By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

´╗┐Title: Our Legal Heritage - King AEthelbert - King George III, 1776, 600 A.D. - 1776
Author: Reilly, S. A.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Our Legal Heritage - King AEthelbert - King George III, 1776, 600 A.D. - 1776" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

Copyright (C) 2004, 2012 by S. A. Reilly


King AEthelbert - King George III, 1776, 600 A.D. - 1776


                S. A. Reilly, Attorney
                175 E. Delaware Place
                Chicago, Illinois 60611-7715

                Copyright (C) 2004, 2012


        This book was written for people with an interest in English
legal history who don't know where to start reading, as I didn't. Its
purpose is also to look at history through its laws, which do not lend
themselves to interpretation, and thus points of view, as does
conventional history; one cannot argue with the black letter of the
law. Attorneys will be interested in reading about the historical
context in which the legal doctrines they learned in law school
developed. This book includes the complete law codes of King Alfred and
of King Aethelbert, the law code of King Canute, paraphrased, excerpts
from the law code of Henry I, the entire Magna Carta, and the statutes
of England relevant to English life, but excluding such topics as
Scottish affairs and wars with Ireland. It also includes the inception
of the common law system, which was praised because it made law which
was not handed down by an absolutist king; the origin of the jury
system; the meaning of the Magna Carta provisions in their historical
context; and the emergence of attorneys.
        This book is a primer. One may read it without prior knowledge
of history or law, although it will be more meaningful to attorneys
than to others. It can serve as an introduction on which to base
further reading in English legal history. It defines terms unique to
English legal history. However, the meaning of some terms in King
Aethelbert's code in Chapter 1 are unknown or inexact.
        In the Table of Contents, the title of each chapter denotes an
important legal development in the given time period for that chapter.
Each chapter is divided into three sections: The Times, The Law, and
Judicial Procedure.
        The Times section sets a background and context in which to
better understand the law of that period. The usual subject matter of
history such as battles, wars, royal intrigues, periods of corruption,
and international relations are omitted as not helping to understand
the process of civilization and development of the law. Standard
practices are described, but there are often variations with locality.
Also, change did not come abruptly, but with vacillations, e.g. the
change from pagan to Christian belief and the change to allowance of
loans for interest. The scientific revolution was accepted only slowly.
There were often many attempts made for change before it actually
occurred, e.g. gaining Parliamentary power over the king's privileges,
such as taxation.
        The Law section describes the law governing the behavior and
conduct of the populace. It includes law of that time which is the
same, similar, or a building block to the law of today. In earlier
times this is both statutory law and the common law of the courts. The
Magna Carta, which is quoted in Chapter 7, is the first statute of
England and is listed first in the "Statutes of the Realm" and the
"Statutes at Large". The law sections of Chapters 7 - 18 mainly quote
or paraphrase almost all of these statutes. Excluded are statutes which
do not help us understand the development of our law, such as statutes
governing Wales after its conquest and statutes on succession rights to
the throne.
        The Judicial Procedure section describes the process of
applying the law and trying cases, and jurisdictions. It also contains
some examples of cases.
        Money is expressed in pounds, shillings, pence, scaetts, or
marks, which is a Danish denomination. There are twenty shillings in a
pound. A mark in silver is two-thirds of a pound. Shillings are
abbreviated: "s." The pre-Norman English shilling was divided into 4
pence or pennies. In Henry I's time, the shilling was divided into 5
pence. The Norman shilling was introduced by Henry II and was divided
into 12 pennies. This penny was literally one pennyweight of silver, so
a pound sterling thus weighed 240 pennyweights. Pence are abbreviated
"d.", for the Roman denarius. For example, six shillings and two pence
is denoted 6s.2d. A scaett was a coin of silver and copper of lesser
denomination; there were 20 scaetts to one shilling. There were no
coins of the denomination of shilling during pre-Norman times.

           Dedication and Acknowledgements

        A Vassar College faculty member once dedicated her book to her
students, but for whom it would have been written much earlier. This
book "Our Legal Heritage" is dedicated to the faculty of Vassar
College, without whom it would never have been written. Much
appreciation goes to Professor James Curtin of Loyola Law School for
his review and comments on this book's medieval period: Chapters 4-10,
and especially his comment that "I learned quite a bit about life in
those days from your work." Thanks go to Loyola University Law School
Professor George Anastaplo for introducing me to Professor Curtin. Much
appreciation goes to Professor Lacey Baldwin Smith of Northwestern
University's History Department for his review and comments on this
book's Tudor and Stuart periods: Chapters 11-17, especially his comment
that he learned a lot. Thanks go to Northwestern University Law School
Professor Steven Presser for introducing me to Professor Smith.
Finally, many thanks go to fellow Mensan William Wedgeworth for
proof-reading the entire book.

              Table of Contents


 1. Tort law as the first written law: to 600
 2. Oaths and perjury: 600-900
 3. Marriage law: 900-1066
 4. Martial "law": 1066-1100
 5. Criminal law and prosecution: 1100-1154
 6. Common Law for all freemen: 1154-1215
 7. Magna Carta: the first statute: 1215-1272
 8. Land law: 1272-1348
 9. Legislating the economy: 1348-1399
 10. Equity from Chancery Court: 1399-1485
 11. Use-trust of land: 1485-1509
 12. Wills and testaments of lands and goods: 1509-1558
 13. Consideration and contract Law: 1558-1601
 14. Welfare for the poor: 1601-1625
 15. Independence of the courts: 1625-1642
 16. Freedom of religion: 1642-1660
 17. Habeas Corpus: 1660-1702
 18. Service of Process instead of arrest: 1702-1776

Appendix: Sovereigns of England


                    Chapter 1

             The Times: before 600 A.D.

        The settlement of England goes back thousands of years. At
first, people hunted and gathered their food. They wore animal skins
over their bodies for warmth and around their feet for protection when
walking. These skins were sewn together with bone needles and threads
made from animal sinews. They carried small items by hooking them onto
their belts. They used bone and stone tools, e.g. for preparing skins.
Their uncombed hair was held by thistlethorns, animal spines, or
straight bone hair pins. They wore conical hats of bound rush and lived
in rush shelters.

        Early clans, headed by kings, lived in huts on top of hills or
other high places and fortified by circular or contour earth ditches
and banks behind which they could gather for protection. They were
probably dug with antler picks and wood spades. The people lived in
rectangular huts with four wood posts supporting a roof. The walls were
made of saplings, and a mixture of mud and straw. Cooking was in a clay
oven inside or over an open fire on the outside. Water was carried in
animal skins or leather pouches from springs lower on the hill up to
the settlement. Forests abounded with wolves, bears, deer, wild boars,
and wild cattle. They could more easily be seen from the hill tops.
Pathways extended through this camp of huts and for many miles beyond.

        For wives, men married women of their clan or bought or
captured other women, perhaps with the help of a best man. They carried
their unwilling wives over the thresholds of their huts, which were
sometimes in places kept secret from her family. The first month of
marriage was called the honeymoon because the couple was given mead, a
drink with fermented honey and herbs, for the first month of their
marriage. A wife wore a gold wedding band on the ring finger of her
left hand to show that she was married.

        Women usually stayed at home caring for children, preparing
meals, and making baskets. They also made wool felt and spun and wove
wool into a coarse cloth. Flax was grown and woven into a coarse linen
cloth. Spinning the strands into one continuous thread was done on a
stick, which the woman could carry about and spin at anytime when her
hands were free. The weaving was done on an upright or warp-weighted
loom. People of means draped the cloth around their bodies and fastened
it with a metal brooch inlayed with gold, gems, and shell, which were
glued on with glue that was obtained from melting animal hooves. People
drank from hollowed- out animal horns, which they could carry from
belts. They could tie things with rawhide strips or rope braids they
made. Kings drank from animal horns decorated with gold or from cups of
amber, shale, or pure gold. Men and women wore pendants and necklaces
of colorful stones, shells, amber beads, bones, and deer teeth. They
skinned and cut animals with hand-axes and knives made of flint dug up
from pits and formed by hitting flakes off. The speared fish with
barbed bone prongs or wrapped bait around a flint, bone, or shell fish
hook. On the coast, they made bone harpoons for deep-sea fish. The
flint ax was used to shape wood and bone and was just strong enough to
fell a tree, although the process was very slow.

        The king, who was tall and strong, led his men in hunting
groups to kill deer and other wild animals in the forests and to fish
in the streams. Some men brought their hunting dogs on leashes to
follow scent trails to the animal. The men threw stones and spears with
flint points at the animals. They used wood clubs to beat them, at the
same time using wood shields to protect their bodies. They watched the
phases of the moon and learned to predict when it would be full and
give the most light for night hunting. This began the concept of a
month. Circles of stone like Stonehenge were built with alignments to
paths of the moon.

        If hunting groups from two clans tried to follow the same deer,
there might be a fight between the clans or a blood feud. After the
battle, the clan would bring back its dead and wounded. A priest
officiated over a funeral for a dead man. His wife would often also go
on the funeral pyre with him.

        The priest also officiated over sacrifices of humans, who were
usually offenders found guilty of transgressions. Sacrifices were
usually made in time of war or pestilence, and usually before the
winter made food scarce.

        The clan ate deer that had been cooked on a spit over a fire,
and fruits and vegetables which had been gathered by the women. They
drank water from springs. In the spring, food was plentiful. There were
eggs of different colors in nests and many hare to eat. The goddess
Easter was celebrated at this time.

        Later, there was farming and domestication of animals such as
horses, pigs, sheep, goats, chicken, and cattle. Of these, the pig was
the most important meat supply, being killed and salted for winter use.
Next in importance were the cattle. Sheep were kept primarily for their
wool. Flocks and herds were taken to pastures. The male cattle, with
wood yokes, pulled ploughs in the fields of barley and wheat. The
female goat and cow provided milk, butter, and cheese. The chickens
provided eggs. The hoe, spade, and grinding stone were used. Thread was
spun with a hand-held spindle which one hand held while the other hand
alternately formed the thread from a mass and then wound it around the
spindle. A coarse cloth was woven and worn as a tunic which had been
cut from the cloth. Kings wore tunics decorated with sheet gold.
Decorated pottery was made from clay and used to hold liquids and for
food preparation and consumption. During the period of "lent" [from the
word "lencten", which means spring], it was forbidden to eat any meat
or fish. This was the season in which many animals were born and grew
to maturity. Wood carts with four wheels were used to transport produce
and manure. Horses were used for transportation of people or goods.
Wood dug-out boats and paddles were used to fish on rivers or on the

        Clans had settlements near rivers. Each settlement had a
meadow, for the mowing of hay, and a simple mill, with round timber
huts, covered with branches or thatch or turf supported by a ring of
posts. Inside was a hearth with smoke going up through a hole in the
roof, and a cauldron for cooking food. There was an upright loom in the
darkness. The floor was swept clean. At the door were spears or bags of
slingstones ready for immediate use. The King lived in the largest hut.
Gullies outside carried off excess water. Each hut had a garden for
fruit and vegetables. A goat or cow might be tied out of reach of the
garden. There was a fence or hedge surrounding and protecting the
garden area and dwelling. Buckets and cauldrons which had originated
from the Mediterranean were used. Querns with the top circular stone
turned by hand over the bottom stone were used for grinding grain.
There were ovens to dry and roast grain. Grain was first eaten as a
porridge or cereal. There were square wood granaries on stilts and wood
racks on which to dry hay. Grain was stored in concealed pits in the
earth which were lined with drystone or basket work or clay and made
airtight by sealing with clay or dung. Old pits were converted into
waste dumps, burials, or latrines. Outside the fence were an acre or
two of fields of wheat and barley, and sometimes oats and rye. Wheat
and rye were sown in the fall, and oats and barley in the spring.
Sowing was by men or two oxen drawing a simple scratch plough. The
crops were all harvested in the summer. In this two-field system, land
was held by peasants in units designed to support a single extended
family. These fields were usually enclosed with a hedge to keep animals
from eating the crop and to define the territory of the settlement from
that of its neighbors. Flax was grown and made into linen cloth. Beyond
the fields were pastures for cattle and sheep grazing. There was often
an area for beehives. This was subsistence level farming.

        Pottery was given symmetry when formed with use of a wheel and
heated in increasingly hot kilns. From kilns used for pottery, it was
noticed that lumps of gold or copper ore within would melt and assume
the shape of what they had been resting on. These were the first
metals, and could be beaten into various shapes, such as ornaments.
Then the liquid ore was poured into moulds carved out of stones to make
axes [small pointed tool for piercing holes in leather, wood, or other
soft materials] and daggers, which were reheated and hammered to become
strong. Copper-tipped drills, chisels, punches and awls were also made.

        The bodies of deceased were buried far away from any village in
wood coffins, except for kings, who were placed in large stone coffins
after being wrapped in linen. Buried with them were a few personal
items, such as copper daggers, flat copper axes, and awls. The deceased
was buried in a coffin with a stone on top deep in the earth to keep
the spirit of the dead from coming out to haunt the living.

        It was learned that tin added to the copper made a stronger
metal: bronze. Stone hammers, and bronze and iron tools, were used to
make cooking pots, weapons, breast plates, and horse bits, which were
formed from moulds and/or forged by bronze smiths and blacksmiths from
iron extracted from iron ore heated in bowl- shaped hearths. Typically
one man operated the bellows to keep the fire hot while another did the
hammering. Bronze was made into sickles for harvesting, razors for
shaving, tweezers, straight hair pins, safety pins for clothes,
armlets, neck-rings, and mirrors. Weapons included bows and arrows,
flint and copper daggers, bronze swords and spears, stone axes, and
shields of wood with bronze mountings. The bows and arrows probably
evolved from spear throwing rods. Kings in body armor fought with
chariots drawn by two horses. The horse harnesses had bronze fittings.
The chariots had wood wheels, later with iron rims. When bronze came
into use, there was a demand for its constituent parts: copper and tin,
which were traded by rafts on waterways and the sea. When iron came
into use, there were wrought iron axes, saws, adzes [ax with curved
blade used to dress wood], files, ploughshares, harrows [set of spikes
to break clods of earth on ploughed land and also to cover seed when
sewn], scythes, billhooks [thick knife with hooked point used to prune
shrubs], and spits for hearths. Lead was mined. There was some
glassmaking of beads. Wrought iron bars were used as currency.

        Hillforts now had wooden palisades on top of their banks to
protect the enclosed farmsteads and villages from stock wandering off
or being taken by rustlers, and from attacks by wild animals or other
people. Later a rampart was added from which sentries could patrol.
These were supported by timber and/or stone structures. Timbers were
probably transported by carts or dragged by oxen. At the entrances were
several openings only one of which really allowed entry. The others
went between banks into dead ends and served as traps in which to kill
the enemy from above. Gates were of wood, some hung from hinges on
posts which could be locked. Later guard chambers were added, some with
space for hearths and beds. Sometimes further concentric circles of
banks and ditches, and perhaps a second rampart, were added around
these forts. They could reach to 14 acres. The ramparts are
sufficiently widely spaced to make sling-shotting out from them highly
effective, but to minimize the dangers from sling-shotting from
without. The additional banks and ditches could be used to create
cattle corridors or to protect against spear-thrown firebrands.
However, few forts had springs of water within them, indicating that
attacks on them were probably expected to be short. Attacks usually
began with warriors bristling with weapons and blowing war trumpets
shouting insults to the foe, while their kings dashed about in
chariots. Sometimes champions from each side fought in single combat.
They took the heads of those they killed to hang from their belts or
place on wood spikes at the gates. Prisoners, including women and
children, might become slaves. Kings sometimes lived in separate
palisades where they kept their horses and chariots.

        Circles of big stones like Stonehenge were rebuilt so that the
sun's position with respect to the stones would indicate the day of
longest sunlight and the day of shortest sunlight. Between these days
there was an optimum time to harvest the crops before fall, when plants
dried up and leaves fell from the trees. The winter solstice, when the
days began to get longer was cause for celebration. In the next season,
there was an optimum time to plant seeds so they could spring up from
the ground as new growth. So farming gave rise to the concept of a
year. Certain changes of the year were celebrated, such as Easter,
named for the Goddess of the Dawn, which occurred in the east (after
lent); May Day celebrating the revival of life; Lammas around July,
when the wheat crop was ready for harvesting; and on October 31 the
Celtic eve of Samhain, when the spirits of the dead came back to visit
homes and demand food or else cast an evil spell on the refusing homes;
and at which masked and costumed inhabitants representing the souls of
the dead paraded to the outskirts of the settlements to lead the ghosts
away from their homes; and at which animals and humans, who might be
deemed to be possessed by spirits, were sacrificed or killed perhaps as
examples, in huge bonfires [bonefires] as those assembled looked out
for spirits and evil beings.

        There was an agricultural revolution from the two-field system
in which one field was fallow to the three-field system, in which there
were three large fields for the heavy and fertile land. Each field was
divided into long and narrow strips. Each strip represented a day's
work with the plough. One field had wheat, or perhaps rye, another had
barley, oats, beans, or peas, and the third was fallow. It had been
observed that legumes such as peas and beans restored the soil. These
were rotated yearly. There was a newly invented plough that was heavy
and made of wood and later had an attached iron blade. The plough had a
mould-board which caught the soil stirred by the plough blade and threw
it into a ridge alongside the furrow dug by the plough blade. This
plough was too heavy for two oxen and was pulled by a team of about
eight to ten oxen. Each ox was owned by a different man as was the
plough, because no one peasant could afford the complete set. Each
freeman was allotted certain strips in each field to bear crops. His
strips were far from each other, which insured some very fertile and
some only fair soil, and some land near his village dwelling and some
far away. These strips he cultivated, sowed with seed, and harvested
for himself and his family. After the harvest, they reverted to common
ownership for grazing by pigs, sheep, and geese. As soon as haymaking
was over, the meadows became common grazing land for horses, cows, and
oxen. Not just any inhabitant, but usually only those who owned a piece
of land in the parish were entitled to graze their animals on the
common land, and each owner had this right of pasture for a definite
number of animals. The faster horse replaced the ox as the primary work
animal. Other farm implements were: coulters, which gave free passage
to the plough by cutting weeds and turf, picks, spades and shovels,
reaping hooks and scythes, and sledge hammers and anvils. Strips of
land for agriculture were added from waste land as the community grew.
Waste lands were moors bristling with brushwood, or gorse, heather and
wanton weeds, reed-coated marshes, quaking peat-bogs, or woods grown
haphazard on sand or rock. With iron axes, forests could be cleared to
provide more arable land.

        Some villages had a smith, a wheelwright, and a cooper. There
were villages which had one or two market days in each week. Cattle,
sheep, pigs, poultry, calves, and hare were sold there. London was a
town on the Thames River under the protection of the Celtic river god
Lud: Lud's town. It's huts were probably built over the water, as was
Celtic custom. It was a port for foreign trade. Near the town was
Ludhill. Each Celtic tribe in England made its own coinage. Silver and
bronze were first used, and then gold. The metal was put into a round
form and then placed between two engraved dies, which were hit.

        Flint workers mined with deer antler picks and ox shoulder
blade shovels for flint to grind into axes, spearheads, and arrowheads.
Mine shafts were up to thirty feet deep and necessitated the use of
chalk lamps fueled by animal fat with wicks of moss. The flint was
hauled up in baskets.

        Common men and women were now buried in tombs within memorial
burial mounds of earth with stone entrances and interior chambers. A
man's weapons and shield were buried with him and a woman's spindle and
weaving baton, and perhaps beads or pottery with her. At times, mounds
of earth would simply be covered over piles of corpses and ashes in
urns. In these mass graves, some corpses had spear holes or sword cuts,
indicating death by violence. The Druid priests, the learned class of
the Celts, taught the Celts to believe in reincarnation of the soul
after death of one body into another body. They also threw prized
possessions into lakes and rivers as sacrifices to water gods. They
placed images of gods and goddesses in shrines, which were sometimes
large enough to be temples. They thought of their gods as supernatural

        With the ability to grow food and the acquisition of land by
conquest by invading groups, the population grew. There were different
classes of men. The freemen were eorls [noble freemen] or ceorls
[ordinary free farmers]. Slaves were not free. Freemen had long hair
and beards. Slaves' hair was shorn from their heads so that they were
bald. Slaves were chained and often traded. Prisoners taken in battle,
especially native Britons taken by invading groups, became slaves. A
slave who was captured or purchased was a "theow". An "esne" was a
slave who worked for hire. A "weallas" was a Welsh slave. Criminals
became slaves of the person wronged or of the king. Sometimes a father
pressed by need sold his children or his wife into bondage. Debtors,
who increased in number during famine, which occurred regularly, became
slaves by giving up the freeman's sword and spear, picking up a slave's
mattock [pick ax for the soils], and placing their head within a lord's
or lady's hands. They were called wite- theows. The original meaning of
the word lord was "loaf-giver". Children with a slave parent were
slaves. The slaves lived in huts around the homes of big landholders,
which were made of logs and consisted on one large room or hall. An
open hearth was in the middle of the earthen floor of the hall, which
was strewn with rushes. There was a hole in the roof to let out the
smoke. Here the landholder and his men would eat meat, bread, salt, hot
spiced ale, and mead while listening to minstrels sing about the heroic
deeds of their ancestors. Richer men drank wine. There were festivals
which lasted several days, in which warriors feasted, drank, gambled,
boasted, and slept where they fell. Physical strength and endurance in
adversity were admired traits.

        Slaves often were used as grain grinders, ploughmen, sowers,
haywards, woodwards, shepherds, goatherds, swineherds, oxherds,
cowherds, dairymaids, and barnmen. Slaves had no legal rights. A lord
could kill his slave at will. A wrong done to a slave was regarded as
done to his owner. If a person killed another man's slave, he had to
compensate him with the slave's purchase price. The slave owner had to
answer for the offenses of his slaves against others, as for the
mischief done by his cattle. Since a slave had no property, he could
not be fined for crimes, but was whipped, mutilated, or killed.

        During famine, acorns, beans, peas, and even bark were ground
down to supplement flour when grain stocks grew low. People scoured the
hedgerows for herbs, roots, nettles, and wild grasses, which were
usually left for the pigs. Sometimes people were driven to infanticide
or group suicide by jumping together off a cliff or into the water.

        Several large kingdoms came to replace the many small ones. The
people were worshipping pagan gods when St. Augustine came to England
in 596 A.D. to Christianize them. King AEthelbert of Kent and his wife,
who had been raised Christian on the continent, met him when he
arrived. The King gave him land where there were ruins of an old city.
Augustine used stones from the ruins to build a church which was later
called Canterbury. He also built the first St. Paul's church in London.
Aethelbert and his men who fought with him and ate and lived in his
household [gesiths] became Christian. A succession of princesses went
out from Kent to marry other Saxon kings and convert them to

        Augustine knew how to write, but King AEthelbert did not. The
King announced his laws at meetings of his people and his eorls would
decide the punishments. There was a fine of 120s. for disregarding a
command of the King. He and Augustine decided to write down some of
these laws, which now included the King's new law concerning the church.

        These laws concern personal injury, killing, theft, burglary,
marriage, adultery, and inheritance. The blood feud's private revenge
for killing had been replaced by payment of compensation to the dead
man's kindred. One, or one's blood kindred, paid a man's "wergeld"
[worth] to his blood kindred for causing his wrongful death. The
wergeld [wer] of a king was an unpayable amount of about 7000s., of an
aetheling [a king-worthy man of the extended royal family] was 1500s.,
of an eorl, 300s., of a ceorl, 100s., of a laet [agricultural worker in
Kent, which class was between free and slave], 40-80s., and of a slave
nothing. At this time a shilling could buy a cow in Kent or a sheep
elsewhere. If a ceorl killed an eorl, he paid three times as much as an
eorl would have paid as murderer. Personal injury was compensated by a
"bot". The penalty for slander was tearing out of the tongue. If an
aetheling was guilty of this offense, his tongue was worth five times
that of a coerl, so he had to pay proportionately more to ransom it.
The crimes of murder, treachery to one's own lord, arson [burning a
house], house breaking, and open theft, were punishable by death and
forfeiture of all property.

                   The Law


 1. [Theft of] the property of God and of the church [shall be
compensated], twelve fold; a bishop's property, eleven fold; a priest's
property, nine fold; a deacon's property, six fold; a cleric's
property, three fold; church frith [breach of the peace of the church;
right of sanctuary and protection given to those within its precincts],
two fold [that of ordinary breach of the public peace]; maethl-frith
[breach of the peace of a meeting place], two fold.
 2. If the King calls his leod [his people] to him, and any one there
do them evil, [let him compensate with] a twofold bot [damages for the
injury], and 50 shillings fine to the King.
 3. If the King drink at any one's home, and any one there do any lyswe
[evil deed], let him make twofold bot.
4. If a freeman steal from the King, let him repay nine fold.
5. If a man slay another in the King's tun [enclosed dwelling
premises], let him make bot with 50 shillings.
6. If any one slay a freeman, 50 shillings to the King, as drihtin beah
[payment to a lord in compensation for killing his freeman].
7. If the King's ambiht-smith [smith or carpenter] or laad-rine [man
who walks before the King or guide or escort], slay a man, let him pay
a half wergeld.
8. [Offenses against anyone or any place under] the King's mund byrd
[protection or patronage], 50 shillings fine
9. If a freeman steal from a freeman, let him make threefold bot; and
let the King have the wite [fine] and all the chattels [necessary to
pay the fine]. (Chattels was a variant of "cattle" and was usually a
beast, though it could mean any personal property.)
10. If a man lie with the one of the King's female servants, let him
pay a bot of 50 shillings.
11. If she be a corn-grinding slave, let him pay a bot of 25 shillings.
The third [class of servant] 12 shillings.
12. Let the King's fedesl [tenant or boarder] be paid for with 20
13. If a man slay another in an eorl's tun [premises], let [him] make
bot with 12 shillings.
14. If a man lie with an eorl's birele [female cupbearer], let him make
bot with 20 shillings.
15. [Offenses against a person or place under] a ceorl's mund byrd
[protection], 6 shillings.
16. If a man lie with a ceorl's birele [female cupbearer], let him make
bot with 6 shillings; with a slave of the second [class], 50 scaetts;
with one of the third, 30 scaetts.
17. If any one be the first to invade a man's tun [premises], let him
make bot with 6 shillings; let him who follows, with 3 shillings;
after, each, a shilling.
18. If a man furnish weapons to another where there is a quarrel,
though no injury results, let him make bot with 6 shillings.
19. If a weg-reaf [highway robbery] be done [with weapons furnished by
another], let him [the man who provided the weapons] make bot with 6
20. If the man be slain, let him [the man who provided the weapons]
make bot with 20 shillings.
21. If a [free] man slay another, let him make bot with a half wergeld
of 100 shillings.
22. If a man slay another, at the open grave let him pay 20 shillings,
and pay the whole wergeld within 40 days.
23. If the slayer departs from the land, let his kindred pay a half
24. If any one bind a freeman, let him make bot with 20 shillings.
25. If any one slay a ceorl's half-aeta [loaf or bread eater; domestic
or menial servant], let him make bot with 6 shillings.
26. If [anyone] slay a laet [semi-slave] of the highest class, let him
pay 80 shillings; of the second class, let him pay 60 shillings; of the
third class, let him pay 40 shillings.
27. If a freeman commit edor-breach [breaking through the fenced
enclosure and forcibly entering a ceorl's dwelling], let him make bot
with 6 shillings.
28. If any one take property from a dwelling, let him pay a three-fold
29. If a freeman goes with hostile intent through an edor [the fence
enclosing a dwelling], let him make bot with 4 shillings.
30. If [in so doing] a man slay another, let him pay with his own
money, and with any sound property whatever.
31. If a freeman lie with a freeman's wife, let him pay for it with his
wergeld, and obtain another wife with his own money, and bring her to
the other [man's dwelling].
32. If any one thrusts through the riht-ham-scyld [legal means of
protecting one's home; the perimeter of a homestead], let him
adequately compensate.
33. If there be feax-fang [seizing someone by the hair], let there be
50 sceatts for bot.
34. If there be an exposure of the bone, let bot be made with 3
35. If there be a cutting of the bone, let bot be made with 4 shillings.
36. If the outer hion [outer membrane covering the brain] be broken,
let bot be made with 10 shillings.
37. If it be both [outer and inner membranes covering the brain], let
bot be made with 20 shillings.
38. If a shoulder be lamed, let bot be made with 30 shillings.
39. If an ear be struck off, let bot be made with 12 shillings.
40. If the other ear hear not, let bot be made with 25 shillings.
41. If an ear be pierced, let bot be made with 3 shillings.
42. If an ear be mutilated, let bot be made with 6 shillings.
43. If an eye be [struck] out, let bot be made with 50 shillings.
44. If the mouth or an eye be injured, let bot be made with 12
45. If the nose be pierced, let bot be made with 9 shillings.
46. If it be one ala, let bot be made with 3 shillings.
47. If both be pierced, let bot be made with 6 shillings.
48. If the nose be otherwise mutilated, for each [cut, let] bot be made
with 6 shillings.
49. If it be pierced, let bot be made with 6 shillings.
50. Let him who breaks the jaw bone pay for it with 20 shillings.
51. For each of the four front teeth, 6 shillings; for the tooth which
stands next to them 4 shillings; for that which stands next to that, 3
shillings; and then afterwards, for each a shilling.
52. If the speech be injured, 12 shillings. If the collar bone be
broken, let bot be made with 6 shillings.
53. Let him who stabs [another] through an arm, make bot with 6
shillings. If an arm be broken, let him make bot with 6 shillings.
54. If a thumb be struck off, 20 shillings. If a thumb nail be off, let
bot be made with 3 shillings. If the shooting [fore] finger be struck
off, let bot be made with 8 shillings. If the middle finger be struck
off, let bot be made with 4 shillings. If the gold [ring] finger be
struck off, let bot be made with 6 shillings. If the little finger be
struck off, let bot be made with 11 shillings.
55. For every nail, a shilling.
56. For the smallest disfigurement of the face, 3 shillings; and for
the greater, 6 shillings.
57. If any one strike another with his fist on the nose, 3 shillings.
58. If there be a bruise [on the nose], a shilling; if he receive a
right hand bruise [from protecting his face with his arm], let him [the
striker] pay a shilling.
59. If the bruise [on the arm] be black in a part not covered by the
clothes, let bot be made with 30 scaetts.
60. If it be covered under the clothes, let bot for each be made with
20 scaetts.
61. If the belly be wounded, let bot be made with 12 shillings; if it
be pierced through, let bot be made with 20 shillings.
62. If any one needs medical attention, let bot be made with 30
63. If any one be cearwund [badly wounded], let bot be made with 3
64. If any one destroy [another's] organ of generation [penis], let him
pay him with 3 wergelds: if he pierce it through, let him make bot with
6 shillings; if it be pierced within, let him make bot with 6 shillings.
65. If a thigh be broken, let bot be made with 12 shillings; if the man
become halt [lame], then friends must arbitrate.
66. If a rib be broken, let bot be made with 3 shillings.
67. If [the skin of] a thigh be pierced through, for each stab 6
shillings; if [the wound be] above an inch [deep], a shilling; for two
inches, 2; above three, 3 shillings.
68. If a sinew be wounded, let bot be made with 3 shillings.
69. If a foot be cut off, let 50 shillings be paid.
70. If a great toe be cut off, let 10 shillings be paid.
71. For each of the other toes, let one half that for the corresponding
finger be paid.
72. If the nail of a great toe be cut off, 30 scaetts for bot; for each
of the others, make bot with 10 scaetts.
73. If a freewoman loc-bore [with long hair] commit any leswe [evil
deed], let her make a bot of 30 shillings.
74. Let maiden bot [compensation for injury to an unmarried woman] be
as that of a freeman.
75. For [breach of] the mund [protection] of a widow of the best class,
of an eorl's degree, let the bot be 50 shillings; of the second, 20
shillings; of the third, 12 shillings; of the fourth, 6 shillings.
76. If a man carry off a widow not under his own protection by right,
let the mund be twofold.
77. If a man buy a maiden as wife, let the bargain stand, if it be
without fraud; but if there be fraud, let him bring her home again, and
let his property be restored to him.
78. If she bear a live child, she shall have half the property, if the
husband die first.
79. If she wish to go away with her children, she shall have half the
80. If the husband wish to keep them [the children], [she shall have
the same portion] as one child.
81. If she bear no child, her paternal kindred shall have the fioh [her
money and chattels] and the morgen-gyfe [morning gift: a gift made to
the bride by her husband on the morning following the consummation of
the marriage].
82. If a man carry off a maiden by force, let him pay 50 shillings to
her controller, and afterwards buy the consent of the controller [to
the marriage].
83. If she be betrothed to another man and money has changed hands, let
him [who carried her off] make bot [to the intended bridegroom] with 20
84. If restitution [of the girl] is made, bot of 35 shillings; and 15
shillings to the King.
85. If a man lie with an esne's [slave's]wife, her husband still
living, let him make twofold bot.
86. If one esne [slave] slay another unoffending, let him pay for him
at his full worth.
87. If an esne's [slave's] eye and foot be struck out or off, let him
be paid for at his full worth.
88. If any one bind another man's esne [slave], let him make bot with 6
89. Let [compensation for] weg-reaf [highway robbery] of a theow
[slave] be 3 shillings.
90. If a theow steal, let him [the owner] make twofold bot [twice the
value of the stolen goods]."

                 Judicial Procedure

        The King and his freemen would hear and decide cases of
wrongful behavior such as breach of the peace. Punishment would be
given to the offender by the community. The bots, wers, and wites were
high and often could not be paid. If a man could not or would not pay,
he could be outlawed, to be killed by anyone with impunity or punished
by hanging; beheading; burning; drowning; stoning; precipitation from a
cliff; loss of ears, nose, upper-lip, hands and feet; castration;
flogging; or sale into slavery.

        There were occasional meetings of "hundreds", which were 100
households, to settle widespread disputes. The chief officer was
"hundreder" or "constable". He was responsible for keeping the peace of
the hundred.

        The concept of a wrong to a person or his kindred is still
primary and that of offense to the community secondary. Very slowly did
the concept emerge that that members of the community must be content
with legal remedies and must not seek private vengeance and that public
offenses cannot be altered by private agreement.

        The Druid priests decided all disputes of the Celts.

                   Chapter 2

               The Times: 600-900

        The country was inhabited by Anglo-Saxons. The French called it
"Angleterre", which means the angle or end of the earth. It was called
"Angle land", which later became "England".

        A community was usually an extended family. Its members lived a
village in which a stone church was the most prominent building. They
lived in one-room huts with walls and roofs made of wood, mud, and
straw. Hangings covered the cracks in the walls to keep the wind out.
Smoke from a fire in the middle of the room filtered out of cracks in
the roof. Grain was ground at home by rotating by hand one stone disk
on another stone disk. Some villages had a mill powered by the flow of
water or by horses. All freeholders had the duty of watch [at night]
and ward [during the day], of following the hue and cry to chase an
offender, and of taking the oath of peace. These three duties were
constant until 1195.

        Farmland surrounded the villages and was farmed by the
community as a whole under the direction of a lord. There was silver,
copper, iron, tin, gold, and various types of stones from remote lead
mines and quarries in the nation. Silver pennies replaced the smaller
scaetts. Freemen paid "scot" and bore "lot" according to their means
for local purposes.

        Offa, the strongest of the Saxon kings, minted high-quality
silver pennies. He traded woolen coats for lava grindstones with
Emperor Charlemagne, who used a silver denarius coin. There were 12
denarii to the solidus and 20 soldi to the pound of silver. These
denominations were taken by England as 12 pennies to the shilling and
20 shillings to the pound. The pound sign, an "L" with a hash mark
derived from the word Libra, which meant weighing scales.

        Everyone in the village went to church on Sunday and brought
gifts such as grain to the priest. Later, contributions in the form of
money became customary, and then expected. These "tithes" were spent
for church repair, the clergy, and poor and needy laborers. The church
fixed the amount to be one-tenth, but local custom determined the
amount. There was also church-scot: a payment to the clergy in lieu of
the first fruits of the land. There were also offerings, originally
voluntary but afterwards compulsory, for sacraments. The priest was the
chaplain of a landlord and his parish was coextensive with that
landlord's holding and could include one to several villages. The
priest and other men who helped him, lived in the church building. Some
churches had lead roofs and iron hinges, latches, and locks on their
doors. The land underneath had been given to the church by former kings
and persons who wanted the church to say prayers to help their souls go
from purgatory to heaven and who also selected the first priest. The
priest conducted Christianized Easter ceremonies in the spring and
(Christ's mass) ceremonies in winter in place of the pagan Yuletide
festivities. Burning incense took the place of pagan burnt animal
offerings, which were accompanied by incense to disguise the odor of
burning flesh. Holy water replaced haunted wells and streams. Christian
incantations replaced sorcerer's spells. Nuns assisted priests in
celebrating mass and administering the sacraments. They alone
consecrated new nuns. Vestry meetings were community meetings held for
church purposes. The people said their prayers in English, and the
priest conducted the services in English. A person joined his hands in
prayer as if to offer them for binding together in submission.

        The church baptized babies and officiated or gave blessings at
marriage ceremonies. It also said prayers for the dying, gave them
funerals, and buried them. There were burial service fees, candle dues,
and plough alms. A piece of stone with the dead person's name marked
his grave. It was thought that putting the name on the grave would
assist identification of that person for being taken to heaven. The
church heard the last wish or will of the person dying concerning who
he wanted to have his property. The church taught that it was not
necessary to bury possessions with the deceased. The church taught boys
and girls.

        Every man carried a horn slung on his shoulder as he went about
his work so that he could at once send out a warning to his fellow
villagers or call them in chasing a thief or other offender. The
forests were full of outlaws, so strangers who did not blow a horn to
announce themselves were presumed to be fugitive offenders who could be
shot on sight with impunity. An eorl could call upon the ceorl farmers
for about forty days to fight off an invading group.

        There were several kingdoms, whose boundaries kept changing due
to warfare, which was a sin according to the church. They were each
governed by a king and witan of wise men who met at a witanegemot,
which was usually held three times a year, mostly on great church
festivals and at the end of the harvest. The king and witan chose the
witan's members of bishops, eorldormen, and thegns [landholding
farmers]. The king and hereditary claims played a major part in the
selection of the eorldormen, who were the highest military leaders and
often of the royal family. They were also chief magistrates of large
jurisdictional areas of land. The witan included officers of the king's
household and perhaps other of his retinue. There was little
distinction then between his gesith, fighting men, guards, household
companions, dependents, and servants. The king was sometimes
accompanied by his wife and sons at the witanagemot. A king was
selected by the witan according to his worthiness, usually from among
the royal family, and could be deposed by it. The witan and king
decided on laws, taxes, and transfers of land. They made determinations
of war and peace and directed the army and the fleet. The king wore a
crown or royal helmet. He extended certain protections by the king's
peace. He could erect castles and bridges and could provide a special
protection to strangers.

        A king had not only a wergeld to be paid to his family if he
were killed, but a "cynebot" of equal amount that would be paid to his
kingdom's people. A king's household had a chamberlain for the royal
bedchamber, a marshall to oversee the horses and military equipment, a
steward as head of household, and a cupbearer. The king had income from
fines for breach of his peace; fines and forfeitures from courts
dealing with criminal and civil cases; salvage from ship wrecks;
treasure trove [assets hidden or buried in times of war]; treasures of
the earth such as gold and silver; mines; saltworks; tolls and other
dues of markets, ports, and the routes by land and by river generally;
heriot from heirs of his special dependents for possession of land
(usually in kind, principally in horses and weapons). He also had
rights of purveyance [hospitality and maintenance when traveling]. The
king had private lands, which he could dispose of by his will. He also
had crown lands, which belonged to his office and could not be
alienated without consent of the witan. Crown lands often included
palaces and their appendant farms, and burhs. It was a queen's duty to
run the royal estate. Also, a queen could possess, manage, and dispose
of lands in her name. Violent queens waged wars. Kingdoms were often
allied by marriage between their royal families. There were also royal
marriages to royalty on the continent.

        The houses of the wealthy had ornamented silk hangings on the
walls. Some had fine white ox horn shaved so thin they were transparent
for windows. Brightly colored drapery, often purple, and fly nets
surrounded their beds, which were covered with the fur of animals. They
slept in bed clothes on pillows stuffed with straw. Tables plated with
silver and gems held silver candlesticks, gold and silver goblets and
cups, and lamps of gold, silver, or glass. They used silver mirrors and
silver writing pens. There were covered seats, benches, and footstools
with the head and feet of animals at their extremities. They ate from a
table covered with a cloth. Servants brought in food on spits, from
which they ate. Food was boiled, broiled, or baked. The wealthy ate
wheat bread and others ate barley bread. Ale made from barley was
passed around in a cup. Mead made from honey was also drunk.

        Men wore long-sleeved wool and linen garments reaching almost
to the knee, around which they wore a belt tied in a knot. Men often
wore a gold ring on the fourth finger of the right hand. Leather shoes
were fastened with leather thongs around the ankle. Their hair was
parted in the middle and combed down each side in waving ringlets. The
beard was parted in the middle of the chin, so that it ended in two
points. The clergy did not wear beards. Great men wore gold-embroidered
clothes, gilt buckles and brooches, and drank from drinking horns
mounted in silver gilt or in gold. Well- to-do women wore brightly
colored robes with waist bands, headbands, necklaces, gem bracelets,
and rings. Their long hair was in ringlets and they put rouge on their
cheeks. They had beads, pins, needles, tweezers of bronze, and
workboxes of bronze, some highly ornamented. They were often doing
needlework. Silk was affordable only by the wealthy.

        Most families kept a pig and pork was the primary meat. There
were also sheep, goats, cows, deer, hare, and fowl. Fowl was obtained
by fowlers who trapped them. The inland waters yielded eels, salmon,
and trout. In the fall, meat was salted to preserve it for winter
meals. There were orchards growing figs, nuts, grapes, almonds, pears,
and apples. Also produced were beans, lentils, onions, eggs, cheese,
and butter. Pepper and cinnamon were imported.

        Fishing from the sea yielded herrings, sturgeon, porpoise,
oysters, crabs, and other fish. Sometimes a whale was driven into an
inlet by a group of boats. Whale skins were used to make ropes.

        The roads were not much more than trails. They were often so
narrow that two pack horses could hardly pass each other. The pack
horses each carried two bales or two baskets slung over their backs,
which balanced each other. The soft soil was compacted into a deep
ditch which rains, floods, and tides, if near the sea, soon turned into
a river. Traveling a far distance was unsafe as there were robbers on
the roads. Traveling strangers were distrusted. It was usual to wash
one's feet in a hot tub after traveling and to dry them with a rough
wool cloth.

        There were superstitions about the content of dreams, the
events of the moon, and the flights and voices of birds were often seen
as signs or omens of future events. Herbal mixtures were drunk for
sickness and maladies. From the witch hazel plant was made a mild
alcoholic astringent, which was probably used to clean cuts and sooth

        In the peaceful latter part of the 600s, Theodore, who had been
a monk in Rome, was appointed archbishop and visited all the island
speaking about the right rule of life and ordaining bishops to oversee
the priests. Each kingdom was split up into dioceses each with one
bishop. Thereafter, bishops were selected by the king and his witan,
usually after consulting the clergy and even the people of the diocese.
The bishops came to be the most permanent element of society. They had
their sees in villages or rural monasteries. The bishops came to have
the same wergeld as an eorldorman: 1200s., which was the price of about
500 oxen. A priest had the wergeld as a landholding farmer [thegn], or
300s. The bishops spoke Latin, but the priests of the local parishes
spoke English. Theodore was the first archbishop whom all the English
church obeyed. He taught sacred and secular literature, the books of
holy writ, ecclesiastical poetry, astronomy, arithmetic, and sacred
music. Theodore discouraged slavery by denying Christian burial to the
kidnapper and forbidding the sale of children over the age of seven. A
slave became entitled to two loaves a day and to his holydays. A slave
was allowed to buy his or his children's freedom. In 673, Theodore
started annual national ecclesiastical assemblies, for instance for the
witnessing of important actions. The bishops, some abbots, the king,
and the eorldormen were usually present. From them the people learned
the benefit of common national action. There were two archbishops: one
of Canterbury in the south and one of York in the north. They governed
the bishops and could meet with them to issue canons that would be
equally valid all over the land. A bishop's house contained some
clerks, priests, monks, and nun and was a retreat for the weary
missionary and a school for the young. The bishop had a deacon who
acted as a secretary and companion in travel, and sometimes as an
interpreter. Ink was made from the outer husks of walnuts steeped in

        The learned ecclesiastical life flourished in monastic
communities, in which both monks and nuns lived. Hilda, a noble's
daughter, became the first nun in Northumbria and abbess of one of its
monasteries. There she taught justice, piety, chastity, peace, and
charity. Several monks taught there later became bishops. Kings and
princes often asked her advice. Many abbesses came to run monastic
communities; they were from royal families. Women, especially from
royal families, fled to monasteries to obtain shelter from unwanted
marriage or to avoid their husbands. Kings and eorldormen retired to

        Danish Vikings made several invasions in the 800s, so the witan
imposed a danegeld tax on land that was assessed on everyone every ten
to twenty years for maintaining forces sufficient to clear the British
seas of Danish pirates or to buy off the ravages of the Danish It was
1s. and later 2s. upon every hide of land, where a hide was probably
the amount of land which could support a family or household for a year
or as much land as could be tilled annually by a single plough. It was
stored in a strong box under the King's bed. King Alfred the Great, who
had lived for awhile in Rome, unified the country to defeat the
invaders. He established fortifications called "burhs", usually on hill
tops or other strategic locations on the borders to control the main
road and river routes into his realm. The burhs were seminal towns.
They were typically walled enclosures with towers and an outer ditch
and mound, instead of the hedge or fence enclosure of a tun. Inside
were several wooden thatched huts and a couple of churches, which were
lit by earthen oil lamps. The populace met at burhgemotes. The land
area protected by each burh became known as a "shire", which means a
share of a larger whole. The shire or local landowners were responsible
for repairing the burh fortifications. There were about thirty shires.

        Alfred gathered together fighting men who were at his disposal,
which included eorldormen with their hearthbands (retinues of men each
of whom had chosen to swear to fight to the death for their eorldorman,
and some of whom were of high rank), the King's thegns, shire thegns
(local landholding farmers, who were required to bring fighting
equipment such as swords, helmets, chain mail, and horses), and
ordinary freemen, i.e. ceorls (who carried food, dug fortifications,
and sometimes fought). Since the King was compelled to call out the
whole population to arms, the distinction between the king's thegns
from other landholders disappeared. Some great lords organized men
under them, whom they provisioned. These vassals took a personal oath
to their lord "on condition that he keep me as I am willing to deserve,
and fulfill all that was agreed on when I became his man, and chose his
will as mine." Alfred had a small navy of longships with 60 oars to
fight the Viking longships.

        Alfred divided his army into two parts so that one half of the
men were fighting while the other half was at home sowing and
harvesting for those fighting. Thus, any small-scale independent
farming was supplanted by the open-field system, cultivation of common
land, more large private estates headed by a lord, and a more
stratified society in which the king and important families more
powerful and the peasants more curtailed. The witan became mere
witnesses. Many free coerls of the older days became bonded. The
village community tended to become a large private estate headed by a
lord. But the lord does not have the power to encroach upon the rights
of common that exist within the community.

        In 886, a treaty between Alfred and the Vikings divided the
country along the war front and made the wergeld of every free farmer,
whether English or Viking, 200s. Men of higher rank were given a
wergeld of 4 1/2 marks of pure gold. A mark was probably a Viking
denomination and a mark of gold was equal to nine marks of silver in
later times and probably in this time. The word "earl" replaced the
word "eorldormen" and the word "thegn" replaced the word "aetheling"
after the Danish settlement. The ironed pleats of Viking clothing
indicated a high status of the wearer. The Vikings brought combs and
the practice of regular hair-combing to England.

        King Alfred gave land with jurisdictional powers within its
boundaries such as the following: "This is the bequest which King
Alfred make unequivocally to Shaftesbury, to the praise of God and St.
Mary and all the saints of God, for the benefit of my soul, namely a
hundred hides as they stand with their produce and their men, and my
daughter AEthelgifu to the convent along with the inheritance, since
she took the veil on account of bad health; and the jurisdiction to the
convent, which I myself possessed, namely obstruction and attacks on a
man's house and breach of protection. And the estates which I have
granted to the foundation are 40 hides at Donhead and Compton, 20 hides
at Handley and Gussage 10 hides at Tarrant, 15 hides at Iwerve and 15
hides at Fontmell.

        The witnesses of this are Edward my son and Archbishop
AEthelred and Bishop Ealhferth and Bishop AEthelhead and Earl Wulfhere
and Earl Eadwulf and Earl Cuthred and Abbot Tunberht and Milred my
thegn and AEthelwulf and Osric and Brihtulf and Cyma. If anyone alters
this, he shall have the curse of God and St. Mary and all the saints of
God forever to all eternity. Amen."

        Sons usually succeeded their fathers on the same land as shown
by this lifetime lease: "Bishop Denewulf and the community at
Winchester lease to Alfred for his lifetime 40 hides of land at
Alresford, in accordance with the lease which Bishop Tunbriht had
granted to his parents and which had run out, on condition that he
renders every year at the autumnal equinox three pounds as rent, and
church dues, and the work connected with church dues; and when the need
arises, his men shall be ready both for harvesting and hunting; and
after his death the property shall pass undisputed to St. Peter's.
These are the signatures of the councilors and of the members of the
community who gave their consent, namely ..."

        Alfred invented a graduated candle with spaces indicating one
hour of burning, which could be used as a clock. He used a ventilated
cow's horn to put around the top of the candle to prevent its blowing
out, and then devised a wooden lantern with a horn window. He described
the world as like a yolk in the middle of an egg whose shell moves
around it. This agreed with the position of Ptolemy Claudius of
Alexandria, who showed the curvature of the earth from north to south
by observing that the Polar Star was higher in the north and lower in
the south. That it was curved from east to west followed from the
observation that two clocks placed one west and one east would record a
different time for the same eclipse of the moon.

        Alfred wrote poems on the worthiness of wisdom and knowledge in
preference to material pleasures, pride, and fame, in dealing with
life's sorrow and strife. His observations on human nature and his
proverbs include:

1. As one sows, so will he mow.
2. Every man's doom [judgment] returns to his door.
3. He who will not learn while young, will repent of it when old.
4. Weal [prosperity] without wisdom is worthless.
5. Though a man had 70 acres sown with red gold, and the gold grew like
grass, yet he is not a whit the worthier unless he gain friends for
6. Gold is but a stone unless a wise man has it.
7. It's hard to row against the sea flood; so it is against misfortune.
8. He who toils in his youth to win wealth, so that he may enjoy ease
in his old age, has well bestowed his toil.
9. Many a man loses his soul through silver.
10. Wealth may pass away, but wisdom will remain, and no man may perish
who has it for his comrade.
11. Don't choose a wife for her beauty nor for wealth, but study her
12. Many an apple is bright without and bitter within.
13. Don't believe the man of many words.
14. With a few words a wise man can compass much.
15. Make friends at market, and at church, with poor and with rich.
16. Though one man wielded all the world, and all the joy that dwells
therein, he could not therewith keep his life.
17. Don't chide with a fool.
18. A fool's bolt is soon shot.
19. If you have a child, teach it men's manners while it is little. If
you let him have his own will, he will cause you much sorrow when he
comes of age.
20. He who spares the rod and lets a young child rule, shall rue it
when the child grows old.
21. Either drinking or not drinking is, with wisdom, good.
22. Relatives often quarrel together.
23. The barkless dog bites ill.
24. Be wise of word and wary of speech, then all shall love you.
25. We may outride, but not outwit, the old man.
26. Be not so mad as to tell your friend all your thoughts.
27. If you and your friend fall out, then your enemy will know what
your friend knew before.
28. Don't choose a deceitful man as a friend, for he will do you harm.
29. The false one will betray you when you least expect it.
30. Don't choose a scornful false friend, for he will steal your goods
and deny the theft.
31. Take to yourself a steadfast man who is wise in word and deed; he
will prove a true friend in need.

        To restore education and religion, Alfred disseminated the
Anglo- Saxon Chronicles; the Venerable Bede's Ecclesiastical History of
the English Nation; the "Consolidation of Philosophy" by Roman
philosopher Boethius, which related the use of adversity to develop the
soul, and described the goodness of God and how the highest happiness
comes from spiritual values and the soul, which are eternal, rather
than from material or earthly pursuits, which are temporal; and Pope
Gregory's Pastoral Care, which he had translated into English and was
the fundamental book on the duty of a bishop, which included a duty to
teach laymen; and Orosius' History of the World, which he had
translated into English. Alfred's advice to pastors was to live as they
had been taught from books and to teach this manner of life to others.
To be avoided was pride, the mind's deception of seeking glory in the
name of doing good works, and the corruption of high office. Bede was
England's first scholar, first theologian, and first historian. He
wrote poetry, theological books, homilies, and textbooks on grammar,
rhetoric [public speaking and debating], arithmetic, and astronomy. He
adhered to the doctrine that death entered the world by the sin of
Adam, the first man. He began the practice of dating years from the
birth of Christ and believed that the earth was round. Over the earth
was a fiery spherical firmament. Above this were the waters of the
heavens. Above this were the upper heavens, which contained the angels
and was tempered with ice. He declared that comets portend downfalls of
kingdoms, pestilence, war, winds, or heat. This reflected the church's
view that a comet was a ball of fire flung from the right hand of an
angry God as a warning to mankind, usually for disbelief. Storms were
begun by the devil.

        A famous poem, the oral legend of Beowulf, a hero who led his
men into adventures and performed great feats and fought monsters and
dragons, was put into writing with a Christian theme. In it, loyalty to
one's lord is a paramount virtue. Also available in writing was the
story of King Arthur's twelve victorious battles against the pagan
Saxons, authored by Nennius.

        There were professional story tellers attached to great men.
Others wandered from court to court, receiving gifts for their story
telling. Men usually told oral legends of their own feats and those of
their ancestors after supper.

        Alfred had monasteries rebuilt with learned and moral men
heading them. He built a nunnery which was headed by his daughter as
prioress. He built a strong wall with four gates around London, which
he had taken into his control. He appointed his son-in-law, who was one
of his eorldormen, to be alderman [older man] to govern London and to
be the shire's earl. A later king built a palace in London, although
Winchester was still the royal capital town. When the king traveled, he
and his retinue were fed by the local people at their expense.

        After Alfred's death, his daughter Aethelflared ruled the
country for seven years. She had more fortified burhs built and led
soldiers to victories.

        Burhs grew into towns and some towns into boroughs by obtaining
a charter from the king. Their citizens were landholding freemen
called."burgesses". A borough typically was a place of refuge with
earth works, and perhaps a garrrison; it had a market place in which
men could buy cattle and other goods and have the sale attested by
official witnesses and toll was taken from them; and it had a meeting
place at which a court was held.

        Under the royalty were the nobles. An earl headed each shire as
representative of the King. The term "earl" came to denote an office
instead of a nobleman. He led the array of his shire to do battle if
the shire was attacked. He executed all royal commands. An earl
received grants of land and could claim hospitality and maintenance for
himself, his officers, and his servants. He collected a third of the
revenues derived from tolls and duties levied in the boroughs of his
shire. The office tended to be hereditary. Royal representatives called
"reeves" started to assist them. The reeve took security from every
person for the maintenance of the public peace. He also tracked cattle
thieves, brought suspects to court, gave judgments according to the
doom books, and delivered offenders to punishment.

        Under the earls were the thegns. By service to the King, it was
possible for a coerl to rise to become a thegn and to be given land by
the King. Other thegns performed functions of magistrates. A thegn was
later identified as a person with five hides of land, a kitchen, a
church, a bell house, a judicial place at the burhgemote [a right of
magistracy], and an appointment in the King's hall. He was bound to
service in war by virtue of his landholding instead of by his
relationship to the king. Nobility was now a territorial attribute,
rather than one of birth. The wergeld of a thegn was 1200s. when that
of a ceorl or ordinary freeman was 200s. The wergeld of an earl or
bishop was four times that of a thegn: 5800s. The wergeld of a king or
archbishop was six times that of a thegn: 7200s. The higher a man's
wergeld, the higher was his legal status in the scale of punishment,
giving credible evidence, and participation in legal proceedings. The
sokemen were freemen who had inherited their own land, chose their own
lord, and attended and were subject to their lord's court. That is,
their lord has sake [sac] and soke [soc] jurisdiction over them - the
right to hold a court and to receive the profits of jurisdiction. A
ceorl typically had a single hide of land. A smallholder rented land of
about 30 acres from a landlord, which he paid by doing work on the
lord's demesne [land held by the one lowest in the scale of holding who
has a general right of doing with it what he pleases] land, paying
money rent, or paying a food rent such as in eggs or chickens.
Smallholders made up about two fifths of the population. A cottager had
one to five acres of land and depended on others for his living. Among
these were shepherds, ploughmen, swineherds, and blacksmiths. They also
participated in the agricultural work, especially at harvest time.

        It was possible for a thegn to become an earl, probably by the
possession of forty hides. He might even acquire enough land to qualify
him for the witan. Women could be present at the witanagemot and
shiregemote [meeting of the people of the shire]. They could sue and be
sued in the courts. They could independently inherit, possess, and
dispose of property. A wife's inheritance was her own and under no
control of her husband.

        Marriage required the consent of the lady and her friends. The
man also had to arrange for the foster lean, that is, remuneration for
rearing and support of expected children. He also declared the amount
of money or land he would give the lady for her consent, that is, the
morgengift, and what he would bequeath her in case of his death. It was
given to her on the morning after the wedding night. The family of the
bride was paid a "mund" for transferring the rightful protection they
possessed over her to the family of the husband. If the husband died
and his kindred did not accept the terms sanctioned by law, her kindred
could repurchase the rightful protection. If she remarried within a
year of his death, she had to forfeit the morgengift and his nearest
kin received the lands and possessions she had. The word for man was
"waepnedmenn" or weaponed person. A woman was "wifmenn" or wife person,
with "wif" being derived from the word for weaving.

        Great men and monasteries had millers, smiths, carpenters,
architects, agriculturists, fishermen, weavers, embroiders, dyers, and

        For entertainment, minstrels sang ballads about heroes or Bible
stories, harpers played, jesters joked, and tumblers threw and caught
balls and knives. There was gambling, dice games, and chasing deer with

        Fraternal guilds were established for mutual advantage and
protection. A guild imposed fines for any injury of one member by
another member. It assisted in paying any murder fine imposed on a
member. It avenged the murder of a member and abided by the
consequences. It buried its members and purchased masses for his soul.

        Mercantile guilds in seaports carried out commercial
speculations not possible by the capital of only one person.

        There were some ale houses, probably part of certain dwellings.

        It was usual for a dying man to confess his sins to a priest.
For the sake of his soul, the priest often suggested the man give some
of his chattel to the church, the poor, or other pious uses. By the
700s, the words of a dying man giving chattel for the sake of his soul
were expected to be carried out. Later is the "post obit gift" by which
a man gives land to the church, with the king's consent, but enjoys the
land during his lifetime by stating in writing "I give certain land
after my death" in a special "book". The church takes possession of the
land after his death. He may make a conditional such gift, leaving the
land to his wife for her life with a rent paid to the church and the
church taking possession of the land on her death. These two procedures
coalesce into one written will used in the 800s, 900s, and 1000s. This
will also includes distributions to family and kinsmen and perhaps to
creditors. If the will is made by the very great people: kings, queens,
king's sons, bishops, earldormen, and king's thegns, it requires the
king's consent, which may be bought by a large heriot. And a bishop
usually sets his cross to the will, denouncing any who infringe it to
the torments of hell. The dead man's parish church is paid a mortuary
when he is buried.

                  The Law

        The special authority of the king and his peace gradually
superseded the customary jurisdiction of the local courts as to
preservation of the peace and punishment of offenses. All criminal
offenses became breaches of the king's peace and were deemed acts of
personal disobedience and made an offender the king's enemy. This
notion developed from the special sanctity of the king's house and his
special protection of his attendants and servants. An offender made
fines to the king for breach of his peace and fines and forfeitures to
him from court decisions in criminal and civil cases. Offenses
especially dealt with in various parts of the Anglo-Saxon laws were
treason, homicide, wounding, assault, and theft. Treason to one's lord,
especially to the king, was punishable by death. Compassing or
imagining the king's death was treason.

King Alfred collected regulations from various church synods and
commanded that many of them which English forefathers had observed to
be written out - those which appealed to him; and many of those that
did not appeal to him he rejected, with the consent of his Witan or
commanded them to be observed in a different way. "These are the
regulations which the Almighty God himself spoke to Moses and ordered
him to observe and subsequently the only-born son of the Lord, our God,
that is the Savior Christ confirmed ...":
1. Do not love other strange gods before me.
2. Do not speak My name idly, for you will not be guiltless with Me if
you idly speak My name.
3. Remember to hallow the rest-day. Work for yourselves six days, and
on the seventh day rest yourselves. For in six days, God the Father
made the heavens and the earth, the seas and all creatures that are in
them, and rested himself on the seventh day, and therefore God has
sanctified it.
4. Honour your father and your mother that God gave you so that you may
be the longer living on earth.
5. Do not kill.
6. Do not lie in sexual union secretly.
7. Do not steal.
8. Do not speak false evidence.
9. Do not wish for your neighbour's property unrightfully.
10. Do not make yourselves golden or silver gods.
11. If anyone buy a Christian slave, let him serve for six years and on
the seventh let him be free without payment. With such clothes as he
entered into service, let him leave with. If he has a wife of his own
providing, let her leave with him. If the master provided him with a
wife, both she and her children shall belong to the master. If the
slave then says `I do not want to leave my master or my wife or my
child or my property', let his master bring him to the door of the
Temple and perforate his ear with an awl as a sign that he shall ever
afterwards be a slave.
12. Though someone sell his daughter into slavery do not let her be a
slave entirely as are other maid servants. He has not the right to sell
her abroad among foreign people. But if he who bought her does not care
for her, let her be free among a foreign people. But if he i.e. the
purchaser allows his son to cohabit with her, give her the morning gift
and ensure that she has clothing and that she has the value of her
maidenhood, that is the dowry - let him give her that. If he does none
of those things for her, then she shall be free.
13. The person who slays another deliberately shall suffer death. He
that has killed another in self defense or involuntarily or
unintentionally, as God delivered him i.e. the victim into his hands
and providing he i.e. the killer did not set a trap for him - in that
case let him be worthy of his life, and of settling by customary
compensation, if he should seek asylum. If however anyone deliberately
and intentionally kills his neighbour treacherously, pluck him from my
altar so that he should suffer death.
14. He that attacks his father or his mother shall suffer death.
15. He that abducts a freeman and sell him, and it is proved so that he
cannot absolve himself, let him suffer death. He that curses his father
or his mother, let him suffer death.
16. If someone attacks his neighbour with a stone or with his fist, but
he i.e. the victim can still get about with the aid of a staff, let him
i.e. the aggressor provide him with a doctor and do his i.e. the
victim's work for him for as long as he i.e. the victim cannot himself.
17. He that attacks his own non-free servant or his maidservant, and
they are not dead as a result of the attack but live two or three days,
he i.e. the aggressor shall not be so entirely guilty, because it was
his own property he damaged. But if the slave be dead the same day,
then the guilt rests on him i.e. the aggressor.
18. If anyone in the course of a dispute injure a pregnant woman, let
him make compensation for the hurt as judges decide in his case. If she
be dead, let him give life for life.
19. If anyone put out another's eye, let him give his own for it. Tooth
for tooth. Hand for hand. Foot for foot. Burn for burn. Wound for
wound. Bruise for bruise.
20. If anyone strike the eye of his slave or maidservant out and so
makes them one-eyed, let him free them for that. If he strike out a
tooth, let him do the same.
21. If an ox gore a man or woman so that they are dead, it it be stoned
to death and do not let the flesh be eaten. The owner shall not be
liable if the ox was butting two days before that or even three and the
owner did not know of it. But if he knew of it and would not shut it
i.e. the animal in, and then it killed a man or woman, let it be stoned
to death and let the master be killed or made to pay as the Witan
consider proper. If it gore a son or daughter, let the same penalty
apply. But if it gore a slave or serving-woman, let the owner give 30
shillings of silver and let the ox be stoned to death.
22. If anyone dig a well or open up a closed one and does not close it
up again, let him pay for whatever cattle fall in; but let him have the
dead animal for his own use.
23. If an ox wound another man's ox so it is dead, let them sell the
live ox and share the proceeds, and also the flesh of the dead ox. But
if the owner knew the ox was butting and would not restrain it, let him
hand over the other i.e. live ox for it but let him have all the flesh
of the dead ox for his own use.
24. If anyone steal another man's ox and kill or sell it, let him give
two oxen in restitution. And four sheep for one stolen. If he i.e. the
thief does not have anything to give in restitution, let him be sold
himself to raise the money.
25. If a thief break into a man's house by night and is killed there,
he i.e. the house-owner shall not be guilty of manslaughter. But if he
i.e. the house-owner does this after sunrise, he is guilty of
manslaughter, and shall himself perish, unless he acted in
self-defence. If there is found in the possession of the living thief
things he had already stolen, let him make restitution for it two-fold.
26. If anyone damage another man's vineyard or his crops or any part of
his estate, let him pay compensation according to how it is assessed.
27. If a fire is lit in order to burn rubbish, let him who started the
fire pay compensation for any consequent damage.
28. If anyone entrusts any possession to his friend and the friend
appropriates it for himself, let him i.e. the friend clear himself and
prove that he committed no fraud in the matter. If it was livestock,
and he says that raiders took it, or it perished of itself, and if he
has proof, he need not pay up. But if he has no proof, and the original
owner does not believe him, let him make an oath to clear himself.
29. If anyone seduce an uncommitted woman and sleeps with her, let him
pay for her and take her then as his wife. But if the woman's father is
unwilling to let her go, then let the seducer hand over money in
proportion to her dowry.
30. The women who are accustomed to harbour enchanters and wizards and
witches - do not allow them to live.
31. And he that has intercourse with animals shall suffer death.
32. And he that sacrifices to idols, rather than to God alone, let him
suffer death.
33. Do not harass visitors from abroad and foreigners, for you were
formerly strangers on the land of the Egyptians.
34. Do not harm widows and step-children, neither do them any injury.
If you do otherwise, they will call upon Me and I will listen to them,
and then I will slay you with my sword and I will ensure that your
wives shall be widows and your children orphans.
35. If you hand over money as a loan to your comrade who wishes to live
with you, do not coerce him like an underling and do not oppress him
with the interest.
36. If someone has only a single garment to cover and clothe himself
with and he hands it over as a pledge, let it be returned before the
sun sets. If you do not do so then he will call unto Me, and I will
listen to him because I am very clement.
37. Do not reproach you Lord, nor curse the lord of the people.
38. Your tithe i.e. tenth-part of profit and your first-fruits of
moving animals and growing crops, offer to God.
39. All the flesh that wild animals leave, do not eat it but give it to
the dogs.
40. Do not bother to give credence to the word of a false man, and do
not approve his opinions; do not repeat any of his assertions.
41. Do not join in the false judgment and evil aspirations of the many
nor join in their rumours and outcry, against your own conscience, at
the incitement of some ignorant person. Do not support them.
42. If the stray cattle of another man come into your possession,
though it be the property of your enemy, let him know about it.
43. Judge equably, do not lay down one rule for the rich, another for
the poor; do not decide one way for a friend, another for a foe.
44. Always shun falsehood.
45. Never slay a righteous and innocent man.
46. Never accept bribes, for they very often blind the minds of wise
men and pervert their words.
47. Do not behave unkindly to foreigners and visitors from abroad; do
not harass them with unjust acts.
48. Never swear an oath by heathen gods, nor in any circumstances call
upon them.
        Alfred also issued a set of laws to cover the whole country
that he derived from laws of various regional kings in England as
"1. First we insist that there is particular need that each person
shall keep his oath and his pledge carefully. If anyone be compelled to
give either of these wrongly, either to support treachery to his lord
or to provide any unlawful aid, then it is better to forswear than to
fulfil. But if he pledge himself to that which it is right for him to
fulfil and fails, let him submissively hand over his weapons and his
possessions to his friends to keep, and stay forty days in prison in a
property of the king. Let him undergo there whatever the bishop
prescribes as penance, and let his kinsmen feed him if he himself has
no food. If he has no kin or has no food, let the king's officer feed
him. If one has to compel him to this i.e. to surrender, and otherwise
he is unwilling to co-operate - if they have to bind him he shall
forfeit his weapons and his possessions. If he is slain while
resisting, let him lie uncompensated. If he makes an escape before the
time is up, and he is recaptured, let him stay forty days in prison as
he would have previously. But if he gets away, let him be banished and
excommunicated from all the churches of Christ. Further, if someone has
provided surety for him, let him compensate for the breach of surety as
custom require him, and atone for the breach of pledge as his confessor
imposes in his case.
2. If anyone seek out as sanctuary for any offence any of the monastic
houses to which the king's revenue applies, or any other exempt
community that is worthy of respect he shall have a period of three
days of immunity, unless he wants to negotiate before that. If someone
harms him during that period, either by assault or by fettering him,,
or by a penetrating wound, let the aggressor pay compensation for each
of such attacks according to proper practice, both with wergeld and
with a fine, and 120 shillings to that community, as compensation for
breach of sanctuary, and let his own possessions be forfeit.
3. If anyone violate the king's surety, let him pay compensation for
the original charge as customary law direct, and for the violation of
surety with five pounds of the purer pennies. In the case of breach of
an archbishop's surety or protection, let him compensate with three
pounds. For violation of the surety or protection of another bishop or
official [earldorman], let him make compensation with two pounds.
4. If anyone plot against the king's life, either directly or by
harbouring outlaws or indirectly through the agency of his men, let him
be liable with his life and with all that he owns. If he desire to
prove himself loyal, let him do that by paying a king's wergeld.
Similar protection we ordain for all ranks, both common and noble
[earl]: whoever plots against his master's life shall be liable with
his life and with all that he owns - or let him show his loyalty by
paying his master's wergeld.
5. Also we appoint to every church that a bishop has consecrated this
right of sanctuary: that if a party to a feud run or ride to the
church, then no one may drag him forth for seven days. If however
anyone does that, then let him be liable at the rate of breach of a
king's protection and at the rate of breach of church sanctuary - more
if he take more from the site. [And the sanctuary seeker shall be safe]
if he can survive hunger, and unless he himself try to fight his way
out. If the community have greater need of their church, let them keep
him in another building, and let that not have the more doors than the
church itself; Let the church official ensure that no one give the
sanctuary-seeker food during that period. If he himself is willing to
hand over his weapons to his foes, let them keep him for 30 days and
inform his kin about him. Also it shall count as sanctuary if some man
seek out a church about any offence that had not previously been
revealed, and there confess himself in God's name - let the penalty be
half remitted. He that steal on Sunday or at Yule or at Easter or on
Holy Thursday or on the Rogation days - for each of those we intend
that there should be a double-penalty, as during Lent.
6. If anyone steal something in a church, let him pay a plain
compensation and the fine such as they consider appropriate to the
plain compensation, and let them strike the hand off with which he did
it i.e. the deed. If he wishes to redeem his hand, and they consent to
that, let him pay in proportion to his wergeld.
7. If anyone fights in the king's hall or draw his weapon, and he is
seized, let the penalty be at the king's judgement, either death or
life, as he is willing to grant him. If he escapes and is captured
later, let him pay in proportion to his wergeld, and atone for the
offence with wergeld and fine, as he may deserve by his act.
8. If anyone abducts a nun of a nunnery without the king's or the
bishop's leave, let him pay 120 shillings, half to the king, half to
the bishop and the church patron who had charge of the nun. If she
lives longer than he that abducted her, let her not have any of his
estate. If she bears a child, let that not have any more of the estate
than the mother. If anyone slay her child let him pay the king the
maternal kindred's share; to the paternal kin let him pay their share.
9. If anyone slay a woman with child, while the child still be within
her, let him pay full compensation for the woman and half compensation
for the child according to the wergeld of the father's kin. Let the
fine payable to the king always be 60 shillings, until the
corresponding simple compensation rises to 30 shillings. When the
simple compensation rises to that level, then let the fine be 120
shillings. Formerly there was a defined fine for a gold-thief, and a
horse-thief and a bee-thief and many special fines greater than others.
Now all are alike except for an illegal slayer and that is 120
10. If a man has intercourse with the wife of a 1200 shilling wergeld
man, let him pay in compensation 120 shillings to the husband. For a
600 shilling wergeld man i.e. husband, let him pay in compensation 100
shillings. For a common man [ceorl] i.e. husband, let him make
compensation of 40 shillings.
11. If someone grabs the breast of a common woman, let him compensate
with five shillings. If he throws her to the ground but does not have
sexual intercourse with her, let him compensate with 60 shillings. If
he has sexual intercourse with her let him compensate with sixty
shillings. If some other man had previously lain with her, then let the
compensation be half that. If someone accuse her of complicity, let her
clear herself with an oath guaranteed by sixty hides of land, or
forfeit half the compensation. If this happens to a nobly born woman,
let the compensation increase in proportion to the wergeld.
12. If someone burns or cuts down another person's trees without
permission, let him pay over 5 shillings for each substantial tree, and
thereafter, no matter how many there are, five pence for each tree, and
thirty shillings as a fine.
13. In the course of their joint work felling trees, if someone is
killed by accident, let the tree involved be given to his kin, and let
them remove it off the property within 30 days; otherwise let him
possess it that owns the forest.
14. If someone is born dumb or deaf, so that he can neither deny or
confess his sins, let the father make compensation for his misdeeds.
15. If someone fights or draws his weapon in the presence of an
archbishop, let him make compensation with 150 shillings. If this
occurs before another bishop or royal official [earldorman] let him
make compensation with 100 shillings.
16. If someone steals a cow or mare and drives off a foal or calf, let
him pay over one shilling as well as paying compensation for the adult
animals according to their value.
17. If anyone entrust a child into the keeping of others, and he i.e.
the offspring die while in that guardianship, let him that did the
fostering prove his innocence of any crime if anyone accuse him of it.
18. If anyone grabs at a nun's clothing or breast with sexual intent,
unless with her consent, let him pay double the rate of compensation we
previously arranged for a lay-person. If she commit adultery and she is
a betrothed woman, if she is a commoner, let 60 shillings be paid in
compensation to the guarantor, and let that be in livestock or cattle,
but let no one give any human as part of it. If she be of 600 shilling
wergeld, let 100 shillings be paid in compensation to the guarantor. If
she be of 1200 shilling wergeld, let compensation of 120 shillings be
paid to the guarantor.
19. If anyone lends his weapon to another so that he may kill with it,
they may combine, if they are willing, in the matter of paying the
wergeld. If they are unwilling to co-operate, let him that proffered
the weapon pay a third part of the wergeld and a third part of the
fine. If he i.e. the loaner of the weapon prefer to clear himself and
assert that he knew of no evil-intent in making the loan, he may do so.
20. If someone entrust cattle to another man's monk, without the
approval of the patron if that monk, and it gets lost, let he that
originally owned it suffer the loss.
21. If a priest slay another man, let all that he i.e. the priest
brought into the monastic community be turned over to the possession of
the victim's representatives, and let the bishop unfrock him; then he
shall be removed from the monastery, unless the civil patron interceded
for him.
22. If someone wishes in the local assembly to declare a claim for debt
to the king's officer, and then wishes to cancel it, let him impute
i.e. transfer it to a truer source if he can. If he cannot, let him
forfeit the single value.
23. If a dog rends or bites someone, for the first misdeed let the
owner hand over 6 shillings, if he is still giving it food. For as
second occurrence, let him give 12 shillings, and for a third 30
shillings. If, upon any of these misdeeds, the dog escapes, nonetheless
the penalty proceeds. If the dog commit more misdeeds and he i.e. the
owner still keeps him, let him pay compensation at the level of a full
wergeld as well as wound-compensation according to what he i.e. the dog
has done.
24. If an ox wounds someone, let him i.e. the owner hand the animal
over or come forward with some solution.
25. If someone forces a commoner's slave-woman to sexual intercourse,
let him compensate the owner with 5 shillings and pay 60 shillings
fine. If a male slave compel a female slave to sexual intercourse, let
him atone with his testicles.
26. If someone force an underage woman into sexual intercourse, let the
compensation be as that of an adult person.
27. If someone without kin on his father's side gets into a fight and
kills someone, if he has maternal relatives, let them pay a third part
of the wergeld; and a third part his guild-brethren; for a third part
unpaid let him flee. If he has no maternal relatives, let the
guild-brethren pay a half; for a half unpaid let him flee.
28. If someone kill a man so circumstanced and if he has no kinfolk,
let them pay half the wergeld to the king, half to his guild-brethren.
29. If anyone in a group kills a 200 shilling wergeld man who is
guiltless, let him that acknowledges the blow pay over wergeld and
fine, and let every man who was of the party hand over 30 shillings in
token of his complicity.
30. If it is a case of a 600 shilling wergeld man, let each of them pay
60 shillings as a token of their complicity, and let him that struck
the fatal blow pay wergeld and fine.
31. If he that is killed is a 1200 shilling wergeld man, let each of
them pay 120 shillings, and let the one who struck the fatal blow pay
wergeld and fine. If a group commit this sort of killing, and later
deny responsibility on oath, let them all be accused, and let them pay
over the wergeld as a group, and together pay one fine such as
corresponds to the wergeld.
32. If someone commits slander and it is proved against him, let him
make atonement with no lighter penalty than having is tongue cut out.
It i.e. the tongue must not be redeemed for any lesser value than would
be reckoned in proportion to the wergeld.
33. If someone reproach another with breach of church-witnessed pledge
and wishes to accuse him of not fulfilling any of those pledges that he
gave him, let the accuser make his preliminary oath in four churches,
and the other i.e. the accused, if he wishes to assert his good faith -
let him do that in twelve churches.
34. Also it is laid down for traders that they should produce before
the king's officer at the local assembly those people that they are
taking inland with them, and let it be established how many of them
there are. And let them take only such men as they can afterward be
accountable for at the local assembly. An if they have need of more men
along with them on their journey, let it always be declared, as often
as is necessary, to the king's officer before the assembly.
35. If someone restrains a free man who is innocent, let him pay
compensation of ten shillings. If he flogs him, compensation of twenty
shillings. If he put him to torture compensation of thirty shillings.
If as a humiliation he shave his head like a homolan, let him pay
compensation of ten shillings. If he shaves him i.e. his head like a
priest's, without binding him let him pay compensation of thirty
shillings. If he shaves off his beard, let him pay compensation of
twenty shillings. If he ties him up and then shaves his head like a
priest's, let him pay compensation of sixty shillings.
36. It is established that if someone has a spear over his shoulder and
someone else impales himself upon it, he i.e. the spear-carrier shall
pay the wergeld without any fine. If he is impaled from in front, let
him i.e. the spear-carrier pay the wergeld. If someone accuses him i.e.
the spear-carrier of deliberately doing it, let him assert his
innocence at a rate corresponding to the fine, and by that finish with
the fine. And this applies if the point is above the rest of the shaft;
if they are both level, point and shaft, let it count as no risk.
37. If someone wants to seek a new lord, transferring from one district
to another district, let him do it with the knowledge of the chief
officer to whom he was originally responsible in his shire. If he does
it without his i.e. the officer's knowledge, let him who harbours him
as his follower pay over 120 shillings as a fine. But let him divide
it, paying the king half in the shire where the man was originally
answerable, and half in that he has moved to. If he i.e. the man who
moves had done anything wrong where he came from, let him who receives
him as his follower pay the compensation and a fine of 120 shillings to
the king.
38. If someone starts a fight in front of the king's officer at an
assembly, let him pay compensation of wergeld and a fine, as it is
customary; and as a priority a fine of 120 shillings to the officer
[earldorman] concerned. If he disturb the assembly by drawing a weapon,
let him pay 120 shillings to the officer by way of fine. If something
of this sort occurs before the king's officer's deputy or a royal
priest, let him pay 30 shillings by way of fine.
39. If someone starts a fight on the floor of a free man's house, let
him pay compensation of six shillings to the freeman. If he draws his
weapon but does not fight, let the compensation be half that. If either
of these offences takes place in the house of a 600 shilling wergeld
man, let the rate rise to triple the compensation due the freeman. In
the case of a 1200 shilling wergeld man, a rate twice that of the
compensation of the 600 shilling wergeld man.
40. For breaking into a royal residence the penalty shall be 120
shillings. Into an archbishop's, ninety shillings. Into another
bishop's or a royal officer's, 60 shillings. Into a 1200 shilling
werwgeld man's, thirty shillings. Into a 600 shilling wergeld man's
fifteen shillings. For breaking into a freeman's property the penalty
shall be five shillings. If something of this kind takes place while
the levy [fyrd] is on duty elsewhere, or during Lent, let it be a
double compensation. If someone sets aside holy custom publicly in Lent
without an exemption, let him pay a compensation of 120 shillings.
41. The man who has charter land [bocland] which his kin left him, is
not allowed, we enact, to part with it outside his kin-group, if there
is written evidence or spoken witness that it was forbidden to be done
by those people who originally acquired it or by those who passed it to
him. Let him i.e. the one who opposes the alienation process declare
any such stipulation in the presence of the king and the bishop, with
his own kin attending.
42. Also we command that the man who knows his enemy is quiescent at
home should not start a fight before he has asked him for justice. If
he has the strength to surround his enemy and besiege him, let him
contain him for 7 days within and not attack him if he i.e. the enemy
is willing to abide within. After seven days if he is willing to
surrender and hand over his weapons, let him i.e. the avenger keep him
unharmed for thirty days and inform his kinsmen and his friends about
him. But if he i.e. the enemy flee to a church, let the matter be
resolved according to the privilege of the church, as we detailed
above. But if he i.e. the avenger does not have the resources to
besiege him i.e. the enemy, let him ride to the royal officer and ask
him for help. If he i.e. the officer is unwilling to assist, let him
ride and ask the king, before he mounts an attack.
Further, if someone happen upon his enemy and did not know beforehand
that he was quiescent at home, if he i.e. the enemy is willing to hand
over his weapons, let him be held for thirty days and inform his
friends about him; if he is not willing to hand over his weapons then
he i.e. the avenger may attack him. If he i.e. the enemy is willing to
surrender and hand over his weapons and yet someone still attacks him,
let the aggressor pay over wergeld and wound compensation, according to
what he has done, and pay a fine, and lose his kin-status.
We also declare someone may fight in support of his lord without blame,
if anyone has attacked the lord; so too the lord may fight in support
of his follower. In the same way, someone may fight on behalf of his
blood relative if someone attack him wrongfully, but not take the side
of a kinsman against his lord - that we do not permit. Someone may
fight blamelessly if he discovers another with his lawful wife behind
closed doors or under the one cover, or with his legitimate daughter,
or with his legitimate sister or with his mother if she was given
lawfully to his father.
43. To all free people let these following days be granted as holidays
but not to slaves and servile workers; twelve days at Christmas and the
day that Christ overcame the Devil, and St. Gregory's commemoration
day, and seven days before Easter and seven after, and one day at the
celebration of St. Peter and St. Paul and the full week in harvest
before St. Mary's Mass, and one day for the celebration of All Hallows.
The four Wednesdays in the Ember weeks shall be granted to all slaves
to sell to anyone that pleases them to anything either that any man
will give them in God's name or what they in any spare time can manage."
44.-77. The compensations for wounds is as follows: head if both bones
of the head be pierced 30s., head if the outer bone only be pierced
15s.; an inch long wound in the area of the hair 1s., an inch long
wound in the front of the hair 2s.; striking off the other ear 30s., if
the hearing be affected so that he cannot hear 60s.; putting out an eye
60s. 6 1/3 d., if the eye stay in the head but he can see nothing with
it 1/3 of the compensation be remitted; striking off a nose 60s.;
striking a front tooth 8s., a back tooth 4s., a canine tooth 15s.;
severing cheeks 15s., breaking a chin bone 12s.; perforating a windpipe
12s.; removing a tongue the same compensatin for any eye; wounding in
the shoulder so that the muscle fluid flows out 30s.; shattering the
arm above the elbow 15s.; shattering both arm bones 30s.; striking off
the thumb 30s., if the nail is struck off 5s.; striking off the
forefinger 15s., for the nail 4s.; striking off the middle finger 12s.,
for the nail 2s.; striking off the ring finger 17s., for the nail 4s.;
striking off the little finger 9s., for the nail 1s.; wounding in the
belly 30s., if the wound go through the body 20s. for each opening;
perforating the thigh or hip 30s., if it be disabled 30s.; piercing the
leg below the knee 12s., if he  is disabled below the knee 30s.;
striking off the great toe 20s., the second toe 15s., the middle toe
9s., the fourth toe 6s., the little toe 5s.; wounding in the testicles
so that he cannot bear children 80s.; cutting off the arm below the
elbow with the hand cut off 80s., wounding before the hair-line and
below the sleeve and below the knee twice the value; permanently
damaging the loins 60s., it they are stabbed 15s., if they are pierced
through 30s.; wounding in the shoulder if the victim be alive 80s.;
maiming a hand outwardly, providing it can be treated effectively 20s.,
if half the hand be lost 40s.; breaking a rib without breaking the skin
10s., if the skin be broken and the bone be extruded 15s.; cutting away
an eye hand or foot 66s.6 1/3 d.; cutting off the leg at the knee 80s.;
breaking a shoulder 20s.; hacking into a shoulder so that the bone
extrudes 15s.; severing the tendon of the foot and if it can be treated
so that will be sound again 12s., but if he is lame on account of the
wound and he cannot be cured 30s.; severing the lesser tendon 6s.;
severing the muscles up by the neck and damage them so severely that he
has no control over them and however lives on thus maimed 100s., unless
the Witan appoint him a juster and greater sum.

