week. Henry wanted to check this power of the barons. So he took over or demolished their adulterine castles and restored the older obligation of every freeman to serve in defense of the realm, the fyrd, which was a military draft. At the King's call, barons were to appear in mail suit and helmet with sword and horse, knights and freeholders with 213s.[16 marks] of rent or chattels in coat of mail with shield and lance, freeholders of 133s.[10 marks] with lance and hauberk [coat of armor] and iron headpiece, burgesses and poorer freemen with lance and headpiece and wambais, and such as millers with pike and leather shirt. The spiritual and other baronies paid a commutation for personal service, called "scutage", at the rate of 27s. per knight's fee. Barons and knights paid according to their knight's fee a scutage ranging from 10s. to 27s. As of 1181, the military obligations of villeins were defined. The master of a household was responsible for every villein in his household. Others had to form groups of ten and swear obedience to the chief of the group. The sheriff was responsible for maintaining lists of men liable for military service and procuring supplies. This national militia could be used to maintain the peace. The sheriff could call upon the military array of the county as a posse comitatus to take a band of thieves into custody or to quell disorder. For foreign wars, Henry decided to use a mercenary army and a mercenary fleet. However, the nobility who were on the borders of the realm had to maintain their private armies for frequent border clashes. The other nobility now tended towards tournaments with mock foot battles between two sides. Although subject to knightly rules, serious injury and death often resulted. For this reason, the church opposed them, but unsuccessfully. New taxes replaced the Danegeld tax. Freeholders of land paid taxes according to their plowable land ("hidage", by the hide, and later "carucage", by the smaller Norman carucate). The smaller measure curtailed estates and increased taxation. It was assessed from 2-5s. per carcuate [100 acres] and collected for the king by knights with little or no remuneration, and later by inquest of neighbors. The towns and demesne lands of the crown paid a tax based on their produce that was collected by the itinerant justices. Merchants were taxed on their personal property, which was determined by an inquest of neighbors. Clergy were also taxed. This new system of taxation increased the royal income about threefold. There was a standard for reliefs paid of 100s. [5 pounds] for a knight's fee and 2,000s. [100 pounds] for a barony. At the end of Henry's reign, his treasure was over 900,000 pounds. Every hide of land paid the sheriff 2s. annually for his services in the administration and defense of the county. This was probably the old Danegeld. Barons and their tenants and sub-tenants were offered an alternative of paying shield money ["scutage"] of 26s.8d. per fee in commutation for and instead of military service for their fiefs. This enabled Henry to hire soldiers who would be more directly under his own control and to organize a more efficient army. Henry II restored the silver coinage to its standard of purity. The first great inflation in England occurred between 1180 and 1220. Most goods and services increased threefold over these forty years. Great households, whether of baron, prelate, monastery, or college gave their officers and servants allowances of provisions and clothing called "liveries". The officer of such departments as the buttery [cellar storing butts of wine], the kitchen, the napery [for linen cloth], and the chandlery had his fixed allowances for every day and his livery of clothing at fixed times of the year or intervals of years. The administration of a great estate is indicated by the Pipe Roll of the Bishopric of Winchester, 1208-1209, as follows: "Downton: William FitzGilbert, and Joselyn the reeve, and Aylward the cellarer render account of 7 pounds 12s.11d. for arrears of the previous year. They paid and are quit. And of 3 pounds 2s.2d. for landgafol. And of 12d. by increment of tax for a park which William of Witherington held for nothing. And of 2s.6d. by increment of tax for half a virgate of land which James Oisel held without service. And of 19s. for 19 assize pleas in the new market. And of 10s. by increment of tax for 10 other assize pleas in the market this year. Sum of the whole tax 36 pounds 14s.8d. In quittance of one reeve, 5s. In quittance for repairing the bridge, 5s.; of one forester, 4s.; of two haywards from Downton and Wick, 4s.; of one hayward from Witherington, 20d.; of fourteen drivers from Downton, Wick, and Nunton, for the year, 28s.; of two drivers from Witherington for the year, 4s.4d.; of two drivers for half the year, 2s.; of one swineherd, of one neaterd, of one cowherd, for the year, 6s.; of three shepherds from Wick, Barford, and Nunton, for the year, 6s.; of one shepherd from Witherington, for the year, 20d.; of four customary tenants, for the year, 8s. Sum of the quittances, 74s.8d. Remainder 33 pounds. Livery: For livery to John the dean, for Christmas tax, 7 pounds 10s. by one tally. To the same for Easter tax, 8 pounds by one tally. To the same for St. John's tax, 8 pounds by one tally. To the same for St. Michael's tax, 8 pounds 10s. by one tally. To the same for corn [grain] sold in the field 26 pounds by two tallies. To the same for standing corn [growing crops of grain], purchases, and cheeses, 20 pounds 16s.10d. To the same for wool, 6 pounds 13s.4d. by one tally. To the same for tallage 39 pounds by one tally. Sum: 134 pounds 10s.2d. Expenses: For ironwork of 8 carts for year and one cart for half the year, 32s.10d. For shoeing of 2 plough-horses for the year, 2s.8d. For wheels for carts, 2s.9d. For 6 carts made over, 12d. before the arrival of the carpenter. For wages of the smith for the year, 8s.6d. For one cart bound in iron bought new, 5s.7d. For wheels purchased for one cart to haul dung, 12d. For leather harness and trappings, iron links, plates, halters, 14d. For purchase of 2 ropes, 3d. For purchase of 2 sacks, 8d. For purchase of 5 locks for the granary, 11d. For making 2 gates for the sheepfold, 2s. For one gate for the farm yard, 12d. For an axe and tallow purchased and for repairing the spindles of the mill for the year, 6s.10d. For one millstone purchased for the mill 24s. For making one gate near the mill, 12d. For meat prepared in the larder, 3s. For beer bought for cleaning carcasses, 2s.1d. For digging 158 perches of land around the pasture in the marsh, 32s.11d.; for each perch 2d.1ob. For the dovecote newly made, 22s.11d.1ob. For cutting 100 thick planks for flooring both dispensary and butlery, 6s.3d. For nails or pegs bought for planking beyond the cellar, 16d. For enclosing the garden by making 2 gates, 6s.7d.1ob. For digging in the gardens, 8s.5d. For the winter work of 55 carts, 9s.2d. For the Lent work of 49 carts, 8s.6d. For spreading 6 acres with dung, 6d. For threshing 24 quarters of wheat at Mardon for seed, 5s. For winnowing the same, 7d. For winnowing 36 quarters of grain for seed, 3s.9d. For threshing 192 quarters of grain 32s.; for each quarter 2d. For threshing 20 quarters of mixed corn [grain], 2s.6d. For threshing 42 quarters of barley, 3s.6d. For threshing 53 quarters of oats, 2s.2d.1ob. For hauling gravel to the bridge and causeway, 4d. For cost of dairy, viz., 3 tines of salt, cloth, and pots, 6s.10d. For purchase of 17 oxen, 5 pounds 13s. For hoeing 140 acres, 5s.10d. For wages of two carters, one neatherd, for the year, 9s. For wages of one carpenter for the year, 6s.8d. For wages of one dairy woman, 2s.6d. For payment of mowers of the meadow at Nunton, 6d. For 8 sheep purchased, 8s. For wages of one neatherd from Nunton, 12d. For carrying 2 casks of wine by Walter Locard, in the time of Martinmas, 8s.2d. For the carrying of 2 casks of wine from Southampton to Downton by the seneschal, 3s.6d. at the feast of St. Lawrence. For digging 22 perches in the farmyard, 6s.5d.; for each perch 3d.1ob. For allowance of food of Robert of Lurdon, who was sick for 21 days, with his man, 5s.3d. For allowance of food to Sewal who was caring for 2 horses of the lord bishop for 3 weeks, 21d. For allowance of food for Roger Walselin, for the two times he made gifts to the lord king at Clarendon, 4s.9d. by two tallies. For allowance of food of Master Robert Basset, for 3 journeys, 9s.3d.1ob. For livery of William FitzGilbert, 60s.10d. For 30 ells of canvas purchased for laying over the wool, and 2 cushions prepared for the court, 5s. For 8 sheep purchased, with lambs, 8s. Sum: 2 pounds.23d. Sum of livery and expenses: 159 pounds 12s.1d. And there is owing: 5 pounds 9s.4d.1ob. Produce of Granary: The same render account of 221 and a half quarters and 1 strike from all the produce of grain; and of 24 quarters brought from Mardon. Sum: 245 and a half quarters and 1 strike. For sowing 351 acres, 127 quarters. For bread for the lord bishop, 18 and a half quarters delivered to John de Dispensa by three tallies. For the balance sold, 110 quarters and 1 strike. The same render account of 38 and a half quarters from all the produce of small corn [grain]. For the balance sold, all. The same render account of 29 quarters and 1 strike from all the produce of mixed corn [grain]. For seeding 156 acres, 53 quarters and 1 strike. For bread for 3 autumnal works, 9 quarters. For the balance sold, 27 quarters. The same render account of 178 and a half quarters from all the produce of barley. For sowing 102 and a half acres, 49 and a half quarters. For payment for carts, 1 quarter. For payment for hauling dung, 2 quarters. For allowance of food of two carters, one carpenter, one neatherd, one dairy woman, for the year, 32 and a half quarters. For feeding hogs in the winter, 2 quarters. For the balance sold, 91 and a half quarters. It is quit. The same render account of 311 quarters and 2 bushels from all the produce of oats. In sowing 221 and a half acres, 110 and a half quarters. For prebends of the lord bishop and lord king, on many occasions, 131 and a half quarters and 2 bushels, by five tallies. For prebends of Roger Wakelin, 2 and a half quarters and 3 bushels. For prebends of Master Robert Basset, 3 and a half quarters and 1 bushel. For provender of 2 horses of the lord bishop and 1 horse of Richard Marsh, for 5 weeks, 5 and a half quarters and 2 bushels. For provender of 2 horses of the lord bishop who stayed 16 nights at Downton, 4 quarters. For that sent to Knoyle, 18 quarters. For provender of 1 horse of Robert of Lurdon for 3 weeks, 1 and a half quarters. For prebends of two carters 7 quarters and 2 bushels. For the balance sold, 12 quarters. And there remains 14 quarters and 1 strike. The same render account of 6 and a half quarters from the whole produce of beans. For planting in the garden half a quarter. For the balance sold, 6 quarters. It is quit. The same render account of 4 quarters and 1 strike from all the produce of peas. For sowing 6 acres, 1 and a half quarters. For the balance sold 2 and a half quarters and 1 strike. It is quit. The same render account of 4 quarters from all the produce of vetches [pea plants used for animal fodder]. For feeding pigs in the winter, all. It is quit. Beasts of Burden: The same render account of 104 oxen remaining from the previous year. And of 2 yoked from useless animals. And of 1 from the will of Robert Copp. And of 17 purchased. Sum: 124. Of living ones sold, 12. Of dead, 21. Sum: 33. And there remain 91 oxen. The same render account of 2 goats remaining from the previous year. All remain. The same render account of 19 cows remaining from the previous year. And of 7 yoked from useless animals, and of 1 found. Sum: 27. By death, 1. By killing, brought for