OUR LEGAL HERITAGE: King AEthelbert - King George III
S. A. Reilly author
- The Times: 1509-1558 - Renaissance humanism came into being in the nation. In this development, scholars in London, Oxford, and Cambridge emphasized the value of classical learning, especially Platonism and the study of Greek literature as the means of better understanding and writing. They studied the original Greek texts and became disillusioned with the filtered interpretations of the church, for example of the Bible and Aristotle. There had long been displeasure with the priests of the church. They were supposed to preach four times yearly, visit the sick, say the daily liturgies, and hear confessions at least yearly. But there were many lapses. Many were not celibate, and some openly lived with a woman and had children. Complaints about them included not residing within their parish community, doing other work such as raising crops, and taking too much in probate, mortuary fees, and marriage fees. Probate fees had risen from at most 5s. to 60s. in the last hundred years. Mortuary fees ranged from 1/3 to 1/9 of a deceased person's goods. Sanctuary was abused. People objected to the right of arrest by ecclesiastical authorities. Also, most parish priests did not have a theology degree or even a Bachelor's degree, as did many laymen. In fact, many laymen were better educated than the parish priests. No one other than a laborer was illiterate in the towns. Humanist grammar [secondary] schools were established in London by merchants and guilds. In 1510, the founder and dean of St. Paul's School placed its management in the hands of London "citizens of established reputation" because he had lost confidence in the good faith of priests and noblemen. The sons of the nobility, attorneys, and merchants were starting to go to grammar school now instead of being taught at home by a tutor. At school, they mingled with sons of yeomen, farmers, and tradesmen, who were usually poor. The usual age of entry was six or seven. Classical Latin and Greek were taught and the literature of the best classical authors was read. Secondary education teachers were expected to know Latin and have studied the ancient philosophers, history, and geography. The method of teaching was for the teacher to read textbooks to the class from a prepared curriculum. The students were taught in Latin and expected not to speak English in school. They learned how to read and to write Latin, to develop and amplify a theme by logical analysis, and to essay on the same subject in the narrative, persuasive, argumentative, commending, consoling, and inciting styles. They had horn books with the alphabet and perhaps a Biblical verse on them. This was a piece of wood with a paper on it held down by a sheet of transparent horn. They also learned arithmetic (solving arithmetical problems and casting accounts). Disobedience incurred flogging by teacher as well as by parents. Spare the rod and spoil the child was the philosophy. Schools now guarded the morals and behavior of students. There were two week vacations at Christmas and at Easter. Royal grammar books for English and Latin were proclaimed by Henry in 1543 to be the only grammar book authorized for students. In 1545, he proclaimed a certain primer of prayers in English to be the only one to be used by students. The first school of humanist studies arose in Oxford with the Foundation of Corpus Christi College in 1516 by Bishop Richard Fox. It had the first permanent Reader or Professor in Greek. The Professor of Humanity was to extirpate all barbarisms by the study of Cicero, Sallust, Valerius Maximus, and Quintilian. The third Reader of Theology was to read texts of the Holy Fathers but not those of their commentators. Oxford University was granted a charter which put the greater part of the town under control of the Chancellor and scholars. The mayor of Oxford was required to take an oath at his election to maintain the privileges and customs of the university. Roman law and other Regius professorships were founded by the king at Oxford and Cambridge. Teaching of undergraduates was the responsibility of the university rather than of the colleges, though some colleges had live-in teachers as students. Most colleges were exclusively for graduate fellows, though this was beginning to change. The university took responsibility for the student's morals and behavior and tutors sometimes whipped the undergraduates. For young noblemen, a more important part of their education than going to university was travel on the continent with a tutor. This exposure to foreign fields was no longer readily available through war or pilgrimage. The purpose was practical - to learn about foreign people and their languages, countries, and courts. Knowledge of the terrain, resources, prosperity, and stability of their countries was particularly useful to a future diplomatic or political career. The physicians of London were incorporated to oversee and govern the practice of medicine. A faculty of physicians was established at Oxford and Cambridge. A Royal College of Physicians was founded in London in 1518 by the King's physician. The College of Physicians taught more practical medicine and anatomy than the universities. Only graduates of the College of Physicians or of Oxford or Cambridge were allowed to practice medicine or surgery. Medical texts were Hippocrates and Galen. These viewed disease as only part of the process of nature without anything divine. They stressed empiricism, experience, collections of facts, evidences of the senses, and avoidance of philosophical speculations. Hippocrates had asserted that madness was simply a disease of the brain and then Galen had agreed and advocated merciful treatment of the insane. Galen's great remedies were proper diet, exercise, massage, and bathing. He taught the importance of a good water supply and good drainage. Greek medicinal doctrines were assumed, such as that preservation of the health of the body was dependant on air, food, drink, movement and repose, sleeping and waking, excretion and retention, and the passions. It was widely known that sleep was restorative and that bad news or worry could spoil one's digestion. An Italian book of 1507 showed that post-mortem examinations could show cause of death by gallstones, heart disease, thrombosis of the veins, or abscesses. In 1540 began the practice of giving bodies of hanged felons to surgeons to dissect. This was to deter the commission of felony. There was some feeling that dissection was a sacrilege, that the practice of medicine was a form of sorcery, and that illness and disease should be dealt with by prayer and/or atonement because caused by sin, the wrath of God, or by the devil. In 1543, Flemish physician Andreas Vesalius, who had secretly dissected human corpses, published the first finely detailed description of human anatomy. In it, there was no missing rib on one side of man, and this challenged the theory of the woman Eve having been made from a rib of the man Adam. Food that was digested was thought to turn into a vapor which passed along the veins and was concreted as blood, flesh, and fat. After 1546 there was a book listing hundreds of drugs and explaining how to prepare them, but their use was by trial and error. Students were beginning to read for the bar by their own study of the newly available printed texts, treatises, and collections of statute law and of cases, instead of listening in court and talking with attorneys. In 1523, Anthony Fitzherbert wrote "Boke of Husbandry", which set forth the most current methods of arable farming, giving details of tools and equipment, advice on capital outlay, methods of manuring, draining, ploughing, and rick-building. It was used by many constantly, and was often carried around in the pocket. This began a new way to disseminate new methods in agriculture. He also wrote a "Boke of Surveying", which relied on the perch rod and compass dial, and gave instruction on how to set down the results of a survey. In 1533, Gemma Frisius laid down the principles of topographical