              Judicial Procedure

        Cases were held at monthly meetings of the hundred court. The
king or one of his reeves, conducted the trial by compurgation, which
was an appeal to the supernatural.

        In compurgation, the one complaining, called the "plaintiff",
and the one defending, called the "defendant", each told their story
and put his hand on the Bible and swore "By God this oath is clean and
true". A slip or a stammer would mean he lost the case. Otherwise,
community members would stand up to swear on behalf of the plaintiff or
the defendant as to their reputation for veracity. The value of a man's
oath was commensurate with his value or wergeld. A man's brothers were
usually his compurgators. The number of compurgators varied according
to the nature of the case and the rank of the persons concerned. If
there were too few "compurgators", usually twelve in number, or recited
poorly, their party lost. If this process was inconclusive, the parties
could bring witnesses to declare such knowledge as they had as
neighbors. These witnesses, male and female, swore to particular points
determined by the court.

        If compurgation failed, the defendant was told to go to church
and to take the sacrament only if he was innocent. If he took the
sacrament, he was tried by the process of "ordeal", which was
administered by the church. In the ordeal by cold water, he was given a
drink of holy water and then bound hand and foot and thrown into water.
If he floated, he was guilty beccause the holy water had rejected him.
If he sank, he was innocent. It was not necessary to drown to be deemed
innocent. In the ordeal by hot water, he had to pick up a stone from
inside a boiling cauldron. If his hand was healing in three days, he
was innocent. If it was festering, he was guilty. A similar ordeal was
that of hot iron, in which one had to carry in his hands a hot iron for
a certain distance. In the ordeal of the consecrated morsel, one would
swallow a morsel; if he choked on it, he was guilty. The results of the
ordeal were taken to indicate the will of God.

        An archbishop's or bishop's oath was incontrovertible. If they
were accused, they could clear themselves with an oath that they were
guiltless. Lesser ranks could clear themselves with the oaths of at
least three compurgators of their rank or, for more serious offenses,
undergo the ordeal.

        The shire and hundred courts were held for free tenants of a
lord and the judges were the tenants themselves. The feudal courts were
held for unfree tenants and the lord or his steward was the judge.

        The earl presided over the shire court. He received one-third
of the profits of justice. The judges were the owners of certain pieces
of land. The shire court was held twice a year. There was little
distinction between secular and spiritual jurisdiction.  A bishop sat
on the shire court. The shire court fulfilled all three functions of
government: judicial, legislative, and executive.

        The courts had no efficient mode of compelling attendance or
enforcing their orders, except by outlawing the offender, that is,
putting him outside the protection of the law, so that anyone might
kill him with impunity. In grave cases, a special expedition could be
called against an offender.

The individual wronged had his choice of payment in money or engaging
in a blood feud. The sums of money of the system of bot, wer, and wite
were enormous, and often could not be paid. Then a man could be
declared outlaw or sold as a slave. If a person was outlawed, he also
forfeited all his goods to the king.

        Cases of general importance concerned mayslaying, wounding, and

        A person convicted of murder, i.e. killing by stealth or
robbery [taking from a person's robe, that is, his person or breaking
into his home to steal] could be hung and his possessions confiscated.

A man had a self-help right to arrest a thief hand-habbende [a thief
found with the stolen goods in his hands] and a thief back-berend [a
thief found with the stolen goods on his back or about his person].

        Any inanimate or animate object or personal chattel which was
found by a court to be the immediate cause of death was forfeited as
"deodand", for instance, a tree from which a man fell to his death, a
beast which killed a man, a sword of a third party not the slayer that
was used to kill a man. The deodand was to go to the dead man's kin so
they could wreak their vengeance on it, which in turn would cause the
dead man to lie in peace.

        This is a lawsuit regarding rights to feed pigs in a certain
woodland: "In the year 825 which had passed since the birth of Christ,
and in the course of the second Indiction, and during the reign of
Beornwulf, King of Mercia, a council meeting was held in the famous
place called Clofesho, and there the said King Beornwulf and his
bishops and his earls and all the councilors of this nation were
assembled. Then there was a very noteworthy suit about wood pasture at
Sinton, towards the west in Scirhylte. The reeves in charge of the
pigherds wished to extend the pasture farther, and take in more of the
wood than the ancient rights permitted. Then the bishop and the
advisors of the community said that they would not admit liability for
more than had been appointed in AEthelbald's day, namely mast for 300
swine, and that the bishop and the community should have two thirds of
the wood and of the mast. The Archbishop Wulfred and all the councilors
determined that the bishop and the community might declare on oath that
it was so appointed in AEthelbald's time and that they were not trying
to obtain more, and the bishop immediately gave security to Earl
Eadwulf to furnish the oath before all the councilors, and it was
produced in 30 days at the bishop's see at Worcester. At that time Hama
was the reeve in charge of the pigherds at Sinton, and he rode until he
reached Worcester, and watched and observed the oath, as Earl Eadwulf
bade him, but did not challenge it. Here are the names and designations
of those who were assembled at the council meeting ..."

                   Chapter 3

               The Times: 900-1066

        There were many large landholders such as the King, earls, and
bishops. Earls were noblemen by birth, and often relatives of the King.
They were his army commanders and the highest civil officials, each
responsible for a shire. A breach of the public peace of an earl would
occasion a fine. Lower in social status were freemen: sokemen, and
then, in decreasing order, villani [villeins], bordarii, and cottarii.
The servi were the slaves. Probably all who were not slaves were

        Kings typically granted land in exchange for services of
military duties, maintaining fortresses, and repairing bridges. Less
common services required by landlords include equipping a guard ship
and guarding the coast, guarding the lord, military watch, maintaining
the deer fence at the King's residence, alms giving, and church dues.
Since this land was granted in return for service, there were
limitations on its heritability and often an heir had to pay a heriot
to the landlord to obtain the land. A heriot was originally the weapons
and armor of a man killed, which went to the King. The heriot of a
thegn who had soken [or jurisdiction over their own lands] came to be
about 80s.; of a kings' thegn about four lances, two coats of mail, two
swords, and 125s.; of an earl about eight horses, four saddled and four
unsaddled, eight lances, four coats of mail, four swords, and 500s.

        There were several thousand thegns, rich and poor, who held
land directly of the King. Some thegns had soken and others did not.
Free farmers who had sought protection from thegns in time of war now
took them as their lords. A freeman could chose his lord, following him
in war and working his land in peace. All able-bodied freemen were
liable to military service in the fyrd [national militia], but not in a
lord's private wars. In return, the lord would protect him against
encroaching neighbors, back him in the courts of law, and feed him in
times of famine. But often, lords raided each other's farmers, who fled
into the hills or woods for safety. Often a lord's fighting men stayed
with him at his large house, but later were given land with inhabitants
on it, who became his tenants. The lords were the ruling class and the
greatest of them sat in the King's council along with bishops, abbots,
and officers of the King's household. The lesser lords were local
magnates, who officiated at the shire and hundred courts.

        Staghunting, foxhunting, and hawking were reserved for lords
who did not work with their hands. Every free born person had the right
to hunt other game.

        There was a great expansion of arable land. Some land had been
specifically allocated to certain individuals. Some was common land,
held by communities. If a family came to pay the dues and fines on
certain common land, it could become personal to that family and was
then known as heirland. Most land came to be privately held from
community-witnessed allotments or inheritance. Bookland was those
holdings written down in books. This land was usually land that had
been given to the church or monasteries because church clerics could
write. So many thegns gave land to the church, usually a hide, that the
church held 1/3 of the land of the realm. Folkland was that land that
was left over after allotments had been made to the freemen and which
was not common land. It was public land and a national asset and could
be converted to heirland or bookland only by action of the king and
witan. It could also be rented by services to the state via charter. A
holder of folkland might express a wish, e.g. by testamentary action,
for a certain disposition of it, such as an estate for life or lives
for a certain individual. But a distinct act by the king and witan was
necessary for this wish to take effect. Small private transactions of
land could be done by "livery of seisin" in the presence of neighbors.
"Seisin" is rightful possession. A man in possession of land is
presumed to have "seisin", unless and until someone else can establish
a better title by legal process. All estates in land could be let,
lent, or leased by its holders, and was then known as "loenland".

        Ploughs and wagons could be drawn by four or more oxen or
horses in sets of two behind each other. Oxenshoes and horseshoes
prevented lameness due to cracked hooves. Horse collars especially
fitted for horses, replaced oxen yoke that had been used on horses. The
horse collar did not restrict breathing and enabled horses to use the
same strength of oxen. Also, horses had better endurance and faster

        A free holder's house was wood, perhaps with a stone
foundation, and roofed with thatch or tiles. There was a main room or
hall, with bed chambers around it. Beyond was the kitchen, perhaps
outside under a lean-to. These buildings were surrounded by a bank or
stiff hedge.

        Simple people lived in huts made from wood and mud, with one
door and no windows. They slept around a wood-burning fire in the
middle of the earthen floor. They wore shapeless clothes of goat hair
and unprocessed wool from their sheep. They ate rough brown bread,
vegetable and grain broth, ale from barley, bacon, beans, milk,
cabbage, onion, apples, plums, cherries, and honey for sweetening or
mead. Vegetables grown in the country included onions, leeks, celery,
lettuce, radish, carrots, garlic, shallots, parsnip, dill, chervil,
marigold, coriander, and poppy. In the summer, they ate boiled or raw
veal and wild fowl such as ducks, geese, or pigeons, and game snared in
the forest. Poultry was a luxury food, but recognized as therapeutic
for invalids, especially in broth form [chicken soup]. Venison was
highly prized. There were still some wild boar, which were hunted with
long spears, a greyhound dog, and hunting horns. They sometimes mated
with the domestic pigs which roamed the woodlands. In September, the
old and infirm pigs were slaughtered and their sides of bacon smoked in
the rafters for about a month. Their intestines provided skin for
sausages. In the fall, cattle were slaughtered and salted for food
during the winter because there was no more pasture for them. However,
some cows and breed animals were kept through the winter.

        For their meals, people used wooden platters, sometimes
earthenware plates, drinking horns, drinking cups from ash or alderwood
turned on a foot-peddled pole lathe, and bottles made of leather. Their
bowls, pans, and pitchers were made by the potter's wheel. Water could
be boiled in pots made of iron, brass, lead, or clay. Water could be
carried in leather bags because leather working preservative techniques
improved so that tanning prevented stretching or decaying. At the back
of each hut was a hole in the ground used as a latrine, which flies
frequented. Moss was used for toilet paper. Parasitical worms in the
stool were ubiquitous.

        Most of the simple people lived in villages of about 20 homes
circling a village green or lining a single winding lane. There were
only first names, and these were usually passed down family lines. To
grind their grain, the villagers used hand mills with crank and gear,
or a communal mill, usually built of oak, driven by power transmitted
through a solid oak shaft, banded with iron as reinforcement, to
internal gear wheels of elm. Almost every village had a watermill. It
might be run by water shooting over or flowing under the wheel.

        Clothing for men and women was made from coarse wool, silk, and
linen and was usually brown in color. Only the wealthy could afford to
wear linen or silk. Men also wore leather clothing, such as neckpieces,
breeches, ankle leathers, shoes, and boots. Boots were worn when
fighting. They carried knives or axes under metal belts. They could
carry items by tying leather pouches onto their belts with their
drawstrings. They wore leather gloves for warmth and for heavy working
with their hands.

        People were as tall, strong and healthy as in the late 1900s,
not having yet endured the later malnourishment and overcrowding that
was its worst in the 1700s and 1800s. Their teeth were very healthy.
Most adults died in their 40s, after becoming arthritic from hard
labor. People in their 50s were deemed venerable. Boys of twelve were
considered old enough to swear an oath of allegiance to the king. Girls
married in their early teens, often to men significantly older.

        The lands of the large landholding lords were administered by
freemen. They had wheat, barley, oats, and rye fields, orchards,
vineyards for wine, and beekeeping areas for honey. On this land lived
not only farm laborers, cattle herders, shepherds, goatherds, and
pigherds, but craftsmen such as goldsmiths, hawkkeepers, dogkeepers,
horsekeepers, huntsmen, foresters, builders, weaponsmiths, embroiders,
bronze smiths, blacksmiths, watermill wrights, wheelwrights, wagon
wrights, iron nail makers, potters, soap makers (made from wood ashes
reacting chemically with fats or oils), tailors, shoemakers, salters
(made salt at the "wyches", which later became towns ending with
'-wich'), bakers, cooks, and gardeners. Most men did carpentry work.
Master carpenters worked with ax, hammer, and saw to make houses,
doors, bridges, milk buckets, washtubs, and trunks. Blacksmiths made
gates, huge door hinges, locks, latches, bolts, and horseshoes. The
lord loaned these people land on which to live for their life, called a
"life estate", in return for their services. The loan could continue to
their widows or children who took up the craft. Mills were usually
powered by water. Candles were made from beeswax, which exuded a bright
and steady light and pleasant smell, or from mutton fat, which had an
unpleasant odor. The wheeled plough and iron-bladed plough made the
furrows. One man held the plough and another walked with the oxen,
coaxing them forward with a stick and shouts. Seeds were held in an
apron for seeding. Farm implements included spades, shovels, rakes,
hoes, buckets, barrels, flails, and sieves. Plants were pruned to
direct their growth and to increase their yield. Everyone got together
for feasts at key stages of the farming, such as the harvest. Easter
was the biggest feast. When the lord was in the field, his lady held
their estate. There were common lands of these estates as well as of
communities. Any proposed new settler had to be admitted at the court
of this estate.

        The land of some lords included fishing villages along the
coasts. From the sea were caught herrings, salmon, porpoises, sturgeon,
oysters, crabs, mussels, cockles, winkles, plaice, flounder, and
lobsters. Sometimes whales were driven into an inlet by many boats.
River fish included eels, pike, minnows, burbot, trout, and lampreys.
They were caught by brushwood weirs, net, bait, hooks, and baskets.
Oysters were so numerous that they were eaten by the poor. The king's
peace extended over the waterways. If mills, fisheries, weirs, or other
structures were set up to block them, they were to be destroyed and a
penalty paid to the king.

        Other lords had land with iron mining industries. Ore was dug
from the ground and combined with wood charcoal in a shaft furnace to
be smelted into liquid form. Wood charcoal was derived from controlled
charring of the wood at high temperatures without using oxygen. This
burned impurities from it and left a purer carbon, which burned better
than wood. The pure iron was extracted from this liquid and formed into
bars. To keep the fire hot, the furnaces were frequently placed at
windswept crossings of valleys or on the tops of hills.

        Some lords had markets on their land, for which they charged a
toll for participation. There were about fifty markets in the nation.
Cattle and slaves (from the word "slav") were the usual medium of
exchange. An ox was still worth about 30d. Shaking hands was symbolic
of an agreement for a sale, which had to be carried out in front of
witnesses at the market for any property worth over 20d. The higher the
value of the property, the more witnesses were required. Witnesses were
also required for the exchange of property and to vouch for cattle
having being born on the property of a person claiming them. People
traveled to markets on deep, sunken roads and narrow bridges kept in
repair by certain men who did this work as their service to the King.
The king's peace extended to a couple of high roads, i.e. highways,
running the length of the country and a couple running its width.

        Salt was used throughout the nation to preserve meat over the
winter. Inland saltworks had an elaborate and specialized organization.
The chief one used saltpans and furnaces to extract salt from natural
brine springs. They formed little manufacturing enclaves in the midst
of agricultural land, and they were considered to be neither large
private estates headed by a lord nor appurtenant to such. They belonged
jointly to the king and the local earl, who shared, at a proportion of
two to one, the proceeds of the tolls upon the sale of salt and methods
of carriage on the ancient salt ways according to cartload, horse load,
or man load. Sometimes there were investors in a portion of the works
who lived quite at distance away. The sales of salt were mostly retail,
but some bought to resell. Peddlers carried salt to sell from village
to village.

        Some smiths traveled for their work, for instance, stonewrights
building arches and windows in churches, and lead workers putting lead
roofs on churches.

        An example of a grant of hides of land is: "[God has endowed
King Edred with England], wherefore he enriches and honors men, both
ecclesiastic and lay, who can justly deserve it. The truth of this can
be acknowledged by the thegn AElfsige Hunlafing through his acquisition
of the estate of 5 hides at Alwalton for himself and his heirs, free
from every burden except the repair of fortifications, the building of
bridges and military service; a prudent landowner church dues, burial
fees and tithes. [This land] is to be held for all time and granted
along with the things both great and small belonging to it."

        A Bishop gave land to a faithful attendant for his life and two
other lives as follows: "In 904 A.D., I, Bishop Werfrith, with the
permission and leave of my honorable community in Worcester, grant to
Wulfsige, my reeve, for his loyal efficiency and humble obedience, one
hide of land at Aston as Herred held it, that is, surrounded by a dyke,
for three lives and then after three lives the estate shall be given
back without any controversy to Worcester."

        At seaports on the coast, goods were loaded onto vessels owned
by English merchants to be transported to other English seaports.
London was a market town on the north side of the Thames River and the
primary port and trading center for foreign merchants. Streets that
probably date from this time include Milk, Bread, and Wood Streets, and
Honey Lane. There were open air markets such as Billingsgate. There
were wooden quays over much of the river front. Houses were made of
wood, with one sunken floor, or a ground floor with a cellar beneath.
Some had central stone hearths and earth latrines. There were crude
pottery cooking pots, beakers and lamps, wool cloth, a little silk,
simple leather shoes, pewter jewelry, looms, and quernstones (for
grinding flour). Wool, skins, hides, wheat, meal, beer, lead, cheese,
salt, and honey were exported. Wine (mostly for the church), fish,
timber, pitch, pepper, garlic, spices, copper, gems, gold, silk, dyes,
oil, brass, sulphur, glass, slaves, and elephant and walrus ivory were
imported. Goods from the continent were sold at open stalls in certain
streets. Furs and slaves were traded. There was a royal levy on exports
by foreigners merchants. Southwark, across the Thames River from
London,was reachable by a bridge. Southwark contained sleazy docks,
prisons, gaming houses, and brothels.

        Guilds in London were first associations of neighbors for the
purposes of mutual assistance. They were fraternities of persons by
voluntary compact to assist each other in poverty, including their
widows or orphans and the portioning of poor maids, and to protect each
other from injury. Their essential features are and continue to be in
the future: 1) oath of initiation, 2) entrance fee in money or in kind
and a common fund, 3) annual feast and mass, 4) meetings at least three
times yearly for guild business, 5) obligation to attend all funerals
of members, to bear the body if need be from a distance, and to provide
masses for the dead, 6) the duty of friendly help in cases of sickness,
imprisonment, house burning, shipwreck, or robbery, 7) rules for decent
behavior at meetings, and 8) provisions for settling disputes without
recourse to the law. Both the masses and the feast were attended by the
women. Frequently the guilds also had a religious ceremonial to affirm
their bonds of fidelity. They readily became connected with the
exercise of trades and with the training of apprentices. They promoted
and took on public purposes such as the repairing of roads and bridges,
the relief of pilgrims, the maintenance of schools and almshouses, and
the periodic performance of pageants and miracle plays telling
scriptural history, which could last for several days. The devil often
was prominent in miracle plays.

        Many of these London guilds were known by the name of their
founding member. There were also Frith Guilds (peace guilds) and a
Knights' Guild. The Frith Guild's main object was to enforce the King's
laws, especially the prevalent problem of theft. They were especially
established by bishops and reeves. Members met monthly and contributed
about 4d. to a common fund, which paid a compensation for items stolen.
They each paid 1s. towards the pursuit of the thief. The members were
grouped in tens. Members with horses were to track the thief. Members
without horses worked in the place of the absent horse owners until
their return. When caught, the thief was tried and executed.
Overwhelming force was used if his kindred tried to protect him. His
property was used to compensate the victim for his loss and then
divided between the thief's wife, if she was innocent, the King, and
the guild. Owners of slaves paid into a fund to give one half
compensation to those who lost slaves by theft or escape, and
recaptured slaves were to be stoned to death or hanged. The members of
the peace guild also feasted and drank together. When one died, the
others each sang a song or paid for the singing of fifty psalms for his
soul and gave a loaf.

        The Knights' Guild was composed of thirteen military persons to
whom King Edgar granted certain waste land in the east of London,
toward Aldgate, and also Portsoken, which ran outside the eastern wall
of the city to the Thames, for prescribed services performed, probably
defense of the vulnerable east side of the city. This concession was
confirmed by King Edward the Confessor in a charter at the suit of
certain citizens of London, the successors of these knights. Edward
granted them sake and soke, the right to hold a court for the offender
and to receive the profits of jurisdiction, over their men.

        Edward the Confessor made these rules for London:

1. Be it known that within the space of three miles from all parts
outside of the city a man ought not to hold or hinder another, and also
should not do business with him if he wish to come to the city under
its peace. But when he arrives in the city, then let the market be the
same to the rich man as to the poor.

2. Be it also known that a man who is from the court of the king or the
barons ought not to lodge in the house of any citizen of London for
three nights, either by privilege or by custom, except by consent of
the host. For if he force the host to lodge him in his house and there
be killed by the host, let the host choose six from his relatives and
let him as the seventh swear that he killed him for the said cause. And
thus he will remain quit of the murder of the - - deceased towards the
king and relatives and lords of the deceased.

3. And after he has entered the city, let a foreign merchant be lodged
wherever it please him. But if he bring dyed cloth, let him see to it
that he does not sell his merchandise at retail, but that he sell not
less than a dozen pieces at a time. And if he bring pepper, or cumin,
or ginger, or alum, or brasil wood, or resin, or incense, let him sell
not less than fifteen pounds at a time. But if he bring belts, let him
sell not less than a thousand at a - - time. And if he bring cloths of
silk, or wool or linen, let him see that he cut them not, but sell them
whole. But if he bring wax, let him sell not less than one quartanum.
Also a foreign merchant may not buy dyed cloth, nor make the dye in the
city, nor do any work which belongs by right to the citizens.

4. Also no foreign merchant with his partner may set up any market
within the city for reselling goods in the city, nor may he approach a
citizen for making a bargain, nor may he stop longer in the City.

        Every week in London there was a folkmote at St. Paul's
churchyard, where majority decision was a tradition. By 1032, it had
lost much of its power to the husting [household assembly in Danish]
court. The folkmote then had responsibility for order and was the sole
authority for proclaiming outlaws. It met three times a year at St.
Paul's churchyard and there acclaimed its sheriff and its justiciar, or
if the king had chosen his officer, heard who was chosen and listened
to his charge. It also yearly arranged the watch and dealt with risks
of fire. It was divided into wards, each governed by an alderman who
presided over the wardmote, and represented his ward at the folkmote.
Each guild became a ward. The chief alderman was the portreeve. London
paid one-eighth of all the taxes of England.

        Later in the towns, merchant guilds grew out of charity
associations whose members were bound by oath to each other and got
together for a guild feast every month. Some traders of these merchant
guilds became so prosperous that they became landholders. Many market
places were dominated by a merchant guild, which had a monopoly of the
local trade. In the great mercantile towns all the land and houses
would be held by merchants and their dependents, all freeholders were
connected with a trade, and everyone who had a claim on public office
or magistry would be a member of the guild. The merchant guild could
admit into their guild country villeins, who became freemen if
unclaimed by their lords for a year and a day. Every merchant who had
made three long voyages on his own behalf and at his own cost ranked as
a thegn. There were also some craft guilds composed of handicraftsmen
or artisans. Escaped bonded agricultural workers, poor people, and
traders without land migrated to towns to live, but were not citizens.

        Towns were largely self-sufficient, but salt and iron came from
a distance. The King's established in every shire at least one town
with a market place where purchases would be witnessed, and a mint
where reliable money was coined by a moneyer, who put his name on his
coins. There were eight moneyers in London. Coins were issued to be of
value for only a couple of years. Then one had to exchange them for
newly issued ones at a rate of about 10 old for 8 or 9 new. The
difference constituted a tax. Roughly 10% of the people lived in towns.
Some took surnames such as Tanner, Weaver, or Carpenter. Some had
affectionate or derisive nicknames such as clear-hand, fresh friend,
soft bread, foul beard, money taker, or penny purse. Craftsmen in the
1000s included goldsmiths, embroiderers, illuminators of manuscripts,
and armorers.

        Edward the Confessor, named such for his piety, was a king of
24 years who was widely respected for his intelligence,
resourcefulness, good judgment, and wisdom. His educated Queen Edith,
whom he relied on for advice and cheerful courage, was a stabilizing
influence on him. They were served by a number of thegns, who had
duties in the household, which was composed of the hall, the courtyard,
and the bedchamber. They were important men - thegns by rank. They were
landholders, often in several areas, and held leading positions in the
shires. They were also priests and clerics, who maintained the
religious services and performed tasks for which literacy was
necessary. Edward was the first king to have a "Chancellor", who was
the first great officer of state. He kept a royal seal and was the
chief royal chaplain. He did all the secretarial work of the household
and court, drew up and sealed the royal writs, conducted the king's
correspondence, and kept all the royal accounts. The word "chancellor"
signified a screen behind which the secretarial work of the household
was done. He had the special duty of securing and administering the
royal revenue from vacant benefices. The second great office was that
of Treasurer, who headed the Exchequer. The most important royal
officers were the chamberlains, who took care of the royal bedchamber
and adjoining wardrobe used for dressing and storage of valuables, and
the priests. These royal officers had at first been responsible only
for domestic duties, but gradually came to assume public administrative

        Edward wanted to avoid the pressures and dangers of living in
the rich and powerful City of London. So he rebuilt a monastic church,
an abbey, and a palace at Westminster about two miles upstream. He
started the growth of Westminster as a center of royal and political
power; kings' councils met there. Royal coronations took place at the
abbey. Since Edward traveled a lot, he established a
storehouse-treasury at Winchester to supplement his traveling wardrobe.
At this time, Spanish stallions were imported to improve English
horses. London came to have the largest and best trained army in

        The court invited many of the greatest magnates and prelates
[highest ecclesiastical officials, such as bishops] of the land to the
great ecclesiastical festivals, when the king held more solemn courts
and feasted with his vassals for several days. These included all the
great earls, the majority of bishops, some abbots, and a number of
thegns and clerics. Edward had a witan of wise men to advise him, but
sometimes the King would speak in the hall after dinner and listen to
what comments were made from the mead-benches. As the court moved about
the country, many men came to pay their respects and attend to local
business. Edward started the practice of King's touching people to cure
them of scrofula, a disease which affected the glands, especially in
the head and neck. It was done in the context of a religious ceremony.

        The main governmental activities were: war, collection of
revenue, religious education, and administration of justice. For war,
the shires had to provide a certain number of men and the ports quotas
of ships with crews. The king was the patron of the English church. He
gave the church peace and protection. He presided over church councils
and appointed bishops. As for the administration of justice, the public
courts were almost all under members of Edward's court, bishops, earls,
and reeves. Edward's mind was often troubled and disturbed by the
threat that law and justice would be overthrown, by the pervasiveness
of disputes and discord, by the raging of wicked presumption, by money
interfering with right and justice, and by avarice kindling all of
these. He saw it as his duty to courageously oppose the wicked by
taking good men as models, by enriching the churches of God, by
relieving those oppressed by wicked judges, and by judging equitably
between the powerful and the humble. He was so greatly revered that a
comet was thought to accompany his death.

        The king established the office of the Chancery to draft
documents and keep records. It created the writ, which was a small
piece of parchment [sheep skin] addressed to a royal official or
dependent commanding him to perform some task for the King. By the
1000s A.D., the writ contained a seal: a lump of wax with the impress
of the Great Seal of England which hung from the bottom of the
document. Writing was done with a sharpened goose-wing quill. Ink was
obtained from mixing fluid from the galls made by wasps for their eggs
on oak trees, rainwater or vinegar, gum arabic, and iron salts for

        A King's grant of land entailed two documents: a charter giving
boundaries and conditions and a writ, usually addressed to the shire
court, listing the judicial and financial privileges conveyed with the
land. These were usually sac [jurisdiction of a lord to hold court and
to impose fines and amercements] and soke [jurisdiction of a private
court of a noble or institution to execute the laws and administer
justice over inhabitants and tenants of the estate], toll [right to
have a market and to collect a payment on the sale of cattle and other
property on one's own estate] and team [a privilege granted by royal
charter to the lord of a manor for the having, restraining, and judging
of villeins with their children, goods, and chattels], and
infangenetheof [the authority to hang and take the chattels of a thief
caught on his estate].

        The town of Coventry consisted of a large monastery estate,
headed by an abbot, and a large private estate headed by a lord. The
monastery was granted by Edward the Confessor full freedom and these
jurisdictions: sac and soke, toll and team, hamsocne [the authority to
fine a person for breaking into and making entry by force into the
dwelling of another], forestall [the authority to fine a person for
robbing others on the road], bloodwite [the authority to impose a
forfeiture for assault involving bloodshed], fightwite [the authority
to fine for fighting], weordwite [the authority to fine for
manslaughter, but not for willful murder], and mundbryce [the authority
to fine for any breach of the peace, such as trespass on lands].

        Every man was expected to have a lord to whom he gave fealty.
He swore by a fealty oath such as: "By the Lord, before whom this relic
is holy, I will be to faithful and true, and love all that he loves,
and shun all that he shuns, according to God's law, and according to
the world's principle, and never, by will nor by force, by word nor by
work, do ought of what is loathful to him; on condition that he keep me
as I am willing to deserve, and all that fulfill that our agreement
was, when I to him submitted and chose his will." If a man was homeless
or lordless, his brothers were expected to find him such, e.g. in the
folkmote. Otherwise, he was to be treated as a fugitive and could be
slain, and anyone who had harbored him would pay a penalty. Brothers
were also expected to protect their minor kinsmen. When the oath of
fealty was sworn, the man usually did homage to this lord symbolized by
holding his hands together between those of his lord.

        Marriages were determined by men asking women to marry them. If
a woman said yes, he paid a sum to her kin for her "mund" [jurisdiction
or protection over her] and gave his oath to them to maintain and
support the woman and any children born. As security for this oath, he
gave a valuable object or "wed". The couple were then betrothed.
Marriage ceremonies were performed by priests in churches. The groom
had to bring friends to his wedding as sureties to guarantee his oath
to maintain and support his wife and children. Those who swore to take
care of the children were called their "godfathers". The marriage was
written into church records. After witnessing the wedding, friends ate
the great loaf, or first bread made by the bride. This was the
forerunner of the wedding cake. They drank special ale, the "bride ale"
(from hence the work "bridal"), to the health of the couple.

        Women could own land, houses, and furniture and other property.
They could even make wills that disinherited their sons. This marriage
agreement with an Archbishop's sister provides her with land, money,
and horsemen:

        "Here in this document is stated the agreement which Wulfric
and the archbishop made when he obtained the archbishop's sister as his
wife, namely he promised her the estates at Orleton and Ribbesford for
her lifetime, and promised her that he would obtain the estate at
Knightwick for her for three lives from the community at Winchcombe,
and gave her the estate at Alton to grant and bestow upon whomsoever
she pleased during her lifetime or at her death, as she preferred, and
promised her 50 mancuses of gold and 30 men and 30 horses.
The witnesses that this agreement was made as stated were Archbishop
Wulfstan and Earl Leofwine and Bishop AEthelstan and Abbot AElfweard
and the monk Brihtheah and many good men in addition to them, both
ecclesiastics and laymen. There are two copies of this agreement, one
in the possession of the archbishop at Worcester and the other in the
possession of Bishop AEthelstan at Hereford."

        This marriage agreement provided the wife with money, land,
farm animals and farm laborers; it also names sureties, the survivor of
whom would receive all this property:

"Here is declared in this document the agreement which Godwine made
with Brihtric when he wooed his daughter. In the first place he gave
her a pound's weight of gold, to induce her to accept his suit, and he
granted her the estate at Street with all that belongs to it, and 150
acres at Burmarsh and in addition 30 oxen and 20 cows and 10 horses and
10 slaves.
This agreement was made at Kingston before King Cnut, with the
cognizance of Archbishop Lyfing and the community at Christchurch, and
Abbot AElfmaer and the community at St. Augustine's, and the sheriff
AEthelwine and Sired the old and Godwine, Wulfheah's son, and AElfsige
cild and Eadmaer of Burham and Godwine, Wulfstan's son, and Carl, the
King's cniht. And when the maiden was brought from Brightling AElfgar,
Sired's son, and Frerth, the priest of Forlstone, and the priests
Leofwine and Wulfsige from Dover, and Edred, Eadhelm's son, and
Leofwine, Waerhelm's son, and Cenwold rust and Leofwine, son of Godwine
of Horton, and Leofwine the Red and Godwine, Eadgifu's son, and
Leofsunu his brother acted as security for all this. And whichever of
them lives the longer shall succeed to all the property both in land
and everything else which I have given them. Every trustworthy man in
Kent and Sussex, whether thegn or commoner, is cognizant of these terms.
There are three of these documents; one is at Christchurch, another at
St. Augustine's, and Brihtric himself has the third."

        Nuns and monks lived in segregated nunneries and monasteries on
church land and grew their own food. The local bishop usually was also
an abbot of a monastery. The priests and nuns wore long robes with
loose belts and did not carry weapons. Their life was ordered by the
ringing of the bell to start certain activities, such as prayer; meals;
meetings; work in the fields, gardens, or workshops; and copying and
illuminating books. They chanted to pay homage and to communicate with
God or his saints. They taught justice, piety, chastity, peace, and
charity; and cared for the sick. Caring for the sick entailed mostly
praying to God as it was thought that only God could cure. They bathed
a few times a year. They got their drinking water from upstream of
where they had located their latrines over running water. The large
monasteries had libraries, dormitories, guesthouses, kitchens,
butteries to store wine, bakehouses, breweries, dairies, granaries,
barns, fishponds, orchards, vineyards, gardens, workshops, laundries,
lavatories with long stone or marble washing troughs, and towels.
Slavery was diminished by the church by excommunication for the sale of
a child over seven. The clergy taught that manumission of slaves was
good for the soul of the dead, so it became frequent in wills. The
clergy were to abstain from red meat and wine and were to be celibate.
But there were periods of laxity. Punishment was by the cane or scourge.

        The Archbishop of Canterbury began anointing new kings at the
time of coronation to emphasize that the king was ruler by the grace of
God. As God's minister, the king could only do right. From 973, the new
king swore to protect the Christian church, to prevent inequities to
all subjects, and to render good justice, which became a standard oath.

        It was believed that there was a celestial hierarchy, with
heavenly hosts in specific places. The heavenly bodies revolved in
circles around the earthly world on crystal spheres of their own, which
were serene, harmonious, and eternal. This contrasted with the change,
death, and decay that occurred in the earthly world. Also in this
world, Aristotle's four elements of earth, air, fire, and water sought
their natural places, e.g. bubbles of air rising through water. The
planets were called wanderers because their motion did not fit the
circular scheme.

        God intervened in daily life, especially if worshipped. Jesus
Christ, his mother the Virgin Mary and saints were also worshipped.
Saints such as Bede and Hilda performed miracles, especially ones of
curing. Their spirits could be contacted through their relics, which
rested at the altars of churches. Sin resulted in misfortune. When
someone was said to have the devil in him, people took it quite
literally. Omens fortold events. A real Jack Frost nipped noses and
fingers and made the ground too hard to work. Little people, elves,
trolls, and fairies inhabited the fears and imaginings of people. The
forest was the mysterious home of spirits. People prayed to God to help
them in their troubles and from the work of the devil. Prayer was often
a charm to conjure up friendly spirits rather than an act of
supplication. Sorcerers controlled the forces of nature with the aid of
spirits. Since natural causes of events were unknown, people attributed
events to wills like their own. Illness and disease were thought to be
caused by demons and witches. To cure illness, people hung charms
around their neck and went to good witches for treatments of magic and
herbs. For instance, the remedy for "mental vacancy and folly" was a
drink of "fennel, agrimony, cockle, and marche".Some herbs had
hallucinogenic effects, which were probably useful for pain. Blood-
letting by leeches and cautery were used for most maladies, which were
thought to be caused by imbalance of the four bodily humors: sanguine,
phlegmatic, choleric, and melancholic. These four humors reflected the
four basic elements air, water, fire, and earth. Blood was hot and
moist like air; phlegm was cold and moist like water; choler or yellow
bile was hot and dry like fire; and melancholy or black bile was cold
and dry like earth. Bede had explained that when blood predominates, it
makes people joyful, glad, sociable, laughing, and talking a great
deal. Phlegm renders them slow, sleepy, and forgetful. Red cholic makes
them thin, though eating much, swift, bold, wrathful, and agile. Black
cholic makes them serious of settled disposition, even sad. To relieve
brain pressure and/or maybe to exorcise evil spirits, holes were made
in skulls by a drill with a metal tip that was caused to turn back and
forth by a strap wrapped around a wooden handle. A king's daughter
Edith inspired a cult of holy wells, whose waters were thought to
alleviate eye conditions. Warmth and rest were also used for illness.
Agrimony boiled in milk was thought to relieve impotence in men.

        It was known that the liver casted out impurities in the blood.
The stages of fetal growth were known. The soul was not thought to
enter a fetus until after the third month, so presumably abortions
within three months were allowable.

        The days of the week were Sun day, Moon day, Tiw's day (Viking
god of war), Woden's day (Viking god of victory, master magician,
calmer of storms, and raiser of the dead), Thor's day (Viking god of
thunder), Frig's day (Viking goddess of fertility and growing things),
and Saturn's day (Roman god). Special days of the year were celebrated:
Christmas, the birthday of Jesus Christ; the twelve days of Yuletide (a
Viking tradition) when candles were lit and houses decorated with
evergreen and there were festivities around the burning of the biggest
log available; Plough Monday for resumption of work after Yuletide;
February 14th with a feast celebrating Saint Valentinus, a Roman bishop
martyr who had married young lovers in secret when marriage was
forbidden to encourage men to fight in war; New Year's Day on March
25th when seed was sown and people banged on drums and blew horns to
banish spirits who destroy crops with disease; Easter, the day of the
resurrection of Jesus Christ; Whitsunday, celebrating the descent of
the Holy Spirit on the apostles of Jesus and named for the white worn
by baptismal candidates; May Day when flowers and greenery was gathered
from the woods to decorate houses and churches, Morris dancers leapt
through their villages with bells, hobby horses, and waving scarves,
and people danced around a May pole holding colorful ribbons tied at
the top so they became entwined around the pole; Lammas on August 1st,
when the first bread baked from the wheat harvest was consecrated;
Harvest Home when the last harvest load was brought home while an
effigy of a goddess was carried with reapers singing and piping behind,
and October 31st, the eve of the Christian designated All Hallow Day,
which then became known as All Hallow Even, or Halloween. People
dressed as demons, hobgoblins, and witches to keep spirits away from
possessing them. Trick or treating began with Christian beggars asking
for "soul cake" biscuits in return for praying for dead relatives.
Ticktacktoe and backgammon were played.

        The languages of invaders had produced a hybrid language that
was roughly understood throughout the country. The existence of Europe,
Africa, Asia, and India were known. Jerusalem was thought to be at the
center of the world. There was an annual tax of a penny on every
hearth, Peter's pence, to be collected and sent to the pope in Rome
yearly. Ecclesiastical benefices were to pay church-scot, a payment in
lieu of first fruits of the land, to the pope.

                   The Law

        There were several kings in this period. The king and witan
deliberated on the making of new laws, both secular and spiritual, at
the regularly held witanagemot. There was a standard legal requirement
of holding every man accountable, though expressed in different ways,
such as the following three:

        Every freeman who does not hold land must find a lord to answer
for him. Every lord shall be personally responsible as surety for the
men of his household. [This included female lords.] (King Athelstan)

        "And every man shall see that he has a surety, and this surety
shall bring and keep him to [the performance of] every lawful duty.
1. -And if anyone does wrong and escapes, his surety shall incur what
the other should have incurred.
2. -If the case be that of a thief and his surety can lay hold of him
within twelve months, he shall deliver him up to justice, and what he
has paid shall be returned to him." (King Edgar)

        Every freeman who holds land, except lords with considerable
landed property, must be in a local tithing, usually ten to twelve men,
in which they serve as personal sureties for each other's peaceful
behavior. If one of the ten landholders in a tithing is accused of an
offense, the others have to produce him in court or pay a fine plus pay
the injured party for the offense, unless they could prove that they
had no complicity in it. If the man is found guilty but can not pay,
his tithing must pay his fine. The chief officer is the "tithing man"
or "capital pledge". There were probably ten tithings in a hundred.
(King Edward the Confessor).

Canute reigned from 1016 to 1035. The following are substantially all
the laws of Canute with an * before ones of special interest.

        Proclamations of Canute are:

All my reeves, under pain of forfeiting my friendship and all that they
possess and their own lives, shall govern my people justly everywhere,
and to pronounce just judgments with the cognizance of the bishops of
the dioceses, and to inflict such mitigated penalties as the bishop may
approve and the man himself may be able to bear.

I enjoin upon all the sheriffs and reeves throughout my kingdom that,
as they desire to retain my friendship and their own sercurity, they
employ no unjust force towards any man, either rich or poor, but that
all, both nobles and commoners, rich and poor, shall have their right
of just possession, which shall not be infringed upon in any way,
either for the sake of obtaining the favour of the king or of
gratifying any powerful person or of collecting money for me; and I
have no need that monoey should be collected for me by any unust

        Ecclesiastical laws of Canute are:

Above all else, love and honour one God, and uphold one Christian
faith, and love King Canute with due fidlity.

*Maintain the security and sanctity of the churches of God, and
frequently attend them for the salvation of our souls and our own
benefit. He who violates the protection given by the church of God
within its walls, or the protection granted by a Christian king in
person shall lose both land and life, unless the king is willing to
pardon him.        Homicide within the church's walls shall not be
atoned for by any payment of compensation, and everyone shall pursue
the miscreant, unless it happen that he escapes from there and reaches
so inviolable a sanctuary that the king, because of that, grants him
his life, upon condition that he makes full amends both towards God and
towards men. The first conditon is that he shall give his own wergeld
to Christ and to the king and by that means obtain the legal right to
offer compensation. And if the king allows compensation, amends for the
violation of the protection of the church shall be made by the payment
to the church of the full fine for breach of the king's mund, and the
purification of the church shall be carried out as is fiting, and
compensation both to the kin and to the lord of the slain man shall be
fully psid, and supplication shall earnestly be made to God. If the
protection of the church is broken by offenses such as fighting or
robbery, without the taking of life, amends shall diligently be made in
accordance with the nature of the offense. The penalty for violation of
the protection of a principal church is 5 pounds, for a church of
medium rank is 120s., for a church with a graveyard 60s., and for a
country chapel where there is no graveyard, 30s.

Maintain the security and sanctity of holy things and priests according
to their rank, for they drive away devils, baptize anyone, hallow the
Eucharist, and intercede to Christ for the needs of the people. If an
accusation of evil practices is made against a priest and he knows
himself to be guiltless, he shall say Mass, if he dares, and thus clear
himelf by the Holy Communion in the cases of a simple accusation, and
by the Holy Communion with two supporters of the same ecclesiastical
rank in the case of a triple accusation. If he has no supporters, he
shall go to the ordeal of consecrated bread.

No monk who belongs to a monastery may demand or pay compensation
incurred by vendetta because he leaves the law of his kindred behind
when he accepts monastic rule.

If a priest is concerned in false witness or perjury or is the
accessory and accomplice of thieves, he shall be cast out from the
fellowship of those in holy orders and forfeit every privilege, unless
he make amends both towards God and towards men, as the bishop shall
prescribe, and find surtey for future behavior.

Servants of God shall call upon Christ to intercede for all Christian
people and practice celibacy. Those who turn away from marriage and
observe celibacy shall enjoy the privileges of a thegn.

*No Christian man shall marry among his own kin within six degress of
relationship or with the widow of a man as nearly related to him as
that, or with a near relative of his first wife's. No man shall marry
his god-mother, a nun, or a divorced woman. He shall not commit
adultery. He shall have no more wives that one, with whom he shall
remain as long as she lives.

Ecclesiastical dues shall be paid yearly, namely, plough alms 15 days
after Easter, the tithe [tenth] of young animals at Pentecost, and the
tithe of the fruits of the earth at All Saints. Otherwise the king's
reeve, the bishop's reeve, and the lord's reeve shall take what is due
and assign him the next tenth, and the eight remaining parts shall go
half to the lord and half to the bishop.

Peter's Pence shall be paid by St. Peter's Day or pay the bishop the
penny and 30d. in addition and 120s. to the king.

Church dues shall be paid at Martinmas, or pay the biship eleven fold
and 120s. to the king.

Any thegn with a church with attached graveyard on his land shall give
a third part of his own tithes to his church. If he has a church
without a graveyard, he shall give his priest whatever he desires from
the nine remaining parts.

Light dues shall be paid a halfpenny worth of wax from every hide three
times a year.

Payment for the souls of the dead should be rendered before the grave
is closed.

*All festivals and fasts, such as Lent, shall be observed. The festival
of every Sunday shall be observed from noon on Saturday till dawn on
Monday. No trading, public gatherings, hunting, or secular occupations
shall be done on Sunday. We forbid ordeals and oaths during festivals
and fasts.

To avoid the torment of hell, let us turn away from sin and confess our
misdeeds to out confessors and cease from evil and make amends.

Each of us shall treat others as we desire to be treated.

Every Christian man shall prepare himself for the sacrament at least
three times a year. Every friend shall abide by his oath and pledge.
Every injustice shall be cast out from this land.

Let us be faithful and true to our lord and promote his honour and
carry out his will. And likewise, it is the duty of every lord to treat
his men justly.

Men of every estate shall readily submit to the duty which befits them.

Every Christian man shall learn the Creed and the Pater Noster, the
sacred prayer taught by Christ to his disciples which contains all the
petitions necessary for this life and the life to come. He who does not
learn it may not sponsor another man at baptism or at confirmation.

*Guard against grievous sins and devilish deeds and make amends
according to one's confessor's advice.

Fear God, be in terror of sin, and dread the Day of Judgment.

The bishops shall give example of our duty towards God.

        Secular laws of Canute are:

All men, both rich and poor, shall be entitled to the benefit of the
law, and just decisions shall be pronounced on their behalf.

Those in authority to give judgment shall consider very earnestly "And
forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us."
Christian people shall not be condemned to death for trivial offenses.

We forbid the all too prevalent practice of selling Christian people
out of the country, especially into heathen lands. Care shall be taken
that the souls which Christ bought with his own life be not destroyed.

*Any wizards or sorcerers, those who secretly compass death,
prostitutes, thieves, and robbers shall be destroyed unless they cease
and make amends.

We forbid heathen practices, namely the worship of idols, heathen gods,
and the sun or moon, fire or water, springs or stones or any kind of
forest trees, or indulgence in witchcraft or the compassing of death in
any way, either by sacrifice or by divinations or by the practice of
any such delusions.

*Murderers and perjurers, injurers of the clergy, and adulterers shall
submit and make amends or depart with their sins from their native land.

*Hypocrites and liars, robbers and plunderers shall incur the wrath of
God, unless they desist and make amends.

*There shall be one currency free from all adulteration throughout the
land and no one shall refuse it. He who coins false money shall forfeit
the hand with which he made it, and he shall not redeem it in any way,
either with gold or silver. If the reeve is accused of having granted
his permission to the man who coined the false money, he shall clear
himself by the triple oath of exculpation and, if it fails, he shall
have the same sentence as the man who coined the false money.

*Measures and weights shall be diligently corrected and an end put to
all unjust practices.

The repair of fortifications and bridges, and the preparation of ships
and the equipment of military forces shall be diligently undertaken for
the common need, whenever the occasion arises.

*In Wessex and Mercia, the king is entitled to payments for violation
of his mund, attacks on people's houses, assault, and neglecting
military service. In the Danelaw, he is entitled to payments for
fighting, breach of the peace and attacks on people's houses, and
neglect of military service.

*If anyone does the deed of an outlaw, the king alone shall have power
to grant him security. He shall forfeit all his land to the king
without regard to whose vassal he is. Whoever feeds or harbours the
fugitive shall pay 5 pounds to the king, unless he clears himself by a
declaration that he did not know that he was a fugitive.

*He who promotes injustice or pronounces unjust judgments, as a result
of malice or bribery, shall forfeit 120s. to the king, in districts
under English law, unless he declares on oath that he did not know how
to give a more just verdict, and he shall lose forever his rank as a
thegn, unless he redeem it from the king, provided the latter is
willing to allow him to do so. In the Danelaw he shall forfeit his

*He who refuses to observe just laws and judgments shall forfeit, in
districts under English law, a fine to the party entitled thereto -
either 120s. to the king, 60s. to the earl, or 30s. to the hundred, or
to all of them if they were all concerned.

*If a man seeks to accuse another man falsely in such a way as to
injure him in property or in reputation, and if the latter can refute
the accusation brought against him, the first shall forfeit his tongue,
unless he redeems himself with his wergeld.

No one shall appeal to the king, unless he fails to obtain justice
within his hundred. Everyone shall attend the hundred court, under pain
of fine, whenever he is required by law to attend it.

The borough court shall be held at least three times and the shire
court at least twice, under pain of fine. The bishop of the diocese and
the earldorman shall attend and they shall direct the administration of
both ecclesiastical and secular law.

*No one shall make distraint [seizure of personal property out of the
possession of an alleged wrongdoer into the custody of the party
injured, to procure a satisfaction for a wrong committed] of property
either within the shire or outside it, until he has appealed for
justice three times in the hundred court. If on the third occasion he
does not obtain justice, he shall go on the fourth occasion to the
shire court, and the shire court shall appoint a day when he shall
issue his summons for the fourth time. And if this summons fails, he
shall get leave from the one court or the other, to take his own
measures for the recovery of his property.

*Every freeman over age 12 must be in a tithing if he desires to have
the right of exculpation and of being atoned for by the payment of his
wergeld, if he is slain, and to be entitled to the rights of a freeman,
whether he has an establishment of his own or is in the service of
another. Everyone shall be brought within a hundred and under surety,
and his surety shall hold and bring him to the performance of every
legal duty.

*Everyone over age 12 shall take an oath that he will not be a thief or
a thief's accomplice.

Every trustworthy man, who has never earned a bad reputation and who
has never failed either in oath or in ordeal, shall be entitled to
clear himself within the hundred by the simple oath of exculpation. For
an untrustworthy man compurgators for the simple oath shall be selected
within three hundreds, and for the triple oath, throughout the district
under the jurisdiction of the borough court; otherwise he shall go to
the ordeal. When a simple oath of exculpation is involved, the case
shall be begun with a simple oath of accusation; but where a triple
oath of exculpation is involved, it shall be begun with a triple oath
of accusation. A thegn may have a trustworthy man give his oath of
accusation for him.

No man may vouch to warranty unless he has three trustworthy witnesses
to declare whence he acquired the stock which is attached in his
possession. The witnesses shall declare that, in bearing testimony on
his behalf to the effect that he acquired it legally, they are speaking
the truth, in accordance with what they saw with their eyes and heard
with their ears.

*No one shall buy anything over 4d. in value, either livestock or other
property, unless he has four men as trustworthy witnesses, whether the
purchase be made within a town or in the open country. If, however, any
property is attached, and he who is in possession of it has no such
witnesses, no vouching to warranty shall be allowed, but the property
shall be given up to its rightful owner and also the supplementary
payment, and the fine to the party who is entitled thereto. And if he
has witnesses in accordance with what we have declared above, vouching
to warranty shall take place three times. On the fourth occasion he
shall prove his claim to it or give it back to its rightful owner. No
one shall claim ownership where fraud is involved.

*If anyone who is of bad reputation and unworthy of public confidence
fails to attend the court meetings three times, men shall be chosen
from the fourth meeting who shall ride to him, and he may then still
find a surety, if he can. If he cannot, they shall seize him either
alive or dead, and they shall take all that he has. And they shall pay
to the accuser the value of his goods, and the lord shall take half of
what remains and the hundred half. And if anyone, either kinsman or
stranger, refuses to ride against him, he shall pay the king 120s.

*The proved thief and he who has been discovered in treason against his
lord, whatever sanctuary he seeks, shall never be able to save his life.

He who in court tries to protect himself or one of his men by bringing
a countercharge shall have wasted his words, and shall meet the charge
brought by his opponent in such a way as the hundred court shall

No one shall entertain any man for more than three days, unless he is
committed to this charge by the man whom he has been serving. And no
one shall dismiss one of his men from his service until he is quit of
every accusation which has been brought against him.

*If anyone comes upon a thief and of his own accord lets him escape
without raising the hue and cry, he shall make compensation by the
payment of the thief's wergeld, or clear himself with the full oath,
asserting that he did not know him to be guilty of any crime. And if
anyone hears the hue and cry and neglects it, he shall pay the full
fine for insubordination [120s] to the king, or clear himself by the
full oath.

*Regarding thoroughly untrustworthy men, if anyone has forfeited the
confidence of the hundred, and he has charges brought against him to
such an extent that he is accused by three men at once, no other course
shall be open to him but to go to the triple ordeal. If, however, his
lord asserts that he has failed neither in oath nor in ordeal since the
assembly was held at Winchester, the lord shall choose two trustworthy
men within the hundred - unless he has a reeve who is qualified to
discharge this duty - and they shall swear that he has never failed in
oath or ordeal or been convicted of stealing. If the oath is
forthcoming, the man who is accused there shall choose whichever he
will - either the simple ordeal or an oath equivalent to a pound in
value, supported by compurgators found within the three hundreds, in
the case of an object over 30d. in value. If they dare not give the
oath, the accused shall go to the triple ordeal, which shall be opened
by five compurgators selected by the accuser and he himself shall make
a sixth. If the accused is proved guilty, on the first occasion he
shall pay double value to the accuser and his wergeld to the lord who
is entitled to receive his fine, and he shall appoint trustworthy
sureties, that hence forth he will desist from all wrong-doing. And on
the second occasion, if he is proved guilty, there shall be no
compensation but to have his hands or his feet cut off or both,
according to the nature of the offense. And if has wrought still
greater crime, he shall have his eyes put out and his nose and ears and
upper lip cut off or his scalp removed, whichever of these penalties is
determined by those with whom rests the decision of the case; and thus
punishment shall be inflicted, while, at the same time, the soul is
preserved from injury. If, however, he escapes and avoids the ordeal,
his surety shall pay the value of his goods to the plaintiff and the
wergeld of the accused to the king or to the man who is entitled to
receive his wergeld. And if the lord is accused of advising the man who
had done wrong to escape, he shall choose five trustworthy men, and
shall himself make a sixth, and shall clear himself of the accusation.
If he succeeds in clearing himself, he shall be entitled to the
wergeld. And if he fails, the king shall take the wergeld, and the
thief shall be treated as an outlaw by the whole nation.

Every lord shall be personally responsible as surety for the men of his
own household. And if any accusation is brought against one of them, he
shall answer if within the hundred in which he is accused. And if he is
accused and escapes, the lord shall pay the man's wergeld to the king.
And if the lord is accused of advising him to escape, he shall clear
himself with the help of five thegns, himself making a sixth. And if he
fails to clear himself, he shall pay his own wergeld to the king, and
the man shall be an outlaw towards the king.

If a slave is found guilty at the ordeal, he shall be branded on the
first occasion. And on the second occasion, he shall not be able to
make any amends except by his head.

*Concerning untrustworthy men, if there is anyone who is regarded with
suspicion by the general public, the king's reeve shall go and place
him under surety so that he a may be brought to do justice to those who
have made charges against him. If he has no surety, he shall be slain
and buried in unconsecrated ground. And if anyone interposes in his
defense, they shall both incur the same punishment. And he who ignores
this and will not further what we have all determined upon shall pay
120s. to the king.

The various boroughs shall have one common law with regard to

If a friendless man or one come from afar is so utterly destitute of
friends as not to be able to produce a surety, on the first occasion
that he is accused he shall go to prison, and wait there until he goes
to God's ordeal where he shall experience whatever he can. Verily, he
who pronounces a more severe judgment upon whom is friendless or come
from afar than upon one of his own acquaintances injures himself.

*Concerning perjury, if anyone swears a false oath on the relics and is
convicted, he shall lose his hand or half his wergeld which shall be
divided between the lord and the bishop. And henceforth he shall not be
entitled to swear an oath, unless he makes amends to the best of his
ability before God, and finds surety that ever afterwards he will
desist from such perjury.

*Concerning false witness, if anyone has given testimony which is
manifestly false, and is convicted thereof, his testimony henceforth
shall be valueless, and he shall pay to the king or to the lord of the
manor a sum equivalent to his healsfang [payment due only to those very
closely related to a killed man].

Special care must be taken to prevent lawlessness at sacred seasons and
in sacred places. The greater a man is and the higher his rank, the
more stringent shall be the amends which he shall be required to make
to God and to men for lawless behavior. And ecclesiastical amends shall
be diligently exacted in accordance with the directions contained in
the canon law, and secular amends in accordance with secular law.

If anyone slays a priest of the altar, he shall be both excommunicated
and outlawed, unless he make amends to the best of his ability by
pilgrimage, and likewise by the payment of compensation to the kin of
the slain man, or else he shall clear himself by an oath equal in value
to his wergeld. He shall begin to make amends to God and men within 30
days, under pain of forfeiting all that he possesses.

If an attempt is made to deprive a man in orders or a stranger of his
goods or his life, the king shall act as his kinsman and protector
unless he has some other. And such compensation as is fitting shall be
paid to the king, or he shall avenge the deed to the uttermost.

If a minister of the altar commits homicide or any other great crime,
he shall be deprived of his ecclesiastical office and banished, and
shall travel as a pilgrim as far as the Pope appoints for him and
zealously make amends. If he seeks to clear himself, he shall do so by
the triple mode of proof. If he does not begin to make amends both to
God and men within 30 days, he shall be outlawed.

If anyone binds or beats or deeply insults a man in holy orders, he
shall make amends towards him and shall pay the fine due to the bishop
for sacrilege, in accordance with the rank of the injured man, and to
his lord or to the king the full fine for breach of his mund, or he
shall clear himself by the full process of exculpation.

If a man in holy orders commits a capital crime, he shall be arrested,
and his cases shall be reserved for the bishop's decision.

If a condemned man desires confession, he shall never be refused him or
pay the king 120s. or he shall clear himself by selecting five men and
be himself the sixth.

*No condemned man shall be put to death during the Sunday festival,
unless he flees or fights, but he shall be arrested and kept in custody
until the festival is over. If a freeman works during a church
festival, he shall make amends by payment of his healsfang and make
amends to God according to the directions given him. If as slave works,
he shall undergo the lash or pay the fine, according to the nature of
the offense. If a lord compels his slave to work during a church
festival, he shall lose the slave, who shall then obtain the rights of
a freeman and the lord shall pay a fine or clear himself.

If a freeman breaks an ordained fast, he shall pay a fine. If a slave
does so, he shall undergo the lash or pay the fine in accordance with
the nature of the deed.

If anyone openly causes a breach of the fast of Lent by fighting or by
intercourse with women or by robbery or by any great misdeed, he shall
pay double compensation just as he must do during a high festival. If
he denies the charge, he shall clear himself by the triple process of

*If anyone refuses by force the payment of ecclesiastical dues, he
shall pay the full fine or he shall clear himself: he shall select 11
men and himself make a twelfth. If he wounds anyone, he shall make
amends and pay the full fine to the lord and redeem his hands from the
bishop or lose them. If he kills a man, he shall be outlawed and
pursued with hostility. If he so acts as to bring about his own death
by setting himself against the law, no compensation shall be paid for

If anyone injures one of the clergy, he shall make amends according to
the rank of the person injured, either by the payment of his wergeld or
a fine or by the forfeiture of all his property.

*If anyone commits adultery, he shall make amends according to the
nature of the offense. It is wicked adultery for a pious man to commit
fornication with an unmarried woman, and much worse with the wife of
another man or with any woman who has taken religious vows.

*If anyone commits incest, he shall make amends according to the degree
of relationship between them, either by the payment of wergeld or of a
fine, or by the forfeiture of all his possessions.

*If anyone does violence to a widow or maiden, he shall pay his wergeld.

*If a woman commits adultery, her husband shall have all she possesses
and she shall lose her nose and her ears.

If a married man commits adultery with his own slave, he shall lose her
and make amends to God and to men.

*If anyone has a lawful wife and also a concubine, no priest shall
perform for him any of the offices which must be performed for a
Christian man, until he desists and makes amends as the bishop shall

Foreigners, if they will not regularize their unions, shall be driven
from the land with their possessions, and shall depart in sin.

*Any murderer shall be given up to the kinsmen of the slain man. The
bishop shall pronounce judgment.

*If anyone plots against the king or his own lord, he shall forfeit his
life and all that he possesses, unless he proves himself innocent by
the triple ordeal.

*If anyone violates the protection or a king, archbishop or bishop, he
shall pay 5, 3, or 2 pounds respectively as compensation.

*Anyone who fights at the king's court shall lose his life, unless
pardoned by the king.

*If a man unjustly disarms another, he shall compensate him by the
payment of his healsfang. If he binds him, he shall compensate by the
payment of half his wergeld.

If anyone is guilty of a capital deed of violence while serving in the
army, he shall lose his life or his wergeld.

*If a man makes forcible entry into another man's house, he shall pay 5
pounds to the king. If he is slain in such a case, no compensation
shall be paid for his death.

*Anyone guilty of robbery shall restore the stolen goods and pay the
injured man as much again and forfeit his wergeld to the king.

*According to secular law, assaults upon houses, arson, theft which
cannot be disproved, murder which cannot be denied, and treachery
towards a man's lord are crimes for which no compensation can be paid.

If anyone neglects the repair of fortifications or bridges or military
service, he shall pay 120s. to the king or he shall clear himself with
the support of 11 compurgators out of 14 nominated by the court.

The whole nation shall assist in the repair of churches.

If anyone unlawfully maintains an excommunicated person, he shall
deliver him up in accordance with the law, and pay compensation to him
to whom it belongs, and to the king his wergeld. Anyone keeping and
maintaining as excommunicated man or an outlaw shall risk losing his
life and all his property.

Greater leniency shall be shown in passing judgment and in imposing
penance on the weak than on the strong because they cannot bear an
equally heavy burden. So we distinguish between age and youth, wealth
and poverty, freemen and slaves, the sound and the weak.

*When a man is an involuntary agent in evil-doing or does something
unintentionally, he is more entitled to clemency.

All my reeves shall provide for me from my own property and no man need
give them anything as purveyance. If any of my reeves demands a fine,
he shall forfeit his wergeld to me. The public has been so far too
greatly oppressed by this.

*If a man dies intestate [without a will], whether through negligence
or sudden death, his lord shall take no more than his legal heriot. The
property shall be divided among his wife and children and near kinsmen
according to the share which belongs to him.

Heriots shall be fixed with regard to the rank of the person for whom
they are paid. The heriot of any earl is eight horses, four saddled and
four unsaddled, four helmets, four coats of chainmail, eight spears,
eight shields, four swords, and 200 mancuses of gold. The heriot of a
king's thegn is four horses, two saddled and two unsaddled, two swords,
four spears, four shields, four helmets, four coats of chain mail and
50 mancuses of gold, but among the Danes who possess rights of
jurisdiction 4 pounds. The heriot of an ordinary thegn is a horse and
its trappings and his weapons or his healsfang in Wessex, and in Mercia
2 pounds, and in East Anglia 2 pounds. The heriot of a man who stands
in a more intimate relationship to the king shall be two horses, one
saddled and one unsaddled, one sword, two spears, two shields, and 50
mancuses of gold. The heriot of a man who is inferior in wealth is 2

When a householder has dwelt all his time free from claims and charges,
his wife and children shall dwell there unmolested by litigation.

*Every widow who remains a year without a husband shall do what she
herself desires. If within the space of a year, she chooses a husband,
she shall lose her morning gift and all the property she had from her
first husband, and his nearest relatives shall take the land and
property which she had held. And the second husband shall forfeit his
wergeld to the king or the lord to whom it has been granted. And
although she has been married by force, she shall lose her possessions,
unless she leaves the man and returns home. And no widow shall be too
hastily consecrated as a nun. And every widow shall pay heriots within
a year without incurring a fine, if it has not been convenient for her
to pay earlier.

*No woman or maiden shall be forced to marry a man whom she dislikes,
nor shall she be given for money, except the suitor desires of his own
freewill to give something.

If anyone sets his spear at the door to another man's house, he himself
having an errand inside, or if anyone carefully lays any other weapons
where they might remain quietly, and another seizes the weapon and
works mischief with it, he shall pay compensation for it. He who owns
the weapon may clear himself by asserting that the mischief was done
without his desire or authority or advice or cognizance.

*If anyone carries stolen goods home to his cottage and is detected,
the owner shall have what he has tracked. The wife shall be clear of
any charge of complicity unless the goods had been put under her lock
and key or in her storeroom, her chest, or her cupboard. But no wife
can forbid her husband from depositing anything in his cottage.

Until now it has been the custom for grasping persons to treat a child
which lay in the cradle, even though it had never tasted food, as being
guilty as though it were fully intelligent. I forbid this practice.

The man who, through cowardice, deserts his lord or his comrades in an
expedition, either by sea or by land, shall lose all he possesses and
his own life, and the lord shall take back the property and the land
which he had given him. And if he has land held by title-deed it shall
pass into the king's hands.

The heriots of the man who falls before his lord during a campaign,
whether within the country or abroad, shall be remitted, and the heirs
shall succeed to his land and property and make a very just division of
the same.

He who, with the cognisance of the shire, has performed the services
demanded from a landowner on expedition, either by sea or by land,
shall hold his land unmolested by litigation during his life, and at
his death shall have the right of disposing of it or giving it to
whomsoever he pleases.

*Every man is entitled to hunt in the woods and fields on his own
property. But everyone, under pain of incurring the full penalty, shall
avoid hunting on my preserves.

There shall never be any interference with bargains successfully
concluded or with the legal gifts made by a lord.

Every man shall be entitled to protection in going to and from
assemblies, unless he is a notorious thief.

*He who violates the law shall forfeit his wergeld to the king. And he
who violates it again, shall pay his wergeld twice over. And if he is
so presumptuous as to break it a third time, shall lose all he

Love God and follow his law and obey our spiritual leaders, for it is
their duty to lead us to the judgment of God according to our works
wrought. Do what is right and good and guard against the hot fire of
hell. God Almighty have mercy upon us all, as His Will may be. Amen.

        The Laws for London were:

"1. The gates called Aldersgate and Cripplegate were in charge of
2. If a small ship came to Billingsgate, one halfpenny was paid as
toll; if a larger ship with sails, one penny was paid.
  1) If a hulk or merchantman arrives and lies there, four pence is
paid as toll.
  2) From a ship with a cargo of planks, one plank is given as -toll.
  3) On three days of the week toll for cloth [is paid] on Sunday and
Tuesday and Thursday.
  4) A merchant who came to the bridge with a boat containing fish paid
one halfpenny as toll, and for a larger ship one penny."
  5) - 8) Foreigners with wine or blubber fish or other goods and their
tolls. (Foreigners were allowed to buy wool, melted sheep fat [tallow],
and three live pigs for their ships.)
"3. If the town reeve or the village reeve or any other official
accuses anyone of having withheld toll, and the man replies that he has
kept back no toll which it was his legal duty to pay, he shall swear to
this with six others and shall be quit of the charge.
  1) If he declares that he has paid toll, he shall produce the -man to
whom he paid it, and shall be quit of the charge.
  2) If, however, he cannot produce the man to whom he paid it, he
shall pay the actual toll and as much again and five pounds to the King.
  3) If he vouches the taxgatherer to warranty [asserting] that he paid
toll to him, and the latter denies it, he shall clear himself by the
ordeal and by no other means of proof.
4. And we [the king and his counselors] have decreed that a man who,
within the town, makes forcible entry into another man's -house without
permission and commits a breach of the peace of the worst kind and he
who assaults an innocent person on the King's highway, if he is slain,
shall lie in an unhonored grave.
  1) If, before demanding justice, he has recourse to violence, but
does not lose his life thereby, he shall pay five pounds for breach of
the King's peace.
  2) If he values the goodwill of the town itself, he shall pay us
thirty shillings as compensation, if the King will grant us -this
5. No base coin or coin defective in quality or weight, foreign or
English, may be used by a foreigner or an Englishman. (In 956, a person
found guilty of illicit coining was punished by loss of a hand.)

              Judicial Procedure

        There were courts for different geographical communities:
shires, hundreds, and vills. The arrangement of the whole kingdom into
shires was completed by 975 after being united under King Edgar.

        A shire was a large area of land, headed by an earl. A shire
reeve or "sheriff" represented the royal interests in the shires and in
the shire courts. This officer came to be selected by the king and earl
of the shire to be a judicial and financial deputy of the earl and to
execute the law. The office of sheriff, which was not hereditary, was
also responsible for the administration of royal lands and royal
accounts. The sheriff summoned the freemen holding land in the shire,
four men selected by each community or township, and all public
officers to meet twice a year at their "shiremotes". Actually only the
great lords - the bishops, earls, and thegns - attended. The shire
court was primarily concerned with issues of the larger landholders.
Here the freemen interpreted the customary law of the locality. The
earl declared the secular law and the bishop declared the spiritual
law. They also declared the sentence of the judges. The earl usually
took a third of the profits, such as fines and forfeits, of the shire
court, and the bishop took a share. In time, the earls each came to
supervise several shires and the sheriff became head of the shire and
assumed the earl's duties there, such as heading the shire fyrd. The
shire court also heard cases which had been refused justice at the
hundredmote and cases of keeping the peace of the shire.

        The hundred was a division of the shire, having come to refer
to a geographical area rather than a number of households. The monthly
hundredmote could be attended by any freeman holding land (or a lord's
steward), but was usually attended only by reeve, thegns, parish
priest, and four representatives selected by each agrarian community or
village - usually villeins. Here transfers of land were witnessed.

The sheriff, or a reeve in his place, presided over minor local
criminal and peace and order issues. When the jurisdiction was in the
hands of a sheriff, it was called the sheriff's tourn. All residents
were expected to attend this court. When the jurisdiction was in
private hands, it was called a leet court. Leet jurisdiction derived
from sac and soke jurisdiction. Sac and soc jurisdiction was possession
of legal powers of execution and profits of justice held by a noble or
institution over inhabitants and tenants of the estate, exercised
through a private court.

The sheriff usually held each hundred court, which heard civil cases.
The suitors to these courts were the same as those of the shire courts.
They were the judges who declared the law and ordered the form of
proof, such as compurgatory oath and ordeal. They were customarily
thegns, often twelve in number. They, as well as the king and the earl,
received part of the profits of justice. Summary procedure was followed
when a criminal was caught in the act or seized after a hue and cry.
Every freeman over age twelve had to be in a hundred and had to follow
the hue and cry.

        In 997, King Ethelred in a law code ordered the sheriff and
twelve leading magnates of each shire to swear to accuse no innocent
man, nor conceal any guilty one. This was the germ of the later assize,
and later still the jury.

        The integrity of the judicial system was protected by certain
penalties: for swearing a false oath, bot as determined by a cleric who
has heard his confession, or, if he has not confessed, denial of burial
in consecrated ground. Also a perjurer lost his oath-worthiness.
Swearing a false oath or perjury was also punishable by loss of one's
hand or half one's wergeld. A lord denying justice, as by upholding an
evildoing thegn of his, had to pay 120s. to the king for his
disobedience. Furthermore, if a lord protected a theow of his who had
stolen, he had to forfeit the theow and pay his wer, for the first
offense, and he was liable for all he property, for subsequent
offenses. There was a bot for anyone harboring a convicted offender. If
anyone failed to attend the gemot thrice after being summoned, he was
to pay the king a fine for his disobedience. If he did not pay this
fine or do right, the chief men of the burh were to ride to him, and
take all his property to put into surety. If he did not know of a
person who would be his surety, he was to be imprisoned. Failing that,
he was to be killed. But if he escaped, anyone who harbored him,
knowing him to be a fugitive, would be liable pay his wer. Anyone who
avenged a thief without wounding anyone, had to pay the king 120s. as
wite for the assault.

        "And if anyone is so rich or belongs to so powerful a kindred,
that he cannot be restrained from crime or from protecting and
harboring criminals, he shall be led out of his native district with
his wife and children, and all his goods, to any part of the kingdom
which the King chooses, be he noble or commoner, whoever he may be -
with the provision that he shall never return to his native district.
And henceforth, let him never be encountered by anyone in that
district; otherwise he shall be treated as a thief caught in the act."

        Courts controlled by lords of large private estates had various
kinds of jurisdiction recognized by the King: sac and soke [possession
of legal powers of execution and profits of justice held by a noble or
institution over inhabitants and tenants of the estate, exercised
through a private court], toll [right to collect a payment on the sale
of cattle and property] and team [right to hold a court to determine
the honesty of a man accused of illegal possession of cattle],
infangenetheof [the authority to judge and to hang and take the
chattels of a thief caught on the property], and utfangenetheof [the
authority to judge, punish, and take the chattels of a thief dwelling
out of his liberty, and committing theft without the same, if he were
caught within the lord's property]. Some lords were even given
jurisdiction over breach of the royal peace, ambush and treacherous
manslaughter, harboring of outlaws, forced entry into a residence, and
failure to answer a military summons. Often this court's jurisdiction
overlapped that of the hundred court and sometimes a whole hundred had
passed under the jurisdiction of an abbot, bishop, or earl.

        A lord and his noble lady, or his steward, presided at this
court. The law was administered here on the same principles as at the
hundred court. Judges of the leet [minor criminal jurisdiction] of the
court of a large private estate were chosen from the constables and
four representatives selected from each community, village, or town.

        The vill [similar to village] was the smallest community for
judicial purposes. There were several vills in a hundred.

        Before a dispute went to the hundred court, it might be taken
care of by the head tithing man, e.g. cases between vills, between
neighbors, and some compensations and settlements, namely concerning
pastures, meadows, harvests, and contests between neighbors.

        In London, the Hustings Court met weekly and decided such
issues as wills and bequests and commerce matters. The folkmote of all
citizens met three times a year. Each ward had a leet court.

        The king and his witan decided the complaints and issues of the
nobility and those cases which had not received justice in the hundred
or shire court. The witan had a criminal jurisdiction and could
imprison or outlaw a person. The witan could even compel the king to
return any land he might have unjustly taken. Especially punishable by
the king was "oferhyrnesse": contempt of the king's law. It covered
refusal of justice, neglect of summons to gemot or pursuit of thieves,
disobedience to the king's officers, sounding the king's coin,
accepting another man's dependent without his leave, buying outside
markets, and refusing to pay Peter's pence.

        The forests were peculiarly subject to the absolute will of the
king. They were outside the common law. Their unique customs and laws
protected the peace of the animals rather than the king's subjects.
Only special officials on special commissions heard their cases.

        The form of oaths for compurgation were specified for theft of
cattle, unsoundness of property bought, and money owed for a sale. The
defendant denied the accusation by sweating that "By the Lord, I am
guiltless, both in deed and counsel, and of the charge of which ...
accuses me." A compurgator swore that "By the Lord, the oath is clean
and unperjured which ... has sworn.". A witness swore that "In the name
of Almighty God, as I here for ... in true witness stand, unbidden and
unbought, so I with my eyes oversaw, and with my ears overheard, that
which I with him say."

        If a theow man was guilty at the ordeal, he was not only to
give compensation, but was to be scourged thrice, or a second geld
[compensation] be given; and be the wite of half value for theows.

        This lawsuit between a son and his mother over land was heard
at a shire meeting: "Here it is declared in this document that a shire
meeting sat at Aylton in King Cnut's time. There were present Bishop
AEthelstan and Earl Ranig and Edwin, the Earl's son, and Leofwine,
Wulfsige's son, and Thurkil the White; and Tofi the Proud came there on
the King's business, and Bryning the sheriff was present, and
AEthelweard of Frome and Leofwine of Frome and Godric of Stoke and all
the thegns of Herefordshire. Then Edwin, Enneawnes son, came traveling
to the meeting and sued his own mother for a certain piece of land,
namely Wellington and Cradley. Then the bishop asked whose business it
was to answer for his mother, and Thurkil the White replied that it was
his business to do so, if he knew the claim. As he did not know the
claim, three thegns were chosen from the meeting [to ride] to the place
where she was, namely at Fawley, and these were Leofwine of Frome and
AEthelsige the Red and Winsige the seaman, and when they came to her
they asked her what claim she had to the lands for which her son was
suing her. Then she said that she had no land that in any way belonged
to him, and was strongly incensed against her son, and summoned to her
kinswoman, Leofflaed, Thurkil's wife, and in front of them said to her
as follows: 'Here sits Leofflaed, my kinswoman, to whom, after my
death, I grant my land and my gold, my clothing and my raiment and all
that I possess.' And then she said to the thegns: 'Act like thegns, and
duly announce my message to the meeting before all the worthy men, and
tell them to whom I have granted my land and all my property, and not a
thing to my own son, and ask them to be witnesses of this.' And they
did so; they rode to the meeting and informed all the worthy men of the
charge that she had laid upon them. Then Thurkil the White stood up in
the meeting and asked all the thegns to give his wife the lands
unreservedly which her kinswoman had granted her, and they did so. Then
Thurkil rode to St. AEthelbert's minister, with the consent and
cognizance of the whole assembly, and had it recorded in a gospel book."

                     Chapter 4

                The Times: 1066-1100

        William came from Normandy, France, to conquer England. He
claimed that the former King, Edward, the Confessor, had promised the
throne to him when they were growing up together in Normandy, if Edward
became King of England and had no children. The Conquerer's men and
horses came in boats powered by oars and sails. The conquest did not
take long because of the superiority of his military expertise to that
of the English. He organized his army into three groups: archers with
bows and arrows, horsemen with swords and stirrups, and footmen with
hand weapons. Each group played a specific role in a strategy planned
in advance. The English army was only composed of footmen with hand
weapons such as spears and shields. They fought in a line holding up
their shields to overlap each other and form a shieldwall. The defeat
of the English was thought to have been presaged by a comet.

        At Westminster, he made an oath to defend God's holy churches
and their rulers, to rule the whole people subject to him with
righteousness and royal providence, to enact and hold fast right law,
and to utterly forbid rapine and unrighteous judgments. This was in
keeping with the traditional oath of a new king.

        Declaring the English who fought against him to be traitors,
the Conquerer declared their land confiscated. But he allowed those who
were willing to acknowledge him to redeem their land by a payment of
money. As William conquered the land of the realm, he parceled it out
among the barons who fought with him so that each baron was given the
holdings of an Anglo-Saxon predecessor, scattered though they were. The
barons again made oaths of personal loyalty to him [fealty]. They
agreed to hold the land as his vassals with future military services to
him and receipt of his protection. They gave him homage by folding
their hands within his and saying "I become your man for the tenement I
hold of you, and I will bear you faith in life and member [limb] and
earthly honor against all men". They held their land "of their lord",
the King, by knight's service. The king had "enfeoffed" them [given
them a fief: a source of income] with land. The theory that by right
all land was the King's and that land was held by others only at his
gift and in return for specified service was new to English thought.
The original duration of a knight's fee until about 1100 was for his
life; thereafter it was heritable. The word "knight" came to replace
the word "thegn" as a person who received his position and land by
fighting for the King. The exact obligation of knight's service was to
furnish a fully armed horseman to serve at his own expense for forty
days in the year. This service was not limited to defense of the
country, but included fighting abroad. The baron led his own knights
under his banner. The foot soldiers were from the fyrd or were
mercenaries. Every free man was sworn to join in the defense of the
king, his lands and his honor, within England and without.