the need of the lord bishop at Cranbourne, 2. Sum: 3. And there remain 24 cows. The same render account of 7 heifers and 2 steers remaining from the previous year. In yoked cows, 7 heifers. In yoked oxen, 2 bulls. Sum: 9. The same render account of 12 yearlings remaining from the previous year. By death, 1. There remain 11, of which 5 are female, 6 male. The same render account of 13 calves born this year from cows, because the rest were sterile. In tithes, 1. There remain 12. The same render account of 858 sheep remaining from the previous year. And of 47 sheep for the payment of herbage, after birth, and before clipping. And of 8 bought before birth. And of 137 young ewes mixed with two-year-olds. Sum: 1050. In live ones sold at the time of Martinmas, 46. In those dead before birth, 20. In those dead after birth and before shearing, 12. Sum: 78. And there remain 972 sheep. The same render account of 584 wethers [castrated rams] remaining from the previous year. And of 163 wethers mixed with two-year- olds. And of 16 rams from Lindsey, which came by brother Walter before shearing. Sum: 763. In living ones sold at the time of Martinmas, 27 wethers, 10 rams. Paid to the men of Bishopton before shearing by writ of the seneschal, 20. By death, before shearing, 14. Sum: 71. And there remain 692 sheep. The same render account of 322 old sheep remaining, with lambs from the previous year. By death before shearing, 22. And there remain 300; whence 137 are young ewes, mixed with sheep, and 163 males, mixed with wethers. The same render account of 750 lambs born from sheep this year because 20 were sterile, and 30 aborted. In payment of the smith, 2; of shepherds, 3. In tithes, 73. In those dead before shearing, 105. Sum: 181. And there remain 569 lambs. The same render account of 1664 large sheep-skins whence 16 were from the rams of Lindsey. In tithes, 164. In payment of three shepherds, 3. In the balance sold 1497 skins with 16 skins from Lindsey which made 11 pondera. The same render account of 569 lamb skins. In the balance sold, all, which made 1 and a half pondera. The same render account of 138 cheeses from arrears of the previous year. And of 19 small cheeses. And of 5 larger ones from the arrears of the previous year. And of 273 cheeses which were begun the 6th of April and finished on the feast of St. Michael, both days being counted. And they made cheeses two by two for 96 days, viz. from the 27th April to the vigil of the feast of St. Peter in Chains, both days being counted. Sum: 435 cheeses. In tithes 27. In payment of a shepherd, and mowers of the meadow from Nunton, 2. In duty of a carter, 3. In autumnal work, 10. In expenses of the bishop in the kitchen, 2 by one tally. In the balance sold, 133 cheeses, which made 10 heads, from arrears of the previous year. In the balance sold, 177 cheeses, which made 18 heads in this year. In expenses of the lord king and lord bishop on the feasts of St. Leonard and St. Martin, 19 small cheeses, and 5 larger ones from the arrears of the previous year. And there remain 52 small cheeses which make one head. The same render account of 124 hogs remaining from the previous year. And of 29 that were born of sows. Sum: 153 pigs. In tithes, 2. By death, 9. In those killed for the larder, 83. Sum: 95 pigs. And there remain 58 pigs. Also 19 suckling pigs. Sum of the whole: 77 pigs. The same render account of 48 chickens from arrears of the previous year. And of 258 chickens for cheriset. Sum: 306. In expenses of the lord bishop on the feast of St. Martin, 36 by one tally. In expenses of the same on the feast of St. Leonard, 106, by one tally. In expenses of the lord king and bishop on the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul, 131 chickens, by two tallies. In allowance for food for Roger Wakelin, 8. In allowance of food for Master Robert Basset, 4. By death, 21. Sum: 306 chickens. It is quit. The same render account of 273 chickens, 27 sticae of eels, 4 suckling pigs, freed for the expenses of the lord king and bishop. From the Larder: The same freed for the expenses of the lord bishop meat of 2 cows taken to Cranbourne. The same render account of 13 sides of bacon, arrears of the previous year. And of 5 oxen and 1 quarter of old beef from arrears of the previous year. And of 84 hogs from Downton. And of 71 hogs from Mardon. And of 10 hogs from Overton. And of 9 hogs from High-Clere. And of 14 hogs from Harwell. And of 7 hogs from Knoyle. Sum: 203 hogs, and meat of 5 oxen and one quarter. In expenses of the lord bishop at the feast of St. Martin, 8 sides of bacon. In expenses of the same at the feast of St. Leonard, 17 sides of bacon, the meat of 5 oxen, and 1 quarter of an ox. In expenses of the same on the morrow of the feast of the Holy Cross, delivered to Nicolas the cook, 27 sides of bacon. In expenses of the lord bishop delivered to the same cook at Knoyle on the Saturday before the feast of St. Michael, 15 sides of bacon. In expenses of the same and of the lord king on the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul, 50 sides of bacon. In allowance of food to Master Robert Basset on the feast of All Saints, half a side of bacon. In allowance of food to the same on Wednesday and Thursday before Pentecost, 1 side of bacon. In those sent to Knoyle for autumnal work, 6 sides of bacon. In three autumnal festivals at Downton, 9 and a half sides of bacon. Sum: 134 sides of bacon. And there remain 74 sides of bacon. The same render account of skins, sausages, and offal of the said hogs. In expenses of the lord king and lord bishop at the feast of St. Leonard, all. Nothing remains." King Richard the Lion-hearted, unlike his father, was interested in warfare. He spent most of his term on crusade to recover Jerusalem. For his expenses, he imposed a tax of one-tenth of rents and income from moveable goods. He also sold town charters, heiresses and heirs, widows, sheriffdoms, justiceships, earldoms, and licenses for tournaments. The crusades' contact with Arabs brought to England arabic numerals, which greatly facilitated arithmetic, Arab horses, and an expansion of trade. The church decreed that those who went on these crusades would be remitted of his sins. At the end of this period was the reign of King John, a short man. After his mother Eleanor's death in 1204, John ruled without her influence. He had no conscience and his oaths were no good. He trusted and was trusted by no one. He had a huge appetite for money. He imposed 2,000 pounds [3,000 marks] on London for confirmation of its charter. He imposed levies on the capital value of all personal and moveable goods. It began the occasional subsidies called "tenths and fifteenths" from all people on incomes from movables: one-tenth from boroughs and royal demesne land, and one-fifteenth elsewhere. He sold the wardships of minors and the marriages of heiresses to the highest bidder, no matter how base. He appointed unprincipled men to be both sheriff and justice, enabling them to blackmail property holders with vexatious writs and false accusations. Writs were withheld or sold at exorbitant prices. Crushing penalties were imposed to increase the profits of justice. He asserted over fowls of the air the same exclusive right as over beasts of the forest. The story of Robin Hood portrays John's attempt to gain the crown prematurely while Richard was on the Crusades to recover Jerusalem for Christendom. (In 1198, the bishop barons had refused to pay for a campaign of Richard's war in Normandy arguing that military service was only due within the kingdom of England. When Richard was captured, every person in the realm was required to pay a part of his ransom of 100,000 pounds, which was double the whole revenue of the crown. Aids, tallages, and carucage were imposed. The heaviest impost was one-fourth of revenue or of goods from every person.) In 1213, strong northern barons refused a royal demand for service in France or scutage, arguing that the amount was not within custom or otherwise justified. John had private and public enemies. No one trusted him and he trusted no one. His heavy- handed and arbitrary rule quickly alienated all sectors of the population: other barons, bishops, London, and the commons. They joined the barons to pressure him to sign the Magna Carta correcting his abuses. For instance, since John had extracted many heavy fines from barons by personally adjudging them blameworthy in disputes with others, the barons wanted judgment by their peers under the established law of the courts. In arms, the barons forced John to sign the Magna Carta correcting his abuses.
- The Law - No one, including the lord of a manor, may take land from anyone else, for instance, by the customary process of distress, without a judgment from the Royal Court. This did not apply to London, where a landlord leasing or renting land could take distress in his fee. No one, including the lord of a manor, shall deprive an heir of the land possessed by his father, i.e. his birthright. A tenant may marry off a daughter unless his lord shows some just cause for refusing to consent to the marriage. A tenant had to pay an "aid" to his lord when the lord's daughter married, when the lord's son was knighted, or when the lord's person was ransomed. A man [or woman] may not will away his land, but he may sell it during his lifetime. The land of a knight or other tenant of a military fee is inherited by his eldest son. The socage land of a free sokeman goes by its ancient custom before the Norman Conquest. If a man purchased land after his marriage, his wife's dower is still one-third of the land he had when they married, or less if he had endowed her with less. But he could then enlarge her dower to one-third of all of his lands. The same rule applied if the man had no land, but endowed his wife with chattel or money instead. Dower law prevented a woman from selling her dower during the life of her husband. But he could sell it or give it away. On his death, its possessor had to give the widow the equivalent worth of the property. A widower had all his wife's lands by curtesy of the nation for his lifetime to the exclusion of her heirs. The Capital Messuage [Chief Manor] could not be given in dower or divided, but went in its entirety to its heir. Heirs were firstly sons, then daughters, then grandsons per stirpes, then granddaughters per stirpes, then brothers, and then sisters of the decedent. [By taking "per stirpes" instead of "per capita", a person's share goes to that person's heirs if that person predeceases the ancestor-decedent.] Male heirs of land held by military service or sons of knights who were under the age of twenty-one were considered to be in custody of their lords. The lord had wardship over the heir's land, excluding the third that was the widow's dower for her life. He had to maintain the heir in a manner suitable to his dignity and restore to him when he came of age his inheritance in good condition discharged from debts. Male heirs of sokemen who were under the age of fifteen were in the custody of their nearest kindred. The son of a burgess came of age when he could count money, measure cloth, and manage his father's concerns. Female heirs remained in the custody of their lords until they married. The lord was bound to find a marriage for his ward when she became fourteen years of age and then deliver her inheritance to her. She could not marry without her lord's consent, because her husband was expected to be the lord's ally and to do homage to him. But if a female heir lost her virginity, her inheritance escheated to her lord. A woman with property could not do homage because she could not perform military service, but she generally swore fealty. She could receive homage from men. Bastards were not heirs, even if their father married their mother