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Founded 1887 


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Council : 

The Hon. Mr. Justice Bruce. 
Mr. a. M. Channell, Q.C. 
Sir H. W. Elphinstone, Bart. 
Mb. M. Ingle Joyce. 
Mb. B. G. Lake. 
Mr. H. C. Maxwell Lyte, C.B. 
Mr. a. Stuart Moore. 
Mr. E. Pennington 

Sir F. Pollock, Bart. 

Mr. W. C. Eenshaw, Q.C. 

Mb. S. E. Scargill-Bibd. 

The Hon. Mr. Justice Stirling. 

Mr. J. Westlake, Q.C. 

His Honour Judge Meadows 

The Hon. Mr. Justice Wills. 

Uiterarg director : 

Professor F. W. Maitland (Downing College, Cambridge). 


Mb. J. AV. Clark. Me. Hubert Hall. 

•fconorarg Secretary : 

Mb. B. Fossett Lock (5 New Square, Lincoln's Inn, London). 

Ibonorarg C^rcasurer : 

Mb. Feancis K. Munton (95a Qneen Victoria Street, London). 

Ibon. Secretatg for tbe TUnlteD States : 

Mr. Eichabd W. Hale (10 Tremont Street, Boston, Mass.). 

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Introduction ix 


Preface 1 

Book I. Of Sins against the Holy Peace . . . .4 

„ II. Of Actions 42 

„ III. Of Exceptions . .89 

„ IV. Of Judgment 120 

„ V. Of Abuses 154 

Index 201 

1 I87nr. 


In the sixteenth century when the printing press was at Discovery ot 
work and the manuscript treasures of the monasteries were 
passing from hand to hand, English lawyers began to turn 
back their eyes to the old days when our law was first 
taking a definite shape. The names and the books of 
Glanvill and Bracton, of Britton and Hengham became 
current once more. Along with weightier matters there 
had floated down the stream of time an enigmatical treatise, 
The Mirror of Justices. The first tidings that we get of 
it are given us by Plowden in his report of a case that was 
argued before the Exchequer Chamber in the year 1550. 
He represents Bradshaw, the king's attorney, as contend- 
ing for the rule Testis unus testis nullus, which may be 
deduced from the book of Deuteronomy ; and (said Brad- 
shaw) in ancient times the law of this realm was similar, 
as is expressed in the book called the Minor of Justices, 
which was made before the Conquest.' The learned attorney 
had perhaps but cast his eyes upon the book that he thus 
cited ; a careful examination of it he cannot have made. 
However, from this time forward we begin to see that 
manuscript copies of the book are being handed about 
among lawyers. Coke obtained one, and, as his habit was, 
devoured its contents with uncritical voracity. ' I have,' 
he said, * a very ancient and learned treatise of the laws 

' Plowden, Commentaries, 8. 


Tlie Mirror 



The Mirror 
on its trial 

The Miifor 

and usages of this kingdom whereby the commonwealth of 
our nation was governed about eleven hundred years past.' ' 

However, though Coke believed that he had acquired a 
treatise which set forth the law of King Arthur's day, he 
did not think that it was written in that very distant age, 
and he explained away the words by which Bradshaw 
seemed to have given it a date on the other side of the 
Norman Conquest. A very slight inspection of it was suffi- 
cient to show that it could not as a whole have been com- 
piled before the reign of Edward I. Nothing daunted, the 
credulous Coke filled his Institutes with tales from the 
Mirror, and, for example, believed that he had a precedent 
of an appeal of treason which came from the days of King 
Edmund and in which the appellor's name was Rocelyn 
and the appellee's was Waligrot.^ His final opinion seems 
to have been that the book was \vritten for the more part 
before the Conquest, but that many things were added to 
it by one Horn, a learned and discreet, man who flourished 
in the reign of Edward I.^ 

It would be long to tell how much harm was thus done 
to the sober study of English legal history. The Pseudo- 
Ingulf himself has hardly done worse. Gradually sus- 
picions collected. It became known that the Mirror was to 
be used with some circumspection, that it was not to be 
put alongside of Glanvill and Britton as a co-ordinate 
historical authority.^ At length the illustrious scholar who 
delivered us from the Crowland forger spoke out his mind 
about Horn and the Mirror : though it is ' a very curious 
specimen of the apocrypha of the law,' said Sir Francis 
Palgrave, ' we are compelled to reject it as evidence con- 
cerning the early jurisprudence of Anglo-Saxon England.''' 

Meanwhile it had been put into print. This happened 
in 1642, a marvellously appropriate date for the appearance 
of a book which proclaimed as the first and sovereign 

' Coke, Preface to 9 Eep. 
" Third Institute, 5. 
^ Coke, Preface to 10 Rep. 
* Reeves, Hist. Eng. Latv 


1787), vol, ii. pp. 358-9, speaks 
cautiously and judiciously. 

^ Palgrave, Encjlish Common- 
wealth, vol. ii. p. cxiv. 