        The Saxon governing class was destroyed. The independent power
of earls, who had been drawn from three great family houses, was
curtailed. Most died or fled the country. Some men were allowed to
redeem their land by money payment if they showed loyalty to the
Conquerer. Well-born women crowded into nunneries to escape Norman
violence. The people were deprived of their most popular leaders, who
were excluded from all positions of trust and profit, especially all
the clergy. The earldoms became fiefs instead of magistracies.

        The Conquerer was a stern and fierce man and ruled as an
autocrat by terror. Whenever the people revolted or resisted his
mandates, he seized their lands or destroyed the crops and laid waste
the countryside and so that they starved to death. This example
pacified others. His rule was strong, resolute, wise, and wary. He was
not arbitrary or oppressive. The Conquerer had a strict system of
policing the nation. Instead of the Anglo-Saxon self-government
throughout the districts and hundreds of resident authorities in local
courts, he aimed at substituting for it the absolute rule of the barons
under military rule so favorable to the centralizing power of the
Crown. He used secret police and spies and the terrorism this system
involved. This especially curbed the minor barons and preserved the
public peace.

        The English people, who outnumbered the Normans by 300 to 1,
were disarmed. Curfew bells were rung at 7:00 PM when everyone had to
remain in their own dwellings on pain of death and all fires and
candles were to be put out. This prevented any nightly gatherings,
assassinations, or seditions. Order was brought to the kingdom so that
no man dare kill another, no matter how great the injury he had
received. The Conquerer extended the King's peace on the highways, i.e.
roads on high ground, to include the whole nation. Any individual of
any rank could travel from end to end of the land unharmed. Before,
prudent travelers would travel only in groups of twenty.

        The barons subjugated the English who were on their newly
acquired land. There began a hierarchy of seisin of land so that there
could be no land without its lord. Also, every lord had a superior lord
with the king as the overlord or supreme landlord. One piece of land
may be held by several tenures. For instance, A, holding by barons'
service of the King, may enfeoff B, a church, to hold of him on the
terms of praying for the souls of his ancestors, and B may enfeoff a
freeman C to hold of the church by giving it a certain percentage of
his crops every year. There were about 200 barons who held land
directly of the King. Other fighting men were the knights, who were
tenants or subtenants of a baron. Knighthood began as a reward for
valor on the field of battle by the king or a noble. The value of a
knight's fee was 400s. [20 pounds] per year. Altogether there were
about 5000 fighting men holding land.

        The essence of Norman feudalism was that the land remained
under the lord, whatever the vassal might do. The lord had the duty to
defend the vassals on his land. The vassal owed military service to the
lord and also the service of attending the courts of the hundred and
the county [formerly "shire"], which were courts of the King,
administering old customary law. They were the King's courts on the
principle that a crime anywhere was a breach of the King's peace. The
King's peace that had covered his residence and household had extended
to places where he might travel, such as highways, rivers, bridges,
churches, monasteries, markets, and towns, and then encompassed every
place, replacing the general public peace. Infraction of the King's
peace incurred fines to the King.

        This feudal bond based on occupancy of land rather than on
personal ties was uniform throughout the realm. No longer could a man
choose his lord and transfer his land with him to a new lord. He held
his land at the will of his lord, to be terminated anytime the lord
decided to do so. A tenant could not alienate his land without
permission of his lord. In later eras, tenancies would be held for the
life of the tenant, and even later, for his life and those of his heirs.

        This uniformity of land organization plus the new requirement
that every freeman take an oath of loyalty directly to the king to
assist him in preserving his lands and honor and defending him against
his enemies, which oath would supersede any oath to any other man, gave
the nation a new unity. The king could call men directly to the fyrd,
summon them to his court, and tax them without intervention of their
lords. And the people learned to look to the king for protection from
abuse by their lords.

        English villani, bordarii, cottarii, and servi on the land of
the barons were subjugated into a condition of "villeinage" servitude
and became "tied to the land" so that they could not leave the land
without their lord's permission, except to go on a pilgrimage. The
villeins formed a new bottom class as the population's percentage of
slaves declined dramatically. They held their land of their lord, the
baron. To guard against uprisings of the conquered people, the barons
used villein labor to build about a hundred great stone castles, with
moats and walls with towers around them, at easily defensible positions
such as hilltops all over the nation.

        A castle could be built only with permission of the King. A
typical castle had a stone building of about four floors [a keep] on a
small, steep hill. Later it also had an open area surrounded by a stone
curtain-wall with towers at the corners. Around the outside of the wall
were ditches and banks and perhaps a moat. One traveled over these via
a drawbridge let down at the gatehouse of the enclosing wall. On either
side of the gatehouse were chambers for the guards. Arrows could be
shot through slits in the enclosing walls. Inside the enclosed area
might be stables, a granary, barracks for the soldiers, and workshops.
The only winter feed was hay, for which the horses, breeding animals,
milkcow, and workoxen had a priority over other animals. The bulk of
the cattle were usually slaughtered and salted.

        The castle building typically was entered by an outer wood
staircase to the guard room on the second floor. The first [ground]
floor had a well and was used as a storehouse and/or dungeons for
prisoners. The second floor had a two-storied great hall, with small
rooms and aisles around it within the thick walls. There was also a
chapel area on the second floor. There were small areas of the third
floor which could be used for sleeping. The floors were wood and were
reached by a spiral stone staircase in one corner of the building.
Sometimes there was a reservoir of water on an upper level with pipes
carrying the water to floors below. Each floor had a fireplace with a
slanted flue going through the wall to the outside. There were latrines
in the corner walls with a pit or shaft down the exterior of the wall,
sometimes to the moat. Furs and wool clothes were hung on the walls
there in the summer to deter the moths. The first floor had only arrow
slits in the walls, but the higher floors had small windows.

        Some curtain-wall castles did not have a central building. In
these, the hall was built along the inside of the walls, as were other
continuous buildings. The kitchens and chapels were in the towers.
Lodgings were in buildings along the curtain-walls, or on several
floors of the towers.

        The great hall was the main room of the castle. The hall was
used for meals and meetings at which the lord received homages,
recovered fees, and held the view of frankpledge [free pledge in
Latin], in which freemen agreed to be sureties for each other and pay a
claim directed at one of them if that man escaped. At the main table,
the lord and his lady sat on benches with backs or chairs. The table
was covered first with a wool cloth that reached to the floor, and then
by a smaller white linen cloth. Everyone else sat on benches at trestle
tables, which consisted of planks on trestles and could be dismantled,
e.g. at night. Over the main door were the family arms. On the walls
were swords ready for instant use. On the upper parts of the walls
could be fox skins and perhaps a polecat skin, and keepers' and
huntsmen's poles. There were often hawk perches overhead. At the midday
dinner, courses were ceremonially brought in to music, and ritual bows
were made to the lord. The food at the head table was often tasted
first by a servant as a precaution against poison. Hounds, spaniels,
and terriers lay near the hearth and cats, often with litters, nestled
nearby. They might share in dinner, but the lord may keep a short stick
near him to defend morsels he meant for himself. Hunting, dove cotes,
and carp pools provided fresh meat. Fish was compulsory eating on
Fridays, on fast days, and during Lent. Cooking was done outside on an
open fire, roasting on spits and boiling in pots. Some spits were
mechanized with a cogged wheel and a weight at the end of a string.
Other spits were turned by a long handle, or a small boy shielded from
the heat by a wet blanket, or by dogs on a treadmill. Underneath the
spit was a dripping pan to hold the falling juices and fat. Mutton fat
was used for candles. Bread, pies, and pastry dishes were baked in an
oven: a hole in a fireproof stone wall fitted with an iron door, in
which wood was first burnt to heat the oven walls. It could also be
used for drying fruit or melting tallow. Fruits were also preserved in
honey. Salt was stored in a niche in the wall near the hearth and put
on the table in a salt cellar which became more elaborate over the
years. Salt was very valuable and gave rise to the praise of a man as
the salt of the earth. Costly imported spices such as cinnamon, cloves,
nutmeg, ginger, pepper, and a small quantity of sugar were kept in
chests. Pepper was always on the table to disguise the taste of tainted
meat. Spices were tried for medicinal use. Drinks included wine, ale,
cider from apples, perry from pears, and mead. People carried and used
their own knives. There were no forks. Spoons were of silver or wood.
People also ate with their fingers and washed their hands before and
after meals. It was impolite to dig into the salt bowl with a knife not
previously wiped on bread or napkin, which was linen. It was unmannerly
to wipe one's knife or one's greasy fingers on the tablecloth or, to
use the tablecloth to blow one's nose. Feasts were stately occasions
with costly tables and splendid apparel. There were practical jokes,
innocent frolics, and witty verbal debating with repartee. They played
chess, checkers, and various games with cards and dice. Most people
could sing and some could play the lute.

        Lighting of the hall at night was by oil lamps or candles on
stands or on wall fixtures. For outside activities, a lantern [a candle
shielded by a metal cage with panels of finely shaved horn: lant horn]
was used. The residence of the lord's family and guests was at a
screened off area at the extreme end of the hall or on a higher floor.
Chests stored garments and jewels. Iron keys and locks were used for
chests and doors. The great bed had a wooden frame and springs made of
interlaced rope or strips of leather. It was covered with a feather
mattress, sheets, quilts, fur covers, and pillows. Drapery around the
bed kept out cold drafts and provided privacy. There was a water bowl
for washing in the morning. A chamber pot was kept under the bed for
nighttime use. Hay was used as toilet paper. The lord's personal
servants slept nearby on benches or trundle beds. Most of the gentlemen
servants slept communally in a "knight's chamber". The floor of the
hall was strewn with straw, on which common folk could sleep at night.
There were stools on which to sit. Cup boards (boards on which to store
cups) and chests stored spices and plate. One-piece iron shears were
available to cut cloth. Handheld spindles were used for weaving; one
hand held the spindle [a small stick weighted at one end] while the
other hand alternately formed the thread and wound it around the
spindle. On the roofs there were rampart walks for sentry patrols and
parapets from which to shoot arrows or throw things at besiegers. Each
tenant of the demesne [household or messuage] of the king where he had
a castle had to perform a certain amount of castle guard duty for its
continuing defense. These knights performing castle-guard duty slept at
their posts. Bathing was done in a wooden tub located in the garden in
the summer and indoors near the fire in winter. The great bed and tub
for bathing were taken on trips with the lord. The entire household was
of men, except for the lord's lady with a few lady companions. The
ladies rode pillion [on a cushion behind the saddle] or in litters
suspended between two horses.

        Markets grew up outside castle walls. Any trade on a lord's
land was subject to "passage", a payment on goods passing through,
"stallage", a payment for setting up a stall or booth in a market, and
"pontage", a payment for taking goods across a bridge.

        The Norman man was clean shaven on his face and around his ears
and at the nape of the neck. His hair was short. He wore a long-
sleeved under-tunic of linen or wool that reached to his ankles. Over
this the Norman noble wore a tunic without sleeves, open at the sides,
and fastened with a belt. Over one shoulder was his cloak, which was
fastened on the opposite shoulder by being drawn through a ring brooch
and knotted. He wore tight thick cloth stockings to protect him from
the mud and leather shoes. Common men wore durable, but drab, wool
tunics to the knee so as not to impede them in their work. They could
roll up their stockings when working in the fields. A lady wore a
high-necked, long- sleeved linen or wool tunic fitted at the waist and
laced at the side, but full in the skirt, which reached to her toes.
She wore a jeweled belt, passed twice around her waist and knotted in
front. Her hair was often in two long braids, and her head and ears
covered with a white round cloth held in place by a metal circlet like
a small crown. Its ends were wound around her neck. In winter, she wore
over her tunic a cloak edged or lined with fur and fastened at the
front with a cord. Clothes of both men and ladies were brightly colored
by dyes or embroidery. The Norman knight wore an over-tunic of leather
or heavy linen on which were sewn flat rings of iron and a conical iron
helmet with nose cover. He wore a sword at his waist and a metal shield
on his back, or he wore his sword and his accompanying retainers
carried spear and shield.

        Norman customs were adopted by the nation. As a whole,
Anglo-Saxon men shaved their beards and whiskers from their faces, but
they kept their custom of long hair flowing from their heads. But a few
kept their whiskers and beards in protest of the Normans. Everyone had
a permanent surname indicating parentage, place of birth, or residence,
such as Field, Pitt, Lane, Bridge, Ford, Stone, Burn, Church, Hill,
Brook, Green. Other names came from occupations such as Shepherd,
Carter, Parker, Fowler, Hunter, Forester, Smith. Still other came from
personal characteristics such as Black, Brown, and White, Short, Round,
and Long. Some took their names from animals such as Wolf, Fox, Lamb,
Bull, Hogg, Sparrow, Crow, and Swan. Others were called after the men
they served, such as King, Bishop, Abbot, Prior, Knight. A man's
surname was passed on to his son.

        Those few coerls whose land was not taken by a baron remained
free and held their land "in socage" and became known as sokemen. They
were not fighting men, and did not give homage, but might give fealty,
i.e. fidelity. Many free sokemen were caught up in the subjugation by
baron landlords and were reduced almost to the condition of the unfree
villein. The services they performed for their lords were often
indistinguishable. They might also hold their land by villein tenure,
although free as a person with the legal rights of a freeman. The
freeman still had a place in court proceedings which the unfree villein
did not.

        Great stone cathedrals were built in fortified towns for the
Conquerer's Norman bishops, who replaced the English bishops. Bishops
periodically inspected the parishes in their dioceses to maintain
discipline aqnd settle any matters that were beyond the local priest's
competence, for instance the sacrament of confirmation, in which was
conferred upon a Christian soul a special strengthening grace after he
confirmed his belief in the tenets of Christianity. Most of the
existing and new monasteries functioned as training grounds for
scholars, bishops, and statesmen rather than as retreats from the
world's problems to the security of religious observance. The number of
monks grew as the best minds were recruited into the monasteries.

        The Conquerer made the church subordinate to him. Bishops were
elected only subject to the King's consent. The bishops had to accept
the status of barons. Homage was exacted from them before they were
consecrated, and fealty and an oath afterward. The Conquerer imposed
knight's service on bishoprics, abbeys, and monasteries, which was
usually commuted to a monetary amount. Bishops had to attend the King's
court. Bishops could not leave the realm without the King's consent. No
royal tenant or royal servant could be excommunicated, nor his lands be
placed under interdict, without the King's consent. Interdict could
demand, for instance, that the church be closed and the dead buried in
unconsecrated ground. No church rules could be made without his
agreement to their terms. No letters from the pope could be received
without the King's permission. The Archbishop of Canterbury was still
recognized as a primary advisor to the king. Over the years, the
selection for this office frequently became a source of contention
among king, pope, and clergy.

        Men continued to give land to the church for their souls, such
as this grant which started the town of Sandwich: "William, King of the
English, to Lanfranc the Archbishop and Hugoni de Montfort and Richard
son of Earl Gilbert and Haimo the sheriff and all the thegns of Kent,
French and English, greeting. Know ye that the Bishop of Bayeux my
brother for the love of God and for the salvation of my soul and his
own, has given to St. Trinity all houses with their appurtenances which
he has at Sandwich and that he has given what he has given by my
license." Many private owners of churches gave them to cathedrals or
monastic communities, partly to ensure their long term survival, and
partly because of church pressure.

        When the land was all divided out, the barons had about 3/7 of
it and the church about 2/7. Most of the barons had been royal
servants. The king retained about 2/7, including forests for hunting,
for himself and his family and household, on which he built many royal
castles and hundreds of manor [large private estate headed by a lord]
houses throughout the nation. He built the massive White Tower in
London. It was tall with four turrets on top, and commanded a view of
the river and bridge, the city and the surrounding countryside. The
only windows were slits from which arrows could be shot. On the fourth
and top floor was the council chamber and the gallery of the chapel. On
the third floor was the banqueting hall, the sword room, and the
chapel. The king and his household slept in apartments on these upper
floors. Stairs went up to the gateway entrance on the second floor,
which were hidden by a wall. The garrison's barracks were on the first
floor (ground floor). Any prisoners were kept in cells at a level below
the first floor. The other castles were often built at the old
fortification burhs of Alfred. Each had a constable in charge, who was
a baron. Barons and earls had castle-guard duty in the king's castles.
The Conquerer was constantly moving about the land among his and his
barons' castles, where he met with his magnates and conducted public
business, such as deciding disputes about holding of land. Near his own
castles and other of his property, he designated many areas as royal
hunting forests. Anyone who killed a deer in these forests was
mutilated, for instance by blinding. People living within the
boundaries of the designated forestland could no longer go into nearby
woods to get meat or honey, dead wood for firing, or live wood for
building. Swineherds could no longer drive pigs into these woods to eat
acorns they beat down from oak trees. Making clearings and grazing
livestock in the designated forestland were prohibited. Most of the
nation was either wooded or bog at this time.

        London was a walled town of one and two story houses made of
mud, twigs, and straw, with thatched roofs. It included a bundle of
communities, townships, parishes, and lordships. There were churches, a
goods market, a fish market, quays on the river, and a bridge over the
river. Streets probably named by this time include Bread Street, Milk
Street, Honey Lane, Wood Street, and Ironmonger Lane. Fairs and games
were held outside the town walls in a field called "Smithfield". The
great citizens had the land qualifications of knights and ranked as
barons on the Conquerer's council. The freemen were a small percentage
of London's population. There was a butchers' guild, a pepperers'
guild, a goldsmiths' guild, the guild of St. Lazarus, which was
probably a leper charity (of which there were many in the 1000s and
1100s), the Pilgrims' guild, which helped people going on pilgrimages,
and four bridge guilds, probably for keeping the wooden London Bridge
in repair. Men told the time by sundials, some of which were portable
and could be carried in one's pocket. London could defend itself, and a
ringing of the bell of St. Paul's Church could shut every shop and fill
the streets with armed horsemen and soldiers led by a soldier
portreeve. Across the Thames from London on its south side was
Southwark, a small trading and fishing settlement.

        The Conquerer did not interfere with landholding in London, but
recognized its independence as a borough in this writ: "William the
King greets William, Bishop of London, and Gosfrith the portreeve, and
all the burgesses [citizens] of London friendly. Know that I will that
you be worthy of all the laws you were worthy of in the time of King
Edward. And I will that every child shall be his father's heir after
his father's day. And I will not suffer any man to do you wrong. God
preserve you."

        So London was not subjected to the Norman feudal system. It had
neither villeins nor slaves. Whenever Kings asserted authority over it,
the citizens reacted until the king "granted" a charter reaffirming the
freedoms of the city and its independence.

        Under pressure from the ecclesiastical judges, the Conquerer
replaced the death penalty by that of the mutilation of blinding,
chopping off hands, and castrating offenders. Castration was the
punishment for rape. But these mutilations usually led to a slow death
by gangrene.

        The Normans used the Anglo-Saxon concepts of jurisdictional
powers. Thus when the Conquerer confirmed "customs" to the abbot of
Ely, these were understood to include the following: 1) sac and soke -
the right to hold a court of private jurisdiction and enjoy its
profits, 2) toll - a payment in towns, markets, and fairs for goods and
chattel bought and sold, 3) team - persons might be vouched to warranty
in the court, the grant of which made a court capable of hearing suits
arising from the transfer of land, 4) infangenthef - right of trying
and executing thieves on one's land, 4) hamsocne [jurisdiction over
breach of the right of security and privacy in a man's house, e.g. by
forcible entry], 5) grithbrice - violation of the grantees' special
peace, for instance that of the sheriff, 6) fightwite - fine for a
general breach of the peace, 7) fyrdwite - fine for failure to appear
in the fyrd.

        Every shire, now called "county", had at least one burh, or
defensible town. Kings had appointed a royal moneyer in each burh to
mint silver coins such as pennies for local use. On one side was the
King's head in profile and on the other side was the name of the
moneyer. When a new coinage was issued, all moneyers had to go to
London to get the new dies. The Conquerer's head faced frontally on his
dies, instead of the usual profile used by former Kings.

        The Conquerer held and presided over his council three times a
year, as was the custom, at Easter, Christmas, and Whitsuntide, which
coincided with the great Christian festivals. This was an advisory
council and consisted of the Conquerer's wife and sons, earls, barons,
knights, officers of the King's household, archbishops, and bishops. It
replaced the witan of wise men. It dealt with fundamental matters of
law, state, war, and church. Earldoms and knighthoods were conferred
and homages to the king were witnessed. Bishops were nominated.
Attendance at the council, like attendance at courts, was regarded as a
burden rather than a privilege. The Conquerer's will was the motive
force which under lay all the council's action. When it was
administering royal justice, it was called the Royal Court.

        The Justiciar was the head of all legal matters and he or the
Conquerer's wife represented the King at the Royal Court in his absence
from the realm. The chamberlain was a financial officer of the
household; his work was rather that of auditor or accountant. The
Chancellor headed the Chancery and the chapel. Other household offices
were steward, butler, constable, and marshall. The Treasurer was
responsible for the collection and distribution of revenue and was the
keeper of the royal treasure at the palace at Winchester. He was also
an important member of the household and sat in the Exchequer at
Westminster, where he received the accounts of the sheriffs. The
Exchequer was composed of the Justiciar as head, the chancellor, the
constable, two chamberlains, the marshall and other experienced
councilors. The word "Exchequer" came from the chequered cloth on the
table used to calculate in Roman numerals the amount due and the amount
paid. The word "calculate" derives from the word "calculi", meaning
pebbles. It was a kind of abacus. The Exchequer received yearly from
the sheriffs of the counties taxes, fines, treasure trove, goods from
wrecks, deodands, and movable property of felons, of persons executed,
of fugitives, and of outlaws due to the Crown. The Conqueror presided
yearly over feasts involving several thousand guests at Westminster
Hall, which was 250 feet by 70 feet with a high ceiling, the largest
hall in England.

        The Conquerer's reign was a time of tentative expedients and
simple solutions. He administered by issuing writs with commands or
prohibitions. These were read aloud by the sheriffs in the county
courts and other locations. Administration was by the personal servants
of his royal household, such as the chancellor, chamberlain, constable,
marshals, steward, and butler. The language of government changed to
Latin. The chancellor was from the clergy and supervised the writers
and clerks, who were literate, and appended the great seal before
witnesses to documents. He also headed the staff of the royal chapel.
The chamberlain was a financial officer who audited and accounted. The
constable was responsible for supplies for the knights of the royal
household. He also supervised the care of horses, hounds, hawks, and
huntsmen, houndsmen, and foresters. The marshals came from less
important families than the constable and they preserved order in the
king's hall and recorded expenditures of the household officers on
tallies. The steward was a great baron whose duties were chiefly
ceremonial, such as placing the dishes before the king at banquets.

        Sheriffs, who had first been head of shires, became powerful
figures as the primary agents for enforcing royal edicts. There was no
longer supervision of them by earls nor influence on them by bishops.
They were customarily prominent barons. They collected the royal taxes,
executed royal justice, and presided over and controlled the hundred
and county courts. They were responsible for remitting a certain sum
annually. If a sheriff received more than necessary, he retained the
difference as his lawful profit of office. If he received less than
necessary, he had to make up the difference from his own pocket. Before
rendering this account, he paid the royal benefactions to religious
houses, provided for the maintenance of stock on crown lands, paid for
the costs of provisions supplied to the court, and paid for traveling
expenses of the king and his visitors. The payments were initially paid
in kind: e.g. grain, cattle, horses, hounds, and hawks. Sheriffs also
took part in the keeping of castles and often managed the estates of
the King. Most royal writs were addressed to the sheriff and county
courts. They also led the county militia in time of war or rebellion.
At times, a sheriff usurped royal rights, used royal estates for his
own purposes, encroached on private land and rights, extorted money,
and collected revenues only for his own pockets. Over the centuries,
there was much competition for the authority to select the sheriff,
e.g. by the king, the county court, the barons, and the Exchequer.
There was also much pressure to limit his term to one year. Over time,
the powers of the sheriffs slowly declined.

        Royal income came from customary dues, profits of coinage and
of justice, and revenues from the King's own estates. For war, there
was no change in the custom that a man with five hides of land was
required to furnish one heavy armed horseman for forty days service in
a year. The fyrd was retained. A threat of a Viking invasion caused the
Conquerer to reinstate the danegeld tax at 6s. per hide, which was
three times its old rate. (The price of an ox was still about 30d.) To
impose this tax uniformly, he sent commissioners to conduct surveys by
sworn verdicts of appointed groups of local men. A detailed survey of
land holdings and the productive worth of each was made in 1086. The
English called it the "Doomsday Book" because there was no appeal from

        The survey revealed, for instance, that one estate had "on the
home farm five plough teams: there are also 25 villeins and 6 cotters
with 14 teams among them. There is a mill worth 2s. a year and one
fishery, a church and four acres of meadow, wood for 150 pigs and two
stone quarries, each worth 2s. a year, and two nests of hawks in the
wood and 10 slaves." This estate was deemed to be worth 480s. a year.

        Laxton "had 2 carucates of land [assessed] to the geld. [There
is] land for 6 ploughs. There Walter, a man of [the lord] Geoffrey
Alselin's has 1 plough and 22 villeins and 7 bordars [a bordar had a
cottage and a small amount land in return for supplying small
provisions to his lord] having 5 ploughs and 5 serfs and 1 female serf
and 40 acres of meadow. Wood [land] for pannage [foraging by pigs] 1
league in length and half a league in breadth. In King Edward's time it
was worth 9 pounds; now [it is worth] 6 pounds."

        Ilbert de Laci has now this land, where he has twelve ploughs
in the demesne; and forty-eight villani, and twelve bordars with
fifteen ploughs, and three churches and three priests, and three mills
of ten shillings. Wood pastures two miles long, and one broad. The
whole manor five miles long and two broad. Value in King Edward's time
sixteen pounds, the same now.

        That manor of the town of Coventry which was individually held
was that of the Countess of Coventry, who was the wife of the earl of
Mercia. "The Countess held in Coventry. There are 5 hides. The arable
land employs 20 ploughs. In the demesne lands there are 3 ploughs and 7
bondmen. There are 50 villeins and 12 bordars with 20 ploughs. The mill
there pay[s] 3 shillings. The woodlands are 2 miles long and the same
broad. In King Edward's time and afterwards, it was worth 22 pounds
[440 s.], now only 11 pounds by weight. These lands of the Countess
Godiva Nicholas holds to farm of the King."

        The survey shows a few manors and monasteries owned a salthouse
or saltpit in the local saltworks, from which they were entitled to
obtain salt.

        In total there were about 110,000 villani [former coerls
regarded as customary, irremovable cultivator tenants]; 82,000
bordarii; 7,000 cotarii and cotseti [held land by service of labor or
rent paid in produce], and 25,000 servi [landless laborers]. There are
no more theows. This survey resulted in the first national tax system
of about 6s. per hide of land.

        The survey also provided the Conquerer with a summary of
customs of areas. For instance, in Oxfordshire, "Anyone breaking the
King's peace given under his hand and seal to the extent of committing
homicide shall be at the King's mercy in respect of his life and
members. That is if he be captured. And if he cannot be captured, he
shall be considered as an outlaw, and anyone who kills him shall have
all his possessions. The king shall take the possessions of any
stranger who has elected to live in Oxford and who dies in possession
of a house in that town, and without any kinfolk. The king shall be
entitled to the body and the possessions of any man who kills another
within his own court or house excepting always the dower of his wife,
if he has a wife who has received dower.

        The courts of the king and barons became schools of chivalry
wherein seven year old noble boys became pages or valets, wore a dagger
and waited upon the ladies of the household. At age fourteen, they were
advanced to squires and admitted into more familiar association with
the knights and ladies of the court. They perfected their skills in
dancing, riding, fencing, hawking, hunting, jousting, and engaged in
team sports in which the goal was to put the other side to rout. They
learned the knightly art of war. Enemy fighters were to be taken and
held for ransom rather than killed. Those engaging in rebellion were to
be pardoned and restored to some or all of their lands and titles.
Lords' sons could be mutually exchanged with an enemy's as security for
peace. After achieving knighthood, a man usually selected a wife from
the court at which he grew up. Parents tried to send their daughters to
a household superior in social status not only to learn manners, but to
make a good marriage. A girl who did not marry was often sent to a
nunnery; a dowry was necessary before her acceptance.

        The following incidents of land tenure began (but were not
firmly established until the reign of Henry II). Each tenant, whether
baron or subtenant, was to pay an "aid" in money for ransom if his lord
was captured in war, for the knighthood of his lord's eldest son, and
for the marriage of his lord's eldest daughter. The aid was
theoretically voluntary. Land could be held by an heir only if he could
fight. The eldest son began to succeed to the whole of the lands in all
military tenures. Actually, William and his sons insisted on undivided
succession rather than a strict application of the primogeniture rule
that the eldest son inherit.Younger sons of great houses became
bishops. An heir of a tenant had to pay a heavy "relief" on succession
to his estate. The relief replaced the heriot. If there was a delay in
proving heirship or paying relief, the lord would hold the land and
receive its income in the meantime, often a year. If an heir was still
a minor or female, he or she passed into his lord's wardship, in which
the lord had guardianship of the heir and possession of the estate,
with all its profits. The mother was not made a minor's guardian. No
longer was the estate protected by the minor's kin as his birthright. A
female heir was expected to marry a man acceptable to the lord. The
estate of an heiress and her land was generally sold to the highest
bidder. If there were no heirs, the land escheated [reverted]  to the
lord. If a tenant committed felony, his land escheated to his lord. The
word "felony" came from the Latin word meaning "to deceive" and
referred to the feudal crime of betraying or committing treachery
against one's lord.

        Astrologers resided with the families of the barons. People
went to fortune tellers' shops. There was horse racing, steeple races,
and chess for recreation. Girls had dolls; boys had toy soldiers,
spinning tops, toy horses, ships, and wooden models.

        The state of medicine is indicated by this medical advice
brought to the nation by William's son after treatment on the continent:
"If thou would have health and vigor Shun cares and avoid anger. Be
temperate in eating And in the use of wine. After a heavy meal Rise and
take the air Sleep not with an overloaded stomach And above all thou
must Respond to Nature when she calls."

        The Conquerer allowed Jewish traders to follow him from
Normandy and settle in separate sections of the main towns. Then
engaged in long distance trade, money changing, and money lending. They
loaned money for interest for the building of castles and cathedrals.
Christians were not allowed by the church to engage in this usury. The
Jews could not become citizens nor could they have standing in the
local courts. Instead, a royal justiciar secured justice for them. They
could practice their own religion.

        William the Conquerer was succeeded as king by his son William
II (Rufus), who transgressed many of the customs of the nation to get
more money for himself. He was killed by an arrow of a fellow hunter
while they and William's younger brother Henry were hunting together in
a crown forest. Henry then became king.

                  The Law

        The notion of the king's peace extended until it was the normal
and general safeguard of the public order.

        The Norman conquerors brought no code of written law. William's
laws largely affirmed the laws of the nation as they were in the times
of Edward I. These are substantially all of the laws of William I:

All freemen shall swear an oath of loyalty to William I and shall
uphold his lands and honors and defend them against enemies and aliens.
William will protect them and exact no more than legally owed service.

If a Frenchman summons an Englishman for perjury, murder, theft,
homicide or open robbery, the Englishman shall defend himself by
whichever method he prefers, either the ordeal of iron or trial by
combat. The person defeated shall pay a fine to the king. If an
Englishman summons a Frenchman and declines to prove the charge by
ordeal or by combat, the Frenchman shall clear himself by a
comprehensive oath.

For a charge of outlawry, an Englishman shall clear himself by the
ordeal of iron. When an Englishman brings a charge of outlawry against
a Frenchman, the Frechman will defend himself by combat or by a
comprehensive oath, at the choice of the Englishman.

All the men whom I brought with me [Normans] or who come after me shall
enjoy my protection. If any of them is slain, his lord shall arrest the
slayer within five days, if he can. If not, he shall begin to pay me a
"murdrum" fine of 46 marks of silver from the property of that lord as
long as it lasts. If the property of the lord fails, the whole hundred
in which the murder was committed shall pay in common what remains.

All freemen shall be in a frankpledge, so that the frankpledge may
bring him to justice, if he has committed an offense or the members of
the frankpledge shall pay the claim unless clearing themselves of the
charge of any knowledge of fraud by the runaway. The hundred and county
courts shall be attended as before. Those who are required to appear
shall be summoned once. Ad if they refuse to appear on the second
summons, as ox [worth 30d.] shall be confiscated. And so for the third
summons, another ox. And if they refuse the fourth summons, the
"ceapgeld" [120s.] shall be paid and also the fine for insubordination.

"Everyone who wishes to be admitted to the benefit of the law and to be
qualified to obtain legal rights shall be in frankpledge."

In Mercia, a surety has a month and a day to find an escaped person
accused of larceny or robbery, or else shall swear with eleven
compurgators that he had not known him to be a thief, that he was not
accessory to his flight, and that he cannot find him. Then he shall pay
for the stolen goods and 20s. in lieu of the head of the accused man
and 4d. to the jailor, a farthing for the spade, and 40s. to the king.

Every lord shall be personally responsible as surety for his servant so
that, it an accusation is brought against him, he shall bring him for
trial in the hundred court. And if he escapes while he is under the
accusation, the lord shall pay his wergeld. And if the lord is accused
of being an accessory to his flight, he shall clear himself with 5
compurgators, and if he cannot, he shall pay compensation to the king;
and the man shall be an outlaw.

All freemen shall keep themselves supplied with arms and horses or pay
the full fine of insubordination.

All earls, barons, knights, tenants by serjeanty and all free men shall
be ready to perform their service defending me against enemies and
aliens, by virtue of their fiefs, which are hereditary. Or pay the fine
for insubordination.

The heriot of an earl, which falls to the King, is 8 horses - 4 of them
bridled and saddled - 4 coats of mail, 4 helmets, 4 shields, 4 lances
and 4 swords. Of the other 4 horses, 2 shall be hunters and 2 riding
horses with bridlos and halters. The heriot of a baron is 4 horses - 2
bridled and saddled - 2 coats of mail, 2 helmets, 2 shields, 2 swords
and 2 lances. And of the other 2 horses, 1 shall be a hunter and 1 a
riding horse with bridles and halters. The heriot of a thegn of lower
rank to his liege lord shall be discharged by (delivering up) his
father's horse, as it was in the day of his death, his helmet, his
shield, his coat of mail, and lance and his sword. And if he was
without equipment, having neither horse nor arms, it shall be
discharged by the payment of 100 s. The heriot of a villain: he shall
give to this lord the best animal that he has, either a horse, an ox,
or a cow. And further all villeins shall be in frankpledge. For those
who hold their land by the payment of rent, the legal heriot shall be
the equivalent of a year's rent.

No one shall entertain a man for more than 3 days, unless he is
committed to this charge by the man with whom he was formerly serving.
And no one shall let any of his men leave him after an accusation has
All men shall keep the law of Edward relating to the tenure of estates.
been brought against him.

I prohibit the slaying or hanging of anyone for any offense, but his
eyes shall be put out and he shall suffer castration, so the trunk
remains alive as a sign of his treachery and wickedness. If a person
violates this, he shall pay the insubordination fee.

All cities, boroughs, castles, hundreds and wapentakes shall be guarded
every night on all sides against malefactors and enemies, as our
sheriffs, earldormen, reeves and other officials and servants best

The protection of the church is inviolable. Whatever crime a man has
committed, if he can make his way to a holy church, he shall have
protection for life and limb. And if anyone lays hands on him there, he
shall pay for anything he has taken and a fine of 100s. for a bishop's
church, abbey or monastery, 20s. for a parish church, and 10s. for a

"If a man wishes to prove against his lord that he has an agreement for
his land, he must do so by means of his fellow-tenants whom he summons
as witnesses, for he cannot do so by means of strangers."

If a man slays another he shall pay manbot to the lord of the slain man
in the amount of 10s. for a free man and 20s. for a slave.

The wergeld of a thegn is 20 pounds in Mercia and 25 pounds in
Wessex. The wergeld of a villain is 100s. (20s. would buy a stallion,
10s. a bull and 5s. a boar.) 10s. of the wergeld shall be paid to the
widow and children and the relatives and orphans shall divide what
remains among themselves.

The archbishop shall have as compensation for breach of his protection
40s. in Mercia, a bishop 20s., an earl 20s., a baron 10s.,and a sokeman

If a man wounds another he shall pay for medical attendance and if he
is wounded on the face, or a part which is visible, for every inch 8d.,
on the head or any hidden place, for every inch 4d., for every piece of
bone drawn out of the wound 4d.

If a man cuts off the hand or foot of another, he shall pay half his
wergeld according to his inherited rank. For the thumb he shall pay
half the value of his hand, for the finger next the thumb, 15s.
according to the English reckoning (i.e. 4d. to the shilling), for the
middle finger 16s., for the ring-finger 17s., for the little finger
5s., for the nail if it is cut away from the flesh, 5 English s., for
the nail of the little finger 4d.

"If a man poisons another, he shall be slain or sent into permanent

There is a 100s. fine for violation of the king's peace or attack on
people's houses or for premeditated waylaying.

If anyone slays or assaults anyone who is traveling through the country
on any of the following four highways, namely, Watling Street, Ermine
Street, the Fosse Way, the Icknied Way, he violates the king's peace.
(Two of these streets extended the length of the kingdom and two
extended across its width.)

For the guarding of roads, every 10 hides of the hundred shall supply a
man between Michaelmas and Martinmas, or pay compensation for any
livestock taken over the road, unless they have raised the hue and cry
of been subject to force.

A peasant is not to be harassed or ejected except for not performing
his legal services. A peasant leaving the estate where he was born must
be returned to it.

If a father finds his daughter in adultery in his own or in his
son-in-laws house, he may slay the adulterer. The same holds for a son
and his mother during the father's lifetime.

"He who assaults the wife of another man shall forfeit his wergeld to
his lord."

"If anyone assaults a woman he shall suffer castration as a penalty."

"If a woman who is pregnant is sentenced to death or to mutilation, the
sentence shall not be carried out until she is delivered."

If anyone knocks out a man's eye by any kind of accident, he shall pay
70 English shillings as compensation. And if he destroys the sight
without displacing the pupil, he shall pay only half the sum.

"If a man dies intestate [without a will], his children shall divide
the inheritance equally among themselves."

And if anyone comes upon a thief and of his own accord lets him escape,
without raising the hue and cry, he shall make compensation by the
payment of the thief's value or clear himself.

"And if anyone hears the hue and cry and neglects it, he shall pay the
fine for neglecting it to the king, or clear himself."

If a man captures a thief without the hue and cry being given, the
injured man shall pay 10s. as a fine for neglecting to arrest the thief.

If theft is discovered on anyone's land and the thief is discovered,
the lord of the estate and the thief's wife shall have half of his
property and the claimants shall have their goods, if they find them.
And with regard to the other half, if the theft is discovered in a
district over which the lord has rights of jurisdiction, the wife shall
lose her share and it shall pass to the lord.

"Further, we forbid the buying or selling of any livestock except
within towns and before three trustworthy witnesses, likewise that of
any second-hand goods without a surety and warrantor." The penalty is
twice the value of the goods and the fine for insubordination.

No one shall buy anything of 4d. in value, either livestock or other
property, unless he has 4 men as witnesses either from a town or a
village. If anyone claims it and he has no witnesses and no warrantor,
the goods shall be given up to the claimant and the fine shall be paid
to the party who is entitled thereto. And if he has such witnesses,
vouching to warranty shall take place three times; and on the fourth
occasion he shall prove his ownership of it or deliver it up.

If anyone has taken livestock into his care, whether horses or oxen or
cows or sheep or pigs, the man who claims them shall pay 8d. and no
more in return for the care of them, however many there are up to a
hundred head of cattle. As for one pig, 1d, for one sheep, 1d., and so
on up to 8d. And he shall give pledge and find surety, that if another
man comes forward within a year and a day to claim them, he will bring
it for decision to the court of the man who had taken them into his own

Strayed livestock and found property shall be exhibited in three parts
of the neighborhood. Anyone who claims it shall give pledge and surety
and if another claims it within a year and a day, he will bring it for
decision to the court of the man who found it.

The attachment of livestock: If anyone desires to claim it as stolen,
and is willing to give pledge and find surety for prosecuting his
claim, he who has possession of it must name his warrantor if he has
one. If not, he shall name his surety and his witnesses, and produce
them at the appointed day and time, if he has them, and the claimant
shall give a pledge with 5 compurgators, and the other shall give the
livestock into the hands of his warrantor or his surety, whichever of
these he has. And if he has neither but has witnesses that he bought it
in the public market and that he does not know whether his warrantor or
his pledge is dead or alive, he shall swear to this along with his
witnesses with a simple oath. In this way he shall lose his goods, but
escape punishment, if they bear witness that he obtained a surety for
them. And, in Mercia, if he can produce neither warrantor nor witness,
he shall lose the goods and pay in addition compensation to the
claimant and forfeit is wergeld to his lord. And if he can prove that
it is of his own breeding by means of witnesses drawn from three parts
of his neighborhood he shall have won his case.

There shall be no market or fair except in boroughs or castles or other
enclosed or well-guarded places.

Weights and measures shall be stamped and reliable as before.

"Likewise if slaves have remained for a year and a day, without being
claimed, in our cities or in our walled boroughs or in our castles,
from that day they shall become free men."

I forbid anyone to sell a Christian out of the country, especially into
heathen lands, or pay the fine for insubordination to me.

Anyone can set free a slave of his by presenting him to the sheriff in
the county court and giving him the arms of a freeman, namely a lance
and sword.

If I cast your things overboard from a ship in fear of death, then you
cannot bring a charge against me. The things that remained in the ship
shall be divided in common according to the value of the goods
originally belonging to each person.

He who possesses livestock of the value of 30 d. shall pay Peter's
Pence, and then his laborers, herdsmen, and servants shall be exempt.
Otherwise he shall pay a fine of 30d. to the bishop and 40s. to the

If a man accuses another of theft and the latter is a free man and can
produce witnesses to prove that he is entitled to the benefit of the
law, he shall clear himself by the simple oath (of exculpation). And
those who have been (previously) accused shall clear themselves by the
oath with selected compurgators, that is by means of 14 qualified men
nominated (by the court) of whom 11 must act as the accused man's
compurgators to clear him of the charge, if he can find as many to do
so. And if he cannot find them, he shall defend himself against the
charge by the ordeal. And the plaintiff shall swear by means of 7 men
nominated (by the court), of whom 5 must act as his compurgators, that
he does nothing through malice or for any other reason than to obtain
his legal right.

And if anyone is accused of breaking into a church or a treasury, and
has no previous convictions, he shall clear himself with 11
compurgators found among 14 qualified men nominated (by the court). And
if he has been previously accused, he shall clear himself with three
times as many, namely with 35 compurgators found among 42 qualified men
nominated (by the court). And if he cannot find them, he shall go to
the triple ordeal, just as he had (to produce) a triple oath. And if he
has previously paid compensation for theft, he shall go to the water

He who gives a false judgment shall forfeit his wergeld to his lord,
unless he can swear on the holy relics that he did not know how to give
a better decision.

No one shall be condemned to death for a trivial crime, but another
penalty shall be devised according to the nature and magnitude of the

He who makes an unjust judgment because of rage, malice, or bribery
forfeits 40s. to the king and loses his right of jurisdiction.

A judgment given in a case between those concerned cannot affect
injuriously others who are not present.

He who refuses to observe just law and just judgment shall forfeit a
fine to the party who is entitled thereto, the king 6 pounds, an earl
40s. and to all those who have a court in England.

No one shall appeal to the king until he fails to obtain justice in the
hundred or county courts.

"When a man carries on a suit in any court other than that in which the
king is present in person, and it is maintained against him that he has
said something which he will not acknowledge - if he can prove by means
of a trustworthy man, who has seen and heard all the suit, that he did
not say it, then the validity of his word shall be admitted."

"And if anyone who has charges brought against him in the hundred court
to such an extent that 4 men accuse him, he shall clear himself with 11

"No one shall make distraint of property whether in the county court or
outside it, until he has demanded justice three times in the hundred or
in the county courts." If the man against whom he is bringing his
charge fails to appear the fourth time, he shall get leave to make
distraint for what is his own.

If anyone who is accused and against whom evidence of untrustworthiness
is given fails three times to attend the court proceedings, and if, at
the fourth meeting of the court, the summoners bring forward his three
defections, he shall once more be asked to find a surety and appear
before the court. And if he refuses, he shall be seized, alive or dead,
and all that he has shall be taken, and the value of his goods shall be
paid to the claimant, and the lord of the thief shall take half of what
remains and the hundred half.

One God shall be honored throughtout the kingdom.

By charter, William granted to Londoners all the rights they had in the
time of King Edward and willed that every child should be his father's

                Judicial Procedure

        "Ecclesiastical" courts were created for bishops to preside
over cases concerning the cure of souls and criminal cases, in which
the ordeal was used. When the Conqueror did not preside over this
court, an appeal could be made to him.

        The hundred and county courts now sat without clergy and
handled only "civil" cases. They were conducted by the King's own
appointed sheriff. Only freemen and not bound villeins had standing in
this court. They continued to transact their business in the English

        The local jurisdictions of thegns who had grants of sac and
soke or who exercised judicial functions among their free neighbors
were now called "manors" and their owners conducted a manor court.

        The Conqueror's Royal Court ["Curia Regis"] replaced the witan.
It was composed of those to whom William had made grants of land on the
understanding that they should perform certain feudal services to him.
When the Conqueror wished to determine the national laws, he summoned
twelve elected representatives of each county to declare on oath the
ancient lawful customs and law as they existed in the time of the
popular King Edward the Confessor. The recording of this law was begun.
A person could spend months trying to catch up with the Royal Court to
present a case. Sometimes the Conqueror sent the Justiciar or
commissioners to hold his Royal Court in the various districts. The
commissioner appointed groups of local men to give a collective verdict
upon oath for each trial he conducted. The Conqueror allowed, on an ad
hoc basis, certain high-level people such as bishops and abbots and
those who made a large payment, to have land disputes decided by an
inquiry of recognitors. Besides royal issues, the Royal Court heard
appeals from lower court decisions. It used English, Norman, feudal,
Roman, and canon law legal principles to reach a decision, and was
flexible and expeditious. The powers of the shire court were lessened
by the expanding authority of the Royal Court.

        Trial by combat could be used in two instances: 1) a dispute
between a Frenchman and an Englishman over seisin of land initiated by
a writ of right, or 2) a criminal appeal of felony brought by an
Englishman or Frenchman against the other. Each combatant first swore
to the truth of his cause and undertook to prove by his body the truth
of his cause by making the other surrender by crying "craven" [craving
forgiveness]. The combatants used weapons like pickaxes and shields.
Presumably the man in the wrong would not fight as well because he was
burdened with a guilty conscience. Although this trial was thought to
reflect God's will, it favored the physically fit and adept person.
After losing the trial by combat, the guilty person would be punished

        London had its own traditions. All London citizens met at its
folkmote, which was held three times a year to determine its public
officers, to raise matters of public concern, and to make ordinances.
Its criminal court had the power of outlawry as did the county courts.
Trade, land, and other civil issues were dealt with by the Hustings
Court, which met every Monday in the Guildhall. The city was divided
into wards, each of which was under the charge of an elected alderman
[elder man]. (The election was by a small governing body and the most
wealthy and reputable men and not a popular election.) The aldermen had
special knowledge of the law and a duty to declare it at the Hustings
Court. Each alderman also conducted wardmotes in his ward and decided
criminal and civil issues between its residents. Within the wards were
the guilds of the city.

        King William I decided a lawsuit regarding land on the basis of
testimony of the county thus: "William, by God's grace king of the
English, to Bishop Walkelin, {Sheriff} Hugh de Port and his lieges of
Hampshire, greeting. I notify you that I have restored to Archbishop
Thomas of York one hide of land pertaining to the church of Mottisfont,
as Archbishop Ealdred best had it at the time of King Edward, in
meadows and wood and pasture and in common pasturage for as many
animals as the maximum he could have there at the time of King Edward,
as was testified before Bishop [William] of Durham and Bertram de
Verdun and devised by the men of the county. Farewell. Witnesses:
Bishop William of Durham and Bertram de Verdun."

        The Royal Court decided this case: "At length both parties were
summoned before the King's court, in which there sat many of the nobles
of the land of whom Geoffrey, bishop of Coutances, was delegated by the
King's authority as judge of the dispute, with Ranulf the Vicomte,
Neel, son of Neel, Robert de Usepont, and many other capable judges who
diligently and fully examined the origin of the dispute, and delivered
judgment that the mill ought to belong to St. Michael and his monks
forever. The most victorious King William approved and confirmed this

                   Chapter 5

              The Times: 1100-1154

        King Henry I, son of William the Conquerer, furthered peace
between the Normans and native English by his marriage to a niece of
King Edward the Confessor called Matilda. She married him on condition
that he grant a charter of rights undoing some practices of the past
reigns of William I and William II. Peace was also furthered by the
fact that Henry I had been born in England and English was his native
tongue. The private wars of lords were now replaced by less serious
mock battles.

        Henry was a shrewd judge of character and of the course of
events, cautious before taking action, but decisive in carrying out his
plans. He was faithful and generous to his friends. He showed a strong
practical element of calculation and foresight. Although illiterate, he
was intelligent and a good administrator. He had an efficient
intelligence gathering network and an uncanny knack of detecting hidden
plans before they became conspiratorial action. He made many able men
of inferior social position nobles, thus creating a class of career
judges and administrators in opposition to the extant hereditary
aristocracy. He loved books and built a palace at Oxford to which he
invited scholars for lively discussion. Euclid's "Elements" ", which
deduced from axioms the properties of lines, circles, and spheres, was
introduced into England.

        Queen Matilda served as regent of the kingdom in Henry's
absence, as William's queen had for him. Both queens received special
coronation apart from their husbands; they held considerable estates
which they administered through their own officers, and were frequently
composed of escheated honors. Matilda was learned and a literary
patron. She founded an important literary and scholastic center. Her
compassion was great and her charities extensive. In London she founded
several almshouses and a caregiving infirmary for lepers. These were
next to small monastic communities. She also had new roads and bridges

        Henry issued charters restoring customs which had been
subordinated to royal impositions by previous Kings, which set a
precedent for later Kings. His coronation charter describes certain
property rights he restored after the oppressive reign of his brother,
William II.

        "Henry, King of the English, to Samson the bishop, and Urse of
Abbetot, and to all his barons and faithful vassals, both French and
English, in Worcestershire, greeting.

[1.] Know that by the mercy of God and by the common counsel of the
barons of the whole kingdom of England I have been crowned king of this
realm. And because the kingdom has been oppressed by unjust exactions,
I now, being moved by reverence towards God and by the love I bear you
all, make free the Church of God; so that I will neither sell nor lease
its property; nor on the death of an archbishop or a bishop or an abbot
will I take anything from the demesne of the Church or from its vassals
during the period which elapses before a successor is installed. I
abolish all the evil customs by which the kingdom of England has be
unjustly oppressed. Some of those evil customs are here set forth.

[2.] If any of my barons or of my earls or of any other of my tenants
shall die his heir shall not redeem his land as he was wont to do in
the time of my brother, but he shall henceforth redeem it by means of a
just and lawful relief. Similarly the men of my barons shall redeem
their lands from their lords by means of a just and lawful relief.

[3.] If any of my barons or of my tenants shall wish to give -in
marriage his daughter or his sister or his niece or his cousin, he
shall consult me about the matter; but I will neither seek payment for
my consent, nor will I refuse my permission, unless he wishes to give
her in marriage to one of my enemies. And if, on the death of one of my
barons or of one of my tenants, a daughter should be his heir, I will
dispose of her in marriage and of her lands according to the counsel
given me by my barons. And if the wife of one of my tenants shall
survive her husband and be without children, she shall have her dower
and her marriage portion [that given to her by her parents], and I will
not give her in marriage unless she herself consents.

[4.] If a widow survives with children under age, she shall have her
dower and her marriage portion, so long as she keeps her body chaste;
and I will not give her in marriage except with her consent. And the
guardian of the land, and of the children, shall be either the widow or
another of their relations, as may seem more proper. And I order that
-my barons shall act likewise towards the sons and daughters -and
widows of their men.

[5.] I utterly forbid that the common mintage [a forced levy to prevent
loss to the King from depreciation of the -coinage], which has been
taken from the towns and counties, shall henceforth be levied, since it
was not so levied in the time of King Edward [the Confessor]. If any
moneyer or other person be taken with false money in his possession,
let true justice be visited upon him.

[6.] I forgive all pleas and all debts which were owing to my brother,
except my own proper dues, and except those things which were agreed to
belong to the inheritance of others, or to concern the property which
justly belonged to others. And if anyone had promised anything for his
heritage, I remit it, and I also remit all 'reliefs' which were
promised for direct inheritance.

[7.] If any of my barons or of my men, being ill, shall give away or
bequeath his movable property, I will allow that it shall be bestowed
according to his desires. But if, prevented either by violence or
through sickness, he shall die intestate as far as concerns his movable
property, his widow or his children, or his relatives or one his true
men shall make such division for the sake of his soul, as may seem best
to them.

[8.] If any of my barons or of my men shall incur a forfeit, he shall
not be compelled to pledge his movable property to an unlimited amount,
as was done in the time of my father [William I] and my brother; but he
shall only make payment -according to the extent of his legal
forfeiture, as was done before the time of my father and in the time of
my earlier predecessors. Nevertheless, if he be convicted of breach of
faith or of crime, he shall suffer such penalty as is just.

[9.] I remit all murder  fines which were incurred before the day on
which I was crowned King; and such murder fines as shall now be
incurred shall be paid justly according to the law of King Edward [by

[10.] By the common counsel of my barons I have retained the forests in
my own hands as my father did before me.

[11.] The knights, who in return for their estates perform military
service equipped with a hauberk [long coat] of mail, shall hold their
demesne lands quit of all gelds [money payments] and all labor
services; I make this concession as my own free gift in order that,
being thus relieved of so great a burden, they may furnish themselves
so well with horses and arms that they may be properly equipped to
discharge my service and to defend my kingdom.

[12.] I establish a firm peace in all my kingdom, and I order that this
peace shall henceforth be kept.

[13.] I restore to you the law of King Edward together with such
emendations to it as my father [William I] made with the counsel of his

[14.] If since the death of my brother, King William [II], anyone shall
have seized any of my property, or the property of any other man, let
him speedily return the whole of it. If he does this no penalty will be
exacted, but if he retains any part of it he shall, when discovered,
pay a heavy penalty to me.

Witness: Maurice, bishop of London; William, bishop-elect of
Winchester; Gerard, bishop of Herefore; Henry the earl; Simon the earl;
Walter Giffard; Robert of Montfort-sur-Risle; Roger Bigot; Eudo the
steward; Robert, son of Haimo; and Robert Malet.

At London when I was crowned. Farewell."

        Henry took these promises seriously, which resulted in peace
and justice. Royal justice became a force to be reckoned with by the
multiplication of justices. Henry had a great respect for legality and
the forms of judicial action. He became known as the "Lion of Justice".

        The payment of queen's gold, that is of a mark of gold to the
queen out of every hundred marks of silver paid, in the way of fine or
other feudal incident, to the king, probably dates from Henry I's reign.

        A woman could inherit a fief if she married. The primary way
for a man to acquire control of land was to marry an heiress. If a man
were in a lower station than she was, he had to pay for his new social
status as well as have royal permission. A man could also be awarded
land which had escheated to the King. If a noble woman wanted to hold
land in her own right, she had to make a payment to the King. Many
widows bought their freedom from guardianship or remarriage from the
King. Women whose husbands were at war also ran the land of their

        Barons were lords of large holdings of farmland called
"manors". Many of the lesser barons left their dark castles to live in
semi- fortified stone houses, which usually were of two rooms with rug
hangings for drafts, as well as the sparse furniture that had been
common to the castle. There were shuttered windows to allow in light,
but which also let in the wind and rain when open. The roof was of
thatch or narrow overlapping wood shingles. The stone floor was strewn
with hay and there was a hearth near the center of the floor, with a
louvered smoke hole in the timber roof for escape of smoke. There were
barns for grain and animals. Beyond this area was a garden, orchard,
and sometimes a vineyard. The area was circumscribed by a moat over
which there was a drawbridge to a gatehouse.

        The smaller room was the lord and lady's bedroom. It had a
canopied bed, chests for clothing, and wood frames on which clothes
could be hung. Life on the manor revolved around the larger room, or
hall, where the public life of the household was passed. There, meals
were served. The daily diet typically consisted of milk, soup,
porridge, fish, vegetables, and bread. Open hospitality accompanied
this communal living. There was little privacy. Manor household
villeins carried the lord's sheaves of grain to the manor barn, shore
his sheep, malted his grain, and chopped wood for his fire. At night
some slept on the floor of the hall. Others, who were cottars and
bordars, had their own dwellings nearby.

        The manor house of lesser lords or knights was still built of
wood, although it often had a stone foundation.

        About 35% of the land was arable land, about 25% was common
pasture land (for grazing only) or meadow land (near a stream or river
and used for hay or grazing), and about 15% was woodland. There were
these types of land and wasteland on each manor. The arable land was
allotted to the villeins in strips to equalize the best and worst land
and their distance from the village where the villeins lived. There was
three-way rotation of wheat or rye, oats or barley, and fallow land.
Cows, pigs, sheep, and fowl were kept. The meadow was allocated for hay
for the lord's household and each villein's. The villeins held land of
their lord for various services such as agricultural labor or raising
domestic animals. The villeins worked about half of their time on their
lord's fields [his demesne land], which was about a third of the
farmland. This work was primarily to gather the harvest and to plough
with oxen, using a yoke over their shoulders, and to sow in autumn and
Lent. They threshed grain on barn floors with flails cut from holly or
thorn, and removed the kernels from the shafts by hand. Work lasted
from sunrise to sunset and included women and children. The older
children could herd geese and pigs, and set snares for rabbits. The
young children could gather nuts and berries in season and other wild
edibles, and could pick up little tufts of wool shed by sheep. The old
could stay in the hut and mind the children, keep the fire going and
the black pot boiling, sew, spin, patch clothes, and cobble shoes. The
old often suffered from rheumatism. Many people had bronchitis. Many
children died of croup [inflammation of the respiratory passages]. Life
expectancy was probably below thirty-five.

        The villein retained his customary rights, his house and land
and rights of wood and hay, and his right in the common land of his
township. Customary ways were maintained. The villeins of a manor
elected a reeve to communicate their interests to their lord, usually
through a bailiff, who directed the labor. Sometimes there was a
steward in charge of several of a lord's manors, who also held the
manorial court for the lord. The steward held his land of the lord by
petty serjeanty, which was a specific service to the lord. Other
serjeanty services were carrying the lord's shield and arms, finding
attendants and esquires for knights, helping in the lord's hunting
expeditions, looking after his hounds, bringing fuel, doing carpentry,
and forging irons for ploughs. The Woodward preserved the timber. The
Messer supervised the harvesting. The Hayward removed any fences from
the fields after harvest to allow grazing by cattle and sheep. The
Coward, Bullard, and Calvert tended the cows, bulls, and calves; the
Shepherd, the sheep; and the Swineherds the pigs. The Ponder impounded
stray stock. There were varieties of horses: war horses, riding horses,
courier horses, pack horses, and plough horses.

        The majority of manors were coextensive with a single village.
The villeins lived in the village in one-room huts enclosed by a wood
fence, hedge, or stone wall. In this yard was a garden of onions,
leeks, mustard, peas, beans, parsley, garlic, herbs, and cabbage and
apple, pear, cherry, quince, and plum trees, and beehives. The hut had
a high-pitched roof thatched with reeds or straw and low eaves reaching
almost to the ground. The walls are built of wood-framing overlaid with
mud or plaster. Narrow slits in the walls serve as windows, which have
shutters and are sometimes covered with coarse cloth. The floor is dirt
and may be covered with straw or rushes for warmth, but usually no
hearth. In the middle is a wood fire burning on a hearthstone, which
was lit by making a spark by striking flint and iron together. The
smoke rose through a hole in the roof. At one end of the hut was the
family living area, where the family ate on a collapsible trestle table
with stools or benches. Their usual food was beans and peas, oatmeal
gruel, butter, cheese, vegetables, honey, rough bread made from a
mixture of wheat, barley, and rye flour, herrings or other salt fish,
and some salted or smoked bacon. Butter had first been used for cooking
and as a medicine to cure constipation. For puny children it could be
salted down for the winter. The bread had been roasted on the stones of
the fire; later there were communal ovens set up in villages. Cooking
was done over the fire by boiling in iron pots hung from an iron
tripod, or sitting on the hot stones of the fire. They ate from wood
bowls using a wood spoon. When they had fresh meat, it could be roasted
on a spit. Liquids were heated in a kettle. With drinking horns, they
drank water, milk, buttermilk, apple cider, mead, ale made from barley
malt, and bean and vegetable broth. They used jars and other
earthenware, e.g. for storage of salt. They slept on straw mattresses
or sacks on the floor or on benches. The villein regarded his bed area
as the safest place in the house, as did people of all ranks, and kept
his treasures there, which included his farm implements, as well as
hens on the beams, roaming pigs, and stalled oxen, cattle, and horses,
which were at the other end of the hut. Fires were put out at night to
guard against fire burning down the huts. The warmth of the animals
then helped make the hut warm. Around the room are a couple of chests
to store salt, meal, flour, a broom made of birch twigs, some woven
baskets, the distaff and spindle for spinning, and a simple loom for
weaving. All clothes were homemade. They were often coarse, greasy wool
and leather made from their own animals. The man wore a tunic of coarse
linen embroidered on the sleeves and breast, around with he wore a
girdle of rope, leather, or folded cloth. Sometimes he also wore
breeches reaching below the knee. The woman wore a loose short-sleeved
gown, under which was a tight fitting garment with long loose sleeves,
and which was short enough to be clear of the mud. If they wore shoes,
they were clumsy and patched. Some wore a hood-like cap. For really bad
weather, a man wore on his head a hood with a very elongated point
which could be wrapped around his neck. Sometimes a short cape over the
shoulders was attached. Linen was too expensive for commoners.

        The absence of fresh food during the winter made scurvy
prevalent; in the spring, people eagerly sought "scurvy grass" to eat.
Occasionally there would be an outbreak of a nervous disorder due to
the ergot fungus growing in the rye used for bread. This manifested
itself in apparent madness, frightening hallucinations, incoherent
shouting, hysterical laughing, and constant scratching of itching and
burning sensations.

        The villein and his wife and children worked from daybreak to
dusk in the fields, except for Sundays and holydays. He had certain
land to farm for his own family, but had to have his grain milled at
his lord's mill at the lord's price. He had to retrieve his wandering
cattle from his lord's pound at the lord's price. He was expected to
give a certain portion of his own produce, whether grain or livestock,
to his lord. However, if he fell short, he was not put off his land.
The villein, who worked the farm land as his ancestor ceorl had, now
was so bound to the land that he could not leave or marry or sell an ox
without his lord's consent. If the manor was sold, the villein was sold
as a part of the manor. When his daughter or son married or if he sent
his son to school,he had to pay a "merchet" to his lord. He could not
have a son educated without the lord's permission, and this usually
involved a fee to the lord. His best beast at his death, or "heriot",
went to his lord. If he wanted permission to live outside the manor, he
paid "chevage" yearly. Woodpenny was a yearly payment for gathering
dead wood. Sometimes a "tallage" payment was taken at the lord's will.
The villein's oldest son usually took his place on his land and
followed the same customs with respect to the lord. For an heir to take
his dead ancestor's land, the lord demanded payment of a "relief",
which was usually the amount of a year's income but sometimes as much
as the heir was willing to pay to have the land. The usual aids were
also expected to be paid.

        A large village also had a smith, a wheelwright, a millwright,
a tiler and thatcher, a shoemaker and tanner, a carpenter wainwright
and carter.

        Markets were about twenty miles apart because a farmer from the
outlying area could then carry his produce to the nearest town and walk
back again in the daylight hours of one day. In this local market he
could buy foodstuffs, livestock, household goods, fuels, skins, and
certain varieties of cloth.

        The cloth was crafted by local weavers, dyers, and fullers. The
weaver lived in a cottage with few and narrow windows and little
furniture. He worked in the main, and sometimes the only, room. First
the raw wool was washed with water at the front door to remove the
grease. Then its fibers were disentangled and made fine with hand cards
with thistle teeth, usually by the children. Then it was spun by a
spinning wheel into thread, usually by the wife. On a double frame
loom, a set of parallel threads was strung lengthwise. A device worked
by a pedal lifted half of these threads --every other thread--while the
other half remained in place. Between the lifted threads and the
stationary threads a shuttle was thrown by the weaver from one hand to
another. Then the threads which had remained stationary were raised by
a second pedal and the shuttle thrown back. The shuttle carried a spool
so that, as it moved, it left a thread behind it running crosswise or
at right angles to the lengthwise threads and in and out between them.
The lengthwise threads were called the "warp"; the shuttle thread was
the "woof" or the "weft".In making cloth, it was the warp which, as the
loom moved, took the worst beating. With the constant raising and
lowering, these treads would wear and break, whereas the weft on which
there was little strain remained intact. None of the cotton yarn which
the old-fashioned wheels had spun was strong enough for warp. So it was
necessary to use linen thread for the warp.

        Since one loom could provide work for about six spinners, the
weaver had his wool spun by other spinners in their cottages. Sometimes
the master weaver had an apprentice or workman working and living with
him, who had free board and lodging and an annual wage. Then a fuller
made the cloth thick and dense by washing, soaping, beating, and
agitating it, with the use of a community watermill which could be used
by anyone for a fixed payment. The cloth dried through the night on a
rack outside the cottage. The weaver then took his cloth, usually only
one piece, to the weekly market to sell. The weavers stood at the
market holding up their cloth. The cloth merchant who bought the cloth
then had it dyed or dressed according to his requirements. Its surface
could be raised with teazleheads and cropped or sheared to make a nap.
Some cloth was sold to tailors to make into clothes. Often a weaver had
a horse for travel, a cow for milk, chickens for eggs, perhaps a few
cattle, and some grazing land. Butchers bought, slaughtered, and cut up
animals to sell as meat. Some was sold to cooks, who sold prepared
foods. The hide was bought by the tanner to make into leather. The
leather was sold to shoemakers and glovemakers. Millers bought
harvested grain to make into flour. Flour was sold to bakers to make
into breads. Wood was bought by carpenters and by coopers, who made
barrels, buckets, tubs, and pails. Tilers, oilmakers and rope makers
also bought raw material to make into finished goods for sale.
Wheelwrights made ploughs, harrows, carts, and later wagons. Smiths and
locksmiths worked over their hot fires.

        Games with dice were sometimes played. In winter, youths ice-
skated with bones fastened to their shoes. They propelled themselves by
striking the ice with staves shod with iron. On summer holydays, they
exercised in leaping, shooting with the bow, wrestling, throwing
stones, and darting a thrown spear. The maidens danced with timbrels.
Since at least 1133, children's toys included dolls, drums, hobby
horses, pop guns, trumpets, and kites.

        The cold, indoors as well as outdoors, necessitated that people
wear ample and warm garments. Men and women of position dressed in long
full cloaks reaching to their feet, sometimes having short full
sleeves. The cloak generally had a hood and was fastened at the neck
with a brooch. Underneath the cloak was a simple gown with sleeves
tight at the wrist but full at the armhole, as if cut from the same
piece of cloth. A girdle or belt was worn at the waist. When the men
were hunting or working, they wore gown and cloak of knee length. Men
wore stockings to the knee and shoes. The fashion of long hair on men

        The nation grew with the increase of population, the
development of towns, and the growing mechanization of craft
industries. There were watermills for crafts and for supplying and
draining water in all parts of the nation. In flat areas, slow rivers
could be supplemented by creating artificial waterfalls, for which
water was raised to the level of reservoirs. There were also some iron-
smelting furnaces. Coal mining underground began as a family
enterprise. Stone bridges over rivers could accommodate one person
traveling by foot or by horseback and were steep and narrow. The
wheelbarrow came into use to cart materials for building castles and

        Merchants, who had come from the low end of the knightly class
or high end of the villein class, settled around the open market areas,
where main roads joined. They had plots narrow in frontage along the
road and deep. Their shops faced the road, with living space behind or
above their stores. Town buildings were typically part stone and part
timber as a compromise between fire precautions and expense.

        Towns, as distinct from villages, had permanent markets. As
towns grew, some became boroughs by paying a fee to obtain a charter
for self-government from the king giving the town judicial and
commercial freedom. They were literate enough to do accounts. So they
did their own valuation of the sum due to the crown so as not to pay
the sheriff any more than that. These various rights were typically
expanded in future times, and the towns received authority to collect
the sum due to the crown rather than the sheriff. This they did by
obtaining a charter renting the town to the burgesses at a fee farm
rent equal to the sum thus deducted from the amount due from the
county. The freemen were "free of the borough", which meant they had
exclusive rights and privileges with respect to it. Selling wholesale
could take place only in a borough. Burgesses were free to marry. They
were not subject to defense except of the borough. They were exempt
from attendance at county and hundred courts. The king assessed a
tallage [ad hoc tax] usually at ten per cent of property or income. In
the boroughs, merchant and manufacturing guilds controlled prices and
assured quality. The head officer of the guild usually controlled the
borough, which excluded rival merchant guilds. A man might belong to
more than one guild, e.g. one for his trade and another for religion.
The frankpledge system prevailed in the boroughs.

        Craft guilds grew up in the towns, such as the tanners at
Oxford, which later merged with the shoemakers into a cordwainers'
guild. There were weavers' guilds in several towns, including London,
which were given royal sanction and protection for annual payments
(twelve pounds of silver for London). They paid an annual tribute and
were given a monopoly of weaving cloth within a radius of several
miles. Guild rules covered attendance of the members at church
services, the promotion of pilgrimages, celebration of masses for the
dead, common meals, relief of poor brethren and sisters, the hours of
labor, the process of manufacture, the wages of workmen, and technical
education. King Henry standardized the yard as the length of his own

        Trades and crafts, each of which had to be licensed, grouped
together by specialty in the town. Cloth makers, dyers, tanners, and
fullers were near an accessible supply of running water, upon which
their trade depended. Streets were often named by the trade located
there, such as Butcher Row, Pot Row, Cordwainer Row, Ironmonger Row,
Wheeler Row, and Fish Row. Hirers of labor and sellers of wheat, hay,
livestock, dairy products, apples and wine, meat, poultry, fish and
pies, timber and cloth all had a distinct location. Some young men were
apprenticed to craftsmen to assist them and learn their craft.

        London had bought the right to have an elected mayor. The
Norman word "mayor" replaced "portreeve".  Henry I granted the
Londoners the right to elect a sheriff and a justiciar from among
themselves. London had at least twenty wards, each governed by its own
alderman. Most of them were named after people. London was ruled by
sixteen families linked by business and marriage ties. These businesses
supplied luxury goods to the rich and included the goldsmiths [sold
cups, dishes, girdles, mirrors, purses knives, and metal wine
containers with handle and spout], vintners [wine merchants], mercers
[sold textiles, haberdashery, combs, mirrors, knives, toys, spices,
ointments, and potions], drapers, and pepperers, which later merged
with the spicers to become the "grocers", skinners, tanners,
shoemakers, woolmen, weavers, fishmongers, armorers, and swordsmiths.
There were bakehouses at which one could leave raw joints of meat to be
cooked and picked up later. These businesses had in common four fears:
royal interference, foreign competition, displacement by new crafts,
and violence by the poor and escaped villeins who found their way to
the city. When a non-freeholder stayed in London he had to find for
frankpledge, three sureties for good behavior. Failure to do so was a
felony and the ward would eject him to avoid the charge of harboring
him with its heavy fine. The arrival of ships with cargoes from
continental ports and their departure with English exports was the
regular waterside life below London Bridge. Many foreign merchants
lived in London. Imports included timber, hemp, fish, and furs. There
was a fraternal organization of citizens who had possessed their own
lands with sac and soke and other customs in the days of King Edward.
There were public bathhouses, but they were disreputable. A lady would
take an occasional bath in a half cask in her home. The church warned
of evils of exposing the flesh, even to bathe.

        Middlesex County was London's territory for hunting and
farming. All London craft work was suspended for one month at harvest
time. London received this charter for self-government and freedom from
the financial and judicial organization of the county:

"Henry, by the grace of God, King of England, to the Archbishop of
Canterbury and the bishops, abbots, earls, barons, justiciars, sheriffs
and all his loyal subjects, both French and English, throughout the
whole of England - greeting.

1. -Be it known to you that I have granted Middlesex to my citizens of
London to be held on lease by them and their heirs of me and my heirs
for 300 pounds paid by tale [yearly], upon these terms: that the
citizens themselves [may] appoint a sheriff, such as they desire, from
among themselves, and a justiciar, such as they desire, from among
themselves, to safeguard the pleas of my Crown [criminal cases] and to
conduct such pleas. And there shall be no other justiciar over the men
of London.

2. -And the citizens shall not take part in any [civil] case whatsoever
outside the City walls.

 - -1) And they shall be exempt from the payment of scot and danegeld
and the murder fine.

 - -2) And none of them shall take part in trial by combat.

 - -3) And if any of the citizens has become involved in a plea of the
Crown, he shall clear himself, as a citizen of London, by an oath which
has been decreed in the city.

 - -4) And no one shall be billeted [lodged in a person's house by
order of the King] within the walls of the city nor shall hospitality
be forcibly exacted for anyone belonging to my household or to any

 - -5) And all the citizens of London and all their effect [goods]
shall be exempt and free, both throughout England and in the seaports,
from toll and fees for transit and market fees and all other dues.

 - -6) And the churches and barons and citizens shall have and hold in
peace and security their rights of jurisdiction [in civil and criminal
matters] along with all their dues, in such a way that lessees who
occupy property in districts under private jurisdiction shall pay dues
to no one except the man to whom the jurisdiction belongs, or to the
official whom he has placed there.

 - -7) And a citizen of London shall not be amerced [fined by a court
when the penalty for an offense is not designated by statute] to
forfeiture of a sum greater than his wergeld, [hereby assessed as] 100
shillings, in a case involving money.

 - -8) And further there shall be no miskenning [false plea causing a
person to be summoned to court] in a husting [weekly court] or in a
folkmote [meeting of the community], or in any other court within the

 - -9) And the Hustings [court] shall sit once a week on Monday.

 - -10) And I assure to my citizens their lands and the property
mortgaged to them and the debts due to them both within the City and

 - -11) And with regard to lands about which they have pled in suit
before me, I shall maintain justice on their behalf, according to the
law of the City.

 - -12) And if anyone has exacted toll or tax from citizens of London,
the citizens of London within the city shall [have the right to] seize
[by process of law] from the town or village where the toll or tax was
exacted a sum equivalent to that which the citizen of London gave as
toll and hence sustained as loss.

 - -13) And all those who owe debts to citizens shall pay them or shall
clear themselves in London from the charge of being in debt to them.

 - -14) But if they have refused to pay or to come to clear themselves,
then the citizens to whom they are in debt shall [have the right to]
seize [by process of law] their goods [including those in the hands of
a third party, and bring them] into the city from the [town, village
or] county in which the debtor lives [as pledges to compel appearance
in court].

 - -15) And the citizens shall enjoy as good and full hunting rights as
their ancestors ever did, namely, in the Chilterns, in Middlesex, and
in Surrey.

Witnessed at Westminster."

        The above right not to take part in any case outside the city
relieved London citizens from the burden of traveling to wherever the
King's court happened to be, the disadvantage of not knowing local
customs, and the difficulty of speaking in the language of the King's
court rather than in English. The right of redress for tolls exacted
was new because the state of the law was that the property of the
inhabitants was liable to the king or superior lord for the common debt.

        Newcastle-on-Tyne was recognized by the king as having certain
customs, so the following was not called a grant:

"These are the laws and customs which the burgesses of Newcastle upon
Tyne had in the time of Henry King of England and ought to have.

[1] -Burgesses can distrain [take property of another until the other
performs his obligation] upon foreigners within, or without their own
market, within or without their own houses, and within or without their
own borough without the leave of the reeve, unless the county court is
being held in the borough, and unless [the foreigners are] on military
service or guarding the castle.

[2] -A burgess cannot distrain upon a burgess without the leave of the

[3] -If a burgess have lent anything of his to a foreigner, let the
debtor restore it in the borough if he admits the debt, if he denies
it, let him justify himself in the borough.

[4] -Pleas which arise in the borough shall be held and -concluded
there, except pleas of the Crown.

[5] -If any burgess be appealed [sued] of any plaint, he shall not
plead without the borough, unless for default of [the borough] court.

[6] -Nor ought he to answer without day and term, unless he have fallen
into 'miskenning' [error in pleading], except in matters which pertain
to the Crown.

[7] -If a ship have put in at Tynemouth and wishes to depart, the
burgesses may buy what they will [from it].

[8] -If a plea arise between a burgess and a merchant, it shall be
concluded before the third ebb of the tide.

[9] -Whatever merchandise a ship has brought by sea must be landed,
except salt; and herring ought to be sold in the ship.

[10] If any man have held land in burgage for a year and a day,
lawfully and without claim, he shall not answer a claimant, unless the
claimant have been without the realm of - - -England, or a child not of
age to plead.

[11] If a burgess have a son, he shall be included in his father's
freedom if he be with his father.

[12] If a villein come to dwell in the borough, and dwell there a year
and a day as a burgess, he shall abide altogether, unless notice has
been given by him or by his master that he is dwelling for a term.

[13] If any man appeal [sue] a burgess of any thing, he cannot do
[trial by] battle with the burgess, but the burgess shall defend
himself by his law, unless it be of treason, whereof he is bound to
defend himself by [trial by] battle.

[14] Neither can a burgess do [trial by] battle against a foreigner,
unless he first go out of the borough.

[15] No merchant, unless he be a burgess, may buy [outside] the town
either wool or leather or other merchandise, nor within the borough
except [from] burgesses.

[16] If a burgess incur forfeit, he shall give six ounces [10s.] to the

[17] In the borough there is no merchet [payment for marrying off a
daughter] nor heriot nor bloodwite [fine for drawing blood] nor
stengesdint [fine for striking with a stick].

[18] Every burgess may have his own oven and handmill if he will,
saving the right of the King's oven.

[19] If a woman be in forfeit for bread or beer, no one ought to
interfere but the reeve. If she forfeit twice, she shall be chastised
by her forfeit. If three times, let justice be done on her.

[20] No one but a burgess may buy webs [woven fabrics just taken off
the loom] to dye, nor make nor cut them.

[21] A burgess may give and sell his land and go whither he will freely
and quietly unless there be a claim against him."

        The nation produced sufficient iron, but a primitive steel
[iron with carbon added] was imported. It was scarce and expensive.
Steel was used for tools, instruments, weapons and armor. Ships could
carry about 300 people. Navigation was by simple charts that included
wind direction for different seasons and the direction of north. The
direction of the ship could be generally determined when the sky was
clear by the position of the sun during the day or the north star
during the night.

        Plays about miracles wrought by holy men or saints or the
sufferings and fortitude of martyrs were performed, usually at the
great church festivals. Most nobles could read, though writing was
still a specialized craft. There were books on animals, plants, and
stones. The lives of the saints as told in the book "The Golden Legend"
were popular. The story of the early King Arthur was told in the book
"The History of the Kings of England". The story at this time stressed
Arthur as a hero and went as follows: Arthur became king at age 15. He
had an inborn goodness and generosity as well as courage. He and his
knights won battles against foreign settlers and neighboring clans.
Once, he and his men surrounded a camp of foreigners until they gave up
their gold and silver rather than starve. Arthur married Guenevere and
established a court and retinue. Leaving Britain in the charge of his
nephew Modred, he fought battles on the continent for land to give to
his noblemen who did him service in his household and fought with him.
When Arthur returned to Britain, he made battle with his nephew Modred
who had crowned himself King. Arthur's knight Gawain, the son of his
sister, and the enemy Modred were killed and Arthur was severely
wounded. Arthur told his kinsman Constantine to rule Britain as king in
his place.

        The intellectual world included art, secular literature, law,
and medicine. There were about 90 physicians.

        The center of government was a collection of tenants-in-chief,
whose feudal duty included attendance when summoned, and certain
selected household servants of the King. The Exchequer became a
separate body. The payments in kind, such as grain or manual services,
from the royal demesnes had been turned into money payments. The great
barons made their payments directly to the Exchequer. The income from
royal estates was received by the Exchequer and then commingled with
the other funds. Each payment was indicated by notches on a stick,
which was then split so that the payer and the receiver each had a half
showing the notches. The Exchequer was the great school for training
statesmen, justices, and bishops. The Chancellor managed the domestic
matters of the Crown's castles and lands. The great offices of state
were sold for thousands of pounds, which caused their holders to be on
their best behavior for fear of losing their money by being discharged
from office. One chancellor paid Henry about 3000 pounds for the
office. Henry brought sheriffs under his strict control, free from
influence by the barons. He maintained order with a strong hand, but
was no more severe than his security demanded.

        Forests were still retained by Kings for their hunting of boars
and stags. A master forester maintained them. The boundaries of the
Royal Forests were enlarged. They comprised almost one-third of the
kingdom. Certain inhabitants thereof supplied the royal foresters with
meat and drink and received certain easements and rights of common
therein. The forest law reached the extreme of severity and cruelty
under Henry I. Punishments given included blinding, emasculation, and
execution. Offenders were rarely allowed to substitute a money payment.
When fines were imposed they were heavy.

        A substantial number of barons and monasteries were heavily in
debt to the Jews. The interest rate was 43% (2d. per pound per week).
The king taxed the Jews at will.

                      The Law

        Henry restored the death penalty (by hanging) for theft and
robbery, but maintained William I's punishment of mutilation by
blinding and severing of limbs for other offenses, for example, bad
money. He decreed in 1108 that false and bad money should be amended,
so that he who was caught passing bad denarii should not escape by
redeeming himself but should lose his eyes and members. And since
denarii were often picked out, bent, broken, and refused, he decreed
that no denarius or obol, which he said were to be round, or even a
quadrans, if it were whole, should be refused. (Money then reached a
higher level of perfection, which was maintained for the next century.)