after birth. Any adult inheriting land had to pay a "relief" to the lord of the land. For a knight's fee, this was 100s. For socage land, this was one year's value. The amount for a barony depended upon the King's pleasure. Heirs (but not widows) were bound to pay the debts of their fathers and ancestors. A man who married a woman who had inherited land could not sell this land without the consent of its heirs. When a man dies, his wife shall take one-third and his heirs shall take one-third of his chattels [movables or personal property]. The other third he may dispose of by will. If he had no heirs and no will [intestate], all his chattels would escheat to his lord. Any distribution of chattels would take place after all the decedent's debts were paid from the property. A will required two witnesses. The testator could name an executor, but if he did not, the next of kin was the executor. A will could not be made by a man on his death bed because he may well have lost his memory and reason. Also, he could not give to a younger son if in so doing, he would deprive his lawful heir. But he could give a marriage gift to a daughter regardless of the lawful heir. Usury was receiving back more than what was lent, such as interest on a loan of money. When a usurer died, all his movables went to the King. A villein may not buy his own freedom (because all that he has is his lord's), but may be set free by his lord or by someone else who buys his freedom for him. He shall also be freed if the lord seduced his wife, drew his blood, or refused to bail him either in a civil or criminal action in which he was afterwards cleared. But a freed villein did not have status to plead in court, even if he had been knighted. If his free status were tried in court, only a freeman who was a witness to his being set free could avail himself of trial by combat to decide the issue. However, if the villein remained peacefully in a privileged town a year and a day and was received into its guild as a citizen, then he was freed from villeinage in every way. A freeman who married a villein lost his freedom. If any parent of a child was a villein, then the child was also a villein. All shipwrecked persons shall be treated with kindness and none of their goods or merchandise shall be taken from them. If one kills another on a vessel, he shall be fastened to the dead body and thrown with it into the sea. If one steals from another on a vessel, he shall be shaven, tarred and feathered, and turned ashore at the first land. Passage on the Thames River may not be obstructed by damming up the river on each side leaving a narrow outlet to net fish. All such weirs shall be removed.
- Judicial Procedure - Henry II wanted all freemen to be equally protected by one system of law and government. So he opened his court, the Royal Court, to all people of free tenure. A court of five justices professionally expert in the law, traveled with the King, and on points of difficulty consulted with him. Justices began to be more than presiding officers; they, instead of those attending, rendered the judgments. The chief court was in Westminster, where the weightiest decisions were made. Other professional itinerant justices appeared periodically in all counties of the nation to hear certain criminal and civil cases and to hear citizens' private civil suits [common pleas]. They came to perform many other tasks, including promulgating and enforcing new legislation, seeking out encroachments on royal rights, reviewing the local communities' and officials' performance of their public duties, imposing penalties for failure to do them or for corruption, gathering information about outlaws and non-performance of homage, and assessing feudal escheats to the crown, wardships to which the king was entitled, royal advowsons, feudal aids owed to the King, tallages of the burgesses, and debts owed to the Jews. The decision-making of itinerant justices on circuits begins the process which makes the custom of the Royal Court the common law of the nation. The county courts, where the travelling justices heard all manner of business in the counties, adopted the doctrines of the Royal Court, which then acquired an appellate jurisdiction. The itinerant justices came from the same small group of royal justices who were on the Royal Court and the Exchequer, which was headed by the justiciar. Difficult cases were decided by the king and wise men of his council. Tenants of manors and of escheats in royal hands, who had been excused from the monthly county court, were required to appear. Side by side with the reeve and four men of the rural townships appeared the twelve legal men of each of the chartered boroughs which owed no suit to the ordinary county court. In the formation of the jury of presentment for criminal cases, each hundred sent twelve legal men and each township four to make report to the justices. Women did not serve on juries. Compurgation was not used; accused persons were sent directly to the ordeal. In 1194, twelve knights or legal men from each hundred answer before any itinerant justice for their hundred in all criminal, civil, and fiscal cases. All who are bound to attend before the itinerant justices are, in the forest counties, compelled to attend the forest courts. The Royal Court was chiefly concerned with 1) the due regulation and supervision of the conduct of local government, 2) the ownership and possession of land held by free tenure ("free tenement" was decided by justices to be one held for life or one held heritably [a fee]), 3) the repression of serious crime, and 4) the relations between the lay and the ecclesiastical courts. The doctrine of tenure applied universally to the land law formed the basis for judicial procedure in determining land rights. Those who held lands "in fee" from the king in turn subinfeudated their land to men of lesser rank. The concept of tenure covered the earl, the knight (knight's service), the church (frank-almoin [free alms]), the tenant who performed labor services, and the tenant who paid a rent (socage). Other tenures were: serjeanty [providing an implement of war or performing a nonmilitary office] and burgage. All hold the land of some lord and ultimately of the King. Henry was determined to protect lawful seisin of land and issued assizes giving the Royal Court authority to decide land law issues which had not been given justice in the county or lord's court. But he did not ordain that all litigation respecting free tenements, e.g. right of seisin, should take place in the king's court. Rather he gave protection to mere possession of land, which could be justified because possession was intimately associated with the maintenance of the king's peace. These assizes included issues of novel disseisin [recent ejectment] of a person's free tenement or of his common of pasture which belonged to his freehold. Though the petty assize of disseisin only provided a swift preliminary action to protect possession pending the lengthy and involved grand assize on the issue of which party had the more just claim or ultimate right of seisin, the latter action was only infrequently invoked. The temptation of a strong man to seize a neighbor's land to reap its profits for a long time until the neighbor could prove and enforce his right was deterred. Any such claim of recent dispossession [novel disseisin] had to be made within three years of the disseisin. An example of a writ of novel disseisin is: The king to the sheriff, greeting. N has complained to me that R unjustly and without a judgment has disseised him of his free tenement in [Houndsditch] since my last voyage to Normandy. Therefore I command you that, if N gives you security for prosecuting his claim, you are to see that the chattels which were taken from the tenement are restored to it, and that the tenement and the chattels remain in peace until Sunday after Easter. And meanwhile you are to see that the tenement is viewed by twelve free and lawfulmen of the neighborhood, and their names endorsed on this writ. And summon them by good summoners to be before me or my justices on the Sunday after Easter, ready to make the recognition. And summon R. or his bailiff if he himself cannot be found, on the security of gage and reliable securities to be there then to hear the recognition. And have there the summoners, and this writ and the names of the sureties. Witness etc. Then an assize panel of recognition summoned concurrently with the defendant and before he had pleaded, viewed the land in question and answered, from their knowledge, these questions of fact: 1) Was the plaintiff disseised of the freehold in question, unjustly and without judgment? 2) Did the defendant commit the disseisin? Testimony of a warrantor (or an attorney sent by him in his place) or a charter of warranty served to prove seisin by gift, sale, or exchange. No pleadings were necessary and the action could proceed and judgment given even without the presence of the defendant. The justices amerced the losing party with a monetary penalty. A successful plaintiff might be awarded damages to compensate for the loss of revenue. There was also a writ for issues of inheritance of land called "mort d'ancestor". By law the tenure of a person who died seised of a tenure in a lord's demesne which was hereditary [seisin of fee] returned to the lord, who had to give it to the heir of the decedent. If the lord refused and kept it for himself or gave it to someone else, the heir could sue in the Royal Court, which used an similar assize panel of twelve men to decide whether the ancestor was seised as of fee in his demesne, if the plaintiff was the nearest heir, and whether the ancestor had died, gone on a crusade but not returned, or had become a monk. Then it could give possession to the heir. Since about 1150, heiresses divided the land of their father if there was no son. The widow, of course, retained her dower rights. As of 1176, the widow held her dower from the heir instead of from the husband's lord. If the heir was a minor, the guardian lord would be in actual control of the land. A national policy was implemented that in the case of the death of a freeholder, the rights of the family, his will, and his debts were to be provided for before relief was paid to his lord. Eventually royal justices acquired authority to decide the ultimate question of right to land using the grand assize as an alternative to the traditional procedures which ended in trial by combat. Issues of the ultimate right of seisin were brought to the Royal Court by a contestant in a local court who "put himself [or herself] upon the King's grand assize". The assize consisted of twelve knights from the county or neighborhood who were elected by four knights of the same county or neighborhood (selected by the sheriff or the suitors) and who were known as truthful men and were likely to possess knowledge of the facts, either from personal seeing or hearing, or from statements which their fathers had made to them from their personal knowledge. The avenue by which a person who felt he had not had justice in the manor court on his claim for certain freehold land appealed to the king was by writ of right after the manor court's decision or by a writ praecipe during the manor court's proceeding. An example of a writ praecipe is: "The king to the sheriff greeting. Command [praecipe] N. to render to R. justly and without delay one hide of land in a certain vill, which the said R. complains that the aforesaid N. is withholding from him. If he does not do so, summon him by good summoners to be before me or my justices on the day after the octaves of Easter, to show why he has not done so. And have the summoners and this writ. Witness." When the parties appeared in court, the claimant states his suit