* abuse ' that the king is beyond the law to which he ought 
to be subject. The title page of the printed book bears 
the words * La Somme appelle Mirroir des Justices vel 
Speculum lusticiariorum, factum per Andream Home.' No 
editor is named, but a Latin note tells us in effect that the 
text used was a transcript belonging to one Jecell (no doubt 
the antiquary Thomas Jekyll, who died in 1653'), which 
had been copied from a transcript belonging to Francis 
Tate (another well-known antiquary) but collated with the 
ancient manuscript then lying in Benet (now Corpus 
Christi) College at Cambridge. In 1646 there appeared 
an English translation by W[illiam] H[ughe8], which was 
republished in 1768 and again in 1840. Li 1776 Houard 
included in his Traitcs sur les Coutumes Anglo-Normandes 
the first four of the five sections into which the book is 
divided ; the fifth he rejected as being in his opinion a 
supplement added to the original work by a later hand. It 
is plain enough that this industrious Norman lawyer, who 
did much for which we ought to be grateful in publishing 
our English law-books to the continental world, had no 
text of the Mirror but the poor printed text of 1642, and, 
as he shows by his conjectural emendations, he was pain- 
fully aware of its imperfection. This indeed was known to 
W. H. in 1646, for he says ' And although that the Manu- 
script Copy be in the Originall very imperfect : the French 
impression ' [that of 1642] is * by misjoining of words in 
many places without sence, and false printed.' ^ 

Several seventeenth century copies of the book, includ- The unique 
ing in all probability those that were used in 1642, still 
exist ; but Mr. Whittaker has satisfied himself that they 
are all derived immediately or mediately from the Corpus 
manuscript, and that seems to be the one and only 
medieval manuscript of the Mirror. 

' Diet. Nat. Biography. pas un Lectenr qui ne convienne 

' Translator's preface. Houard, que, sans ce travail, le Texte n'a pu 

vol. iv. p. 469, says : ' Mais de Hre jusquici entendu des Anj^lois, 

quelque mani^re qu'on envisage lo et qu'il n'auroit pas 6t6 possible en 

travail p^nible que la corruption du France d'en tirer le moindre secours.' 
Texte a exig^, il n'j aura surement 

a 2 



Life of An- 
arew Horn 


Our book has long been connected with the name of 
Andrew Horn, and therefore of Andrew Horn, fishmonger 
of Bridge Street and Chamberlain of the City of London, 
we must say a few words. Early in the reign of Edward I. 
there was a John Horn alderman of Bridge Ward, who 
served the City now as sheriff now as coroner.' Andrew 
may have been his son, and, if so, came of a good civic 
family. Late in the fourteenth century we again hear of a 
John Horn who is fishmonger and alderman.'^ Already in 
1305 Andrew w^as married, for in that year was born to 
him a son, who, however, lived for but twelve weeks.^ 
Andrew himself died in 1328, and we may guess from his 
will that he left neither wife nor child, for his property was 
to be divided between his brother William Horn, rector of 
the church of Kotherhithe, William and Simon Doggett his 
nephews, and Christina his niece."* His executors were his 
brother William, John atte Vyne and Master John of 
London, a notary. Already we hear of Andrew in 1308, 
when along with Eichard Horn, Stephen Horn, and other 
fishmongers, he was sworn to scrutinise the fishmongers' 
baskets, and one of his own baskets was found deficient in 
capacity.'^ In 1315 he passed scatheless through a similar 
ordeal.^ In 1320 he became Chamberlain of the City, and 
this post he filled until his death in 1328 ; but so early as 
1311 he had been collecting statutes, charters, and other 
documents, and having them transcribed for him.^ 

The time at which he was called to take charge of the 
chamber of the City was critical. For nearly forty-four 
years London had been spared the terrors of a judicial 
eyre. In 1321 justices were sent to sit at the Tower. 
There they sat for four-and-twenty weeks, and even then 
they left their work unfinished.^ Apparently it was in order 

' Eiley, Meinoricds, 3 ; Liber de 
Antiquis Legibus, 148, 154, 225 ; 
Liber Custumarum, i. 239, 240, 291, 

- Riley, Memorials of London, 
371, 431. 

'■' Stubbs, Chronicles of Edward I. 
and Edward II. vol. i. p. xxiii. 

* Sharpe, Calendar of Hustings 
Wills, i. 344-5. 

^ Liber Custumanim, i. 120 ; 
Liber Albus, i. 467. 

" Riley, Memorials, 116. 

' Sharpe, Calendar, i. 344. 

" Liber Custumarum,T^T^Aiix%i\,(i. 


to meet their advent that Horn put together some of those 
numerous transcripts of documents which are his best title 
to our gratitude. As civic Chamberlain it was his duty 
to be prepared with chapter and verse to support every 
real or supposed franchise of the City, and to answer 
every cavil that the king's lawyers could advance, for an 
eyre meant that no single privilege of the Londoners would 
pass unchallenged. To all seeming he did his duty well, 
transcribed and arranged his documents with zeal and 
industry. It is probably to him that we owe the valuable 
account of this eyre that has come dow to us.' As 
chamberlain he naturally took a deep interest in the doings 
of the justices, but he had a more private interest. The 
civic authorities and the body of lawful fishmongers were 
engaged in a bitter quarrel with certain men who carried 
on their business at the Fish Wharf in what was thought 
an illegitimate manner. This dispute came before the 
justices, and throughout it Andrew Horn seems to have 
acted as the spokesman of the fishmongers.'^ He has often 
been called a learned lawyer, but, if we put the Mirror of 
Justices on one side, the evidence that we have would lead 
us to speak of him rather as of a learned archivist and 
antiquarian than as of a pleader who had made his fame 
in the courts. 