        Counterfeiting law required that "If any one be caught carrying
false coin, the reeve shall give the bad money to the King however much
there is, and it shall be charged in the render of his farm [payment]
as good, and the body of the offender shall be handed over to the King
for judgment, and the serjeants who took him shall have his clothes."

        The forest law stated that: "he that doth hunt a wild beast and
doth make him pant, shall pay 10 shillings: If he be a freeman, then he
shall pay double. If he be a bound man, he shall lose his skin." A
"verderer" was responsible for enforcing this law, which also stated
that: "If anyone does offer force to a Verderer, if he be a freeman, he
shall lose his freedom, and all that he hath. And if he be a villein,
he shall lose his right hand." Further, "If such an offender does
offend so again, he shall lose his life."

        A wife's dower is one-third of all her husband's freehold land,
unless his endowment of her at their marriage was less than one- third.

        Debts to townsmen were recoverable by this law: "If a burgess
has a gage [a valuable object held as security for carrying out an
agreement] for money lent and holds this for a whole year and a day,
and the debtor will not deny the debt or deliver the gage, and this is
proved, the burgess may sell the gage before good witnesses for as much
as he can, and deduct his money from the sum. If any money is over he
shall return it to the debtor. But if there is not enough to pay him,
he shall take distress again for the amount that is lacking."

        Past due rent in a borough was punishable by payment of 10s. as

Judicial activity encouraged the recording of royal legislation in
writing which both looked to the past and attempted to set down law
current in Henry's own day in the Leges Henrici Primi. This showed an
awareness of the ideal of written law as a statement of judicial
principles as well as of the practice of kingship. In this way,
concepts of Roman law used by the Normans found their way into English
law. The laws of Henry I in the Leges Henrici Primi have as subjects
judicial procedure, proper judging, conduct of people involved in
litigation, litigation procedure, required witnesses, evidence,
credibility, quotes from legal references, oaths, perjury, geographical
divisions of England, court sessions and attendance, order of court
proceedings, adjournments, frankpledge, strangers, types of causes and
their manner of hearing, royal jurisdiction, ecclesiastical pleas of
the king, offenses, compensations, penalties, reliefs, the king's
peace, forest pleas, exculpation, soke, jurisdiction of royal judges,
the king's judges, summons, oathhelpers, transfer of cases, trials of
pleas, unjust judgments, sureties, lords who sue, accusations, court
procedure, pleadings, postponements, record of proceedings, failure to
appear, counsel, summoning the hundred, summoning the county court,
distraints, partners of common property, rights of jurisdiction of a
lord over his man, holdings in farm, disputes between neighbors, trial
by battle, slaves, pleas between a lord's reeve and those who are
subject to him, suits by royal judges, wergelds, murdrum fine, letting
go of a thief, slaying of or by a cleric, confessions, men of ill
repute, ordeals, compensations, bondmen, intent, inheritance, dowries,
homicide by magicians, definition of homicide, killing one's lord,
foreigners, debtors, illegitimacy, foundlings, the king's peace,
homicide in the king's court, royal highways, self-defense, drinking
assemblies, mutual enemies, leading into wrong-doing, lent arms,
marauders, weapons, killing a relative, pledge, negligence, and wounds
to body parts.
A sampling of the laws of Henry I follows:
 "These are the jurisdictional rights which the king of England has in
his land solely and over all men, reserved through a proper ordering of
peace and security: breach of the king's peace given by his hand or
writ; Danegeld; the pleas of contempt of his writs or commands; the
death or injury of his servants wherever occurring; breach of fealty
and treason; any contempt or slander of him; fortifications consisting
of three walls; outlawry; theft punishable by death; murdrum;
counterfeiting his coinage; arson; hamsocn [breach of the right of
security and privacy in a man's house by forcible entry into it];
forestel [attacking an enemy unexpectedly or lying in wait for him on
the road and attacking him] passenger on the king's highway]; fyrding
[action regarding the military array or land force of the whole
country]; flymenfyrm [the reception or relief of a fugitive or outlaw];
premeditated assault; robbery; stretbreche [destroying a road by
closing it off or diverting it or digging it up]; unlawful
appropriation of the king's land or money; treasure-trove; wreck of the
sea; things cast up by the sea; rape; abduction; forests; the reliefs
of barons; fighting in the king's dwelling or household; breach of the
peace in the king's troop; failure to perform burgbot [a contribution
to the repair of castles or walls of defense, or of a borough]; or
brigbot [a tribute or contribution to the repair of bridges]; or
firdfare [a summoning forth to a military expedition]; receiving and
maintaining an excommunicated person or an outlaw; violation of the
king's protection; flight in a military or naval battle; false
judgment; failure of justice; violation of the king's law."
"Some pleas cannot be compensated for with money; these are: husbreche
[housebreaking or burglary], arson, manifest theft, palpable murder,
treachery towards one's lord, and violation of the peace of the church
or the protection of the king through the commission of homicide."
"Compensation is effected by the payment of one hundred shillings for
the following: grithbreche [breach of the peace], stretbreche,
forestel, violation of the king's protection, hamsocn, and flymenfyrm."
Hamsocn is an attack on a house and occurs if anyone assaults another
in his own house or the house of someone else with a band of men or
pursues him so that he hits the door or the house with arrows or stones
or produces a perceptible blow from any source. It also is committed if
anyone goes with premeditation to a house where he knows his enemy to
be and attacks him there, whether he does this by day or by night. It
also occurs if anyone pursues a person fleeing into a mill or
sheephold. If in a court of house dissension has arisen and fighting
follows as well, and someone pursues another person fleeing into the
other house, it shall be considered hamsocn if there are two roofs
The following place a man in the king's mercy: breach of his peace
which he gives to anyone by his own hand; contempt of his writs and
anything which slanders injuriously his own person or his commands;
causing the death of his servants in a town or fortress or anywhere
else; breach of fealty and treason; contempt of him; construction of
fortifications without permission; the incurring of outlawry (anyone
who suffers this shall fall into the king's hand, and if he has any
bocland [lands held by deed or other written evidence of title];
manifest theft punishable by death."
If any Englishman is slain without fault on his part, compensation
shall be paid to his relatives according to this wergeld. Wite and
manbot shall be paid to the appropriate lords in accordance with the
amount of the wergeld. Where a wergeld of 200s. is payable, then 30s.
must be paid as manbot, which equals 5 mancuses; where the wergeld is
1200s., that is, for a thegn, the manbot is 120s, which amounts to 20
"For the oath of a thegn equals the oaths of six villeins; if he is
killed he is fully avenged by the slaying of six villeins and if
compensation is paid for him, his wergeld is the wergeld for six
Some freemen are 200 men, some 600 men, and others 1200 men. A 200 man
has a wergeld of 200s., which equal 4 pounds. A 1200 man is a person of
noble rank, that is, a thegn, whose wergeld is 1200s., which equal 25
pounds. His healsfang is 120s., which today equals 50s. (40 sheep are
worth 20s., as is one horse.)
Homicide by a magical potion or witchcraft or sorcery practiced with
images or by any kind of enchantment cannot be compensated. If the
bewitched person does not die, but suffers some change of the skin or
demonstrable physical sickness, compensation shall be paid as
prescribed by the ancient provisions of wise men, in accordance with
the circumstances.
"If anyone kills his lord, then if in his guilt he is seized, he shall
in no manner redeem himself but shall be condemned to scalping or
disemboweling or to human punishment which in the end is so harsh that
while enduring the dreadful agonies of his tortures and the miseries of
his vile manner of death he may appear to have yielded up his wretched
life before in fact he has won an end to his sufferings, and so that he
may declare, if it were possible, that he had found more mercy in hell
than had been shown to him on earth."
"If anyone kills his man without his having merited death, he shall
just the same pay compensation for him to his relatives according to
the amount of his wergeld, because the man was his to render service,
not to be killed."
"A person who breaks the king's peace which he confers on anyone with
his own hand shall, if he is seized, suffer the loss of his limbs."
"If anyone has the king's peace given by the sheriff or other official
and a breach of it is committed against him, then this is a case of
grithbreche and compensation of one hundred shillings shall be paid, if
settlement can be effected by payment of compensation."
"On whosoever's land a slaying takes place, the lord who has his rights
of soke and sake shall, if the slayer, when caught on the spot, is
released on providing security or is detained after being charged,
receive the fihtwite."
If anyone is slain in an attack by a band of marauders, the slayer
shall pay the wergeld to the relatives, and manbot to the lord, and all
who were present shall pay hlothbot, that is to say, they shall pay
compensation of 30s. for a 200 man, 60s. for a 600 man, and 120s. for a
1200 man.
In the case of every payment of wergeld for a slaying, two parts are
the responsibility of the paternal kindred, and one third part is the
responsibility of the maternal kin.
If the kindred of a man who slays another abandons him and will not pay
compensation for him, then all the kindred shall be free from the feud
except the wrongdoer alone, if they thereafter provide him with neither
food nor protection.
 "If a woman commits homicide, vengeance shall be taken against her or
her descendants or her blood relatives (or she shall pay compensation
for it), not against her husband or his innocent household." Amends
shall nonetheless be made whether these things are done intentionally
or unintentionally. However, the possibility of a friendly settlement
or of clemency is to be treated as the more likely or the more remote
depending on the degree of blame attaching to the person who has been
slain, and according to the circumstances. If a woman is slain,
compensation is to be paid according to her wergeld, which is decided
by her paternal relationship. The manbot shall be determined by the
standing of the lord.
"Any person may aid his lord without incurring a wite if anyone attacks
him, and may obey him in all lawful matters except in the case of
breach of feudal loyalty, theft, murder, and similar offences, the
commission of which has in  absolutely no way been permitted, and which
are branded as crimes by the laws." In the same way a lord must in the
appropriate circumstances keep his man with advice as well as support,
and may do so in all ways without penalty.
 "Anyone who fights in the king's dwelling shall forfeit his life."
"If anyone commits the offence of blodwite [an amercement for
bloodshed], fihtwite [a fine for making a quarrel to the disturbance of
the peace], legerwite [fine for unlawful cohabitation], or anything of
that nature, and he escapes from the scene without being obliged to
provide security for future appearance in court or without a charge
being laid there, the jurisdiction at law belongs to his own lord."
Infiht or insocna is the offense committed by those who are living in
community in a house; this is compensated for by a payment of the wite
to the head of the household, if he has jurisdiction over accuser and
If anyone leaps to arms and disturbs the peace of a house, but does not
strike anyone, his liability is half the penalty.
Compensation for wounds are as follows: on the head if both bones have
been pierced 30s.; on the head if only the outer bone has been pierced
15s.; a wound under the hair one inch long 5d., that is, 1s.; a wound
in front of the hair 10d, that is 2s.; injury to the throat 12s.;
injury on the neck causing a curvature or stiffness or a lasting
disability 100s. plus whatever has been paid out for medical
treatment.; external injury to the hand 20s.; if half the hand flies
off 60s.; rib broken but the skin remains whole 10s.; rib broken and
the skin is broken and the bone is drawn out 15s.; loss of any eye or
hand or foot or tongue 66s.6d. and a third part of a penny; loss of
sight but with the eye remaining in the head 22s.2d.; wound on the
shoulder if the person lives 80s.; shoulder wound so that the fluid
from the joints runs out 30s.; shoulder maimed 20s.; an injury within a
shoulder so that a bone is drawn out 15s.; arm broken above the elbow
15s.; both bones in the arm broken 30s.; arm cut off below the elbow
80s.; wound in the belly 30s.; pierced through the belly 20s. for each
opening; a thigh pierced or broken 30s.; shin struck off below the knee
80s.; the shin broken 30s.; shin pierced below the knee 12s.; broken
shinbone 12s.; wound in the genitals so that there is loss of the
capacity to procreate 80s.; loins maimed 60s.; loins pierced through
30s.; loins punctured 15s.; injury to the great sinews of another's
lower leg if they recover through response to medical treatment 12s.;
injury to the sinews which cauces lameness 30s.; injury to the small
sinews 6s.; striking a blow without causing blood to flow 5d. for each
blow up to a total of three blows, no matter how many blows are
actually struck, for a total of 15d.; knocking out first teeth or
incisors 8s.; canines or `cheek' teeth 4s.; molars 15s.; broken cheeks
15s.; a thumb cut off 30s.; a thumbnail cut off 5s.; an index finger
15s; an index fingernail 3s.; a middle or `unchaste' finger 121s; a
middle fingernail 2s.; a ring finger or `medical' finger 17s.; a ring
fingernail 4s.; an `ear' finger 9s.; an `ear' fingernail 1s., that is
5d.; the big toe cut off 20s.; the second toe 15s.; the third toe 9s.;
the fourth toe 6s., the fifth toe 5s.; "If anyone suffers a wound, not
involving the cutting off or maiming or breaking of a limb, on an
uncovered and visible place (for example, in front of the hair or below
the sleeve or beneath the knees), the compensation to be paid shall be
double what would be due in the case of a wound inflicted on the head
under the hair or on the limbs beneath the clothes, that is, on a
concealed place."
 "Anyone who commits a theft, who betrays his lord, who deserts him in
a hostile encounter or military engagement, who is defeated in trial by
battle or who commits a breach of the feudal bond shall forfeit his
In the case of stolen property worth more than 30d., the accused shall
choose which of the two he wishes, either the simple ordeal or an oath
of the value of one pound with oath helpers taken from three hundreds.
"If anyone dares to dig up or despoil, in scandalous and criminal
fashion, a body buried in the ground or in a coffin or a rock or a
pyramid or any structure, he shall be regarded as an outlaw."
 "If a person condemned to death wishes to confess, it shall never be
refused him."
 "If anyone who is a father dies and leaves as son or daughter to
inherit, they shall not maintain an action or submit to a court
judgment before reaching fifteen years of age; but they shall remain
seised, under guardians and trustees in the lawful custody of their
relatives, just as their father was on the day when he was alive and
"If anyone dies without children, his father or mother shall succeed to
the inheritance, or his brother or sister, if neither father nor mother
is living." If he does not possess these relatives, then his father's
or mother's sister, and thereafter relatives up to the fifth `joint',
whoever are the nearest in relationship, shall succeed by the law of
inheritance. While the male line subsists, and the inheritance descends
from that side, a woman shall not succeed.
"The first born son shall have the father's ancestral fee' the latter
shall give any purchases or subsequent acquisitions of his to whomever
he pleases."
If a person has bocland which his kinsmen have left him, he shall not
dispose of it outside his kindred.
"If a wife survives her husband she shall have in permanent ownership
her dowry and her maritagium which had been settled on her by written
documents or in the presence of witnesses and her morning-gift and a
third part of all their jointly acquired property in addition to her
clothing and her bed."
"If a woman dies without children, her blood relatives shall divide up
her share with her husband."
A man may fight against as person whom he finds with his wedded wife,
after the second or third prohibition, behind closed doors or under the
one covering, or with his daughter whom he begot on his wife, or with
his sister who was legitimately born, or with his mother who was
lawfully wedded to his father.
There is pecuniary compensation if a married woman commits fornication
and she is of the rank of ceorl or belongs to the 600s. class or the
1200s. class, and physical mutilation has been prescribed for those
persisting in the offence.
"Women who commit fornication and destroy their embryos, and those who
are accessories with them, so that they abort the foetus from the womb,
are by an ancient ordinance excommunicated from the church until
death." A milder provision has now been introduced: they shall do
penance for ten years.
"If anyone kills or while sleeping crushes another person's child who
has been entrusted to him for rearing or instruction, he shall pay
compensation for him just as if he had killed an adult person."
The county meetings shall be attended by the bishops, earls, sheriffs,
deputies, hundredmen, aldermen, stewards, reeves, barons, vavassors
[those who hold of a baron], village reeves, and the other lords of
lands who shall with diligence see to it that failure to punish
evildoers or the viciousness of officials or the corruption of judges
shall not destroy those suffering under their accustomed afflictions.
Every cause shall be determined in the hundred court or county court or
the hallmoot of those who have soke or in the courts of feudal lords or
in the boundary courts of feudal equals or as it pertains to
established places for court proceedings.
"In the case of soke of pleas, some of these profits belong peculiarly
and exclusively to the royal treasury, some are shared by it with
others, some belong to the sheriffs and royal officials in their farm,
and some belong to the lords who have soke and sake."
 "The king's judges shall be the barons of the county and those who
hold free lands in the counties, by whom the causes and of individuals
must be dealt with by the presentation in turn of complaint and
Anyone who violates or subverts the written law shall forfeit his
wergeld on the first occasion; on the second occasion the penalty is
twice the wergeld; and anyone who ventures to do it a third time shall
lose whatever he possesses.
 "Each person is to be judged by men who are of equal status and from
the same district as himself."
"No one of high status shall be condemned by the judgment of lesser
"Whoever gives an unjust judgment shall forfeit one hundred and twenty
shillings and shall lose his judicial authority unless he redeems it
from the king."
If there are contrary opinions among the judges in serious pleas, the
decision of the most substantial men and that with which the royal
justice has concurred shall prevail.
 "Some persons are slaves by birth, others become slaves subsequently;
of the latter, some are enslaved by purchase, some by way of
satisfaction for an offence, some give themselves in slavery or are
given by another person, and some become slave by falling under any
other classifications, all of which we may wish nevertheless to be
included in that one category of slavery, for which we propound the
description `accident' - so that the position has been expressed in
this way: some are slaves by accident, others by birth."
        Church law provided that only consent between a man and woman
was necessary for marriage. There needn't be witnesses, ceremony, nor
consummation. Consent could not be coerced. Penalties in marriage
agreements for not going through with the marriage were deemed invalid.
Villeins and slaves could marry without their lords' or owners'
permission. A couple living together could be deemed married. Persons
related by blood within certain degrees, which changed over time, of
consanguinity were forbidden to marry. This was the only ground for
annulment of a marriage. A legal separation could be given for
adultery, cruelty, or heresy. Annulment, but not separation, could
result in remarriage. Fathers were usually ordered to provide some
sustenance and support for their illegitimate children. The court
punished infanticide and abortion. Counterfeiters of money, arsonists,
and robbers of pilgrims and merchants were to be excommunicated. Church
sanctuary was to be given to fugitives of violent feuds until they
could be given a fair trial.

                Judicial Procedure

        Courts extant now are the Royal Court, the King's Court of the
Exchequer, county courts, and hundred courts, all of which were under
the control of the King. His appointed justices administered justice in
these courts on regular circuits. Instead of being the presiding
official at the county court, the sheriff now only produced the proper
people and preserved order at the county courts and presided over the
nonroyal pleas and hundred courts. He impaneled recognitors, made
arrests, and enforced the decisions of the royal courts. Also there are
manor courts, borough courts, and ecclesiastical courts. In the manor
courts, the lord's reeve generally presided. The court consisted of the
lord's vassals and declared the customs and law concerning such
offenses as failure to perform services and trespass on manorial woods,
meadow, and pasture.

        The King's Royal Court heard issues concerning the Crown and
breaches of the King's peace, which included almost all criminal
matters: murder, robbery, rape, abduction, arson, treason, breach of
fealty, housebreaking, ambush, certain kinds of theft, premeditated
assault, and harboring outlaws or excommunicants. Henry personally
presided over hearings of important legal cases. He punished crime
severely. He hanged homicides, exiled traitors, and frequenly used loss
of hand and foot. In comparison, William had no one hanged, but used
emasculation and exoculation frequently. Offenders were brought to
justice not only by the complaint of an individual or local community
action, but by official prosecutors. A prosecutor was now at trials as
well as a justice. Trial is still mostly by compurgation but trial by
combat was relatively common.

        These offenses against the king placed merely personal property
and sometimes land at the king's mercy. Thus the Crown increased the
range of offenses subject to its jurisdiction and arrogated to itself
profits from the penalties imposed. The death penalty could be imposed
for murder and replaced the old wergeld. But a murderer could be given
royal pardon from the death penalty so that he could pay compensation
to the relatives.

        The Royal Court also heard these offenses against the king:
fighting in his dwelling, contempt of his writs or commands,
encompassing the death or injury of his servants, contempt or slander
of the King, and violation of his protection or his law. It heard these
offenses against royal authority: complaints of default of justice or
unjust judgment, pleas of shipwrecks, coinage, treasure trove [money
buried when danger approached], forest prerogatives, and control of
castle building.

        Slander of the king, the government, or high officials was
punishable as treason, felony, misprision of treason, or contempt,
depending on the rank and office of the person slandered and the degree
of guilt.

        Henry began the use of writs to intervene in civil matters such
as inquiry by oath and recognition of rights as to land, the
obligations of tenure, the legitimacy of heirs, and the enforcement of
local justice. Writs were requested by people who wanted to come to the
Royal Court. The Royal Court used its superior coercive power to
enforce the legal decisions of the county, hundred, and private courts.
It also reviewed miscarriages of justice and unlawful procedures in
these courts. There was a vigorous interventionism in the land law
subsequent to appeals to the king in landlord-tenant relations, brought
by a lord or by an undertenant. Assizes [those who sit together] of
local people who knew relevant facts were put together to assist the
court. Henry appointed some locally based justices. Also, he sent
justices from the Royal Court out on eyres [journeys] to hold assizes.
This was done at special sessions of the county courts, hundred courts,
and manor courts. Records of the verdicts of the Royal Court were sent
with these itinerant justices for use as precedent in these courts.
Thus royal authority was brought into the localities and served to
check baronial power over the common people. These itinerant justices
also transacted the local business of the Exchequer in each county.
Henry created the office of Chief Justiciar, which carried out judicial
and administrative functions and could travel anywhere in the country
and make legal decisions in the king's name.

        The Royal Court retained cases of gaol delivery [arrested
person who had been held in gaol was delivered to the court] and
amercements [discretionary money payments which took the place of the
old wites]. It also decided cases in which the powers of the popular
courts had been exhausted or had failed to do justice. The Royal Court
also decided land disputes between barons who were too strong to submit
to the county courts.

        The King's Court of the Exchequer reviewed the accounts of
sheriffs, including receipts and expenditures on the Crown's behalf as
well as sums due to the Treasury, located still at Winchester. These
sums included rent from royal estates, the Danegeld land tax, the fines
from local courts, and aid from baronial estates. Its records were the
"Pipe Rolls", so named because sheets of parchment were fastened at the
top, each of which dropped into a roll at the bottom and so assumed the
shape of a pipe.

        The county and hundred courts assessed the personal property of
individuals and their taxes due to the King. The county court decided
land disputes between people who had different barons as their
respective lords.

        The free landholders were expected to attend county, hundred,
and manor courts. They owed "suit" to it. The suitors found the dooms
[laws] by which the presiding officer pronounced the sentence.

        The county courts heard cases of theft, brawling, beating, and
wounding, for which the penalties could be exposure in the pillory or
stocks. The pillory held an offender's head and hands in holes in
boards, and the stocks held one's hands and feet. Here the public could
scorn and hit the offender or throw fruit, mud, and dead cats at him.
For sex offenders and informers, stones were usually thrown. Sometimes
a person was stoned to death. Damages in money replaced the old bots.
The county courts met twice yearly. If an accused failed to appear
after four successive county courts, he was declared outlaw at the
fifth and forfeited his civil rights and all his property. He could be
slain by anyone at will.

        The hundred court met once a month to hear neighborhood
disputes, for instance concerning pastures, meadows and harvests.
Usually present was a priest, the reeve, four representative men, and
sometimes the lord or his steward in his place. Sometimes the chief
pledges were present to represent all the men in their respective
frankpledges. The bailiff presided over all these sessions except two,
in which the sheriff presided over the full hundred court to take the
view of frankpledge, which was required for those who did not have a
lord to answer for him.

        The barons held court on their manors at a "hallmote" for
issues arising between people living on the manor, such as bad
ploughing on the lord's land or letting a cow get loose on the lord's
land, and land disputes. This court also made the decision of whether a
certain person was a villein or freeman. The manor court took over
issues which had once been heard in the vill or hundred court. The
baron charged a fee for hearing a case and received any fines he
imposed, which amounted to significant "profits of justice".

        Boroughs held court on trading and marketing issues in their
towns such as measures and weights, as well as issues between people
who lived in the borough. The borough court was presided over by a
reeve who was a burgess as well as a royal official.

        Wealthy men could employ professional pleader-attorneys to
advise them and to speak for them in a court.

        The ecclesiastical courts, until the time when Henry VIII took
over the church, dealt with family matters such as marriage,
annulments, marriage portions and settlements of money or goods,
legitimacy, undue wifebeating, child abuse, orphans, bigamy, adultery,
incest, fornication, and separations between husband and wife. There
were no divorces. They also dealt during this time with drunkenness,
personal possessions, defamation, slander which did not cause material
loss (and therefore had no remedy in the temporal courts), libel,
perjury, usury, mortuaries [the second best beast or fees at death],
sacrilege, sorcery, witchcraft, blasphemy [speaking ill of God], heresy
[a belief by a baptized person that is knowingly contrary to the
doctrine of the church], tithe payments, oblations for performing the
Eucharist including expenses for the bread and wine, church fees such
as for the clergy and the poor, simony [buying or selling
ecclesiastical preferment or pardons], pensions, certain offenses on
consecrated ground, and breaches of promises under oath, e.g. to pay a
debt, provide services, or deliver goods.

They decided inheritance and will issues which did not concern land,
but only personal property. This developed from the practice of a
priest usually hearing a dying person's will as to the disposition of
his goods and chattel when he made his last confession. So the church
court came to determine the validity of wills, interpret them, regulate
their created testamentary executors, and determine the legatees. It
also came to determine intestate matters. It provided guardianship of
infants during probate of their personal property. Trial was first by
compurgation, with oath-helpers swearing to or against the veracity of
the alleged offender's oath.

The ecclesiastical court's penalties were intended to reform and
determined on a case-by-case basis. The canon law of Christendom was
followed, without much change by the English church or nation. A
penitent who was sincerely contrite was first expected to confess his
sin to a priest, who gave him God's forgiveness. This removed the guilt
of the sin and eternal punishment in hell. But then justice required a
"satisfaction", which could be met in this world or in the next.
Accordingly, the priest or ecclesiastical court then imposed a
"penance", i.e. some act of a religious nature. Penance could include
confession and public repentance of the sin before the parish, making
apologies and reparation to persons affected, public embarrassment such
as being dunked in water (e.g. for women scolds), walking a route
barefoot and clad only in one's underwear, whippings, extra work,
fasting, vigils, prayers for help to live righteously, reading,
meditation, solitary life, a diet of bread and water for a specified
time, fines, gifts to the church, alms to the poor, various kinds of
good deeds, and imprisonment in a "penitentiary". For more serious
sins, there could be a long fast, a diet of bread and water for a
number of years, or a distant pilgrimage, for instance to Rome or
Jerusalem. For those whose penance was incomplete at the time of their
death, there was a temporary state of purgatory wherein some sort of
suffering fulflled the remaining debt. Souls in purgatory could be
aided by the prayers of the faithful on earth. The truly penitent could
hope for the remission of all or part of their purgation by obtaining
an indulgence from a higher authority than the priest.

The ultimate penalty of the church was excommunication, a social
ostracism in which no one could give the person drink, food, or shelter
and he could speak only to his spouse and servants. Excommunication
included denial of the sacraments of baptism, penance, mass [lord's
supper}, and extreme unction [prayers for spiritual healing] at death;
which were necessary for salvation of the soul; and the sacrament of
confirmation. A person could also be denied a Christian burial in
consecrated ground. However, the person could still marry and make a
will. The purpose of excommunication was to restore the person to
spiritual health rather than to punish him. Excommunication was usually
imposed for failure to obey an order or for showing contempt of the law
or of the courts. It required a hearing and a written reason. The
king's court could order a recalcitrant excommunicant imprisoned until
he satisfied the claims of the church. If this measure failed, it was
possible to turn the offender over to the state for punishment, e.g.
for blasphemy or heresy. Blasphemy was thought to cause God's wrath
expressed in famine, pestilence, and earthquake and was usually
punished by a fine or corporal punishment, e.g. perforation or
amputation of the tongue. It was tacitly understood that the punishment
for heresy was death by burning. There were no heresy cases up to 1400
and few after that. The state usually assured itself the sentence was
just before imposing it. The court of the rural dean was the
ecclesiastical parallel of the hundred court of secular jurisdiction
and usually had the same land boundaries. The archdeacons, who had been
ministers of the bishop in all parts of his diocese alike, were now
each assigned to one district, which usually had the same boundaries as
the county. Each bishop headed a diocese. Over the bishops were the two
Archbishops of Canterbury and of York.

        The ecclesiastical court had one judge and no jury. Most cases
dealt with offenses against the church, such as working on Sunday, and
sexual mores. The court used teatimony and depositions of witnesses,
oaths of the parties, confessions, physical and written evidence,
presumptions of common knowledge, and inquests of impartial, sworn men
who made unanimous determinations. The accuser had to meet the burden
of proof. The accused could be required to answer questions under oath,
thus giving evidence against himself. It was not necessary to have an
accuser; a judge could open a case based on public rumor. The judge
made a written decision that did not incude his reasoning. He read the
decision aloud in a public session of the court. If an accused
disobeyed a court order to appear or to do penance, he could be

Common law held that ecclesiastical courts could not give money
damages. But costs were paid by the loser and included expenses of
producing witnesses, writing of documents, and fees of lawyers. An
appeal could be made from the archdeacon to the bishop to the
metropolitan to the Pope. Henry acknowledged occasional appellate
authority of the pope, but expected his clergy to elect bishops of his

        There was a separate judicial system for the laws of the
forest. There were itinerant justices of the forests and four verderers
of each forest county, who were elected by the votes of the full county
court, twelve knights appointed to keep vert [everything bearing green
leaves] and venison, and foresters of the king and of the lords who had
lands within the limits of the forests. Every three years, the officers
visited the forests in preparation for the courts of the forest held by
the itinerant justices. The inferior courts were the woodmote, held
every forty days, and the swein [freeman or freeholder within the
forest] mote, held three times yearly before the verderers as justices,
in which all who were obliged to attend as suitors of the county court
to serve on juries and inquests were to be present.

        In this lawsuit, King Henry I decided that since the abbots and
monks of Battle had proved before him that certain lands, belonging to
the manor of Alciston, are no possession of theirs, so they are to be
quit of the services due there: " Henry, king of the English, to Ralph,
bishop of Chichester, and all his ministers of Sussex, greeting. Know
that as the abbot of Battle and the monks deraigned [proved] before me
that they do  not have those lands which you said they had, namely,
Ovington, Coding ( in Hove), Batsford (in Warbleton), Daningawurde,
Shuyswell ( in Etchingham), Boarzell ( in Ticehurst), Winenham,
Wertesce, Brembreshoc and Seuredeswelle, which of old belonged to
Alciston and contain seven hides of land of the fifty hides in Alciston
and its appurtenances, I order that they shall be free and quit on this
account and that none shall molest them any further, but concerning
these lands and these hides they shall be completely free and quit as
concerning lands which they do not have and of which they are not
seised. I also order by royal authority that their manor called
Alciston, which my father gave to the church of Battle with other lands
for his soul, shall be so free and quit of shires and hundreds and all
customs of land-service as my father himself held it most freely and
quietly, and namely concerning the work on London Bridge and on the
castle of Pevensey. This I command upon my forfeiture. Witness: William
de Pont de l'Arche. At Westbourne.

        In this lawsuit, King Henry I ordered a bishop and sheriff to
put another bishop in possession of certain churches according to the
verdict of twelve men: " Henry, by God's grace, etc. to H(erbert),
bishop of Norwich, and Robert the sheriff, greeting. I order that you
let Richard, bishop of London, have the churches of Blythburgh and
Stowe with all the customs that belong to them as twelve among the
better men of the hundred will be able to swear and as I ordered in my
other writ. And let this not be left undone because of my voyage to
Normandy, and let him hold them in peace and honour with suit, soke,
toll and team and infangthief and with all other customs, as ever any
of my predecessors most honourably and most quietly held them. Witness,

        In this lawsuit, King Henry I grants that an abbot should
continue to have his mint after his moneyer suffered punishment like
all the others in England: "Henry, king of the English, to Everard
bishop of Norwich, Robert fitz Walter and all his barons and lieges,
French and English, of Suffolk, greeting. I grant that, justice having
been done to his moneyer as was done to the other moneyers of England,
the abbot of St. Edmunds shall have in the vill of St. Edmunds his
mint, moneyer and exchange as he used to have it before. Witnesses:
(John), bishop of Lisieux, (Bernard), bishop of St. David's and Robert
de Sigillo, At Rouen."

         In this lawsuit, King Henry I held proven the ownership of
certain wood and land: "Henry, king of the English, to the bishop of
Lincoln and the sheriff and the barons and faithful, French and
English, of Bedfordshire, greeting. Know that Abbot Reginald of Ramsey
has deraigned in my court to the advantage of the church of Ramsey the
wood of Crawley and the land pertaining to it against Simon de
Beauchamp, about which they were in dispute, and the aforesaid abbot
gave to Simon 20 marks of silver and two palfreys [riding horses] so
that Simon granted them to him out of goodwill and gave up his claim.
And I will and firmly order that the aforesaid church of Ramsey shall
hold that wood and the aforesaid land belonging to the wood well and in
peace, honourably and by perpetual right. Witnesses: bishop Roger of
Salisbury and bishop Alexander of Lincoln, King David of Scotland,
Geoffrey the chancellor, Earl Robert of Leicester, Adam de Port, Hugh
Bigod, William d'Aubigny the butler, Geoffrey de Clinton, William of
d'Aubigny Brito."

                    Chapter 6

                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 harvesting and sheep shearing. 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 patchwork 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

        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 almsgiving, 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 bed linens.
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. They were
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. The
doctrine of felony developed, with punishment by death relacing the old
wites. 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.
A bare exchange of words was sufficient to constitute a marriage.
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 homemade 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. The beds were often
shared. 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, cloth workers, 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

        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, country
folk 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 p.m. 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 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.

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 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.

        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.

        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  [including meadows,
pastures, woods, and wastes], 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 maritagium [a marriage portion
of land which is given with a daughter in marriage, that is not bound
to service and passes to the daughter's heirs in whatever way had been
stipulated by her family when the grant was made] 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

        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. Some watermill wheels were moved by tidal currents.

        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
have a 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 1 1/2 d., free
stone carvers 2 1/2 d., plasterers and daubers, diggers and sievers
less. All received food in addition or 1 1/2 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 ferryboat 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

        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 murdrum fine.

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

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 [acknowledgment 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
portimote [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 portimote 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 portmanmote 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 corody [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 portmanmote 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

        Henry wanted to check this power of the barons. So he took over
or demolished their adulterine castles and restored the fyrd, which was
a military draft of every freeman to serve in defense of the realm. 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

        New taxes replaced the Danegeld tax. Freeholders of land paid
taxes according to their ploughable 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.

        Barons and their tenants and subtenants 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

        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 ax 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 [revenues paid for a clergyman's salary] 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 [dry food for
livestock] 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 sheepskins 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

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 personal property and goods. He also sold town charters,
heiresses and heirs, widows, sheriffdoms, justiceships, earldoms, and
licenses for tournaments. 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.The crusaders'
contact with Arabs brought to England an expansion of trade, Arab
horses, and arabic numerals, which included "zero" and greatly
facilitated arithmetic, which was very difficult with Roman numerals.
The church decreed that those who went on these crusades would be
remitted of their 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 property and
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 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, much of
which restated Henry II's work. 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

        During the 1100s and 1200s, changes took place with regard to
wills which gradually established a definite common law. They were: The
king's court condemns the post obit gift of land because it was rung
from a man in the agony of dying when he had most probably lost his
memory and his reason, and it disappeared  in the late 1100s, except
for burgage tenements. The primogeniture scheme for the descent of land
had been well established in the course of the 1100s and the concept of
a definite heir as appointed by God was now established.  Heirship now
has nothing to do with chattels. The church takes jurisdiction by 1200
over succession of chattels and succession assumes a testamentary
character with witnesses and with an executor to carry out the dead
man's will and pay his debts. A will only dealt with the dead man's
part of his chattels, the law providing parts for the wife and
children. If there were both wife and children, the wife took one-third
and the children, except for the heir, one-third and the man could will
the remaining third. If there is a wife but no child or a child but no
wife, one half went to the surviving wife or children, except for the
heir, and one-half was governed by the will. If there was no will,
which was rare, the situation was unsettled, but usually the church
distributed the remaining portion for the good of the dead man's soul.

        By statute, 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

        A widower with a child born of the marriage had all his wife's
lands by curtesy of the nation for his lifetime to the exclusion of her

        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 jointly, 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 also had wardship over the heir's body or person and had the
right to arrange the ward's marriage, which he did as early ass when
the ward was age 6. Both wardships were lucrative and could be bought
and sold. The heir's guardian 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. Otherwise the lord
could take the profits of the land. The guardianship was not fiduciary.
The ward lived with his guardian and was taught to fight. When he came
of age, he did homage and fealty for the land. The mother did not have
a right to the guardianship of a son who was an heir. 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

        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, 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 (rather than earls and barons), traveled with the
King, and on points of difficulty consulted with him. Justices began to
be more than presiding officers; they, instead of the lay and clerical
tenants-in-chief who attended, 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 nonperformance 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
traveling 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.

        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]), and 3) the repression of serious crime, including homicide,
mayhem [injuring a limb so as to make it useless], robbery, arson, and

        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. By the assize of novel
disseisin, an ejected possessor could have a jury of recognitors decide
whether the ejectment had been just or not. 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 lawful men 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 [something given as secuxrity for
performance] 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 the assize of mort d'ancestor, an heir of a
tenant who died and who was refused the land by the lord could have
this refusal determined to be just or unjust. For this issue, the Royal
Court 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
recognition to determine which of them has the greater right in the
things claimed. And meanwhile the twelve shall view the land (or
tenements [including meadows, pastures, woods, wastes, and rights of
common] from which the services are demanded). And summon by good
summoners N., who is tenant, to be there to hear the recognition.
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 eyewitness 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.

        Removable to the Royal Court from the county courts were issues
of a lord's claim to a person as his villein, 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. As of 1187, pleas concerning amounts of money less than 40s.
were not heard by the Royal Court.

        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 itinerant royal justices to form juries of presentment
{indictment] composed of usually 12 knights or other landholders of
every neighborhood and 4 respectable men of each township and ask them
if any person were suspected of any murder, robbery, theft, etc. (These
later evolved into grand juries). These assizes were an ancient
institution in many parts of the country. 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 directly to the ordeal. Henry abolished trial by compurgation in
the Royal Courts. If determined guilty, the offender forfeited his
chattels to the king and his land reverted to his landlord. 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. Often, a man who had a bad reputation had to abjure the
realm even if he had successfully undergone the ordeal. The most
serious 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 eyewitnesses), 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. Murders were now punished alike because the
applicability of the murdrum fine couldn't be determined since it was
impossible to prove that the slain man had been English since he would
have been mutilated to hide his nationality.

Women did not serve on juries. Having the jury of presentment precluded
free men from being sent to the ordeal by compurgation oaths of the
villeins. As of 1194, this jury of presentment procedure applied not
only to criminal cases, but also to civil, and fiscal cases.

        As before, a person could also be brought to trial by the
accusation of the person wronged by a felony ["appeal"]. 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.

        The procedure of Henry II's assizes was extended from case to
case as men lost faith in the older types of proof. The ordeal fell
into disuse when the church prohibited blessing of ordeals in its
Lateran Council of 1215.

        Henry introduced the petty or trial jury of 12 reputable men to
provide a workable alternative to the ordeal, compurgation, and combat.
These jurors were expected to know or to find out the facts that could
lead to a decision. Gradually, witnesses had to be brought in to tesify
to facts the jurors didn't know.

Housebreaking, 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.

        Trespass was a serious and forcible breach of the peace onto
land that developed from the criminal law of felony. Trespass becomes a
general term for almost all wrongful acts and defaults against a
person, land, or chattels. It covered only direct damages due to
physical contact. There are two main punishments: 1) amercement of a
sum of money deetermined by at least two peers of the offender and 2)
imprisonment in gaol redeemable by agreement to a fine after a couple
of years in gaol. Another punishment was abjuration of a town or of the
realm. In boroughs, an offending burgess may lose liberties or have to
abjure their trade or craft. Pillory and tumbrel [e.g.ducking stool]
was usual for bakers and alewives who broke the assizes of bread and
beer, which was often.

        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

        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]. By this assize, the identity of the
patron who last presented an incumbent to a particular church could be
discovered. 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 personal property,
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".

        There were two courts of the sheriff: the shire court for civil
and criminal matters and the sheriff's tourn for petty crime only. The
shire and borough courts heard cases of felonies, accusations against
freemen, tort, and debts. The knights made the county courts work as
legal and administrative agencies of the Crown.

        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.

        Franchise courts had jurisdiction given by special royal grant,
such as the Courts of the Chancellors of Oxford and Cambridge

        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.

        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

        The church copied the assize procedure developed by the Royal
Court to detect ecclesiastical offenses though it retained trial 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

        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 defense 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

        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 cliff. In cases of drowning, the
offender was first sewn up in a sack with a snake, a dog, an ape, and a

        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. The action for debt splits into two actions.
The "detinue" action is for wrongful detention of personal property
which originally was rightfully acquired as by loan, rent, or left for
safe-keeping and its award is for the specific chattel detained 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 "trespass": 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. About 1200, outlawry was not used
for crimes falling short of felony. 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

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 and put her land in pledge in his court and did
not want to render the 1/2 mark. 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

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 ax 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 housebreaking, 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'
frankpledge 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

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

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 - -

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 cartload, 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 reestablishing 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 footboys, 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.

                     Chapter 7

                The Times 1215-1272

        Tenures in land were free or not free; the free tenures were
(1) military service, (2) grand serjeanty, (3) free socage, and (4)
frankalmoin. For military service, in general, every man knows his
place, knows how many days he must fight and with what arms. But this
institution is becoming unstable. Sometimes a substantial payment
called scutage is taken instead. As feudalism became less military and
less rough, daughters were permitted to inherit fiefs. It became
customary to divide the property of a deceased man without a son
equally among his daughters. Lords were receiving homage from all the
daughters and thereby acquiring marriage rights over all of them. Also,
if a son predeceased his father but left a child, that child would
succeed to the father's land in the same way that the deceased would
have. The ill, the aged, women, and ecclesiastics could send a
substitute to military service. There are certain reliefs, and wardship
and marriage fees associated with military tenure. Grand serjeanty was
various and included carrying the banner of the king, or his lance,
carrying his sword at his coronation, carrying his letters, summoning
his barons, conveying his treasure from place to place, being his
steward, marshal, chamberlain or constable. Many serjeanties were
connected with warfare, such as light horsemen, infantry, bowmen,
captains of the national militia, leading the infantry of certain
hundreds, military transport, carriage of armour on a horse, munitions
of war such as lances, arrows or knives. A man could hold by serjeanty
of a mesne lord, such as presiding over the lord's court, riding with
the lord or on his errands, feeding his hounds, or supplying bows and
arrows. Tenure in free socage may involve a nominal service to a lord,
such as the gift every year of a rose, a sparrowhawk, a pair of gloves,
a pair of gilt spurs, or a pound of pepper, or of incense or of wax.
Tenure in socage may originate by a gift of land to a daughter or
younger son, or to some dependant for past services, or a purchase with
a gross sum. There were no wardship or marriage or other fees
associated with a tenure in free socage. Tenure in frankalmoin ["free
alms" for the poor to relieve the king of this burden] was land held by
ecclesiastics in right of their churches and of God. This service was
spiritual, often for saying prayers for the deceased donor so that he
could go from purgatory to heaven, and it was an indefinite service. In
general, land could be alienated or subinfeudated without the lord's
consent and thus come to be held in another tenure. Land escheated
[returned] to the lord if there were no heirs, or in case of felony
after the king has possessed and taken the profits of the land for year
and day. In case of treason, a tenant's lands were all forfeited to the
king. The tenure of socage obligated the tenant to fixed agricultural
services, for which a nominal payment called a "quit rent" could be
substituted. Socage did not entail rights of wardship or marriage.
Socage grew at the expense of the other tenures. The unfree tenure was
villein tenure. Villeins were tied to a piece of land and were bound to
perform for their lord indefinite agricultural services and could be
physically recovered in case they left the land. Villeins were subject
to a lord's court and were not protected by the king's court.

        The major types of freemen were: nobles, knights,
ecclesiastics, Jews, and women.  The nobles were the earls and barons.
They did not have noble blood, but were tenants in chief of certain
land by the king's will. The king consulted them and they obeyed his
summons and gave him counsel. They were entitled to be judged in cases
of treason or felony, by their peers, that is, each other. Lower in
status are the knights. They were active in royal justice, making
thedecisions in the most important cases. Ecclesiatics were bishops;
abbots; and monks, nuns, and friars, who had taken vows of poverty and
obedience; and clergy. The difference between a monk and a friar was a
cloistered life versus an active life. Jews came to England after the
Conquest and were under the special protection of the king. All they
had belonged to the king. A Jew could lend money for interest, which
was disallowed for Christians. Jews were subject to the courts of
justice, but could also settle their disputes by their own Hebrew law,
They were expelled in 1290. Women could hold land, even by military
tenure, own chattels typically beasts and coins], make a will, make a
contract, and could sue and be sued. They could give evidence in court,
but could not be jurors or judges. Women who had husbands had to defer
to them in certain property matters.

        Nobles, doctors, and attorneys wore tunics to the ankle and an
over-tunic almost as long, which was lined with fur and had long
sleeves. A hood was attached to it. A man's hair was short and curled,
with bangs on the forehead. The tunic of merchants and middle class men
reached to the calf. The laborer wore a tunic that reached to the knee,
cloth stockings, and shoes of heavy felt, cloth, or perhaps leather.
Ladies wore a full-length tunic with moderate fullness in the skirt,
and a low belt, and tight sleeves. A lady's hair was concealed by a
round hat tied on the top of her head. Over her tunic, she wore a
cloak. Monks and nuns wore long black robes with hoods.

        Baron landholders' semi-fortified stone manor houses were
improved and extended. Many had been licensed to be embattled or
crenelated [wall indented at top with shooting spaces]. They were
usually quadrangular around a central courtyard. The central and
largest room was the hall, where people ate and slept. The hall had a
hearth for fire in the center of the room if the hall was one story
high. Sometimes the lord had a room with a sleeping loft above it. If
the hall was more than one story high, it had a fireplace at one end so
that the smoke could go up and out the roof. Other rooms each had a
fireplace. There were small windows around the top story and on the
inside of the courtyard. They were usually covered with oiled paper.
Windows of large houses were of opaque glass supplied by a glassmaking
craft. The glass was thick, uneven, distorted, and greenish in color.
The walls were plastered. The floor was wood with some carpets. Roofs
were timbered with horizontal beams. Many roofs had tiles supplied by
the tile craft, which baked the tiles in kilns or over an open fire.
Because of the hazard of fire, the kitchen was often a separate
building, with a covered way connecting it to the hall. It had one or
two open fires in fireplaces, and ovens. Sometimes there was a separate
room for a dairy.

        Furniture included heavy wood armchairs for the lord and lady,
stools, benches, trestle tables, chests, and cupboards. Outside was an
enclosed garden with cabbages, peas, beans, beetroots, onions, garlic,
leeks, lettuce, watercress, hops, herbs, nut trees for oil, some
flowers, and a fish pond and well. Bees were kept for their honey.

        The barons now managed and developed their estates to be as
productive as possible, often using the successful management
techniques of church estates. They kept records of their fields,
tenants, and services owed by each tenant, and duties of the manor
officers, such as supervision of the ploughing and harrowing. Annually,
the manor's profit or loss for the year was calculated. Most manors
were self-supporting except that iron for tools and horseshoes and salt
for curing usually had to be obtained elsewhere. Wine, tar, canvas and
millstones were imports from other countries and bought at fairs, as
was fish, furs, spices, and silks. Sheep were kept in such large
numbers that they were susceptible to a new disease "scab". Every great
household was bound to give alms.

        Manors averaged about ten miles distance between each other,
the land in between being unused and called "wasteland". Statutes after
a period of civil war proscribing the retaking of land discouraged the
enclosure of waste land.

        Husbandry land held in villeinage was inherited according to
the custom of its manor as administered in the lord's manorial court.
(The royal courts had jurisdiction of land held in socage. i.e. free
tenure.) The heir could be the oldest son, the youngest son, a son
chosen by the father to succeed him, or divided among the sons. If
there were no sons, one of the daughters inherited the land or it was
divided among all the daughters. If there were no heirs, the land went
back to the lord. Land could not be sold or alienated so that the heir
did not inherit, without the consent of the lord. Manorial custom also
determined the manner of descent of goods and chattels. A common custom
for a villein was that his best beast go to his lord as heriot and his
second best beast go to the parish priest as mortuary. Then, after
debts and burial expenses had been paid, a number of tools and utensils
needed for husbandry and housekeeping went with the land to its heir.
These were the "heirlooms", `loom" in old English meaning tool. This
usually included, for a holding of more than 5 acres, a coulter, a
plowshare, a yoke, a cart, an axe, a cauldron, a pan, a dish, and a
cask. Finally, the remaining goods and chattels went one-third to the
widow, one-third to his children except for the heir to the land, and
one-third according to the deceased's last will and testament. A son
might take his share before the death of his father in order to go out
into the world and seek his fortune, for instance in the church or
military, upon which event the father had to pay his lord a fine for
his son permanently leaving the manor. Many country boys became bound
apprentices in nearby boroughs or farm laborers. Others married
heiresses of land. By the custom of "curtesy of the nation", he held
this land for his lifetime if he had a child born of the marriage, even
if his wife predeceased him. If a man remained on the family land, he
had no right to marry. Often, there were agreements over land holdings
that were recorded in the manor books. For instance, it was common for
a father or mother to hand his or her holding over to the heir in
exchange for sustenance in old age. An heir usually did not marry until
after receiving his land. Manorial custom determined whether a father's
consent was necessary for a son or daughter to marry, the nature of any
agreement ("trothplight") between the families as to lands and goods
brought to the marriage, the amount of her marriage portion, and the
son's endowment (her "dower") of lands and goods promised to the bride
at the church door that would provide for her support after his death.
If dower was not specified, it was understood to be one-third of all
lands and tenements. At the next hallmote, if manorial custom required
it, the son would pay a fine to his lord for entry onto the land and
for license to marry. From 1246, priests taught that betrothal and
consummation constituted irrevocable marriage.

        Some villeins bought out their servitude by paying a substitute
to do his service or paying his lord a firm (from hence, the words farm
and farmer) sum to hire an agricultural laborer in his place. This made
it possible for a farm laborer to till one continuous piece of land
instead of scattered strips.

        Looms were now mounted with two bars. Women did embroidery. The
clothing of most people was made at home, even sandals. The village
tanner and bootmaker supplied long pieces of soft leather for more
protection than sandals. Tanning mills replaced some hand labor. The
professional hunter of wolves, lynx, or otters supplied head coverings.
Every village had a smith and possibly a carpenter for construction of
ploughs and carts. The smith obtained coal from coal fields for heating
the metal he worked. Horse harnesses were homemade from hair and hemp.
There were watermills and/or windmills for grinding grain, for malt,
and/or for fulling cloth. The position of the sails of the windmills
was changed by manual labor when the direction of the wind changed.

        Most men wore a knife because of the prevalence of murder and
robbery. It was an every day event for a murderer to flee to sanctuary
in a church, which would then be surrounded by his pursuers while the
coroner was summoned. Usually, the fugitive would confess, pay
compensation, and agree to leave the nation permanently.

        County courts were the center of decision-making regarding
judicial, fiscal, military, and general administrative matters. The
writs for the conservation of the peace, directing the taking of the
oath, the pursuit of malefactors, and the observance of watch and ward,
were proclaimed in full county court; attachments were made in
obedience to them in the county court. The county offices were:
sheriff, coroner, escheator, and constable or bailiff. There were 28
sheriffs for 38 counties. The sheriff was usually a substantial
landholder and a knight who had been prominent in the local court. He
usually had a castle in which he kept persons he arrested. He no longer
bought his office and collected certain rents for himself, but was a
salaried political appointee of the King. He employed a deputy or
undersheriff, who was an attorney, and clerks. If there was civil
commotion or contempt of royal authority, the sheriff of the county had
power to raise a posse of armed men to restore order. The coroner
watched the interests of the crown and had duties in sudden deaths,
treasure trove, and shipwreck cases. There were about five coroners per
county and they served for a number of years. They were chosen by the
county court. The escheator was appointed annually by the Treasurer to
administer the Crown's rights in feudal land, which until 1242 had been
the responsibility of the sheriff. He was usually chosen from the local
gentry. The constable and bailiff operated at the hundred and parish
[the geographical area of a church's members] level to detect crime and
keep the peace. They assisted sheriffs and Justices of the Peace,
organized watches for criminals and vagrants at the village level, and
raised the hue and cry along the highway and from village to village in
pursuit of offenders who had committed felony or robbery. The
constables also kept the royal castles; they recruited, fed, and
commanded the castle garrison.

        County knights served sheriffs, coroners, escheators, and
justices on special royal commissions of gaol-delivery. They sat in
judgment in the county court at its monthly meetings, attended the two
great annual assemblies when the lord, knights and freeholders of the
county gathered to meet the itinerant justices who came escorted by the
sheriff and weapon bearers. They served on the committees which
reviewed the presentments of the hundreds and village, and carried the
record of the county court to Westminster when summoned there by the
kings' justices. They served on the grand assize. As elected
representatives of their fellow knights of the county, they assessed
any taxes due from each hundred. Election might be by nomination by the
sheriff from a fixed list, by choice, or in rotation. They investigated
and reported on local abuses and grievances. The King's justices and
council often called on them to answer questions put to them on oath.
In the villages, humbler freeholders and sokemen were elected to assess
the village taxes. Six villeins answered for the village's offenses
before the royal itinerant justice.

        Reading and writing in the English language was taught. The use
of English ceased to be a mark of vulgarity. In 1258 the first
governmental document was issued in English as well as in Latin and
French, and later Latin started falling into disuse. Boys of noblemen
were taught reading, writing, Latin, a musical instrument, athletics,
riding, and gentlemanly conduct. Girls were taught reading, writing,
music, dancing, and perhaps household nursing and first aid, spinning,
embroidery, and gardening. Girls of high social position were also
taught riding and hawking. Grammar schools taught, in Latin, grammar,
dialectic (ascertaining word meaning by looking at its origin, its
sound (e.g. soft or harsh), its power (e.g. robust and strong sound),
its inflection, and its order; and avoiding obscurity and ambiguity in
statements), and rhetoric [art of public speaking, oratory, and
debate]. The teacher possessed the only complete copy of the Latin
text, and most of the school work was done orally. Though books were
few and precious, the students read several Latin works. Girls and boys
of high social position usually had private teachers for grammar
school, while boys of lower classes were sponsored at grammar schools
such as those at Oxford. Discipline was maintained by the birch or rod.

        There was no examination for admission as an undergraduate to
Oxford, but a knowledge of Latin with some skill in speaking Latin was
a necessary background. The students came from all backgrounds. Some
had their expenses paid by their parents, while others had the
patronage of a churchman, a religious house, or a wealthy layman. They
studied the "liberal arts", which derived its name from "liber" or
free, because they were for the free men of Rome rather than for the
economic purposes of those who had to work. The works of Greek authors
such as Aristotle were now available; the European monk Thomas Aquinas
had edited Aristotle's works to reconcile them to church doctrine. He
opined that man's intellectual use of reason did not conflict with the
religious belief that revelation came only from God, because reason was
given to man by God. He shared Aristotle's belief that the earth was a
sphere, and that the celestial bodies moved around it in perfect
circles. Latin learning had already been absorbed without detriment to
the church.

        A student at Oxford would become a master after graduating from
a seven year course of study of the seven liberal arts: [grammar,
rhetoric (the source of law), Aristotelian logic (which differentiates
the true from the false), arithmetic, including fractions and ratios,
(the foundation of order), geometry, including methods of finding the
length of lines, the area of surfaces, and the volume of solids, (the
science of measurement), astronomy (the most noble of the sciences
because it is connected with divinity and theology), music and also
Aristotle's philosophy of physics, metaphysics, and ethics; and then
lecturing and leading disputations for two years. He also had to write
a thesis on some chosen subject and defend it against the faculty. A
Master's degree gave one the right to teach. Further study for four
years led to a doctorate in one of the professions: theology and canon
or civil law.

        There were about 1,500 students in Oxford. They drank, played
dice, quarreled a lot and begged at street corners. There were mob
fights between students from the north and students from the south and
between students and townsmen. But when the mayor of Oxford hanged two
students accused of being involved in the killing of a townswoman, many
masters and students left for Cambridge. In 1214, a charter created the
office of Chancellor of the university at Oxford. He was responsible
for law and order and, through his court, could fine, imprison, and
excommunicate offenders and expel undesirables such as prostitutes from
the town. He had authority over all crimes involving scholars, except
murder and mayhem. The Chancellor summoned and presided over meetings
of the masters and came to be elected by indirect vote by the masters
who had schools, usually no more than a room or hall with a central
hearth which was hired for lectures. Students paid for meals there.
Corners of the room were often partitioned off for private study. At
night, some students slept on the straw on the floor. Six hours of
sleep were considered sufficient. In 1231, the king ordered that every
student must have his name on the roll of a master and the masters had
to keep a list of those attending his lectures.

        In 1221 the friars established their chief school at Oxford.
They were bound by oaths of poverty, obedience, and chastity, but were
not confined within the walls of a monastery. They walked barefoot from
place to lace preaching. They begged for their food and lodgings. They
replaced monks, who had become self-indulgent, as the most vital
spiritual force among the people.

        The first college was founded in 1264 by Walter de Merton,
former Chancellor to the King, at Oxford. A college had the living
arrangements of a Hall, with the addition of monastic-type rules. A
warden and about 30 scholars lived and ate meals together in the
college buildings. Merton College's founding documents provided that:
[1] "The house shall be called the House of the Scholars of Merton, and
it shall be the residence of the Scholars forever.
[2] There shall be a constant succession of scholars devoted to the
study of letters, who shall be bound to employ themselves in the study
of Arts or Philosophy, the Canons or Theology. Let there also be one
member of the collegiate body, who shall be a grammarian, and must
entirely devote himself to the study of grammar; let him have the care
of the students in grammar, and to him also let the more advanced have
recourse without a blush, when doubts arise in their faculty.
[3] There is to be one person in every chamber, where Scholars are
resident, of more mature age than the others, who is to make his report
of their morals and advancement in learning to the Warden
[4] The Scholars who are appointed to the duty of studying in the House
are to have a common table, and a dress as nearly alike as possible.
[5] The members of the College must all be present together, as far as
their leisure serves, at the canonical hours and celebration of masses
on holy and other days.
[6] The Scholars are to have a reader at meals, and in eating together
they are to observe silence, and to listen to what is read. In their
chambers, they must abstain from noise and interruption of their
fellows; and when they speak they must use the Latin language.
[7] A Scrutiny shall be held in the House by the Warden and the
Seniors, and all the Scholars there present, three times a year; a
diligent inquiry is to be instituted into the life, conduct, morals,
and progress in learning, of each and all; and what requires correction
then is to be corrected, and excesses are to be visited with condign
punishment. . ."

        Educated men (and those of the 1200s through the 1500s),
believed that the earth was the center of the universe and that it was
surrounded by a giant spherical dome on which the stars were placed.
The sun and moon and planets were each on a sphere around the earth
that was responsible for their movements. The origin of the word
"planet" meant "wanderer" because the motion of the planets changed in
direction and speed. Astrology explained how the position of the stars
and planets influenced man and other earthly things. For instance, the
position of the stars at a person's birth determined his character. The
angle and therefore potency of the sun's rays influenced climate,
temperament, and changes of mortal life such as disease and
revolutions. Unusual events such as the proximity of two planets, a
comet, an eclipse, a meteor, or a nova were of great significance. A
star often was thought to presage the birth of a great man or a hero.
There was a propitious time to have a marriage, go on a journey, make
war, and take herbal medicine or be bled by leeches, the latter of
which was accompanied by religious ceremony. Cure was by God, with
medical practitioners only relieving suffering. But there were medical
interventions such as pressure and binding were applied to bleeding.
Arrow and sword wounds to the skin or to any protruding intestine were
washed with warm water and sewn up with needle and silk thread. Ribs
were spread apart by a wedge to remove arrow heads. Fractured bones
were splinted or encased in plaster. Dislocations were remedied.
Hernias were trussed. Bladder stones blocking urination were pushed
back into the bladder or removed through an artificial opening in the
bladder. Surgery was performed by butchers, blacksmiths, and barbers.

        Roger Bacon, an Oxford master, began the science of physics. He
read Arab writers on the source of light rays being from the object
seen, the nature of refraction and reflection of light, and the
properties of lenses. He studied the radiation of light and heat. He
studied angles of reflection in plane, spherical, cylindrical, and
conical mirrors, in both their concave and convex aspects. He did
experiments in refraction in different media, e.g. air, water, and
glass, and knew that the human cornea refracted light, and that the
human eye lens was doubly convex. He comprehended the magnifying power
of convex lenses and conceptualized the combination of lenses which
would increase the power of vision by magnification. He realized that
rays of light pass so much faster than those of sound or smell that the
time is imperceptible to humans. He knew that rays of heat and sound
penetrate all matter without our awareness and that opaque bodies
offered resistance to passage of light rays. He knew the power of
parabolic concave mirrors to cause parallel rays to converge after
reflection to a focus and knew that a mirror could be produced that
would start a fire at a fixed distance. These insights made it possible
for jewelers and weavers to use lenses to view their work instead of
glass globes full of water, which distorted all but the center of the
image: "spherical aberration". The lens, whose opposite surfaces were
sections of spheres, took the place of the central parts of the globe
over the image.

        He knew about magnetic poles attracting, if different and
repelling, if the same, and the relation of magnets' poles to those of
the heavens and earth. He calculated the circumference of the world and
the latitude and longitude of terrestrial positions. He foresaw sailing
around the world. He studied the planetary motions and astronomical
tables to forecast future events. He did calculations on days in a
month and days in a year which later contributed to the legal
definition of a leap year. His explanation of a rainbow as a result of
natural laws was contrary to theological opinion that a rainbow was
placed in the heavens to assure mankind that there was not to be
another universal deluge.

        Bacon began the science of chemistry when he took the empirical
knowledge as to a few metals and their oxides and some of the principal
alkalis, acids, and salts to the abstract level of metals as compound
bodies the elements of which might be separated and recomposed and
changed among the states of solid, liquid, and gas. When he studied
man's physical nature, health, and disease, he opined that the
usefulness of a talisman was not to bring about a physical change, but
to bring the patient into a frame of mind more conducive to physical
healing. He urged that there be experiments in chemistry to develop
medicinal drugs.

        He studied different kinds of plants and the differences
between arable land, forest land, pasture land, and garden land.

        Bacon was an extreme proponent of the inductive method of
finding truths, e.g. by categorizing all available facts on a certain
subject to ascertain the natural laws governing it. His contribution to
the development of science was abstracting the method of experiment
from the concrete problem to see its bearing and importance as a
universal method of research. He advocated changing education to
include studies of the natural world using observation, exact
measurement, and experiments.

        The making and selling of goods diverged e.g. as the cloth
merchant severed from the tailor and the leather merchant severed from
the butcher. These craftsmen formed themselves into guilds, which
sought charters to require all craftsmen to belong to the guild of
their craft, to have legal control of the craft work, and be able to
expel any craftsman for disobedience. These guilds were composed of
master craftsmen, their journeymen, and apprentices. These guilds
determined the wages and working conditions of the craftsmen and
petitioned the borough authorities for ordinances restraining trade,
for instance by controlling the admission of outsiders to the craft,
preventing foreigners from selling in the town except at fairs,
limiting purchases of raw materials to suppliers within the town,
forbidding night work, restricting the number of apprentices to each
master craftsmen, and requiring a minimum number of years for
apprenticeships. In return, these guilds assured quality control. In
some boroughs, they did work for the town, such as maintaining certain
defensive towers or walls of the town near their respective wards. In
some boroughs, fines for infractions of these regulations were split
between the guild and the government.

        In some towns, the merchant guilds attempted to directly
regulate the craft guilds. Crafts fought each other. There was a street
battle with much bloodshed between the goldsmiths and the parmenters
and between the tailors and the cordwainers in 1267 in London. There
was also a major fight between the goldsmiths and the tailors in 1268.
The Parish Clerks' Company was chartered in 1233.

        The citizens of London had a common seal for the city. London
merchants traveled throughout the nation with goods to sell exempt from
tolls. Most of the London aldermen were woolmongers, vintners,
skinners, and grocers by turns or carried on all these branches of
commerce at once. Jews were allowed to make loans with interest up to
2d. a week for 20s. lent. There are three inns in London. Inns
typically had narrow facades, large courtyards, lodging and refreshment
for the well-off, warehousing and marketing facilities for merchants,
and stabling and repairs for wagons. Caregiving infirmaries such as
"Bethlehem Hospital" were established in London. One was a lunatic
infirmary founded by the sheriff of London. Benefactors conveyed plots
of land with houses to the city for the benefit and use of the
Franciscan friars who came to London as missionaries because the
friars' law forbade them from owning anything. The city held the land
in trust for the beneficiaries, the friars. Only tiles were used for
roofing in London, because wood shingles were fire hazards and fires in
London had been frequent. Some areas near London are disclaimed by the
king to be royal forest land, so all citizens could hunt there and till
their land there without interference by the royal foresters. The
Sheriff's court in London lost its old importance and handled mainly
trespass and debt cases, while important cases went to the Hustings,
which was presided over by the Mayor with the sheriffs and aldermen in
attendance. From the early 1200s, the Mayor's Court took on the work
which the weekly Husting could not manage. This consisted mostly of
assault and robbery cases. Murder and manslaughter cases were left to
the royal courts.

        London aldermen were elected by the citizens of their
respective wards in wardmotes, in which was also arranged the watch,
protection against fire, and probably also assessment of the taxes
within the ward. There was much effort by the commoners to influence
the governance of the city. In 1261 they forced their way into the
townmote and by this brute show of strength, which threatened riot,
they made their own candidate mayor. Subsequent elections were

        The Tower of London now had outer walls of fortress buildings
surrounded by a wide and deep moat, over which was one stone causeway
and wooden drawbridge. Within this was an inner curtain wall with
twelve towers and an inner moat. The palace within was a principal
residence of English monarchs, whose retinue was extensive, including
the chief officers of state: Lord High Steward, Lord High Chancellor,
Lord High Treasurer, Lord Great Chamberlain, Lord High Constable,
Keeper of the Seals, and the King's Marshall; lesser officials such as
the Chamberlain of the Candles, Keeper of the Tents, Master Steward of
the Larder, Usher of the Spithouse, Marshall of the Trumpets, Keeper of
the Books, Keeper of the Dishes and of the Cups, and Steward of the
Buttery; and numbers of cat hunters, wolf catchers, clerks and limners,
carters, water carriers, washerwomen and laundresses, chaplains,
lawyers, archers, huntsmen, hornblowers, barbers, minstrels, guards and
servitors, and bakers and confectioners. The fortress also contained a
garrison, armory, chapels, stables, forge, wardrobe for a tailor's
workroom and secure storage of valuable clothes, silver plate, and
expensive imports such as sugar, rice, almonds, dried fruits, cinnamon,
saffron, ginger, galingale, zedoary, pepper, nutmeg, and mace. There
was a kitchen with courtyard for cattle, poultry, and pigs; dairy,
pigeon loft, brewery, beehives, fruit stores, gardens for vegetables
and herbs; and sheds for gardeners. There was also a mint, which minted
a gold penny worth 2s. of silver, a jewel house, and a menagerie (with
leopards, lions, a bear, and an elephant). The fortress also served as
a state prison. Most prisoners there had opposed the royal will; they
were usually permitted to live in quarters in the same style they were
used to, including servants and visits by family and friends. But
occasionally prisoners were confined in irons in dark and damp dungeons.

        The King's family, immediate circle, and most distinguished
guests dined elegantly in the Great Hall at midday. They would first
wash their hands in hot water poured by servants over bowls. The table
had silver plate, silver spoons, and cups of horn, crystal, maple wood,
or silver laid on a white cloth. Each guest brought his own knife in a
leather sheath attached to a belt or girdle. A procession of servitors
brought the many dishes to which the gentlemen helped the ladies and
the young their seniors by placing the food in scooped-out half-loaves
of bread that were afterwards distributed to the poor. A wine cup was
handed around the table. In the winter after dinner, there would often
be games of chess or dice or songs of minstrels, and sometimes dancing,
juggler or acrobat displays, or storytelling by a minstrel. In the
summer there were outdoor games and tournaments. Hunting with hounds or
hawks was popular with both ladies and gentlemen. The King would go to
bed on a feather mattress with fur coverlet that was surrounded by
linen hangings. His grooms would sleep on trundle beds in the same
room. The queen likewise shared her bedchamber with several of her
ladies sleeping on trundle beds. Breakfast was comprised of a piece of
bread and a cup of wine taken after the daily morning mass in one of
the chapels. Sometimes a round and deep tub was brought into the
bedchamber by servants who poured hot water onto the bather in the tub.
Baths were often taken in the times of Henry III, who believed in
cleanliness and sanitation. Henry III was also noted for his luxurious
tastes. He had a linen table cloth, goblets of mounted cocoa-nut, a
glass cup set in crystal, and silk and velvet mattresses, cushions, and
bolster. He had many rooms painted with gold stars, green and red
lions, and painted flowers. To his sister on her marriage, he gave
goldsmith's work, a chess table, chessmen in an ivory box, silver pans
and cooking vessels, robes of cloth of gold, embroidered robes, robes
of scarlet, blue, and green fine linen, Genoese cloth of gold, two
napkins, and thirteen towels.

        In the King's 1235 grant to Oxford, the Mayor and good men were
authorized to take weekly for three years 1/2 d. on every cart entering
the town loaded with goods, if it was from the county, or 1d. if it
came from outside the county; 1/4 d. for every horse load, except for
brushwood; 1/2 d. on every horse, mare, ox, or cow brought to sell; and
1/2 d. for every five sheep, goats, or pigs.

        English ships had one mast with a square sail. The hulls were
made of planks overlapping each other. There was a high fore castle
[tower] on the bow, a top castle on the mast, and a high stern castle
from which to shoot arrows down on other ships. There were no rowing
oars, but steering was still by an oar on the starboard side of the
ship. The usual carrying capacity was 30 tuns [big casks of wine each
with about 250 gallons]. On the coasts there were lights and beacons.
Harbors at river mouths were kept from silting up. Ships were loaded
from piers. The construction of London Bridge had just been finished.
Bricks began to be imported for building. About 10% of the population
lived in towns.

        Churches had stained glass windows.

        Newcastle-on-Tyne received these new rights:

1. -And that they shall justly have their lands and tenures and
mortgages and debts, whoever owes them to them.

2. -Concerning their lands and tenures within the town, right shall be
done to them according to the custom of the city Winton.

3. -And of all their debts which are lent in Newcastle-on-Tyne and of
mortgages there made, pleas shall be held at Newcastle-on-Tyne.

4. -None of them shall plead outside the walls of the City of
Newcastle-on-Tyne on any plea, except pleas of tenures outside the city
and except the minters and my ministers.

5. -That none of them be distrained by any without the said city for
the repayment of any debt to any person for which he is not capital
debtor or surety.

6. -That the burgesses shall be quit of toll and lastage [duty on a
ship's cargo] and pontage [tax for repairing bridges] and have passage
back and forth.

7. -Moreover, for the improvement of the city, I have granted them that
they shall be quit of year's gift and of scotale [pressure to buy ale
at the sheriff's tavern], so that my sheriff of Newcastle-on-Tyne or
any other minister shall not make a scotale.

8. -And whosoever shall seek that city with his merchandise, whether
foreigners or others, of whatever place they may be, they may come
sojourn and depart in my safe peace, on paying - - the due customs and
debts, and any impediment to these rights is prohibited.

9. -We have granted them also a merchant guild.

10. And that none of them [in the merchant guild] shall fight by combat.

        The king no longer lives on his own from income from his own
lands, but takes money from the treasury. A tax of a percentage of 1/15
the of personal property was levied in 1225 for a war, in return for
which the king signed the Magna Carta. It was to be paid by all
tenants-in-chief, men of the royal domain, burgesses of the boroughs
and cities, clerical tenants-in-chief, and religious houses. The
percentage tax came to be used frequently and ranged from about 1/40 th
to 1/5 th. In 1294, this tax was bifurcated into one percentage amount
for the rural districts and a higher one for urban districts, because
the burgesses had greater wealth and much of it was hard to uncover
because it was in the possession of customers and debtors. It was
usually 1/10 th for towns and royal domains and 1/15 th in the country.
This amount of money collected by this tax increased with the wealth of
the country.

        The king takes custody of lands of lunatics and idiots, as well
as escheats of land falling by descent to aliens. Henry III took 20s.
from his tenants-in-chief for the marriage of his daughter, and two
pounds for the knighting of his son.

        By 1250, the king was hiring soldiers at 2s. per day for
knights, and 9d. a day for less heavily armed soldiers, and 6d. a day
for crossbowmen. Some castle-guard was done by watchmen hired at 2d. a
day. Ships were impressed when needed. Sometimes private ships were
authorized to ravage the French coasts and take what spoil they could.

        While King Henry III was underage, there was much controversy
as to who should be his ministers of state, such as justiciar,
chancellor, and treasurer. This led to the concept that they should not
be chosen by the king alone. After he came of age, elected men from the
baronage fought to have meetings and his small council in several
conferences called great councils or parliaments (from French "to speak
the mind") to discuss the levying of taxes and the solution of
difficult legal cases, the implementation of the Magna Carta, the
appointment of the king's ministers and sheriffs, and the receipt and
consideration of petitions. The barons paid 1/30 the tax on their
personal property to have three barons of their choice added to the
council. Statutes were enacted. Landholders were given the duty of
electing four of their members in every county to ensure that the
sheriff observed the law and to report his misdemeanors to the
justiciar. They were also given the duty of electing four men from the
county from whom the exchequer was to choose the sheriff of the year.
Earl Montfort and certain barons forced King Henry III to summon a
great council or parliament in 1265 in which the common people were
represented officially by two knights from every county, two burgesses
from every borough, and two representatives from each major port. So
the King's permanent small council became a separate body from
parliament and its members took a specific councilor's oath in 1257 to
give faithful counsel, to keep secrecy, to prevent alienation of
ancient demesne, to procure justice for the rich and poor, to allow
justice to be done on themselves and their friends, to abstain from
gifts and misuse of patronage and influence, and to be faithful to the
queen and to the heir.

                       The Law

        The barons forced successive Kings to sign the Magna Carta
until it became the law of the land. It became the first statute of the
official statute book. Its provisions express the principle that a king
is bound by the law and is not above it. However, there is no redress
if the king breaches the law.

        The Magna Carta was issued by John in 1215. A revised version
was issued by Henry III in 1225 with the forest clauses separated out
into a forest charter. The two versions are replicated together, with
the formatting of each indicated in the titles below.

                {Magna Carta - 1215}
             Magna Carta - 1215 & 1225
                 MAGNA CARTA - 1225

{John, by the grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of
Normandy and Aquitaine, and Count of Anjou: To the Archbishops,
Bishops, Abbots, Earls, Barons, Justiciaries, Foresters, Sheriffs,
Reeves, Ministers, and all Bailiffs and others, his faithful subjects,
Greeting. Know ye that in the presence of God, and for the health of
our soul, and the souls of our ancestors and heirs, to the honor of
God, and the exaltation of Holy Church, and amendment of our realm, by
the advice of our reverend Fathers, Stephen, Archbishop of Canterbury,
Primate of all England, and Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church; Henry,
Archbishop of Dublin; William of London, Peter of Winchester, Jocelin
of Bath and Glastonbury, Hugh of Lincoln, Walter of Worcester, William
of Coventry, and Benedict of Rochester, Bishops; Master Pandulph, the
pope's subdeacon and familiar; Brother Aymeric, Master of the Knights
of the Temple in England; and the noble persons, William Marshall, Earl
of Pembroke; William, Earl of Salisbury; William, Earl of Warren;
William, Earl of Arundel; Alan de Galloway, Constable of Scotland;
Warin Fitz-Gerald, Peter Fitz-Herbert, Hubert de Burgh, Seneshal of
Poitou, Hugh de Neville, Matthew Fitz-Herbert, Thomas Basset, Alan
Basset, Philip Daubeny, Robert de Roppelay, John Marshall, John
Fitz-Hugh, and others, our liegemen:}




First, we have granted to God, and by this our present Charter
confirmed, for us and our heirs forever, that the English Church shall
be free and enjoy her whole rights and her liberties inviolable. {And
that we will this so to be observed appears from the fact that we of
our own free will, before the outbreak of the dissensions between us
and our barons, granted, confirmed, and procured to be confirmed by
Pope Innocent III the freedom of elections, which is considered most
important and necessary to the English Church, which Charter we will
both keep ourself and will it to be kept with good faith by our heirs
forever.} We have also granted to all the free men of our realm, for us
and our heirs forever, all the liberties underwritten, to have and to
hold to them and their heirs of us and our heirs.


If any of our earls, barons, or others who hold of us in chief by
knight's service dies, and at the time of his death his heir is of full
age and owes to us a relief, he shall have his inheritance on payment
of [no more than] the old relief; to wit, the heir or heirs of an earl,
for an entire earldom, 100 pounds [2,000s.]; the heir or heirs of a
baron of an entire barony, {100 pounds} 100 MARKS; the heir or heirs of
an entire knight's fee, 100s. at the most [about 1/3 of a knight's
annual income]; and he who owes less shall give less, according to the
old custom of fees.


however, any such heir is under age and in ward, he shall have his
inheritance without relief or fine when he comes of age, THAT IS,


The guardian of the land of any heir thus under age shall take
therefrom only reasonable issues, customs, and services, without
destruction or waste of men or goods. And if we commit the custody of
any such land to the sheriff or any other person answerable to us for
the issues of the same land, and he commits destruction or waste, we
will take an amends from him and recompense therefore. And the land
shall be committed to two lawful and discreet men of that fee, who
shall be answerable for the issues of the same land to us or to
whomsoever we shall have assigned them. And if we give or sell the
custody of any such land to any man, and he commits destruction or
waste, he shall lose the custody, which shall be committed to two
lawful and discreet men of that fee, who shall, in like manner, be
answerable to us as has been aforesaid.


The guardian, so long as he shall have the custody of the land, shall
keep up and maintain the houses, parks, fishponds, pools, mills, and
other things pertaining thereto, out of the issues of the same, and
shall restore to the heir when he comes of age, all his land stocked
with {ploughs and tillage, according as the season may require and the
issues of the land can reasonably bear} PLOUGHS AND ALL OTHER THINGS,


Heirs shall be married without loss of station. {And the marriage shall
be made known to the heir's nearest of kin before it is agreed.}

(period of forty days during which the widow has a privilege of
remaining in the mansion house of which her husband died seized). THE

A widow, after the death of her husband, shall immediately and without
difficulty have her marriage portion [property given to her by her
father] and inheritance. She shall not give anything for her marriage
portion, dower, or inheritance which she and her husband held on the
day of his death, and she may remain in her husband's house for forty
days after his death, within which time her dower shall be assigned to

No widow shall be compelled [by penalty of fine] to marry so long as
she has a mind to live without a husband, provided, however, that she
gives security that she will not marry without our assent, if she holds
of us, or that of the lord of whom she holds, if she holds of another.


Neither we nor our bailiffs shall seize any land or rent for any debt
as long as the debtor's goods and chattels suffice to pay the debt AND
debtor's sureties be distrained as long as the debtor is able to pay
the debt. If the debtor fails to pay, not having the means to pay, OR
WILL NOT PAY ALTHOUGH ABLE TO PAY, then the sureties shall answer the
debt. And, if they desire, they shall hold the debtor's lands and rents
until they have received satisfaction of that which they had paid for
him, unless the debtor can show that he has discharged his obligation
to them.

{If anyone who has borrowed from the Jews any sum of money, great or
small, dies before the debt has been paid, the heir shall pay no
interest on the debt as long as he remains under age, of whomsoever he
may hold. If the debt falls into our hands, we will take only the
principal sum named in the bond.}

{And if any man dies indebted to the Jews, his wife shall have her
dower and pay nothing of that debt; if the deceased leaves children
under age, they shall have necessaries provided for them in keeping
with the estate of the deceased, and the debt shall be paid out of the
residue, saving the service due to the deceased's feudal lords. So
shall it be done with regard to debts owed persons other than Jews.}


The City of London shall have all her old liberties and free customs,
both by land and water. Moreover, we will and grant that all other
cities, boroughs, towns, and ports shall have all their liberties and
free customs.

{No scutage or aid shall be imposed in our realm unless by common
counsel thereof, except to ransom our person, make our eldest son a
knight, and once to marry our eldest daughter, and for these only a
reasonable aid shall be levied. So shall it be with regard to aids from
the City of London.}

{To obtain the common counsel of the realm concerning the assessment of
aids (other than in the three aforesaid cases) or of scutage, we will
have the archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, and great barons
individually summoned by our letters; we will also have our sheriffs
and bailiffs summon generally all those who hold lands directly of us,
to meet on a fixed day, but with at least forty days' notice, and at a
fixed place. In all such letters of summons, we will explain the reason
therefor. After summons has thus been made, the business shall proceed
on the day appointed, according to the advice of those who are present,
even though not all the persons summoned have come.}

{We will not in the future grant permission to any man to levy an aid
upon his free men, except to ransom his person, make his eldest son a
knight, and once to marry his eldest daughter, and on each of these
occasions only a reasonable aid shall be levied.}


No man shall be compelled to perform more service for a knight's fee
nor any freehold than is due therefrom.


People who have Common Pleas shall not follow our Court traveling about
the realm, but shall be heard in some certain place.