such as: "I claim against this N. the fee of half a knight and two carucates of land in a certain vill as my right and my inheritance, of which my father (or grandfather) was seized in his demesne as of fee in the time of King Henry the First, and from which he took the profits to the value of five shillings at least, in grain and hay and other profits; and this I am ready to prove by this freeman of mine, H., and if any evil befalls him them by this other man or by this third man, who saw and heard it". Then the defendant chose to deny the claim word for word with proof by combat or to put himself upon the grand assize of the king. If he chose trial by combat, the parties or their champions fought. The party losing, usually by crying craven, had to pay a fine of 60s. If the grand assize was chosen, the action was removed to the Royal Court. A writ of grand assize was issued as follows: "The king to the sheriff, greeting. Summon by good summoners the following twelve, namely, A. B. ..., to be before me or my justices at a certain place on a certain day, ready to declare on oath whether N. or R. has the greater right in one hide of land (or other things claimed) which the aforesaid R. claims against the aforesaid N., who is tenant, and in respect of which the aforesaid N., who is tenant, has put himself upon my assize and has sought a recogniton to determine which of them has the greater right in the things claimed. And meanwhile the twelve shall view the land (or tenements from which the services are demanded). And summon by good summoners N., who is tenant, to be there to hear the recogniton. Witness..." The claimant could object to any of the twelve knights for just cause as determined by the court. Each of the twelve gave an oath as to whether the plaintiff's or the defendant's position was correct. This oath was not to speak falsehood nor conceal truth according to knowledge gained by eye-witness or "by the words of their fathers and by such words as they are bound to have such confidence in as if they were their own". If any did not know the truth of the matter, others were found until twelve agreed [the recognitors] on which party had the greater right. Perjury was punished by forfeiture of all one's goods and chattels to the king and at least one year's imprisonment. If the tenant in court vouched another to warranty, such as the lord to whom he paid homage, that warrantor would stand in his place in the proceedings. If the warrantor lost, he would have to give to his vassal equivalent land in exchange. Burgage tenure was not usually decided by assize. Also, if the parties were relatives, neither the assize nor the combat was available to them, but the matter had to be decided by the law of inheritance. Itinerant justices could conduct these assizes: petty and grand. In 1198, the hundred is empowered to act on all the business of the session, including all recognitions and petty assizes ordered by the king's writ, where the property in dispute was worth no more than 200s. [ten pounds] a year. The four knights came to be selected by the suitors of the county court rather than by the sheriff. This assize procedure extended in time to all other types of civil actions. Also removable to the Royal Court from the county courts were issues of a lord's claim to a person as his villein (combat not available), service or relief due to a lord, dower rights, a creditor's refusal to restore a gage [something given as security] to a debtor who offered payment or a deposit, money due to a lender, a seller, or a person to whom one had an obligation under a charter, fish or harvest or cattle taken from lands unjustly occupied, cattle taken from pasture, rights to enjoy a common, to stop troubling someone's transport, to make restitution of land wrongfully occupied, to make a lord's bailiff account to him for the profits of the manor. The Royal Court also decided disputes regarding baronies, nuisance or encroachments on royal land or public ways or public waterways, such as diverting waters from their right course and issues of nuisance by the making or destroying of a ditch or the destruction of a pond by a mill to the injury of a person's freehold. Other pleas of the Crown were: insult to the royal dignity, treason, breaches of safe-conducts, and injury to the King's servants. Henry involved the Royal Court in many criminal issues, using the agencies of the county and hundred courts. To detect crimes, he required royal justices to routinely ask selected representatives: knights or other landholders, of every neighborhood if any person were suspected of any murder, robbery, theft, etc. A traveling royal justice or a sheriff would then hold an inquest, in which the representatives answered by oath what people were reputed to have done certain crimes. They made such inquiries through assizes of presentment, usually composed of twelve men from each hundred and the four best men of each township. (These later evolved into grand juries). These assizes were an ancient institution in many parts of the country. They consisted of representatives of the hundreds, usually knights, and villages who testified under oath to all crimes committed in their neighborhood, and indicted those they suspected as responsible and those harboring them. What Henry's assize did was to insist upon the adoption of a standard procedure everywhere systematically. The procedure was made more regular instead of depending on crime waves. If indicted, the suspected persons were then sent to the ordeal. There was no trial by compurgation in the Royal Courts, which was abolished by Henry. If determined guilty, he forfeited his chattels to the king and his land reverted to his landlord. If he passed the ordeal but was ill-famed in the community, he could be banished from the community. The ordeal was abolished by the Lateran Council of 1215. As before, a person could also be brought to trial by the accusation of the person wronged. If the accused still denied the charge after the accuser testified and the matter investigated by inquiries and interrogation and then analyzed, trial by combat was held, unless the accuser was over the age of sixty or maimed, in which case the accused went to the ordeal. If a man failed at the ordeal, the penalty prescribed by the assize of Clarendon of 1166 was loss of a foot and abjuring the realm. The assize of Northhampton of 1176 added loss of the right hand. Under the former assize, a man who had a bad reputation had to abjure the realm even if he had successfully undergone the ordeal. Criminal matters such as killing the king or sedition or betraying the nation or the army, fraudulent concealment of treasure trove [finding a hoard of coins which had been buried when danger approached], breach of the King's peace, homicide, murder (homicide for which there were no eye-witnesses), burning (a town, house, men, animals or other chattel for hatred or revenge), robbery, rape and falsifying (e.g. false charters or false measures or false money) were punishable by death or loss of limb. All murders were now punished alike because the applicability of the murdrum couldn't be determined since it was impossible to prove that the slain man had been English. Trespass was a serious and forcible breach of the peace onto land that developed from the criminal law of felony. One found guilty of it could be fined and imprisoned as well as amerced. House-breaking, harboring outlaws, and interference with the royal perquisites of shipwreck and the beasts of the sea which were stranded on the coast [such as whales and sturgeon] were also punishable in the Royal Court. The Royal Court had grown substantially and was not always presided over by the King. To avoid court agents from having too much discretionary power, there was a systematic procedure for bringing cases to the Royal Court. First, a plaintiff had to apply to the King's Chancery for a standardized writ into which the cause had to fit. The plaintiff had to pay a fee and provide a surety that the plea was brought in good faith. The progress of the suit was controlled at crucial points by precisely formulated writs to the sheriff, instructing him for instance, to put the disputed property under royal protection pending a decision, to impanel an assize and have it view the property in advance of the justices' arrival, to ascertain a point of fact material to the plea, or to summon a 'warrantor' to support a claim by the defendant. The Royal Court kept a record on its cases on parchment kept rolled up: its "rolls". The oldest roll of 1194 is almost completely comprised of land cases. Anyone could appoint an agent, an "attorney", to appear in court on his behalf, it being assumed that the principal could not be present and royal authorization given. A wife could represent her husband. The principal was then bound by the actions of his agent. Gradually men appeared who made a business of representing whoever would employ them. The common law system became committed to the "adversary system" with the parties struggling judicially against each other. The Royal Court took jurisdiction over issues of whether certain land was civil or ecclesiastical [assize utrum], and therefore whether the land owed services or payment to the Crown or not. It also heard issues of disturbance of advowson, a complex of rights to income from a church and to the selection of a parson for the church [assize of darrein [last] presentment]. Many churches had been built by a lord on his manor for his villeins. The lord had then appointed a parson and provided for his upkeep out of the income of the church. In later times, the lord's chosen parson was formally appointed by the bishop. By the 1100s, many lords had given their advowsons to abbeys. This procedure used twelve recognitors selected by the sheriff. As before, the land of any person who had been outlawed or convicted of a felony escheated to his lord. His moveable goods and chattels became the King's. If he was executed, his heirs received nothing because they were of the same blood as the felon, which was corrupt: "corruption of the blood". The loss of civil rights and capacities after a sentence of death for felony or treason, which resulted in forfeiture of property and corruption of the blood, was called "attainder". The manor court heard cases arising out of the unfree tenures of the lord's vassals. It also heard distraint, also called "distress", issues. Distraint was a landlord's method of forcing a tenant to perform the services of his fief. To distrain by the fief, a lord first obtained a judgment of his court. Otherwise, he distrained only by goods and chattels without judgment of his court. A distraint was merely a security to secure a person's services, if he agreed he owed them, or his attendance in court, if he did not agree that he owed them. Law and custom restricted the type of goods and chattels distrainable, and the time and manner of distraint. For instance, neither clothes, household utensils, nor a riding horse was distrainable. The lord could not use the chattels taken while they were in his custody. If cattle in custody were not accessible to the tenant, the lord had to feed them at his expense. The lord, if he were not the King, could not sell the chattel. This court also determined inheritance and dower issues. The court of the vill enforced the village ordinances. The hundred court met twice a month and dealt with the petty crimes of lowly men in the neighborhood of a few vills. The county and borough courts heard cases of felonies, accusations against freemen, tort, and debts. The knights make the county courts work as legal and administrative agencies of the Crown. The peace of the sheriff still exists for his county. The King's peace may still be specially given, but it will cease