To the little that we know for certain we must add Tiieix)ndon 


something that has been guessed by one whose words 
deserve our best attention. In 1882 Dr. Stubbs published 
under the name Annales Londonienses a theretofore un- 
published chronicle.' He took the text from a modern 
transcript of a manuscript which was almost wholly de- 
stroyed in the Cottonian fire. This chronicle is acephalous, 
and begins abruptly in the year 1194. For a long while it 
is but an abridgment of those Flores Historiarum that were 
formerly ascribed to Matthew of Westminster ; but, as time 
goes on, it begins to contain matters which the writer of it 
seems to be supplying at first hand. In 1289 it becomes an 

' Liber Cuatumarum, i. 285-432. ' Chronicles of Edward I. and 

» Ibid. i. 394-40y. Edtoard 11. 


original work ; between 1293 and 1301 there is an hiatus ; 
from 1301 to 1316 it contains, says its editor, ' a relation 
which is simply invaluable of the closing events of the one 
reign and the early troubles of the next.' * At the year 
1316 the narrative breaks off again, and the remainder of 
the work contains only a few memoranda of records belong- 
ing to the civil history of London at the opening of the 
reign of Edward III.' These continue untJ 1330, where 
the book ends. Now, that the important part of the Annals 
comes from a Londoner, and one who had access to many 
public documents, cannot be doubted. Dr. Stubbs has 
shown cause for the conjecture that this part comes from 
Andrew Horn. His argument is twofold. Under the year 
1305 the annalist tells, among the events of national 
history, that a child was born to Andrew Horn, lived twelve 
weeks, and was buried at Coleman church. In the second 
place, these A7inals contain a large number of documents 
which are also contained in that Liber Custumarum wdiich 
Horn bequeathed to the chamber of the Gildhall. 
Horn and If for a momcut we accept this identification of the 

tic^arcourte chrouicler with Horn, we shall think of the civic Chamber- 
lain as of one who could write good, straightforward annals, 
a rational, observant man, interested in public affairs, and 
alive to the value of records and state papers. If we seek 
for any more distinctively personal trait, we shall find it in 
his constant references to the doings of the ecclesiastical 
courts, and to the disputes occasioned by the benefit of 
clergy and the right of sanctuary. This is so marked that 
Dr. Stubbs has thrown out the suggestion that 'Andrew 
Horn, if he were the author, may have held with the 
chamberlainship of the city some office in connexion with 
ihe Court of Arches,' and though this suggestion is set 
aside by its maker in favour of another, it is one that we 
shall have to remember. 
Horn's last On Octobcr 9, 1328, Horn made his will, and thereby he 

bequeathed to the chamber of the Gildhall certain books, 
to wit (1) a great book De Gestis Anglonim, wherein are 
contained many useful things ; (2) another book, De 


Veterihus Legibus Angliae, together with (3) a book called 
Bretoun and (4) a book called Speciduin lusticianorum ; 
also (5) a book compiled by Henry of Huntingdon, and (6) 
a book De Statutis Angliae with many liberties and other 
matters touching the city.' 

It seems fairly certain that some of Horn's gifts are at Ti.e corpm 
this day where they ought to be, namely, at the Gildhall. 
It is also fairly certain that some of them passed into the 
possession of Sir Eobert Cotton and are now represented 
by a volume preserved at the British Museum (Claudius, 
D. II.), while others can, so I think, be traced with some 
certainty through the hands of Archbishop Parker into the 
library of that college upon which he bestowed many a 
priceless treasure. We find there in one volume (C. C. C. 
258) a copy of Britton bound up with the unique copy of 
the Mirror. We find also another volume (C. C. C. 70), 
which deserves our attention. It might well be called a 
Liber de Veteribus Legibus Angliae. It contains that com- 
posite body of legal materials which Dr. Liebermann has 
recently described under the title Leges Anglorum saeculo 
XIII. ineunte Londoniis collectae, and which, for the sake of 
brevity, I will call Dr. Liebermann's law-book.'* That law- 
book comprised a Latin version of some of the Anglo- 
Saxon dooms ; also the Leges Edwardi Confessoris, the 
Leges Willelmi, the Leges Henrici ; also Glanvill's text- 
book, and some other matters. Its contents were hitched 
together into an historical sequence by some royal genea- 
logies and brief remarks about the doings of the kings. 
The collector, however, depraved his materials by many 

' Sharpe, Calendar of Hustings made up of sheets that came from the 
Wills, i. 344. Mr. Eiley's theory Gildhall is, I suppose, indubitable. 
{Liber Cusiumarum, i. pp. i-xxiv) Then Dr. Stubbs has conjectured 
was that No. 2 and No. 6 are repre- that No. 5 was Henry of Uunting- 
Bented by the Liber Horn of the don's chronicle with a continuation 
Gildhall ; that No. 1 is divided be- represented to us by the now ace- 
tween the Liber Custumarum of the phalous Annales Londonienses. 
Gildhall and the Cottonian Claudius 'Liebermann, Ueber die Leges 
D. II. Dr. Stubbs {Chronicles of Anglorum, Halle, 1894. We have 
Edward I. and Edward II. p. xxiii) to thank Dr. Liebermann for draw- 
thinks that ' this identification is very ing our attention to this manuscript 
much matter of speculation.' How- by kind and learned letters, 
ever, that the Cottonian volume is 