survey by triangulation. This improved the quality of surveys and produced accurate plots. Geoffrey Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales" was a popular book. Through Chaucer, London English became a national standard and the notion of "correct pronunciation" came into being. The discoveries and adventures of Amerigo Vespucci, a Portuguese explorer, were widely read. The North and South American continents were named for him. London merchant guilds began to be identified mainly with hospitality and benevolence instead of being trading organizations. Twelve great companies dominated city politics and effectively chose the mayor and aldermen. They were, in order of precedence, Mercers, Grocers, Drapers, Fishmongers, Goldsmiths, Skinners, Tailors, Haberdashers, Ironmongers, Salters, Vintners, and the Clothworkers (composed from leading fullers and shearmen). The leading men of these guilds were generally aldermen and the guilds acted like municipal committees of trade and manufactures. Then they superintended the trade and manufactures of London much like a government department. They were called Livery Companies and categorized their memberships in three grades: mere membership, livery membership, and placement on the governing body. Livery members were distinguished by having the clothing of the brotherhood [its livery] and all privileges, and proprietary and municipal rights, in the fullest degree. They generally had a right to a place at the Company banquets. They were invited by the governing body, as a matter of favor, to other entertainments. These liverymen were usually those who had bought membership and paid higher fees because they were richer. Their pensions were larger than those of mere members. Those with mere membership were freemen who had only the simple freedom of the trade. The masters were usually householders. The journeymen, yeomanry, bachelors were simple freemen. Most of these companies had almshouses attached to their halls for the impoverished, disabled, and elderly members and their widows and children. For instance, many members of the Goldsmiths had been blinded by the fire and smoke of quicksilver and some members had been rendered crazed and infirm by working in that trade. The freedom and rights of citizenship of the city could only be obtained through membership in a livery company. A lesser guild, the Leathersellers, absorbed the Glovers, Pursers, and Pouchmakers. These craftsmen then became wage earners of the Leathersellers, but others of these craftsmen remained independent. Before, the Whittawyers, who treated horse, deer, and sheep hides with alum and oil, had become wage earners for the Skinners. Londoners went to the fields outside the city for recreation and games. When farmers enclosed some suburban common fields in 1514, a crowd of young men marched out to them and, crying "shovels and spades", uprooted the hedges and filled in the ditches, thus reclaiming the land for their traditional games. The last major riot in London was aroused by a speaker on May Day in 1517 when a thousand disorderly young men, mostly apprentices, defied the curfew and looted shops and houses of aliens. A duke with two thousand soldiers put it down in mid-afternoon, after which the king executed fifteen of the rioters. Many English migrated to London. There were ambitious young men and women hopeful of betterment through employment, apprenticeship, higher wages, or successful marriage. On the other hand, there were subsistence migrants forced to leave their homes for food, work, or somewhere to live. There was much social mobility. For instance, between 1551 and 1553, of 881 persons admitted as freemen of London, 46 were the sons of gentlemen, 136 the sons of yeomen, and 289 the sons of farm workers. London grew in population about twice as fast as the nation. The fortunes of landowners varied; some went into aristocratic debt by ostentatiously spending on building, clothes, food, and drink, and some became indebted by inefficient management. Some had to sell their manors and dismiss their servants. There are 26 wards of London as of 1550. This is the number for the next four centuries. Each ward has an alderman, a clerk, and a chief constable. There are also in each ward about 100 to 300 elected officials including prickers, benchers, blackbootmen, fewellers [keepers of greyhounds], scribes, a halter-cutter, introducers, upperspeakers, under speakers, butlers, porters, inquestmen, scavengers, constables, watchmen, a beadle, jurymen, and common councilmen. The wardmoot had inquest jurisdiction over immorality or bad behavior such as vagrancy, delinquency, illegitimacy, and disputes. This contributed greatly to social stability. In 1546, Henry ordered the London brothels closed. A small gaol was established in the Clink district of Southwark, giving the name "clink" to any small gaol. London ordinances required journeymen to work from 6 am to 6 pm in winter, with a total of 90 minutes breaks for breakfast, dinner, and an afternoon drink, for 7d. In the summer they had to work for two hours longer for 8d. At its peak in the 1540s the court employed about 200 gentlemen, which was about half the peerage and one-fifth of the greater gentry. Henry issued a proclamation ordering noblemen and gentlemen in London not employed by the court to return to their country homes to perform their service to the king. Though there was much agreement on the faults of the church and the need to reform it, there were many disagreements on what philosophy of life should take the place of church teachings. The humanist Thomas More was a university trained intellectual. His book "Utopia", idealized an imaginary society living according to the principles of natural virtue. In it, everything is owned in common and there is no need for money. All believe that there is a God who created the world and all good things and who guides men, and that the soul is immortal. But otherwise people choose their religious beliefs and their priests. From this perspective, the practices of current Christians, scholastic theologians, priests and monks, superstition, and ritual look absurd. He encouraged a religious revival. Aristotle's position that virtuous men would rule best is successfully debated against Plato's position that intellectuals and philosophers would be the ideal rulers. More believed the new humanistic studies should be brought to women as well as to men. He had tutors teach all his children Latin, Greek, logic, theology, philosophy, mathematics, and astronomy from an early age. His eldest daughter Margaret became a recognized scholar and translated his treatise on the lord's prayer. Other high class women became highly educated. They voiced their opinions on religious matters. In the 1530s, the Duchess of Suffolk spoke out for reform of the clergy and against images, relics, shrines, pilgrimmages, and services in Latin. She and the countess of Sussex supported ministers and established seminaries for the spread of the reformed faith. More pled for proportion between punishment and crime. He urged that theft no longer be punished by death because this only encouraged the thief to murder his victim to eliminate evidence of the theft. He opined that the purpose of punishment was to reform offenders. He advocated justice for the poor to the standard of justice received by the rich. Erasmus, a former monk, visited the nation for a couple of years and argued that reason should prevail over religious belief. He wrote the book "In Praise of Folly", which noted man's elaborate pains in misdirected efforts to gain the wrong thing. For instance, it questioned what man would stick his head into the halter of marriage if he first weighed the inconveniences of that life? Or what woman would ever embrace her husband if she foresaw or considered the dangers of childbirth and the drudgery of motherhood? Childhood and senility are the most pleasant stages of life because ignorance is bliss. Old age forgetfulness washes away the cares of the mind. A foolish and doting old man is freed from the