{Land assizes of novel disseisin, mort d'ancestor and darrein
presentment shall be heard only in the county where the property is
situated, and in this manner: We or, if we are not in the realm, our
Chief Justiciary, shall send two justiciaries through each county four
times a year [to clear and prevent backlog], and they, together with
four knights elected out of each county by the people thereof, shall
hold the said assizes in the county court, on the day and in the place
where that court meets.}


{If the said assizes cannot be held on the day appointed, so many of
the knights and freeholders as were present on that day shall remain as
will be sufficient for the administration of justice, according to the
amount of business to be done.}





A freeman shall be amerced [made to pay a fine to the King] for a small
offense only according to the degree thereof, and for a serious offense
according to its magnitude, saving his position and livelihood; and in
like manner a merchant, saving his trade and merchandise, and a villein
saving his tillage, if they should fall under our mercy. None of these
amercements shall be imposed except by the oath of honest men of the

Earls and barons shall be amerced only by their peers, and only in
accordance with the seriousness of the offense.

{No amercement shall be imposed upon a cleric's lay tenement, except in
the manner of the other persons aforesaid, and without regard to the
value of his ecclesiastical benefice.}



No town or freeman shall be compelled to build bridges over rivers OR
BANKS except those bound by old custom and law to do so.




No sheriff, constable, coroners, or other of our bailiffs shall hold
pleas of our Crown [but only justiciars, to prevent disparity of
punishments and corruption].

{All counties, hundreds, wapentakes, and tithings (except our demesne
manors) shall remain at the old rents, without any increase.}


If anyone holding a lay fee of us dies, and our sheriff or our bailiff
show our letters patent [public letter from a sovereign or one in
authority] of summons for a debt due to us from the deceased, it shall
be lawful for such sheriff or bailiff to attach and list the goods and
chattels of the deceased found in the lay fee to the value of that
debt, by the sight and testimony of lawful men [to prevent taking too
much], so that nothing thereof shall be removed therefrom until our
whole debt is paid; then the residue shall be given up to the executors
to carry out the will of the deceased. If there is no debt due from him
to us, all his chattels shall remain the property of the deceased,
saving to his wife and children their reasonable shares.

{If any freeman dies intestate, his chattels shall be distributed by
his nearest kinfolk and friends, under supervision of the Church,
saving to each creditor the debts owed him by the deceased.}


No constable or other of our bailiffs shall take grain or other
chattels of any man without immediate payment, unless the seller
voluntarily consents to postponement of payment. THIS APPLIES IF THE
40 DAYS.


No constable shall compel any knight to give money for keeping of his
castle in lieu of castle-guard when the knight is willing to perform it
in person or, if reasonable cause prevents him from performing it
himself, by some other fit man. Further, if we lead or send him into
military service, he shall be excused from castle-guard for the time he
remains in service by our command.


No sheriff or bailiff of ours, or any other man, shall take horses or
carts of any freeman for carriage without the owner's consent. HE SHALL

Neither we nor our bailiffs will take another man's wood for our
castles or for other of our necessaries without the owner's consent.


We will hold the lands of persons convicted of felony for only a year
and a day [to remove the chattels and movables], after which they shall
be restored to the lords of the fees.


All fishweirs [obstructing navigation] shall be entirely removed by the
Thames and Medway rivers, and throughout England, except upon the


The [royal] writ called "praecipe in capite" [for tenements held in
chief of the Crown] shall not in the future be granted to anyone
respecting any freehold if thereby a freeman [who has a mesne lord] may
not be tried in his lord's court.


There shall be one measure of wine throughout our realm, one measure of
ale, and one measure of grain, to wit, the London quarter, and one
breadth of dyed cloth, russets, and haberjets, to wit, two {ells} YARDS
within the selvages. As with measures so shall it also be with weights.


Henceforth nothing shall be given or taken for a writ of inquisition
upon life or limb, but it shall be granted freely and not denied.


If anyone holds of us by fee farm, socage, or burgage, and also holds
land of another by knight's service, we will not by reason of that fee
farm, socage, or burgage have the wardship of his heir, or the land
which belongs to another man's fee. Nor will we have the custody of
such fee farm, socage, or burgage unless such fee farm owe knight's
service. We will not have the wardship of any man's heir, or the land
which he holds of another by knight's service, by reason of any petty
serjeanty which he holds of us by service of rendering us knives,
arrows, or the like.


In the future no [royal] bailiff shall upon his own unsupported
accusation put any man to trial or oath without producing credible
witnesses to the truth of the accusation.


No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised OF HIS FREEHOLD OR
LIBERTIES OR FREE CUSTOMS, OR BE outlawed, banished, or in any way
ruined, nor will we prosecute or condemn him, except by the lawful
judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.

To no one will we sell [by bribery], to none will we deny or delay,
right or justice.


All merchants shall have safe conduct to go and come out of and into
England, and to stay in and travel through England by land and water,
to buy and sell, without evil tolls, in accordance with old and just
customs, except, in time of war, such merchants as are of a country at
war with us. If any such be found in our realm at the outbreak of war,
they shall be detained, without harm to their bodies or goods, until it
be known to us or our Chief Justiciary how our merchants are being
treated in the country at war with us. And if our merchants are safe
there, then theirs shall be safe with us.

{Henceforth anyone, saving his allegiance due to us, may leave our
realm and return safely and securely by land and water, except for a
short period in time of war, for the common benefit of the realm.}


If anyone dies holding of any escheat, such as the honor of
Wallingford, Nottingham, Boulogne, {Lancaster,} or other escheats which
are in our hands and are baronies, his heir shall not give any relief
or do any service to us other than he would owe to the baron, if such
barony had been in the baron's hands. And we will hold the escheat in
the same manner in which the baron held it. NOR SHALL WE HAVE, BY

Persons dwelling outside the forest [in the county] need not in the
future come before our justiciaries of the forest in answer to a
general summons unless they are impleaded or are sureties for any
person or persons attached for breach of forest laws.



{We will appoint as justiciaries, constables, sheriffs, or bailiffs
only such men as know the law of the land and will keep it well.}


All barons who had founded abbeys of which they have charters of
English Kings or old tenure, shall have the custody of the same when
vacant, as is their due.

All forests which have been created in our time shall forthwith be
disafforested. {So shall it be done with regard to river banks which
have been enclosed by fences in our time.}

{All evil customs concerning forests and warrens [livestock grounds in
forests], foresters and warreners, sheriffs and their officers, or
riverbanks and their conservators shall be immediately investigated in
each county by twelve sworn knights of such county, who are chosen by
honest men of that county, and shall within forty days after this
inquest be completely and irrevocably abolished, provided always that
the matter has first been brought to our knowledge, or that of our
justiciars, if we are not in England.}

{We will immediately return all hostages and charters delivered to us
by Englishmen as security for the peace or for the performance of loyal

{We will entirely remove from their offices the kinsmen of Gerald de
Athyes, so that henceforth they shall hold no office in England:
Engelard de Cigogne, Peter, Guy, and Andrew de Chanceaux, Guy de
Cigogne, Geoffrey de Martigny and his brothers, Philip Mark and his
brothers, and Geoffrey his nephew, and all their followers.}

{As soon as peace is restored, we will banish from our realm all
foreign knights, crossbowmen, sergeants, and mercenaries, who have come
with horses and arms, to the hurt of the realm.}

{If anyone has been disseised or deprived by us, without the legal
judgment of his peers, of lands, castles, liberties, or rights, we will
immediately restore the same, and if any disagreement arises on this,
the matter shall be decided by judgment of the twenty- five barons
mentioned below in the clause for securing the peace. With regard to
all those things, however, of which any man was disseised or deprived,
without the legal judgment of his peers, by King Henry [II] our Father
or our Brother King Richard, and which remain in our hands or are held
by others under our warranty, we shall have respite during the term
commonly allowed to the Crusaders, excepting those cases in which a
plea was begun or inquest made on our order before we took the cross;
when, however, we return from our pilgrimage, or if perhaps we do not
undertake it, we will at once do full justice in these matters.}

{Likewise, we shall have the same respite in rendering justice with
respect to the disafforestation or retention of those forests which
Henry [II] our Father or Richard our Brother afforested, and concerning
custodies of lands which are of the fee of another, which we hitherto
have held by reason of the fee which some person has held of us by
knight's service, and to abbeys founded on fees other than our own, in
which the lord of that fee asserts his right. When we return from our
pilgrimage, or if we do not undertake it, we will forthwith do full
justice to the complainants in these matters.}


No one shall be arrested or imprisoned upon a woman's appeal for the
death of any person other than her husband [since no woman was expected
to personally engage in trial by combat].





{All fines unjustly and unlawfully given to us, and all amercements
levied unjustly and against the law of the land, shall be entirely
remitted or the matter decided by judgment of the twenty-five barons
mentioned below in the clause for securing the peace, or the majority
of them, together with the aforesaid Stephen, Archbishop of Canterbury,
if he himself can be present, and any others whom he may wish to bring
with him for the purpose; if he cannot be present, the business shall
nevertheless proceed without him. If any one or more of the said
twenty-five barons has an interest in a suit of this kind, he or they
shall step down for this particular judgment, and be replaced by
another or others, elected and sworn by the rest of the said barons,
for this occasion only.}

{If we have disseised or deprived the Welsh of lands, liberties, or
other things, without legal judgment of their peers, in England or
Wales, they shall immediately be restored to them, and if a
disagreement arises thereon, the question shall be determined in the
Marches by judgment of their peers according to the law of England as
to English tenements, the law of Wales as to Welsh tenements, the law
of the Marches as to tenements in the Marches. The same shall the Welsh
do to us and ours.}

{But with regard to all those things of which any Welshman was
disseised or deprived, without legal judgment of his peers, by King
Henry [II] our Father or our Brother King Richard, and which we hold in
our hands or others hold under our warranty, we shall have respite
during the term commonly allowed to the Crusaders, except as to those
matters whereon a suit had arisen or an inquisition had been taken by
our command prior to our taking the cross. Immediately after our return
from our pilgrimage, or if by chance we do not undertake it, we will do
full justice according to the laws of the Welsh and the aforesaid

{We will immediately return the son of Llywelyn, all the Welsh
hostages, and the charters which were delivered to us as security for
the peace.}

{With regard to the return of the sisters and hostages of Alexander,
King of the Scots, and of his liberties and rights, we will do the same
as we would with regard to our other barons of England, unless it
appears by the charters which we hold of William his father, late King
of the Scots, that it ought to be otherwise; this shall be determined
by judgment of his peers in our court.}



{All the customs and liberties aforesaid, which we have granted to be
enjoyed, as far as it pertains to us towards our people throughout our
realm, let all our subjects, whether clerics or laymen, observe, as far
as it pertains toward their dependents.}



{Whereas we, for the honor of God and the reform of our realm, and in
order the better to allay the discord arisen between us and our barons,
have granted all these things aforesaid. We, willing that they be
forever enjoyed wholly and in lasting strength, do give and grant to
our subjects the following security, to wit, that the barons shall
elect any twenty-five barons of the realm they wish, who shall, with
their utmost power, keep, hold, and cause to be kept the peace and
liberties which we have granted unto them and by this our present
Charter have confirmed, so that if we, our Justiciary, bailiffs, or any
of our ministers offends in any respect against any man, or
transgresses any of these articles of peace or security, and the
offense is brought before four of the said twenty-five barons, those
four barons shall come before us, or our Chief Justiciary if we are out
of the realm, declaring the offense, and shall demand speedy amends for
the same. If we or, in case of our being out of the realm, our Chief
Justiciary fails to afford redress within forty days from the time the
case was brought before us or, in the event of our having been out of
the realm, our Chief Justiciary, the aforesaid four barons shall refer
the matter to the rest of the twenty-five barons, who, together with
the commonalty of the whole country, shall distrain and distress us to
the utmost of their power, to wit, by capture of our castles, lands,
and possessions and by all other possible means, until compensation is
made according to their decision, saving our person and that of our
Queen and children; as soon as redress has been had, they shall return
to their former allegiance. Anyone in the realm may take oath that, for
the accomplishment of all the aforesaid matters, he will obey the
orders of the said twenty-five barons and distress us to the utmost of
his power; and we give public and free leave to everyone wishing to
take oath to do so, and to none will we deny the same. Moreover, all
such of our subjects who do not of their own free will and accord agree
to swear to the said twenty-five barons, to distrain and distress us
together with them, we will compel to do so by our command in the
aforesaid manner. If any one of the twenty-five barons dies or leaves
the country or is in any way hindered from executing the said office,
the rest of the said twenty-five barons shall choose another in his
stead, at their discretion, who shall be sworn in like manner as the
others. In all cases which are referred to the said twenty-five barons
to execute, and in which a difference arises among them, supposing them
all to be present, or in which not all who have been summoned are
willing or able to appear, the verdict of the majority shall be
considered as firm and binding as if the whole number had been of one
mind. The aforesaid twenty-five shall swear to keep faithfully all the
aforesaid articles and, to the best of their power, to cause them to be
kept by others. We will not procure, either by ourself or any other,
anything from any man whereby any of these concessions or liberties may
be revoked or abated. If any such procurement is made, let it be null
and void; it shall never be made use of either by us or by any other.}


{We have also fully forgiven and pardoned all ill-will, wrath, and
malice which has arisen between us and our subjects, both clergy and
laymen, during the disputes, to and with all men. Moreover, we have
fully forgiven and, as far as it pertains to us, wholly pardoned to and
with all, clergy and laymen, all offenses made in consequence of the
said disputes from Easter in the sixteenth year of our reign until the
restoration of peace. Over and above this, we have caused letters
patent to be made for Stephen, Archbishop of Canterbury, Henry,
Archbishop of Dublin, the above-mentioned Bishops, and Master Pandulph,
for the aforesaid security and concessions.}

{Wherefore we will that, and firmly command that, the English Church
shall be free and all men in our realm shall have and hold all the
aforesaid liberties, rights, and concessions, well and peaceably,
freely, quietly, fully, and wholly, to them and their heirs, of us and
our heirs, in all things and places forever, as is aforesaid. It is
moreover sworn, as will on our part as on the part of the barons, that
all these matters aforesaid shall be kept in good faith and without
deceit. Witness the above-named and many others. Given by our hand in
the meadow which is called Runnymede, between Windsor and Staines, on
the fifteenth day of June in the seventeenth year of our reign.}



        Felonies are serious crimes which can be punished by loss of
life or member. By common law, they now consist of homicide, mayhem,
wounding, false imprisonment, arson, rape, robbery, burglary, and
larceny. A felon's lands go to his lord or to the king and his chattels
are confiscated. If a man accused of felony flies, he can be outlawed.
Treason was a special felony, which was punishable by hanging after
being drawn behind a horse along the rough road to the gibbet. Petty
treason was treason to one's lord and included adultery with the lord's
wife, violation of his daughter, and forgery of his seal. High treason
was to the king and include clipping of the king's coin and making
counterfeit money.  A traitor's land was forfeited to the king. Treason
had no benefit of clergy.

Statutes which were enacted after the Magna Carta follow:

        Nuisance is recognized by this statute: "Every freeman, without
danger, shall make in his own wood, or in his land, or in his water,
which he has within our Forest, mills, springs, pools, clay pits,
dikes, or arable ground, so that it does not annoy any of his

        Anyone taking a widow's dower after her husband's death must
not only return the dower, but pay damages in the amount of the value
of the dower from the time of death of the husband until her recovery
of seisin.

        Widows may bequeath the crop of their ground as well of their
dowers as of their other lands and tenements.

        Freeholders of tenements on manors shall have sufficient
ingress and egress from their tenements to the common pasture and as
much pasture as suffices for their tenements.

        "Grain shall not be taken under the pretense of borrowing or
the promise of after-payment without the permission of the owner."

        "A parent or other who forcefully leads away and withholds, or
marries off, an heir who is a minor (under 14), shall yield the value
of the marriage and be imprisoned until he has satisfied the king for
the trespass. If an heir 14 years or older marries without his Lord's
permission to defraud him of the marriage and the Lord offers him
reasonable and convenient marriage, without disparagement, then the
Lord shall hold his land beyond the term of his age, that, of twenty
one years, so long that he may receive double the value of the marriage
as estimated by lawful men, or after as it has been offered before
without fraud or collusion, and after as it may be proved in the King's
Court. Any Lord who marries off a ward of his who is a minor and cannot
consent to marriage, to a villain or other, such as a burgess, whereby
the ward is disparaged, shall lose the wardship and all its profits if
the ward's friends complain of the Lord. The wardship and profit shall
be converted to the use of the heir, for the shame done to him, after
the disposition and provision of his friends." (The "marriage" could be
annulled by the church.)

        "If an heir of whatever age will not marry at the request of
his Lord, he shall not be compelled thereunto; but when he comes of
age, he shall pay to his Lord the value of the marriage before
receiving his land, whether or not he himself marries."

        "Interest shall not run against any minor, from the time of
death of his ancestor until his lawful age; so nevertheless, that the
payment of the principal debt, with the interest that was before the
death of his ancestor shall not remain."

        The value of debts to be repaid to the king or to any man shall
be reasonably determined by the debtor's neighbors and not by
strangers. A debtors' plough cattle or sheep cannot be taken to satisfy
a debt.

        The wards and escheats of the king shall be surveyed yearly by
three people assigned by the King. The sheriffs, by their counsel,
shall approve and let to farm such wards and escheats as they think
most profitable for the King. The Sheriffs shall be answerable for the
issues thereof in the Exchequer at designated times. The collectors of
the customs on wool exports shall pay this money at the two designated
times and shall make yearly accounts of all parcels in ports and all

        By statute leap year was standardized throughout the nation,
"the day increasing in the leap year shall be accounted in that year",
"but it shall be taken and reckoned in the same month wherein it grew
and that day and the preceding day shall be counted as one day."

        "An English penny [1 d.], called a sterling, round and without
any clipping, shall weigh 32 wheat grains dry in the middle of the ear."

        Measurements of distance were standardized to twelve inches to
a foot, three feet to a yard, and so forth up to an acre of land.

        Goods which could only be sold by the standard weights and
measures (such as ounces, pounds, gallons, bushels) included sacks of
wool, leather, skins, ropes, glass, iron, lead, canvas, linen cloth,
tallow, spices, confections cheese, herrings, sugar, pepper, cinnamon,
nutmeg, wheat, barley, oats, bread, and ale. The prices required for
bread and ale were based on the market price for the wheat, barley, and
oats from which they were made.

        The punishment for repeated violations of required measures,
weights, or prices of bread and ale by a baker or brewer; selling of
spoiled or unwholesome wine, meat, fish by brewers, butchers, or cooks;
or a steward or bailiff receiving a bribe was reduced to placement in a
pillory with a shaven head so that these men would still be fit for
military service and not overcrowd the gaols.

        Forest penalties were changed so that "No man shall lose either
life or member [limb] for killing of our deer. But if any man be taken
and convicted for taking our venison, he shall make a grievous fine, if
he has anything. And if he has nothing to lose, he shall be imprisoned
for a year and a day. And after that, if he can find sufficient
sureties, he shall be delivered, and, if not, he shall abjure the realm
of England."

        The Forest Charter provided that: Every freeman may allow his
pigs to eat in his own wood in the King's forest. He may also drive his
pigs through the King's forest and tarry one night within the forest
without losing any of his pigs. But people having greyhounds must keep
them out of the forest so they don't maim the deer.

        The Forest Charter also allowed magnates traveling through the
King's forest on the King's command to come to him, to kill one or two
deer as long as it was in view of the forester if he was present, or
while having a horn blown, so it did not seem to be theft.

        After a period of civil war, the following statutes were

"All persons, as well of high as of low estate, shall receive justice
in the King's Court; and none shall take any such revenge or distress
by his own authority, without award of our court, although he is
damaged or injured, whereby he would have amends of his neighbor either
higher or lower." The penalty is a fine according to the trespass.

A fraudulent conveyance to a minor or lease for a term of years made to
defraud a Lord of a wardship shall be void. A Lord who maliciously and
wrongfully alleges this to a court shall pay damages and costs.

If a Lord will not render unto an heir his land when he comes of age or
takes possession away from an heir of age or removes anything from the
land, he shall pay damages. (The king retained the right to take
possession of an heir's land for a year or, in lieu of this, to take
one year's profit from the land in addition to the relief.)

Kinsmen of a minor heir who have custody of his land held in socage
shall make no waste, sale, nor destruction of the inheritance and shall
answer to the heir when he comes of age for the issues of the land,
except for the reasonable costs of these guardians.

No lord may distrain any of his tenants. No one may drive animals taken
by distraint out of the county where they have been taken.

"Farmers during their terms, shall not make waste, sale, nor exile of
house, woods, and men, nor of any thing else belonging to the tenements
which they have to farm".

        Church law required that planned marriages be publicly
announced [banns]by the priest so that any impediment could be made
known. If a marriage was clandestine or both parties knew of an
impediment, or it was within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity,
the children would be illegitimate. According to church rules, a man
could bequeath his personal property subject to certain family rights.
These were that if only the wife survived, she received half the
property. Similarly, if children survived, but no wife, they received
half the property. When the wife and children survived, each party
received one third. The church hoped that the remaining fraction would
go to the church as a reward for praying for the deceased's soul. It
taught that dying without a will was sinful. Adults were to confess
their sins at least yearly to their parish priest, which confession
would be confidential.

Ecclesiastical offenses included fornication, adultery, incest, and
bigamy, for which the punishment was usually whipping or a money
payment. Heresy and sorcery were so infrequent that there was no
machinery aptly suited for their suppression.

        Henry de Bracton, a royal justice and the last great
ecclesiastical attorney, wrote an unfinished treatise: A Tract on the
Laws and Customs of England, systematizing and organizing the law of
the court rolls with definitions and general concepts and describing
court practice and procedure. It was influenced by his knowledge of
Roman legal concepts, such as res judicata, and by his own opinions,
such as that the law should go from precedent to precedent. He also
argued that the will and intent to injure was the essence of murder, so
that neither an infant nor a madman should be held liable for such and
that degrees of punishment should vary with the level of moral guilt in
a killing. He thought the deodand to be unreasonable.

        Bracton defines the requirements of a valid and effective gift,
still applicable in 2000, as: "It must be complete and absolute, free
and uncoerced, extorted neither by fear nor through force. Let money or
service play no part, lest it fall into the category of purchase and
sale, for if money is involved there will then be a sale, and if
service, the remuneration for it. If a gift is to be valid the donor
must be of full age, for if a minor makes a gift it will be ineffective
since (if he so wishes) it shall be returned to him in its entirety
when he reaches full age. Also let the donor hold in his own name and
not another's, otherwise his gift may be revoked. And let him, at the
least, be of sound mind and good memory, though an invalid, ill and on
his death bed, for a gift make under such conditions will be good if
all the other [requirements] of a valid gift are met. For no one,
provided he is of good memory, ought to be kept from the administration
or disposition of his own property when affected by infirmity, since it
is only then that he must make provision for his family, his household
and relations, given stipends and settle his bequests; otherwise such
persons might suffer damage without fault. But since charters are
sometimes fraudulently drawn and gifts falsely taken to be made when
they are not, recourse must therefore be had to the country and the
neighborhood so that the truth may be declared."

        In Bracton's view, a villein could buy his own freedom and the
child of a mixed marriage was free unless he was born in the tenement
of his villein parent.

               Judicial Procedure

        The Royal Court spawned several courts with different
specialties and became more like departments of state than offices of
the King's household. The justices were career civil servants
knowledgeable in the civil and canon law. The Court of the King's Bench
(a marble slab in Westminster upon which the throne was placed)
traveled with the king and primarily heard criminal cases and pleas of
the Crown. Any use of force, however trivial, was interpreted as breach
of the royal peace and could be brought before the King's Bench. Its
records were the coram rege rolls. The Court of Common Pleas primarily
heard civil cases brought by one subject against another. Pursuant to
the Magna Carta, it sat only at one place, the Great Hall in
Westminster. It had concurrent jurisdiction with the King's Bench over
trespass cases. Its records were the de banco rolls. The Court of the
Exchequer with its subsidiary department of the Treasury was in almost
permanent session at Westminster, primarily collecting the Crown's
revenue and enforcing the Crown's rights. A department of the Exchequer
watched over the affairs of the Jews. There was no sharp line demarking
the jurisdictions of these courts. No pleas could be brought against
the king; rather a petition was addressed to him, which he would answer
by an executive writ.

        Appeals from these courts could be made to the king and/or his
small council. In 1234, the justiciar as the principal royal executive
officer and chief presiding officer over the Royal Court ended. In
1268, a chief justiciar was appointed to hold pleas before the king.
About the same time the presiding justice of the Court of Common Pleas
also came to be styled chief justice. Henceforth, a justiciar was a
royal officer who dealt only with judicial work. The justiciars were no
longer statesmen or politicians, but rather men learned in the law.

        Membership in or attendance at the great council or parliament
no longer rested upon feudal tenure, but upon a writ of summons which
was, to a degree, dependent on the royal will.

        Crown pleas included issues of the King's property, fines due
to him, murder (a body found with no witnesses to a killing), homicide
(a killing for which there were witnesses), rape, wounding, mayhem,
consorting, larceny, robbery, burglary, arson, poaching, unjust
imprisonment, selling cloth by nonstandard widths, selling wine by
nonstandard weights. Crown causes were pled by the king's serjeants or
servants at law, who were not clerics. Apprentices at law learned
pleading from them.

        Between the proprietary action and the possessory assizes there
is growing use in the king's courts of writs of entry, by which a
tenant may be ordered to give up land, e.g. by a recent flaw in a
tenant's title, for a term which has expired, by a widow for her late
husband's land, or by an heir who has become of full age from his
guardian. For instance: " ...Command Tertius that ... he render to
Claimant, who is of full age, as it is said, ten acres ...which he
claims to be his right and inheritance and into which the said Tertius
has no entry save by Secundus, to whom Primus demised [gaged] them, who
had only the wardship thereof while the aforesaid Claimant was under
age, as he says...". But most litigation about land is still through
the writ of right for proprietary issues and the assizes of novel
disseisin and mort d'ancestor for possessory issues. Actions for debt;
covenant; and account, e.g by a lord to his bailiff and receiver of his
money, were actions in the king's court.

        Royal itinerant justices, who were members of the royal courts,
traveled on eyre on regular circuits to the counties every seven years.
They had an administrative function as well as a judicial function.
They gave interrogatories to local assizes of twelve men to determine
what had happened there since the last eyre. Information was aquired on
royal proprietary rights, escheats, wardships, treasury matters, and
official misdoings of royal officers, sheriffs, coroners, and bailiffs,
which could be dealt with in an administrative way. (These
administrative duties ceased in the first half of the 1300s.) All
boroughs had to send twelve burgesses who were to indict any burgesses
suspected of breaking the royal law. Every crime, every invasion of
royal rights, and every neglect of police duties was to be presented
and tried. Suspects were held in gaol until their cases could be heard
and gaol breaks were common. Punishment after trial was prison for
serious crimes, expulsion from the realm for less serious crimes, and
pledges for good behavior for lesser crimes. Fines and amercements both
for individual criminal offenses and local communities' faults brought
revenue into the Exchequer as profits of justice. The king could
increase fines and amercements or pardon a person found guilty. The
visitation of these justices was anticipated with trepidation. In 1237,
the residents of Cornwall hid in the woods rather than face the
itinerant justices. (The court of the justices in eyre lasted until

        Royal coroners held inquests on all sudden deaths to determine
whether they were accidental or not. If not, royal justices held trial.
They also had duties in treasure trove and shipwreck cases.

        Justices of assize, Justices of the Peace, and itinerant
justices operated at the county level. The traditional county courts
had lost much jurisdiction to the royal courts and were now limited to
personal actions in causes involving usually no more than 40s. The
great majority of cases had to do with 1) writ of right for recovery of
land, 2) the possessory assizes for the protection of possession, 3)
debt for recovery of money owed, such as rent 4) detinue for detention
of a chattel, such as beasts and 5) convenant for breach of a contract,
later to be limited to contracts under seal. There were also pleas of
trespass and claims of fugitive villeins and their goods, nuisances,
and encroachments. The action of trespass had broken free of the
criminal law, which had been divided into the two categories of felony
and trespass. But then the field of tort began to separate itself from
that of crime and the more serious trespasses remained criminal while
the less serious attached themselves to the civil sphere.

The sheriff still constitutes and conducts the court, assisted by
elected coroners. The earl of the county had little to do with its
court except to take one-third of its profits of justice.The county
court met every three or four weeks, usually in the sheriff's castle
located in the chief borough of the county, but some met in the open
air. It is attended by suitors, certain freeholders of the county who
are bound to attend it, that is, to do suit to it. They are the judges
of the court.

        The hundred court decided cases of theft, viewing of boundaries
of land, claims for tenurial services, claims for homage, relief, and
for wardship; enfeoffments made, battery and brawls not amounting to
felony, wounding and maiming of beasts, collection of debts, trespass,
detinue, and covenant, which now requires a sealed writing; defamation,
and inquiries and presentments arising from the assizes of bread and
ale and measures. The action of debt was used for five main purposes:
1) money lent, 2) the price of goods sold, 3) arrears of rent due upon
a lease for years, 4) money due from a surety, and 5) a debt confessed
by a sealed document. A paid bailiff had responsibility for the hundred
court, which met every three weeks. Freeholders of these hundreds owe
suit to it; these suitors are the judges.

        Twice a year the sheriff visited each hundred in the county to
hold a turn, a court for small offenses, such as encroachment of public
land, brewing and baking contrary to government regulations, and use of
dishonest weights and measures. Everyone who held freehold land in the
hundred except the greater magnates had to attend or be fined for
absence. The sheriff annually viewed frankpledge, in which every layman
without land that could be forfeited for felony, including villeins,
were checked for being in a tithing, a group of neighbors responsible
for each other's good conduct. This applied to every boy who had
reached the age of twelve. He had to swear on the Bible "I will be a
lawful man and bear loyalty to our lord the King and his heirs, and I
will be justiciable to my chief tithing man, so help me God and the
saints." Each tithing man paid a penny to the sheriff. The sheriff was
the judge in his turn. Coordinate with the sheriff's turn was a leet
court, which had private jurisdiction over the same small offences. If
a county or a hundred court gave a false judgment, it had to pay a fine.

        Manorial courts were those in which a lord had for his tenants.
It was presided over by the lord, or his steward, who decided the
outcomes of cases, with or without the villeins attending it, based on
the customs of the manor. It had a civil jurisdiction, and dealt
typically with land issues and minor offenses, such as, actions when
the amount at stake is less than 40 s., of debt, detinue, trespass and
covenant. 40s. was the equivalent of around 13 oxen or 80 sheep.
Usually, the lord's court had a single manor with a single vill.

        The cities and boroughs, having a degree of organization and
independence, had municipal courts whose jurisdiction was determined by
privileges.given by charter from the king or by prescription of ancient
origin. Court was held by the sheriff, and after a time by its mayor,
at the borough's weekly meeting of its burgesses. The burgesses would
take the profits of the court and the tolls and house-rents that had
been paid to the sheriff.

        Still in existence is the old self-help law of hamsocne, the
thief hand-habbende, the thief back-berend, the old summary procedure
where the thief is caught in the act, AEthelstan's laws, and Edward the
Confessor's laws. Under the name of "actio furti" [appeal of larceny]
is the old process by which a thief can be pursued and goods
vindicated. As before and for centuries later, deodands were forfeited
to the king to appease God's wrath. These chattel which caused the
death of a person were usually oxen, carts, cart teams, horses, boats,
cauldrons, or millwheels. Then they were forfeited to the community,
which paid the king their worth. Sometimes the justices named the
charitable purpose for which the deodand was to be spent, such as the
price of a boat to go to the repair of a bridge.

        Five cases from a county court are:

1)  "John Croc was drowned from his horse and cart in the water of
Bickney. Judgment: misadventure. The price of the horse and cart is
4s.6d. deodand."

2)  "Willam Ruffus was crushed to death by a certain trunk. The price
of the trunk is 4d., for which the sheriff is to answer. 4d. deodand."

3)  "William le Hauck killed Edric le Poter and fled, so he is -to be
exacted and outlawed. He was in the tithing of Reynold Horloc in
Clandon of the abbot of Chertsey (West Clandon), so it is in mercy. His
chattels were 4 s., for which the bailiff of the abbot of Chertsey is
to answer."

4)  "Richard de Bregsells, accused of larceny, comes and denies the
whole and puts himself on the country for good or ill. The twelve
jurors and four vills say that he is not guilty, -so he is quit."

5)  William le Wimpler and William Vintner sold wine contrary to the
statute, so they are in mercy.

        Other cases dealt with issues of entry, e.g. whether land was
conveyed or just rented; issues of whether a man was free, for which
his lineage was examined; issues of to which lord a villein belonged;
issues of nuisance such as making or destroying a bank, ditch, or
hedge; diverting a watercourse or damming it to make a pool;
obstructing a road, and issues of what grazing rights were conveyed in
pasture land, waste, woods, or arable fields between harvest and
sowing. Grazing right disputes usually arose from the ambiguous
language in the grant of land "with appurtenances".

        Courts awarded specific relief as well as money damages. If a
landlord broke his covenant to lease land for a term of years, the
court restored possession to the lessee. If a lord did not perform the
services due to his superior lord, the court ordered him to perform the
services. The courts also ordered repair by a lessee.

        Debts of country knights and freeholders were heard in the
local courts; debts of merchants and burgesses were heard in the courts
of the fairs and boroughs; debts due under wills and testaments were
heard in the ecclesiastical courts. The ecclesiastical courts deemed
marriage to legitimize bastard children whose parents married, so they
inherited personal property and money of their parents. Proof was by
compurgation. Church law required excommunication to be in writing with
the reasons therefore, and a copy given to the excommunicant. A church
judge was required to employ a notary or two men to write down all acts
of the judge and to give a copy to the parties to protect against
unjust judges. No cleric was allowed to pronounce or execute a sentence
of death or to take part in judicial tests or ordeals. Anyone knowingly
accepting a stolen article was required to restore it to its owner.
Heretics were to be excommunicated.

        Trial by combat is still available, although it is extremely
rare for it to take place. In the appeal of felony, when offered
combat, a defendant could choose between combat and recourse to a
verdict of his neighbors.

        The manor court imposed penalties on those who did not perform
their services to the manor and the lord wrote down the customs of the
manor for future use in other courts.

        By statute, no fines could be taken of any man for fair
pleading in the Circuit of Justiciars, county, hundred, or manor courts.

        Various statutes relaxed the requirements for attendance at
court of those who were not involved in a case as long as there were
enough to make the inquests fully. And "every freeman who owes suit to
the county, tything, hundred, and wapentake, or to the Court of his
Lord, may freely make his attorney attend for him." All above the rank
of knight were exempted from attendance on the sheriff's turn, unless
specifically summoned. Prelates and barons were generally excepted from
the county courts by the charters of their estates. Charters of
boroughs often excepted their representatives at the county court when
there were no justices. Some barons and knights paid the sheriff to be
excused. The king often relieved the simple knights by special license.
There was frequently a problem of not having enough knights to hold the
assizes. Henry III excused the attendance at hundred courts of all but
those who were bound to special service, or who were concerned in suits.

        Trespass has become a writ of course in the common law. It
still involves violence, but its element of breach of the peace extends
to those breaches which do not amount to felony. It can include assault
and battery, physical force to land, and physical force to chattels,
e.g. assaulting and beating the plaintiff, breaking into his close, or
carrying off his goods. One found guilty is fined and imprisoned. As in
criminal matters, if a defendant does not appear at court, his body can
be seized and imprisoned, and if he cannot be found, he may be
outlawed. Trespass to goods results in damages, rather than the return
of the goods.

        Various cases from the manors of the abbey of Bec in 1248-1249

 1. Ragenilda of Bec gives 2s. for having married without licence.
Pledge, William of Pinner. The same Ragenilda demands against Roger
Loft and Juliana his wife a certain messuage which belonged to Robert
le Beck, and a jury of -twelve lawful men is granted her in
consideration of the said fine, and if she recovers seisin she will
give in all 5s. And twelve jurors are elected, to wit, John of Hulle,
William Maureward, Robert Hale Walter But, Walter Sigar, William
Brihtwin, Richard Horseman, Richard Leofred, William John's son, Hugh
Cross, Richard Pontfret and Robert Croyser, John Bisuthe and Gilbert
Bisuthe who are sworn. And they say that the said Ragenilda has the
greater right. Therefore let her have seisin.

 2. Richard Guest gives 12d. and if he recovers will give 2s. to have a
jury of twelve lawful men as to whether he has the greater right in a
certain headland at Eastcot which Ragenilda widow of William Andrews
holds, or the said Ragenilda. Pledges for the fine, John Brook and
Richard of Pinner. And the said Ragenilda comes and says that she has
no power to bring that land into judgment because she has no right in
it save by reason of the wardship of the son and heir of her husband,
who is under age. And Richard is not able to deny this. Therefore let
him await [the heir's] full age.

 3. Walter Hulle gives 13s.4d. for licence to dwell on the land of the
Prior of Harmondsworth so long as he shall live and as a condition
finds pledges, to wit, William Slipper, John Bisuthe, Gilbert Bisuthe,
Hugh Tree, William John's son, John Hulle, who undertake that the said
Walter shall do to the lord all the services and customs which he would
do if he dwelt on the lord's land and that his heriot shall be secured
to the lord in case he dies there [i.e. at Harmondsworth].

 4. Geoffrey Sweyn demands the moiety of one virgate of land which John
Crisp and Alina Hele hold, and he gives 2s. to have a jury, and if he
recovers will give 20s. And the said jurors come and say upon their
oath that the said Geoffrey has no right in the said land. Therefore
let the said tenants go thence without day and let the said Geoffrey
pay 2s. Pledges, Hugh Bussel and Godfrey Francis.

 5. Juliana Saer's daughter demands as her right the moiety of one
messuage with a croft, which messuage William Snell and Goda his wife,
sister of the said Juliana hold. And they have made accord by leave [of
the court] to the effect that the said William and Goda give to the
said Juliana a barn and the curtilage nearest the Green and two selions
[a ridge of land between two furrows] in the western part of the said
croft [a small enclosed field]. And the said William put himself in
mercy. Fine, 12d.

 6. Hugh of Stanbridge complains of Gilbert Vicar's son and William of
Stanbridge that the wife of the said Gilbert who is of [Gilbert's]
mainpast and the said William unjustly etc. beat and unlawfully struck
him and dragged him by his hair out of his own proper house, to his
damage 40s. and to his dishonor 20s., and [of this] he produces suit.
And Gilbert and William come and defend all of it fully. Therefore let
each of them go to his law six-handed. Afterwards they make accord to
this effect that in case the said Hugh shall hereafter in any manner
offend against [Gilbert and William] and thereof shall be convicted he
will give the lord 6s.8d. by way of penalty and will make amends to
[Gilbert and William] according to the judgment of six lawful men, and
the others on their part will do the like by him. And Hugh put himself
in mercy. Fine, 3s. Pledges, John Tailor and Walter Brother.

 7. Breakers of the assize [of beer:] William Idle (fined 6d.), maud
carter's widow (6d.), Walter Carter.

 8. John Witriche in mercy for carrying off thorns. Fine, 6d.

 9. Robert Dochi in mercy (fine, 2d.) for divers trespasses. Pledges,
Gilbert Priest's son, Ralph Winbold and Walter Green.

10. Ailwin Crisp in mercy for his cow caught in the lord's pasture when
ward had been made. Fine, 12d.

11. John Bernard in mercy for his beasts caught by night in the lord's
meadow. Fine, 2s.

12. Richard Love gives 12d. to have a jury of twelve touching a rod of
land which Robert of Brockhole and Juliana his wife hold. This action
is respited to the next court [when the jurors are to come] without
further delay. Afterwards the jurors come and say upon their oath that
the said Richard has the greater right in the said land. Therefore let
him have seisin.

13. William Blackbeard in mercy for not coming with his law as he was
bound to do. Pledges, Geoffrey of Wick and Geoffrey Payn. Fine, 6d.

14. It was presented that Stephen Shepherd by night struck his sister
with a knife and grievously wounded her. Therefore let him be committed
to prison. Afterwards he made -fine with 2s. Pledge, Geoffrey of wick.

15. It was presented that Robert Carter's son by night invaded the
house of Peter Burgess and in felony threw stones at his door so that
the said Peter raised the hue. Therefore let the said Robert be
committed to prison. Afterwards he made fine with 2s.

16. Nicholas Drye, Henry le Notte (fine, 12d.) and Thomas Hogue (fine,
12d.) were convicted for that they by night invaded the house of Sir
Thomas the Chaplain and forcibly expelled thence a man and woman who
had been taken in there as guests. Therefore they are in mercy. Pledges
of the said Thomas, Richard of Lortemere and Jordan of Paris. Pledges
of the said Henry, Richard Pen...and Richard Butry.

17. Adam Moses gives half a sextary of wine to have an inquest as to
whether Henry Ayulf accused him of the crime of larceny and used
opprobrious and contumelious words of him. Afterwards they made accord
and Henry finds security for an amercement. Fine, 12d.

18. Isabella Sywards in mercy for having sold to Richard Bodenham land
that she could not warrant him.

19. All the ploughmen of great Ogbourne are convicted by the oath of
twelve men....because by reason of their default [the land] of the lord
was ill ploughed whereby the lord is damaged to the amount of 9s....
And Walter Reaper is in mercy for concealing [i.e. not giving
information as to] the said bad ploughing. Afterwards he made fine with
the lord with 1 mark.

20. From Ralph Joce 6s.8d. for his son, because he [the son] unlawfully
carried off grain from the lord's court. Pledge,Geoffrey Joce.

21. From Henry Pink 12d. for a trespass by waylaying.

22. From Eve Corner 6d. for a trespass of her pigs.

23. From Ralph Scales 6d. for timber carried off.

24. From William Cooper 12d. for ploughing his own land with the lord's
plough without licence.

25. From Hugh Newman 12d. for trespass in the wood.

26. From Richard Penant 12d. for the same.

27. From Helen widow of Little Ogbourne 6d. for the same.

28. From Nicholas Siward 6d. for a false complaint against William

29. From William Pafey 12d. for fighting with the said Nicholas.

30. From the widow of Ralph Shepherd 6d. for a trespass in Pencombe.

31. Richard Blund gives a half-mark and if he recovers will -give two
marks and a half to have a jury of the whole court, to inquire whether
he has the greater right in a virgate of land which Hugh Frith holds in
wardship with Cristiana daughter of Simon White, or the said Cristiana.
Pledges for the fine, Richard Dene, William Hulle, John of Senholt,
Hugh Smith, and William Ketelburn. And the whole court say upon their
oath that the said Richard has greater right in the said land than
anyone else. Therefore let him recover his seisin.

32 -....Miller gives 2d. [the Latin translates as 4s.] for a trespass
against the assize of beer and because the lord's grain has been ill
kept at the mill. Pledges, John Orped and Joce Serjeant.

33. Noah gives 2s. in the same way for an inquest as to one acre.
Afterwards they submit themselves to arbitrators, who adjudge that the
said Robert shall pay 3s. to the said Roger and 6s. to the said Gilbert
and 7s. to the said Noah, and that he will do so [Robert] finds pledges.

34. Ralph Bar in mercy for having beaten one of the lord's men.
Pledges, Herbert Rede and Ralph Brunild.

35. For the common fine of the township, a half-mark.

36. John Boneffiant found pledges, to wit, William Smith and William of
Bledlow, that he will not eloign himself from the lord's land and that
he will be prompt to obey the lord's summons.

                   Chapter 8

              The Times: 1272-1348

        King Edward I was respected by the people for his good
government, practical wisdom, and genuine concern for justice for
everyone. He loved his people and wanted them to love him. He came to
the throne with twenty years experience governing lesser lands on the
continent which were given to him by his father Henry III. He spoke
Latin, English, and French. He gained a reputation as a lawgiver and as
a peacemaker in disputes on the continent. His reputation was so high
and agreement on him as the next king so strong that England was
peaceful in the almost two years that it took him to arrive there from
continental business. He was truthful, law-abiding, and kept his word.
He had close and solid family relationships, especially with his father
and with his wife Eleanor, to whom he was faithful. He was loyal to his
close circle of good friends. He valued honor and adhered reasonably
well to the terms of the treaties he made. He was generous in carrying
out the royal custom of subsidizing the feeding of paupers. He visited
the sick. He was frugal and dressed in plain, ordinary clothes rather
than extravagant or ostentatious ones. He disliked ceremony and display.

        At his accession, there was a firm foundation of a national law
administered by a centralized judicial system, a centralized executive,
and an organized system of local government in close touch with both
the judicial and the executive system. To gain knowledge of his nation,
he sent royal commissioners into every county to ask about any
encroachments on the King's rights and about misdeeds by any of the
King's officials: sheriffs, bailiffs, or coroners. The results were
compiled as the "Hundred Rolls". They were the basis of reforms which
improved justice at the local as well as the national level. They also
rationalized the array of jurisdictions that had grown up with feudal
government. Statutes were passed by a parliament of two houses, that of
peers (lords) and that of an elected [rather than appointed] commons,
and the final form of the constitution was fixed.

        A wife was expected to obey her husband. A husband was deemed
the guardian of his wife. If he starved or mistreated her, he was
subject to punishment by the church court, even excommunication if
necessary. The king's court punished a husband who killed or maimed his
wife. The common law as to husband and wife took a final shape with six
basic principles:
1. A husband, but not the wife, could alienate his wife's land during
the marriage, but not to take effect after his death, e.g. by will.
2. A widow was entitled for her life a dower of one-third of any land
by her husband.
3. The husband can take possession of the wife's chattels and can
alienate them during his life without her permission. He can sue for
all debts due her without her permission. If he survives her, he is
entitled to be administrator of her estate. She can make no will
without his permission.
4. The husband can give away all his chattels, except for her necessary
clothes and her jewelry and paraphernalia.
5. The husband is liable for debts incurred or wrongs committed by his
wife even before their marriage.
6. A wife cannot contract on her own behalf, but may purchase on credit
certain necessaries and household goods.

        The church elaborated on these principles with a doctrine for
women-covert, i.e. women under the protection or coverture of a
husband, and not living separately such as when a man went to sea or to
war. She had a right to the necessities of life. Her jewelry, but not
her apparel, could go to his creditors if his assets didn't cover his
debts. The husband also had the right to the rents and profits from his
wife's real estate, but not the real estate itself, unless by the birth
of a child he became tenant for life by courtesy. Only the father, but
not the mother had authority over their children. A father had a right
to his child's services, and could sue a third party for abducting,
enticing away, or injuring the child, just as he could for his
servants. A husband was answerable for a wife's torts and trespasses,
except for battery. For this reason, he was allowed to chastise her,
restrain her liberty for gross misbehavior, and punish her by beating
for some misdemeanors. If she was a merchant when she married, she
could still sell her goods in the open market. There could be no
divorce, but only separation. If separated, she had a right to alimony
from him to maintain herself.

        There were many conveyances of land to husband and wife and
their heirs. This created a tenancy by the entirety. This land could
not be alienated by only one spouse without the other. On the death of
one spouse, the surviving spouse became the sole tenant of the whole.

        Wardships of children and widows were sought because they were
very profitable. A guardian could get one tenth of the income of the
property during the wardship and a substantial marriage amount when the
ward married. Parents often made contracts to marry for their young
children. This avoided a forced marriage by a ward should the parents

        Most earldoms and many baronages came into the royal house by
escheat or marriage. The royal house employed many people. The barons
developed a class consciousness of aristocracy and became leaders of
society. Many men, no matter of whom they held land, sought knighthood.
The king granted knighthood by placing his sword on the head of
able-bodied and moral candidates who swore an oath of loyalty to the
king and to defend "all ladies, gentlewomen, widows and orphans" and to
"shun no adventure of your person in any war wherein you should happen
to be". A code of knightly chivalry became recognized, such as telling
the truth and setting wrongs right. About half of the knights were
literate. In 1278, the king issued a writ ordering all freeholders who
held land of the value of at least 400s. to receive knighthood at the
King's hands.

        At the royal house and other great houses gentlemanly jousting
competitions, with well-refined and specific rules, took the place of
violent tournaments with general rules. Edward forbade tournaments at
which there was danger of a "melee". At these knights competed for the
affection of ladies by jousting with each other while the ladies
watched. Courtly romances were common. If a man convinced a lady to
marry him, the marriage ceremony took place in church, with feasting
and dancing afterwards. Romantic stories were at the height of their
popularity. A usual theme was the lonely quest of a knight engaged in
adventures which would impress his lady.

        Riddles include: 1. I will make you a cross, and a thing will
not touch you, and you will not be able to leave the house without
breaking that cross. Answer: Stand before a post in your house, with
your arms extended. 2. What you do not know, and I do not know, and no
one can know after I have told you. Answer: I will take a straw from
the floor of the room, measure its inches, tell you the length, and
break the straw. 3. A pear tree bears all the fruit a pear tree can
bear and did not bear pears. Answer: It bore only one pear.

        The dress of the higher classes was very changeable and subject
to fashion as well as function. Ladies no longer braided their hair in
long tails, but rolled it up in a net under a veil, often topped with
an elaborate and fanciful headdress. They wore non- functional long
trains on their tunics and dainty shoes. Men wore a long gown,
sometimes clasped around the waist. Overtunics were often lined or
trimmed with native fur such as squirrel. People often wore solid red,
blue, or green clothes. Only monks and friars wore brown. The
introduction of buttons and buttonholes to replace pins and laces made
clothing warmer, and it could be made tighter. After Edward I
established the standard inch as three continuous dried barleycorns,
shoes came in standard sizes and with a right one different from a left
one. The spinning wheel came into existence to replace the handheld
spindle. Now one hand could be used to form the thread while the other
hand turned a large upright wheel that caused the thread to wind around
the spindle, which did not have to be held by hand. This resulted in an
uninterrupted spinning motion which was not interrupted by alternately
forming the thread and winding it on the spindle.

        In the 1300s, there were extremes of fashion in men's and
women's clothing including tight garments, pendant sleeves down to the
ground, coats so short they didn't reach the hips or so long they
reached the heels, hoods so small they couldn't cover the head, and
shoes with long curved peaks like claws at the toes. Both men and women
wore belts low on the hips. The skirt of a lady's tunic was fuller and
the bodice more closely fitted than before. Her hair was usually
elaborately done up, e.g. with long curls or curled braids on either
side of the face. A jeweled circlet was often worn around her head.
Ladies wore on their arms or belts, cloth handbags, which usually
contained toiletries, such as combs made of ivory, horn, bone, or wood,
and perhaps a little book of devotions. A man wore a knife and a bag on
his belt. Some women painted their faces and/or colored their hair.
There were hand- held glass mirrors. Some people kept dogs purely as

        There was a great development of heraldic splendor with for
instance, crests, coat-armor, badges, pennons [long, triangular flag],
and helmets. They descended through families. Not only was it a mark of
service to wear the badge of a lord, but lords wore each other's badges
by way of compliment.

        Lords surrounded themselves with people of the next lower rank,
usually from nearby families, and had large households. For instance,
the king had a circle of noblemen and ladies about him. A peer or great
prelate had a household of about 100-200 people, among which were his
inner circle, companions, administrators, secretaries, bodyguards and
armed escort, chaplain, singing priests and choirboys, and servants.
All officers of the household were gentlemen. The secretary was usually
a clerk, who was literate because he had taken minor clerical orders.
Since the feudal obligation of the tenants was disappearing, a lord
sometimes hired retainers to supplement his escort of fighting men.
They proudly wore his livery of cloth or hat, which was in the nature
of a uniform or badge of service. A nobleman and his lady had a circle
of knights and gentlemen and their ladies. A knight had a circle of
gentlemen and their ladies.

        The great barons lived in houses built within the walls of
their castles. Lesser barons lived in semi-fortified manors, many of
which had been licensed to be embattled or crenelated. Their halls were
two stories high, and usually built on the first rather than on the
second floor. Windows came down almost to the floor. The hall had a
raised floor at one end where the lord and lady and a few others sat at
a high table. The hearth was in the middle of the room or on a wall.
Sometimes a cat was used to open and shut the louvers of the smoke
outlet in the roof. The lord's bedroom was next to the hall on the
second floor and could have windows into the hall and a spiral
staircase connecting the two rooms. There was a chapel, in which the
lord attended mass every morning. The many knights usually lived in
unfortified houses with two rooms.

        In the great houses, there were more wall hangings, and
ornaments for the tables. The tables were lit with candles or torches
made of wax. Plates were gold and silver. The lord, his lady, and their
family and guests sat at the head table, which was raised on a dais. On
this high table was a large and elaborate salt cellar. One's place in
relationship to the salt cellar indicated one's status: above or below
the salt. Also, those of higher status at the table ate a superior
bread. The almoner [alms giver] said grace. Gentlemen poured the lord's
drink [cupbearer], served his meat [carver], and supervised the serving
of the food [sewer]. A yeoman ewery washed the hands of the lord and
his guests and supplied the napkins, ewers [pitchers], and basins. A
yeoman cellarer or butler served the wine and beer. The yeoman of the
pantry served the bread, salt, and cutlery. The steward presided over
the table of household officers of gentle birth. The marshall of the
hall, clerk of the kitchen, or other yeomen officers supervised other
tables. Salt and spices were available at all tables. Most people ate
with their fingers, although there were knives and some spoons.
Drinking vessels were usually metal, horn, or wood. A marshall and
ushers kept order. Minstrels played musical instruments or recited
histories of noble deeds or amusing anecdotes. Reading aloud was a
favorite pastime. The almoner collected the leftovers to distribute to
the poor.

        In lesser houses people ate off trenchers [a four day old slab
of coarse bread or a piece of wood with the middle scooped out like a
bowl], or plates of wood or pewter [made from tin, copper, and lead].
They often shared plates and drinking vessels at the table.

        Queen Eleanor, a cultivated, intelligent, and educated lady
from the continent, fostered culture and rewarded individual literary
efforts, such as translations from Latin, with grants of her own money.
She patronized Oxford and Cambridge Universities and left bequests to
poor scholars there. She herself had read Aristotle and commentaries
thereon, and she especially patronized literature which would give
cross-cultural perspectives on subjects. She was kind and thoughtful
towards those about her and was also sympathetic to the afflicted and
generous to the poor. She shared Edward's career to a remarkable
extent, even accompanying him on a crusade. She had an intimate
knowledge of the people in Edward's official circle and relied on the
advice of two of them in managing her lands. She mediated disputes
between earls and other nobility, as well as softened her husband's
temper towards people. Edward granted her many wardships and marriages
and she arranged marriages with political advantages. She dealt with
envoys coming to the court. Her intellectual vitality and organized
mentality allowed her to deal with arising situations well. Edward held
her in great esteem. She introduced to England the merino sheep, which,
when bred with the English sheep, gave them a better quality of wool.
She and Edward often played games of chess and backgammon.

        Farm efficiency was increased by the use of windmills in the
fields to pump water and by allowing villeins their freedom and hiring
them as laborers only when needed. Customary service was virtually
extinct. A man could earn 5d. for reaping, binding, and shocking into a
pile, an acre of wheat. A strong man with a wife to do the binding
could do this in a long harvest day. Harvests were usually plentiful,
with the exception of two periods of famine over the country due to
weather conditions. Then the price of wheat went way up and drove up
the prices of all other goods correspondingly. The story of outlaw
Robin Hood, who made a living by robbing, was passed around. This Robin
Hood did not give to the poor. But generally, there was enough grain to
store so that the population was no longer periodically devastated by
famine. The population grew and all arable land in the nation came
under the plough. The acre was standardized. About 1300, the price of
an ox was 9s., a heifer or cow 7s., a hide 2s.6d., a cart horse 2 or 3
pounds. Farm women went to nearby towns to sell eggs and dairy
products, usually to town women.

        Although manors needed the ploughmen, the carters and drivers,
the herdsmen, and the dairymaid on a full-time basis, other tenants
spent increasing time in crafts and became village carpenters, smiths,
weavers or millers' assistants. Trade and the towns grew. Smiths used
coal in their furnaces.

        Money rents often replaced service due to a lord, such as fish
silver, malt silver, or barley silver. The lord's rights are being
limited to the rights declared on the extents [records showing service
due from each tenant] and the rolls of the manor. Sometimes land is
granted to strangers because none of the kindred of the deceased will
take it. Often a manor court limited a fee in land to certain issue
instead of being inheritable by all heirs. Surveyors' poles marked
boundaries declared by court in boundary disputes. This resulted in
survey maps showing villages and cow pastures.

        The revival of trade and the appearance of a money economy was
undermining the long-established relationship between the lord of the
manor and his villeins. As a result, money payments were supplementing
or replacing payments in service and produce as in Martham, where
Thomas Knight held twelve acres in villeinage, paid 16d. for it and
14d. in special aids. "He shall do sixteen working days in August and
for every day he shall have one repast - viz. Bread and fish. He shall
hoe ten days without the lord's food - price of a day 1/2 d. He shall
cart to Norwich six cartings or shall give 9d., and he shall have for
every carting one leaf and one lagena - or gallon - of ale. Also for
ditching 1d. He shall make malt 3 1/2 seams of barley or shall give 6d.
Also he shall flail for twelve days or give 12d. He shall plough if he
has his own plough, and for every ploughing he shall have three loaves
and nine herrings ... For carting manure he shall give 2."

        Another example is this manor's holdings, when 3d. would buy
food for a day: "Extent of the manor of Bernehorne, made on Wednesday
following the feast of St. Gregory the Pope, in the thirty-fifth year
of the reign of King Edward, in the presence of Brother Thomas, keeper
of Marley, John de la More, and Adam de Thruhlegh, clerks, on the oath
of William de Gocecoumbe, Walter le Parker, Richard le Knyst, Richard
the son of the latter, Andrew of Estone, Stephen Morsprich, Thomas
Brembel, William of Swynham, John Pollard, Roger le Glide, John Syward,
and John de Lillingewist, who say that there are all the following
holdings:... John Pollard holds a half acre in Aldithewisse and owes
18d. at the four terms, and owes for it relief and heriot. John
Suthinton holds a house and 40 acres of land and owes 3s.6d. at Easter
and Michaelmas. William of Swynham holds one acre of meadow in the
thicket of Swynham and owes 1d. at the feast of Michaelmas. Ralph of
Leybourne holds a cottage and one acre of land in Pinden and owes 3s.
at Easter and Michaelmas, and attendance at the court in the manor
every three weeks, also relief and heriot. Richard Knyst of Swynham
holds two acres and a half of land and owes yearly 4s. William of
Knelle holds two acres of land in Aldithewisse and owes yearly 4s.
Roger le Glede holds a cottage and three roods of land and owes 2s.6d.
Easter and Michaelmas. Alexander Hamound holds a little piece of land
near Aldewisse and owes one goose of the value of 2d. The sum of the
whole rent of the free tenants, with the value of the goose, is 18s.9d.
They say, moreover, that John of Cayworth holds a house and 30 acres of
land, and owes yearly 2s. at Easter and Michaelmas; and he owes a cock
and two hens at Christmas of the value of 4d. And he ought to harrow
for two days at the Lenten sowing with one man and his own horse and
his own harrow, the value of the work being 4d.; and he is to receive
from the lord on each day three meals, of the value of 5d., and then
the lord will be at a loss of 1d. Thus his harrowing is of no value to
the service of the lord. And he ought to carry the manure of the lord
for two days with one cart, with his own two oxen, the value of the
work being 8d.; and he is to receive from the lord each day three meals
at the value as above. And thus the service is worth 3d. clear. And he
shall find one man for two days, for mowing the meadow of the lord, who
can mow, by estimation, one acre and a half, the value of the mowing of
an acre being 6d.: the sum is therefore 9d. And he is to receive each
day three meals of the value given above. And thus that mowing is worth
4d. clear. And he ought to gather and carry that same hay which he has
cut, the price of the work being 3d. And he shall have from the lord
two meals for one man, of the value of 1 1/2 d. Thus the work will be
worth 1 1/2 d. clear. And he ought to carry the hay of the lord for one
day with a cart and three animals of his own, the price of the work
being 6d. And he shall have from the lord three meals of the value of 2
1/2 d. And thus the work is worth 3 1/2 d. clear. And he ought to carry
in autumn beans or oats for two days with a cart and three animals of
his own, the value of the work being 12d. And he shall receive from the
lord each day three meals of the value given above. And thus the work
is worth 7d. clear. And he ought to carry wood from the woods of the
lord as far as the manor, for two days in summer, with a cart and three
animals of his own, the value of the work being 9d. And he shall
receive from the lord each day three meals of the price given above.
And thus the work is worth 4d. clear. And he ought to find one man for
two days to cut heath, the value of the work being 4d., and he shall
have three meals each day of the value given above: and thus the lord
will lose, if he receives the service, 3d. Thus that mowing is worth
nothing to the service of the lord. And he ought to carry the heath
which he has cut, the value of the work being 5d. And he shall receive
from the lord three meals at the price of 2 1/2 d. And thus the work
will be worth 2 1/2 d. clear. And he ought to carry to Battle, twice in
the summer season, each time half a load of grain, the value of the
service being 4d. And he shall receive in the manor each time one meal
of the value of 2d. And thus the work is worth 2d. clear. The totals of
the rents, with the value of the hens, is 2s.4d. The total of the value
of the works is 2s.3 1/2 d., being owed from the said John yearly.
William of Cayworth holds a house and 30 acres of land and owes at
Easter and Michaelmas 2s. rent. And he shall do all customs just as the
aforesaid John of Cayworth. William atte Grene holds a house and 30
acres of land and owes in all things the same as the said John. Alan
atte Felde holds a house and 16 acres of land (for which the sergeant
pays to the court of Bixley 2s.), and he owes at Easter and Michaelmas
4s., attendance at the manor court, relief, and heriot. John
Lyllingwyst holds a house and four acres of land and owes at the two
terms 2s., attendance at the manor court, relief, and heriot. The same
John holds one acre of land in the fields of Hoo and owes at the two
periods 2s., attendance, relief, and heriot. Reginald atte Denne holds
a house and 18 acres of land and owes at the said periods 18d.,
attendance, relief, and heriot. Robert of Northehou holds three acres
of land at Saltcote and owes at the said periods attendance, relief,
and heriot. Total of the rents of the villeins, with the value of the
hens, 20s. Total of all the works of these villeins, 6s.10 1/2 d. And
it is to be noted that none of the above-mentioned villeins can give
their daughters in marriage, nor cause their sons to be tonsured, nor
can they cut down timber growing on the lands they hold, without
licence of the bailiff or sergeant of the lord, and then for building
purposes and not otherwise. And after the death of any one of the
aforesaid villeins, the lord shall have as a heriot his best animal, if
he had any; if, however, he have no living beast, the lord shall have
no heriot, as they say. The sons or daughters of the aforesaid villeins
shall give, for entrance into the holding after the death of their
predecessors, as much as they give of rent per year. Sylvester, the
priest, holds one acre of meadow adjacent to his house and owes yearly
3s. Total of the rent of tenants for life, 3s. Petronilla atte Holme
holds a cottage and a piece of land and owes at Easter and Michaelmas -
; also, attendance, relief, and heriot. Walter Herying holds a cottage
and a piece of land and owes at Easter and Michaelmas 18d., attendance,
relief, and heriot. Isabella Mariner holds a cottage and owes at the
feast of St. Michael 12d., attendance, relief, and heriot. Jordan atte
Melle holds a cottage and 1 1/2 acres of land and owes at Easter and
Michaelmas 2s., attendance, relief, and heriot. William of Batelesmere
holds one acre of land with a cottage and owes at the feast of St.
Michael 3d., and one cock and one hen at Christmas of the value of 3d.,
attendance, relief, and heriot. John le Man holds half an acre of land
with a cottage and owes at the feast of St. Michael 2s., attendance,
relief, and heriot. Hohn Werthe holds one rood of land with a cottage
and owes at the said term 18d., attendance, relief, and heriot.
Geoffrey Caumbreis holds half an acre and a cottage and owes at the
said term 18d., attendance, relief, and heriot. William Hassok holds
one rood of land and a cottage and owes at the said term 18d.,
attendance, relief, and heriot. The same man holds 3 1/2 acres of land
and owes yearly at the feast of St. Michael 3s. for all. Roger Doget
holds half an acre of land and a cottage, which were those of R. the
miller, and owes at the feast of St. Michael 18d., attendance, relief,
and heriot. Thomas le Brod holds one acre and a cottage and owes at the
said term 3s., attendance, relief, and heriot. Agnes of Cayworth holds
half an acre and a cottage and owes at the said term 18d., attendance,
relief, and heriot. Total of the rents of the said cottagers, with the
value of the hens, 34s.6d. And it is to be noted that all the said
cottagers shall do as regards giving their daughters in marriage,
having their sons tonsured, cutting down timber, paying heriot, and
giving fines for entrance, just as John of Cayworth and the rest of the
villeins above mentioned." The above fines and penalties, with heriots
and reliefs, are worth 5s. yearly.

        Often one village was divided up among two or more manors, so
different manorial customs made living conditions different among the
villagers. Villages usually had carpenters, smiths, saddlers,
thatchers, carters, fullers, dyers, soapmakers, tanners, needlers, and
brassworkers. Each villein had his own garden in which to grow fruit
and vegetables next to his house, a pig (which fattened more quickly
than other animals), strips in the common field, and sometimes an
assart [a few acres of his own to cultivate as he pleased on originally
rough uncultivated waste land beyond the common fields and the enclosed
common pastures and meadows]. Most villeins did not venture beyond
their village except for about ten miles to a local shrine or great
fair a couple times a year. At the fair might be fish, honey, spices,
salt, garlic, oil, furs, silks, canvas, soap, pans, pots, grindstones,
coal, nails, tar, iron, shovels, brushes, pails, horses, and
packsaddles. Early apothecaries might sell potions there. Men and women
looking for other employment might attend to indicate their

        Under Edward I, villages were required to mount watches to
protect life and property and were called upon to provide one man for
the army and to pay his wages.

        People told time by counting the number of rings of the church
bell, which rang on the hour. Every Sunday, the villagers went to
church, which was typically the most elaborate and centrally located
building in the village. The parishioners elected churchwardens, who
might be women. This religion brought comfort and hope of going to
heaven, rather than hell, after judgment by God at death if sin was
avoided or forgiven. On festival days, Bible stories, legends, and
lives of saints were read or performed as miracle dramas. They learned
to avoid the devil, who was influential in lonely places like forests
and high mountains. At death, the corpse was washed, shrouded, and put
into a rectangular coffin with a cross on its lid. Priests sang prayers
amid burning incense for the deliverance of the soul to God while
interring the coffin into the ground. Men who did not make a will
risked the danger of an intestate and unconfessed death. The personal
property of a man dying intestate now went to the church as a trust for
the dead man's imperiled soul instead of to the man's lord.

        Unqualified persons entered holy orders thereby obtaining
"benefit of clergy", and then returned to secular employments retaining
this protection.

        A villein could be forever set free from servitude by his lord
as in this example:

"To all the faithful of Christ to whom the present writing shall come,
Richard, by the divine permission, abbot of Peterborough and of the
Convent of the same place, eternal greeting in the Lord: Let all know
that we have manumitted and liberated from all yoke of servitude
William, the son of Richard of Wythington, whom previously we have held
as our born bondman, with his whole progeny and all his chattels, so
that neither we nor our successors shall be able to require or exact
any right or claim in the said William, his progeny, or his chattels.
But the same William, with his whole progeny and all his chattels,
shall remain free and quit and without disturbance, exaction, or any
claim on the part of us or our successors by reason of any servitude

We will, moreover, and concede that he and his heirs shall hold the
messuages, land, rents, and meadows in Wythington which his ancestors
held from us and our predecessors, by giving and performing the fine
which is called merchet for giving his daughter in marriage, and
tallage from year to year according to our will, - that he shall have
and hold these for the future from us and our successors freely,
quietly, peacefully, and hereditarily, by paying to us and our
successors yearly 40s. sterling, at the four terms of the year, namely:
at St. John the Baptist's day 10s., at Michaelmas 10s., at Christmas
10s., and at Easter 10s., for all service, exaction, custom, and
secular demand; saving to us, nevertheless, attendance at our court of
Castre every three weeks, wardship, and relief, and outside service of
our lord the King, when they shall happen. And if it shall happen that
the said William or his heirs shall die at any time without an heir,
the said messuage, land rents, and meadows with their appurtenances
shall return fully and completely to us and our successors. Nor will it
be allowed to the said William or his heirs to give, sell, alienate,
mortgage, or encumber in any way, the said messuage, land, rents, and
meadows, or any part of them, by which the said messuage, land, rents,
and meadows should not return to us and our successors in the form
declared above. And if this should occur later, their deed shall be
declared null, and what is thus alienated shall come to us and our

Given at Borough, for the love of Lord Robert of good memory, once
abbot, our predecessor and maternal uncle of the said William, and at
the instance of the good man, Brother Hugh of Mutton, relative of the
said abbot Robert, A.D. 1278, on the eve of Pentecost."

        Villeins who were released from the manorial organization by
commutation of their service for a money payment took the name of their
craft as part of their name, such as, for the manufacture of textiles,
Weaver, Draper, Comber, Fuller, Napper, Cissor, Tailor, Textor; for
metalwork, Faber, Ironmonger; for leatherwork, Tanner; for woodwork,
building and carpentry, Carpenter, Cooper, Mason, Pictor; for food
production, Baker, Pistor. Iron, tin, lead, salt, and even coal were
providing increasing numbers of people with a livelihood.

        Many new boroughs were founded as grants of market rights by
the king grew in number. These grants implied the advantage of the
King's protection. In fact, one flooded town was replaced with a new
town planned with square blocks. It was the charter which distinguished
the borough community from the other communities existing in the
country. It invested each borough with a distinct character. The
privileges which the charter conferred were different in different
places. It might give trading privileges: freedom from toll, a guild
merchant, a right to hold a fair. It might give jurisdictional
privileges: a right to hold court with greater or less franchises. It
might give governmental privileges: freedom from the burden of
attending the hundred and county courts, the return of writs, which
meant the right to exclude the royal officials, the right to take the
profits of the borough, paying for them a fixed sum to the Crown or
other lord of the borough, the right to elect their own officials
rather than them being appointed by the king or a lord, and the right
to provide for the government of the borough. It might give tenurial
privileges: the power to make a will of lands, or freedom from the
right of a lord to control his tenants' marriages. It might give
procedural privileges: trial by combat is excluded, and trial by
compurgation is secured and regulated. These medieval borough charters
are very varied, and represent all stages of development and all grades
of franchise. Boroughs bought increasing rights and freedoms from their
lord, who was usually the King.

        In the larger towns, where cathedrals and public building were
built, there arose a system for teaching these technical skills and
elaborate handicraft, wood, metal, stained glass, and stone work. A boy
from the town would be bound over in apprenticeship to a particular
craftsman, who supplied him with board and clothing. The craftsman
might also employ men for just a day. These journeymen were not part of
the craftsman's household as was the apprentice. After a few years of
an apprenticeship, one became a journeyman and perfected his knowledge
of his craft and its standards by seeing different methods and results
in various towns. He was admitted as a master of his trade to a guild
upon presenting an article of his work worthy of that guild's standard
of workmanship: his "masterpiece". Women, usually wives of brethren
only, could be admitted. The tailors' guild and the skinners' guild are
extant now.

        When guilds performed morality plays based on Bible stories at
town festivals, there was usually a tie between the Bible story and the
guild's craft. For instance, the story of the loaves and fishes would
be performed by the Bakers' or Fishmongers' Guild. The theme of the
morality play was the fight of the Seven Cardinal Virtues against the
Seven Deadly Sins for the human soul, a life- long battle. The number
seven was thought to have sacred power; there were seven sacraments,
seven churches in the Biblical Apocalypse, seven liberal arts and seven
devilish arts. The seven sacraments were: baptism, confirmation, Lord's
Supper, penance, orders, matrimony, and extreme unction.

        A borough was run by a mayor elected usually for life. By being
members of a guild, merchant-traders and craftsmen acquired the legal
status of burgesses and had the freedom of the borough. Each guild
occupied a certain ward of the town headed by an alderman. The town
aldermen, who were unpaid, made up the town council, which advised the
mayor. The Mayor of London received 40 pounds for hospitality, but in
small towns, 20s. sufficed. Often there were town police, bailiffs,
beadles [messengers], a town crier, and a town clerk. London offices
included recorder, prosecutor, common sergeant, and attorneys. In the
center of town were the fine stone houses, a guildhall with a belfry
tower, and the marketplace - a square or broad street, where the town
crier made public announcements with bell or horn. Here too was the
ducking stool for scandalmongers and the stocks which held offenders by
their legs and perhaps their hands to be scorned and pelted by
bystanders with, for instance, rotten fruit and filth. No longer were
towns dominated by the local landholders.

        In London there were 4 royal princes, 6 great earls, 17 barons,
26 knights, and 11 female representatives of the peerage (counted in
1319). There was a wall with four towers surrounding the White Tower,
and this castle was known as the Tower of London. Another wall and a
moat were built around it and it has reached its final form. Hovels,
shops, and waste patches alternated with high walls and imposing
gateways protecting mansions. The mansions had orchards, gardens,
stables, brewhouses, bakeries, guardrooms, and chapels. London streets
were paved with cobbles and sand. Each citizen was to keep the street
in front of his tenement in good repair. Later, each alderman appointed
four reputable men to repair and clean the streets for wages. The
repair of Bishopsgate was the responsibility of the Bishop because he
received one stick from every cart of firewood passing through it.
Rules as to tiled roofs were enforced. A 1297 ordinance required all
taverns to close at curfew, an hour that fluctuated. Prostitutes were
expelled from the city because the street with their bawdy houses had
become very noisy. Women huckster-retailers, nurses, servants, and
loose women were limited to wearing hoods furred with lambskin or
rabbitskin and forbidden to wear hoods furred with vair or miniver
[grey or white squirrel] in the guise of good ladies. An infirmary for
the blind was founded by a mercer, who became its first prior.

        The London mayoral elections were hotly fought over until in
1285, when the aldermen began to act with the aid of an elected council
in each of the twenty-four wards, which decentralized the government of
the city. Each ward chose certain of its inhabitants to be councilors
to the aldermen. This council was to be consulted by him and its advice
to be followed. In 1291, the aldermen for the first time included a
fishmonger. The Fishmongers were the only guild at this time, besides
the Weavers, which had acquired independent jurisdiction by the
transfer of control of their weekly hallmote from a public official to
themselves. Craftsmen began to take other public offices too. By the
reign of Edward II, all the citizens were obliged to be enrolled among
the trade guilds. A great quarrel between the weaver's guild and the
magistracy began the control of the city by the craft guilds or city
companies. Admission to freedom of the city [citizenship] was
controlled by the citizens, who decided that no man of English birth,
and especially no English merchant, who followed any specific mistery
[French word for a calling or trade] or craft, was to be admitted to
the freedom of the city except on the security of six reputable men of
that mistery or craft. No longer could one simply purchase citizenship.
Apprentices had to finish their terms before such admission, and often
could not afford the citizenship fee imposed on them. Only freemen
could sell wares in the city, a custom of at least two hundred years.

        As economic activity in London became more complex and on a
larger scale in the 1200s, some craftsmen were brought under the
control of other crafts or merchants. The bakers fell under the control
of the wholesale grain dealers; the weavers became pieceworkers for
rich cloth merchants; the blademakers and shearers were employed by
cutlers; coppersmiths were controlled by girdlers; fullers were
controlled by entrepreneurial dyers; and the painters, joiners, and
lorimers were controlled by the saddlers. Guilds moved their meeting
places from churches, which were now too small, to guild halls. The
controlling officers of the large guilds met at the Guildhall, which
became the seat of mayoral authority. London streets in existence by
this time include Cordwainer, Silver, Cannon (Candlewick), and Roper.
Lanes included Ironmonger, Soper, Spurrier, Lad (ladles), Distaff,
Needles, Mede, Limeburner, and Hosier. Fighting among groups was common
in London. There was a street fight on a large scale in 1327 between
the saddlers and a coalition of joiners, painters, and lorimers (makers
of metal work of saddles). Much blood was shed in the street battle
between the skinners and the fishmongers in 1340. There was a city
ordinance that no one except royal attendants, baronial valets, and
city officials were to go about armed. Disputes among neighbors that
were brought to court included the use and upkeep of party walls,
blocked and overflowing gutters, cesspits too close to a neighbor's
property, noisy tenants, loss of light, and dangerous or overhanging

        In 1275, a goldsmith was chief assay-master of the King's mint
and keeper of the exchange at London. The king gave the Goldsmiths'
Company the right of assay [determination of the quantity of gold or
silver in an object] and required that no vessels of gold or silver
should leave the maker's hands until they had been tested by the
wardens and stamped appropriately. In 1279, goldsmith William
Farrington bought the soke of the ward containing the goldsmiths'
shops. It remained in his family for 80 years. A patent of 1327
empowered the guild to elect a properly qualified governing body to
superintend its affairs, and reform subjects of just complaint. It also
prescribed, as a safeguard against a prevailing fraud and abuse, that
all members of the trade should have their standing in Cheapside or in
the King's exchange, and that no gold or silver should be manufactured
for export, except that which had been bought at the exchange or of the
trade openly.

        Some prices in London were: large wooden bedstead 18s., a small
bedstead 2s., a large chest for household items 2s., feather beds
2-3s., a table 1s., a chair 4-6d., cloth gown lined with fur 13- 20s.,
plain coats and overcoats 2-8s., caps 2-8d., a pair of pen- cases with
inkhorn 4d., a skin of parchment 1d., 24 sheets of paper 6d, a carcass
of beef 15s., a pig 4s., a swan 5s., and a pheasant 4s. There was a
problem with malefactors committing offenses in London and avoiding its
jurisdiction by escaping to Southwark across the Thames. So Southwark
was given a royal charter which put it under the jurisdiction of London
for peace and order matters and allowed London to appoint its tax
collector. London forbade games being played because they had replaced
practice in archery, which was necessary for defense.

        A royal inquiry into the state of the currency indicated much
falsification and coin-clipping by the Jews and others. About 280 Jews
and many Englishmen were found guilty and hanged. The rest of the Jews,
about 16,000, were expelled in 1290. This was popular with the public
because of the abuses of usury. There had been outbreaks of violence
directed at the Jews since about 1140. The king used Italian bankers
instead because he thought them more equitable in their dealings. The
lepers were driven out of London in 1276. Exports and imports were no
longer a tiny margin in an economy just above the subsistence level.
Exports were primarily raw wool and cloth, but also grain, butter,
eggs, herring, hides, leather goods such as bottles and boots,
embroideries, metalware, horseshoes, daggers, tin, coal, and lead.
Imported were wine, silk, timber, furs, rubies, emeralds, fruits,
raisins, currents, pepper, ginger, cloves, rice, cordovan leather,
pitch, hemp, spars, fine iron, short rods of steel, bow-staves of yew,
tar, oil, salt, cotton (for candlewicks), and alum (makes dyes hold).
Ships which transported them had one or two masts upon which sails
could be furled, the recently invented rudder, and a carrying capacity
of up to 200 tuns [about one ton]. Many duties of sheriffs and coroners
were transferred to county landholders by commissions. In coastal
counties, there were such commissions for supervising coastal defense
and maintaining the beacons. Each maritime county maintained a coast
guard, which was under the command of a knight. Ports had
well-maintained harbors, quays, and streets. By 1306 there was an
office of admiral of the fleet of the ships of the southern ports.

        Women could inherit land in certain circumstances. Some tenants
holding land in chief of the king were women.

        Regulation of trade became national instead of local. Trade was
relatively free; almost the only internal transportation tolls were
petty portages and viages levied to recoup the expense of a bridge or
road which had been built by private enterprise. Responsibility for the
coinage was transferred from the individual moneyers working in
different boroughs to a central official who was to become Master of
the Mint. The round half penny and farthing [1/4 penny] were created so
that the penny needn't be cut into halves and quarters anymore.

        Edward I called meetings of representatives from all social and
geographic sectors of the nation at one Parliament to determine taxes
due to the Crown that would replace feudal aids. He declared that "what
touches all, should be approved by all". He wanted taxes from the
burgesses in the towns and the clergy's ecclesiastical property as well
as from landholders. He argued to the clergy that if barons had to both
fight and pay, they who could do no fighting must at least pay. When
the clergy refused to pay, he put them outside the royal protection and
threatened outlawry and confiscation of their lands. Then they agreed
to pay and to renounce all papal orders contrary to the King's

        Edward I wanted to bring all his subjects undder hisimmediate
aujthority by the process of bringing all together to the same assembly
under his common presidency. So his Model Parliament of 1295 was
composed of the three communities. The first were the lords, which
included seven earls and forty-one barons. Because of the increase of
lesser barons due to a long national peace and prosperity, the lords
attending were reduced in numbers and peerage became dependent not on
land tenure, but on royal writ of summons. The great barons were chosen
by the king and received a special summons in their own names to the
council or Parliament. Others were called by a general summons. The
second community was the clergy, represented by the two archbishops,
bishops from each of eighteen dioceses, and sixty-seven abbots. The
third community was the commons. It was composed of two knights elected
by the suitors who were then present at the county court, two burgesses
elected by principal burgesses of each borough, and two representatives
from each city. The country knights had a natural affinity with the
towns in part because their younger sons sought their occupation, wife,
and estate there. Also, great lords recruited younger brothers of
yeoman families for servants and fighting men, who ultimately settled
down as tradesmen in the towns. The country people and the town people
also had a community of interest by both being encompassed by the
county courts. The peasants were not represented in the county courts
nor in Parliament. One had to have land to be entitled to vote in
Parliament because the landowner had a stake in the country, a material
security for his good behavior.

        Parliaments without knights and burgesses still met with the
king. But it was understood that no extraordinary tax could be levied
without the knights and burgesses present. Ordinary taxes could be
arranged with individuals, estates, or communities. The lower clergy
ceased to attend Parliament and instead considered taxes to pay to the
king during their national church convocations, which were held at the
same time as Parliament. For collection purposes, their diocesan synod
was analogous to the county court. The higher clergy remained in
Parliament because they were feudal vassals of the king.