upon the death of the King. Law required every good and lawful man to be bound to follow the hue and cry when it was raised against an offender who was fleeing. The village reeve was expected to lead the chase to the boundary of the next jurisdiction, which would then take the responsibility to catch the man. Admiralty issues (since no assize could be summoned on the high seas), and tenement issues of land held in frankalmoin ["free alms" for the poor to relieve the king of this burden], where the tenant was a cleric were heard in the ecclesiastical courts. Before Henry's reign, the church, with the pope's backing, had become more powerful and asserted more authority. Henry tried to return to the concept of the king being appointed by God and as the head of the church as well as of the state, as in Henry I's time, and to include the church in his reform of the legal system, which would make the spiritual jurisdiction and temporal jurisdiction conform to a common justice. Toward this end, he published the Constitutions of Clarendon. But the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, refused to agree to them, although as Chancellor he had seen the beneficial effects on the kingdom of Henry's legal measures. The disagreement came to a head in Henry's attempt to establish the principle of "one law to all" by having church clerics punished by the civil courts as before, instead of having "benefit of clergy" to be tried and punished only in ecclesiastical courts, even for secular crimes. Clerics composed about one-sixth the population. The church courts had characteristically punished with spiritual penalties of a fine or a penance, and at most defrocking. It could not impose a death penalty, even for murder. When Archbishop Becket was murdered and became a martyr, "benefit of clergy" became a standard right, except for offenses in the king's forests. Appeals could be made to the pope without the king's permission. The king could take a criminal cleric's chattels, but not his life. However, though theoretically bishops were elected by the body of bishops with the approval of the king, as a practical matter, the king chose the bishops and the abbots. It was a constant matter of dispute, in which the pope would sometimes involve himself. Selection of archbishops was also a frequent matter of contention between king and pope. The church copied the assize procedure developed by the Royal Court to detect ecclesiastical offenses. Trial was still by compurgation. Bishops could request the Chancery to imprison an offender who had remained excommunicant for forty days, until he made amends. Chancery complied as a matter of course. This went on for six centuries. The delineations of jurisdiction among these courts were confused and there was much competing and overlapping of jurisdictions. However, the court could appoint arbitrators or suggest to the parties to compromise to avoid the harshness of a decisive judgment which might drive the losing party to violent self-help. The office of coroner was established about 1194 to supplement the judicial investigations of crimes with local officers prior to the arrival of the itinerant justices. Four knights who were residents of the county and possessed sufficient land were elected by the county court for life. Sometimes they had county and royal connections instead. They received no pay. They determined if sudden deaths were accidental or due to murder and the cause of death of prisoners. They also held inquests on other crime such as bodily injury, rape, and prison break. They attached [arrested] the accused and evaluated and guarded his chattels until after the trial. If the accused was found guilty, his possessions went to the King. The coroner sat with the sheriff at every county court and went with him on his turns. This office and the forbidding of sheriffs to act as justices in their own counties reduced the power of the sheriffs. The responsibility of receiving the oath of the peace is changed from the sheriff to knights, the duty of the sheriffs being only to receive and keep the criminals taken by these knights until the justices came to try them. Also, at this time, the constitution of the grand jury of the county was defined. First, four knights were to be chosen in the county court. These were to select on oath two knights from each hundred. These two, also on oath, are to add by co-optation ten more for the jury of the hundred. In London, if one of two witnesses for the defence died while an action was pending, the survivor, after offering his oath, could proceed to the grave of the dead witness, and there offer oath as to what the dead man would have sworn if he had been alive. If a foreigner was bound to make oath for debt or any misdeed, he could make it with six others, his own oath being the seventh; but if could not find six supporters, he alone could make the oath and take it in the six nearest churches. In London, the method of capital punishment was being confined to hanging, instead of also being in the form of beheading, burning, drowning, stoning, or hurling from a rock. In cases of drowning, the offender was first sewn up in a sack with a snake, a dog, an ape, and a cock. Chief Justiciar Ranulph Glanvill wrote a treatise on the writs which could be brought in the Royal Court and the way they could be used. It was a practical manual of procedure and of the law administered in the Royal Court. There are personal actions such as "debt" for specific chattel or specific sum of money. This splits into two actions. The detinue award is for the specific chattel or its value. The action of "replevin" is available to the tenant to recover personal property which had been wrongly distrained, usually cattle; the goods are "repledged" pending action. Also, but rarely used, are "covenant" to protect termors for leases of land for terms of years, and "trepass": a semi-criminal action brought by a private party for an offense punishable by death (or in the 1100s by mutilation) such as murder, rape, robbery, or mayhem, that is done with force of arms and against the peace of the king. The use of trespass grew as private actions for felony were supplanted by public indictment. It occasioned outlawry in default of appearance. These personal actions were initiated in common law courts by their respective writs. These are some of the cases of novel disseisin brought to the king's court: Woodbridge v. Bardolf (1194, king's court): Ralf of Woodbridge seeks before the justices his free tenement in Hebston by the assize of novel disseisin against Hugh Bardolf. Against which assize Hugh said that he had that seisin by judgment of his court for the default of the same Ralf. And the court has recorded the summons and distraints reasonably made on the same Ralf. And Ralf himself has acknowledged the summons and distraints and said that he ought not hold anything from him in that land; rather, it is of another's fee. And because neither he nor anyone for him has complained to the justices that Hugh unjustly drew him into a plea concerning a tenement which Ralf himself held of the fee of another lord, it is considered that Hugh hold in peace. And let Ralf plead by writ of right if he want and be in mercy for his false claim. Turroc v. fitz Walter (1194, king's court): The assize came to recognize if Clement son of Walter unjustly and without judgment disseised Matilda of Turroc of her free tenement within the assize. Clement comes and says that he disseised her by judgment of his court. The court is present and records that she occupied more of her lord's land than she had in dower by the sheriff and by order of the lord king, so that she was summoned and distrained to come in to court, and she so responded that she remained in mercy of 10s. by judgment, so that for that amercement and for other complaints she made fine with her lord for 1/2 mark [7s.] and put her land in pledge in his court and did not want to render the 1/2 mark [7s.]. And therefore by judgment of his court he seised it. Matilda denies all word for word. And the same Clement only produces two men from his court; and it is considered that it was no court. Judgment: let Matilda have her seisin and let Clement be in mercy for disseisin. Fitz Hereward v. Prior of Lecton (1195, king's court): The assize came to recognize if the prior of Lecton unjustly and without judgment disseised Reginald son of Hereward and Essolda his wife of his free tenement in Clapston after the first coronation of the lord king. The prior says that the assize ought not be taken thereof, because he seised that land by judgment of his court for default of his service and his rent, whereof he has his court present, which asserts the same thing. It is considered that the prior replevy [give back] to them their land and give them a day in his court concerning the arrears of rents and services. And let him treat them justly by judgment of his court. Stanfeld v. Brewes (1199, king's court): The assize comes to recognize if Simon of Brewes and Luke cleric and Peter of Brewes unjustly and without a judgment disseised Odo of Stanfeld and Juliana his wife of her free tenement in Michehey within the assize. Simon says that the assize ought not be taken thereof, because he took that land into his hand by judgment of his court -- which he produced and which attests to this -- for default of his service. And it was testified that Odo holds that land from the same Simon. Simon was ordered to replevy that land to Odo as well as the chattels and to treat him rightfully in his court. fitz William v. Amice et al. (1200, king's court): The assize comes to recognize if Amice who was the wife of Richard earl of Clare and Hugh of Ceriton, John of Cornherd, William of Wattevill, Alexander son of Gilbert, Alexander son of Matthew, Bartholomew son of Alexander, Robert of Cornherd, and Geoffrey son of Leveric unjustly and without judgment disseised Richard son of William of Sudbury of his free tenement in Sudbury after the feast of St Michael next before the coronation of the lord king. The countess says that, when she was separated by papal order from the earl of Clare her husband by reason of consanguinity, to which husband the vill of Sudbury had been given with her as marriage portion, she came to Sudbury and convoked her court and made the same Richard to be summoned to come to show by what warrant he held her land. He willingly entered into the plea and vouched the earl of Clare her former husband to warrant and at the day given him to have [his warrantor] he did not have him. And thus by consideration of her court she seised her land and holds it. Which court she produced and which attests this. Richard comes and denies that he was ever summoned or came into her court by summons or vouched to warranty or so lost seisin by consideration of the court of the countess. And this he offers [to prove]. It is considered that he defend himself 12-handed that he did not willingly enter into the plea and vouch to warranty. Let him wage his law [prove by the 12-handed oath, thus, by compurgation]. Pledges of the law: Hugh son of Hugh, Wido of Sudbury. Day is given them at the quindene of St. John. This is the suit of Richard of Sudbury: [there follow the names, but only of 10 men] against the countess Amice who was the countess of Clare, concerning whom he had complained concerning a novel disseisin of his free tenement in Sudbury. She said that by judgment of her court for default of warranty which he had vouched did she make the [dis]seisin and thereof did she produce suit. And he denied against her and against the suit, and law was adjudged. And he comes with his law and makes it with the abovesaid suit. Therefore it is considered that he recover thereof his seisin; let the countess be in mercy for unjust