miseries that torment the wise and has the chief joy of life: garrulousness. The seekers of wisdom are the farthest from happiness; they forget the human station to which they were born and use their arts as engines with which to attack nature. The least unhappy are those who approximate the naiveness of the beasts and who never attempt what is beyond men. As an example, is anyone happier than a moron or fool? Their cheerful confusion of the mind frees the spirit from care and gives it many-sided delights. Fools are free from the fear of death and from the pangs of conscience. They are not filled with vain worries and hopes. They are not troubled by the thousand cares to which this life is subject. They experience no shame, fear, ambition, envy, or love. In a world where men are mostly at odds, all agree in their attitude towards these innocents. They are sought after and sheltered; everyone permits them to do and say what they wish with impunity. However, the usual opinion is that nothing is more lamentable than madness. The Christian religion has some kinship with folly, while it has none at all with wisdom. For proof of this, notice that children, old people, women, and fools take more delight than anyone else in holy and religious things, led no doubt solely by instinct. Next, notice that the founders of religion have prized simplicity and have been the bitterest foes of learning. Finally, no people act more foolishly than those who have been truly possessed with Christian piety. They give away whatever is theirs; they overlook injuries, allow themselves to be cheated, make no distinction between friends and enemies, shun pleasure, and feast on hunger, vigils, tears, labors, and scorn. They disdain life, and utterly prefer death. In short, they have become altogether indifferent to ordinary interests, as if their souls lived elsewhere and not in their bodies. What is this, if not to be mad? The life of Christians is run over with nonsense. They make elaborate funeral arrangements, with candles, mourners, singers, and pallbearers. They must think that their sight will be returned to them after they are dead, or that their corpses will fall ashamed at not being buried grandly. Christian theologians, in order to prove a point, will pluck four or five words out from different places, even falsifying the sense of them if necessary, and disregard the fact that their context was relevant or even contradicted their points. They do this with such brazen skill that our attorneys are often jealous of them. Attorney Christopher St. German wrote the legal treatise "Doctor and Student", in which he deems the law of natural reason to be supreme and eternal. The law of God and the law of man, as enunciated by the church and royalty, merely supplement the law of natural reason and may change from time to time. Examples of the law of reason are: It is good to be loved. Evil is to be avoided. Do onto others as you would have them do unto you. Do nothing against the truth. Live peacefully with others. Justice is to be done to every man. No one is to wrong another. A trespasser should be punished. From these is deduced that a man should love his benefactor. It is lawful to put away force with force. It is lawful for every man to defend himself and his goods against an unlawful power. Like his father, Henry VIII dominated Parliament. He used this power to reform the church of England in the 1530's. The Protestant reformation cause, started in Germany in 1517 by Martin Luther posting his thesis, had become identified with Henry's efforts to have his marriage of eighteen years to the virtuous Catherine annulled so he could marry a much younger woman: Anne. His purported reason was to have a son. The end of his six successive wives was: annuled, beheaded, died; annuled, beheaded, survived. Henry VIII was egotistical, arrogant, and self- indulgent. This nature allowed him to declare himself the head of the church of England instead of the pope. Henry used and then discarded officers of state e.g. by executing them for supposed treason. One such was Thomas Wolsey, the son of a town grazier and butcher, who was another supporter of classical learning. He rose through the church, the gateway to advancement in a diversity of occupations of clergy such as secretary, librarian, teacher, attorney, doctor, author, civil servant, diplomat, and statesman. He was a court priest when he aligned himself with Henry, both of whom wanted power and glory and dressed extravagantly. But he was brilliant and more of a strategist than Henry. Wolsey called himself a reformer and started a purge of criminals, vagrants and prostitutes within London, bringing many before the council. But most of his reforming plans were not brought to fruition, but ended after his campaign resulted in more power for himself. Wolsey rose to be Chancellor to the King and Archbishop of York. As the representative of the pope for England, he exercised almost full papal authority there. But he controlled the church in England in the King's interest. He was second only to the King and he strengthened the crown by consolidating power and income that had been scattered among nobles and officeholders. He also came to control the many courts. Wolsey centralized the church in England and dissolved the smaller monasteries, the proceeds of which he used to build colleges at Oxford and his home town. He was an impartial and respected justice. When Wolsey was not able to convince the pope to give Henry an annulment of his marriage, Henry dismissed him and took his property, shortly after which Wolsey died. The King replaced Wolsey as Chancellor with Thomas More, after whom he made Thomas Cromwell Chancellor. Cromwell, the son of a clothworker/blacksmith/brewer/innkeeper, was a self-taught attorney, arbitrator, merchant, and accountant. Like Wolsey, he was a natural orator. He drafted and had passed legislation that created a new church of England. He had all men swear an oath to the terms of the succession statute. Thomas More was known for his honesty and was a highly respected man. More did not yield to Henry's bullying for support for his statute declaring the succession to be vested in the children of his second marriage, and his statute declaring himself the supreme head of the church of England, instead of the pope. He did not expressly deny this supremacy statute, so was not guilty of treason under its terms. But silence did not save him. He was attainted for treason on specious grounds and beheaded. His conviction rested on the testimony of one perjured witness, who misquoted More as saying that Parliament did not have the power to require assent to the supremacy statute because it was repugnant to the common law of Christendom. Henry ruled with an iron fist. In 1536, he issued a proclamation that "any rioters or those in an unlawful assembly shall return to their houses" or "we will proceed against them with all our royal force and destroy them and their wives and children." In 1538, he proclaimed that anyone hurting or maiming an officer while trying to make an arrest "shall lose and forfeit all their lands, goods, and chattel" and shall suffer perpetual imprisonment. Moreover, if one murdered such an officer, he would suffer death without privilege of sanctuary or of clergy. In 1540, he proclaimed that there would be no shooting by handgun except on a shooting range. Henry had Parliament pass bills of attainder against many people. For the first time, harsh treatment of prisoners in the Tower, such as placement in dungeons with little food, no bed, and no change of clothes, became almost a matter of policy. Through his host of spies, Cromwell heard what men said to their closest friends. Words idly spoken were distorted into treasonable utterances. Fear spread through the people. Silence was a person's only possibility of safety. Cromwell developed a technique for the management of the House of Commons which lasted for generations. He promulgated books in defense of royal spiritual authority, which argued that canon law was not divine but merely human and that