mythical interpolations, which seem to have had two main 
purposes : first, the glorification of the City of London, its 
privileges and customs ; secondly, the assertion of an 
ancient but enduring supremacy exercised by England and 
the English king over the whole of Britain and the adjacent 
islands. In Dr. Liebermann's opinion this work was put 
together by some Londoner of John's reign. Now in the 
manuscript that is before us (C. C. C. 70) we have of this 
book a copy written in the early years of the fourteenth 
century. A half-hearted attempt has been made to carry 
on the historico-legal discourse into the reigns of Henry 
III. and Edward I. In the first place, however, we must 
notice that at the foot of one of the pages (p. 101) we see 
the following legend in red ink : — ' Horn michi cognomen 
Andreas est michi nomen.' Above this is drawn a fish. 
This seems to tell us that this manuscript once belonged to 
Andrew Horn the fishmonger. 
The Liber But, further, the hand which wrote this legend seems to 

»le Vetenbus _ *=■ 

Legibus have written a good many rubrics and marginal notes. 
Close to the end of the volume it gives us an important 
remark. The text has come down to Henry III.'s reign, and 
has begun in a desultory way to set forth some precedents for 
pleaders. Abruptly it stops, and what we may take to be 
Horn's hand writes as follows : — ' But no more of this, for 
you have enough of it in the two subsequent books, namely 
the book called the Mirror of Justices and the book called 
Brethun. But these books are not sealed by the king. 
However, such was the form of pleading in the times of 
Edward I. and Edward II.' ' We see, then, that the writer 
of this intends that Dr. Liebermann's law-book shall, in 
some sense or another, be followed by the Mirror and 
Horn and At tho top of the next page he tells us a little of 

law-brjc"" Edward I., remarking that he made many statutes which 

' C. C. C. 70, p. 190 : ' Non erit non sunt libri sigillati per Eegem. 

plus nunc, quia satis habes in ij. Attamen taliter placitabantur [bre- 

libris subsequentibus, videlicet, libro via] temporibus Regum Edwardi 

vocato Speculum lusticiariorum et filii Regis Henrici III. et Edwardi 

altero libro vocato Brethun. Sed filii Regis Edwardi.' 


OF » 


are confirmed by his seal, but which are not inserted in 
this manuscript. He then gives a long list of the titles of 
Edward's statutes, observing by the way that the Statute 
of Westminster the Second is 'peroj}timum. This list ended, 
he tells us that these statutes will not be set forth in this 
book, ' for I have them elsewhere, and I intend, please God, 
at some future time to compose out of this and other books 
a large, volume, for I have thought it useful that the events 
of our own time should be handed down to posterity.' ^ 
After this he notes the names of the legal text-books pro- 
duced under Edward I. : namely, Hengham, Fct a saver, 
and so on. Then he tells us that Edward I. confirmed the 
Londoners' privileges : * the tenour of his charter is not in 
this book, but I have it elsewhere.' 

All this seems to come from a man writing in Edward 
II.'s day, who has a great mass of historical and legal 
materials at his command, and some large projects before 
his eyes. We can hardly doubt that his voice comes to us 
from the chamber of the Gildhall, or that it is the voice of 
Andrew Horn. 

One of his notes seems to tell us that this London Homana 
archivist is interested in ecclesiastical law, and has tried to Law 
find his way among the books of the canonists. The Anglo- 
Saxon law that lies before him speaks of the ordeal. He 
observes in the margin that this mode of purgation was 
condemned by Pope Innocent HL in the reign of King 
John, about the year 1205, ' per decretales libr. v. capitulo 
de purgacione vulgari.' Thereupon he sets forth a decretal 
of Honorius HL, which appears in the Gregorian collection.^ 
Then he adds that the ordeal was first canonised by the 

' C. C. C. 70, p. 191 : ' Ista statuta for if we suppose that Innocentuis 

quorum prohemia hie intitulantur is a mere clerical error for ifotiortMS, 

in libro isto non scribentur nee the reference to John's reign and 

registerio, quia alibi habeo, et quia 1205 will go wrong. The true date 

intendo ex libro isto et aliis impos- of the decree of Honorius seems to 

terum, deo dante, magnum codicem be 1222. One would have expected 

componere, quia utile duxi posteris a citation of the decisive decree of 

presencia temporum nostrorum ex- the Lateran Council of 1215, and 

primere.' the mention of Innocent and of 1205 

^ It is c. 3, X. 5. 35. The blunder may be due to some faulty recoUeo- 

is not one that is easily corrected, tion of that Council's doings. 


Council of Tribur, and quotes a decree of that Council and 
another of the Council of Mainz, ' secundum antiquas 
decretales per Bernardum Papiensem compilatas.' ' So he 
probably has at his command some books of canon law, 
though he does not seem to be an expert in their use. 
This indication of a smattering of canonical learning may 
be of some service to us hereafter. 
Horns To ons other small point Dr. Liebermann has called 