        Edward's council was the highest tribunal. It comprised the
Chancellor, Treasurer and other great officers of state, the justices
of the three courts, the master or chief clerks of the Chancery, and
certain selected prelates and barons. The council assisted the king in
considering petitions. Most petitions to the King were private
grievances of individuals, including people of no social rank, such as
prisoners. Other petitions were from communities and groups, such as
religious houses, the two universities, boroughs, and counties. These
groups sometimes formed alliances in a common cause. Women sometimes
petitioned. From 1293, the petitions were placed in four stacks for
examination by the King and council, by the Chancery, by the Exchequer,
or by the justices. Many hours were spent hearing and answering
petitions. From 1305, the petitions were presented to the king in full

        The king still exercised a power of legislation without a full
Parliament. He might in his council issue proclamations. The Chief
Justices still had, as members of the king's council, a real voice in
the making of laws. The king and his justices might, after a statute
has been made, put an authoritative interpretation upon it. Royal
proclamations had the same force as statutes while the king lived;
sometimes there were demands that certain proclamations be made
perpetual by being embodied in statutes, e.g. fixing wages. There was
no convention that agreement or even the presence of representatives
was required for legislation. The idea that the present can bind the
absent and that the majority of those present may outvote the minority
was beginning to take hold. Edward I's councilors and justices took an
oath to give, expedite, and execute faithful counsel; to maintain,
recover, increase, and prevent the diminution of, royal rights; to do
justice, honestly and unsparingly; to join in no engagements which may
present the councilor from fulfilling his promise; and to take no gifts
in the administration of justice, save meat and drink for the day.
These were in addition to other matters sworn to by the councilors.

        Parliament soon was required to meet at least once a year at
the Great Hall at Westminster located beside the royal palace. London
paid its representatives 10s. per day for their attendance at
Parliament. From the time of Edward II, the counties paid their knight-
representatives 4s. daily, and the boroughs paid their burgess-
representatives 2s. daily. When it convened, the Chancellor sat on the
left and the Archbishop of Canterbury on the right of the king. Just
below and in front of the king his council sits on wool sacks brought
in for their comfort from wool stored nearby. It answers questions.
Behind them on the wool sacks sit the justices, who may be called upon
to give legal advice, e.g. in framing statutes. Then come the spiritual
and lay barons, then the knights, and lastly the elected burgesses and
citizens. Lawmaking became a function of Parliament, of which the
King's council is a part, instead of a function of the king with his
council and justices. The common people now had a voice in lawmaking,
though legislation could be passed without their consent. The first
legislation proposed by the commons was alteration of the forest laws
governing the royal pleasure parks. Such a statute was passed in a
bargain for taxes of a percentage of all movables, which were mostly
foodstuffs and animals. The king offered to give up the royal right to
tax merchandise for a new tax: customs on exports. The barons and
knights of the county agreed to pay an 11th, the burgesses, a 7th, and
the clergy a 10th on their other movables. In time, several boroughs
sought to be included in the county representation so they could pay
the lower rate. This new system of taxation began the decline of the
imposition of feudal aids, knights' fees, scutages, carucage, and
tallage, which had been negotiated by the Exchequer with the reeves of
each town, the sheriff and county courts of each county, and the
bishops of each diocese.

        The staple [depot or mart, from the French "estaple"] system
began when the export of wool had increased and Parliament initiated
customs duties of 6s.8d. on every sack of wool, woolfells [sheepskin
with wool still on it], or skins exported in 1275. These goods had to
be assessed and collected at certain designated ports. Certain large
wool merchants, the merchants of the staple, were allowed to have a
monopoly on the purchase and export of wool. Imports of wine were taxed
as tunnage as before, that is there was a royal right to take from each
wine ship one cask for every ten at the price of 20s. per cask.

        In 1297, Edward I confirmed the Magna Carta and other items.
Judgments contrary to Magna Carta were nullified. The documents were to
be read in cathedral churches as grants of Edward and all violators
were to be excommunicated. He also agreed not to impose taxes without
the consent of Parliament after baronial pressure had forced him to
retreat from trying to increase, for a war in France, the customs tax
on every exported sack of wool to 40s. from the 6s. 8d. per sack it had
been since 1275. The customs tax was finally fixed at 10s. for every
sack of wool, 2s. for each tun [casket] of wine, and 6d. for every
pound's worth of other goods. The "tenths and fifteenths" tax levied on
income from movables or chattels became regular every year. Edward also
confirmed the Forest Charter, which called for its earlier boundaries.
And he agreed not to impound any grain or wool or and like against the
will of the owners, as had been done before to collect taxes. Also, the
special prises or requisitions of goods for national emergency were not
to be a precedent. Lastly, he agreed not to impose penalties on two
earls and their supporters for refusing to serve in the war in France
when the king did not go.

        The Magna Carta is the first statute. From 1299, statutes were
recorded in a Statute Roll as they were enacted.

        By the end of the 1200s, the King's wardrobe, where
confidential matters such as military affairs were discussed in his
bedroom, became a department of state with the King's privy seal. The
keeper of the privy seal was established as a new office by Edward I in
1318. The wardrobe paid and provisioned the knights, squires, and
sergeants of the king and was composed mostly of civil servants. It
traveled with the King. The Crown's treasure, plate, tents, hangings,
beds, cooking utensils, wine, and legal and financial rolls were
carried on pack horses or in two-wheeled carts drawn by oxen, donkeys,
or dogs. The people in the entourage rode horses or walked. The other
two specialized administrative bodies were the Exchequer, which
received most of the royal revenue and kept accounts at Westminster,
and the Chancery, which wrote royal writs, charters, and letters, and
kept records.

        The chief functions of administration in the 1300s were
performed by the council, chancery, wardrobe, chamber [room off
wardrobe for dressing and for storage], and exchequer. Many of the
chancellors had come from the wardrobe and chamber. In time, the
chancellor ceased to be a part of the king's personal retinue and to
follow the court. The chancery became primarily a department of central
administration rather than a secretariat and record-keeping part of the
royal household. The king used a privy seal to issue directives to the
chancery. Edward III made some merchants earls and appointed them to be
his ministers. He did not summon anyone to his council who did not have
the confidence of the magnates [barons, earls, bishops, and abbots].

        There was a recoinage due to debasement of the old coinage.
This increased the number of coins in circulation. The price of wheat
went from about 7s. in 1270 to about 5s. per quarter in 1280. Also the
price of an ox went from 14s. to 10s. Then there were broad movements
of prices, within which there were wide fluctuations, largely due to
the state of the harvest. From 1280 to 1290, there was runaway
inflation. In some places, both grain and livestock prices almost
doubled between 1305 and 1310. Wheat prices peaked at 15s.5d. a quarter
in the famine year of 1316. In 1338, prices dropped and remained low
for twenty years. The poor were hurt by high prices and the lords of
the manors were hurt by low prices.

        As before, inadequate care and ignorance of nutrition caused
many infant deaths. Accidents and disease were so prevalent that death
was always near and life insecure. Many women died in childbirth.

        Edward I always sought the agreement of Parliament before
assembling an army or taking actions of war, and Parliamentary consent
came to be expected for such. He completed the conquest and annexation
of Wales in 1284. The feudal army was summoned for the last time in the
100 year war with France, which began in 1337. In it the English
longbow was used to pierce French knights' armor. There had been much
competition between the strength of arrows to pierce and the heaviness
of armor to resist. Guns and cannon with gunpowder were introduced in
1338. A system to raise an army by contract was developed. Contracts
were made with nobles, knights, or esquires who undertook to enlist an
agreed number of armored men-at-arms and archers, who were paid wages.
The King provided transport for each contractor and his retinue,
baggage, and horses. The title of "knight" now resumed its military
character as well as being a social rank.

        After Edward I died in 1307, there was a period of general
lawlessness and contests for power between earls and barons and the
irresponsible King Edward II, who was not a warrior king. He eventually
was assassinated. Also in 1307, Parliament required the king to obtain
its consent for any exchange or alteration of the currency.

        By 1319, the guilds of London had become so powerful that they
extracted a charter from the king that to be a citizen of London one
had to be a member of a guild.

        By 1326, scholars, the nobility, and the clergy had reading
eyeglasses, which had been invented in Italy, probably by the glass
blowers. Italy was famous for its glasswork. The first eyeglasses were
fabricated by pouring molten glass into curved molds. The actual shape
was difficult to control because thermal expansion and contraction
resulted in bubbles and other optical imperfections.

        As of 1336, importing foreign cloth or fur, except for use by
the King's family, was prohibited, as was the export of unwoven wool.
Later, this was relaxed and a customs tax of 33% was imposed on wool

        Foreign cloth workers were allowed by statute to come to live
in the nation, be granted franchises, and be in the King's protection.
But no cloth was to be exported until it was fulled. During the reign
of Edward III, Flanders weavers were encouraged to come to England to
teach the English how to weave and finish fine cloth. A cloth industry
grew with all the manufacturing processes under the supervision of one
capitalist manufacturer, who set up his enterprise in the country to
avoid the regulations of the towns. The best places were hilly areas
where there were many streams and good pasture for flocks of sheep. He
hired shearers to cut the nap as short as possible to give a smooth
surface, then spinsters to card and spin the wool in their country
cottages, then weavers, and then fullers and dyers to come to fulling
mills established near streams for their waterpower. Fulling became
mechanized as heavy wooden hammers run by water- power replaced feet
trampling the cloth covered with soap or fuller's clay. The shaft loom
was a technological advance in weaving. This loom was horizontal and
its frames, which controlled the lifting of the warp threads, could
each be raised by a foot treadle. This left both hands free to throw
and catch the shuttle attached to the weft thread from side to side
through the warp. Also many more weaving patterns became possible
through the use of different thread configurations on the frames.

        In 1341, the commons forced King Edward III and council to
approve their petition when Parliament was still in session so that
they would draft the legislation in true accordance with the petition.
This had not been done when drafting had been done after Parliament
ended, when the phrase "saving the prerogatives of the king" was often
added. Also the lords and commons consulted each other and joined in
petitions. But they usually stated their conclusions to the king
separately. It was considered a burden rather than a privilege to
attend Parliament and elections for such were not often contested. They
were conducted according to local custom until 1600.

        In 1348, the Commons voted a tax of 1/15 th on movables for
three years with the proviso that it be spent only on the war against
Scotland. This began the practice of appropriation of funds. In 1381,
began the practice of appointing treasurers of the subsidies to account
to Parliament for both receipts and disbursements.

        Alien merchants were under the king's special protection. In
return for paying extra import and export duties, Edward III gave alien
merchants full rights of trade, travel, and residence in England free
of all local tolls and restrictions, and guaranteed a fair hearing of
their commercial and criminal cases in special pie powder (after French
"pie poudrous" or dusty feet) courts at fairs.

                  The Law

        Edward I remodeled the law in response to grievances and to
problems which came up in the courts. The changes improved the
efficiency of justice and served to accommodate it to the changing
circumstances of the social system.

        "No man by force of arms, malice or menacing shall disturb
anyone in making free election [of sheriffs, coroners, conservators of
the peace by freeholders of the county]."

        "No city, borough, town, nor man shall be amerced without
reasonable cause and according to the severity of his trespass. That
is, every freeman saving his freehold, a merchant saving his
merchandise, a villein saving his wainage [implements of agriculture],
and that by his peers."

        No distress shall be taken of ploughing-cattle or sheep.

        No loan shall be made for interest.

        If an heir who is a minor is married off without the consent of
the guardian, the value of the marriage will be lost and the wrongdoer
imprisoned. If anyone marries off an heir over 14 years of age without
the consent of the guardian, the guardian shall have double the value
of the marriage. Moreover, anyone who has withdrawn a marriage shall
pay the full value thereof to the guardian for the trespass and make
amends to the King. And if a lord refuses to marry off a female heir of
full age and keep her unmarried because he covets the land, then he
shall not have her lands more than two years after she reaches full
age, at which time she can recover her inheritance without giving
anything for the wardship or her marriage. However, if she maliciously
refuses to be married by her lord, he may hold her land and inheritance
until she is the age of a male heir, that is, 21 years old and further
until he has taken the value of the marriage.

        Aid to make one's son a knight or marry off his daughter of a
whole knight's fee shall be taken 20s., and 400s. [yearly income from]
land held in socage 20s. [5%], and of more, more; and of less, less;
after the rate. And none shall levy such aid to make his son a knight
until his son is 15 years old, nor to marry his daughter until she is
seven year old.

        The common law of inheritance for land has assumed its final
form with six rules. 1) A living descendant excludes his or her own
descendants. 2) A dead descendant is represented by his or her own
descendants. 3) Males exclude females of equal degree. 4) Among males
of equal degree, only the eldest inherits. 6) The rule that a dead
descendant is represented by his or her descendants overrides the
preference for the male sex. If there were no descendants, the land
escheated to its lord.

        By statute, a conveyance of land which is the inheritance of a
minor child by his guardian or lord to another is void.

        Dower shall not abate because the widow has received dower of
another man unless part of the first dower received was of the same
tenant and in the same town. But a woman who leaves her husband for
another man is barred from dower.

        A tenant for a term of years who has let land from a landlord
shall not let it lie waste, nor shall a landlord attempt to oust a
tenant for a term of years by fictitious recoveries.

        When two or more hold wood, turfland, or fishing or other such
thing in common, wherein none knows his several, and one does waste
against the minds of the others, he may be sued.

        Lands which are given to a man and his wife upon condition that
if they die without heirs, the land shall revert to the donor or his
heir, may not be alienated to defeat this condition.

        If a man takes land in marriage with a wife, and she dies
before him, the land will revert to the donor or his heir, unless the
couple has a child, in which case the husband will have the land by the
courtesy of the nation for his life before it reverts to the donor or
his heir.

        Young salmon shall not be taken from waters in the spring.

        A free tenant may alienate his land freely, but if the
alienation was for an estate in fee simple [to a man and his heirs,
with a full right of alienation by the man otherwise than on his
death], the person acquiring the land would hold of the land's lord and
not of the person alienating the land. (This halted the growth of
subinfeudation and caused services as well as incidents of aids,
relief, escheat, wardship, and marriage to go directly to the Chief
Lord. It also advantaged the Crown as overlord, which then acquired
more direct tenants.)

        One may create an estate which will descend in unbroken
succession down the line of inheritance prescribed in the original gift
as long as that line should last, instead of descending to all heirs.
This was called a "fee simple conditional" holding of land. The
successive occupants might draw the rents and cut the wood, but on the
death of each, his heir would take possession of an unencumbered
interest, unfettered by any liability for the debt of his ancestor or
by any disposition made by him during his lifetime e.g. a wife's estate
in dower or a husband's estate in courtesy. If there was no issue, it
reverted to the original donor. This curtailed the advantage of tenants
of the greater barons who profited by increased wardships and reliefs
from subinfeudation from subdivision and better cultivation of their
land while still paying the greater barons fixed sums. This statute
that protected reversionary estates incidentally established a system
of entails. This new manner of holding land: "fee tail", is in addition
to the concepts of land held in fee simple and land held for life. The
donor could give directions that an estate of inheritance go to a man
or woman and certain classes of particular heirs rather than reverting
to himself. A fee tail was often given to a man and the issue of his
body. No donee or nor his heirs could alienate the land held in fee
tail.Interests in remainder or reversion of estates in land replaced
the lord's tenurial right to succeed to land by escheat if his tenant
dies without heirs.

        Anyone disseising another whereby he also robs him or uses
force and arms in the disseisin shall be imprisoned and fined. The
plaintiff shall recover seisin and damages.

        "All must be ready at the command and summons of sheriffs, and
at the cry of the country, to sue and arrest felons as necessary as
well within franchise as without." Otherwise, he shall be fined. A Lord
defaulting shall lose his franchise to the King. A Bailiff defaulting
shall be imprisoned a year as well as fined, or be imprisoned two years
if he cannot pay the fine. A sheriff, coroner, or any other bailiff who
conceals a felony will be imprisoned for a year and pay a fine, or be
imprisoned for three years if he cannot pay the fine.

        Villeins must report felons, pursue felons, serve in the watch,
and clear growth of concealing underwood from roads. They must join the
military to fight on the borders when called. Desertion from the army
is punishable.

        Accessories to a crime shall not be declared outlaw before the
principal is proven guilty. (This made uniform the practice of the
various counties.)

        Only those imprisoned for the smaller offenses of a single
incidence of petty larceny, receipt of felons, or accessory to a
felony, or some other trespass not punishable by life or limb shall be
let out by sufficient surety. Prisoners who were outlawed or escaped
from prison or are notorious thieves or were imprisoned for felonious
house burning, passing false money, counterfeiting the King's seal,
treason touching the king himself, or other major offenses or have been
excommunicated by the church may not be released.

        Killing in self-defense and by mischance shall be pardoned from
the King's indictment. Killing by a child or a person of unsound mind
shall be pardoned from the King's indictment. (But a private accuser
can still sue.)

        Any man who ravishes [abducts] any woman without her consent or
by force shall have the criminal penalty of loss of life or limb. (The
criminal penalty used to be just two years in prison.)

        Trespasses in parks or ponds shall be punished by imprisonment
for three years and a fine as well as paying damages to the wronged
person. After his imprisonment, he shall find a surety or leave the

        "Forasmuch as there have been often times found in the country
devisors of tales, where discord, or occasion of discord, has many
times arisen between the King and his people, or great men of this
realm; For the damage that has and may thereof ensue, it is commanded,
that from henceforth none be so hardy to tell or publish any false news
or tales, whereby discord or occasion of discord or slander may grow
between the King and his people, or the great men of the realm." Anyone
doing so shall be imprisoned until he brings into the court the first
author of the tale.

        A system of registration and enforcement of commercial
agreements was established by statute. Merchants could obtain a writing
of a debt sealed by the debtor and authenticated by royal seal or a
seal of a mayor of certain towns, and kept by the creditor. Failure to
pay a such a debt was punishable by imprisonment and, after three
months, the selling of borough tenements and chattels and of county
lands. During the three months, the merchant held this property in a
new tenure of "statute merchant". (Prior to this, it was difficult for
a foreign merchant to collect a debt because he could not appear in
court which did not recognize him as one of its proper "suitors" or
constituents, so he had to trust a local attorney. Also, the remedy was
inadequate because the history of the law of debt was based on debt as
a substitute for the blood feud, so that failure to pay meant slavery
or death. Also a debtor's land was protected by feudal custom, which
was contrary to the idea of imposing a new tenant on a lord.)

        "In no city, borough, town, market, or fair shall a person of
the realm be distrained for a debt for which he is not the debtor or

        Anyone making those passing with goods through their
jurisdiction answer to them in excess of their jurisdiction shall be
grievously amerced to the King.

        No market town shall take an outrageous toll contrary to the
common custom of the nation.

        Since good sterling money has been counterfeited with base and
false metal outside the nation and then brought in, foreigners found in
the nation's ports with this false money shall forfeit their lives.
Anyone bringing money into the nation must have it examined at his port
of entry. Payments of money shall be made only by coin of the
appropriate weight delivered by the Warden of the Exchange and marked
with the King's mark. (A currency exchange was established at Dover for
the exchange of foreign currency for English sterling.)

        The silver in craftwork must be sterling and marked with the
Leopard's Head. The gold in craftwork must meet the standard of the
Touch of Paris.

        The assize of bread and ale had been and was enforced locally
by local inspectors. Now, the Crown appointed royal officers for the
gauge of wines and measurement of cloths. Edicts disallowed middlemen
from raising prices against consumers by such practices as forestalling
[intercepting goods before they reached the market and then reselling
them] or engrossing [buying a large supply of a commodity to drive up
the price] and price regulation was attempted. For instance, prices
were set for poultry and lamb, in a period of plenty. Maximum prices
were set for cattle, pigs, sheep, poultry, and eggs in 1314, but these
prices were hard to enforce. In London examples of prices set are: best
hen 3d.2q., best wild goose 4d., best hare 4d., best kid 10d., best
lamb 4d., best fresh herrings 12 for 1d., best pickled herrings 20 for
1d., best haddock 2d., best fresh salmon 3s.

        Freemen may drive their swine through the King's demesne Forest
to feed in their own woods or elsewhere. No man shall lose his life or
limb for killing deer in the Forest, but instead shall be grievously
fined or imprisoned for a year.

        The Forest Charter allowed a man to cut down and take wood from
his own woods in the King's forest to repair his house, fences, and
hedges. He may also enclose his woods in the King's forest with fences
and hedges to grow new trees and keep cattle and beasts therefrom.
After seven years growth of these new trees, he may cut them down for
sale with the King's permission.

        Each borough has its own civil and criminal ordinances and
police jurisdiction. Borough courts tended to deal with more laws than
other local courts because of the borough's denser populations, which
were composed of merchants, manufacturers, and traders, as well as
those engaged in agriculture. Only borough courts have jurisdiction
over fairs. In some boroughs the villein who resides for a year and a
day becomes free, a right first given by Henry II in his charter for
Nottingham. There are special ordinances relating to apprentices. There
are sometimes ordinances against enticing away servants bound by
agreement to serve another. The wife who is a trader is regarded in
many places as a feme sole [single woman rather than a woman covert,
who was under the protection of a husband]. There may be special
ordinances as to the liability of masters for the acts of their
apprentices and agents, or as to brokers, debt, or earnest money
binding a bargain. The criminal and police jurisdiction in the borough
was organized upon the same model as in the country at large, and was
controlled by the King's courts upon similar principles, though there
are some survivals of old rules, such as mention of the bot and the
wer. The crimes committed are similar to those of the country, such as
violence, breaches of the assize of bread and beer, stirring up suits
before the ecclesiastical courts, digging up or obstructing the
highway, not being enrolled in a tithing, encroachments upon or
obstructions of rights of common. The most striking difference with the
country at large are the ordinances on the repair or demolition of
buildings, encroachments on another's building, fires, and nuisances.
Specimens of other characteristic urban disputes are: selling bad food,
using bad materials, unskillful or careless workmanship, fraudulent
weights and measures, fraud in buying and selling, forestalling or
regrating [buying in one market to resell in another market], acting in
a way likely to endanger the liberties of the borough, usury, trading
without being a citizen, assisting other unlicensed persons to trade,
unlawfully forming a guild, complaints against various guilds in which
trade might be organized. Since the ordinances were always liable to be
called in question before the King's courts, they tended to become
uniform and in harmony with the principles of the common law. Also,
trading between boroughs kept them knowledgeable about each other's
customs and conditions for trade, which then tended to standardize.
Boroughs often had seals to prove communal consent and tended to act as
a corporate body.

        Borough ordinances often include arson such as this one: "And
if a street be set on fire by any one, his body shall be attached and
cast into the midst of the fire." Robbery by the miller was specially
treated by an ordinance that "And if the miller be attainted [found
guilty] of robbery of the grain or of the flour to the amount of 4d.,
he shall be hanged from the beam in his mill."

        In London, an ordinance prescribed for bakers for the first
offense of making false bread a forfeiture of that bread. For the
second offense was prescribed imprisonment, and for the third offense
placement in the pillory. A London ordinance for millers who caused
bread to be false prescribed for them to be carried in a tumbrel cart
through certain streets, exposed to the derision of the people.

        By statute, no one may make a gift or alienation of land to the
church. An attempt to do so will cause the land to escheat to the lord,
or in his default, to the King. Religious houses may not alienate land
given to them by the king or other patrons because such gifts were for
the sake of someone's soul. An attempt to do so will cause the land to
revert to the donor or his heir. If the church did not say the prayers
or do the other actions for which land was given to it, the land will
revert to the donor or his heir. Land may not be alienated to religious
bodies in such a way that it would cease to render its due service to
the King. (The church never died, never married, and never had
children.) The church shall send no money out of the nation. (This
statute of mortmain was neutralized by collusive lawsuits in which the
intended grantor would sue the intended grantee claiming superior title
and then would default, surrendering the land to the intended grantee
by court judgment.)

        "Concerning wrecks of the sea, where a man, a dog, or a cat
escape alive out of the ship, that such ship nor barge nor anything
within them shall be deemed wreck, but the goods shall be saved and
kept by view of the Sheriff, Coroner, or the King's Bailiff". If anyone
proves the goods were his within a year and a day, they shall be
restored to him without delay. Otherwise, they shall be kept by the
King. "And where wreck belongs to one other than the King, he shall
have it in like manner". If he does otherwise, he shall be imprisoned
and pay damages and fine.

        Some statutes applied only to Kent County, which had a unique
position between London and the continent. Money flowed between England
and the continent through Kent. So Kent never developed a manorial
system of land holding, but evolved from a system of clans and
independent villages directly into a commercial system.

In Kent, all men are free and may give or sell their lands without
permission of their lords, as before the Conquest.

        One could sell or give away his land without the consent of
one's lord. The services of the land, however, could only be sold to
the chief lord. Inheritance of land was to all sons by equal portions,
and if there were no sons, then to all daughters in equal portions. The
eldest brother has his choice of portion, then the next oldest, etc.
The goods of a deceased person were divided into three parts after his
funeral expenses and debts were paid. One third went to the surviving
spouse. One third went to the deceased's sons and daughters. One third
could be disposed by will of the decedent. If there were no children,
one half went to the spouse and one half went according to will. If an
heir was under 15 years old, his next of kin to whom inheritance could
not descend was to be his guardian. A wife who remarried or bore a
child lost her dower land. A husband lost his dower if he remarried. If
a tenant withheld rent or services, his lord could seek award of court
to find distress on his tenement and if he could find none, he could
take the tenement for a year and a day in his hands without manuring
it. It the tenant paid up in this time, he got the tenement back. If he
didn't within a year and a day, however, the lord could manure the
land. A felon forfeited his life and his goods, but not his lands or
tenements. A wife of a felon had the dower of one half or her husband's
lands and tenements.

        The common law recognized the tort of false imprisonment if a
man arrested as a felon, a person who was not a felon.

              Judicial Procedure

        The highest court was the king and his council in Parliament.
It heard the most important causes, important because they concern the
king, or because they concern very great men (e.g. treason), or because
they involve grave questions of public law, or because they are
unprecedented. It has large, indefinite powers and provides new
remedies for new wrongs. The office of great justiciar disappears and
the Chancellor becomes the head of the council. The Chancellor heads
the Chancery, which is the secretarial department of the Royal Court. A
litigant could not proceed without first obtaining a writ from
Chancery. The Chancellor could form new writs.

After the council were the royal courts of the King's Bench, Common
Pleas, and the Exchequer, which had become separate, each with its own
justices and records. The Court of Common Pleas had its own Chief
Justice and usually met at Westminster. This disadvantaged the small
farmer, who would have to travel to Westminster to present a case. The
King's Council maintained a close connection with the Court of the
King's Bench, which heard criminal cases and appeals from the Court of
Common Pleas. It traveled with the King. There were many trespass cases
so heard by it in the reign of Edward I. The King's Council did a great
deal of justice, for the more part criminal justice. It was supported
by the populace because it dealt promptly and summarily with rebellion
or some scandalous acquittal of a notorious criminal by bribed or
partial jurors, and thereby prevented anarchy. Its procedure was to
send for the accused and compel him to answer upon oath written
interrogatories. Affidavits were then sworn upon both sides. With
written depositions before them, the Lords of the council, without any
jury, acquit or convict. Fines and imprisonments were meted out to
rioters, conspirators, bribers, and perjured jurors. No loss of life or
limb occurred because there had been no jury.

        In criminal cases, witnesses acquainted with particular facts
were added to the general assize of twelve lawful men from each hundred
and four lawful men from each town to testify to facts unknown by the
assize men. The assize was bifurcated into the grand jury of twelve to
twenty-four knights and the petty jury or trial jury of twelve free and
lawful men, which replaced ordeal, compurgation, and trial by combat as
the method of finding the truth. The men of the petty jury as well as
those of the grand jury were expected to know or to acquaint themselves
with the facts of the cases. The men of the petty jury tended to be the
same men who were on the grand jury.

        Felony was determined by common law to be one of seven
offenses: treason, homicide, arson, rape, robbery, burglary, and grand
larceny, the last of which involved over 12d., where 12d. was enough to
keep a man from starvation for eight days. High treaason included
covered the making of counterfeit money and the clipping if coin.
Burglary was an offense committed in times of peace and consisted of
breaking into churches, houses, and into the walls and gates of
villages and boroughs. These seven offenses could be prosecuted by
indictment or private accusation by an individual. They were
appealable, that is, the accuser must in general offer trial by battle.
The penalties involved loss of life or limb or, if he fled, outlawry.
Actually, the death penalty was replacing loss of life or limb. Death
by hanging was the usual punishment. A felon's goods were confiscated
by the crown and his land was forfeited to the crown for a year and a
day and waste, after which it escheated to the felon's lord. The crimes
of wounding, mayhem, and false imprisonment were not now felonies. The
peace of the king now did not die with the king, but renewed
automatically without an interval before the inauguration of a new king.

        Notorious felons who would not consent or put themselves on
inquests for felonies with which they were charged at royal courts were
put in strong and hard imprisonment to persuade them to accept trial by
assize. This inducement progressed into being loaded with heavy chains
and placed on the ground in the worst part of the prison and being fed
a only little water one day and a little bread the next. Sometimes
pieces of iron or stones were placed one another onto their prone
bodies to persuade them to plead. This then developed into being loaded
with as much iron as could be borne, and finally into being pressed to
death ["peine forte et dure"]. Many of these men chose to die by this
pressing so that their families could inherit their property, which
would have been forfeited if they had been convicted of serious crimes.

        The most common cases in the Court of Common Pleas were
detinue, "debt" [for money due from a sale, for money loaned, for rent
upon a lease for years, from a surety, promised in a sealed document,
or due to arbitrators to whom a dispute had been submitted] and
"account" [e.g. against bailiffs of manors, a guardian in socage, and
partners]. It also heard estovers [right to use during a lease] of
wood, profit by gathering nuts, acorns, and other fruits in wood,
corody [allowance of food], yearly delivery of grain, toll, tunnage,
passage, keeping of parks, woods, forests, chases, warrens, gates, and
other bailiwicks, and offices in fee.

        The itinerant justices gradually ceased to perform
administrative duties on their journeys because landed society had
objected to their intrusiveness. Edward I substituted regular
visitations of Justices of Assize for the irregular journeys of the
itinerant justices. Each one of four circuits had two Justices of
Assize. From about 1299, these Justices of Assize heard cases of gaol
delivery. Their jurisdiction expanded to include serious criminal cases
and breach of the king's peace. One woman was indicted to every 9 men.
16% of the women who were indicted were convicted compared to 30% of
the men.

        Breaches of the forest charter laws were determined by justices
of the King's forest, parks, and chases, along with men of assize.

        Coroners' inquest procedures were delineated by statute and
included describing in detail in the coroner's rolls every wound of a
dead body, how many may be culpable, and people claiming to have found
treasure who might be suspects.

        The precedent for punishment for treason was established by the
conviction of a knight, David ab Gruffydd, who had turned traitor to
the Welsh enemy, after fighting with Edward and being rewarded with
land, during the conquest of Wales. He had plotted to kill the King. He
was found guilty of treason by Parliament and condemned to be dragged
at the heels of horses for being a traitor to his knightly vows, hanged
by the neck for his murders, cut down before consciousness left him to
have his entrails cut out for committing his crimes during the holy
week of Easter, and his head cut off and his body divided into four
parts for plotting against the King's life. The head was placed on the
Tower of London and his body sections were placed in public view at
various other locations in England. This came to be known as "hanging,
drawing, and quartering". Prior to this the penalty had usually been
imprisonment followed by ransom. The penalty for a woman of treason,
e.g. killing her husband, who was her lord, was burning at the stake.

        Trial by combat is now limited to certain claims of enfeoffment
of large land holding and is barred for land held in socage, burgage,
or by marriage. (Trial by combat eventually fell into disuse, but was
not abolished until 1819.) Assize is the usual manner of trial, but
compurgation remains in the borough court long after it becomes
obsolete in the royal courts. It came to be that defendants no longer
request assizes but are automatically put to them.

        Numerous statutes protect the integrity of the courts and
King's offices by double and treble damages and imprisonment for
offenses such as bribery, false informers, conspiracy to falsely move
or maintain pleas, champerty [covenant between a litigant and another
for the other to have a part or profit in the award in return for
maintaining the suit], conflict of interest by court officers taking
part in a quarrel pending in court or working any fraud whereby common
right may be delayed or disturbed. There had been many abuses, the most
common of which was extortion by sheriffs, who gaoled people without
cause to make them pay to be released. The 1275 prohibition of
maintenance of a quarrel of a party in court by a nonparty was extended
in 1327 to all persons, including the king's councilors and ministers,
and great men, e.g. by sending letters. In 1346, this prohibition
specifically included prelates, earls, barons taking in hand quarrels
other than their own, or maintaining them for gift, promise, amity,
favor, doubt, or fear, in disturbance of law and hindrance of right.
The reason given was that there had been persons disinherited, delayed
or disturbed in their rights, and not guilty persons convicted or
otherwise oppressed. All great men were required to put out of their
service all maintainers who had been retained, and void their fees and
robes, without giving them aid, favor, or comfort. This law was not

        The king reserved to himself and his council in its judicial
capacity the correction of all breaches of the law which the lower
courts had failed to remedy, whether from weakness, partiality,
corruption, or jury timidity, and especially when the powerful barons
defied the courts. The Chancery also sought to address causes which
were impeded in their regular course, which often involved assaults,
batteries, and forcible dispossessions.

        Disputes within the royal household were administered by the
King's steward. He received and determined complaints about acts or
breaches of the peace within twelve miles around the King's person or
"verge". He was assisted by the marshall in the "court of the hall" and
by the clerk of the market when imposing fines for trading regulation
violations in the "court of the market".

        Ecclesiastical courts were successful in their competition with
the secular courts for jurisdiction over testamentary matters
[concerning wills] and intestate succession [no will] to chattels.

        There were local courts of the vill, borough, manor, hundred,
county, sheriff, escheator, and royal bailiff, with overlapping
jurisdictions. The county court in its full session, that is, as it
attended the itinerant justices on their visitation, contained the
archbishops, bishops, priors, earls, barons, knights, and freeholders,
and from each township four men and the reeve, and from each borough
twelve burgesses. It was still the folkmote, the general assembly of
the people. In 1293, suitors who could not spend 40s. a year within
their county were not required to attend their county court.

        The most common plea in the hundred court was trespass. It also
heard issues concerning services arising out of land, detention of
chattels, small debts, wounding or maiming of animals, and personal
assaults and brawls not amounting to felony. It met every three weeks.
The sheriff held his turn twice a year and viewed frankpledge once a
        In Chancery, the court of the Chancellor, if there is a case
with no remedy specified in the law, that is similar to a situation for
which there is a writ, then a new writ may be made for that case. This
was called "trespass on the case". This covered indirect as well as
direct contact with a person, land, or chattels. An example is that
trespasss would not apply to a boat whose rope attaching it to land was
cut because the trespass did not have contact with the boat. Only the
rope would be the result of the trespass. Trespass on the case would
include the boat. The two chancery justices were the Lord Chancellor
and the Master of the Rolls.

        When Edward I came to the throne, over half of the
approximately 600 hundred courts had gone under the jurisdiction of a
private lord owing to royal charter, prescriptive right, and
usurpation. The sheriff's powers in these hundreds varied. In some, the
sheriff had no right of entry. So Edward I created the writ of Quo
Warranto [by what right], by which all landholders exercising manor or
franchise jurisdictions must bring their ancestors' charters before a
traveling justice for the Common Pleas for examination and
interpretation as to whether they had a charter or were going beyond
their charters and infringing upon the jurisdiction of the Royal Court.
As a result, many manor courts were confined to manorial matters and
could no longer view frankpledge or hear criminal cases, which were
reserved for the royal courts. In the manor courts which retained
criminal jurisdiction, there was a reassertion of the obligation to
have present a royal coroner, whose duty it was to see that royal
rights were not infringed and that the goods of felons were given to
the Crown and not kept by the lords. Some who could not produce a
charter lost it; but later, uninterrupted use of a jursdiction since
1189 sufficed to retain that jurisdiction.

        In the manor courts, actions of debt, detinue, and covenant
were frequent. Sometimes there are questions of a breach of warranty of
title in agreements of sale of land. Accusations of defamation were
frequent; this offense could not be taken to the King's court, but it
had been recognized as an offense in the Anglo-Saxon laws. In some
cases, the damages caused are specifically stated. For instance,
defamation of a lord's grain would cause other purchasers to forbear
buying it. There are frequent cases of ordinary thefts, trespasses, and
assaults. The courts did rough but substantial justice without
distinction between concepts such as tort and contract. In fact, the
action of covenant was the only form of agreement enforceable at common
law. It required a writing under seal and awarded damages. Manor court
law was not technical, but elastic, and remedies could include
injunctions, salary attachment, and performance of acts. The steward
holding the manor court was often a lawyer.

        Some pleas in the manors of the abbey of Bec were:

1. -Hugh le Pee in mercy (fine, 12d.) for concealing a sheep for half a
year. Pledges, Simon of Newmere, John of Senholt

2. -William Ketelburn in mercy (fine, 13s.4d.) for divers trespasses.
Pledge, Henry Ketelburn.

3. -Hugh Derwin for pasture, 6d. Richard Hulle for divers trespasses,
12d. Henry Stanhard for pasture, 6d.

4. -William Derwin for a trespass, 6d.; pledge, William Sperling.

5. -Hugh Hall gives the lord 12d. that he may have the judgment of the
court as to a tenement and two acres of land, which he demands as of
right, so he says. And it being asserted that the said land is not
free[hold] let the court say its say. And the court says that the
tenement and one of the two acres are of servile condition and that the
other acre is of free condition. The case is reserved for the lord's
presence. Pledge, John Brian.

6. -John Palmer is put in seisin of his father's tenement and -gives
the lord 53s.4d. as entry money.

7. -William Ketelburn gives the lord 6s.8d. that he may be removed from
the office of reeve. Pledge, Robert Serjeant.

8. -William Frith for subtraction of work, 6d. John Reginald -for the
same, 6d. John of Senholt, 12d. William Ketelburn, 12d.

9. -For the common fine to be paid on S. Andrew's day, 100s.

10. It is presented by the chief pledges that Godfrey Serjeant has made
default; also that John le Pee has unlawfully thrown up a bank;
therefore let it be set to rights.

11. Robert Smith is put in seisin of his father's tenement and gives
the lord four pounds for entry money. Pledge, Robert Serjeant.

12. William Ketelburn for a trespass, 13s.4d.

13. William Fleming gives four pounds for leave to contract [marriage]
with widow Susan. Pledge, Richard Serjeant.

14. John Mabely gives the lord 3s. to have the judgment of twelve men
as to certain land whereof Noah deforces him; pledges, Richard Smith,
Ralph Bernard. The said jurors say - - that Noah the Fat has right;
therefore etc.

15. Agnes Stampelove gives the lord 2s. for leave to come and go in the
vill but to dwell outside the lord's land. Pledge, Richard Smith.

16. Godfrey Tailor the younger for a trespass, 2s.

17. Whereas Godfrey Tailor the younger has demanded against Noah a
farthing land, now the action is compromised in manner following:
Godfrey for himself and his heirs remises to the said Noah and his
heirs all right and claim which he has or can have in the said farthing
land by reason of the gift made by his grandfather John Tailor.

18. Agnes Mabely is put in seisin of a farthing land which her mother
held, and gives the lord 33s.4d. for entry money. Pledges, Noah,
William Askil.

19. The full court declares that in case any woman shall have
altogether quitted the lord's domain and shall marry a freeman, she may
return and recover whatever right and claim she has in any land; but if
she shall be joined to a serf, then she cannot do this during the
serf's lifetime, but after his death she may. t

20. William Alice's son is put in seisin of a bakehouse in the King's
Street, and shall keep up the house at his own cost and gives 12d. for
entry money, and 10s. annual rent payable at three terms, viz. 3s.4d.
at Martinmas, 3s.4d. at Lady Day, 3s.4d. at Christmas. Pledges, Adam
Clerk, John Deboneir.

20. John son of Alma demands a cottage which Henry Fleming holds and
gives the lord 12d. for the oath and recognition of 12 men; pledge,
Richard Jordan. The jurors say that Henry Fleming has the better right.

21. Baldwin Cobbler's son finds [as pledges] Walter Cobbler, Roger of
Broadwater, Robert Linene, William Frances, that notwithstanding his
stay in London he will always make suit with his tithing and will at no
time claim any liberty contrary to the lord's will and will come to the
lord whenever the lord wills.

22. Simon Patrick gives the lord 12d. to have the judgment of the court
as to a cottage of which the widow of Geoffrey Dogers deforces him;
pledge, Simon of Strode. The said -jurors say that the said Simon has
the better right. And the said Simon remises and quitclaims all his
right to his sister Maud and her husband John Horin, [who] gives the
lord 10s. for entry money; pledges, Simon Patrick, John Talk.

23. Hugh Wiking for not making suit at the lord's mill, 12d.

24. It was presented that William Derwin and John Derwin (fine, 12d.)
committed a trespass against Agnes Dene, and the cry was raised,
therefore etc.

25. Hugh Churchyard contracted [marriage] without the lord's leave;
[fine] 12d.

26. Let Juliana Forester be distrained for her default, also William

27. John Kulbel in mercy (fine, 12d.) for not producing Gregory Miller,
and he is commanded to produce him at the next court.

28. Hugh Andrew's son gives the lord 4s. for leave to marry; pledge,
Robert Serjeant.

29. Juliana Forester gives the lord 12d. in order that for the future
no occasion may be taken against her for neglect of suit of court.

30. John Franklain is put in seisin of his father's tenement and gives
the lord 20s. for entry; pledge, Robert Serjeant.

31. Henry Cross gives the lord 4s. for license to marry; pledge, Robert

32. Isabella Warin gives the lord 4s. for leave to give her daughter
Mary in marriage; pledge, John Serjeant.

33. It is presented by the whole township that Ralph le War has
disseised the lord of a moiety of a hedge, whereas it had often been
adjudged by award of the court that the said hedge belongs as to one
moiety to the lord and as to the other to Ralph, and the said Ralph
claims and takes to his use the whole to the lord's damage etc. Also
they say that the said Ralph holds Overcolkescroft, which land by right
is the lord's.

34. It is presented by unanimous verdict of the whole court that if
anyone marries a woman who has right in any land according to the
custom of the manor and is seised thereof by the will of the lord, and
the said woman surrenders her right and her seisin into the hands of
the lord and her husband receives that right and seisin from the hands
of the lord, in such case the heirs of the woman are for ever barred
from the said land and the said right remains to the husband and his
heirs. Therefore let William Wood, whose case falls under this rule,
hold his land in manner aforesaid. And for the making of this inquest
the said William gives the lord 6s.8d.

35. The tenements of Lucy Mill are to be seized into the lord's hands
because of the adultery which she has committed and the bailiff is to
answer for them.

 - -The chief pledges present that Cristina daughter of Richard
Maleville has married at London without the lord's licence; therefore
let the said Richard be distrained. He has made fine with 12d. Also
that Alice Berde has done the same; therefore let her be distrained.
Also that Robert Fountain -has committed a trespass against William
Gery; therefore the said Robert is in mercy; pledge, Humfrey; fine, 6d.
Also that Richard Maleville has drawn blood from Stephen Gust;
therefore he is in mercy; fine, 2s.

36. Geoffrey Coterel in mercy for a battery; fine, 12d.; pledge, Adam
Serjeant. Geoffrey Coterel for trespass in the hay; fine, 6d.; pledge,
Alan Reaper. Hugh of Senholt in mercy for trespass in the green wood;
fine, 6d.

37. Hugh Wiking in mercy for delay in doing his works; fine, 6d. Hugh
Churchyard for trespass in [cutting] thorns; fine, 6d. Thomas Gold in
mercy for trespass in the wood; fine, 3d.; pledge, Robert Grinder.

38. William Dun in mercy for subtraction of his works due in autumn;
fine, 2s. Avice Isaac for the same, 6d.; Hugh Wiking -for the same,
6d.; Agnes Rede in mercy for her daughter's trespass in the corn
[grain], 6d.

39. Walter Ash in mercy for not making suit to the lord's mill; fine,
6d. Hugh Pinel in mercy for diverting a watercourse to the nuisance of
the neighbors; fine, 6d.; pledge, Robert Fresel.

40. John Dun in mercy for carrying off corn [grain] in the autumn;
pledge, Adam White. Alan Reaper gives the lord 12d. on account of a
sheep which was lost while in his custody.

41. Adam White in mercy for bad mowing; fine, 6d. Hugh Harding in mercy
for the same; fine, 6d.

42. The chief pledges present that Henry Blackstone (fine, 6d.), Hugh
Churchyard (fine, 18d.), Walter Ash (fine, 6d.), Henry of Locksbarow
(fine, 12d.), Avice Isaac (fine, 6d.), Richard Matthew (fine, 6d.),
Hugh Wiking (fine,--), Ralph Dene (fine, 6d.), John Palmer (fine,
12d.), John Coterel (fine, 6d.), John Moor (fine, 6d.), John Cubbel
(fine, 12d.), Hugh Andrew (fine, 6d.), Philip Chapman (fine, 6d.), John
Fellow (fine, 12d.), Robert Bailiff (fine, 6d.), Alice Squire (fine,
12d.), John Grately (fine,--), Richard Hull (fine, 6d.), Osbert Reaper
(fine, 6d.), and Robert Cross (fine, 6d.), have broken the assize of
beer. Also that Henry of Senholt, Henry Brown, Hugh Hayward, Richard
Moor, Juliana Woodward, Alice Harding, Peronel Street, Eleanor Mead
make default. Also that Walter Ash (fine,--), John Wiking (fine,--),
John Smart (fine,--), and Henry Coterel have married themselves without
the lord's licence; therefore let them be distrained to do the will of
the lord.

43. Alan Reaper for the trespass of his foal; fine, 6d.

44. Philip Chapman in mercy for refusing his gage to the lord's
bailiff; fine, 3d.

45. William Ash in mercy for trespass in the growing crop; fine, 6d.

46. John Iremonger in mercy for contempt; fine, 6d.

47. The chief pledges present that William of Ripley (fine, 6d.),
Walter Smith (no goods), Maud of Pasmere (fine, 6d.), have received
[strangers] contrary to the assize; therefore - - they are in mercy.

48. Maud widow of Reginald of Challow has sufficiently proved that a
certain sheep valued at 8d. is hers, and binds herself to restore it or
its price in case it shall be demanded from her within year and day;
pledges, John Iremonger and John Robertd; and she gives the lord 3d.
for [his] custody [of it].

        The Court of Hustings in London is empowered to award landlords
their tenements for which rent or services are in arrears if the
landlord could not distrain enough tenant possessions to cover the

        Wills are proven in the Court of Husting, the oldest court in
London, which went back to the times of Edward the Confessor. One such
proven will is:

        "Tour (John de La) - To Robert his eldest son his capital
messuage and wharf in the parish of Berchingechurch near the land
called 'Berewardesland`. To Agnes his wife his house called
'Wyvelattestone', together with rents, reversions, etc. in the parish
of S. Dunstan towards the Tower, for life; remainder to Stephen his
son. To Peter and Edmund his sons lands and rents in the parish of All
Hallows de Berhyngechurch; remainders over in default of heirs. To
Agnes, wife of John le Keu, fishmonger, a house situate in the same
parish of Berhyng, at a peppercorn [nominal] rent."

        The Court of the Mayor of London heard diverse cases, including
disputes over goods, faulty or substandard goods, adulteration, selling
food unfit for human consumption, enhancing the price of goods, using
unlawful weighing beams, debts, theft, distraints, forgery, tavern
brawling, bullying, and gambling. Insulting or assaulting a city
dignitary was a very serious crime; an attack on the mayor was once
capitally punished. Sacrilege, rape, and burglary were punished by
death. Apart from the death penalty, the punishment meted out the most
was public exposure in the pillory, with some mark of ignominy slung
round the neck. If the crime was selling bad food, it was burnt under
the offender's nose. If it was sour wine, the offender was drenched in
it. Standing in the pillory for even one hour was very humiliating, and
by the end of the day, it was known throughout the city. The offender's
reputation was ruined. Some men died in the pillory of shame and
distress. A variation of the pillory was being dragged through the
streets on a hurdle. Prostitutes were carted through the streets in
coarse rough cloth hoods, with penitential crosses in their hands.
Scolds were exposed in a "thewe" for women. In more serious cases,
imprisonment for up to a year was added to the pillory. Mutilation was
rare, but there are cases of men losing their right hands for rescuing
prisoners. The death penalty was usually by hanging. The following four
London cases pertain to customs, bad grain, surgery, and
apprenticeship, respectively.

This is a lawsuit: "John le Paumer was summoned to answer Richer de
Refham, Sheriff, in a plea that, whereas the defendant and his Society
of Bermen [carriers] in the City were sworn not to carry any wine, by
land or water, for the use of citizens or others, without the Sheriff's
mark, nor lead nor cause it to be led, whereby the Sheriff might be
defrauded of his customs, nevertheless he caused four casks of wine
belonging to Ralph le Mazun of Westminster to be carried from the City
of Westminster without the Sheriff's mark, thus defrauding the latter
of his customs in contempt of the king etc. The defendant acknowledged
the trespass. Judgment that he remain in the custody of the Sheriff
till he satisfy the King and the Court for offense."

This is a lawsuit: "Walter atte Belhaus, William atte Belhous, Robert
le Barber dwelling at Ewelleshalle, John de Lewes, Gilbert le Gras,
John his son, Roger le Mortimer, William Ballard atte Hole, Peter de
Sheperton, John Brun and the wife of Thomas the pelterer, Stephen de
Haddeham, William de Goryngg, Margery de Frydaiestrate, Mariot, who
dwells in the house of William de Harwe, and William de Hendone were
attached to answer for forestalling all kinds of grain and exposing it,
together with putrid grain, on the pavement, for sale by the bushel,
through their men and women servants; and for buying their own grain
from their own servants in deception of the people. The defendants
denied that they were guilty and put themselves on their country. A
jury of Richard de Hockeleye and others brought in a verdict of guilty,
and the defendants were committed to prison till the next Parliament."

This is a lawsuit: "Peter the Surgeon acknowledged himself bound to
Ralph de Mortimer, by Richard atte Hill his attorney, in the sum of
20s., payable at certain terms, the said Ralph undertaking to give
Peter a letter of acquittance [release from a debt]. This Recognizance
arose out of a covenant between them with regard to the effecting of a
cure. Both were amerced for coming to an agreement out of Court. A
precept was issued to summon all the surgeons of the City for Friday,
that an inquiry might be made as to whether the above Peter was fitted
to enjoy the profession of a surgeon."

This is a lawsuit: "Thomas de Kydemenstre, shoemaker, was summoned to
answer William de Beverlee, because he did not clothe, feed and
instruct his apprentice Thomas, William's son, but drove him away. The
defendant said that the apprentice lent his master's goods to others
and promised to restore them or their value, but went away against his
wish; and he demanded a jury. Subsequently, a jury of William de Upton
and others said the apprentice lent two pairs of shoes belonging to his
master and was told to restore them, but, frightened by the beating
which he received, ran away; further that the master did not feed and
clothe his apprentice as he ought, being unable to do so, to the
apprentice's damage 40d., but that he was now in a position to look
after his apprentice. Thereupon Thomas de Kydemenstre said he was
willing to have the apprentice back and provide for him, and the father
agreed. Judgment that the master take back the apprentice and feed and
instruct him, or that he repay to the father, the money paid to the
latter, and that he pay the father the 40d. and be in mercy."

        A professional class of temporal attorneys whose business it is
to appear on behalf of litigants is prominent in the nation. The idea
of representation has spread outwards from a king who has so many
affairs that he can not conduct them in person. Men often appear to
defend themselves in the king's court by attorney. But attorneys do not
conduct prospective litigation for a client. Attorneys are now drawn
from the knightly class of landed gentlemen, instead of ecclesiastical
orders. Since it was forbidden for ecclesiastics to act as advocates in
the secular courts, those who left the clergy to become advocates
adopted a close-fitting cap to hide their tonsures, which came to be
called a "coif". The great litigation of the nation is conducted by a
small group of men, as is indicated by the earliest Year Books of case
decisions compiled by attorneys and students attending the court. These
attorneys sit in court and will sometimes intervene as amicus curiae
[friends of the court]. Parliament refers difficult points of law to
them as well as to the justices. These reports became so authoritative
that they could be cited in the courts as precedent. Groups of
attorneys from the countryside who are appearing in London courts
during term-time and living in temporary lodgings start to form
guild-like fellowships and buy property where they dine and reside
together, called the Inns of Court. They begin to think of themselves
as belonging to a profession, with a feeling of responsibility for
training the novices who sat in court to learn court procedures and
attorney techniques. They invited these students to supper at the Inns
of Court for the purpose of arguing about the day's cases. The Inns of
Court evolved a scheme of legal education, which was oral and used
disputations. Thus they became educational institutions as well as
clubs for practicing attorneys. The call to the bar of an Inn was in
effect a degree. To be an attorney one had to be educated and certified
at the Inns of Court. They practice law full time. Some are employed by
the King. Justices come to be recruited from among those who had passed
their lives practicing law in court, instead of from the ecclesiastical
orders. All attorneys were brought under the control of the justices.

        There are two types of attorney: one attorney appears in the
place of his principal, who does not appear. The appointment of this
attorney is an unusual and a solemn thing, only to be allowed on
special grounds and with the proper formalities. For instance, a poor
person may not be able to afford to travel to attend the royal court in
person. The other one is the pleader-attorney, who accompanies his
client to court and advocates his position with his knowledge of the
law and his persuasiveness. The king came to retain a number of
attorneys, called his serjeants at law, to plead his causes for him.
Edward directed his justices to provide for every county attorneys from
among the best, the most lawful, and the most teachable, so the king
and people would be well served. Thereby were attorneys brought under
the control of the justices.

        In 1280, the city of London made regulations for the admission
of both types of attorneys to practice before the civic courts, and for
their due control. In 1292 the king directed the justices to provide a
certain number of attorneys and apprentices to follow the court, who
should have the exclusive right of practicing before it. This begins
the process which will make the attorney for legal business an "officer
of the court" which has appointed him.

                      Chapter 9

                 The Times: 1348-1399

        Waves of the black death, named for the black spots on the
body, swept over the nation. The black blotches were caused by
extensive internal bleeding. The plague was carried in the blood of
black rats and transmitted to humans by the bite of the rat flea, but
this cause was then unknown. The first wave of this plague, in 1348,
lasted for three years and desolated the nation by about one half the
population in the towns and one third in the country. People tried to
avoid the plague by flight. The agony and death of so many good people
caused some to question their belief in God. Also, it was hard to
understand why priests who fled were less likely to die than priests
who stayed with the dying to give them the last rites. Legal and
judicial, as well as other public business weere interrupted by
theplague and ceased for two years. Thus begins a long period of
disorganization, unrest, and social instability. Customary ways were so
upset that authority and tradition were no longer automatically
accepted. Fields lay waste and sheep and cattle wandered over the
countryside. Local courts could seldom be held. Some monasteries in
need of cash sold annuities to be paid in the form of food, drink,
clothing, and lodging during the annuitant's life, and sometimes that
of his widow also. Guilds and rich men made contributions to the poor
and ships with provisions were sent to various parts of the country for
the relief of starving people. In London, many tradesmen and artisans
formed parish fraternities which united people of all social levels and
women on almost equal terms with men, in communal devotion and mutual
support, such as help in resolving disputes, moral guidance, money when
needed, and burial and masses.

        Farm workers were so rare that they were able to demand wages
at double or triple the pre-plague rate. The pre-plague had been 4-6d.
daily for masons, carpenters, plasterers, and tilers and 3d. for their
laborers. These laborers could buy 12 cheap loaves, 3 gallons of ale,
and a gallon of cheap wine or half a pair of shoes. Prices did not go
up nearly as much as wages. Villeins relinquished their tenements, and
deserted their manors, to get better wages elsewhere. They became
nomadic, roaming from place to place, seeking day work for good wages
where they could get it, and resorting to thievery on the highways or
beggary where they could not. The Robin Hood legends were popular among
them. In them, Robin Hood is pure outlaw and does not contribute money
to the poor. Nor does he court Maid Marion.

        Villeins spread political songs among each other, such as: "To
seek silver to the King, I my seed sold; wherefore my land lieth fallow
and learneth to sleep. Since they fetched my fair cattle in my fold;
when I think of my old wealth, well nigh I weep. Thus breedeth many
beggars bold; and there wakeneth in the world dismay and woe, for as
good is death anon as so for to toil."

        Groups of armed men took lands, manors, goods, and women by
force. The villeins agreed to assist each other in resisting by force
their lords' efforts to return them to servitude. A statute of laborers
passed in 1351 for wages to be set at the pre-plague rates was
ineffectual. Justices became afraid to administer the law. Villeins,
free peasants, and craftsmen joined together and learned to use the
tactics of association and strikes against their employers.

        The office of Justice of the Peace was created for every county
to deal with rioting and vagrants. This office required no education
and was filled by volunteers. Cooperation by officials of other
counties was mandated to deal with fugitives from its justice.

        The Black Death visited again in 1361 and in 1369. The Black
Death reduced the population from about 5 million to about 2 1/2
million. It was to rise to about 4 million by 1600.

        When there were attempts to enforce the legal servitude of the
villeins, they spread rhymes of their condition and need to revolt. A
secret league, called the "Great Society" linked the centers of
intrigue. A high poll tax, graduated from 20s. to 12d., that was to be
raised for a war with France, touched off a spontaneous riot all over
the nation in 1381. This tax included people not taxed before, such as
laborers, the village smith, and the village tiler. Each area had its
own specific grievances. There was no common political motive, except
maladministration in general.

        In this Peasants' Revolt, mobs overran the counties around
London. The upper classes fled to the woods. Written records of the
servitude of villeins were burned in their halls, which were also
looted. Title deeds of landlords were burned. Rate rolls of general
taxation were destroyed. Prisoners were released from gaols. Men
connected with tax collection, law enforcement, attorneys, and alien
merchants were beheaded. The Chief Justice was murdered while fleeing.
The archbishop, who was a notoriously exploitive landlord, the
chancellor, and the treasurer were murdered. Severed heads were posted
on London Bridge. A mob took control of the king's empty bedchamber in
the Tower. The villeins demanded that service to a lord be by agreement
instead of by servitude, a commutation of villein service for rents of
a maximum of 4d. per acre yearly, abolition of a lord's right for their
work on demand (e.g. just before a hail storm so only his crops were
saved), and the right to hunt and fish. The sokemen protested having to
use the lord's mill and having to attend his court.

        The revolt was suppressed and its leaders punished. The king
issued proclamations forbidding unauthorized gatherings and ordering
tenants of land to perform their customary services. The poll tax was
dropped. For the future, the duty to deal with rioting and vagrants was
given to royal justices, sheriffs, mayors, bailiffs, and constables as
well as the Justices of the Peace. There was a high Justice of the
Peace in each hundred and a petty constable in each parish. Justices of
the Peace could swear in neighbors as unpaid special constables when
disorder broke out.

        The sheriff was responsible for seeing that men of the lower
classes were organized into groups of ten for police and surety
purposes, and for holding of hundred and county courts, arresting
suspects, guarding prisoners awaiting trial, carrying out the penalties
adjudged by the courts, and collecting Crown revenue through his
bailiffs. Royal writs were addressed to the sheriff. Because many
sheriffs had taken fines and ransoms for their own use, a term limit of
one year was imposed. Sheriffs, hundreders, and bailiffs had to have
lands in the same counties or bailiwicks [so they could be held
answerable to the King].

        Efforts were made to keep laborers at the plough and cart
rather than learn a craft or entering and being educated by the church.
The new colleges at the universities ceased to accept villeins as

        Due to the shortage of labor, landlords' returns had decreased
from about 20% to about 5%. But some found new methods of using land
that were more profitable than the customary services of villeins who
had holdings of land or the paid labor of practically free men who paid
a money rent for land holdings. One method was to turn the land to
sheep breeding. Others leased their demesne land, which transferred the
burden of getting laborers from the landlord to the lessee-tenant. The
payment was called a "farm" and the tenant a "farmer". First, there
were stock-and-land leases, in which both the land and everything
required to cultivate it were let together. After 50 years, when the
farmers had acquired assets, there were pure land leases. Landlords
preferred to lease their land at will instead of for a term of years to
prevent the tenant from depleting the soil with a few richer crops
during the last years of his tenancy. The commutation of labor services
into a money payment developed into a general commutation of virtually
all services. Lords in need of money gladly sold manumissions to their

        The lord and lady of some manors now ate with their family and
entertained guests in a private parlor [from French word 'to speak"] or
great chamber, where they could converse and which had its own
fireplace. The great chamber was usually at the fireplace end of the
great hall, where there was a high table. The great hall had been too
noisy for conversation and now was little used. There were also
separate chambers or bed-sitting rooms for guests or members the family
or household, in which one slept, received visitors, played games, and
occasionally ate.

        Some farmers achieved enough wealth to employ others as
laborers on their farms. The laborers lived with their employer in his
barn, sleeping on hay in the loft, or in mud huts outside the barn. The
farmer's family lived at one end of the barn around an open fire. Their
possessions typically were: livestock, a chest, a trestle table,
benches, stools, an iron or bronze cauldron and pots, brooms, wooden
platters, wooden bowls, spoons, knives, wooden or leather jugs, a salt
box, straw mattresses, wool blankets, linen towels, iron tools, and
rush candles [used the pith of a rush reed for the wick]. Those who
could not afford rush candles could get a dim light by using a little
grease in a shallow container, with a few twisted strands of linen
thread afloat in it. The peasants ate dark bread and beans and drank
water from springs. Milk and cheese were a luxury for them. Those who
could not afford bread instead ate oat cakes made of pounded beans and
bran, cheese, and cabbage. They also had leeks, onions, and peas as
vegetables. Some farmers could afford to have a wooden four-posted
bedstead, hens, geese, pigs, a couple of cows, a couple of sheep, or
two-plough oxen. July was the month when the divide between rich and
poor became most apparent. The rich could survive on the contents of
their barns, but the poor tried to survive by grinding up the coarsest
of wheat bran and shriveled peas and beans to make some sort of bread.
Grain and bread prices soared during July. Farming still occupied the
vast majority of the population. Town inhabitants and university
students went into the fields to help with the harvest in the summer.
Parliament was suspended during the harvest.

        Town people had more wealth than country people. Most
townspeople slept in nightgowns and nightcaps in beds with mattresses,
blankets, linen sheets, and pillows. Beds were made every morning.
Bathing was by sponging hot water from a basin over the body, sometimes
with herbs in it, rinsing with a splash of warm water, and drying off
with a towel. Tubs used only for baths came into use. There were
drapery rugs hung around beds, handheld mirrors of glass, and salt
cellars. The first meal of the day was a light breakfast, which broke
the fast that had lasted the night. Meals were often prepared according
to recipes from cook books which involved several preparation
procedures using flour, eggs, sugar, cheese, and grated bread, rather
than just simple seasoning. Menus were put together with foods that
tasted well together and served on plates in several courses.
Children's sweets included gingerbread and peppermint drops. Sheffield
cutlery was world famous. Table manners included not making sounds when
eating, not playing with one's spoon or knife, not placing one's elbows
on the table, keeping one's mouth clean with a napkin, and not being
boisterous. There were courtesies such as saying "Good Morning" when
meeting someone and not pointing one's finger at another person. King
Richard II invented the handkerchief for sneezing and blowing one's
nose. There were books on etiquette. Cats were the object of
superstition, but there was an Ancient and Honorable Order of the Men
Who Stroke Cats.

        New burgesses were recruited locally, usually from within a 20
mile radius of town. Most of the freemen of the larger boroughs, like
Canterbury and London, came from smaller boroughs. An incoming burgess
was required to buy his right to trade either by way of a seven year
apprenticeship or by payment of an entry fee. To qualify, he needed
both a skill and social respectability.

        Towns started acquiring from the king the right to vacant sites
and other waste places, which previously was the lord's right. The
perpetuality of towns was recognized by statutes of 1391, which
compared town-held property to church-held property. The right of
London to pass ordinances was confirmed by charter. Some towns had a
town clerk, who was chief of full-time salaried officers. There was a
guildhall to maintain, a weigh-house, prison, and other public
buildings, municipal water supplies, wharves, cranes, quays,
wash-houses, and public lavatories.

        After the experience of the black death, some sanitary measures
were taken. The notorious offenders in matters of public hygiene in the
towns, such as the butchers, the fishmongers, and the leather tanners
were assigned specific localities where their trades would do least
harm. The smiths and potters were excluded from the more densely
populated areas because they were fire risks. In the town of Salisbury,
there was Butcher Row, Ox Row, Fish Row, Ironmongers' Row,
Wheelwrights' Row, Smiths' Row, Pot Row, Silver Street, Cheese Market,
and Wool Market.

        For water, most communities depended on rivers that ran near by
or on public wells that were dug to reach the water underground. Some
towns had water public water supply systems. Fresh water was brought
into the town from a spring or pond above the town by wood or lead
pipes or open conduits. Sometimes tree trunks were hollowed out and
tapered at the ends to fit into the funnel-shaped end of another. But
they leaked a lot. In London, a conduit piped water underground to a
lead tank, from which it was delivered to the public by means of pipes
and brass taps in the stone framework. This was London's chief water
supply. Water carriers carried water in wooden devices on their backs
to houses.

        The paving and proper drainage of the streets became a town
concern. Building contracts began specifying the provision of adequate
cesspits for the privies at town houses, whether the latrines were
built into the house or as an outhouse. Also, in the better houses,
there grew a practice of carting human and animal fecal matter at night
to dung heaps outside the city walls. There was one public latrine in
each ward and about twelve dung carts for the whole city. Country manor
houses had latrines on the ground floor and/or the basement level.

        In London, the Goldsmiths, Merchant Taylors [Tailors],
Skinners, and Girdlers bought royal charters, which recognized their
power of self-government as a company and their power to enforce their
standards, perhaps throughout the country. The Goldsmiths, the Mercers,
and the Saddlers became in 1394 the first guilds to receive charters of
incorporation, which gave them perpetual existence. As such they could
hold land in "mortmain" [dead hand], thus depriving the king of rights
that came to him on the death of a tenant-in-chief. They were
authorized to bestow livery on their members and were called Livery
Companies. The liverymen [freemen] of the trading companies elected
London's representatives to Parliament.

        In all towns, the organization of craft associations spread
rapidly downwards through the trades. These associations sought
self-government. Craft guilds were gaining much power relative to the
old merchant guilds in governing the towns. The greater crafts such as
the fishmongers, skinners, and the corders (made rope, canvas, and
pitch) organized and ultimately were recognized by town authorities as
self-governing craft guilds. The building trade guilds such as the
tilers, carpenters, masons, and joiners, became important. Masons were
still itinerant, going to sites of churches, public buildings, or
commanded by the king to work on castles. The guild was not necessarily
associated with a specific product. For instance, a saddle and bridle
were the result of work of four crafts: joiner (woodworker), painter,
saddler (leather), and lorimer (metal trappings).

        In London in 1392 craft guilds included: baker, fishmonger (cut
up and sold fish), fruitier, brewer, butcher, bird dealer, cook,
apothecary (sold potions he had ground up), cutler (made knives and
spoons), barber, tailor, shoemaker, glover (made gloves), skinner (sold
furs), girdler (made girdles of cloth to wear around one's waist),
pouchmaker, armorer, sheathmaker, weaver, fuller, painter, carpenter,
joiner (woodworker who finished interior woodwork such as doors and
made furniture), tiler, mason (cut stone for buildings), smith (made
metal tools for stonemasons and builders), tallow chandler (made
candles and sometimes soap from the fat and grease the housewife
supplied), wax chandler (made candles), stirrup maker, spurrier (made
spurs), and hosteler (innkeeper). However, the merchant guilds of the
goldsmiths, vintners (sold wine), mercers (sold cloth), grocers, and
drapers (finished and sold English cloth) were still strong. It was a
long custom in London that freemen in one company could practice the
trade of another company. There were paint mills and saw mills
replacing human labor. There were apothecary shops and women surgeons.
Women who earned their own living by spinning were called "spinsters".

        Some prices in London were: a hen pastry 5d., a capon pastry
8d., a roast pheasant 13d., a roast heron 18d., roast goose 7d., a hen
4d., a capon 6d., three roast thrushes 2d., ten larks 3d., ten finches
1d, and ten cooked eggs 1d.

        Many of the guilds bought sites on which they built a chapel,
which was later used as a secular meeting place. The guild officers
commonly included an alderman, stewards, a dean, and a clerk, who were
elected. The guild officers sat as a guild court to determine
discipline for offenses such as false weights or measures or false
workmanship or work and decided trade disputes. The brethren in guild
fraternity were classified as masters, journeymen, or apprentices. They
were expected to contribute to the support of the sick and impoverished
in their fellowship. Their code required social action such as
ostracizing a man of the craft who was living in adultery until he
mended his ways.

        The rules of the Company of Glovers were:

1. -None but a freeman of the city shall make or sell gloves.

2. -No glover may be admitted to the freedom of the city unless with
the assent of the wardens of the trade.

3. -No one shall entice away the servant of another.

4. -If a servant in the trade makes away with his master's chattels to
the value of 12d., the wardens shall make good the loss; and if the
servant refuses to be judged by the - - wardens, he shall be taken
before the mayor and aldermen.

5. -No one may sell his goods by candlelight.

6. -Any false work found shall be taken before the mayor and aldermen
by the wardens.

7. -All things touching the trade within the city between those who are
not freemen shall be forfeited.

8. -Journeymen shall be paid their present rate of wages.

9. -Persons who entice away journeymen glovers to make gloves in their
own houses shall be brought before the mayor and aldermen.

10. Any one of the trade who refuses to obey these regulations shall be
brought before the mayor and aldermen.

        Cordwainers [workers in soft cordovan leather from Spain,
especially shoes] of good repute petitioned the city of London in 1375
for ordinances on their trade as follows:

"To the mayor and aldermen of the city of London pray the good folks of
the trade of cordwainers of the same city, that it may please you to
grant unto them the articles that follow, for the profit of the common
people; that so, what is good and right may be done unto all manner of
folks, for saving the honor of the city and lawfully governing the said

In the first place - that if any one of the trade shall sell to any
person shoes of bazen [sheepskin tanned in oak or larch-bark] as being
cordwain, or of calf-leather for ox-leather, in deceit of the common
people, and to the scandal of the trade, he shall pay to the Chamber of
the Guildhall, the first time that he shall be convicted thereof, forty
pence; the second time, 7s. half a mark; and the third time the same,
and further, at the discretion of the mayor and aldermen.

Also - that no one of the trade shall keep house within the franchise
if he be not free [invested with the rights or privileges] of the city
and one knowing his trade, and that no one shall be admitted to the
freedom without the presence of the wardens of the trade bearing
witness to his standing, on the pain aforesaid.

Also - if any one of the trade shall be found offending touching the
trade, or rebellious against the wardens thereof, such person shall not
make complaint to any one of another trade, by reason of the discord or
dissension that may have arisen between them; but he shall be ruled by
the good folks of his own trade. And if he shall differ from them as
acting against right, then let the offense be adjudged upon before the
mayor and aldermen; and if he be found rebellious against the
ordinance, let him pay to the Chamber the sum above mentioned.

Also - that no one of the trade shall entice or purloin the servant of
another from the service of his master by paying him more than is
ordained by the trade, on the pain aforesaid.

Also - that no one shall carry out of his house any wares connected
with his trade for sale in market or elsewhere except only at a certain
place situated between Soperesland and the Conduit; and that at a
certain time of the day, that is to say, between prime [the first hour
of the day] and noon. And that no shoes shall exceed the measure of
seven inches, so that the wares may be surveyed by the good folks of
the trade, because of the deceit upon the common people that might
ensue and the scandal of the trade, on the pain aforesaid.

Also - that no one shall expose his wares openly for sale in market on
Sundays at any place, but only within his own dwelling to serve the
common people, on the pain aforesaid.

Also - that if any one sells old shoes, he shall not mix new shoes
among the old in deceit of the common people and to the scandal of the
trade, on the pain aforesaid."

        Smithfield was a field outside the city gates at which horses
were sold and raced. In 1372, the horse dealers and drovers petitioned
for a tax on animals sold there to pay for cleaning the field. The city
ordinance reads as follows: "On Wednesday next after the Feast of St.
Margaret the Virgin came reputable men, the horse dealers and drovers,
and delivered unto the mayor and aldermen a certain petition in these
words: 'To the mayor, recorder, and aldermen show the dealers of
Smithfield, that is to say, the coursers and drovers, that for the
amendment of the said field they have granted and assented among them
that for the term of three years next ensuing after the date of this
petition for every horse sold in the said field there shall be paid one
penny, for every ox and cow one halfpenny, for every eight sheep one
penny, and for every swine one penny by the seller and the same by the
purchaser who buys the same for resale.` Afterwards, on the eleventh
day of August in the same year, Adam Fernham, keeper of the gaol at
Newgate, Hugh, Averelle, bailiff of Smithfield, and William Godhewe,
weaver, were chosen and sworn faithfully to collect and receive the
said pennies in form aforesaid and to clean the field of Smithfield
from time to time during such term of three years when necessary."

        Many London houses were being made from stone and timber and
even brick and timber, instead of just timber and mud. However,
chimneys were still a luxury of the rich. They were made of stone,
tile, or plaster. There were windows of glass and a guild of glaziers
was chartered by the King. A typical merchant's house had a cellar; a
ground floor with a shop and storage space; a first floor with a parlor
to receive guests, a spacious hall for dining, and perhaps a kitchen;
and at the top, a large family bedroom and a servant's room. Stairwells
between floors had narrow and winding steps. Many single-roomed houses
added a second-floor room for sleeping, which was approached by a
wooden or stone staircase from the outside. Their goods were displayed
on a booth outside the door of the house or hung in the windows. They
were stored at night in the cellar. Over the booths swung huge signs,
which had to be nine feet above street level to allow a man on
horseback to ride underneath. There were no sidewalks. Street repair
work for wages was supervised by a stone master. The streets sloped
down from the middle so that the filth of the streets would run down
the sides of the road. There were many wood chips in the streets due to
cutting up of firewood before taking it indoors. People often threw the
rubbish from their houses onto the street although they were supposed
to cart it outside the city walls and to clean the frontage of their
houses once a week. Dustmen scavenged through the rubbish on the
streets. Pigs and geese were no longer allowed to run at large in the
streets, but had to be fed at home. There were other city rules on
building, public order, the use of fountains, precautions against fire,
trading rights in various districts, closing time of taverns, and when
refuse could be thrown into the streets, e.g. nighttime.

        Aldermen were constantly making rounds to test measures and
weights, wine cups, the height of tavern signs, and the mesh of the
fishing nets, which had to be at least two inches wide. They saw that
the taverns were shut when curfew was rung and arrested anyone on the
street after curfew who had a weapon, for no one with a sword was
allowed on the streets unless he was some great lord or other
substantial person of good reputation. Wards provided citizens to guard
the gates in their respective neighborhood and keep its key.

        The city was so dense that nuisance was a common action brought
in court, for instance, vegetable vendors near a church obstructing
passageway on the street or plumbers melting their solder with a lower
than usual shaft of the furnace so smoke was inhaled by people nearby.

                Crime in London was rare. Murder, burglary, highway
robbery, and gross theft were punishable by hanging. Forgery and fraud,
were punishable by the placement in the pillory or stocks or by
imprisonment. Perjury was punished by confession from a high stool for
the first offense, and the pillory for the second. Slander and telling
lies were punished by the pillory and wearing a whetstone around one's
neck. There was an ordinance passed against prostitutes in 1351. London
as well as other port towns had not only prostitutes, but syphilis.

        Prominent Londoners sought to elevate their social position by
having their family marry into rural landholding families of position.
For poor boys with talent, the main routes for advancement were the
church, the law, and positions in great households.

        Many master freemasons, who carved freestone or finely grained
sandstone and limestone artistically with mallet and chisel, left the
country for better wages after their wages were fixed by statute. The
curvilinear gothic style of architecture was replaced by the
perpendicular style, which was simpler and cheaper to build. Church
steeples now had clocks on them with dials and hands to supplement the
church bell ringing on the hour. Alabaster was often used for
sepulchral monuments instead of metal or stone. With it, closer
portraiture could be achieved.

        In the 1300s and 1400s the London population suffered from
tuberculosis, typhus, influenza, leprosy, dysentery, smallpox,
diphtheria, measles, heart disease, fevers, coughs, cramps, catarrhs
and cataracts, scabs, boils, tumors, and "burning agues". There were
also many deaths by fires, burning by candles near straw beds when
drunk, falling downstairs when drunk, and drowning in the river or
wells. Children were often crushed by carts, trampled by horses, or
mauled by pigs.

        Towns recognized surgery as a livelihood subject to admission
and oath to serve the social good. Master surgeons were admitted to
practice in 1369 in London in full husting before the mayor and the
aldermen and swore to:
[1] faithfully serve the people in undertaking their cures,
[2] take reasonably from them,
[3] faithfully follow their calling,
[4] present to the said mayor and aldermen the defaults of others
undertaking, so often as should be necessary,
[5] to be ready, at all times when they should be warned, to attend the
maimed or wounded and others,
[6] to give truthful information to the officers of the city as to such
maimed, wounded, or others whether they be in peril of death or not, and
[7] to faithfully do all other things touching their calling.

        Some young girls of good families were boarded at nunneries to
be taught there. Some upper class widows retired there. Only women were
allowed to be present at a birth, at which they spread the knowledge of
midwifery. As usual, many women died giving birth. Various ways to
prevent pregnancy were tried. It was believed that a baby grew from a
seed of the father planted in the woman's body.

        Infant mortality was especially high in boroughs and burgess
family lines usually died out. A three-generation family span was
exceptional in the towns, despite family wealth.

        After the plague, gentlemen no longer had their children learn
to speak Norman. The grammar schools taught in English instead of
Norman as of 1362. Bishops began to preach in English. English became
the official language of Parliament, in 1363, and in the courts,
replacing Norman and Latin.

        The requirements of elementary and higher studies were adjusted
in 1393 and began the public school system. William of Wykeham's
school, St. Mary College of Winchester in Oxford was the prototype. The
curriculum was civil law, canon law, medicine, with astronomical
instruments that students made, theology, and the arts. The arts
textbooks were still grammar, logic, Donatus, and Aristotle. Many
laymen were literate, for instance country gentry, merchants, and
craftsmen. Laymen instead of clerics were now appointed to the great
offices of state.

        A will in 1389 in which a wealthy citizen arranges for one son
to become an attorney and the other a merchant:

"Will of William de Tonge, citizen of London: One hundred marks each to
my two sons. And I will that my said two sons shall live upon the
profits of the money bequeathed to them above until the age of twenty
years. And if my said two sons be well learned in grammar and adorned
with good manners, which shall be known at the end of twenty years, and
the elder son wish to practice common law, and if it is known that he
would spend his time well in that faculty, I will that over and above
the profit of the said one hundred marks he shall have yearly from my
rents for the term of seven years five marks. And if he should waste
his time aforesaid, or if he should marry foolishly and unsuitably, I
will that he receive nothing more of the said five marks.

And if younger son wishes to attend the University of Oxford or to
establish himself well in the mystery of a merchant after the age of
twenty years, and [if] there be knowledge of his praiseworthy progress
in his faculty or his carefulness in trading ... I will that he shall
receive five marks yearly in the manner described above for his
maintenance, over and above the profit of the said one hundred marks to
him bequeathed, for the space of seven years; and if he behave himself
otherwise, I will that thereupon he be excluded from the said five
marks. And in case the said bequest of 200 marks to him and his brother
shall be annulled so that he shall have nothing therefrom ... then the
said 200 marks shall be spent upon all the yearly chaplains who can be
had to celebrate divine service in the church of All Hallows for my

        Most great lords were literate. Many stories described good
men, who set an example to be followed, and bad men, whose habits were
to be avoided. Stories were written about pilgrimage vacations of
ordinary people to religious sites in England. Will Langland's poem
"The Vision of William Concerning Piers Plowman" portrays a pilgrimage
of common people to the shrine of Truth led by a virtuous laborer.
Mystics wrote practical advice with transcendental teaching, for
instance "Scale of Perfection" attributed to Walter Hilton and "Cloud
of Unknowing". Richard Rolle wrote about spiritual matters, probably
the "Prick of Conscience". Richard de Bury wrote "Philobiblon" about
book lovers. Jean Froissart wrote the "Chronicles" on knights. Courtly
ideals were expressed in "Sir Gawaine and the Grene Knyght", wherein
the adventures of the hero, an Arthur knight, are allegorical in the
struggle against the world, the flesh, and the devil (1370). "Pearl"
eulogized all that is pure and innocent on the event of the death of a
two year old child. Marco Polo's book of discoveries on his journey to
China was known.

        Geoffrey Chaucer was a squire and diplomat of the king. His
"Tales of the Canterbury Pilgrims" portrayed characters of every social
class, including the knight with his squire, abbot, prioress, nun,
priest, monk, friar, poor parson of the country, summoner (who enforced
the jurisdiction and levied the dues of the church courts), pardoner
(sold pardons from the pope), scholar, attorney, doctor, merchant,
sailor, franklin, yeoman, haberdasher, tapestry- maker, ploughman,
cook, weaver, dyer, upholsterer, miller, reeve, carpenter. There were
Chaucer stories about a beautiful and virtuous wife disliked by her
mother-in-law, the difficulty of marriage between people of different
religions, the hatred of a poor person by his brother and his neighbor,
rich merchants who visited other kingdoms, the importance of a man
himself following the rules he sets for other people's behavior, the
spite of a man for a woman who rejected him, the relative lack of
enthusiasm of a wife for sex as compared to her husband, a mother
giving up her own comfort for that of her child, the revenge killing of
a murderer by the dead man's friends, the joy of seeing a loved one
after years of separation, that life is more sad than happy, that lost
money can be retrieved, but time lost is lost forever.

        Other stories in the Canterbury Tales were about two men who
did not remain friends after they fell in love with the same woman,
about a child who preferred to learn from an older child than from his
schoolteacher, about a wife who convinced her husband not to avenge her
beating for the sake of peace, about a man who woke up from bad dreams
full of fear, about a man wanting to marry a beautiful woman but later
realizing a plain wife would not be pursued by other men, about a man
who drank so much wine that he lost his mental and physical powers,
about a woman who married for money instead of love, about a man who
said something in frustration which he didn't mean, about a person
brought up in poverty who endured adversity better than one brought up
in wealth, about a wife who was loving and wise, about a good marriage
being more valuable than money, about a virgin who committed suicide
rather than be raped, about a wife persuaded to adultery by a man who
said he would otherwise kill himself, about three men who found a pile
of gold and murdered each other to take it all, about an angry man who
wanted to kill, about a malicious man who had joy in seeing other men
in trouble and misfortune, about a man whose face turned red in shame,
about a wife expecting to have half of what her husband owned.