clerical authority had no foundation in the Bible. A reformed English Bible was put in all parish churches. Reformers were licensed to preach. Cromwell ordered sermons to be said which proclaimed the supremacy of the King. He instituted registers to record baptisms, marriages, and burials in every county, for the purpose of reducing disputes over descent and inheritance. He dissolved all the lesser monasteries. When Cromwell procured a foreign wife for Henry whom Henry found unattractive, he was attainted and executed. Henry now reconstructed his council to have a fixed membership, an official hierarchy based on rank, a secretariat, an official record, and formal powers to summon individuals before it by legal process. Because it met in the King's Privy Lodgings, it was called the "Privy Council". It met daily instead of just during the terms of the Westminster courts from late autumn to early summer. It communicated with the king through intermediaries, of whom the most important was the King's Secretary. Because it was a court council, part of it traveled with the king, while the other part conducted London business. When Henry went to war in France, part of the council went with him, and part of it stayed to attend the Queen Regent. Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote the first English Common Book of Prayer. With its use beginning in 1549, church services were to be held in English instead of Latin. The celebration of the Lord's Supper was a communion among the parishoners and minister all sharing the wine and bread. It replaced the mass, in which the priests were thought to perform a miraculous change of the substance of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, which the priest then offered as a sacrifice for remission of pain or guilt. This reflected the blood sacrifice of Christ dying on the cross. In the mass, only the priests drank the wine. The mass, miracles, the worship of saints, prayers for souls in purgatory, and pilgrimages to shrines such as that of Thomas Becket, were all to be discontinued. Imprisonment or exile rather than death was made the penalty for heresy and blasphemy, and also for adultery. After the King dissolved the greater monasteries, he took and sold their ornaments, silver plate and jewelry, lead from roofs of their buildings, and finally much of the land itself. Three monasteries were converted into the first three treating hospitals in London, one for the diseased, one for the poor, and one, Bethlehem (or "Bedlam" for short), for the mentally ill. But there were still many poor, sick, blind, aged, and impotent people in the streets since the closure of the monasteries. In 1552, there were 2,100 people in need of relief, including 300 orphans, 600 sick or aged, 350 poor men overburdened with their children, 650 decayed householders, and 200 idle vagabonds. London then set up a poor relief scheme. The Bridewell was established to set to work the idle in making feather bed ticks and wool-cards, drawing of wire, carding, knitting, and winding of silk. Parishes were required to give money for the poor in 1563. Other towns followed London's lead in levying a poor rate. Henry used the proceeds from the sale of the monasteries for building many new palaces and wood ships for his navy. In war, these navy ships had heavy guns which could sink other ships. In peace time, these ships were hired out to traders. Large ships were constructed in docks, made partly by digging and partly by building walls. In 1545, henry issued a proclamation ordering all vagabonds, ruffians, masterless men, and evil-disposed persons to serve him in his navy. The former land of the monasteries, about 30% of the country's land, was sold and resold, usually to great landowners, or leased. Title deeds became important as attorneys sought the security that title could give. Some land went to entrepreneurial cloth manufacturers, who converted the buildings for the manufacture of cloth. They bought the raw wool and hired craftsmen for every step of the manufacturing process to be done in one continuous process. This was faster than buying and selling the wool material between craftsmen who lived in different areas. Also, it was more efficient because the amount of raw wool bought could be adjusted to the demand for cloth. Many landowners now could live in towns exclusively off the rents of their rural land. Rents were increased so much that tenants could not pay and were evicted. They usually became beggars or thieves. Much of their former land was converted from crop raising to pasture for large herds of sheep. Arable farming required many workers, whereas sheep farming required only one shepherd and herdsman. There were exceptional profits made from the export of wool cloth. But much raw wool was still exported. Its price went up from 6s.8d. per tod [about 28 pounds] in 1340 to 20s.8d. in 1546. Villeinage was now virtually extinct. A lord could usually claim a small money-rent from the freeholder, sometimes a relief when his land was sold or passed at death, and occasionally a heriot from his heir. There was steady inflation. Landlords made their leases short term so that they could raise rents as prices rose. Copyholders gradually acquired a valuable right in their holdings; their rent became light - less that a shilling an acre. At least 85% of the population still lived in the country. Rich traders built town or country houses in which the emphasis was on comfort and privacy. There was more furniture, bigger windows filled with glass, thick wallpaper, and formal gardens. Use of thick, insulating wallpaper rose with the rise of paper mills. It was stenciled, hand-painted, or printed. Some floors were tiled instead of stone or wood. They were still strewn with straw. The owners ate in a private dining room and slept in their own rooms with down quilts. Their soap was white. They had clothing of white linen and white wool, leather slippers, and felt hats. Men wore long tunics open at the neck and filled in with pleated linen and enormous puffed sleeves. Henry made proclamations reminding people of the apparel laws, but they were difficult to enforce. Henry also made a proclamation limiting the consumption of certain meat according to status. Seven dishes were allowed to bishops, dukes, marquises, and earls; six to other temporal lords; five to justices, the King's council, sheriffs, and persons with an income of at least 200 pounds yearly or goods worth 2000 pounds; four to persons with an income of at least 100 pounds or goods worth 1000 pounds; and three dishes to persons with an income of at least 100 pounds or goods worth 500 pounds. There were limits on types of meat served, such as a maximum of one dish of great fowl such as crane, swan, and peacock; eight quail per dish; and twelve larks in a dish. People used tin or pewter dishes, platters, goblets, saucers, spoons, saltcellars, pots, and basins. They used soap to wash themselves, their clothes, and their dishes. A solid, waxy soap was from evaporating a mixture of goat fat, water, and ash high in potassium carbonate. They had bedcovers on their beds. Cloth bore the mark of its weaver and came in many colors. Cloth could be held together with pins that had a shank with a hook by which they were closed. People went to barbers to cut their hair and to extract teeth. They went to people experienced with herbs, roots, and waters for treatment of skin conditions such as sores, cuts, burns, swellings, irritated eyes or scaly faces. For more complicated ailments, they went to physicians, who prescribed potions and medicines. They bought potions and medicines from apothecaries and pharmacists. They burned wood logs in the fireplaces in their houses. So much wood was used that young trees were required by statute to be given enough lateral space to spread their limbs and were not cut down until mature. The King, earls, who ruled counties, and barons, who had land and a place in the House of Lords, still lived in the most comfort. The King's house had courtyards, gardens, orchards, wood-yards, tennis courts, and