disseisin and also her men, of whom the same Richard has complained. And let the same countess return to him the damages done thereof by a jury of law-worthy men of the vicinity. The names of the men of the countess are in the writ. A sample of crown pleas in several hundreds or wapentakes [Danish name for a hundred] from 1201 to 1203 are: 1. Denise, who was wife to Anthony, appeals Nicholas Kam of the death of Anthony, her husband, for that he wickedly slew her husband; and this she offers to prove against him under award of the court. And Nicholas defends all of it. It is considered that Denise's appeal is null, for in it she does not say that she saw the deed. The jurors being asked, say that they suspect him of it; the whole county likewise suspects him. Let him purge himself by water [ordeal] under the Assize. He has waged his law. 2. William de Ros appeals Ailward Bere, Roger Bald, Robert Merchant, and Nicholas Parmenter, for that they came to his house and wickedly in the king's peace took away from him a certain villein of his whom he kept in chains because he wished to run away, and led him off, and in robbery carried away his wife's coffer with one mark of silver and other chattels; and this he offers to prove by his son, Robert de Ros, who saw it. And Ailward and the others have come and defended the felony, robbery, and breach of the king's peace, and say that (as the custom is in Cornwall) Roger of Prideaux, by the sheriff's orders, caused twelve men to come together and make oath about the said villein, whether he was the king's villein or William's and it was found that he was the king's villein, so the said Roger the serjeant demanded that [William] should surrender him, and he refused, so [Roger] sent to the sheriff, who then sent to deliver [the villein], who, however, had escaped and was not to be found, and William makes this appeal because he wishes to keep the chattels of Thomas [the villein], to wit, two oxen, one cow, one mare, two pigs, nine sheep, eleven goats. And that this is so the jurors testify. Judgment: William and Robert in mercy for the false claim. William's amercement, a half-mark. Robert's amercement, a half-mark. Pledge for the mark, Warin, Robert's son. Let the king have his chattels from William. Pledge for the chattels, Richard, Hervey's son. 3. Serlo of Ennis-Caven appeals Osbert of Dimiliock and Jordan, Walter's son, for that they in the king's peace wickedly assaulted, beat and seriously wounded him, so that by reason of the beating three bones were extracted from his head; and this he offers to prove against him under the court's award as a man maimed by that mayhem. And it is testified by the coroners that the wounds when fresh were shown in the county [court], and that [the bones were broken] as aforesaid. And Osbert and Jordan come and defend word by word. It is considered that Osbert do purge himself by ordeal of iron on account of the appeal, for Serlo betook himself against Osbert in the first instance. And let Jordan be in custody until it be known how Osbert shall fare. And the other persons who are appealed as accessories are to be under pledge until [Osbert's fate] be known. 4. The jurors say that they suspect William Fisman of the death of Agnes of Chilleu, for the day before he had threatened her body and goods. And the four neighboring townships being sworn, suspect him of it. It is considered that he purge himself by water under the Assize. 5. William Burnell and Luke of the Well are suspected of the burglary at the house of Richard Palmer by the jurors of the hundred, and by the four neighboring townships, which are sworn. Let them purge themselves by water under the Assize. 6. Malot Crawe appeals Robert, Godfrey's son, of rape. He comes and defends. It is testified that he thus raped her and that she was seen bleeding. By leave of the justices they made concord on the terms of his espousing her. 7. Walter Wifin was burgled, and of his chattels taken from his house in the burglary certain boots were found in the house of Lefchild of Ranam, and the said Walter pursues those boots as his. And Lefchild said that he bought them in Bodmin market for 2 1/2 pence, but he knows not from whom. And besides Walter says that eleven ells of linen cloth, part of the stolen goods, were sold in Lefchild's house, and all the other proceeds of the burglary, and that Lefchild was the receiver of the burglars, namely, Robert of Hideford and Alan the Foresters, whom he [Walter] had appealed of the crime. And Lefchild defends. The jurors on being asked, say that they suspect Lefchild of the said receipt. So let him purge himself by water under the Assize. 8. Eadmer of Penwithen appeals Martin, Robert and Thomas of Penwithen, for that Robert wounded him in the head so that twenty- eight pieces of bone were extracted, and meanwhile Martin and Thomas held him; and this he offers to deraign against the said Robert as a man thereby maimed, under the court's award. And Robert comes and defends all of it word by word. It is considered that he purge himself by ordeal of iron. Let the others be in custody until it be known how Robert shall fare. Afterwards Eadmer came and withdrew himself, and submitted to an amercement of one mark. Pledges, Reinfrid, Gill's son, and Philip his brother. Let the other appellees go quit. 9. Reginald le Teinus accused of the receipt and fellowship of Robert the outlaw comes and defends. The jurors say that they suspect him, and the four neighboring townships say that they suspect him of it. So let him purge himself by water under the Assize. And there must be inquiry as to Richard Revel, who was sheriff when the said Robert escaped from his custody. 10. Osbert of Reterth appeals Odo Hay, for that he assaulted him as he was returning from Bodmin market, and in the king's peace and wickedly struck him on the hand with a stick, and afterwards struck him on the arm with his sword so that he is maimed; and this he offers to prove as a maimed man. And Odo defends it all. And that [Osbert] is maimed is testified by knights sent to see him. Judgment: let [Odo] purge himself by ordeal of iron because of this appeal. 11. Wulward of Wadebridge was burgled. And Odo Hay, Lawrence Smith, Osbert Mediciner, and Benet his son, William Miller, Robert of Frokemere, and Maud his sister, are suspected of the burglary by the jurors of the hundred and by the four nearest townships, which are sworn. Let the males purge themselves by water under the Assize, and Maud by ordeal of iron. Roger Morand fled for that burglary, and he was living in Bodmin, [which town is] therefore in mercy. 12. Robert, Godfrey's son, appeals Philip, William's son, for that he came on the land of [Robert's] lord Richard Fortescue, and wickedly and in the king's peace and in robbery took eight oxen and a mantle, cape, and sword, and carried them off; and this he offers to prove against him by his body under award of the court. And Philip comes and defends all of it word by word. It is considered that the appeal is null, for the oxen were not Robert's, but Richard's. The jurors being asked, say that [Philip] did no robbery to [Richard]. So Richard Fortescue is in mercy for a false appeal, and let Philip be quit. 13. Peter Burel appeals Anketil of Wingely, for that he wickedly in the king's peace assaulted him in the field where he was pasturing his oxen, and beat him, and gave him four wounds in the head, and in robbery took from him an axe and a sword; and this he offers to prove against him; but he shows no wound. And Anketil defends. And the county records that [Peter] first appealed Roger of Tregadec of the same robbery and of the same wounds. Therefore it is considered that the appeal is null, and let Peter be in mercy for a false appeal. His amercement, a half-mark; pledge for it, Ralph Giffard. 14. The jurors are in mercy for a silly presentment, for they presented an appeal which was made in the hundred [court] and which was not presented in the county [court]. 15. Lucy of Morwinstow appeals Robert de Scaccis and Roland of Kellio and Peter of Lancarf of robbing her of twenty shillings and eight pence, and of a cloak, price a half-mark. And it is testified by the jurors that they did not rob her, and that she is a hireling, and that a man lay with her in a garden, and the boys hooted her, so that she left her cloak, and the boys took it and pawned it for two gallons of wine. It is considered that Robert do give her three pence in respect of the wine and do go quit. And Roland and Peter neither come nor essoin [present an excuse for nonappearance] themselves. And their pledges were Nicholas brother of Alfred of Bodmin and Herbert Reeve of Bodmin, who are therefore in mercy. 16. Osbert Church accused of the death of Roland, son of Reginald of Kennel, on the appeal of the said Reginald, was detained in gaol and defends word by word. And Reginald offers proof by the body of a certain freeman, Arkald, who has his [Reginald's] daughter to wife, who is to prove in his stead, since he has passed the age of sixty. Osbert Church defends all of it. The knights of the hundred of Penwith say that they suspect him of the said death. The knights of kerrier [hundred] say the same. The knights of Penwith [hundred] say the same. The knights of Pyder [hundred] say the same. Judgment: let him purge himself by water, and Reginald is in mercy, for he does not allege sight and hearing, and because he has withdrawn himself, and put another in his place, who neither saw nor heard and yet offered to prove it, and so let both Reginald and Arkald be in mercy. Osbert is purged by the water. Osbert's pledges: Henry Little, Henry of Penant, Ossulf Black, Roger of Trevithow, John of Glin, Ralph of Trelew. 17. Roger of Wick [was] appealed of the death of Brictmer by the appeal of Hawise, Brictmer's wife, and was captured in flight, as say John of Winielton and Ralph of Mertherin, but the flight is not testified by the hundred. Kerier [hundred] says the same. Penwith [hundred] says the same. So is considered that he purge himself by water. He is purged. Roger's pledges: Ralph of Trelew, Ogier of Kurnick, Richard, Simon's son, Alfred Malvoisin, Everwin of Lande, John of Kewerion, Warin of Tiwardeni, Baldwin Tirel, Roger of Trevithow, John of Glin, William of Dunham, Thomas, Osbert's son. 18. Richard, William's son, appealed Luke, Richard's son, and William, the servant of Alan Clerk, of robbery and of binding him. The appellees have not come nor essoined themselves. The county together with the wapentake says that they were appealed, not of the king's peace, but of the sheriff's peace, so that the suit was and is in the county [court], and therefore they were not attached to come before the justices. Therefore the jurors are in mercy for presenting what they ought not to have presented. 19. William, Hawise's son, appeals Richard, son of Robert of Somercotes, for that he came in the king's peace to his house at Somercotes, and broke his house and robbed him of...