        Political songs and poems were written about the evil times of
King Edward II, the military triumphs of King Edward III, and the
complaints of the poor against their oppressors, such as "Song of the
Husbandman". John Gower wrote moralizing poems on the villein's revolt,
the sins of the clergy and attorneys, and the bad rule of King Richard
II, who in 1377 succeeded Edward III. Robin Hood ballads were popular.
The minstrel, who was a honorable person, replaced the troubadour of
older times.

        There were many colleges at Oxford and Cambridge due to the
prohibition of gifts to the church. Laymen instead of ecclesiastics
were appointed as Chancellor. The Masters at Oxford got rid of
ecclesiastical supervision by a bishop and archdeacon by 1368. One
could be admitted as a student at age thirteen. The rate of maintenance
for a student was 10d. weekly.

        A Bachelor of Arts degree was granted after four years of study
and an oral exam. Required reading in 1340 for the Bachelor's Degree
was the new logic of Aristotle ("Prior and Posterior Analytics" e.g. on
syllogistic logic and deduction, the "Topics", or the "Sophistical
Refutations", e.g. logical fallacies such as from 'All A are B' to 'All
B are A'), and a selection from these Aristotle works on physics: "Of
Heaven and Earth", "On the Soul", "Of meteors", "Of Birth and Decay",
or "Of Feeling and What is Felt" with "Of Memory and Recollection" and
"Of Sleep and Waking", or "Of the Movement of Animals" with "Of Minor
Points in Natural History".

        A Master of Arts degree could be awarded after three more years
of study and teaching. A Doctorate degrees in theology required ten
more years of study. A Doctorate in civil or canon law required eight
more years. A man with a degree in canon law who wanted to practice in
a certain bishop's court had to first satisfy this bishop of his

        Another source of legal learning was in London, where the
guilds gave rise to the Inns of Court. They used the Register of Writs,
the case law of the Year Books, and disputation to teach their students.

        For a doctorate in medicine from Oxford or Cambridge, five more
years plus two years of practice were required. Surgery was not taught
because it was considered manual labor, and there was some feeling that
it was a sacrilege and dishonorable. Urinalysis and pulse beat were
used for diagnosis. Epilepsy and apoplexy were understood as spasms
inside the head. It was known what substances served as laxatives and
diuretics. Teeth were extracted, eye cataracts were removed with a
silver needle, and skin from the arm was grafted onto a mutilated face.

        Englishmen who had collected books on philosophy, medicine,
astronomy, and history and literature books from the continent gave
their collections to the universities, which started their libraries.
Paper supplemented parchment, so there were more books.

        England was still an agricultural rather than a manufacturing
country. Imported were cloth, silks, linen, velvets, furs, glass,
wines, candles, millstones, amber, iron, and mercury. Exported were
wool, leather, lead, tin, and alabaster for sculpturing. Merchant
adventurers came to manufacture cloth good enough for export and began
to buy up raw wool in such quantity that its export declined. They took
their cloth abroad to sell, personally or by agents.

        An Oxford theologian and preacher, John Wyclif, voiced the
popular resentment of the materialism of the church, benefit of clergy,
immorality of priests, and the selling of indulgences and pardons.
Encouraged by the king, he argued against the supremacy of the papal
law over the King's courts and against payments to the papacy. He
opined that the church had no power to excommunicate. The friars had
become mere beggars and the church was still wealthy. He proposed that
all goods should be held in common by the righteous and that the church
should hold no property but be entirely spiritual. He believed that
people should rely on their individual consciences. He thought that the
Bible should be available to people who could read English so that the
people could have a direct access to God without priests or the pope.
Towards this end, he translated it from Latin into English in 1384. His
preachers spread his views throughout the country. The church then
possessed about one-third of the land of the nation.

        Parliament met about twice a year and lasted from two weeks to
several months. There was a well-defined group of about fifty barons
and a few spiritual peers who were always summoned to Parliament and
who composed a House of Lords. "Peer" now meant a member of the House
of Lords. All peers had the right to approach the king with advice. The
baron peers reasoned that the custom of regular attendance was a right
that should be inherited by the eldest son, or by a female heir, if
there were no male heirs. However, the theory of nobility by blood as
conveying political privilege had no legal recognition. No female could
attend Parliament; the husband of a baroness attended Parliament in her
stead. Edward III and Richard II created new peers with various titles
of dignity, such as duke and marquess, which were above barons and
earls. The dukes and marquesses were identified with a territorial
designation such as an English county or county town. Whenever a
Parliament was assembled the commons were present. The commons was
composed of representatives from 100 boroughs and 37 counties. Each new
Parliament required an election of representatives. The members of the
commons were generally the most prominent and powerful economic and
political figures of the county and were repeatedly reelected. The
electors were usually influenced by the sheriff or a powerful lord who
suggested suitable men. The wealthy merchants typically represented the
boroughs and paid much of the taxes. Under Edward III, the commons took
a leading part in the granting of taxes and the presentation of
petitions and became a permanent and distinct body, the House of
Commons, with a spokesman or "speaker", chosen by the Crown, and a
clerk. The speaker came to be an intermediary between the Commons and
the king and between the Commons and the Lords. A clerk of Parliament
registered its acts and sat with the Lords. A clerk of the Crown
superintended the issue of writs and the receipt of the returns and
attested the signature of the king on statutes. It became a regular
practice for the Chancellor to open Parliament with an opportunity to
present petitions after his opening speech. The king then referred them
to certain peers and justices, who decided to which court, or
Parliament, they should be sent. During the 1300s, the number of barons
going to Parliament gradually decreased.

        At the 1376 Parliament, ("the Good Parliament") the Commons,
which formerly had only consented to taxes, took political action by
complaining that the King's councilors had grown rich by war
profiteering at the cost of impoverishing the nation and the people
were too poor to endure any more taxation for the war and held a
hearing on financial malfeasance and dishonesty of two ministers. The
chamberlain had extorted enormous sums, had intercepted fines meant for
the king's treasury, and had sold a castle to the enemy. The steward
had bought debts of the king's. The House of Lords, the High Court of
Parliament, found the charges proved and dismissed them permanently
from office. This established the constitutional means for impeachment
and prosecution by the Commons and removal by the House of Lords of
ministers. By this process, there could be no royal intimidation, as
there could be in the ordinary courts. The Commons demanded that its
members be elected by county citizens rather than appointed by the

        The roles of Parliament and the King's council are starting to
differentiate into legislative and executive, respectively. The
legislative function is lawmaking, and the executive is
regulation-making that refines and effectuates the laws of Parliament.
But the legislative, executive, and judicial authorities have not as
yet become so completely separated that they cannot on occasion work

        Sheriffs dealt directly with the king instead of through an

        From 1150 to 1400, resistance was an ordinary remedy for
political disagreements. If a popular leader raised his standard in a
popular cause, an irregular army could be assembled in a day. (There
was no regular army, since England was protected by the sea from
invasion.) So misgovernment by a king would be quickly restrained.
Society recovered quickly from conflict and civil war because the
national wealth consisted chiefly in flocks and herds and in the simple
buildings inhabited by the people. In a week after armed resistance,
the agricultural worker was driving his team. There was little
furniture, stock of shops, manufactured goods, or machinery that could
be destroyed.

        To support a war with France, the staple was reinstated by
statute of 1353 after an experiment without it in which profits of a
staple went to staples outside the nation. Wool exports were inspected
for quality and taxed through his officials only at the designated
staple ports. These officials included collectors, controllers,
searchers [inspectors], surveyors, clerks, weighers, and crane-keepers.
Wool, woolfells, leather, and lead sold for export had to go through
the staple town. The penalty was forfeiture of lands, tenements, goods,
and chattel. The mayor and constables of the staple were elected
annually by the native and foreign merchants of the place. The mayor
gave validity to contracts for a set fee, by seal of his office. He and
the constables had jurisdiction over all persons and things touching
the staple, which was regulated by the Law Merchant in all matters of
contract, covenant, debt, and felonies against foreign merchants. A hue
and cry was required to be raised and followed for anyone taking a cart
of merchandise or slaying a merchant, denizen [resident alien] or
alien, or the town would answer for the robbery and damage done. In
1363, Calais, a continental town held by the English, became the staple
town for lead, tin, cloth, and wool and was placed under a group of
London capitalists: the Merchants of the Staple. All exports of these
had to pass through Calais, where customs tax was collected. The staple
statute remained basically unchanged for the next 200 years.

        Guns and cannon were common by 1372. In the 1300s and 1400s,
the king relied on mercenaries hired directly or by contract with his
great nobles for foreign wars. The King reimbursed the contractors with
the profits of war, such as the ransoms paid by the families of rich
prisoners. The fighting men supplemented their pay by plunder.
Featherbeds and blooded horses were favorite spoils of war brought back
to England from the continent. As new techniques with footmen came into
being, the footmen became the core of the army and the knightly
abilities of the feudal tenants-in-chief became less valuable.

        Many lords got men to fight with them by livery and maintenance
employment agreements such as this one of 1374: "Bordeaux, February 15.
This indenture, made between our lord King John [of Gaunt, of Castile,
etc.] of the one part and Symkyn Molyneux, esquire, of the other part,
witnesses that the said Symkyn is retained and will remain with our
said lord for peace and for war for the term of his life, as follows:
that is to say, the said Symkyn shall be bound to serve our said lord
as well in time of peace as of war in whatsoever parts it shall please
our said lord, well and fitly arrayed. And he shall be boarded as well
in time of peace as of war. And he shall take for his fees by the year,
as well in time of peace as of war, ten marks sterling from the issues
of the Duchy of Lancaster by the hands of the receiver there who now is
or shall be in time to come, at the terms of Easter and Michaelmas by
even portions yearly for the whole of his life. And, moreover, our lord
has granted to him by the year in time of war five marks sterling by
the hands of the treasurer of war for the time being. And his year of
war shall begin the day when he shall move from his inn towards our
said lord by letters which shall be sent to him thereof, and
thenceforward he shall take wages coming and returning by reasonable
daily [payments] and he shall have fitting freightage for him, his men,
horses, and other harness within reason, and in respect of his war
horses taken and lost in the service of our said lord, and also in
respect to prisoners and other profits of war taken or gained by him or
any of his men, the said our lord will do to him as to other squires of
his rank."

        Forecastles and stern castles on ships were lower and broader.
Underneath them were cabins. The English ship was still single masted
with a single square sail. A fleet was formed with over 200 ships
selected by the English admirals acting for the king at the ports. Men
were seized and pressed into service and criminals were pardoned from
crimes to become sailors in the fleet, which was led by the King's
ship. They used the superior longbow against the French sailor's
crossbow. In 1372, the Tower of London had four mounted fortress cannon
and the port of Dover had six.

        The war's disruption of shipping caused trade to decline. But
the better policing of the narrow seas made piracy almost disappear.

        English merchants may carry their merchandise in foreign ships
if there are no English ships available.

        Anyone may ship or carry grain out of the nation, except to
enemies, after paying duties. But the council may restrain this passage
when necessary for the good of the nation. Any merchant, privy or
stranger, who was robbed of goods on the sea or lost his ship by
tempest or other misfortune on the sea banks, his goods coming to shore
could not be declared Wreck, but were to be delivered to the merchant
after he proves ownership in court by his marks on the goods or by good
and lawful merchants.

        All stakes and obstacles set up in rivers impeding the passage
of boats shall be removed.

        Waterpower was replacing foot power in driving the mills where
cloth was cleaned and fulled.

        A boundary dispute between two barons resulted in the first
true survey map. Nine cow pastures were divided by a boundary marked by
a shield on a pole which the commission of true and sworn men had set

        King Richard II, an irresponsible sovereign, asserted an
absolute supremacy of the king over Parliament and declared certain
statutes which he claimed to have been forced on him to be revoked. He
interfered with county elections of knights to Parliament by directing
sheriffs to return certain named persons. He wanted to dispense
altogether with Parliament and instead have a committee of
representatives. He claimed that the goods of his subjects were his own
and illegally taxed the counties. There were many disputes as to who
should be his ministers. High treason was extended to include making a
riot and rumor, compassing or purposing to depose the King, revoking
one's homage or liege to the King, or attempting to repeal a statute.
When Henry Bolingbroke reported to Parliament that another lord had
cast doubt on the king's trustworthiness, a duel between them was
arranged. But Richard, probably fearing the gain of power of the lord
who won, instead exiled the two lords. He took possession of the
Lancaster estates to which Bolingbroke was heir and forbade this
inheritance. This made all propertied men anxious and they united
behind Bolingbroke in taking up arms against Richard. Richard was not a
warrior king and offered to resign the crown. The "Merciless
Parliament" of 1388 swept out Richard's friends. Parliament deposed and
imprisoned Richard. It revoked the extensions to the definition of high
treason. It elected Bolingbroke, who claimed to be a descendant of
Henry III, to be King Henry IV. This action established clearly that
royal decrees were subordinate to parliamentary statutes, that
Parliament was the ultimate legal arbiter of the realm, and that the
consent of Parliament was necessary in determining kingship. The House
of Commons became very powerful. It was responsible for the major part
of legislation. It's members began to assert the privilege of free
speech. That is, they wanted to discuss other matters than what was on
the king's agenda and they opposed punishment for what they said unless
it was treasonable. Henry IV agreed to their request not to consider
reports of proceedings unless they came to him through official

                    The Law

        High treason was defined by statute in 1352 as levying war
against the King, aiding the King's enemies, compassing or imagining
the death of the King, Queen, or their eldest son and heir, or
violating the Queen or the eldest unmarried daughter or the wife of the
King's eldest son and heir; making or knowingly using counterfeits of
the King's great or privy seal or coinage; or slaying the Chancellor,
Treasurer, or any justice in the exercise of their duty. The penalty
was forfeit of life and lands.

        Petty treason was defined by statute and included a servant
slaying his master, a wife her husband, or a man his lord, to whom was
owed faith and obedience.

        No one shall tell false news or lies about prelates, dukes,
earls, barons, and other nobles and great men or the Chancellor,
Treasurer, a Justice, Clerk of the Privy Seal, Steward of the King's
house whereby debates and discords might arise between these lords or
between the lords and the commons. Cases shall be tried by the King's
Council, which included the Chancellor, Treasurer, and chief justices.

        Preachers drawing crowds by ingenious sermons and inciting them
to riot shall be arrested by sheriffs and tried by the ecclesiastical

        Any stranger passing at night of whom any have suspicion shall
be arrested and taken to the Sheriff.

        No man shall ride with a spear, upon pain of forfeiting it.

        No servant of agriculture or laborer shall carry any sword or
dagger, or else forfeit it, except in time of war in defense of the
nation. He may carry bow and arrow [for practice] on Sundays and holy
days, when he should not play games such as tennis, football, or dice.

        No one may enter another's land and tenements by strong hand
nor with a mob, upon pain of imprisonment and ransom at the King's will.

        Charters, releases, obligations, quitclaim deeds and other
deeds burnt or destroyed in uprisings shall be reissued without fee,
after trial by the king and his council. Manumissions, obligations,
releases and other bonds and feoffments in land made by force, coercion
or duress during mob uprisings are void.

        Men who rape and women consenting after a rape shall lose their
inheritance and dower and joint feoffments. The husbands, or father or
next of kin of such women may sue the rapist by inquisition, but not by
trial by combat. The penalty is loss of life and member.

        The Statute of Laborers of 1351 required all workers, from
tailors to ploughmen, to work only at pre-plague wage rates and forced
the vagrant peasant to work for anyone who claimed him or her. It also
encouraged longer terms of employment as in the past rather than for a
day at a time. Statutory price controls on food limited profits to
reasonable ones according to the distance of the supply. Later, wages
were determined in each county by Justices of the Peace according to
the dearth of victuals while allowing a victualer a reasonable profit
and a penalty was specified as paying the value of the excess wages
given or received for the first offense, double this for the second
offense, and treble this or forty days imprisonment for the third

        A fugitive laborer will be outlawed, and when found, shall be
burnt in the forehead with the letter "F" for falsity.

        Children who labored at the plough and cart or other
agriculture shall continue in that labor and may not go into a craft.

        A statute of 1363 designed to stop hoarding various types of
merchandise until a type became scarce so to sell it at high prices,
required merchants to deal in only one type of merchandise. It also
required craftsmen to work in only one craft as before (except women
who traditionally did several types of handiwork). This was repealed a
year later.

        Where scarcity has made the price of poultry high, it shall be
lowered to 8d. for a young capon, 7d. for an old capon or a goose, 9d.
for a hen, and 10d. for a pullet.

        The fares for passage on boats on fresh waters and from Dover
to the continent shall remain at their old rate.

        Any merchant selling at a fair after it has ended will forfeit
to the king twice the value of that sold.

        Anyone finding and proving cloth contrary to the assize of
cloth shall have one-third of it for his labor.

        No shoemaker nor cordwainer shall tan their leather and no
tanner shall make shoes, in order that tanning not be false or poorly

        All denizen [foreigner permitted to reside in the realm with
certain rights and privileges] and alien merchants may buy and sell
goods and merchandise, in gross, in any part of the country, despite
town charters or franchises, to anyone except an enemy of the King.
They may also sell small wares: victuals, fur, silk, coverchiefs [an
item of woman's apparel], silver wire, and gold wire in retail, but not
cloth or wine. They must sell their goods within three months of
arrival. Any alien bringing goods to the nation to sell must buy goods
of the nation to the value of at least one-half that of his merchandise
sold. These merchants must engage in no collusion to lower the price of
merchandise bought, take merchandise bought to the staple, and promise
to hold no staple beyond the sea for the same merchandise. An amendment
disallowed denizens from taking wools, leather, woolfells, or lead for
export, but only strangers.

        Towns failing to bring disturbers of this right to justice
shall forfeit their franchise to the king and pay double damages to the
merchant. The disturber shall be imprisoned for a year.

        Cloth may not be tacked nor folded for sale to merchants unless
they are opened to the buyers for inspection, for instance for
concealed inferior wool. Workers, weavers, and fullers shall put their
seals to every cloth. Anyone may bring his own wools, woolfells,
leather, and lead to the staple to sell without being compelled to sell
them in the country. Special streets or warehouses were appointed with
warehouse rent fixed by the mayor and constables with four of the
principal inhabitants. Customs duties were regulated and machinery
provided for their collection. No one may forestall or regrate, that
is, buy at one price and sell at a higher price in the same locale.
Forestallers were those who bought raw material on its way to market.
Regrators were those who tried to create a "corner" in the article in
the market itself.

        Imported cloth shall be inspected by the King's officials for
non- standard measurements or defects [despite town franchises].

        No one shall leave the nation except at designated ports, on
pain of one year's imprisonment.

        Social distinctions by attire were mandated by statute of 1363.
A servant, his wife, son, or daughter, shall only wear cloth worth no
more than 27s. and shall not have more than one dish of meat or fish a
day. Carters, ploughmen, drivers of the plough, oxherds, cowherds,
shepherds, and all other people owning less than 40s. of goods and
chattels shall only wear blanket and russet worth no more than 12d. and
girdles of linen according to their estate. Craftsmen and free peasants
shall only wear cloth worth no more than 40s. Esquires and gentlemen
below the rank of knight with no land nor rent over 2,000s. a year
shall only wear cloth worth no more than 60s., no gold, silver, stone,
fur, or the color purple. Esquires with land up to 2,667s. per year may
wear 67s. cloth, cloth of silk and silver, miniver [grey squirrel] fur
and stones, except stones on the head. Merchants, citizens, burgesses,
artificers, and people of handicraft having goods and chattels worth
10,000s. shall wear cloth the same value as that worn by esquires and
gentlemen with land or rent within 2,000s. per year. The same merchants
and burgesses with goods and chattels worth 13,333s. and esquires and
gentlemen with land or rent within 400s. per year may not wear gold
cloth, miniver fur, ermine [white] fur, or embroidered stones. A knight
with land or rents within 2,667s. yearly are limited to cloth of 80s.,
but his wife may wear a stone on her head. Knights and ladies with land
or rents within 8,000s. to 20,000s. yearly may not wear fur of ermine
or of letuse, but may wear gold, and such ladies may wear pearls as
well as stones on their heads. The penalty is forfeiture of such
apparel. This statute is necessary because of "outrageous and excessive
apparel of diverse persons against their estate and degree, to the
great destruction and impoverishment of all the land".

        If anyone finds a hawk [used to hunt birds, ducks, and
pheasant] that a lord has lost, he must take it to the sheriff for
keeping for the lord to claim. If there is no claim after four months,
the finder may have it only if he is a gentleman. If one steals a hawk
from a lord or conceals from him the fact that it has been found, he
shall pay the price of the hawk and be imprisoned for two years.

        No laborer or any other man who does not have lands and
tenements of the value of 40s. per year shall keep a greyhound or other
hound or dog to hunt, nor shall they use nets or cords or other devices
to take deer, hare, rabbits, nor other gentlemen's game, upon pain of
one year imprisonment. (The rabbit had been introduced by the Normans.)
This 1390 law was primarily intended to stop the meetings of laborers
and artificers.

        No man shall eat more than two courses of meat or fish in his
house or elsewhere, except at festivals, when three are allowed
[because great men ate costly meats to excess and the lesser people
were thereby impoverished].

        No one may export silver, whether bullion or coinage, or wine
except foreign merchants may carry back the portion of their money not
used to buy English commodities. The penalty for bringing false or
counterfeit money into the nation is loss of life and member. An
assigned searcher [inspector] for coinage of the nation on the sea
passing out of the nation or bad money in the nation shall have one
third of it. No foreign money may be used in the nation.

        Each goldsmith shall have an identifying mark, which shall be
placed on his vessel or work only after inspection by the King's

        No one shall give anything to a beggar who is capable of

        Vagrants begging in London were banned by this 1359 ordinance:
"Forasmuch as many men and women, and others, of divers counties, who
might work, to the help of the common people, have betaken themselves
from out of their own country to the city of London and do go about
begging there so as to have their own ease and repose, not wishing to
labor or work for their sustenance, to the great damage of the common
people; and also do waste divers alms which would otherwise be given to
many poor folks, such as lepers, blind, halt, and persons oppressed
with old age and divers other maladies, to the destruction of the
support of the same - we do command on behalf of our lord the King,
whom may God preserve and bless, that all those who go about begging in
the said city and who are able to labor and work for the profit of the
common people shall quit the said city between now and Monday next
ensuing. And if any such shall be found begging after the day
aforesaid, the same shall be taken and put in the stocks on Cornhill
for half a day the first time, and the second time he shall remain in
the stocks one whole day, and the third time he shall be taken and
shall remain in prison for forty days and shall then forswear the said
city forever. And every constable and the beadle of every ward of the
said city shall be empowered to arrest such manner of folks and to put
them in the stocks in manner aforesaid."

        The hundred year cry to "let the king live on his own" found
fruition in a 1352 statute requiring consent of the Parliament before
any commission of array for militia could be taken and a 1362 statute
requiring purchases of goods and means of conveyance for the king and
his household to be made only by agreement with the seller and with
payment to him before the king traveled on, instead of at the low
prices determined unilaterally by the king's purveyor.

        Every man who has wood within the forest may take houseboot
[right to take wood for repair of one's house] and heyboot [right to
take material for the maintenance of hedges and fences, and the making
of farming utensils] in his wood without being arrested so long as it
take such within the view of the foresters.

        No fecal matter, dung, garbage, or entrails of animals killed
shall be put into ditches or rivers or other waters, so that maladies
and diseases will not be caused by corrupted and infected air. The
penalty is 400s. to the king after trial by the Chancellor.

        Gifts or alienation of land to guilds, fraternities, or towns
are forbidden. Instead, it escheats to its lord, or in his default, to
the King.

        No man will be charged to go out of his county to do military
service except in case of an enemy invasion of the nation. Men who
chose to go into the king's service outside the nation shall be paid
wages by the king until their return.

        Admiralty law came into being when ancient naval manners and
customs were written down as the "Black Book of the Admiralty". This
included the organization of the fleet under the Admiral, sea-maneuver
rules such as not laying anchor until the Admiral's ship had,
engagement rules, and the distribution of captured goods: one-fourth to
the vessel owner, one-fourth to the king if the seamen were paid by the
king's wages, and the rest divided among the crew and Admiral. Stealing
a boat or an anchor holding a boat was punishable by hanging. Stealing
an oar or an anchor was punishable by forty days imprisonment for the
first offense, six months imprisonment for the second, and hanging for
the third. Desertion was punishable by loss of double the amount of
wages earned and imprisonment for one year. Cases were tried by jury in
the Admiral's court.

        Wines, vinegar, oil and honey imported shall be gauged by the
King's appointees.

                Judicial Procedure

        The office of Justice of the Peace was developed and filled by
knights, esquires and gentlemen who were closely associated with the
magnates. There was no salary nor any requirement of knowledge of the
law. They were to pursue, restrain, arrest, imprison, try, and duly
punish felons, trespassers, and rioters according to the law. They were
expected to arrest vagrants who would not work and imprison them until
sureties for good behavior was found for them. They also were empowered
to inspect weights and measures.

The writ of trespass developed into three kinds according to the type
of injury: to person, land, or chattels. Trespass included forcible
offenses of assault and battery, false imprisonment, breaking of a
fence enclosing private property, and taking away goods and chattels.
The action of trespass was replacing private suits for murder and for
personal injury.

        Pardons may be given only for slaying another in one's own
defense or by misfortune [accident], and not for slaying by lying in
wait, assault, or malice aforethought.

        Justices of Assize, sheriffs, and Justices of the Peace and
mayors shall have power to inquire of all vagabonds and compel them to
find surety of their good bearing or be imprisoned.

        A reversioner shall be received in court to defend his right
when a tenant for a term of life, tenant in dower, or by curtesy of the
nation, or in [Fee] Tail after Possibility of Issue extinct are sued in
court for the land, so as to prevent collusion by the demandants.

        A person in debt may not avoid his creditors by giving his
tenements or chattels to his friends in collusion to have the profits
at his will.

        Where there was a garnishment given touching a plea of land, a
writ of deceit is also maintainable.

        Actions of debt will be heard only in the county where the
contract was made. The action of debt includes enforcement of contracts
executed or under seal, e.g. rent due on a lease, hire of an archer,
contract of sale or repair of an item. Thus there is a growing
connection between the actions of debt and contract.

        Executors have an action for trespass to their testators' goods
and chattels in like manner as did the testator when alive.

        If a man dies intestate, his goods shall be administered by his
next and most lawful friends appointed. Such administrators shall have
the same powers and duties as executors and be accountable as are
executors to the ecclesiastical court.

        Children born to English parents in parts beyond the sea may
inherit from their ancestors in the same manner as those born in the

        A person grieved by a false oath in a town court proceeding may
appeal to the King's Bench or Common Pleas, regardless of any town

        It was exceptional for the King to sit on the Court of the
King's Bench, which worked independently of the King and became
confined to the established common law.

        The Court of Common Pleas had three types of jurisdiction: 1)
common law jurisdiction between person and person, including actions
regarding land, which was exclusive, 2) personal actions of debt,
detinue, account and covenant, and 3) mixed actions, both personal and
regarding land, e.g. ejectment. It had shared jurisdiction with the
Court of the King's Bench in maintenance, conspiracy, other breaches of
statute, trespass, trespass on the case, and their derivatives. Most of
its business had to do with recovery of debt, from 40s. to thousands of
pounds. The King's Bench and Common Pleas courts vied with each other
for cases in order to get more profits of justice.

        Grand juries were summoned by the sheriff to decide whether, on
the evidence of the prosecution, there was a case to go to trial. The
petty or trial jury heard all parties to a lawsuit and determined the
facts. In 1351 a statute required that no member of a grand jury could
sit on a petty jury if so challenged by the accused.

        Decisions of the common law courts are appealable to the House
of Lords. The king's council members who are not peers, in particular
the justices and the Masters of the Chancery, are summoned by the House
of Lords only as mere assistants. Parliament may change the common law
by statute. The right of a peer to be tried for capital crimes by a
court composed of his peers was established. There was a widespread
belief that all the peers are by right the king's councilors.

        No attorney may practice law and also be a Justice of Assize.
No justice may take any gift except from the king nor give counsel to
any litigant before him.

        In 1390, there was a statute against maintainers, instigators,
barretors, procurers, and embracers of quarrels and inquests because of
great and outrageous oppressions of parties in court. Because this
encouraged maintenance by the retinue of lords with fees, robes, and
other liveries, such maintainers were to be put out of their lords'
service, and could not be retained by another lord. No one was to give
livery to anyone else, except household members and those retained for
life for peace or for war. Justices of the Peace were authorized to
inquire about yeomen, or other of lower estate than squire, bearing
livery of any lord.

        Whereas it is contained in the Magna Carta that none shall be
imprisoned nor put out of his freehold, nor of his franchises nor free
custom, unless it be by the law of the land; it is established that
from henceforth none shall be taken by petition or suggestion made to
the king unless by indictment of good and lawful people of the same
neighborhood where such deeds be done, in due manner, or by process
made by writ original at the common law; nor that none be out of his
franchise, nor of his freeholds, unless he be duly brought into answer
and before judges of the same by the course of law.

        The Chancery came to have a separate and independent equitable
jurisdiction. It heard petitions of misconduct of government officials
or of powerful oppressors, fraud, accident, abuse of trust, wardship of
infants, dower, and rent charges. Because the common law and its
procedures had become technical and rigid, the Chancery was given
equity jurisdiction by statute in 1285. King Edward III proclaimed that
petitions for remedies that the common law didn't cover be addressed to
the Chancellor, who was not bound by established law, but could do
equity. In Chancery, if there is a case that is similar to a case for
which there is a writ, but is not in technical conformity with the
requirements of the common law for a remedy, then a new writ may be
made for that case by the Chancellor. These were "actions on the case".
Also, Parliament may create new remedies. There were so many cases that
were similar to a case with no remedy specified in the common law, that
litigants were flowing into the Chancery. The Chancellor gave swift and
equitable relief, which was summary. The Chancery Court had no jury.
With the backing of the council, the Chancellor made decisions
implementing the policy of the Statute of Laborers. Most of these
concerned occupational competency, for instance negligent activity of
carriers, builders, shepherds, doctors, cloth workers, smiths,
innkeepers, and gaolers. For instance, the common law action of detinue
could force return of cloth bailed for fulling or sheep bailed for
pasturing, but could not address damages due to faulty work. The
Chancellor addressed issues of loss of wool, dead lambs, and damaged
sheep, as well as dead sheep. He imposed a legal duty on innkeepers to
prevent injury or damage to a patron or his goods from third parties. A
dog bite or other damage by a dog known by its owner to be vicious was
made a more serious offense than general damage by any dog. A person
starting a fire was given a duty to prevent the fire from damaging
property of others. The King will fine instead of seize the land of his
tenants who sell or alienate their land, such fine to be determined by
the Chancellor by due process. The Chancery is now a court side by side
with the common law courts of Common Pleas, King's Bench, and Exchequer.

        Only barons who were peers of the House of Lords were entitled
to trial in the House of Lords. In practice, however, this pertained
only to major crimes.

        Treason was tried by the lords in Parliament, by bill of
"attainder". It was often used for political purposes. Most attainders
were reversed as a term of peace made between competing factions.

Attorneys presided over manorial courts and made decisions with or
without the villeins in attendance based on the custom of the manor.

        The King's coroner and a murderer who had taken sanctuary in a
church often agreed to the penalty of confession and perpetual
banishment from the nation as follows: "Memorandum that on July 6,
[1347], Henry de Roseye abjured the realm of England before John
Bernard, the King's coroner, at the church of Tendale in the County of
Kent in form following: 'Hear this, O lord the coroner, that I, Henry
de Roseye, have stolen an ox and a cow of the widow of John Welsshe of
Retherfeld; and I have stolen eighteen beasts from divers men in the
said county. And I acknowledge that I have feloniously killed Roger le
Swan in the town of Strete in the hundred of Strete in the rape [a
division of a county] of Lewes and that I am a felon of the lord King
of England. And because I have committed many ill deeds and thefts in
his land, I abjure the land of the Lord Edward King of England, and [I
acknowledge] that I ought to hasten to the port of Hastings, which thou
hast given me, and that I ought not to depart from the way, and if I do
so I am willing to be taken as a thief and felon of the lord King, and
that at Hastings I will diligently seek passage, and that I will not
wait there save for the flood and one ebb if I can have passage; and if
I cannot have passage within that period, I will go up to the knees
into the sea every day, endeavoring to cross; and unless I can do so
within forty days, I will return at once to the church, as a thief and
a felon of the lord King, so help me God."

        Property damage by a tenant of a London building was assessed
in a 1374 case: "John Parker, butcher, was summoned to answer Clement
Spray in a plea of trespass, wherein the latter complained that the
said John, who had hired a tavern at the corner of St. Martin- le-Grand
from him for fifteen months, had committed waste and damage therein,
although by the custom of the city no tenant for a term of years was
entitled to destroy any portion of the buildings or fixtures let to
him. He alleged that the defendant had taken down the door post of the
tavern and also of the shop, the boarded door of a partition of the
tavern, a seat in the tavern, a plastered partition wall, the stone
flooring in the chamber, the hearth of the kitchen, and the mantelpiece
above it, a partition in the kitchen, two doors and other partitions,
of a total value of 21s. four pounds, 1s. 8d., and to his damage, 400s.
[20 pounds]. The defendant denied the trespass and put himself on the
country. Afterwards a jury [panel]... found the defendant guilty of the
aforesaid trespass to the plaintiff's damage, 40d. Judgment was given
for that amount and a fine of 1s. to the King, which the defendant paid
immediately in court."

        The innkeeper's duty to safeguard the person and property of
his lodgers was applied in this case:

"John Trentedeus of Southwark was summoned to answer William Latymer
touching a plea why, whereas according to the law and custom of the
realm of England, innkeepers who keep a common inn are bound to keep
safely by day and by night without reduction or loss men who are
passing through the parts where such inns are and lodging their goods
within those inns, so that, by default of the innkeepers or their
servants, no damage should in any way happen to such their guests ...

On Monday after the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary in the
fourth year of the now King by default of the said John, certain
malefactors took and carried away two small portable chests with 533s.
and also with charters and writings, to wit two writings obligatory, in
the one of which is contained that a certain Robert Bour is bound to
the said William in 2,000s. and in the other that a certain John Pusele
is bound to the same William in 800s. 40 pounds ... and with other
muniments [writings defending claims or rights] of the same William, to
wit his return of all the writs of the lord King for the counties of
Somerset and Dorset, whereof the same William was then sheriff, for the
morrow of the Purification of the Blessed Mary the Virgin in the year
aforesaid, as well before the same lord the King in his Chancery and in
his Bench as before the justices of the King's Common Bench and his
barons of his Exchequer, returnable at Westminster on the said morrow,
and likewise the rolls of the court of Cranestock for all the courts
held there from the first year of the reign of the said lord the King
until the said Monday, contained in the same chests being lodged within
the inn of the same John at Southwark

And the said John ... says that on the said Monday about the second
hour after noon the said William entered his inn to be lodged there,
and at once when he entered, the same John assigned to the said William
a certain chamber being in that inn, fitting for his rank, with a door
and a lock affixed to the same door with sufficient nails, so that he
should lie there and put and keep his things there, and delivered to
the said William the key to the door of the said chamber, which chamber
the said William accepted...

William says that ... when the said John had delivered to him the said
chamber and key as above, the same William, being occupied about divers
businesses to be done in the city of London, went out from the said inn
into the city to expedite the said businesses and handed over the key
of the door to a certain servant of the said William to take care of in
meantime, ordering the servant to remain in the inn meanwhile and to
take care of his horses there; and afterwards, when night was falling,
the same William being in the city and the key still in the keeping of
the said servant, the wife of the said John called unto her into her
hall the said servant who had the key, giving him food and drink with a
merry countenance and asking him divers questions and occupying him
thus for a long time, until the staple of the lock of the door
aforesaid was thrust on one side out of its right place and the door of
the chamber was thereby opened and his goods, being in the inn of the
said John, were taken and carried off by the said malefactors ... The
said John says ...[that his wife did not call the servant into the
hall, but that] when the said servant came into the said hall and asked
his wife for bread and ale and other necessaries to be brought to the
said chamber of his master, his wife immediately and without delay
delivered to the same servant the things for which he asked ...
protesting that no goods of the same William in the said inn were
carried away by the said John his servant or any strange malefactors
other than the persons of the household of the said William."

        On the Coram Rege Roll of 1395 is a case on the issue of
whether a court crier can be seized by officers of a staple:

"Edmund Hikelyng, 'crier', sues William Baddele and wife Maud, John
Olney, and William Knyghtbrugge for assault and imprisonment at
Westminster, attacking him with a stick and imprisoning him for one
hour on Wednesday before St. Martin, 19 Richard II.

Baddele says Mark Faire of Winchester was prosecuting a bill of debt
for 18s. against Edmund and John More before William Brampton, mayor of
the staple of Westminster, and Thomas Alby and William Askham,
constables of the said staple, and on that day the Mayor and the
constables issued a writ of capias against Edmund and John to answer
Mark and be before the Mayor and the constables at the next court. This
writ was delivered to Baddele as sergeant of the staple, and by virtue
of it he took and imprisoned Edmund in the staple. Maud and the others
say they aided Baddele by virtue of the said writ.

Edmund does not acknowledge Baddele to be sergeant of the staple or
Mark a merchant of the staple or that he was taken in the staple. He is
minister of the King's Court of his Bench and is crier under Thomas
Thorne, the chief crier, his master. Every servant of the court is
under special protection while doing his duty or on his way to do it.
On the day in question, he was at Westminster carrying his master's
staff of office before Hugh Huls, one of the King's justices, and
William took him in the presence of the said justice and imprisoned him.

The case is adjourned for consideration from Hilary to Easter."

        A law of equity began to be developed from decisions by the
Chancellor in his court of conscience from around 1370. One such case
was that of Godwyne v. Profyt sometime after 1393. This petition was
made to the Chancellor: To the most reverend Father in God, and most
gracious Lord, the bishop of Exeter, Chancellor of England. Thomas
Godwyne and Joan his wife, late wife of Peter at More of Southwerk,
most humbly beseech that, whereas at Michaelmas in the 17th year of our
most excellent lord King Richard who now is, the said Peter at More in
his lifetime enfeoffed Thomas Profyt parson of St. George's church
Southwerk, Richard Saundre, and John Denewey, in a tenement with the
appurtenances situated in Southwerk and 24 acres of land 6 acres of
meadow in the said parish of St. George and in the parish of our Lady
of Newington, on the conditions following, to wit, that the said three
feoffees should, immediately after the death of the said Peter, enfeoff
the said Joan in all the said lands and tenements with all their
appurtenances for the life of the said Joan, with remainder after her
decease to one Nicholas at More, brother of the said Peter, to hold to
him and the heirs of his body begotten, and for default of issue, then
to be sold by four worthy people of the said parish, and the money to
be received for the same to be given to Holy Church for his soul;
whereupon the said Peter died. And after his death two of the said
feoffees, Richard and John, by the procurement of one John Solas,
released all their estate in the said lands and tenements to the said
Thomas Profyt, on the said conditions, out of the great trust that they
had in the said Thomas Profyt, who was their confessor, that he would
perform the will of the said Peter [at More] in the form aforesaid; and
this well and lawfully to do the said Thomas Profyt swore on his Verbum
Dei and to perform the said conditions on all points. And since the
release was so made, the said Thomas Profyt, through the scheming and
false covin of the said John Solas, has sold all the lands and
tenements aforesaid to the same John Solas for ever. And the said John
Solas is bound to the said Thomas Profyt in 100 pounds by a bond to
make defense of the said lands and tenements by the bribery and
maintenance against every one; and so by their false interpretation and
conspiracy the said Joan, Nicholas, and Holy Church are like to be
disinherited and put out of their estate and right, as is abovesaid,
for ever, tortiously, against the said conditions, and contrary to the
will of the said Peter [at More]. May it please your most righteous
Lordship to command the said Thomas Profyt, Richard Saundre, and John
Denewy to come before you, and to examine them to tell the truth of all
the said matter, so that the said Joan, who has not the wherewithal to
live, may have her right in the said lands and tenements, as by the
examination before you, most gracious Lord, shall be found and proved;
for God and in way of holy charity.

                   Chapter 10

                The Times: 1399-1485

        This period, which begins with the reign of the usurper King,
Henry IV, is dominated by war: the last half of the 100 year war with
France, which, with the help of Joan of Arc, took all English land on
the continent except the port of Calais, and the War of the Roses over
the throne in England. The ongoing border fights with Wales and
Scotland were fought by England's feudal army. But for fighting in
France, the king paid barons and earls to raise their own fighting
forces. When they returned to England, they fought to put their
candidate on its throne, which had been unsteady since its usurpation
by Henry IV. All the great houses kept bands of armed retainers. These
retainers were given land or pay or both as well as liveries [uniforms
or badges] bearing the family crest. In the system of "livery and
maintenance", if the retainer was harassed by the law or by enemies,
the lord protected him. The liveries became the badges of the factions
engaged in the War of the Roses. The white rose was worn by the
supporters of the house of York, and the red rose by supporters of the
house of Lancaster. Great lords fought each other for property and made
forcible entries usurping private property. Nobles employed men who had
returned from fighting in war to use their fighting skill in local
defense.Henry IV was the last true warrior king.

        In both wars, the musket was used as well as the longbow. To
use it, powder was put into the barrel, then a ball rammed down the
barrel with a rod, and then the powder lit by a hot rod held with one
hand while the other hand was used to aim the musket. Cannon were used
to besiege castles and destroy their walls, so many castles were
allowed to deteriorate. The existence of cannon also limited the
usefulness of town walls for defense. But townspeople did not take part
in the fighting.

        Since the power of the throne changed from one faction to
another, political and personal vindictiveness gave rise to many bills
of attainder that resulted in lords being beheaded and losing their
lands to the King. However, these were done by the form of law; there
were no secret executions in England. Families engaged in blood feuds.
Roving bands ravaged the country, plundering the people, holding the
forests, and robbing collectors of Crown revenue. Some men made a
living by fighting for others in quarrels. Individual life and property
were insecure. Whole districts were in a permanent alarm of riot and
robbery. The roads were not safe. There was fighting between lords and
gangs of ruffians holding the roads, breaking into and seizing manor
houses, and openly committing murders.

        Peace was never well-kept nor was law ever well-executed,
though fighting was suspended by agreement during the harvest. Local
administration was paralyzed by party faction or lodged in some great
lord or some clique of courtiers. The elections of members to
Parliament were interfered with and Parliament was rarely held. Barons
and earls fought their disputes in the field rather than in the royal
courts. Litigation was expensive, so men relied increasingly on the
protection of the great men of their neighborhood and less on the
King's courts for the safety of their lives and land. Local men
involved in court functions usually owed allegiance to a lord which
compromised the exercise of justice. Men serving in an assize often
lied to please their lord instead of telling the truth. Lords
maintained, supported, or promoted litigation with money or aid
supplied to one party to the detriment of justice. It was not unusual
for lords to attend court with a great force of retainers behind them.
Many Justices of the Peace wore liveries of magnates and accepted money
from them. Royal justices were flouted or bribed. The King's writ was
denied or perverted. For 6-8s., a lord could have the king instruct his
sheriff to impanel a jury which would find in his favor. A statute
against riots, forcible entries, and, excepting the King, magnates'
liveries of uniform, food, and badges to their retainers, except in war
outside the nation, was passed, but was difficult to enforce because
the offenders were lords, who dominated the Parliament and the council.

        With men so often gone to fight, their wives managed the
household alone. The typical wife had maidens of equal class to whom
she taught household management, spinning, weaving, carding wool with
iron wool-combs, heckling flax, embroidery, and making garments. There
were foot-treadles for spinning wheels. She taught the children. Each
day she scheduled the activities of the household including music,
conversation, dancing, chess, reading, playing ball, and gathering
flowers. She organized picnics, rode horseback and went hunting,
hawking to get birds, and hare-ferreting. She was nurse to all around
her. If her husband died, she usually continued to manage the household
because most men named their wife as executor of their will with full
power to act as she thought best. The wives of barons shared their
right of immunity from arrest by the processes of common law and to be
tried by their peers.

        For ladies, close-fitting jackets came to be worn over close-
fitting long gowns with low, square-cut necklines and flowing sleeves,
under which was worn a girdle or corset of stout linen reinforced by
stiff leather or even iron. Her skirt was provocatively slit from knee
to ankle. All her hair was confined by a hair net. Headdresses were
very elaborate and heavy, trailing streamers of linen. Some were in the
shape of hearts, butterflies, crescents, double horns, steeples, or
long cones. Men also wore hats rather than hoods. They wore huge hats
of velvet, fur, or leather. Their hair was cut into a cap-like shape on
their heads, and later was shoulder-length. They wore doublets with
thick padding over the shoulders or short tunics over the trucks of
their bodies and tightened at the waist to emphasize the shoulders.
Their collars were high. Their sleeves were long concoctions of velvet,
damask, and satin, sometimes worn wrapped around their arms in layers.
Their legs and hips were covered with hosen, often in different colors.
Codpieces worn between the legs emphasized the sensuality of the age as
did ladies' tight and low- cut gowns. Men's shoes were pointed with
upward pikes at the toes that impeded walking. At another time, their
shoes were broad with blunt toes. Both men and women wore much jewelry
and ornamentation. But, despite the fancy dress, the overall mood was a
macabre preoccupation with mortality, despair, and a lack of confidence
in the future. Cannon and mercenaries had reduced the military
significance of knighthood, so its chivalric code deteriorated into
surface politeness, ostentation, and extravagance.

        Master and servants ceased to eat together in the same hall,
except for great occasions, on feast days, and for plays. The lord, and
his lady, family, and guests took their meals in a great chamber,
usually up beneath the roof next to the upper floor of the great hall.
The chimney-pieces and windows were often richly decorated with paneled
stonework, tracery and carving. There was often a bay or oriel window
with still expensive glass. Tapestries, damask, and tablecloths covered
the tables. The standard number of meals was three: breakfast, dinner,
and supper. There was much formality and ceremonial ritual, more
elaborate than before, during dinners at manorial households, including
processions bringing and serving courses, and bowing, kneeling, and
curtseying. There were many courses of a variety of meats, fish, stews,
and soups, with a variety of spices and elaborately cooked. Barons,
knights, and their ladies sat to the right of the lord above the salt
and were served by the lord's sewer [served the food] and carver and
gentlemen waiters; their social inferiors such as "gentlemen of
worship" sat below the salt and were served by another sewer and
yeomen. The lord's cupbearer looked after the lord alone. A knights'
table was waited on by yeomen. The gentlemen officers, gentlemen
servants and yeomen officers were waited on by their own servants. The
amount of food dished out to each person varied according to his rank.
The almoner said grace and distributed the leftovers to the poor
gathered at the gate. The superior people's hands were washed by their
inferiors. Lastly, the trestle tables were removed while sweet wine and
spices were consumed standing. Then the musicians were called into the
hall and dancing began. The lord usually slept in a great bed in this

        The diet of an ordinary family such as that of a small
shopholder or yeoman farmer included beef, mutton, pork, a variety of
fish, both fresh and salted, venison, nuts, peas, oatmeal, honey,
grapes, apples, pears, and fresh vegetables. Cattle and sheep were
driven from Wales to English markets. This droving lasted for five

        Many types of people besides the nobility and knights now had
property and thus were considered gentry: female lines of the nobility,
merchants and their sons, attorneys, auditors, squires, and
peasant-yeomen. The burgess grew rich as the knight dropped lower. The
great merchants lived in mansions which could occupy whole blocks. In
towns these mansions were entered through a gate through a row of shops
on the street.Typically, there would be an oak-paneled great hall, with
adjoining kitchen, pantry, and buttery on one end and a great parlor to
receive guests, bedrooms, wardrobes, servants' rooms, and a chapel on
the other end or on a second floor. A lesser dwelling would have these
rooms on three floors over a shop on the first floor. An average
Londoner would have a shop, a storeroom, a hall, a kitchen, and a
buttery on the first floor, and three bedrooms on the second floor.
Artisans and shopkeepers of more modest means lived in rows of
dwellings, each with a shop and small storage room on the first floor,
and a combination parlor-bedroom on the second floor. The humblest
residents crowded their shop and family into one 6 by 10 foot room for
rent of a few shillings a year. All except the last would also have a
small garden. The best gardens had a fruit tree, herbs, flowers, a
well, and a latrine area. There were common and public privies for
those without their own. Kitchen slops and casual refuse continued to
be thrown into the street. Floors of stone or planks were strewn with
rushes. There was some tile flooring. Most dwellings had glass windows.
Candles were used for lighting at night. Torches and oil-burning
lanterns were portable lights. Furnishings were still sparse. Men sat
on benches or joint stools and women sat on cushions on the floor. Hall
and parlor had a table and benches and perhaps one chair. Bedrooms had
beds that were surrounded by heavy draperies to keep out cold drafts.
The beds had pillows, blankets, and sheets. Clothes were stored in a
chest, sometimes with sweet-smelling herbs such as lavender, rosemary,
and southernwood. Better homes had wall hanging and cupboards
displaying plate. Laundresses washed clothes in the streams, rivers,
and public conduits. Country peasants still lived in wood, straw, and
mud huts with earth floors and a smoky hearth in the center or a
kitchen area under the eaves of the hut.

        In 1442, bricks began to be manufactured in the nation and so
there was more use of bricks in buildings. Chimneys were introduced
into manor houses where stone had been too expensive. This was
necessary if a second floor was added, so the smoke would not damage
the floor above it and would eventually go out of the house.

        Nobles and their retinue moved from manor to manor, as they had
for centuries, to keep watch upon their lands and to consume the
produce thereof; it was easier to bring the household to the estate
than to transport the yield of the estate to the household. Also, at
regular intervals sewage had to be removed from the cellar pits. Often
a footman walked or ran on foot next to his master or mistress when
they rode out on horseback or in a carriage. He was there primarily for

        Jousting tournaments were held for entertainment purposes only
and were followed by banquets of several courses of food served on
dishes of gold, silver, pewter, or wood on a linen cloth covering the
table. Hands were washed before and after the meal. People washed their
faces every morning after getting up. Teeth were cleaned with powders.
Fragrant leaves were chewed for bad breath. Garlic was used for
indigestion and other ailments. Feet were rubbed with salt and vinegar
to remove calluses. Good manners included not slumping against a post,
fidgeting, sticking one's finger into one's nose, putting one's hands
into one's hose to scratch the privy parts, spitting over the table or
too far, licking one's plate, picking one's teeth, breathing stinking
breath into the face of the lord, blowing on one's food, stuffing
masses of bread into one's mouth, scratching one's head, loosening
one's girdle to belch, and probing one's teeth with a knife.

        Fishing and hunting were reserved for the nobility rather than
just the King.

        As many lords became less wealthy because of the cost of war,
some peasants, villein and free, became prosperous, especially those
who also worked at a craft, e.g. butchers, bakers, smiths, shoemakers,
tailors, carpenters, and cloth workers.

        An agricultural slump caused poorer soils to fall back into
waste. The better soils were leased by peasants, who, with their
families, were in a better position to farm it than a great lord, who
found it hard to hire laborers at a reasonable cost. Further, peasants'
sheep, hens, pigs, ducks, goats, cattle, bees, and crop made them
almost self-sufficient in foodstuffs. They lived in a huddle of
cottages, pastured their animals on common land, and used common
meadows for haymaking. They subsisted mainly on boiled bacon, an
occasional chicken, worts and beans grown in the cottage garden, and
cereals. They wore fine wool cloth in all their apparel. Brimless hats
were replacing hoods. They had an abundance of bed coverings in their
houses. And they had more free time. Village entertainment included
traveling jesters, acrobats, musicians, and bear-baiters. Playing games
and gambling were popular pastimes.

        Most villeins were now being called "customary tenants" or
"copy- holders" of land because they held their acres by a copy of the
court-roll of the manor, which listed the number of teams, the fines,
the reliefs, and the services due to the lord for each landholder. The
Chancery court interpreted many of these documents to include rights of
inheritance. The common law courts followed the lead of the Chancery
and held that marriage land could be inherited as was land at common
law. Evictions by lords decreased.

        The difference between villein and freeman lessened but
landlords usually still had profits of villein bondage, such as heriot,
merchet, and chevage.

        Social mobility was most possible in the towns, where
distinctions were usually only of wealth. So a poor apprentice could
aspire to become a master, a member of the livery of his company, a
member of the council, an alderman, a mayor, and then an esquire for
life. The distance between baron and a country knight and between a
yeoman and knight was wider. Manor custom was strong. But a yeoman
could give his sons a chance to become gentlemen by entering them in a
trade in a town, sending them to university, or to war. Every freeman
was to some extent a soldier, and to some extent a lawyer, serving in
the county or borough courts. A burgess, with his workshop or
warehouse, was trained in warlike exercises, and he could keep his own
accounts, and make his own will and other legal documents, with the aid
of a scrivener or a chaplain, who could supply an outline of form. But
law was growing as a profession. Old-established London families began
to choose the law as a profession for their sons, in preference to an
apprenticeship in trade. Many borough burgesses in Parliament were

        A class of laborers was arising who depended entirely on the
wages of industry for their subsistence. The cloth workers in rural
areas were isolated and weak and often at the mercy of middlemen for
employment and the amount of their wages. When rural laborers went to
towns to seek employment in the new industries, they would work at
first for any rate. This deepened the cleavage of the classes in the
towns. The artificers in the town and the cottagers and laborers in the
country lived from hand to mouth, on the edge of survival, but better
off than the old, the diseased, the widows, and the orphans. However,
the 1400s were the most prosperous time for laborers considering their
wages and the prices of food. Meat and poultry were plentiful and grain
prices low.

        In London, shopkeepers appealed to passersby to buy their
goods, sometimes even seizing people by the sleeve. The drapers had
several roomy shops containing shelves piled with cloths of all colors
and grades, tapestries, pillows, blankets, bed draperies, and "bankers
and dorsers" to soften hard wooden benches. A rear storeroom held more
cloth for import or export. Many shops of skinners were on Fur Row.
There were shops of leather sellers, hosiers, gold and silver cups, and
silks. At the Stocks Market were fishmongers, butchers, and poulterers.
London grocers imported spices, canvas, ropery, potions, unguents,
soap, confections, garlic, cabbages, onions, apples, oranges, almonds,
figs, dates, raisins, dyestuffs, woad, madder (plant for medicine and
dye), scarlet grains, saffron, iron, and a primitive steel. They were
retailers as well as wholesalers and had shops selling honey, licorice,
salt, vinegar, rice, sugar loaves, syrups, spices, garden seeds, dyes,
alum, soap, brimstone, paper, varnish, canvas, rope, musk, incense,
treacle of Genoa, and mercury. The Grocers did some money lending,
usually at 12% interest. The guilds did not restrict themselves to
dealing in the goods for which they had a right of inspection, and so
many dealt in wine that it was a medium of exchange. There was no sharp
distinction between retail and wholesale trading.

        London grocers sold herbs for medicinal as well as eating
purposes. Breadcarts sold penny wheat loaves. Foreigners set up stalls
on certain days of the week to sell meat, canvas, linen, cloth,
ironmongery, and lead. There were great houses, churches, monasteries,
inns, guildhalls, warehouses, and the King's Beam for weighing wool to
be exported. In 1410, the Guildhall of London was built through
contributions, proceeds of fines, and lastly, to finish it, special
fees imposed on apprenticeships, deeds, wills, and letters-patent. The
Mercers and Goldsmiths were in the prosperous part of town. The
Goldsmiths' shops sold gold and silver plate, jewels, rings, water
pitchers, drinking goblets, basins to hold water for the hands, and
covered saltcellars. The grain market was on Cornhill. Halfway up the
street, there was a supply of water which had been brought up in pipes.
On the top of the hill was a cage where riotous folk had been
incarcerated by the night watch and the stocks and pillory, where
fraudulent schemers were exposed to ridicule. No work was to be done on
Sundays, but some did work surreptitiously. The barbers kept their
shops open in defiance of the church. Outside the London city walls
were tenements, the Smithfield cattle market, Westminster Hall, green
fields of crops, and some marsh land.

        On the Thames River to London were large ships with cargoes;
small boats rowed by tough boatmen offering passage for a penny; small
private barges of great men with carved wood, gay banners, and oarsmen
with velvet gowns; the banks covered with masts and tackle; the
nineteen arch London Bridge supporting a street of shops and houses and
a drawbridge in the middle; quays; warehouses, and great cranes lifting
bales from ship to wharf. Merchant guilds which imported or exported
each had their own wharves and warehouses. Downstream, pirates hung on
gallows at the low-water mark to remain until three tides had
overflowed their bodies. A climate change of about 1 1/2 degree Celcius
lower caused the Thames to regularly freeze over in winter.

        The large scale of London trade promoted the specialization of
the manufacturer versus the merchant versus the shipper. Merchants had
enough wealth to make loans to the government or for new commercial
enterprises. Local reputation on general, depended upon a combination
of wealth, trustworthiness of character, and public spirit; it rose and
fell with business success. Some London merchants were knighted by the
King. Many bought country estates thereby turning themselves into

        The king granted London all common soils, improvements, wastes,
streets, and ways in London and in the adjacent waters of the Thames
River and all the profits and rents to be derived therefrom. Later the
king granted London the liberty to purchase lands and tenements worth
up to 2,667s. yearly. With this power, London had obtained all the
essential features of a corporation: a seal, the right to make by-laws,
the power to purchase lands and hold them "to them and their
successors" (not simply their heirs, which is an individual and
hereditary succession only), the power to sue and be sued in its own
name, and the perpetual succession implied in the power of filling up
vacancies by election. Since these powers were not granted by charters,
London is a corporation by prescription. In 1446, the liverymen
obtained the right with the council to elect the mayor, the sheriff,
and certain other corporate officers.

        Many boroughs sought and obtained formal incorporation with the
same essential features as London. This tied up the loose language of
their early charters of liberties. Often, a borough would have its own
resident Justice of the Peace. Each incorporation involved a review by
a Justice of the Peace to make sure the charter of incorporation rule
didn't conflict with the law of the nation. A borough typically had a
mayor accompanied by his personal sword- bearer and serjeants-at-mace
bearing the borough regalia, bailiffs, a sheriff, and chamberlains or a
steward for financial assistance. At many boroughs, aldermen, assisted
by their constables, kept the peace in their separate wards. There
might be coroners, a recorder, and a town clerk, with a host of lesser
officials including beadles [a messenger of a court], aletasters,
sealers, searchers [inspectors], weighers and keepers of the market,
ferrymen and porters, clock-keepers and criers [cries out public
announcements through the streets], paviors [maintained the roads],
scavengers and other street cleaners, gatekeepers and watchmen of
several ranks and kinds. A wealthy borough would have a chaplain and
two or three minstrels. The mayor replaced the bailiffs as the chief

        In all towns, the wealthiest and most influential guilds were
the merchant traders of mercers, drapers, grocers, and goldsmiths. From
their ranks came most of the mayors, and many began to intermarry with
the country knights and gentry. Next came the shopholders of skinners,
tailors, ironmongers, and corvisors [shoemakers]. Thirdly came the
humbler artisans, the sellers of victuals, small shopkeepers,
apprentices, and journeymen on the rise. Lastly came unskilled
laborers, who lived in crowded tenements and hired themselves out. The
first three groups were the free men who voted, paid scot and bore lot,
and belonged to guilds. Scot was a ratable proportion in the payments
levied from the town for local or national purposes. Merchant guilds in
some towns merged their existence into the town corporation, and their
guild halls became the common halls of the town, and their property
became town property.

        In London, the Cutlers' Company was chartered in 1415, the
Haberdashers' Company in 1417, the Grocers' Company in 1428, the
Drapers' and Cordwainers' companies in 1429, the Vintners' and Brewers'
companies in 1437, the Leathersellers' Company in 1444, the Girdlers'
Company in 1448, the Armourers' and Brassiers' companies in 1453, the
Barbers' Company in 1461, the Tallow Chandlers' Company in 1462, the
Ironmongers' Company in 1464, the Dyers' Company in 1471, the
Musicians' Company in 1472, the Carpenters' Company in 1477, the Cooks'
Company in 1481, and the Waxchandlers' Company in 1483. The
Fishmongers, which had been chartered in 1399, were incorporated in
1433, the Cordwainers in 1439, and the Pewterers in 1468.

        There were craft guilds in the towns, at least 65 in London. In
fact, every London trade of twenty men had its own guild. The guild
secured good work for its members and the members maintained the
reputation of the work standards of the guild. Bad work was punished
and night work prohibited as leading to bad work. The guild exercised
moral control over its members and provided sickness and death benefits
for them. There was much overlapping in the two forms of association:
the craft guild and the religious fraternity. Apprentices were taken in
to assure an adequate supply of competent workers for the future. The
standard indenture of an apprentice bound him to live in his master's
house; serve him diligently; obey reasonable commands; keep his
master's secrets; protect him from injury; abstain from dice, cards and
haunting of taverns; not marry; commit no fornication, and not absent
himself without permission. In return the master undertook to provide
the boy or girl with bed, board, and lodging and to instruct him or her
in the trade, craft, or mystery. When these apprentices had enough
training they were made journeymen with a higher rate of pay.
Journeymen traveled to see the work of their craft in other towns.
Those journeymen rising to master had the highest pay rate.

        Occupations free of guild restrictions included horse dealers,
marbelers, bookbinders, jewelers, organ makers, feathermongers, pie
makers, basket makers, mirrorers, quilters, and parchment makers.
Non-citizens of London could not be prevented from selling leather,
metalwares, hay, meat, fruit, vegetables, butter, cheese, poultry, and
fish from their boats, though they had to sell in the morning and sell
all their goods before the market closed.

        In the towns, many married women had independent businesses and
wives also played an active part in the businesses of their husbands.
Wives of well-to-do London merchants embroidered, sewed jewelry onto
clothes, and made silk garments. Widows often continued in their
husband's businesses, such as managing a large import-export trade,
tailoring, brewing, and metal shop. Socially lower women often ran
their own breweries, bakeries, and taverns. It was possible for wives
to be free burgesses in their own right in some towns.

        Some ladies were patrons of writers. Some women were active in
prison reform in matters of reviews to insure that no man was in gaol
without due cause, overcharges for bed and board, brutality, and
regulation of prisoners being placed in irons. Many men and women left
money in their wills for food and clothing for prisoners, especially
debtors. Wills often left one-third of the wealth to the church, the
poor, prisoners, infirmaries, young girls' education; road, wall, and
bridge repair; water supply, markets and almshouses. Some infirmaries
were for the insane, who were generally thought to be possessed by the
devil or demons. Their treatment was usually by scourging the demons
out of their body by flogging. If this didn't work, torture could be
used to drive the demons from the body.

        The guilds were being replaced by associations for the
investment of capital. In associations, journeymen were losing their
chance of rising to be a master. Competition among associations was
starting to supplant custom as the mainspring of trade.

        The cloth exporters, who were mostly mercers, were unregulated
and banded together for mutual support and protection under the name of
Merchant Adventurers of London. The Merchant Adventurers was chartered
in 1407. It was the first and a prototype of regulated companies. That
is the company regulated the trade. Each merchant could ship on his own
a certain number of cloths each year, the number depending on the
length of his membership in the company. He could sell them himself or
by his factor at the place where the company had privileges of market.
Strict rules governed the conduct of each member. He was to make sales
only at certain hours on specified days. All disagreements were to be
settled by the company's governor, or his deputy in residence, and
those officials dealt with such disputes as arose between members of
the company and continental officials and buyers. A share in the
ownership of one of their vessels was a common form of investment by
prosperous merchants. By 1450, the merchant adventurers were dealing in
linen cloths, buckrams [a stiffened, coarse cloth], fustians [coarse
cloth made of cotton threads going in one direction and linen threads
the other], satins, jewels, fine woolen and linen wares, threads,
potions, wood, oil, wine, salt, copper, and iron. They began to replace
trade by alien traders. The history of the "Merchant Adventurers" was
associated with the growth of the mercantile system for more than 300
years. It eventually replaced the staples system.

        Paved roads in towns were usually gravel and sometimes cobble.
They were frequently muddy because of rain and spillage of water being
carried. Iron-shod wheels and overloaded carts made them very uneven.
London was the first town with paviors. They cleaned and repaired the
streets, filling up potholes with wood chips and compacting them with
hand rams. The paviors were organized as a city company in 1479. About
1482, towns besides London began appointing salaried road paviors to
repair roads and collect their expenses from the householders because
the policy of placing the burden on individual householders didn't work
well. London streets were lighted at night by public lanterns, under
the direction of the mayor. The residents were to light these candle
lanterns in winter from dusk to the 9 p.m. curfew. There were
fire-engines composed of a circular cistern with a pump and six feet of
inflexible hose on wheels pulled by two men on one end and pushed by
two men on the other end. In 1480 the city walls were rebuilt with a
weekly tax of 5d. per head.

        In schools, there was a renaissance of learning from original
sources of knowledge written in Greek and rebirth of the Greek pursuit
of the truth and scientific spirit of inquiry. There was a striking
increase in the number of schools founded by wealthy merchants or town
guilds. Every cathedral, monastery, and college had a grammar school.
Merchants tended to send their sons to private boarding schools,
instead of having them tutored at home as did the nobility. Well-to-do
parents still sent sons to live in the house of some noble to serve
them as pages in return for being educated with the noble's son by the
household priest. They often wore their master's coat of arms and
became their squires as part of their knightly education. Sometimes
girls were sent to live in another house to receive education from a
tutor there under the supervision of the lady of the house. Every man,
free or villein, could send his sons and daughters to school. In every
village, there were some who could read and write.

        In 1428, Lincoln's Inn required barristers normally resident in
London and the county of Middlesex to remain in residence and pay
commons during the periods between sessions of court and during
vacations, so that the formal education of students would be
continuous. In 1442, a similar requirement was extended to all members.

        The book "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" was written about an
incident in the court of King Arthur and Queen Guenevere in which a
green knight challenges Arthur's knights to live up to their reputation
for valor and awesome deeds. The knight Gawain answers the challenge,
but is shown that he could be false and cowardly when death seemed to
be imminent. Thereafter, he wears a green girdle around his waist to
remind him not to be proud.

        Other literature read included "London Lickpenny", a satire on
London and its expensive services and products, "Fall of Princes" by
John Lydgate, social history by Thomas Hoccleve, "The Cuckoo and the
Nightengale", and "The Flower and Leaf" on morality as secular common
sense. King James I of Scotland wrote a book about how he fell in love.
Chaucer, Cicero, Ovid, and Aesops's Fables were widely read. Malory's
new version of the Arthurian stories was popular. Margery Kempe wrote
the first true autobiography. She was a woman who had a normal married
life with children, but one day had visions and voices which led her to
leave her husband to take up a life of wandering and praying in holy
possession. There were religious folk ballads such as "The Cherry Tree
Carol", about the command of Jesus from Mary's womb for a cherry tree
to bend down so that Mary could have some cherries from it. The common
people developed ballads, e.g. about their love of the forest, their
wish to hunt, and their hatred of the forest laws.

        About 30% of Londoners could read English. Books were bought in
London in such quantities by 1403 that the craft organizations of
text-letter writers, illuminators, bookbinders, and book sellers was
sanctioned by ordinance. "Unto the honorable lords, and wise, the mayor
and aldermen of the city of London, pray very humbly all the good
folks, freemen of the said city, of the trades of writers of
text-letter, limners [illuminator of books], and other folks of London
who are wont to bind and to sell books, that it may please your great
sagenesses to grant unto them that they may elect yearly two reputable
men, the one a limner, the other a text- writer, to be wardens of the
said trades, and that the names of the wardens so elected may be
presented each year before the mayor for the time being, and they be
there sworn well and diligently to oversee that good rule and
governance is had and exercised by all folks of the same trades in all
works unto the said trades pertaining, to the praise and good fame of
the loyal good men of the said trades and to the shame and blame of the
bad and disloyal men of the same. And that the same wardens may call
together all the men of the said trades honorably and peacefully when
need shall be, as well for the good rule and governance of the said
city as of the trades aforesaid. And that the same wardens, in
performing their due office, may present from time to time all the
defaults of the said bad and disloyal men to the chamberlain at the
Guildhall for the time being, to the end that the same may there,
according to the wise and prudent discretion of the governors of the
said city, be corrected, punished, and duly redressed. And that all who
are rebellious against the said wardens as to the survey and good rule
of the same trades may be punished according to the general ordinance
made as to rebellious persons in trades of the said city [fines and
imprisonment]. And that it may please you to command that this
petition, by your sagenesses granted, may be entered of record for time
to come, for the love of God and as a work of charity."

        Gutenberg's printing press, which used movable type of small
blocks with letters on them, was brought to London in 1476 by a mercer:
William Caxton. It supplemented the text-writer and monastic copyist.
It was a wood and iron frame with a mounted platform on which were
placed small metal frames into which words with small letters of lead
had been set up. Each line of text had to be carried from the type case
to the press. Beside the press were pots filled with ink and inking
balls. When enough lines of type to make a page had been assembled on
the press, the balls would be dipped in ink and drawn over the type.
Then a sheet of paper would be placed on the form and a lever pulled to
press the paper against the type. Linen usually replaced the more
expensive parchment for the book pages.

        The printing press made books more accessible to all literate
people. Caxton printed major English texts and some translations from
French and Latin. He commended different books to various kinds of
readers, for instance, for gentlemen who understand gentleness and
science, or for ladies and gentlewomen, or to all good folk. There were
many cook books in use. There were convex eyeglasses for reading and
concave ones for distance to correct near-sightedness. The first public
library in London was established from a bequest in a will in 1423.

        Many carols were sung at the Christian festival of Christmas.
Ballads were sung on many features of social life of this age of
disorder, hatred of sheriffs, but faith in the King. The legend of
Robin Hood was popular, as were town miracle plays on leading incidents
of the Bible and morality plays. Vintners portrayed the miracle of Cana
where water was turned into wine and Goldsmiths ornately dressed the
three Kings coming from the east. In York, the building of Noah's Ark
was performed by the Shipwrights and the Flood performed by the Fishery
and Mariners. Short pantomimes and disguising, forerunners of costume
parties, were good recreation. Games of cards became popular as soon as
cards were introduced. The king, queen, and jack were dressed in
contemporary clothes. Men bowled, kicked footballs, and played tennis.
In London, Christmas was celebrated with masques and mummings. There
was a great tree in the main market place and evergreen decorations in
churches, houses, and streets. There were also games, dances, street
bonfires in front of building doors, and general relaxation of social
controls. Sometimes there was drunken licentiousness and revelry, with
peasants gathering together to make demands of lords for the best of
his goods. May Day was celebrated with crowns and garlands of spring
flowers. The village May Day pageant was often presided over by Robin
Hood and Maid Marion.

        People turned to mysticism to escape from the everyday violent
world. They read works of mystics, such as "Scale of Perfection" and
"Cloud of Unknowing", the latter describing how one may better know
God. They believed in magic and sorcery, but had no religious
enthusiasm because the church was engendering more disrespect. Monks
and nuns had long ago resigned spiritual leadership to the friars; now
the friars too lost much of their good reputation. The monks became
used to life with many servants such as cooks, butlers, bakers,
brewers, barbers, laundresses, tailors, carpenters, and farm hands. The
austerity of their diet had vanished. The schedule of divine services
was no longer followed by many and the fostering of learning was
abandoned. Into monasteries drifted the lazy and miserable. Nunneries
had become aristocratic boarding houses. The practice of taking
sanctuary was abused; criminals and debtors sought it and were allowed
to overstay the 40-day restriction and to leave at night to commit
robberies. There were numerous chaplains, who were ordained because
they received pay from private persons for saying masses for the dead;
They had much leisure time for mischief because they had to forego wife
and family. Church courts became corrupt, but jealously guarded their
jurisdiction from temporal court encroachment. Peter's Pence was no
longer paid by the people, so the burden of papal exaction fell wholly
on the clergy. But the church was rich and powerful, paying almost a
third of the whole taxation of the nation and forming a majority in the
House of Lords. Many families had kinsmen in the clergy. Even the
lowest cleric or clerk could read and write in Latin.

        People relied on saint's days as reference points in the year,
because they did not know dates of the year. But townspeople knew the
hour and minute of each day, because clocks driven by a descending
weight on a cord were in all towns and in the halls of the well-to-do.
This increased the sense of punctuality and lifted standards of
efficiency. These weight-driven clocks replaced water clocks, which had
a problem of water freezing, and sandclocks, which could measure only
small time intervals.

        A linguistic unity and national pride was developing. London
English became the norm and predominated over rural dialects. Important
news was announced and spread by word of mouth in market squares and
sometimes in churches. As usual, traders provided one of the best
sources of news; they maintained an informal network of speedy
messengers and accurate reports because political changes so affected
their ventures. News also came from peddlers, who visited villages and
farms to sell items that could not be bought in the local village.
These often included scissors, eyeglasses, colored handkerchiefs,
calendars, fancy leather goods, watches, and clocks. Peddling was
fairly profitable because of the lack of competition. But peddlers were
often viewed as tramps and suspected of engaging in robbery as well as

        A royal post service was established by relays of mounted
messengers. The first route was between London and the Scottish border,
where there were frequent battles for land between the Scotch and

        The inland roads from town to town were still rough and without
signs. A horseman could make up to 40 miles a day. Common carriers took
passengers and parcels from various towns to London on scheduled
journeys. Now the common yeoman could order goods from the London
market, communicate readily with friends in London, and receive news of
the world frequently. Trade with London was so great and the common
carrier so efficient in transporting goods that the medieval fair began
to decline. First the Grocers and then the Mercers refused to allow
their members to sell goods at fairs. There was much highway robbery.
Most goods were still transported by boats along the coasts, with
trading at the ports.

        Embroidery was exported. Imported were timber, pitch, tar,
potash [for cloth dying], furs, silk, satin, gold cloth, damask cloth,
furred gowns, gems, fruit, spices, and sugar. Imports were restricted
by national policy for the purpose of protecting native industries.

        English single-masted ships began to be replaced by two or
three masted ships with high pointed bows to resist waves and sails
enabling the ship to sail closer to the wind. 200 tuns was the usual
carrying capacity. The increase in trade made piracy, even by
merchants, profitable and frequent until merchant vessels began sailing
in groups for their mutual protection. The astrolabe, which took
altitude of sun and stars, was used for navigation.

        Consuls were appointed to assist English traders abroad.

        Henry IV appointed the first admiral of the entire nation and
resolved to create a national fleet of warships instead of using
merchant ships. In 1417, the war navy had 27 ships. In 1421, Portsmouth
was fortified as a naval base. Henry V issued the orders that formed
the basic law of English admiralty and appointed surgeons to the navy
and army.

        For defense of the nation, especially the safeguard of the
seas, Parliament allotted the king for life, 3s. for every tun of wine
imported and an additional 3s. for every tun of sweet wine imported.
From about 1413, tunnage on wine [tax per tun] and poundage [tax per
pound] on merchandise were duties on goods of merchants which were
regularly granted by Parliament to the king for life for upkeep of the
Navy. Before this time, such duties had been sporadic and temporary.

        The most common ailments were eye problems, aching teeth,
festering ears, joint swelling and sudden paralysis of the bowels.
Epidemics broke out occasionally in the towns in the summers. The
plague swept London in 1467 and the nation in 1407, 1445, and 1471.
Leprosy disappeared.

        Infirmaries were supported by a tax of the king levied on
nearby counties. The walls, ditches, gutters, sewers, and bridges on
waterways and the coast were kept in repair by laborers hired by
commissions appointed by the Chancellor. Those who benefited from these
waterways were taxed for the repairs in proportion to their use thereof.

        Alabaster was sculptured into tombs surmounted with a recumbent
effigy of the deceased, and effigies of mourners on the sides. Few
townsmen choose to face death alone and planned memorial masses to be
sung to lift their souls beyond Purgatory. Chantries were built by
wealthy men for this purpose.

Chemical experimentation was still thought to be akin to sorcery, so
was forbidden by King Henry IV in 1404.

Gold was minted into coins: noble, half noble, and farthing.

        King Henry IV lost power to the Commons and the Lords because
he needed revenue from taxes and as a usurper King, he did not carry
the natural authority of a King. The Commons acquired the right to
elect its own speaker. The lords who helped the usurpation felt they
should share the natural power of the kingship. The council became the
instrument of the Lords. Also, the Commons gained power compared to the
nobility because many nobles had died in war. The consent of the
Commons to legislation became so usual that the justices declared that
it was necessary. The Commons began to see itself as representative of
the entire commons of the realm instead of just their own counties. Its
members had the freedom to consider and debate every matter of public
interest, foreign or domestic, except for church matters. The Commons,
the poorest of the three estates, established an exclusive right to
originate all money grants to the king in 1407. The Speaker of the
Commons announced its money grant to the king only on the last day of
the parliamentary session, after the answers to its petitions had been
declared, and after the Lords had agreed to the money grant. It tied
its grants by rule rather than just practice to certain appropriations.
For instance, tunnage and poundage were appropriated for naval
defenses. Wool customs went to the maintenance of Calais, a port on the
continent, and defense of the nation. It also put the petitions in
statutory form, called "bills", to be enacted after consideration and
amendment by all without alteration. Each house had a right to
deliberate in privacy. In the Commons, members spoke in the order in
which they stood up bareheaded. Any member of Parliament or either
house or the king could initiate a bill. Both houses had the power to
amend or reject a bill. There were conferences between select
committees of both houses to settle their differences. The Commons
required the appointment of auditors to audit the King's accounts to
ensure past grants had been spent according to their purpose. It forced
the King's council appointees to be approved by Parliament and to be
paid salaries. About 1430, kings' councilors were required to take an
oath not to accept gifts of land, not to maintain private suits, not to
reveal secrets, and not to neglect the king's business. A quorum was
fixed and rules made for removal from the council. For the next fifty
years, the council was responsible both to the king and to Parliament.
This was the first encroachment on the King's right to summon,
prorogue, or dismiss a Parliament at his pleasure, determine an agenda
of Parliament, veto or amend its bills, exercise his discretion as to
which lords he summoned to Parliament, and create new peers by letters
patent [official public letters]. Parliament was affected by the
factionalism of the times. The speaker of the commons was often an
officer of some great lord. In 1426, the retainers of the barons in
Parliament were forbidden to bear arms, so they appeared with clubs on
their shoulders. When the clubs were forbidden, they came with stones
concealed in their clothing.

        Kings created dukes and marquesses to be peers. A duke was
given creation money or allowance of 40 pounds a year. A marquess was
given 35 pounds. These new positions could not descend to an heiress,
unlike a barony or earldom. An earl was given 20 pounds, which probably
took the place of his one-third from the county. King Henry VI gave the
title of viscount to several people; it had an allowance of 13.3 pounds
and was above baron. It allowed them to be peers. There were about 55
peers. Henry VI also began the offices of Keeper of the Great Seal,
Keeper of the Privy Seal, Chamberlain, Steward of the Household, to be
great offices of state besides chancellor and Treasurer. They were
members of his Council along with the Archbishops of Canterbury and
York and about 15 other members. In King Edward IV's reign, the king's
retinue had about 16 knights, 160 squires, 240 yeomen, clerks, grooms,
and stablemen. The suitable annual expense of the household of the king
was 13,000 pounds for his retinue of about 516 people, a duke 4,000
pounds for about 230 people, a marquess 3,000 pounds for about 224
people, an earl 2,000 pounds for about 130 people, a viscount 1,000
pounds for about 84 people, a baron 500 pounds for about 26 people, a
banneret [a knight made in the field, who had a banner] 200 pounds for
about 24 people, a knight bachelor 100 pounds for about 16 people, and
a squire 50 pounds for about 16 people. Of a squire's 50 pounds, about
25 pounds were spent in food, repairs and furniture 5, on horses, hay,
and carriage 4, on clothes, alms and oblations 4, wages 9, livery of
dress 3, and the rest on hounds and the charges of harvest and hay
time. Many servants of the household of the country gentleman were poor
relations. They might by education and accomplishment rise into the
service of a baron who could take him to court, where he could make his

        Barons' households also included steward, chaplains, treasurer,
accountants, chamberlain, carvers, servers, cupbearers, pages, and even
chancellor. They were given wages and clothing allowances and had meals
in the hall at tables according to their degree.

        The authority of the King's privy seal had become a great
office of state which transmitted the King's wishes to the Chancery and
Exchequer, rather than the King's personal instrument for sealing
documents. Now the king used a signet kept by his secretary as his
personal seal. Edward IV made the household office of secretary, who
had custody the king's signet seal, a public office. The secretary was
generally a member of the council. Edward IV invented the benevolence,
a gift wrung from wealthy subjects.

        King Edward IV introduced an elaborate spy system, the use of
the rack to torture people to give information, and other interferences
with justice, all of which the Tudor sovereigns later used. Torture was
used to discover facts, especially about coconspirators, rather than to
elicit a confession, as on the continent. It was only used on prisoners
held in the Tower of London involved in state trials and could only be
authorized by the king's closest councilors in virtue of the royal
prerogative. The rack stretched the supine body by the wrists and legs
with increasing agony at the joints until the limbs were dislocated.
Some victims were permanently crippled by it; others died on it. Most
told what they knew, often at the very sight of the rack. Torture was
forbidden in the common law, which favored an accusatorial system, in
which the accuser had to prove guilt, rather than an inquisitional
system, in which the accused had to prove innocence. Edward IV applied
martial law to ordinary cases of high treason by extending the
jurisdiction of the politically- appointed High Constable of England to
these cases, thus depriving the accused of trial by jury. He executed
many for treason and never restored their forfeited land to their
families, as had been the usual practice.

        King Richard III prohibited the seizure of goods before
conviction of felony. He also liberated the unfree villeins on royal

        It was declared under Parliamentary authority that there was a
preference for the Crown to pass to a King's eldest son, and to his
male issue after him. Formerly, a man could ascend to the throne
through his female ancestry as well.

                    The Law

        The forcible entry statute is expanded to include peaceful
entry with forcible holding after the justices arrived and to forcible
holding with departure before the justices arrived. Penalties are
triple damages, fine, and ransom to the King. A forceful possession
lasting three years is exempt.

        By common law, a tenant could not take away buildings or
fixtures he built on land because it would be wasteful. This applied to
agricultural fixtures, but not to other trade fixtures. Also at common
law, if a person had enjoyed light next to his property for at least 20
years, no one could build up the adjacent land so that the light would
be blocked.

        Women of age fourteen or over shall have livery of their lands
and tenements by inheritance without question or difficulty.