bowling alleys. The walls of the towns were manned by the citizens themselves, with police and watchmen at their disposal. In inns, travelers slept ten to a bed and there were many fleas and an occasional rat or mouse running through the rushes strewn on the floor. The inn provided a bed and ale, but travelers brought their own food. Each slept with his purse under his pillow. In markets, sellers set up booths for their wares. They sold grain for making oatmeal or for sowing one's own ground. Wine, butter, cheese, fish, chicken, and candles could also be bought. Butchers bought killed sheep, lambs, calves, and pigs to cut up for selling. Tanned leather was sold to girdle-makers and shoemakers. Goods bought in markets were presumed not to be stolen, so that a purchaser could not be dispossessed of goods bought unless he had knowledge that they were stolen. The ruling group of the towns came to be composed mostly of merchants, manufacturers, attorneys, and physicians. Some townswomen were independent traders. The governed class contained small master craftsmen and journeyman artisans, small traders, and dependent servants. The major streets of London were paved with stone, with a channel in the middle. More water conduits from hills, heaths, and springs were built to provide the citizens of London with more water. The sewers carried only surface water away. Households were forbidden to use the sewers. Privies emptied into cesspools. The Merchant Adventurers' Fellowship brought virtually all adventurers under its control and organized and regulated the national cloth trade. It had a General Court of the Adventurers sitting in the London Mercers' Hall. Various companies were granted monopolies for trade in certain areas of the world such as Turkey, Spain, France, Venice, the Baltic, and Africa. These were regulated companies. That is they obtained complete control of a particular foreign market, but any merchant who cared to join the company, pay its dues, and obey its regulations, might share in the benefits of its monopoly. The companies generally confined trade to men who were primarily merchants and not shopkeepers. In 1553 explorer Sebastian Cabot formed the Muscovy Company, which was granted a monopoly in its charter for trade with Russia. It was oriented primarily to export English woolen cloth. It was the first company trading on a joint stock, which was arranged as a matter of convenience and safety. The risks were too great for any few individuals. It hired ships and assigned space to each member to ship his goods at his own risk. The dividend was return to the subscribers of the capital put in plus an appropriate share of any profits made on the voyage. I.e. the money was divided up. The members began leaving their money with the company for the next voyage. A general stock grew up. In 1568 were the first industrial companies: Mines Royal, and Mineral and Battery Works. The cloth, mining, iron, and woodcraft industries employed full-time workers on wages. In the ironworks and foundries, the furnace blowing engines were worked by water wheels or by a gear attached to donkeys or horses. The forge hammers were worked at first by levers and later by water wheels. The day and night hammering filled the neighborhood with their noise. Land held in common was partitioned. There were leases of mansion houses, smaller dwelling houses, houses with a wharf having a crane, houses with a timber yard, houses with a garden, houses with a shed, shops, warehouses, cellars, and stables. Lands with a dye-house or a brew-house were devised by will along with their dying or brewing implements. There were dairies making butter and cheese. The knights had 70% of the land, the nobles 10%, the church 10%, and king 5%. Citizens paid taxes to the king amounting to one tenth of their annual income from land or wages. Merchants paid "forced loans" and benevolences. The national government was much centralized and had full-time workers on wages. A national commission of sewers continually surveyed walls, ditches, banks, gutters, sewers, ponds, bridges, rivers, streams, mills, locks, trenches, fish- breeding ponds, and flood gates. When low places were threatened with flooding, it hired laborers, bought timber, and hired carts with horses or oxen for necessary work. Mayors of cities repaired water conduits and pipes under their cities' ground. The organ and the harp, precursor to the piano, were played. All people generally had enough food because of the commercialization of agriculture. Even the standard meal of the peasant was bread, bacon, cheese, and beer or cidar, with beef about twice a week. Also, roads were good enough for the transport of foodstuffs thereon. Four-wheeled wagons for carrying people as well as goods. Goods were also transported by the pulling of barges on the rivers from paths along the river. A plough with wheels was used as well as those without. The matchlock musket came into use, but did not replace the bow because its matchcord didn't remain lit in rainy weather. The matchlock was an improvement over the former musket because both hands could be used to hold and aim the matchlock musket because the powder was ignited by a device that touched a slow-burning cord to the powder when a trigger was pulled with one finger. After the break with Rome, cooperation among villagers in church activities largely ceased. The altars and images previously taken care of by them disappeared and the paintings on the walls were covered with white or erased, and scripture texts put in their place. People now read the new Bible, the "Paraphrases" of Erasmus, Foxe's "Book of Martyrs", and the works of Bishop Jewel. The Book of Martyrs taught the duty and splendor of rising above all physical danger or suffering. The canon law of the church was abolished and its study prohibited. Professorships of the civil law were founded at the two universities. The Inns of Court grew. Attorneys had more work with the new laws passed to replace the church canons of the church. They played an important role in town government and many became wealthy. They acquired town houses in addition to their rural estates. Church reforms included abolishing church sanctuaries. Benefit of clergy was restricted. Parsons were allowed to marry. Archbishops were selected by the king without involvement by the pope. Decisions by archbishops in testamentary, matrimonial, and marriage annulment matters were appealable to the Court of Chancery instead of to the pope. The clergy's canons were subject to the King's approval. The control of the church added to the powers of the Crown to summon and dissolve Parliament, coin money, create peers [members of the House of Lords who received individual writs of summons to Parliament], pardon criminals, order the arrest of dangerous persons without customary process of law in times of likely insurrection, tax and call men to arms without the consent of Parliament if the country were threatened with invasion. About 1550 there began indictments and executions for witchcraftery which lasted for about a century. One of the reasons for suspecting a woman to be a witch was that she lived alone, which was very unusual. Henry ordered all alien Anabaptists, who denied the validity of infant baptism, to leave the realm. In Switzerland, Theophrastus Paracelsus, an astrologer and alchemist who later became a physician, did not believe that humor imbalance caused disease nor in treatment by blood-letting or purging. He believed that there were external causes of disease, e.g. toxic matter in food, contagion, defective physical or mental constitution, cosmic influences differing with climate and country, or affliction sent Providence. He urged that wounds be kept clean rather than given poultices. He started clinical diagnosis and treatment by highly specific medicines, instead of cure-alls. For instance, he used alkalies to treat disease, such as gout, indicated by certain substances in the urine, which also started urinalysis. He perceived that syphillis was caused by contagion and used mercury to cure it. He found