Germanism , ^ 

attention. The annotator of this manuscript had heard 
German speech, and held that the Germans of his day 
spoke the tongue which the Saxon invaders of Britain had 
once spoken : — * Anglorum genus primo veniebat de ilia 
Saxonia et in diebus modernis loquuntur tali lingua sicut 
Angli antiqui olim loquebantur.' He then proceeds to tell 
us that in Germany the King stands first, then the Duke, 
then the Margrave, then the Landgrave, then the Count, 
then the Baron, then the Knight. A trifle this may seem ; 
and, no doubt, the Chamberlain of London had occasion to 
converse with Hanseatic merchants ; but even trifles may 
be of importance to us when we are investigating the 
genesis of a mysterious book. 
Themanu- And now we turn to the other volume (C. C. C. 258), 

mXor ^ which contains the Mirror and Britton bound up together. 
The hand which writes the Mirror seems to me to be a 
curial hand of the early part of the fourteenth century. 
We shall see hereafter that it is the hand of a somewhat 
stupid or careless clerk. The Mirror fills four quires of 
twelve folios, which are followed by a quire of four folios, 
the last folio being left blank. The more important capital 
letters and the paragraph marks are in red. There is 
evidence on the first folios of an intention to supply 
marginal rubrics. Also we can see that the rubricator's 
task had been marked out for him in the once ample 

' The reference seems to be to Gregorian collection all reference to 

Compilatio Prima, 5, 30 (Friedberg, the ordeal has been carefully ex- 

Quinque Compilatlones, p. 62). The punged from them. As to the action 

passages which are cited appear in of the Councils of Tribur and Mainz, 

the Gregorian collection as c. 1, X. 5. see Lea, Superstition and Force (4th 

34, and c. 2, X, 5. 38; but in the ed.), p. 291. 


margin by chalk or some similar substance, but the margin 
has been sadly shorn by a binder. This is the more un- 
fortunate, for over a word that puzzles us we may now and 
again see a faint cross, which once referred to a correcter 
word written in the margin ; but most of these emendations 
have perished under the shears. 

On the first page there stares at us in red ink Andrew Hom-s 
Horn's name-verse : — ' Horn michi cognomen Andreas est "'""*'^"'* 
michi nomen.' It seems to me hardly doubtful that the 
hand which wrote this was the same hand that wrote the 
same words in that other manuscript which has lately been 
described. However, in the present case this name- verse 
may have a context. I wish that it were possible to set 
before the Society an exact facsimile of the first lines of the 
manuscript ; but I must endeavour to find words that will 
describe them. At the top of the page the copying-clerk 
wrote Liber Primus. Then below this a person, whom I 
will call the rubricator, wrote in red ink, Lste liber vacatur 
speculum iusticiariorum. He inserted these words after 
Liber Primus had been written, for they curve round Liber 
Primus. Then come four would-be verses (three hexameters 
followed by one pentameter), written in black ink by the 
copying-clerk. Then, without any interval, comes a fifth 
verse (an hexameter), written in red ink by the rubricator. 
This fifth verse is Horn's name-verse. These five verses 
occupy three of the ruled lines of the book, so that the end 
of a verse never comes at the end of a line. The last word 
of the fifth, the red, verse juts out into the right-hand 
margin. On the next line the text of the Mirror begins. 

Now, a great deal depends upon the question whether ti* my»«^ 
there is any connexion between the first four lines and the 
fifth. I regret that a judgment on this point must be 
expected of anyone who writes an introduction to the 
Mirror ; but on the whole, if (postponing for a while any 
discussion of the meaning of these verses) we look only at 
then* collocation on the parchment that lies before us, I 
think that our decision will be that from the first it was 
intended that the four black verses should be followed by a 

nous ver»M 



Meaning of 
the verses 

Horn and 

fifth red verse, and that all five verses should be regarded 
as an integral part of the book that is called Speculum 
lusticiariorum. It seems to me that space is left for this 
fifth verse as space is left for other rubrics. It seems to 
me that the hand that writes this verse is the hand that 
writes Iste liber vacatur speculum iusticiariorum, and that 
writes other rubrics on the first pages of the book. Lastly, 
it seems to me that this fifth verse was written by the man 
who wrote the same verse in the other manuscript. Putting 
all this together, we are brought towards the conclusion that 
this very exemplar of the Mirror not only belonged to Horn, 
but was produced under his direction. 

So much as to externals. And now let us grapple with 
the meaning of these mysterious verses. Here they are : — 

Hanc legum summam si quis vult iura tueri 
Perlegat et sapiens ' si vult orator haberi ; 
Hoc apprenticiis ad barros ebore munus 
Gratum ^ iuridicis ^ utile mittit opus. 
Horn micbi cognomen Andreas est micbi nomen. 

What can we make of these verses ? Of course, it is 
possible for us to detach the fifth from the other four, 
and to say of it that it is a mere * name- verse ' recording 
the fact that the codex that lies before us is the property 
of Andrew Horn ; and, indeed, we have in the other volume 
evidence that Horn used this hexameter for this very pur- 
pose. But if we take this course, a difficulty awaits us 
when we strive to construe the four preceding lines. The 
first two are easy enough. They amount to this : — Any- 
one who wishes to study the laws and become an accom- 
plished pleader should read this book. But what of the 
next two lines ? What in the name of sense, to say nothing 
of metre, have we to do with ivory {ehore) ? To my friend 
Dr. Verrall I owe the suggestion that the five verses must 
be read together, and that the mysterious Ivory of the third 

' End of first line. 
2 End of second line. 
' The word iuridicis has been 
deliberately erased, apparently in 

recent times. It is supplied from 
a copy of the verses which has been 
written at the bottom of the page by 
a modern hand. 


is explained by the Horn of the fifth. Were there not two 
gates through which dreams came to mankind ? Horace, 
Vergil, and Statius all said so. The following English ver- 
sion comes from Dr. Verrall's pen : — 

Read me, whoe'er the substance of the laws 
Desires to see, or plead with sage applause. 
Here Ivory's grace attracts apprentice eyes. 
While profit for the coif our book supplies. 
Horn — Andrew Horn — the author is who writes. 
(Aside) Thus Horn with Ivory, Truth with Grace, imites. 