[an abrasion] shillings, and a cape and surcoat, and twenty-five fowls, and twenty shillings worth of corn [grain], and wounded him in the head with the wound that he shows; and this he offers to prove against him as the court shall consider etc. And Richard comes and defends the breach of the king's peace and the house-breaking, wounding and robbery, but confesses that he came to a certain house, which William asserts to be his [William's], as to his [Richard's] own proper house, which escheated into his hand on the death of Roger his villein, and there he took certain chattels which were his villein's and which on his villein's death were his [Richard's] own: to wit, five thraves of oats, thirteen sheaves of barley, and twenty-five fowls; and he offers the king twenty shillings for an inquest [to find] whether this be so or no. And William says that Richard says this unjustly, for the said Roger never had that house nor dwelt therein, nor were those chattels Roger's, but he [William] held that house as his own, and the chattels there seized were his. The jurors being questioned whether Roger did thus hold the house of Richard in villeinage, say, Yes. Also the coroners and the whole county testify that [William] never showed any wound until now; and the wound that he now shows is of recent date. Therefore it is considered that the appeal is null, and let Richard go quit, and William be in mercy for his false claim. Pledges for the amercement, Gilbert, Robert's son, and Richard, Haldeng's son. 20. Astin of Wispington appeals Simon of Edlington, for that he wickedly and in the king's peace assaulted him in his meadows and put out his eye, so that he is maimed of that eye; and this he offers to prove etc. Simon comes and defends all of it word by word. And the coroners and the county testify that hitherto the appeal has been duly sued, at first by [Astin's] wife, and then by [Astin himself]. Judgment: let law be made, and let it be in the election of the appellee whether he or Astin shall carry the iron. He has chosen that Astin shall carry it. Astin has waged the law. Simon's pledges, William of Land and his frankpledge and Ralph of Stures. Astin's pledges, Roger Thorpe, Osgot of Wispington, and William, Joel's brother. Afterwards came [the appellor and appellee] and both put themselves in mercy. 21. Gilbert of Willingham appeals Gilbert, Geoffrey's son, for that he in the king's peace and wickedly set fire to his house and burned it, so that after the setting fire [the appellor] went forth and raised hue and cry so that his neighbors and the township of Willingham came thither, and he showed them [the appellee] in flight and therefore they pursued him with the cry; and this he offers etc. And the appellee defends all of it word by word etc. And the neighbors and the township of Willingham being questioned, say that they never saw him in flight, and that [the appellor] never showed him to them. Likewise the jurors say that in their belief he appeals him out of spite rather than for just cause. Therefore it is considered that the appeal is null, and the appellee is in mercy for a half-mark [7s.]. Pledge for the amercement, Robert Walo. 22. William burel appeals Walter Morcock, for that he in the king's peace so struck and beat Margery, [William's] wife, that he killed the child in her womb, and besides this beat her and drew blood. And William of Manby, the beadle, testifies that he saw the wound while fresh and the blood in the wapentake [court]. And the serjeant of the riding and the coroners and the twelve knights testify that they never saw wound nor blood. And so it is considered that the appeal is null, for one part of the appeal being quashed, it is quashed altogether, and William Burel is in mercy. Let him be in custody. And William Manby is in mercy for false testimony. Pledges for William's amercement, Richard of Bilsby, Elias of Welton. 23. William Marshall fled for the death of Sigerid, Denis' mother, whereof Denis appeals him; and he was in the Prior of Sixhills' frank-pledge of Sixhills, which is in mercy, and his chattels were two cows and one bullock. Afterwards came the Prior of Sixhills and undertook to have William to right before the justices. And he came, and then Denis, Sigerid's son, came and appealed him of his mother's death. And it was testified that [Denis] had an elder brother, and that nine years are past since [Sigerid] died, and that she lived almost a year after she was wounded, and that Denis never appealed [William] before now. Therefore it is considered that the appeal is null and that Denis be in mercy. Pledge for the amercement, his father, Ralph, son of Denis. 24. Alice, wife of Geoffrey of Carlby, appealed William, Roger's son, and William his son and Roger his son of the death of William her brother. And Alice does not prosecute. Therefore let her be in mercy and let her be arrested. To judgment against the sheriff who did not imprison the said persons who were attached, whereas they are appealed of homicide, and to judgment also as to a writ which he ought to produce. 25. Hawise, Thurstan's daughter, appeals Walter of Croxby and William Miller of the death of her father and of a wound given to herself. And she has a husband, Robert Franchenay, who will not stir in the matter. Therefore it is considered that the appeal is null, for a woman has no appeal against anyone save for the death of her husband or for rape. And let Robert be in mercy on his wife's account, for a half-mark [7s.], and let the appellees be quit. Pledge for Robert's amercement, Richard Dean of Mareham, who has lay property. Wapentake of Aswardhurn. 26. Juliana of Creeton appeals Adam of Merle of battery and robbery. And Adam does not come, but essoins himself as being in the king's service beyond seas. And for that it is not allowed to anyone appealed of the king's peace to leave the land without a warrant before he has been before justices learned in the law, his pledges are in mercy: to wit, Segar of Arceles, Alan of Renington, and Robert of Searby. Adam himself is excused from the plea by the essoin that he has cast. 27. Thomas, Leofwin's son, appeals Alan Harvester, for that he in the king's peace assaulted him as he went on the highway, and with his force carried him into Alan's house, and struck him on the arm so that he broke a small bone of his arm, whereby he is maimed, and robbed him of his cape and his knife, and held him while Eimma, [Alan's] wife, cut off one of his testicles and Ralph Pilate the other, and when he was thus dismembered and ill- treated, the said Alan with his force carried him back into the road, whereupon as soon as might be he raised the cry, and the neighbors came to the cry, and saw him thus ill-treated, and then at once he sent to the king's serjeant, who came and found, so [Thomas] says, the robbed things in Alan's house and then as soon as might be [Thomas] went to the wapentake [court] and to the county [court] and showed all this. So inquiry is made of the king's sergeant, who testifies that he came to Alan's house and there found the knife and the testicles in a little cup, but found not the cape. Also the whole county testifies that [Thomas] never before now appealed Alan of breaking a bone. And so it is considered that the appeal is null, and that [Thomas] be in mercy, and that the other appellees be quit. Thomas also appeals Emma, Alan's wife, for that she in the peace aforesaid after he was placed in her lord's house cut off one of his testicles. He also appeals Ralph Pilate, for that he cut off the other of his testicles. 28. The twelve jurors presented in their verdict that Austin, Rumfar's son, appealed Ralph Gille of the death of his brother, so that [Ralph] fled, and that William, Rumfar's son, appealed Benet Carter of the same death, and Ranulf, Ralph's son, appealed Hugh of Hyckham of the same death and Baldwin of Elsham and Ralph Hoth and Colegrim as accessories. And the coroners by their rolls testify this also. But the county records otherwise, namely, that the said Ralph Gille, Benet, Hugh, Baldwin, Ralph [Hoth] and Gocegrim were all appealed by Ranulf, Ralph's son, and by no one else, so that four of them, to wit, Ralph Gille, Hugh, Benet and Colegrim, were outlawed at the suit of the said Ranulf, and that the said persons were not appealed by anyone other than the said Ranulf. And for that the county could not [be heard to] contradict the coroners and the said jurors who have said their say upon oath, it is considered etc. Thereupon the county forestalled the judgment and before judgment was pronounced made fine with 200 pounds [4,000s.][to be collected throughout the county], franchises excepted. 29. Hereward, William's son, appeals Walter, Hugh's son, for that he in the king's peace assaulted him and wounded him in the arm with an iron fork and gave him another wound in the head; and this he offers to prove by his body as the court shall consider. And Walter defends all of it by his body. And it is testified by the coroners and by the whole county that Hereward showed his wounds at the proper time and has made sufficient suit. Therefore it is considered that there be battle. Walter's pledges, Peter of Gosberton church, and Richard Hereward's son. Hereward's pledges, William his father and the Prior of Pinchbeck. Let them come armed in the quindene of St. Swithin at Leicester. 30. William Gering appeals William Cook of imprisonment, to wit, that he with his force in the king's peace and wickedly, while [Gering] was in the service of his lord Guy at the forge, took him and led him to Freiston to the house of William Longchamp, and there kept him in prison so that his lord could not get him replevied; and this he offers to prove as the court shall consider. And William Cook comes and defends the felony and imprisonment, but confesses that whereas he had sent his lord's servants to seize the beasts of the said Guy on account of a certain amercement which [Guy] had incurred in the court of [Cook's] lord [Longchamp], and which though often summoned he had refused to pay, [Gering] came and rescued the beasts that had been seized and wounded a servant of [Cook's] lord, who had been sent to seize them, whereupon [Cook] arrested [Gering] until he should find pledges to stand to right touching both the wounding and the rescue, and when [Gering's] lord [Guy] came for him, [Cook] offered to let him be replevied, but this [Guy] refused, and afterwards he repeated the offer before the king's serjeant, but even then it was refused, and then [Cook] let [Gering] go without taking security. And Guy says that he puts himself upon the wapentake, whether the imprisonment took place in manner aforesaid, and whether he [Guy] at once showed the matter to the king's serjeant, or no. And William Cook does the same. And the wapentake says that the alleged [imprisonment] took place in Lent, and Guy did not show the matter to the wapentake until a fortnight before St. Botulph's day. And the county together with the coroners says that they never heard the suit in their court. Therefore it is considered that the appeal is null, and Guy is in mercy. And let William and those who are appealed as accessories go quit. 31. The jurors say that Andrew, sureman's son, appealed Peter, Leofwin's son, Thomas Squire and William Oildene of robbery. And he does not prosecute. So he and Stephen Despine and Baldwin Long are in mercy, and the appellees go without day. Afterwards comes Andrew and says that [the appellees] imprisoned him by the order of William Malesoures in the said William's house, so that he sent to the sheriff that the sheriff might deliver him, whereupon the sheriff sent his serjeant and others thither, who on coming there found him imprisoned and delivered him and he produces witnesses, to wit, Nicholas Portehors and Hugh, Thurkill's son, who testify that they found him imprisoned, and he vouches the sheriff to warrant this. And the sheriff, on being questioned, says that in truth he sent thither four lawful men with the serjeant on a complaint made by Nicholas Portehors on Andrew's behalf. And those who were sent thither by the sheriff testify that they found him at liberty and disporting himself in William's house. Therefore it is considered that the appeal is null [and Andrew is in mercy] for his false complaint and Nicholas Portehors and Hugh, Thurkill's son, are in mercy for false testimony. Andrew and Hugh are to be in custody until they have found pledges [for their amercement]. 