curative powers also in opium, sulphur, iron, and arsenic. Opium was made by drying and cooking the capsule of the poppy and was one of the few really effective early drugs. Paracelsus urged alchemists to try to prepare drugs from minerals for the relief of suffering. He claimed to acquire knowledge of cures through spiritual contacts to occult wisdom. He believed that a human being has an invisible body as well as a visible one and that it is closely attuned to imagination and the spiritual aspect of an individual. He noticed that one's attitudes and emotions, such as anger, could affect one's health. He sometimes used suggestion and signs to help a patient form mental images, which translated into cures. He saw insanity as illness instead of possession by evil spirits. Understanding of the celestial world began to change. Contemporary thought was that the nature of all things was to remain at rest, so that movement and motion had to be explained by causes. The earth was stationary and the heavens were spherical and revolved around the earth every twenty-four hours. The universe was finite. The firmament extended outward in a series of rotating, crystalline, ethereal spheres to which were attached the various points of celestial geography. First came the circle of the moon. The sun orbited the earth. The fixed stars rotated on an outer firmament. Finally, there was the abode of God and his heavenly hosts. Different principles ruled the celestial world; it was orderly, stable, ageless, and enduring. But the world of man changed constantly due to its mixed four elements of air, earth, fire, and water each trying to disentangle itself from the others and seeking to find its natural location. The heavenly spheres could affect the destinies of men, such as through fate, fortune, intelligence, cherubim, seraphim, angels, and archangels. Astrologers read the celestial signs and messages. Then a seed of doubt was cast on this theory by Nicholaus Copernicus, a timid monk in Poland, who found inconsistencies in Ptolemy's work, but saw similarity in the movements of the earth and other planets. He inferred from planetary movements that their motion could be explained simply if they were revolving in circular paths around the sun, rather than around the earth. In his book of 1543, he also expressed his belief that the earth also revolved around the sun. This idea so shocked the world that the word "revolution" became associated with radical change. He regarded it as more likely that the earth rotated than that the stars moved with great speed in their large orbits. He proposed that the earth spins on its own axis about once every twenty-four hours, with a spin axis at about a 23 1/2 degree tilt from the orbital axis, thus explaining a slow change in the overall appearances of the fixed stars which had been observed since the time of Ptolemy. He deduced from astronomical measurements that the correct order of the planets from the Sun was: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The church considered his ideas heretical because contradictory to its dogma that man and the earth were the center of the universe. A central sun evoked images of pagan practices of sun worship.
- The Law - A person having land in socage or fee simple may will and devise his land by will or testament in writing. A person holding land by knight's service may will and devise by his last will and testament in writing part of his land to his wife and other parts of his land to his children, as long as 1/3 of entailed land is left to the King. Anyone serving the king in war may alienate his lands for the performance of his will, and if he dies, his feoffees or executors shall have the wardship of his heir and land. A person who leases land for a term of years, even if by indenture or without a writing, may have a court remedy as do tenants of freehold for any expulsion by the lessor which is contrary to the lease, covenant, or agreement. These termers, their executors and assigns, shall hold and enjoy their terms against the lessors, their heirs and assigns. The lessor shall have a remedy for rents due or waste by a termer after recovering the land as well as if he had not recovered the land. A lord may distrain land within his fee for rents, customs, or services due without naming the tenant, because of the existence of secret feoffments and leases made by their tenants to unknown persons. Anyone seised of land to the use or trust of other persons by reason of a will or conveyance shall be held to have lawful seisin and possession of the land, because by common law, land is not devisable by will or testament, yet land has been so conveyed, which has deprived married men of their courtesy, women of their dower, the king of the lands of persons attainted, the king of a year's profits from felons' lands, and lords of their escheats. (This was difficult to enforce.) A woman may not have both a jointure [promise of husband to wife of property or income for life after his death] and dower of her husband's land. (Persons had purchased land to hold jointly with their wives) A sale of land must be in writing, sealed, and registered in its county with the clerk of that county. If the land is worth less than 40s. per year, the clerk is paid 12d. If the land exceeds 40s. yearly, the clerk is paid 2s.6d. An adult may lease his lands or tenements only by a writing under his seal for a term of years or a term of life, because many people who had taken leases of lands and tenements for a term of years or a term of lives had to spend a lot for repair and were then evicted by heirs of their lessors. A husband may not lease out his wife's land. No woman-covert, child, idiot, or person of insane memory may devise land by will or testament. The land of tenants-in-common may be partitioned by them so that each holds a certain part. No bishop or other official having authority to take probate of testaments may take a fee for probating a testament where the goods of the testator are under 100s., except that the scribe writing the probate of the testament may take 6d., and for the commission of administration of the goods of any man dying intestate, being up to 100s, may be charged 6d. Where the goods are over 100s. but up to 800s. sterling, probate fees may be 3s.6d. at most, whereof the official may take 2s.6d. at most, with 12d. residue to the scribe for registering the testament. Where the goods are over 800s. sterling, probate fees may be 5s. at most, whereof the official may take 2s.6d. at most, with 2s.6d. residue to the scribe, or the scribe may choose to take 1d. per 10 lines of writing of the testament. If the deceased had willed by his testament any land to be sold, the money thereof coming nor the profits of the land shall not be counted as the goods or chattel of the deceased. Where probate fees have customarily been less, they shall remain the same. The official shall approve and seal the testament without delay and deliver it to the executors named in such testaments for the said sum. If a person dies intestate or executors refuse to prove the testament, then the official shall grant the administration of the goods to the widow of the deceased person, or to the next of kin, or to both, in the discretion of the official, taking surety of them for the true administration of the goods, chattels, and debts. Where kin of unequal degree request the administration, it shall be given to the wife and, at his discretion, other requestors. The executors or administrators, along with at least two persons to whom the deceased was indebted, or to whom legacies were made, or, upon their refusal or absence, two honest kinsmen, shall make an inventory of the deceased's goods, chattels, ware, merchandise, as well moveable as not moveable, and take it upon their oaths to the official. No parish clergyman or other spiritual person shall take a mortuary fee or money from a deceased person with movable goods under the value of 133s., a deceased woman-covert, a child, a person keeping no house, or a traveler. Only one mortuary fee may be taken of each