The writer puts an enigma before us. Dr. Verrall's 
last line gives the solution. Here for the apprentices at 
the bar are pleasant visions of the law that are not too 
true ; here for their seniors are profitable things that are 
not so pretty. Horn is my name, but you have Ivory also 
here. Quite independently. Professor Vinogradoff has said 
that Wahrheit unci Dichtung would have been a proper title 
for the Mirror.^ Is not Horn and Ivory a tolerable render- 
ing of Wahrheit und Dichtung ? 

The author of the Mirror was, as we shall soon see. The question 
capable of beginning his work with riddles and mystifica- ship t.o8t. 
tions, and since we cannot say either that Andrew Horn 
has unambiguously asserted that he was its author, or that 
the composer of these verses was beyond the temptation to 
drag ivory or anything else into them when he was racking 
his brains for a word that would (or, rather, would not) 
* scan,' we had better leave both chamberlain and poet out 
of account for a while, treat the book as one whose paternity 
is unknown, and try to discover from internal evidence its 
date, its nature, and its purpose.'* 

' Villainage in England, p. 416. wrote the Mirror or professed to have 

'■' Lest Dr. Verrall should be written it. Several distinct theories 

charged with conjectures of which are possible : (1) Horn wrote the 

he is not guilty, I must not omit to Mirror and all five verses. (2) Horn 

say that the question about which did not write the Mirror ; the first 

he kindly gave me his opinion was four verses come from its author ; 

merely the question whether a mean- the fifth is but Horn's claim to be 

ing could be found for these verses, tlic owner of a certain MS. (3) Horn 

more especially for the mysterious did not write the Mirror, but he wrote 

ebore. He has not said that Horn all the five verses. 




Tlie author 
ill prison 

Is the im- 
a fiction ? 

The ifin-or 
a failure 

A blunder in the edition of 1642 has hitherto concealed 
from view the cardinal words of the book. It is thus that 
the author introduces himself to his readers : — .* I, the 
prosecutor of false judges, and by their procurement falsely 
imprisoned, searched out the privileges of the king and the 
old rolls of his treasury wherewith my friends solaced me 
during my sojourn.' He wishes us to believe that he has 
been thrown into prison by the false judges whose unrelent- 
ing enemy he is, and that while in gaol he studied charters 
and documents and compiled his book. 

Is this tale true ? Perhaps it may be ; but let us 
remember that a similar tale stands at the beginning of 
another law-book coeval with the Mirror. The book that 
we call Fleta purports to have been written in the Fleet 
Gaol. Some have suggested that it was written by one of 
the justices whom Edward I. imprisoned in 1289. The 
thought may cross our minds that the Mirror is a rival 
book ; but these two tales of imprisoned text- writers do not 
corroborate each other. On the contrary, they cannot but 
raise a suspicion that, at least in one of the two cases, the 
author's incarceration is a 'common form,' a literary device 
which will awaken interest and sympathy. At any rate we 
can see that a man who is going to pose as the prosecutor 
or sworn foe of false judges has a good deal to gain by pre- 
tending that he was imprisoned by their procurement, even 
though his sojourn in gaol was of that easy and improbable 
kind that was solaced by a perusal of the rolls of the king's 
court, to say nothing of the Old and New Testaments ' and 
the canon and the written law.' But whether the story be 
true or false, it is here that the author strikes the keynote 
of his book. He is, or wishes to be taken for, an enemy of 
false judges, who himself has suffered by their misdeeds. 

One other resemblance there is between the Mirror and 
Fleta. Both of them were failures ; of each we have only 
one manuscript. On the other hand, the treatises of 
Glanvill, Bracton, and Britton were exceedingly success- 
ful ; they are represented by numerous copies. Even of 
Bracton's lengthy book at least some forty costly examples 


have come down to us. The Mirror was not taken very 
seriously by those who Uved when it was written. 

When was it written? The common answer to this mteoftiie 
question is that the whole of it cannot have been compiled 
before the reign of Edward II. Now in some sense or 
another this statement must be true, for undoubtedly 
Edward II. is mentioned in this book.' But who is this 
Edward II. ? Is he the king who came to the throne in 
the year 1307 ? We ought to ask these questions, for we 
ought to remember that the king who came to the throne 
in 1272 did not call himself Edward I. In official docu- 
ments he was simply King Edward, and when he was dead 
such documents were wont to call him * King Edward son 
of King Henry,' thus distinguishing him from King Edward 
son of King Edward. Again, when two Edwards had been 
immediately followed by a third, and it was necessary to 
number them, men were carefal to fix the moment at which 
the enumeration was to begin : the reigning king was 
' Edwardus post Conquestam tertius.' As to Edward fitz 
Henry, his contemporaries might call him the first or the 
second or the third or the fourth, according to the extent 
of their historical knowledge. Few, perhaps, would re- 
member Edward the Elder or Edward the Martyr, but all 
men had heard of Saint Edward. 