32. The jurors say that Geoffrey Cardun has levied new customs other than he ought and other than have been usual, to wit, in taking from every cart crossing his land at Winwick with eels, one stick of eels, and from a cart with greenfish, one greenfish, and from a cart with salmon, half a salmon, and from a cart with herrings, five herrings, whereas he ought to take no custom for anything save for salt crossing his land, to wit, for a cart-load, one bole of salt, and in that case the salter ought to have a loaf in return for the salt, and also if the salter's cart breaks down, the salter's horses ought to have pasture on Geoffrey's land without challenge while he repairs his cart. And Geoffrey comes and confesses that he takes the said customs, and ought to take them, for he and his ancestors have taken them from the conquest of England, and he puts himself on the grand assize of our lord the king, and craves that a recognition be made whether he ought to take those customs or no. And afterwards he offers the king twenty shillings that this action may be put before Sir Geoffrey FitzPeter [the Justiciar]. Pledge for the twenty shillings, Richard of Hinton. 33. The jurors say that Hugh, son of Walter Priest, was outlawed for the death of Roger Rombald at the suit of Robert Rombald, and afterwards returned under the [protection of the] king's writ, and afterwards was outlawed for the same death on the appeal of Geoffrey, Thurstan's son. The county therefore is asked by what warrant they outlawed the same man twice for the same death, and says that of a truth in King Richard's time the said Hugh was outlawed at the suit of one Lucy, sister of the said Roger, so that for a long time afterwards he hid himself; and at length he came into the county [court] and produced letters of Sir Geoffrey FitzPeter in the form following: "G. FitzPeter etc. to the sheriff of Northamptonshire, greeting, Know thou that the king hath pardoned to Hugh, son of the priest of Grafton, his flight and the outlawry adjudged to him for the death of a certain slain man, and hath signified to us by his letters that we be aiding to the said Hugh in re-establishing the peace between him and the kinsfolk of the slain; wherefore we command thee that thou be aiding to the said Hugh in making the peace aforesaid, and do us to wit by thy letters under seal what thou hast done in this matter, since we are bound to signify the same to the king. In witness etc. by the king's writ from beyond seas." And the said letters being read in full county [court] the county told the said Hugh that he must find pledges that he would be in the king's peace, and he went away to find pledges, and afterwards did not appear. But the kinsfolk of the slain, having heard that Hugh had returned after his outlawry, came to the next county [court] and Robert Rombald produced Geoffrey, Thurstan's son, who said that if he saw the said Hugh he would sue against him the death of the said Roger, who was [his kinsman]. And the county showed him how Hugh had brought the Justiciar's letters pardoning him the flight and outlawry, and that he was to find pledges to stand to the king's peace, but had not returned. Whereupon the king's serjeant was ordered to seek Hugh and bring him to a later county [court]. And at a later county [court] Geoffrey offered himself against Hugh, and Hugh did not appear; whereupon the king's serjeant being questioned said that he had not found him, and the county advised [Geoffrey] to come to another county [court], because if in the meantime Hugh could be found, he would be brought to the county [court]. Then at the third county [court] the said Geoffrey offered himself, and it was testified by the serjeant that Hugh had not yet been found, wherefore the county said that as Hugh would not appear to the king's peace, he must bear the wolf's head as he had done before. To judgment against the coroners and the twelve jurors. 34. Robert of Herthale, arrested for having in self-defense slain Roger, Swein's son, who had slain five men in a fit of madness, is committed to the sheriff that he may be in custody as before, for the king must be consulted about this matter. The chattels of him who killed the five men were worth two shillings, for which Richard [the sheriff must account]. 35. Sibil, Engelard's daughter, appeals Ralph of Sandford, for that he in the king's peace and wickedly and in breach of the peace given to her in the county [court] by the sheriff, came to the house of her lord [or husband] and broke her chests and carried off the chattels, and so treated her that he slew the child that was living in her womb. Afterwards she came and said that they had made a compromise and she withdrew herself, for they have agreed that Ralph shall satisfy her for the loss of the chattels upon the view and by the appraisement of lawful men; and Ralph has assented to this. 36. William Pipin slew William [or John] Guldeneman and fled. He had no chattels. Let him be exacted. And Hugh Fuller was taken for this death and put in gaol because the said John [or William] was slain in his house. And Hugh gives to the king his chattels which were taken with him, that he may have an inquest [to find] whether he be guilty thereof or no. The jurors say that he is not guilty, and so let him go quit thereof. And William Picot is in mercy for having sold Hugh's chattels before he was convicted of the death, and for having sold them at an undervalue, for he sold them, as he says, for three shillings, and the jurors say that they were worth seventeen shillings, for which William Picot and those who were his fellows ought to account. And William says that the chattels were sold by the advice of his fellows, and his fellows deny this. 37. Robert White slew Walter of Hugeford and fled. The jurors say that he was outlawed for the death, and the county and the coroners say that he was not outlawed, because no one sued against him. And because the jurors cannot [be heard to] contradict the county and the coroners, therefore they are in mercy, and let Robert be exacted. His chattels were [worth] fifteen shillings, for which R. of Ambresleigh, the sheriff, must account. 38. Elyas of Lilleshall fled to church for the death of a woman slain at Lilleshall. He had no chattels. He confessed the death and abjured the realm. Alice Crithecreche and Eva of Lilleshall and Aldith and Mabel, Geoffrey and Robert of Lilleshall, and Peter of Hopton were taken for the death of the said woman slain at Lilleshall. And Alice, at once after the death, fled to the county of Stafford with some of the chattels of the slain, so it is said, and was taken in that county and brought back into Shropshire and there, as the king's serjeant and many knights and lawful men of the county testify, in their presence she said, that at night she heard a tumult in the house of the slain; whereupon she came to the door and looked in, and saw through the middle of the doorway four men in the house, and they came out and caught her, and threatened to kill her unless she would conceal them; and so they gave her the pelf [booty] that she had. And when she came before the [itinerant] justices she denied all this. Therefore she has deserved death, but by way of dispensation [the sentence is mitigated, so] let her eyes be torn out. The others are not suspected, therefore let them be under pledges. 39. William, John's son, appeals Walter, son of Ralph Hose, for that when [William's] lord Guy of Shawbury and [William] had come from attending the pleas of our lord the king in the county court of Shropshire, there came five men in the forest of Haughmond and there in the king's peace and wickedly assaulted his lord Guy, and so that [Walter], who was the fourth among those five, wounded Guy and was accessory with the others in force as aid so that Guy his lord was killed, and after having wounded his lord he [Walter] came to William and held him so that he could not aid his lord; and this he offers to deraign [determine by personal combat] against him as the court shall consider. And Walter comes and defends all of it word by word as the court etc. It is considered that there be battle [combat] between them. The battle [combat] is waged. Day is given them, at Oxford on the morrow of the octave of All Saints, and then let them come armed. And Ralph [Walter's father] gives the king a half-mark that he may have the custody of his son, [for which sum] the pledges are John of Knighton and Reiner of Acton, and he is committed to the custody of Ralph Hose, Reiner of Acton, John of Knighton, Reginald of Leigh, Adam of Mcuklestone, William of Bromley, Stephen of Ackleton, Eudo of Mark. 40. Robert, son of Robert of Ferrers, appeals Ranulf of Tattesworth, for that he came into Robert's garden and wickedly and in the king's peace assaulted Robert's man Roger, and beat and wounded him so that his life was despaired of, and robbed him [Roger?] of a cloak, a sword, a bow and arrows: and the said Roger offers to prove this by his body as the court shall consider. And Ranulf comes and defends the whole of it, word by word, and offers the king one mark of silver that he may have an inquest of lawful knights [to say] whether he be guilty thereof or no. Also he says that Roger has never until now appealed him of this, and prays that this be allowed in his favor. [Ranulf's] offering is accepted. The jurors say that in truth there was some quarrel between Robert's gardener, Osmund, and some foot-boys, but Ranulf was not there, and they do not suspect him of any robbery or any tort done to Robert or to Osmund. Also the county records that the knights who on Robert's complaint were sent to view Osmund's wounds found him unwounded and found no one else complaining, and that Robert in his plaint spoke of Osmund his gardener and never of Roger, and that Roger never came to the county [court] to make this appeal. Therefore it is considered that Ranulf be quit, and Robert and Roger in mercy. Pledge for Ranulf's mark, Philip of Draycot. Pledges for the amercement, Henry of Hungerhill, and Richard Meverell. Pledge for Roger, the said Robert. 41. One L. is suspected by the jurors of being present when Reinild of Hemchurch was slain, and of having aided and counseled her death. And she defends. Therefore let her purge herself by the ordeal of iron; but as she is ill, the ordeal is respited until her recovery. 42. Andrew of Burwarton is suspected by the jurors of the death of one Hervey, for that he concealed himself because of that death. Therefore let him purge himself by ordeal of water. 43. Godith, formerly wife of Walter Palmer, appeals Richard of Stonall, for that he in the king's peace wickedly and by night with his force came to her house and bound her and her husband, and afterwards slew the said Walter her husband; and this she offers to prove against him as wife of the slain as the court shall consider. And he defends all of it. And the jurors and the whole neighborhood suspect him of that death. And so it is considered that he purge himself by ordeal of iron for he has elected to bear the iron. 44. The jurors of Oflow hundred say that the bailiffs of Tamworth have unjustly taken toll from the knights of Staffordshire, to wit, for their oxen and other beasts. And the men of Lichfield complain that likewise they have taken toll from them, more especially in Staffordshire. And the bailiffs deny that they take anything from the knights in Staffordshire. And for that they cannot [be heard to] contradict the jurors, the bailiffs are in mercy. As to the men of Lichfield, [the Tamworth bailiffs] say that they ought to have, and in King Henry's time had, toll of them, more especially of the merchants, as well in Staffordshire as in Warwickshire. And the burgesses of Lichfield offer the king a half-mark for an inquest by the county. And the county records that in King Henry's time the men of Lichfield did not pay toll in Staffordshire. Therefore the bailiffs are in mercy.