        Purposely cutting out another's tongue or putting out another's
eyes is a felony, the penalty for which is loss of all property].

        No one may keep swans unless he has lands and tenements of the
estate of freehold to a yearly value of 67s., because swans of the
King, lords, knights, and esquires have been stolen by yeomen and

        The wage ceiling for servants is: bailiff of agriculture
23s.4d. per year, and clothing up to 5s., with meat and drink; chief
peasant, a carter, chief shepherd 20s. and clothing up to 4s., with
meat and drink; common servant of agriculture 15s., and clothing up to
3s.4d.; woman servant 10s., and clothing up to 4s., with meat and
drink; infant under fourteen years 6s., and clothing up to 3s., with
meat and drink. Such as deserve less or where there is a custom of
less, that lesser amount shall be given.

        For laborers at harvest time: mower 4d. with meat and drink or
6d. without; reaper or carter: 3d. with or 5d. without; woman laborer
and other laborers: 2d with and 4d. without.

        The ceiling wage rate for craftsmen per day is: free mason or
master carpenter 4d. with meat and drink or 5d. without; master tiler
or slater, rough mason, and mesne [intermediary] carpenter and other
artificiers in building 3d. with meat and drink or 4d. without; every
other laborer 2d. with meat and drink or 3d. without. In winter the
respective wages were less: mason category: 3d. with or 4d. without;
master tiler category: 2d. with or 4d. without; others: 1d. with or 3d.
without meat and drink.

        Any servant of agriculture who is serving a term with a master
and covenants to serve another man at the end of this term and that
other man shall notify the master by the middle of his term so he can
get a replacement worker. Otherwise, the servant shall continue to
serve the first master.

        No man or woman may put their son or daughter to serve as an
apprentice in a craft within any borough, but may send the child to
school, unless he or she has land or rent to the value of 20s. per
year.This was because of scarcity of laborers and other servants of

        No laborer may be hired by the week.

        Masons may no longer congregate yearly, because it has led to
violation of the statute of laborers.

        No games may be played by laborers because they lead to
[gambling and] murders and robberies.

        Apparel worn must be appropriate to one's status to preserve
the industry of agriculture. The following list of classes shows the
lowest class, which could wear certain apparel:

1. -Lords - gold cloth, gold corses, sable fur, purple silk

2. -Knights - velvet, branched satin, ermine fur

3. -Esquires and gentlemen with possessions to the value of 800s. per
year, daughters of a person who has possessions to the value of 2,000s.
a year damask, silk, kerchiefs up to 5s. in value.

4. -Esquires and gentlemen with possessions to the yearly value of
800s. 40 pounds - fur of martron or letuse, gold or silver girdles,
silk corse not made in the nation, kerchief up to 3s.4d in value

5. -Men with possessions of the yearly value of 40s. excluding the
above three classes - fustian, bustian, scarlet cloth in grain

6. -Men with possessions under the yearly value of 40s. excluding the
first three classes - black or white lamb fur, stuffing of wool,
cotton, or cadas.

7. -Yeomen - cloth up to the value of 2s., hose up to the value of
14s., a girdle with silver, kerchief up to 12d.

8. -Servants of agriculture, laborer, servant, country craftsman - none
of the above clothes

        Gowns and jackets must cover the entire trunk of the body,
including the private parts. Shoes may not have pikes over two inches.

        Every town shall have at its cost a common balance with weights
according to the standard of the Exchequer. All citizens may weigh
goods for free. All cloth to be sold shall be sealed according to this

        There is a standard bushel of grain throughout the nation.

        There are standard measures for plain tile, roof tile, and
gutter tile throughout the nation.

        No gold or silver may be taken out of the nation.

        The price of silver is fixed at 30s. for a pound, to increase
the value of silver coinage, which has become scarce due to its higher
value when in plate or masse.

        A designee of the king will inspect and seal cloth with lead to
prevent deceit. Cloth may not be tacked together before inspection. No
cloth may be sold until sealed.

        Heads of arrows shall be hardened at the points with steel and
marked with the mark of the arrowsmith who made it, so they are not

        Shoemakers and cordwainers may tan their leather, but all
leather must be inspected and marked by a town official before it is

        To prevent deceitful tanning, cordwainers shall not tan
leather. Tanners who make a notorious default in leather which is found
by a cordwainer shall make a forfeiture.

        Defective embroidery for sale shall be forfeited.

        No fishing net may be fastened or tacked to posts, boats, or
anchors, but may be used by hand, so that fish are preserved and
vessels may pass.

        No one may import any articles which could be made in the
nation, including silks, bows, woolen cloths, iron and hardware goods,
harness and saddlery, except printed books.

        The following merchandise shall not be brought into the nation
already wrought: woolen cloth or caps, silk laces, ribbons, fringes,
and embroidery, gold laces, saddles, stirrups, harnesses, spurs,
bridles, gridirons, locks, hammers, fire tongs, dripping pans, dice,
tennis balls, points, purses, gloves, girdles, harness for girdles of
iron steel or of tin, any thing wrought of any treated leather, towed
furs, shoes, galoshes, corks, knives, daggers, woodknives, thick blunt
needles, sheers for tailors, scissors, razors, sheaths, playing cards,
pins, pattens [wooden shoes on iron supports worn in wet weather], pack
needles, painted ware, forcers, caskets, rings of copper or of gilt
sheet metal, chaffing dishes, hanging candlesticks, chaffing balls,
mass bells, rings for curtains, ladles, skimmers, counterfeit felt hat
moulds, water pitchers with wide spouts, hats, brushes, cards for wool,
white iron wire, upon pain of their forfeiture. One half this
forfeiture goes to the king and the other half to the person seizing
the wares.

        No sheep may be exported, because being shorn elsewhere would
deprive the king of customs.

        No wheat, rye, or barley may be imported unless the prices are
such that national agriculture is not hurt.

        Clothmakers must pay their laborers, such as carders and
spinsters, in current coin and not in pins and girdles and the like.

        The term "freemen" in the Magna Carta includes women.

        The election of a knight from a county to go to Parliament
shall be proclaimed by the sheriff in the full county so all may attend
and none shall be commanded to do something else at that time. Election
is to be by majority of the votes and its results will be sealed and
sent to Parliament.

        Electors and electees to Parliament must reside in the county
or be citizens or burgesses of a borough. To be an elector to
Parliament, a knight must reside in the county and have a freehold of
land or tenements there of the value of at least 40s. per year, because
participation in elections of too many people of little substance or
worth had led to homicides, assaults, and feuds. (These "yeomen" were
about one sixth of the population. Most former electors and every
leaseholder and every copyholder were now excluded. Those elected for
Parliament were still gentry chosen by substantial freeholders.)

        London ordinances forbade placing rubbish or dung in the Thames
River or any town ditch or casting water or anything else out of a
window. The roads were maintained with tolls on carts and horses
bringing victuals or grains into the city and on merchandise unloaded
from ships at the port. No carter shall drive his cart more quickly
when it is unloaded than when it is loaded. No pie bakers shall sell
beef pies as venison pies, or make any meat pie with entrails. To
assist the poor, bread and ale shall be sold by the farthing.

        Desertion by a soldier is penalized by forfeiture of all land
and property.

        The common law held that a bailee is entitled to possession
against all persons except the owner of the bailed property.

        Former justice Sir Thomas Littleton wrote a legal textbook
describing tenancies in dower; the tenures of socage, knight's service,
serjeanty, and burgage; estates in fee simple, fee tail, and fee
conditional; inheritance and alienation of land. For instance, "Also,
if feoffment be made upon such condition, that if the feoffor pay to
the feofee at a certain day, etc., 800s. forty pounds of money, that
then the feoffor may reenter, etc., in this case the feoffee is called
tenant in mortgage, ... and if he doth not pay, then the land which he
puts in pledge upon condition for the payment of the money is gone from
him for ever, and so dead as to the tenant, etc."

        Joint tenants are distinguished from tenants in common by
Littleton thus: "Joint-tenants are, as if a man be seised of certain
lands or tenements, etc., and thereof enfeoffeth two, or three, or
four, or more, to have and to hold to them (and to their heirs, or
letteth to them) for term of their lives, or for term of another's
life; by force of which feoffment or lease they are seised, such are
joint-tenants. ... And it is to be understood, that the nature of
joint-tenancy is, that he that surviveth shall have solely the entire
tenancy, according to such estate as he hath, ..." "Tenants in common
are they that have lands or tenements in fee-simple, fee-tail, or for
term of life, etc., the which have such lands and tenements by several
title, and not by joint title, and neither of them knoweth thereof his
severalty, but they ought by the law to occupy such lands or tenements
in common pro indiviso [undivided], to take the profits in common.
...As if a man enfeoff two joint-tenants in fee, and the one of them
alien that which to him belongeth to another in fee, now the other
joint-tenant and the alienee are tenants in common, because they are in
such tenements by several titles, ..."

        There are legal maxims and customs of ancient origin which have
become well established and known though not written down as statutes.
Some delineated by Christopher St. Germain in "Doctor and Student" in
1518 are:

1. -The spouse of a deceased person takes all personal and real
chattels of the deceased.

2. -For inheritance of land, if there are no descendant children, the
brothers and sisters take alike, and if there are none, the next blood
kin of the whole blood take, and if none, the land escheats to the
lord. Land may never ascend from a son to his father or mother.

3. -A child born before espousals is a bastard and may not inherit,
even if his father is the husband.

4. -If a middle brother purchases lands in fee and dies without heirs
of his body, his eldest brother takes his lands and not the younger
brother. The next possible heir in line is the younger brother, and the
next after him, the father's brother.

5. -For lands held in socage, if the heir is under 14, the next friend
to the heir, to whom inheritance may not descend, shall have the ward
of his body and lands until the heir is 14, at which time the heir may

6. -For lands held by knight's service, if the heir is under 14, then
the lord shall have the ward and marriage of the heir until the heir is
21, if male, or 14 (changed to 16 in 1285), if female. When of age, the
heir shall pay relief. By the right of marriage, a lord could give his
ward-heirs in marriage to a suitable match. Should this match be
refused, its value, determined by a judge, was forfeited to the lord.

7. -A lease for a term of years is a real chattel rather than a free
tenement, and may pass without livery of seisin.

8. -He who has possession of land, though it is by disseisin, has right
against all men but against him who has right.

9. -If a tenant is past due his rent, the lord may distrain his beasts
which are on the land.

10. -All birds, fowls, and wild beasts of the forest and warren are
excepted out of the law and custom of property. No property may be had
of them unless they are tame. However, the eggs of hawks and herons and
the like belong to the man whose land they are on.

11. If a man steals goods to the value of 12d., or above, it is felony,
and he shall die for it. If it is under the value of 12d., then it is
but petty larceny, and he shall not die for it, but shall be punished
at the discretion of the judges. This not apply to goods taken from the
person, which is robbery, a felony punishable by death.

12. If the son is attainted [convicted of treason or felony with the
death penalty and forfeiture of all lands and goods] in the life of the
father, and after he purchases his -charter of pardon of the King, and
after the father dies; in this case the land shall escheat to the lord
of the fee, insomuch that though he has a younger brother, yet the land
shall not descend to him: for by the attainder of the elder brother the
blood is corrupt, and the father in the law died -without heir.

13. A man declared outlaw forfeits his profits from land and his goods
to the King.

14. He who is arraigned upon an indictment of felony shall be admitted,
in favor of life, to challenge thirty-five inquirers (three whole
inquests would have thirty-six) peremptorily. With cause, he may
challenge as many as he has cause to challenge if he can prove it. Such
peremptory challenge shall not be admitted in a private suit.

15. An accessory shall not be put to answer before the principal.

16. If a man commands another to commit a trespass, and he does it, the
one who made the command is a trespasser.

17. The land of every man is in the law enclosed from other, though it
lies in the open field, and a trespasser in it may be brought to court.

18. Every man is bound to make recompense for such hurt as his beasts
do in the growing grain or grass of his neighbor, though he didn't know
that they were there.

19. If two titles are concurrent together, the oldest title shall be

20. He who recovers debt or damages in the King's court when the person
charged is not in custody, may within a year after the judgment take
the body of the defendant, and commit him to prison until he has paid
the debt and damages.

21. If the demandant or plaintiff, hanging his writ (writ pending in
court), will enter into the thing demanded, his writ shall abate.

22. By the alienation of the tenant, hanging the writ, or his entry
into religion, or if he is made a knight, or she is a woman and takes a
husband hanging the writ, the writ shall not abate.

23. The king may disseise no man and no man may disseise the king, nor
pull any reversion or remainder out of him.

                 Judicial Procedure

        The prohibition against maintenance was given penalties in 1406
of 100s. per person for a knight or lower giving livery of cloth or
hats, and of 40s. for the receiver of such. A person who brought such
suit to court was to be given half the penalty. The Justices of Assize
and King's Bench were authorized to inquire about such practices. The
statute explicitly included ladies and any writing, oath, or promise as
well as indenture. Excepted were guilds, fraternities, and craftsmen of
cities and boroughs which were founded on a good purpose; universities;
the mayor and sheriffs of London; and also lords, knights, and esquires
in time of war. A penalty of one year in prison without bail was given.
In 1468, there was a penalty of 100s. per livery to the giver of such,
100s. per month to the retainer or taker of such, and 100s. per month
to the person retained. Still this law was seldom obeyed.

        People took grievances outside the confines of the rigid common
law to the Chancellor, who could give equitable remedies under
authority of a statute of 1285 (described in Chapter 8). The Chancery
heard many cases of breach of faith in the "use", a form of trust in
which three parties were involved: the holder of land, feofees to whom
the holder had made it over by conveyance or "bargain and sale", and
the beneficiary or receiver of the profits of the land, who was often
the holder, his children, relatives, friends, an institution, or a
corporation. This system of using land had been created by the friars
to get around the prohibition against holding property. Lords and
gentry quickly adopted it. The advantages of the use were that 1) there
was no legal restriction to will away the beneficial interest of the
use although the land itself could not be conveyed by will; 2) it was
hard for the king to collect feudal incidents because the feoffees were
often unknown 3) the original holder was protected from forfeiture of
his land in case of conviction of treason if the Crown went to someone
he had not supported. Chancery gave a remedy for dishonest or
defaulting feofees.

        Chancery also provided the equitable relief of specific
performance in disputes over agreements, for instance, conveyance of
certain land, whereas the common law courts awarded only monetary
damages by the writ of covenant.

        Chancery ordered accounts to be made in matters of foreign
trade because the common law courts were limited to accounts pursuant
to transactions made within the nation. It also involved itself in the
administration of assets and accounting of partners to each other.

        The Chancellor took jurisdiction of cases of debt, detinue, and
account which had been decided in other courts with oath-helping by the
defendant. He did not trust the reliance on friends of the defendant
swearing that his statement made in his defense was true. An important
evidentiary difference between procedures of the Chancery and the
common law courts was that the Chancellor could orally question the
plaintiff and the defendant under oath. He also could order persons to
appear at his court by subpoena, under pain of punishment, such as a
heavy fine.

        The Court of Common Pleas had three types of jurisdiction: 1)
common law jurisdiction between person and person, including actions
regarding land, which was exclusive, 2) personal actions of debt,
detinue, account and covenant, and 3) mixed actions, both personal and
regarding land, e.g. ejectment. It had shared jurisdiction with the
Court of the King's Bench in maintenance, conspiracy, other breaches of
statute, trespass, trespass on the case, and their derivatives. Most of
its business had to do with recovery of debt, from 40s. to thousands of

        Whereas the characteristic award of the common law courts was
seisin of land or monetary damages, Chancery often enjoined certain
action. Because malicious suits were a problem, the Chancery identified
such suits and issued injunctions against taking them to any court.

        The Chancery was given jurisdiction by statute over men of
great power taking by force women who had lands and tenements or goods
and not setting them free unless they bound themselves to pay great
sums to the offenders or to marry them. A statute also gave Chancery
jurisdiction over servants taking their masters' goods at his death.
Chancery could issue writs of habeas corpus [produce the body] to bring
a person before a court or judge.

        Justices of the Peace, appointed by the Crown, investigated all
riots and arrested rioters, by authority of statute. If they had
departed, the Justices certified the case to the King. The case was
then set for trial first before the king and his council and then at
the King's Bench. If the suspected rioters did not appear at either
trial, they could be convicted for default of appearance. If a riot was
not investigated and the rioters sought, the Justice of the Peace
nearest forfeited 2,000s. Justices of the Peace were not paid. For
complex cases and criminal cases with defendants of high social status,
they deferred to the Justices of Assize, who rode on circuit once or
twice a year. Since there was no requirement of legal knowledge for a
Justice of the Peace, many referred to the "Boke of the Justice of the
Peas" compiled about 1422 for them to use. Manor courts still formally
admitted new tenants, registered titles, sales of land and exchanges of
land, and commutation of services, enrolled leases and rules of
succession, settled boundary disputes, and regulated the village

        All attorneys shall be examined by the royal justices for their
learnedness in the law and, at their discretion, those that are good
and virtuous shall be received to make any suit in any royal court.
These attorneys shall be sworn to serve well and truly in their offices.

        Attorneys may plead on behalf of parties in the hundred courts.

        A qualification for jurors was to have an estate to one's own
use or one of whom other persons had estates of fee simple, fee tail,
or freehold in lands and tenements, which were at least 40s. per year
in value. In a plea of land worth at least 40s. yearly or a personal
plea with relief sought at least 800s., jurors had to have land in the
bailiwick to the value of at least 400s., because perjury was
considered less likely in the more sufficient men.

        In criminal cases, there were many complaints made that the
same men being on the grand assize and petty assize was unfair because
prejudicial. So it became possible for a defendant to challenge an
indictor for cause before the indictor was put on the petty assize.
Then the petty assize came to be drawn from the country at large and
was a true petty or trial jury. Jurors were separated from witnesses.
In the 1700s, the principle was established that a juror should not sit
on a case of which he had previous knowledge.

        Justices of the Peace were to have lands worth 267s. yearly,
because those with less had used the office for extortion and lost the
respect and obedience of the people.

        A Sheriff was not to arrest, but to transfer indictments to the
Justices of the Peace of the county. He had to reside in his bailiwick.
The sheriff could be sued for misfeasance such as bribery in the King's

        Impeachment was replaced with bill of attainder during the
swift succession of parliaments during the civil war. This was a more
rapid and efficient technique of bringing down unpopular ministers or
political foes. There was no introduction of evidence, nor opportunity
for the person accused to defend himself, nor any court procedure, as
there was with impeachment.

        An example of a case of common law decided by Court of King's
Bench is Russell's Case (1482) as follows:

In the king's bench one Thomas Russell and Alice his wife brought a
writ of trespass for goods taken from Alice while she was single. The
defendant appeared and pleaded not guilty but was found guilty by a
jury at nisi prius, which assessed the damages at 20 pounds. Before the
case was next to be heard in the King's Court an injunction issued out
of the Chancery to the plaintiffs not to proceed to judgment, on pain
of 100 pounds, and for a long time judgment was not asked for. Then
Hussey CJKB. asked Spelman and Fincham, who appeared for the plaintiff
if they wanted to ask for judgment according to the verdict. Fincham
[P]: We would ask for judgment, except for fear of the penalty provided
for in the injunction, for fear that our client will be imprisoned by
the Chancellor if he disobeys. Fairfax, JKB: He can ask for judgment in
spite of the injunction, for if it is addressed to the plaintiff his
attorney can ask for judgment, and vice versa. Hussey, CJKB: We have
consulted together on this matter among ourselves and we see no harm
which can come to the plaintiff if he proceeds to judgment. The law
will not make him pay the penalty provided in the injunction. If the
Chancellor wants to imprison him he must send him to the Fleet Prison,
and, as soon as you are there you will inform us and we shall issue a
habeas corpus returnable before us, and when you appear before us we
shall discharge you, so you will not come to much harm, and we shall do
all we can for you. Nevertheless, Fairfax said he would go to the
Chancellor and ask him if he would discharge the injunction. And they
asked for judgment and it was held that they should recover their
damages as assessed by the jury, but they would not give judgment for
damages caused by the vexation the plaintiff suffered through the
Chancery injunction. And they said that if the Chancellor would not
discharge the injunction, they would give judgment if the plaintiff
would ask for it.

        An example of a petition to chancery in the 1400s is Hulkere v.
Alcote, as follows:

To the right reverend father in God and gracious lord bishop of Bath,
chancellor of England, your poor and continual bedwoman Lucy Hulkere,
widow of Westminster, most meekly and piteously beseeches: that whereas
she has sued for many years in the King's Bench and in the Common Pleas
for withholding diverse charters and evidences of land, leaving and
delaying her dower of the manor of Manthorpe in Lincolnshire and also
of the manor of Gildenburton in Northamptonshire, together with the
withdrawing of her true goods which her husband gave her on his
deathbed to the value of 100 pounds and more, under record of notary,
sued against Harry Alcote and Elizabeth of the foresaid Gildenburton
within the same county of Northampton. And by collusion and fickle
counsel of the foresaid Harry and Elizabeth his mother there was led
and shown for him within the Common Pleas a false release, sealed, to
void and exclude all her true suit by record of true clerks and
attorneys of the aforesaid Common Pleas. Of the which false release
proved she has a copy to show. [All this is] to her great hindrance and
perpetual destruction unless she have help and remedy by your righteous
and gracious lordship in this matter at this time. That it please your
noble grace and pity graciously to grant a writ subpoena to command the
foresaid Henry Alcote and Elizabeth Alcote to come before your presence
by a certain day by you limited in all haste that they may come to
Westminster to answer to this matter abovesaid, for love of God and a
deed of charity, considering graciously that the foresaid Harry Alcote,
with another fellow of his affinity who is not lately hanged for a
thief in Franceled her into a garden at Gildenburton and put her down
on the ground, laying upon her body a board and a summer saddle and
great stones upon the board, the foresaid Harry Alcote sitting across
her feet and the other at her head for to have slain her and murdered
her, and by grace of our lady her mother- in-law out walking heard a
piteous voice crying and by her goodness she was saved and delivered,
and otherwise would be dead. Pledges to prosecute: John Devenshire of
Berdevyle in Essex and James Kelom of London. Returnable in Michaelmas

                      Chapter 11

                 The Times: 1485-1509

        Henry Tudor and other exiles defeated and killed Richard III on
Bosworth field, which ends the civil War of the Roses between the
Lancaster and York factions. As King, Henry VII restored order to the
nation. He was readily accepted as king because he was descended from
the Lancaster royal line and he married a woman from the York royal
line. Henry was intelligent and sensitive. He weighed alternatives and
possible consequences before taking action. He was convinced by reason
on what plans to make. In his reign of 24 years, Henry applied himself
diligently to the details of the work of government to make it work
well. He strengthened the monarchy, shored up the legal system to work
again, and provided a peace in the land in which a renaissance of the
arts and sciences, culture, and the intellectual life could flourish.
His primary strategy was enacting and enforcing statutes to shore up
the undermined legal system, which includes the establishment of a new
court: the Court of the Star Chamber, to obtain punishment of persons
whom juries were afraid to convict. It had no jury and no grand jury
indictment. For speed and certainty, it tried people "ex officio": by
virtue of its office. Suspects were required to take an oath ex
officio, by which they swore to truthfully answer all questions put to
them. A man could not refuse to answer on the grounds of
self-incrimination. The Star Chamber was the room in which the King's
council had met since the 1300s.

        The most prevalent problems were: murder, robbery, rape or
forced marriage of wealthy women, counterfeiting of coin, extortion,
misdemeanors by sheriffs and escheators, bribing of sheriffs and
jurors, perjury, livery and maintenance agreements, idleness, unlawful
plays, and riots. Interference with the course of justice was not
committed only by lords on behalf of their retainers; men of humbler
station were equally prone to help their friends in court or to give
assistance in return for payment. Rural juries were intimidated by the
old baronage and their armed retinues. Juries in municipal courts were
subverted by gangs of townsmen. Justices of the Peace didn't enforce
the laws. The agricultural work of the nation had been adversely

        Henry made policy with the advice of his council and had
Parliament enact it into legislation. He dominated Parliament by having
selected most of its members. Many of his council were sons of
burgesses and had been trained in universities. He chose competent and
especially trusted men for his officers and commanders of castles and
garrison. The fact that only the king had artillery deterred barons
from revolting. Also, the baronial forces were depleted due to the
civil War of the Roses. If Henry thought a magnate was exercising his
territorial power to the King's detriment, he confronted him with an
army and forced him to bind his whole family in recognizances for large
sums of money to ensure future good conduct. Since the king had the
authority to interpret these pledges, they were a formidable check on
any activity which could be considered to be disloyal. The earl of
Kent, whose debts put him entirely at the King's mercy, was bound to
"be seen daily once in the day within the King's house". Henry also
required recognizances from men of all classes, including clergy,
captains of royal castles, and receivers of land. The higher nobility
now consisted of about twenty families. The heavy fines by the Star
Court put an end to conspiracies to defraud, champerty [an agreement
with a litigant to pay costs of litigation for a share in the damages
awarded], livery, and maintenance. The ties between the nobility and
the Justices of the Peace had encouraged corruption of justice. So
Henry appointed many of the lesser gentry and attorneys as Justices of
the Peace. Also he appointed a few of his councilors as nonresident
Justices of the Peace. There were a total of about thirty Justices of
the Peace per county. Their appointments were indefinite and most
remained until retirement or death. Henry instituted the Yeomen of the
Guard to be his personal bodyguards night and day.

        Many bills of attainder caused lords to lose their land to the
King. Most of these lords had been chronic disturbers of the peace.
Henry required retainers to be licensed, which system lasted until
about 1600. Henry was also known to exhaust the resources of barons he
suspected of disloyalty by accepting their hospitality for himself and
his household for an extended period of time.

        Henry built up royal funds by using every available procedure
of government to get money, by maximizing income from royal estates by
transferring authority over them from the Exchequer to knowledgeable
receivers, and from forfeitures of land and property due to attainders
of treason. He also personally reviewed all accounts and initialed
every page, making sure that all payments were made. He regularly
ordered all men with an income of 800s. [40 pounds] yearly from lands
or revenue in hand to receive knighthoods, which were avoided by those
who did not want to fight, or pay a high fee. As a result, the Crown
became rich and therefore powerful.

        Henry's Queen, Elizabeth, was a good influence on his
character. Her active beneficence was a counteracting influence to his
avaricious predisposition. When Henry and his Queen traveled through
the nation, they often stopped to talk to the common people. They
sometimes gave away money, such as to a man who had lost his hand.
Henry paid for an intelligent boy he met to go to school.

        Henry had the first paper mill erected in the nation. He
fostered the reading of books and the study of Roman law, the classics,
and the Bible. He had his own library and gave books to other libraries.

        The age of entry to university was between 13 and 16. It took
four years' study of grammar, logic, and rhetoric to achieve the
Bachelor of Arts degree and another five before a master could begin a
specialized study of the civil law, canon law, theology, or medicine.
Humanist studies were espoused by individual scholars at the three
centers of higher learning: Oxford University, Cambridge University,
and the Inns of Court in London. The Inns of Court attracted the sons
of gentry and merchants pursuing practical and social accomplishments.
The text of "readings" to members of the inns survive from this time.
In the legalistic climate of these times, attorneys were prosperous.

        The enclosure of land by hedges for sheep farming continued,
especially by rich merchants who bought country land for this purpose.
Often this was land that had been under the plough. Any villeins were
given their freedom and they and the tenants at will were thrown off it
immediately. That land held by copyholders of land who had only a life
estate, was withheld from their sons. Only freeholders and copyholders
with the custom of the manor in their favor were secure against
eviction. But they could be pressured to sell by tactics such as
breeding rabbits or keeping geese on adjoining land to the detriment of
their crops, or preventing them from taking their traditional short
cuts across the now enclosed land to their fields. The real line of
distinction between rural people was one of material means instead of
legal status: free or unfree. On one extreme was the well-to-do yeoman
farmer farming his own land. On the other extreme was the agricultural
laborer working for wages. Henry made several proclamations ordering
certain enclosures to be destroyed and tillage to be restored.

        Other land put to use for sheep breeding was waste land. There
were three sheep to every person. The nearby woodlands no longer had
wolves or lynx who could kill the sheep. Bears and elk are also
gone.There were still deer, wild boar, wildcats and wild cattle in vast
forests for the lords to hunt. Wood was used for houses, arms, carts,
bridges, and ships.

        The villages were still isolated from each other, so that a
visitor from miles away was treated as warily as a foreigner. Most
people lived and died where they had been born. A person's dialect
indicated his place of origin. The life of the village still revolved
around the church. In some parishes, its activities were highly
organized, with different groups performing different functions. For
example, the matrons looked after a certain altar; the maidens raised
money for a chapel or saw to the gilding of the images; the older men
collected money for church repair; and the younger men organized the
church ales and the church plays. Wills often left property or rents
from leased land to the church. Church cows and sheep given could be
leased out to villagers. Church buildings given could be leased out,
turned over to the poor, used to brew ale or bake bread for church
ales, or used in general as a place for church activities. Church ales
would usually a good source of income; alehouses would be closed during
the ceremonies and parishioners would contribute malt for the ale and
grain, eggs, butter, cheese, and fruits.

        The largest town, London, had a population of about 70,000.
Other towns had a population less than 20,000. The population was
increasing, but did not reach the level of the period just before the
black death.

        In most large towns, there were groups of tailors and
hatmakers, glovers, and other leatherworkers. Some towns had a
specialization due to their proximity to the sources of raw materials,
such as nails, cutlery, and effigies and altars. Despite the spread of
wool manufacturing to the countryside, there was a marked increase of
industry and prosperity in the towns. The principal streets of the
larger towns were paved with gravel. Guild halls became important and
imposing architecturally.

        A large area of London was taken up by walled gardens of the
monasteries and large mansions. There were some houses of stone and
timber and some mansions of brick and timber clustered around palaces.
In these, bedrooms increased in number, with rich bed hangings, linen
sheets, and bolsters. Bedspreads were introduced. Nightgowns were worn.
Fireplaces became usual in all the rooms. Tapestries covered the walls.
Carpets were used in the private rooms. Some of the great halls had
tiled floors. The old trestle tables were replaced by tables with legs.
Benches and stools had backs to lean on. A long gallery was used for
exercise, recreation such as music and dancing, and private
conversations. Women and men wore elaborate headdresses. On the outer
periphery are taverns and brothels, both made of mud and straw. Houses
are beginning to be built outside the walls of London along the Thames
because the collapse of the power of the great feudal lords decreased
the fear of an armed attack on London. The merchants introduced this
idea of living at a distance from the place of work so that they could
escape living in the narrow, damp, and dark lanes of the City and have
more light and space. Indeed no baronial army ever threatened the king
again. East of London were cattle pastures, flour mills, bakers,
cloth-fulling mills, lime burners, brick and tile makers, bell
founders, and ship repairing. There was a drawbridge on the south part
of London Bridge for defense and to let ships through. Water sports
were played on the Thames such as tilting at each other with lances
from different boats.

        The Tailors' and Linen Armorers' Guild received a charter in
1503 from the king as the "Merchant Tailors" to use all wares and
merchandise, especially wool cloth, as well wholesale as retail,
throughout the nation. Some schooling was now being made compulsory in
certain trades; the goldsmiths' company made a rule that all
apprentices had to be able to read and write. There are guilds of
ironmongers, salters, and haberdashers [hats and caps]

        A yeoman was the second-rank person of some importance, below a
knight, below a gentleman, below a full member of a guild. In London,
it meant the journeyman or second adult in a small workshop. These
yeomen had their own fraternities and were often on strike. Some yeomen
in the large London industries, e.g. goldsmiths, tailors, cloth
workers, who had served an apprenticeship started their own businesses
in London suburbs outside the jurisdiction of their craft to search

        The Merchant Adventurers created a London fellowship
confederacy to make membership of their society and compliance with its
regulations binding on all cloth traders and to deal with common
interests and difficulties such as taxation, relations with rulers, and
dangers at sea. They made and enforced trading rules, chartered fleets,
and organized armed convoys when the seas were unsafe and coordinated
policies with Henry VII. Membership could be bought for a large fee or
gained by apprenticeship or by being the son of a member.

        Tudor government was paternalistic, curtailing cutthroat
competition, fixing prices and wages, and licensing production under
grants of monopoly to achieve a stable and contented society and a fair
living for all.

        Foreign trade was revived because it was a period of
comparative peace. The nation sought to sell as much as possible to
foreign nations and to buy at little as possible and thereby increase
its wealth in gold and silver, which could be used for currency.

        Ships weighed 200 tons and had twice the cargo space they had
previously. Their bows were more pointed and their high prows made them
better able to withstand gales. The mariners' compass with a pivoting
needle and circular dial with a scale was introduced. The scale gave
precision to directions. Ships had three masts. On the first was a
square sail. On the second was a square sail with a small rectangular
sail above it. On the third was a three cornered lateen sail. These
sails make it possible to sail in almost any direction. This opened the
seas of the world to navigation. At this time navigators kept their
knowledge and expertise secret from others. Adventurous seamen went on
voyages of discovery, such as John Cabot to North America in 1497,
following Italian Christopher Columbus' discovery of the new world in
1492. Ferdinand Magellan of Portugal circumnavigated the world in 1519,
proving uncontrovertedly that the earth was spherical rather than flat.
Theologians had to admit that Jerusalem was not the center of the
world. Sailors overcame their fear of tumbling into one of the openings
into hell that they believed were far out into the Atlantic Ocean and
ceased to believe that a red sunset in the morning was due to a
reflection from hell. Seamen could venture forth into the darkness of
the broad Atlantic Ocean with a fair expectation of finding their way
home again. They gradually learned that there were no sea serpents or
monsters that would devour foolhardy mariners. They learned to endure
months at sea on a diet of salt beef, beans, biscuits, and stale water
and the bare deck for a bed. But there were still mutinies and
disobedient pilots. Mortality rates among seamen were high. There are
more navy ships, and they have some cannon.

        The blast furnace was introduced in the iron industry. A blast
of hot air was constantly forced from a stove into the lower part of
the furnace which was heating at high temperature a mixture of the iron
ore and a reducing agent that combined with the oxygen released. After
the iron was extracted, it was allowed to harden and then reheated and
hammered on an anvil to shape it and to force out the hard, brittle
impurities. Blast furnace heat was maintained by bellows worked by
water wheels. Alchemists sought to make gold from the baser metals and
to make a substance that would give them immortality. There was some
thought that suffocation in mines, caverns, wells, and cellars was not
due to evil spirits, but to bad air such as caused by "exhalation of

        In 1502, German Peter Henlein invented the pocket watch and the
mainspring inside it.

There were morality plays in which the seven deadly sins: pride,
covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth, fought the seven
cardinal virtues: faith, hope, charity, prudence, temperance, justice,
and strength, respectively, for the human soul. The play "Everyman"
demonstrates that every man can get to heaven only by being virtuous
and doing good deeds in his lifetime. It emphasizes that death may come
anytime to every man, when his deeds will be judged as to their
goodness or sinfulness. Card games were introduced. The legend of Robin
Hood was written down.

        The Commons gained the stature of the Lords and statutes were
regularly enacted by the "assent of the Lords spiritual and temporal
and the Commons". The Commons now assented instead merely requested

                     The Law

        Royal proclamations clarifying, refining or amplifying the law
had the force of parliamentary statutes. In 1486, the King proclaimed
that "Forasmuch as many of the King our sovereign lord's subjects
[have] been disposed daily to hear feigned, contrived, and forged
tidings and tales, and the same tidings and tales, neither dreading God
nor his Highness, utter and tell again as though they were true, to the
great hurt of divers of his subjects and to his grievous displeasure:
Therefore, in eschewing of such untrue and forged tidings and tales,
the King our said sovereign lord straitly chargeth and commandeth that
no manner person, whatsoever he be, utter nor tell any such tidings or
tales but he bring forth the same person the which was author and
teller of the said tidings or tales, upon pain to be set on the
pillory, there to stand as long as it shall be thought convenient to
the mayor, bailiff, or other official of any city, borough, or town
where it shall happen any such person to be taken and accused for any
such telling or reporting of any such tidings or tales. Furthermore the
same our sovereign lord straitly chargeth and commandeth that all
mayors, bailiffs, and other officers diligently search and inquire of
all such persons tellers of such tidings and tales not bringing forth
the author of the same, and them set on the pillory as it is above
said." He also proclaimed in 1487 that no one, except peace officers,
may carry a weapon, e.g. bows, arrows, or swords, in any town or city
unless on a journey. He proclaimed in 1498 that no one may refuse to
receive silver pennies or other lawful coin as payment regardless of
their condition as clipped, worn, thin, or old, on pain of imprisonment
and further punishment.

        A statute provided that: Lords holding castles, manors, lands
and tenements by knight's service of the king shall have a writ of
right for wardship of the body as well as of the land of any minor heir
of a deceased person who had the use [beneficial enjoyment of a trust]
of the land for himself and his heirs as if the land had been in the
possession of the deceased person. And if such an heir is of age, he
shall pay relief to the lord as if he had inherited possession of the
land. An heir in ward shall have an action of waste against his lord as
if his ancestor had died seised of the land. That is, lands of "those
who use" shall be liable for execution of his debt and to the chief
lord for his relief and heriot, and if he is a bondsman, they may be
seized by the lord. The king tried to retain the benefits of feudal
incidents on land by this Statute of Uses, but attorneys sought to
circumvent it by drafting elaborate and technical instruments to convey
land free of feudal burdens.

        Any woman who has an estate in dower, or for a term of life, or
in [fee] tail, jointly with her husband, or only to herself, or to her
use, in any manors, lands, tenements, or other hereditaments of the
inheritance or purchase of her husband, or given to the said husband
and wife in tail, or for term of life, by any of the ancestors of the
said husband, or by any other person seised to the use of the said
husband, or of his ancestors, who, by herself or with any after taken
husband; discontinue, alienate, release, confirm with warranty or, by
collusion, allow any recovery of the same against them or any other
seised to their use, such action shall be void. Then, the person to
whom the interest, title, or inheritance would go after the death of
such woman may enter and possess such premises. This does not affect
the common law that a woman who is single or remarried may give, sell,
or make discontinuance of any lands for the term of her life only.

        All deeds of gift of goods and chattels made of trust, to the
use of the giver [grantor and beneficiary of trust], to defraud
creditors are void.

        It is a felony to carry off against her will, a woman with
lands and tenements or movable goods, or who is heir-apparent to an
ancestor. This includes taking, procuring, abetting, or knowingly
receiving a woman taken against her will.

        A vagabond, idle, or suspected person shall be put in the
stocks for three days with only bread and water, and then be put out of
the town. If he returns, he shall spend six days in the stocks. (A few
years later this was changed to one and three days, respectively.)
Every beggar who is not able to work, shall return to the hundred where
he last dwelled, is best known, or was born and stay there.

        No one may take pheasants or partridges by net snares or other
devices from his own warren [breeding ground], upon the freehold of any
other person, or else forfeit 200s., one half to the owner of the land
and the other half to the suer. No one may take eggs of any falcon,
hawk, or swan out of their nest, whether it is on his land or any other
man's land, on pain of imprisonment for one year and fine at the King's
will, one half to the King, and the other half to the holder of the
land, or owner of the swan. No man shall bear any English hawk, but
shall have a certificate for any imported hawk, on pain for forfeiture
of such. No one shall drive falcons or hawks from their customary
breeding place to another place to breed or slay any for hurting him,
or else forfeit 200s. after examination by a Justice of the Peace, one
half going to the king and one half to the suer.

        Any person without a forest of his own who has a net device
with which to catch deer shall pay 200s. for each month of possession.
Anyone stalking a deer with beasts anywhere not in his own forest shall
forfeit 200s. Anyone taking any heron by device other than a hawk or
long bow shall forfeit 6s.8d. No one shall take a young heron from its
nest or pay 10s. for each such heron. Two justices may decide such an
issue, and one tenth of the fine shall go to them.

        No man shall shoot a crossbow except in defense of his house,
other than a lord or one having 2,667s. of land because their use had
resulted in too many deer being killed. (The longbow was not forbidden.)

        No beasts may be slaughtered or cut up by butchers within the
walls of a town, or pay 12d. for every ox and 8d. for every cow or
other beast, so that people will not be annoyed and distempered by foul
air, which may cause them sickness.

        No tanner may be a currier [dressed, dyed, and finished tanned
leather] and no currier may be a tanner. No shoemaker [cordwainer] may
be a currier and no currier may be a shoemaker. No currier shall curry
hides which have not been tanned. No tanner shall sell other than red
leather. No tanner may sell a hide before it is dried. No tanner may
tan sheepskins.

        No long bow shall be sold over the price of 3s.4d.

        Good wood for making bows may be imported without paying

        No grained cloth of the finest making shall be sold for more
than 16s., nor any other colored cloth for more than 11s. per yard, or
else forfeit 40s. for every yard so sold. No hat shall be sold for more
than 20d. and no cap shall be sold for more than 2s.8d., or else
forfeit 40s. for each so sold.

        Silver may not be sold or used for any use but goldsmithery or
amending of plate to make it good as sterling, so that there will be
enough silver with which to make coinage.

        Each feather bed, bolster, or pillow for sale shall be stuffed
with one type of stuffing, that is, dry pulled feathers or with clean
down alone, and with no sealed feathers nor marsh grass, nor any other
corrupt stuffings. Each quilt, mattress, or cushion for sale shall be
stuffed with one type of stuffing, that is, clean wool, or clean flocks
alone, and with no horsehair, marsh grass, neatshair, deershair, or
goatshair, which is wrought in lime fats and gives off an abominable
and contagious odor when heated by a man's body, on pain of forfeiture
of such.

        Salmon shall be sold by standard volume butts and barrels.
Large salmon shall be sold without any small fish or broken-bellied
salmon and the small fish shall be packed by themselves only, or else
forfeit 6s.8d. Herring shall be sold at standard volumes. The herring
shall be as good in the middle and in every part of the package as at
the ends of the package, or else forfeit 3s.4d. Eels shall be sold at
standard volumes, and good eels shall not be mixed with lesser quality
eels, or else forfeit 10s. The fish shall be packed in the manner
prescribed or else forfeit 3s.4d. for each vessel.

        Fustians shall always be shorn with the long shear, so that it
can be worn for at least two years. If an iron or anything else used to
dress such injures the cloth so that it wears out after four months,
20s. shall be forfeited for each default, one half to the king and the
other half to the suer.

        Pewter and brass ware for sale shall be of the quality of that
of London and marked by its maker, on pain of forfeiture of such, and
may be sold only at open fairs and markets or in the seller's home, or
else forfeit 200s. If such false ware is sold, its maker shall forfeit
its value, one half to the king and one half to the searchers. Anyone
using false weights of such wares shall forfeit 20s., one half to the
king and one half to the suer, or if he cannot pay this fine, to be put
in the stocks until market day and then be put in the pillory all the
market time.

        No alien nor denizen [foreigner allowed to reside in the nation
with certain rights and privileges] may carry out of the nation any raw
wool or any woolen cloth which has not been barbed, rowed, and shorn.

        Silk ribbons, laces, and girdles of silk may not be imported,
since they can be made in the nation.

        No one shall import wine into the nation, but on English ships,
or else forfeit the wine, one half to the king and one half to the
seizer of the wine.

        No one may take out of the nation any [male] horse or any mare
worth more than 6s.8s. or under the age of three years, upon pain of
forfeiture of such. However, a denizen may take a horse for his own use
and not to sell. This is to stop losing horses needed for defense of
the nation and to stop the price of a horse from going up.

        Freemen of London may go to fairs and markets with wares to
sell, despite the London ordinance to the contrary.

        Merchants residing in the nation but outside London shall have
free access to foreign markets without exaction taken of more than
133s. sterling by the confederacy of London merchants, which have
increased their fee so much, 400s., that merchants not in the
confederacy have been driven to sell their goods in London for less
than they would get at a foreign market. Exacting more is punishable by
a fine of 400s. and damages to the grieved party of ten times the
excess amount taken.

        For the privilege of selling merchandise, a duty of scavage
shall be taken of merchant aliens, but not of denizens. Any town
official who allows disturbing of a person trying to sell his
merchandise because he has not paid scavage, shall pay a fine of 400s.

        Coin clipped or diminished shall not be current in payment, but
may be converted at the King's mint into plate or bullion. Anyone
refusing to take coins with only normal wear may be imprisoned by the
mayor, sheriff, bailiff, constable or other chief officer. New coins,
which have a circle or inscription around the outer edge, will be
deemed clipped if this circle or inscription is interfered with.

        The penalty for usury is placement in the pillory, imprisonment
for half a year, and a fine of 400s. (The penalty was later changed to
one half thereof.)

        Lawbooks in use at the Inns of Court included "The Books of
Magna Carta with diverse Old Statutes", "Doctor and Student" by St.
Germain, "Grand Abridgment" by Fitzherbert, and "New Natura Brevium" by

               Judicial Procedure

        This statute made changes in the judicial process: The
Chancellor, Treasurer, keeper of the King's privy seal, or two of them,
with a bishop selected by them, and a temporal lord of the King's
council selected by them, and the two Chief Justices of the King's
Bench shall constitute the Court of the Star Chamber. It shall have the
authority to call before it by writ or by privy seal anyone accused of
"unlawful maintenances, giving of liveries, signs and tokens, and
retainers by indentures, promises, oaths, writings, or otherwise
embraceries of his subjects" and witnesses, and impose punishment as if
convicted under due process of law. These laws shall now be enforced:
If a town does not punish the murderer of a man murdered in the town,
the town shall be punished. A town shall hold any man who wounds
another in peril of death, until there is perfect knowledge whether the
man hurt should live or die. Upon viewing a dead body, the coroner
should inquire of the killers, their abettors, and anyone present at
the killing and certify these names. In addition, the murderer and
accessories indicted shall be tried at the King's suit within a year of
the murder, which trial will not be delayed until a private suit is
taken. If acquitted at the King's suit, he shall go back to prison or
let out with bail for the remainder of the year, in which time the
slain man's wife or next of kin may sue. For every inquiry made upon
viewing a slain body, coroners shall be paid 13s.4d. out of the goods
of the slayer or from a town not taking a murderer, but letting him
escape. If the coroner does not make inquiry upon viewing a dead body,
he shall be fined 100s. to the King. If a party fails to appear for
trial after a justice has taken bail from him, a record of such shall
be sent to the King.

        Henry sat on the Star Chamber. Up to 1600, it heard many cases
of forgery, perjury, riot, maintenance, fraud, libel, and conspiracy.
It could mete out any punishment, except death or any dismemberment.
This included life imprisonment, fines, pillory, whipping, branding,
and mutilation. If a Justice of the Peace does not act on any person's
complaint, that person may take that complaint to another Justice of
the Peace, and if there is no remedy then, he may take his complaint to
a Justice of Assize, and if there is not remedy then, he may take his
complaint to the King or the Chancellor. There shall then be inquiry
into why the other justices did not remedy the situation. If it is
found that they were in default in executing the laws, they shall
forfeit their commissions and be punished according to their demerits.

        Justices of the Peace shall make inquiry of all offenses in
unlawful retaining, examine all suspects, and certify them to the
King's Bench for trial there or in the King's council, and the latter
might also proceed against suspects on its own initiative on
information given.

        Perjury committed by unlawful maintenance, embracing, or
corruption of officers, or in the Chancery, or before the King's
council, shall be punished in the discretion of the Chancellor,
Treasurer, both the Chief Justices, and the clerk of the rolls.

        The Star Chamber, Chancellor, King's Bench and King and council
have the power to examine all defendants, by oath or otherwise, to
adjudge them convicted or attainted. They can also be found guilty by
confession, examination, or otherwise. If a defendant denied doing the
acts of which he is convicted, he was subject to an additional fine to
the king and imprisonment. Violations of statutes may be heard by the
Justices of Assize or the Justices of the Peace, except treason,
murder, and other felony.

        Actions on the case shall be treated as expeditiously in the
courts of the King's Bench and Common Pleas as actions of trespass or

        Proclamation at four court terms of a levy of a fine shall be a
final end to an issue of land, tenements, or other hereditaments and
the decision shall bind persons and their heirs, whether they have
knowledge or not of the decision, except for women-covert who were not
parties, persons under the age of twenty-one, in prison, out of the
nation, or not of whole mind, who are not parties. These may sue within
five years of losing such condition. Also, anyone not a party may claim
a right, title, claim, or interest in the said lands, tenements, or
other hereditaments at the time of such fine recorded, within five
years after proclamations of the fine.

        A defendant who appeals a decision for the purpose of delaying
execution of such shall pay costs and damages to the plaintiff for the

        No sheriff, undersheriff, or county clerk shall enter any
complaints in their books unless the complaining party is present. And
no more complaints than the complaining party knows about shall be
entered. The penalty is 40s. for each such false complaint, one half to
the king and the other half to the suer after examination by a Justice
of the Peace. This is to prevent extortion of defendants by false
complaints. The justice shall certify this examination to the King, on
pain of a fine of 40s. A bailiff of a hundred who does not do his duty
to summon defendants shall pay a fine of 40s. for each such default,
after examination by a Justice of the Peace. Sheriffs' records of fines
imposed and bailiffs' records of fines collected may be reviewed by a
Justice of the Peace to examine for deceit.

        Any sheriff allowing a prisoner to escape, whether from
negligence or for a bribe, shall be fined, if the prisoner was indicted
of high treason, at least 1,333s. for each escape. However, if the
prisoner was in their keeping because of a suspicion of high treason,
the fine shall be at least 800s.; and if indicted of murder or petite
treason, at least 400s.; and if suspected of murder or petite treason,
200s.; and if suspected of other felonies, 100s. Petite treason was
that by a wife to her husband or a man to his lord.

        Any person not responding to a summons for jury service shall
be fined 12d. for the first default, and 2s. for the second, and double
for each subsequent default.

        A pauper may sue in any court and be assigned a attorney at no
cost to him.

        A Justice of the Peace to whom has been reported hunting by
persons disguised with painted faces or visors or otherwise, may issue
a warrant for the sheriff or other county officer to arrest such
persons and bring them before the justice. Such hunting in disguise or
hunting at night or disobeying such warrant is a felony. This is to
stop large mobs of disguised people from hunting together and then
causing riots, robberies, and murders.

        Benefit of clergy may be used only once, since this privilege
has made clerics more bold in committing murder, rape, robbery, and
theft. However, there will be no benefit of clergy in the case of
murder of one's immediate lord, master, or sovereign. (This begins the
gradual restriction over many years of benefit of clergy until it
disappears. Also, benefit of clergy was often disregarded in unpeaceful

        For an issue of riot or unlawful assembly, the sheriff shall
call 24 jurors, each of lands and tenements at least 20s. of charter
land or freehold or 26s.8d. of copyhold or of both. For each default of
the sheriff, he shall pay 400s. And if the jury acquits, then the
justice, sheriff, and under-sheriff shall certify the names of any
jurors maintained or embraced and their misdemeanors, or else forfeit
400s. Any person proved to be a maintainer or embracer shall forfeit
400s. to the king and be committed to ward.

        The principal leaders of any riot or unlawful assembly shall be
imprisoned and fined and be bound to the peace with sureties at a sum
determined by the Justices of the Peace. If the riot is by forty people
or heinous, the Justices of Peace shall certify such and send the
record of conviction to the King.

        The King's steward, Treasurer, and comptroller have authority
to question by twelve discreet persons any servant of the king about
making any confederacies, compassings, conspiracies, or imaginations
with any other person to destroy or murder the king or one of his
council or a lord. Trial shall be by twelve men of the King's household
and punishment as by felony in the common law.

        Ohanges in the judicial process other than those made by
statute were made by court decision. For instance, the royal justices
decided that only the king could grant sanctuary for treason and not
the church. After this, the church withdrew the right of sanctuary from
second time offenders.

        The King's council has practically limited itself to cases in
which the state has an interest, especially the maintenance of public
order. Chancery became an independent court rather than the arm of the
king and his council. In Chancery and the King's Bench, the
intellectual revival brought by humanism inspires novel procedures to
be devised to meet current problems in disputed titles to land,
inheritance, debt, breach of contract, promises to perform acts or
services, deceit, nuisance, defamation, and the sale of goods.

        A new remedy is specific performance, that is, performance of
an act rather than money damages.

        Evidence is now taken from witnesses.

        Various courts had overlapping jurisdiction. For instance,
trespass could be brought in the Court of Common Pleas because it was a
civil action between two private persons. It could also be brought in
the Court of the King's Bench because it broke the King's peace. It was
advantageous for a party to sue for trespass in the King's court
because there a defendant could be made to pay a fine to the king or be
imprisoned, or declared outlaw if he did not appear at court.

        A wrongful step on the defendant's land, a wrongful touch to
his person or chattels could be held to constitute sufficient force and
an adequate breach of the king's peace to sustain a trespass action.
Trespass on the case did not require the element of force or of breach
of the peace that the trespass offense requires. Trespass on the case
expands in usage to cover many types of situations. Stemming from it is
"assumpsit", which provided damages for breach of an oral agreement and
for a written agreement without a seal.

        Parliament's supremacy over all regular courts of law was
firmly established and it was called "the high court of Parliament",
paradoxically, since it rarely came to function as a law court.

        When a land holder enfeoffs his land and tenements to people
unknown to the remainderman in [fee] tail, so that he does not know who
to sue, he may sue the receiver of the profits of the land and
tenements for a remedy. And the receivers shall have the same
advantages and defenses as the feoffees or as if they were tenants. And
if any deceased person had the use for himself and his heirs, then any
of his heirs shall have the same advantages and defenses as if his
ancestor had died seised of the land and tenements. And all recoveries
shall be good against all receivers and their heirs, and the feofees
and their heirs, and the co- feoffees of the receivers and their heirs,
as though the receivers were tenants indeed, or feofees to their use,
or their heirs of the freehold of the land and tenements.

        If a person feoffs his land to other persons while retaining
the use thereof for himself, it shall be treated as if he were still
seised of the land. Thus, relief and heriot will still be paid for land
in socage. And debts and executions of judgments may be had upon the
land and tenements.

        The penalty for not paying customs is double the value of the

        The town of London shall have jurisdiction over flooding and
unlawful fishing nets in that part of the Thames River that flows next
to it.

        The city of London shall have jurisdiction to enforce free
passage of boats on the Thames River in the city, interruption of which
carries a fine of 400s., two-thirds to the king and one third to the

        Jurors impaneled in London shall be of lands, tenements, or
goods and chattels, to the value of 133s. And if the case concerns debt
or damages at least 133s, the jurors shall have lands, tenements,
goods, or chattels, to the value of 333s. This is to curtail the
perjury that has gone on with jurors of little substance, discretion,
and reputation.

        A party grieved by a false verdict of any court in London may
appeal to the Hustings Court of London, which hears common pleas before
the mayor and aldermen. Each of the twelve alderman shall pick from his
ward four jurors of the substance of at least 2,000s. to be impaneled.
If twenty-four of them find that the jurors of the petty jury has given
an untrue verdict, each such juror shall pay a fine of at least 400s.
and imprisonment not more than six months without release on bail or
surety. However, if it is found that the verdict was true, then the
grand jury may inquire if any juror was bribed. If so, such juror
bribed and the defendant who bribed him shall each pay ten times the
amount of the bribe to the plaintiff and be imprisoned not more than
six months without release on bail or surety.

The Bishop's Court in London had nine offenders a week by 1500. Half of
these cases were for adultery and sexual offenses, and the rest were
for slander, blasphemy, missing church services, and breach of faith.
Punishment was penance by walking barefoot before the cross in the
Sunday Procession dressed in a sheet and holding a candle.

        The following is an example of a case in the chancery court. "A
subpoena was sued against Sir William Capell in Chancery because the
plaintiff in the subpoena had borrowed 60 pounds from him in plate,
which he sold for 40 pounds, and was also bound by a statute-merchant
to the aforesaid Sir William in 80 pounds for payment of this money,
and had also made a feoffment to certain persons of certain land and by
indenture willed that if he  paid the 60 pounds the feoffees should be
feooffees to his use, but otherwise they should be feoffees to the use
of the said Sir William; and he did not pay the money and so Sir
William took the profits of the land and sued execution of the

Kebell thought he could have this land in conscience, even though he
had execution of the statute-merchant, because he does not have this
land in return for the money in such a way that he is paid twice, but
has it by way of penalty; and (the plaintiff) may bind himself to that,
just as he may give the land away for nothing. If someone holds of me
in return for one penny of rent, he may bind himself in 100 pounds for
payment of this rent and if he fails I may have this penalty in

THE CHANCELLOR. When someone is beholden in another in a principal
debt, the debtee cannot in conscience take anything in respect of this
indebtedness except the principal debt, even if the debtor is bound to
him in twenty penalties.

Kebell. In that case you might do much good to those who are bound in
this court to keep the peace and are to forfeit their bonds.

THE CHANCELLOR. The sum which is forfeited for breaking the peace may
be taken in conscience, for nothing can be well done nor can the realm
be governed without peace. This court could not be held without peace.
Therefore it is right that whoever acts against the peace should be
punished. And by breaking the peace a crime is committed, and therefore
it is right that he should pay this forfeiture. (But THE CHANCELLOR
held in this case that the debtee may in conscience take so much of the
penalty as represents his damage by the withholding of the debt.)"

        This is the case of the Earl of Suffolk v. Berney in the Common
pleas court: " If the parker of a park licences a man to kill deer in
the park, and he kills a deer by virtue of this licence, both of them
commit trespass; for he has no authority to do this, his authority
being to keep and not to give or sell. But if someone has a warrant to
take a deer, and he is a gentleman, he may take company with him and
hunt there for the same deer according to his degree (but not
otherwise). And it was held that if a parker has a warrant for a deer,
and by virtue of that he requests various people to help him kill this
deer, everyone who goes with him may chase after it by licence from the
parker by parol, without writing."

        An example of a manorial case is: "And they present that
Margaret Edmond, who held of the lord according to the custom of the
manor one cottage with curtilage, four acres of land and one acre of
meadow lately in the tenure of William Crosse, took as her husband a
certain unknown outsider without the lord's licence. Therefore she
forfeited her estate in the aforesaid cottage and land, by reason of
which there accrues to the lord as a heriot one heifer, price 4s. And
thereupon William Staunton came and took the said cottage, land and
meadow from the lord, to hold to himself and his according to the
custom of the manor, rendering 3s. therein to the lord yearly at the
terms usual there, thus 3d. yearly of increment for rent. And he will
give the lord 2s. in the name of heriot when it should accrue.. And he
gives nothing to the lord as a fine, but he did fealty to the lord.

        Another manorial case is: And that John Mille, who held of the
lord for the term of his life according to the custom of the aforesaid
manor as of the part of Thomas Long, knight, one messuage and three
yardlands of land there by the rent and services therein  owed, has
ended his last day since the last court, whereof there accrues to the
lord as heriot one horse, price 10s. And that Edith, the wife of the
said John, claims to hold the aforesaid messuage and land with the
appurtenances while she should keep herself single and chaste according
to the custom of the aforesaid manor. And she did fealty to the lord.
And she was admitted as tenant therein by the pledge of William Spenser
and John Smyth, both for the matter and for repair of the aforesaid
tenement etc."`

                    Chapter 12

               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 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.
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.

        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 the "wandering" planetary movements
with loops 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 thought it
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. News of new ideas in science traveled
quickly to English scholars and professionals.

        The physicians of London were incorporated to oversee and
govern the practice of medicine. Medicine consisted largely of magical
remedies of sorcerers and astrologers and herbal remedies administered
by quacks. People still generally believed that disease was caused by
witches and demons. 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. Some observations
of Hippocrates were: -"When sleep puts an end to delirium, it is a
hopeful sign." -"When on a starvation diet, the patient should not be
allowed to become fatigued." "Old men usually have less illness than
young ones, but such as they have last, as a rule, till death."
"Pleurisy, pneumonia, colds, sore throat, and headache are more likely
to occur during winter seasons." "When one oversleeps, or fails to
sleep, the condition suggests disease." 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. He advised that baking bread
in a large oven was superior to cooking in a small oven, over ashes, or
in a pan in wholesomeness, digestibility, and flavor. Greek medicinal
doctrines were assumed, such as that preservation of the health of the
body was dependent 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. 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 with
preparation directions, but their use and application was by trial and

        Flemish physician Andreas Vesalius, secretly dissected human
corpses, finding them hanging on public gibbets or competing with dogs
for those incompletely buried in cemeteries. He begged doctors to allow
him to examine the bodies of their fatal cases. He ingratiated himself
with judges who determined the time and place of execution of
criminals. In 1543 he 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.

        In the 1540s, Ambroise Pare from France, a barber-surgeon who
was the son of a servant, was an army surgeon. Wounds at this time were
treated with boiling oil and spurting vessels were closed by being
seared with a red-hot iron. After he ran out of boiling oil, he
observed that the soldiers without this treatment were healing better
than those with this treatment. So he advocated ceasing the practice of
cauterizing wounds. He also began tying arteries with cord to stop
their bleeding after amputation many other surgical techniques.

        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 bloodletting 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. In 1530, he pioneered the application of chemistry to
physiology, pathology, and the treatment of disease by starting
clinical diagnosis and treatment of disease by highly specific
medicines, instead of by cure-alls. For instance, he used alkalis to
treat disease, such as gout, indicated by certain substances in the
urine, which also started urinalysis. He perceived that syphilis 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.

        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, some of whom became wage earners of the
Leathersellers. But others of these craftsmen remained independent. 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

        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 wardmote 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 a.m. to 6 p.m. 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 other Christians, scholastic
theologians, priests and monks, superstition, and ritual looked absurd.
More 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, pilgrimages, 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 and have a son. The end of his
six successive wives was: annulled, beheaded, died; annulled, 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. One such was
Thomas Wolsey, the son of a town grazier [one who pastures cattle and
rears them for market] 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 also 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 on his way to be imprisoned in the Tower to be tried
for treason.

        Thomas. Cromwell, a top royal official, was a self-taught
attorney, arbitrator, merchant, and accountant. He was the son of a
clothworker/blacksmith/brewer/innkeeper, 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, the successor Chancellor to Wolsey, 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

        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

        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 had an executive function and 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. The judicial part of the
council was the Court of the Star Chamber, which met at Westminster.
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 parishioners and
minister all sharing 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. Many maps of
manors and lands were made at this time. 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. The
poor often begged at parishes, where they spread disease. London then
set up a poor relief scheme. The Bridewell was established to set to
work the idle, vagabonds, and prostitutes 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. But 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.

        The knights had 70% of the land, the nobles 10%, the church
10%, and king 5%. 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. 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.

        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 cider, 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

        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. 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 organ and the harp, precursor to the piano, were

        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.

        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 girdlemakers 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

        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
north 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 returned to the
subscribers of the capital they put in plus an appropriate share of any
profits made on the voyage. 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.

        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 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 more. 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.

                   The Law

        Offices may not be bought and sold, but only granted by
justices of the royal courts.

        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.

        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

        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 personal property, goods, chattels, ware,
merchandise, 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 personal property and 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 offense. 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 offense. 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 offense. 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

        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 else 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 handgun or
crossbow 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

        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

        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

        French wines may not sell at retail for more than 8d. per

        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 bookbinders 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 or 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 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.

        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.

        Only artificers using the cutting of leather, may buy and sell
tanned leather and only for the purpose of converting it into made

        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

        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

        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 clothmaker, 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 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

        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

        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

        As of 1541, it was felony to practice witchcraft, sorcery,
enchantment, or conjuration [invocation of spirits] for the purpose 1)
of obtaining money, or 2) to consume any person in his body, members,
or goods, or 3) to provoke any person to unlawful love or lucre of
money, or 4) to declare where stolen goods be, or 5) to despite Christ,
or 6) to pull down any cross.

        The Year Books of case decisions ceased in 1535.

                Judicial Procedure

        Since the nation was now peaceful, expediency was no longer
needed, so judicial procedures again became lengthy and formal with

        The Privy Council took the authority of the Star Chamber court,
which organized itself as a specialty court.

A specific group of full-time councilors heard pleas of private
suitors. 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

        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 as bound
by precedents.

        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.

        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.

        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 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.

        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.

        The humanist intellectual revival caused the church courts to
try to eliminate contradictions with state law, for instance in debt,
restitution, illegitimacy, and the age of legal majority.

        An example of a case in the King's Bench is this: "A French
priest was indicted in Kent for bringing false ducats into the realm in
order to make payment, knowing them to be false. He was thereupon
arraigned and found guilty, and the judgment was respited and the
record sent into the King's Bench. And there he was discharged; for the
statute of 25 Edw. 3 is for bringing (in) false money counterfeiting
coin of the realm, and the ducats are not coin of the realm"

        In the case of R. v. Thorpe  "A man robbed a church in Essex
and was indicted for it in Essex; and he went to Ipswich in Suffolk and
a goldsmith received him; and they were both indicted in Suffolk, one
as principal and the other as accessory, because the principal had
brought part of the stolen goods to Ipswich. And the justices in Essex
sent a writ for the principal, whereby he was there arraigned and found
guilty and hanged. Then the other indictment in Suffolk was removed
into the King's Bench, and upon process the sheriff returned the
principal dead; so the accessory came by process and pleaded the death
of the principal, and the attorney for the king confessed it, and
therefore he was discharged."

        In the case of R. v. More, "And then on Thursday, the first day
of July, Sir Thomas more, knight (who had earlier been Chancellor of
England and was afterwards discharged from the same office) was
arraigned before the said SIR THOMAS AUDLEY, Chancellor and the other
commissioners, for treason, in that he was an aider, counsellor and
abettor to the said Fisher, and also that he falsely, maliciously, and
traitorously desiring, willing, and scheming, contrived, practised and
attempted to deprive the king of his dignity, name and title of Supreme
Head on earth of the Church of England. (He was) found guilty, and the
said Chancellor gave judgment. And the said More stood firmly upon the
statute of 26 Hen 8, for he said that the Parliament could not make the
king Supreme Head, etc. He was beheaded at Tower Hill,"

                      Chapter 13

                 The Times: 1558-1601

        Queen Elizabeth I was intelligent, educated, and wise about
human nature. When young, she was a brilliant student and studied the
Bible, philosophy, literature, oratory, and Greek and Roman history.
She wrote in English, Latin, French, and Italian. She read Greek,
including the Greek Testament, Greek orators, and Greek dramatists, at
age seven, when the first professorship of Greek was founded at
Cambridge University. Learning from books was one of her highest values
throughout her life.

        She read so much and was so influenced by Cicero that she
acquired his style of writing. Her Chief Secretary William Cecil was so
guided by Cicero's "Offices" that he carried a copy in his pocket.
Cicero opined that government officials had a duty to make the safety
and interest of citizens its greatest aim and to influence all their
thoughts and endeavors without ever considering personal advantage.
Government was not to serve the interest of any one group to the
prejudice or neglect of the rest, for then discord and sedition would
occur. Furthermore, a ruler should try to become loved and not feared,
because men hated those whom they feared, and wished them dead.
Therefore obedience proceeding from fear could not last, whereas that
which was the effect of love would last forever. An oppressor ruling by
terror would be resented by the citizens, who in secret would choose a
worthier person. Then liberty, having been chained up, would be
unleashed more fiercely than otherwise. To obtain the peoples' love, a
ruler should be kind and bountiful. To obtain the peoples' trust, a
ruler should be just, wise, and faithful. To demonstrate this, a ruler
should be eloquent in showing the people an understanding better than
theirs, the wisdom to anticipate events, and the ability to deal with
adverse events. And this demonstration should be done with modesty. One
cannot get the peoples' trust by vain shows, hypocritical pretenses,
composed countenances, and studied forms of words. The first goal of a
ruler is to take care that each individual is secured in the quiet
enjoyment of his own property. The second goal is to impose taxes that
are not burdensome. The third goal is to furnish the people with
necessaries. The law should be enforced keeping in mind that its
fundamental purpose is to keep up agreement and union among citizens.

        Elizabeth cared deeply for the welfare of all citizens of
whatever class. She was sensitive to public opinion and was loved by
her people. She respected truth and was sincere, avoiding guile or
fraud. She claimed that she had never dishonored her tongue with a
falsehood to anyone. She expected that any covert manipulations by
monarchs would be found out and therefore would damage their
credibility. "It becometh therefor all of our rank to deal sincerely;
lest if we use it not, when we do it we be hardly believed."

        She was frugal and diplomatically avoided unnecessary wars,
saying that her purse was the pockets of her people. Her credit
reputation was so good that she could always get loans at small rates
of interest from other countries. England was a small Protestant nation
threatened by the larger Catholic nations of France and Spain. When
Elizabeth flirted and talked of marriage with foreign princes, they
laid aside any thoughts of conquering England by war, hoping to obtain
it my marriage. Not only did she not seek to conquer other lands, but
she turned down an invitation to rule the Netherlands.

        Elizabeth prayed for divine guidance as in this prayer:
"Almighty God and King of all kings, Lord of heaven and earth, by whose
leave earthly princes rule over mortals, when the most prudent of kings
who administered a kingdom, Solomon, frankly confessed that he was not
capable enough unless Thou broughtst him power and help, how much less
am I, Thy handmaid, in my unwarlike sex and feminine nature, adequate
to administer these Thy kingdoms of England and of Ireland, and to
govern an innumerable and warlike people, or able to bear the immense
magnitude of such a burden, if Thou, most merciful Father didst not
provide for me (undeserving of a kingdom) freely and against the
opinion of many men. Instruct me from heaven, and give help so that I
reign by Thy grace, without which even the wisest among the sons of men
can think nothing rightly. Send therefore, O inexhaustible Fount of all
wisdom, from Thy holy heaven and the most high throne of Thy majesty,
Thy wisdom to be ever with me, that it may keep watch with me in
governing the commonwealth, and that it may take pains, that it may
teach me, Thy handmaid, and may train me that I may be able to
distinguish between good and evil, equity and iniquity, so as rightly
to judge Thy people, justly to impose deserved punishments on those who
do harm, mercifully to protect the innocent, freely to encourage those
who are industrious and useful to the commonwealth. And besides, that I
may know what is acceptable to Thee alone, vouchsafe that I wish, dare,
and can perform it without paying respect to any earthly persons or
things. So that when Thou Thyself, the just Judge, who askest many and
great things from those to whom many and great things are entrusted,
when Thou requirest an exact accounting, charge me not with badly
administering my commonwealth and kingdom. But if by human
thoughtlessness or infirmity Thy handmaid strays from the right in some
thing, absolve me of it by Thy mercy, most high King and most mild
Father, for the sake of Thy Son Jesus Christ; and at the same time
grant that after this worldly kingdom has been exacted of me, I may
enjoy with Thee an eternity in Thy heavenly and unending kingdom,
through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son and the Assessor of Thy kingdom,
our Lord and Mediator. To whom with Thee and with the Holy Spirit, one
everlasting King, immortal, invisible, only-wise God, be all honor and
glory forever and ever, amen."

        Elizabeth promoted commercial speculations, which diffused a
vast increase of wealth among her people. The Elizabethan era was one
of general prosperity. Her good spirits and gayness created a happy
mood in the nation. She loved dancing and madrigal music was popular.
She came to dress elaborately and fancifully. Her dresses were fitted
not only at the waist, but along the torso by a long and pointed bodice
stiffened with wood, steel, or whalebone. Her skirt was held out with a
petticoat with progressively larger hoops. There were two layers of
skirt with the top one parted to show the bottom one. The materials
used were silks, satins, velvets, and brocades. On her dress were
quiltings, slashings, and embroidery. It was covered with gold
ornaments, pearls, gems, and unusual stones from America. She wore
decorated gloves. Ladies copied her and discarded their simple
over-tunics for elaborate dresses. The under-tunic became a petticoat
and the over-tunic a dress. Often they also wore a fan with a mirror, a
ball of scent, a miniature portrait of someone dear to them, and
sometimes a watch. Single ladies did not wear hats, but had long,
flowing hair and low cut dresses showing their bosoms. Married ladies
curled their hair and wore it in high masses on their heads with jewels
interwoven into it. Both gentlemen and ladies wore hats both indoors
and outside and large, pleated collars around their necks (with the
newly discovered starch), perfume, rings with stones or pearls, and
high-heeled shoes. Gentlemen's' tight sleeves, stiffened and fitted
doublet with short skirt, and short cloak were ornamented and their
silk or velvet hats flamboyant, with feathers. At their leather belts
they hung pouches and perhaps a watch. They wore both rapiers [swords
with cutting edges] and daggers daily as there were many quarrels.
There were various artistic beard cuts and various lengths of hair,
which was often curled and worn in ringlets. Barbers sought to give a
man a haircut that would favor his appearance, for instance a long
slender beard for a round face to make it seem narrower and a broad and
large cut for a lean and straight face. Men now wore stuffed breeches
and stockings instead of long hosen. Some wore a jeweled and
embroidered codpiece between their legs to emphasize their virility.
Both gentlemen and ladies wore silk stockings and socks over them and
then boots. Coats dipped in boiled linseed oil with resin served as
raincoats. Both men and women wore velvet or wool full length
nightgowns with long sleeves and fur lining and trimming to bed, which
was the custom for the next 150 years. Fashions changed every year due
to the introduction of cheaper, lighter, and less durable cloths by
immigrant craftsmen. When Elizabeth became old, she had a wig made to
match her youthful long red hair. Other ladies then began wearing wigs.

        Every few years, Elizabeth issued a proclamation reminding
people of the apparel laws and reiterating certain provisions which had
been disregarded. For instance, only the royal family and dukes and
marquises in mantles [cloaks] of the garter could wear the color
purple. One had to be at least an earl to wear gold or silver or sable.
Only dukes, marquises, earls and their children, barons, and knights of
the order could wear imported wool, velvet, crimson, scarlet, or blue,
or certain furs., except that barons' sons, knights, or men who could
dispend at least 200 pounds yearly could wear velvet in gowns or coats,
embroidery, and furs of leopards. Spurs, swords, rapiers, daggers, and
woodknives were restricted to knights and barons' sons or higher. A man
who could dispend at least 100 pounds per year could wear taffeta,
satin, damask, or cloth made of camels' hair and silk, in his outer
garments. One had to be the son and heir or the daughter of a knight or
wife of said son or a man who could dispend 20 pounds yearly or had 200
pounds worth in goods to wear silk in one's hat, bonnet, nightcap,
girdle, scabbard, or hose. Yeomen, husbandmen, serving men, and
craftsmen were very restricted in what they could wear. Poor men wore
skirted fustian tunics, loose breeches, and coarse stockings or canvas

        Children wore the same type of apparel as their elders. They
were given milk at meals for good growth. It was recognized that
sickness could be influenced by diet and herbs. Sickness was still
viewed as an imperfect balance of the four humors.

        Women spent much of their time doing needlework and embroidery.
Since so many of the women who spent their days spinning were single,
unmarried women became known as "spinsters".

        There were many lifestyle possibilities in the nation:
gentleman, that is one who owned land or was in a profession such as a
attorney, physician, priest or who was a university graduate,
government official, or a military officer; employment in agriculture,
arts, sciences; employment in households and offices of noblemen and
gentlemen; self-sufficient farmers with their own farm; fisherman or
mariner on the sea or apprentice of such; employment by carriers of
grain into cities, by market towns, or for digging, seeking, finding,
getting, melting, fining, working, trying, making of any silver, tin,
lead, iron, copper, stone, coal; glassmaker.

        Typical wages in the country were: field-workers 2-3d. a day,
ploughmen 1s. a week with board, shepherd 6d. a week and board, his boy
2 1/2 d., hedgers 6d. a day, threshers 3-7d. depending on the grain,
thatching for five days 2d., master mason or carpenter or joiner 4d. a
day and food or 8d. without food, a smith 2d. a day with food, a
bricklayer 2 1/2 d. a day with food, a shoemaker 2d. a day with food.
These people lived primarily on food from their own ground.

        There was typical work for each month of the year in the
country: January - ditching and hedging after the frost broke, February
- catch moles in the meadows, March - protect the sheep from prowling
dogs, April - put up hop poles, sell bark to the tanner before the
timber is felled, fell elm and ash for carts and ploughs, fell hazel
for forks, fell sallow for rakes, fell horn for flails, May - weed and
hire children to pick up stones from the fallow land, June - wash and
shear the sheep, July - hay harvest, August - wheat harvest, September
and October - gather the fruit, sell the wool from the summer shearing,
stack logs for winter, buy salt fish for Lent in the town and lay it up
to dry, November - have the chimneys swept before winter, thresh grain
in the barn, December - grind tools, repair yokes, forks, and farm
implements, cover strawberry and flower beds with straw to protect them
from the cold, split kindling wood with beetle and wedge, tan their
leather, make leather jugs, make baskets for catching fish, and carve
wood spoons, plates, and bowls.

        There was a wave of building and renovation activity in town
and country. Housing is now, for the first time, purely for dwelling
and not for defense. Houses were designed symmetrically with decorative
features instead of a haphazard addition of rooms. Windows were large
and put on the outer walls instead of just inside the courtyard. A
scarcity of timber caused proportionally more stone to be used for
dwelling houses and proportionately more brick to be used for royal
palaces and mansions. The rest of the house was plaster painted white
interspersed with vertical, horizontal, and sloping timber, usually
oak, painted black. There were locks and bolts for protection from
intruders. The hall was still the main room, and usually extended up to
the roof. Richly carved screens separated the hall from the kitchen.
The floors were stone or wood, and sometimes tile. They were often
covered with rushes or plaited rush mats, on which incomers could
remove the mud from their boots. Some private rooms had carpets on the
floor. Walls were smoothly plastered or had carved wood paneling to
control drafts. Painted cloths replaced tapestries on walls. Family
portraits decorated some walls, usually in the dining room. Iron stands
with candles were hung from the ceiling and used on tables. Plastered
ceilings and a lavish use of glass made rooms lighter and cozy. Broad
and gracious open stairways with carved wood banisters replaced the
narrow winding stone steps of a circular stairwell. Most houses had
several ornamented brick chimneys and clear, but uneven, glass in the
windows. There were fireplaces in living rooms, dining rooms, kitchen,
and bedrooms, as well as in the hall and great chamber. Parlors were
used for eating and sitting only, but not for sleeping. Closets were
rooms off bedrooms in which one could read and write on a writing
table, and store one's books, papers, maps, calendar, medals,
collections, rarities, and oddities. Sometimes there was a study room
or breakfast room as well. A gentleman used his study not only to read
and to write, but to hold collections of early chronicles, charters,
deeds, copied manuscripts, and coins that reflected the budding
interest in antiquarianism; and to study his family genealogy, for
which he had hired someone to make an elaborate diagram. He was
inclined to have a few classical, religious, medical, legal, and
political books there. Rooms were more spacious than before and
contained oak furniture such as enclosed cupboards; cabinets; buffets
from which food could be served; tables, chairs and benches with backs
and cushions, and sometimes with arms; lidded chests for storing
clothes and linens, and occasionally chests of drawers or wardrobes,
either hanging or with shelves, for clothes. Chests of drawers
developed from a drawer at the bottom of a wardrobe. Carpeting covered
tables, chests, and beds. Great houses had a wardrobe chamber with a
fireplace in front of which the yeoman of the wardrobe and his
assistants could repair clothes and hangings. Separate bedchambers
replaced bed-sitting rooms. Bedrooms all led out of each other. The
lady's chamber was next to her lord's chamber, and her ladies' chambers
were close to her chamber. But curtains on the four-poster beds with
tops provided privacy and warmth. Beds had elaborately carved
bedsteads, sheets, and a feather cover as well as a feather mattress.
Often family members, servants, and friends shared the same bed for
warmth or convenience. Each bedroom typically had a cabinet with a
mirror, e.g. of burnished metal or crystal, and comb on top. One
brushed his teeth with tooth soap and a linen cloth, as physicians
advised. Each bedroom had a pitcher and water bowl, usually silver or
pewter, for washing in the morning, and a chamber pot or a stool with a
hole over a bucket for nighttime use, and also fragrant flowers to
override the unpleasant odors. The chamber pots and buckets were
emptied into cesspits. A large set of lodgings had attached to it
latrines consisting of a small cell in which a seat with a hole was
placed over a shaft which connected to a pit or a drain. The servants
slept in turrets or attics. Elizabeth had a room just for her bath.

        Breakfast was substantial, with meat, and usually eaten in
one's bedroom. The great hall, often hung around with bows, pikes,
swords, and guns, was not abandoned, but the family took meals there
only on rare occasions. Instead they withdrew to a parlor, for domestic
use, or the great chamber, for entertaining. Parlors were situated on
the ground floor: the family lived and relaxed there, and had informal
meals in a dining parlor.

        More than medieval castles and manor houses, mansions were
designed with privacy in mind. The formal or "state" rooms were on the
first floor above the ground floor, usually comprising a great chamber,
a withdrawing chamber, one or more bedchambers, and a long gallery.
Each room had carved chairs and cabinets. Taking a meal in the great
chamber involved the same ceremonial ritual as in the manorial great
chamber dating from the 1400s. The table was covered with a linen
cloth. The lady of the house sat in a chair at the upper end of the
table and was served first. People of high rank sat at her end of the
table "above" the fancy silver salt cellar and pepper. People of low
rank sat "below" it near the other end of the table. Grace was said
before the meal. Noon dinner and supper were served by cupbearer,
sewer, carver, and assistants. Fine clear Italian glass drinking
vessels replaced even gold and silver goblets. Food was eaten from
silver dishes with silver spoons. Some gentry used two-pronged forks.
Meats were plentiful and varied: e.g. beef, mutton, veal, lamb, kid,
pork, hare, capon, red deer, fish and wild fowl as well as the
traditional venison and brawn [boar]. Kitchen gardens and orchards
supplied apricots, almonds, gooseberries, raspberries, melons,
currants, oranges, and lemons as well as the traditional apples, pears,
plums, mulberries, quinces, pomegranates, figs, cherries, walnuts,
chestnuts, hazel nuts, filberts, almonds, strawberries, blackberries,
dewberries, blueberries, and peaches. Also grown were sweet potatoes,
artichokes, cabbages, turnips, broad beans, peas, pumpkins, cucumbers,
radishes, carrots, celery, parsnips, onions, garlic, leeks, endive,
capers, spinach, sorrel, lettuce, parsley, mustard, cress, sage,
tarragon, fennel, thyme, mint, savory, rhubarb, and medicinal herbs.
The well-to-do started to grow apricots, peaches, and oranges under
glass. Sugar was used to make sweet dishes. Toothpicks made of brass or
silver or merely a stiff quill were used. After the meal, some men and
women were invited for conversation in a wi