What, then, is it that our author tells of ' Edward the who is 

, Kdward th« 

Second ' ? This, that until his day the punishment of rape sec-oud? 
was mutilation. This seems to be a plain reference to a 
chapter in the Statute of 1285, which made rape a capital 
crime ^— a chapter against which the compiler of the Minvr 
has, as we see from other passages,^ a special grudge. And 
it is not unlikely that he will call our Edward the First 
' Edward the Second.' lie knows Saint Edward,* but no- 
where shows any acquaintance with Edward son of Alfred 
or Edward son of Edgar."* 

' Below, p. 141. » The editor of 1642 further 

* Stat. West. II. c. 34. argues that the book must have 
' Below, p. 28, and Abuse 117 (p. been written before 17 Edw. II. His 

172) ; also p. !'.(.'). arRument, though it seems to me 

* Below, p. 81. to come to a conclusion that is true. 


Tiie Mirror Wc niust find better arguments. Now, our author ends 

written -t • ■> ... » i.i 

uiuier his work with a criticism of statutes which are brought under 

Edward I. , ° 

review in an order that is nearly chronological. He com- 
ments on Magna Carta, on the Statutes of Merton (1236), 
Marlborough (1267), Westminster the First (1275), Glou- 
cester (1278), De Viris Beligiosis (1279), Westminster the 
Second (1285), Winchester (1285), • upon the writ Circum- 
specte Agatis, which is attributed to 1285, and upon the 
Statute of Merchants, which was made in the same year. 
The last document he calls a new statute.'* Here he stops, 
and I cannot find any allusion to a later statute. Now, un- 
fortunately for us, the age of grand legislation is nearly 
over by the end of 1285. Still from 1290 we have the 
famous Quia Emptores, which our author would have re- 
garded as a sovereign abuse ; ^ from 1295 we have the Be 
frangentibus prisonam, which he ought to have mentioned 
had he known of it,"* while the Confirmatio Cartarum of 
1297 with its new clauses, and the Articuli super Cartas of 
1300, would have afforded him abundant materials for 
criticism and cavil. On the whole, it seems to me that if 
this book had been newly put into our hands and we had 
never heard of Andrew Horn, we should have said that it 
' was written very soon after 1285, and probably before 1290. 
And here it may be noted that if we attribute it to this 
time we attribute it to the only, or almost the only, time 
in English history when a sweeping denunciation of the 
king's justices as perjurers, murderers and thieves would 
have had enough truth in it to be plausible and popular. 
This is the time of our one great judicial scandal, for though 

rests upon several propositions that ever, does not appear among the 

I believe to be untrue : namely, statutes criticised in the last book. 
(1) that the document known as '^ He gives his last section to ' the 

Praerogativa Regis is a statute ; (2) new statute about debts.' This 

that its date is 17 Edw. II. ; (3) that may be the Statute of Acton Burnel 

the author of the Mirror is incapable (1288), but, since he mentions it 

of representing as an ' abuse ' what after Stat. West. II. and Circutn- 

is the existing law of the land. As specie Agatis, it is more probably 

to the first two of these premises, the supplementary Statutum Merca- 

see Engl. Hist. Rev. vi. 367. The torum of 1285. 

third is contradicted by almost every ^ Abuse 151 (p. 175) and p. 181 

page of our book. (c. 32). 

' Below, pp. 27, 48. This, how- * Below, pp. 150, 156 (Abuse 8). 


the justices and clerks who suffered in 1289 may not have 
been worse men than were some of their predecessors and • 
successors, the exposure of judicial iniquities on a large scale 
is a unique event. Also we shall see hereafter that the 
political ideals of our author were such as were becoming 
antiquated even in Edward I.'s day. However, we must 
once more repeat that we have before us a man who is quite 
capable of deliberately mystifying his readers. 

For arguments to prove that the Mirror was not com- n'o traces of 

" ail older 

piled in the days before the Conquest there can be no need time 
at the present time. But, further, it does not look in the 
least like an old treatise that has been re-edited by a more 
.modern hand. To those who are learned in the history of 
the French language, more especially of that dialect of it 
which was current in England, we must leave all criticism 
of words and grammatical forms ; but any traits that would 
point to a time before Edward I.'s reign have been sought 
in vain. Express references to his statutes are found in 
all parts of the book,' while almost every sentence in it, 
though Cnut or Alfred or Arthur may be mentioned, has its 
point in the thirteenth century and in no earlier age. In 
particular we must decisively reject the theory that the 
last section of the work — that which deals with * abuses ' — 
has been tacked on by an editor or continuator to the end 
of a previously existing book. We have been carefully pre- 
pared by the author himself for this last section. His plan 
is to lay down in one of the earlier sections some doctrine 
which, as he knows full well, is not the doctrine of King 
Edward's court, and then to state in the last section that 
the prevailing doctrine is an abuse, or that Alfred hanged 
a judge for maintaining it. From first to last he is making 
an attack on ' false judges.' 