deceased and that in the place where he most dwelled and lived. Where the deceased's moveable goods are to the value of 133s. or more, above his debts paid, and under 600s., a mortuary up to 3s. 4d. may be taken. Where such goods are 600s. or more and under 800s., mortuary up to 6s.8d. may be taken. Where such goods are 800s. or above, mortuary up to 10s. may be taken. But where mortuaries have customarily been less, they shall remain the same. Executors of a will declaring land to be sold for the payment of debts, performance of legacies to wife and children, and charitable deeds for the health of souls, may sell the land despite the refusal of other executors to agree to such sale. A man may not marry his mother, stepmother, sister, niece, aunt, or daughter. Any clergy preaching contrary to the King's religious doctrine shall recant for the first offence. He shall abjure and bear a faggot (a badge resembling a faggot of wood which would have been used for burning him as a heretic) for the second offence. If he refuses to abjure or bear a faggot or offends a third time, he shall be burned and lose all his goods. If a layperson teaches, defends, or maintains a religious doctrine other than the King's, he shall recant and be imprisoned for twenty days for the first offence. He shall abjure and bear a faggot if he does not recant or offends a second time. He shall forfeit his goods and suffer perpetual imprisonment if he does not abjure or bear a faggot or offends a third time. The entry of an apprentice into a craft shall not cost more than 2s.6d. After his term, his entry shall not be more than 3s.4d. This replaced the various fees ranging from this to 40s. No master of a craft may require his apprentice to make an oath not to compete with him by setting up a shop after the term of his apprenticeship. No alien may take up a craft or occupation in the nation. No brewer of ale or beer to sell shall make wood vessels or barrels, and coopers shall use only good and seasonable wood to make barrels and shall put their mark thereon. Every ale or beer barrel shall contain 32 of the King's standard gallons. The price of beer barrels sold to ale or beer brewers or others shall be 9d. An ale-brewer may employ in his service one cooper only to bind, hoop and pin, but not to make, his master's ale vessels. No butcher may keep a tanning-house. Tanned leather shall be sold only in open fairs and markets and after it is inspected and sealed. Only people living in designated towns may make cloth to sell, to prevent the ruin of these towns by people taking up both agriculture and cloth-making outside these towns. No one making cloth for sale may have more than one woolen loom or forfeit 20s. This to protect the weavers' ability to maintain themselves and their families from rich clothiers who keep many looms and employ journeymen and unskillful persons at low wages. No one owning a fulling mill may own a weaving loom. No weaver may own a fulling mill. No one shall shoot in or keep in his house any hand-gun or cross- bow unless he has 2,000s. yearly. No one may hunt or kill hare in the snow since their killing in great numbers by men other than the king and noblemen has depleted them. No one shall take an egg or bird of any falcon or hawk out of its nest on the King's land. No one may disguise himself with hidden or painted face to enter a forest or park enclosed with a wall for keeping deer to steal any deer or hare. Ducks and geese shall not be taken with any net or device during the summer, when they haven't enough feathers to fly. But a freeholder of 40s. yearly may hunt and take such with long bow and spaniels. No one may sell or buy any pheasant except the King's officers may buy such for the King. No butcher may kill any calf born in the spring. No grain, beef, mutton, veal, or pork may be sold outside the nation. Every person with 36 acres of agricultural land, shall sow one quarter acre with flax or hemp-feed. All persons shall kill crows on their land to prevent them from eating so much grain at sowing and ripening time and destroying hay stacks and the thatched roofs of houses and barns. They shall assemble yearly to survey all the land to decide how best to destroy all the young breed of crows for that year. Every village and town with at least ten households shall put up and maintain crow nets for the destruction of crows. No land used for raising crops may be converted to pasture. No woods may be converted to agriculture or pasture. The efforts to enforce these proved these prohibitions were not successful. No one shall cut down or break up dikes holding salt water and fresh water from flooding houses and pastures. No one shall dump tin-mining debris, dung, or rubbish into rivers flowing into ports or take any wood from the walls of the port, so that ships may always enter at low tide. A person may lay out a new highway on his land where the old one has been so damaged by waterways that horses with carriages cannot pass, with the consent of local officials. Only poor, aged, and disabled persons may beg. Begging without a license is punishable by whipping or setting in the stocks 3 days with only bread and water. Alien palm readers shall no longer be allowed into the nation, because they have been committing felonies and robberies. Butchers may not sell beef, pork, mutton, or veal from carcasses for more than 1/2 penny and 1/2 farthing [1/4 penny] per pound. French wines may not sell at retail for more than 8d. per gallon. A barrel maker or cooper may sell a beer barrel for 10d. No longer may aliens bring books into the nation to sell because now there are sufficient printers and book-binders in the nation. No one may buy fresh fish other than sturgeon, porpoise, or seal from an alien to put to sale in the nation. Every person with an enclosed park where there are deer, shall keep two tall and strong mares in such park and shall not allow them to be mounted by any short horse, because the breeding of good, swift, and strong horses has diminished. A man may have only as many trotting horses for the saddle as are appropriate to his degree. No one may maintain for a living a house for unlawful games such as bowling, tennis, dice, or cards. No artificer, craftsman, husbandman, apprentice, laborer, journeyman, mariner, fisherman may play these games except at Christmas under his master's supervision. Noblemen and others with a yearly income of at least 2,000s. may allow his servants to play these games at his house. Hemp of flax may not be watered in any river or stream where animals are watered. No one shall sell merchandise to another and then buy back the same merchandise within three months at a lower price. No one shall sell merchandise to be paid for in a year above the sum of 200s. per 2000s. worth of merchandise. No one shall sell or mortgage any land upon condition of payment of a sum of money before a certain date above the sum of 200s. per 2000s. per year. No one shall commit forgery by counterfeiting a letter made in another person's name to steal any money, goods, or jewels. No one shall libel by accusing another of treason in writing and leaving it in an open place without subscribing his own name to it. If any servant converts to his own use more than 40s. worth of jewels, money, or goods from caskets entrusted to him for safekeeping by a nobleman or other master or mistress, it shall be a felony. If a person breaks into a dwelling house by night to commit burglary or murder, is killed by anyone in that house, or a person is killed in self-defense, the killer shall not forfeit any lands or goods for the killing. Killing by poisoning shall be deemed murder and is punishable by death. A person who has committed a murder, robbery, or other felony he has committed shall be imprisoned for his natural life and be burned on the hand, because those who have been exiled have disclosed their knowledge of the commodities and secrets of this nation and gathered together to practice archery for the benefit of the foreign realm. If he escapes such imprisonment, he shall forfeit his life. A person convicted or outlawed shall be penalized by loss of life, but not loss of lands or goods, which shall go to his wife as dower and his heirs. Buggery may not be committed on any person or beast. No one shall slander or libel the king by speeches or writing or printing or painting. No one shall steal fish from a pond on another's land by using nets or hooks with bait or by drying up the pond. The mayor of London shall appoint householders to supervise watermen rowing people across the Thames River because so many people have been robbed and drowned by these rowers. All such boats must be at least 23 feet long and 5 feet wide. No man shall take away or marry any maiden under 16 years of age with an inheritance against the will of her father. Any marriage solemnized in church and consummated shall be valid regardless of any prior agreement for marriage. Sheriffs shall not lose their office because they have not collected enough money for the Exchequer, but shall have allowances sufficient to perform their duties. Butchers, brewers, and bakers shall not conspire together to sell their victuals only at certain prices. Artificers, workmen and laborers shall not conspire to work only at a certain rate or only at certain hours of the day. No one shall sell any woolen cloth that shrinks when it is wet. Only artificers using the cutting of leather, may buy and sell tanned leather and only for the purpose of converting it into made wares. A beggar's child above five years may be taken into service by anyone that will. Cattle may be bought only in the open fair or market and only by a butcher or for a household, team, or dairy, but not for resale live. Butter and cheese shall not be bought to be sold again except at retail in open shop, fair, or market. No man may enter a craft of cloth-making until he has been an apprentice for seven years or has married a clothiers' wife and practicing the trade for years with her and her servants sorting the wool. No country person shall sell wares such as linen drapery, wool drapery, hats, or groceries by retail in any incorporated town, but only in open fairs. For every 60 sheep there shall be kept one milk cow because of the scarcity of cattle. No clothier may keep more than one wool loom in his house, because many weavers do not have enough work to support their families. No weaver may have more than two wool looms. No cloth-maker, fuller, shearman, weaver, tailor, or shoemaker shall retain a journeyman to work by the piece for less than a three month period. Every craftsman who has three apprentices shall have one journeyman. Servants in agriculture and bargemen shall serve by the whole year and not by day wages. There shall be a sales tax of 12d. per pound of wool cloth goods for the Crown. All people shall attend church on Sundays to remember God's benefits and goodness to all and to give thanks for these with prayers and to pray to be given daily necessities. Anyone fighting in church shall be excluded from the fellowship of the parish community. No one shall use a rope or device to stretch cloth for sale so to make it appear as more in quantity than it is. No one may sell cloth at retail unless the town where it was dressed, dyed, and pressed has placed its seal on the cloth. Cloth may not be pressed with a hot press, but only with a cold press. Offices may not be bought and sold, but only granted by justices of the royal courts. No one going from house to house to repair metal goods or sell small goods he is carrying may do this trade outside the town where he lives. No one may sell ale or beer without a license, because there have been too many disorders in common alehouses. Offenders may be put in the town or county gaol for three days. Only persons with yearly incomes of 1,333s. or owning goods worth 13,333s. may store wine in his house and only for the use of his household. No one may sell forged iron, calling it steel, because the edged tools and weapons made from it are useless. Parish communities shall repair the highways for four days each year using oxen, cart, plough, shovels, and spades. The children of priests are declared legitimate so they may inherit their ancestor's lands. The priests may be tenants by courtesy after the death of their wives of such land and tenements that their wives happened to be seized of in fee simple or in fee tail, during the spousals. The King's proclamations shall be observed and kept as though they were acts of Parliament. The penalty shall not be more than that stated in the proclamation, except for heresy. The Year Books ceased in 1535.
- Judicial Procedure - By royal proclamation of 1546, only those admitted by the Chancellor and two chief justices may practice as counsel or in legal pleading in any of the King's courts. Also, such a person must be serjeant-at-law, reader, utter barrister, or an eight-year fellow of one of the four houses of court, except in the Court of Common Pleas. Doctors of the civil law may practice in the church or Chancery courts. Justices shall tax inhabitants of the county for building gaols throughout the nation, for imprisonment of felons, to be kept by the sheriffs and repaired out of the Exchequer. Piracy at sea or in river or creek or port are adjudicated in counties because of the difficulty of obtaining witnesses from the ship, who might be murdered or who are on other voyages on the sea, for adjudication by the admiral. Piracy and murder on ships is punishable by death only after confession or proof by disinterested witnesses. Land held by tenants in common may be partitioned by court order, because some of these tenants have cut down all the trees to take the wood and pulled down the houses to convert the material to their own use. Persons worth 800s. a year in goods shall be admitted in trials of felons in corporate towns although they have no freehold of land. Each justice of the high courts may employ one chaplain. The Privy Council took the authority of the star chamber court, which organized itself as a specialty court. Also, a specific group of full-time councilors heard pleas of private suitors. The bishops, nobility, and Justices of the Peace were commanded to imprison clergy who taught papal authority. Justices of the Peace and sheriffs were to watch over the bishops. The Justices of Assize were to assess the effectiveness of the Justices of the Peace as well as enforce the treason statute on circuit. The criminal court went outside the common law to prosecute political enemies, e.g. by dispensing with a jury. Since the nation was now peaceful, expediency was no longer needed, so judicial procedures again became lengthy and formal with records. The Chancery court enforced the obligations known as trusts, in the name of equity and good conscience. It adopted every analogy that the common law presented. Its procedure was to force the defendant to answer on oath the charges that were brought against him. All pleadings and usually testimony was put into writing. Much evidence consisted of written affidavits. There was no jury. The Chancery court did not record its decisions apparently because it did not see itself s bound by precedents. Witnesses could be sworn in to state pertinent facts necessary for full understanding and adjudication of cases, because they are reliable now that there is no unlicensed livery and maintenance and because jurors no longer necessarily know all the relevant facts. When acting as the highest court, the House of Lords was presided over by the Chancellor, who sat on his prescribed place on the wool sacks. It had the following jurisdiction: trial of peers for high treason and serious felony, appeals on writs of error from courts of the common law, and impeachment. The House of Lords served as judge of impeachment cases, whereas the House of Commons served as fact finders. The leet court and sheriff's turn court have much less jurisdiction. They may dispose of presentments of trespasses and nuisances, but not felony or question of freehold. Such presentments are made by a set of at least twelve men, and the presented person is amerced there and then.