If he knew anything at all about the law of the Anglo- ■n.eauthor't 
Saxon or of the Norman time, he has studiously kept his o1"o°d'uw 
knowledge to himself. This is one of the difficulties which 

' Below, p. 27, Statute of Win- minster I. ; p. 66, Statute of West- 
chester ; p. 28, Statute of West- minster II. ; p. 138, an ordinance of 
minster II. ; p. 48, Statute of Henry III. ; p. 141, Statute of West- 
Winchester ; p. 52, Statute of West- minster 11. 


meet us if we try to identify him with Andrew Horn, who 
before the end of his hfe had at "his command the law-books 
of the twelfth century and a Latin version of the Anglo- 
Saxon dooms. I do not think that the Mirror contains one 
sentence that has been taken at first hand from the so-called 
Leges EdwardiConfessoris, Leges Willelmi, or Leges Henrici, 
to say nothing of the laws of Cnut or of his predecessors. 
What is more, if we consider the would-be antiquarianism of 
this book, we must pronounce it to be marvellously inno- 
cent, not only of real historical research, but of traditional 
legendary learning. We have nothing of Brutus, nor of 
the metropolitan relation which Troy bears to London ; 
not much of Arthur ; ^ nothing of Edgar ; nothing of the 
tripartite division of England between Danish, Mercian, 
and West Saxon law. Saint Edward is not made the hero 
of the tale ; ^ the Norman Conqueror shows no preference 
for the Danelaw : indeed, the Norman Conqueror is never 
named. Our author's hand is free, and he is quite able to 
do his own lying for himself, without any aid from Geoffrey 
of Monmouth or any other liar. He will not merely invent 
laws, but he will invent legislators also ; for who else has 
told us of the statutes of Thurmod and Leuthfred ? ^ 
.The author's The right to lie he exercises unblushingly. Now and 

■wilful false- . . n t^ji- j. > 

hoods again we may see traces oi some little circumspection. A 

good instance is given us by the daring fable about the 
forty-four false judges whom Alfred hanged in the space of 
a year.'' He is going to know the names of these judges, and 
he thinks that he had better not give them the names cur- 
rent in the England of his own day. Henry, John, Kichard, 
Eobert, Kalph, Eoger will not do. So let them be Watling, 
Billing, Bermond, and so forth. Watling Street, Billing's 
Gate, and Bermond's-eye give him useful suggestions. 
Botolph, Cuthbert, Dunstan, Cede seem pretty safe to a 
man who goes to church. There is no one to tell him that 

' See below, p. 3. that the mysterious Leuthfred was 

* He appears on p. 81 as protect- a kinsman of Pope Eleutherius for 
ing the villains and doing vengeance whom Dr. Liebermann's Londoner 
on those who persecute them. forged a famous letter ? 

• Below, pp. 107, 152. Can it be * Below, p. 166. 


he had better keep clear of Scandinavian names (and some- 
how or another he has collected a good many of them), or 
that Yve and Tristram and Talebot look a little too French 
or romantic. And then as to the names of the towns 
whose suitors are to be sent to the gallows, he chooses Dor- 
chester, Cirencester, and Ancaster. If names ending in 
Chester are not old, what names are ? Let us remember 
among the exploits of Alfred that he hanged Horn • — ' Horn 
michi cognomen.' But even the rudimentary caution that 
we see in this choice of names is rare. Our author knows 
nothing and dreams nothing of a time before feudalism and 
knights' fees, of a time when, as yet trial by jury had not 
been invented. If he has heard or read of ancient law, of 
thegns and ceorls, of hot and wer and wlte, of gri^ and 
mund, he leaves all this outside his story. 

Unless fortune has served him or us very ill, we must imaprinary 
hold that he did not scruple to invent tales about times 
much later than those of Alfred. He ascribes a good deal 
of legislation to Henry I.,'* Henry II.,' Eichard,"* John,^ and 
Henry III.^ Some of the tales that he tells of them are 
not obvious anachronisms ; but this general rule holds 
good, that he says what others have not said and does not 
say what others have said. For laws of Henry I. (and of 
Henry I.'s name he is very fond) he does not go to Henry 
of Huntingdon, nor to William of Malmesbury, nor even to 
the Leges Henrici ; for laws of Henry II. he does not go to 
the Gesta, nor to Hoveden, nor to Diceto, nor to GlanvilVs 
book. He does not go to Glanvill's book even when he is 
going to speak of Glanvill.^ He is not corroborated; he 
scorns corroboration. 

' Below, p. 168. provers. 

* Below, p. 14, security for prose- • "Below, p. 34, sanctuary. This 

cution ; p. 14, curtesy ; p. 50, appeal ascription to Henry the Third (the 

of homicide ; p. 59, imprisonment ; Second ?) of a law made at Clarendon 

p. 64, mainprise ; p. 64, suit of touching sanctuary seems to be oc- 

witnesses ; p. 126, mesne process ; casioned by a passage in Bracton, f. 

p. 136, false appeals ; p. 136, main- 136, which our author misunder 

prise ; p. 140, year, day and waste ; stood. See also p. 52. 

p. 141, pleading. ' Below, p. 31, deodands ; p. 65, 

» Below, p. 32, tournaments. novel disseisin ; p. 72, replevin ; p. 

* Below, p. 132, petty larceny. 141, pleading exceptions. 

* Below, pp. 35 6, appeals by ap- 



His leading If HOW WB Rsk for his motives, we had better for a 

while use the word motive in the sense that Eichard Wagner 
has made familiar. No other law-book is so like ' the art- 
M'ork of the future.' It is constructed out of a few leading 
motives, each of which is frequently reintroduced in some 
new key with more or less ornament and embroidery. We 
might pick these out and label them as * the false judge 
motive,' ' the Hebraic talion motive,' and so forth ; but any 
reader will soon see that he can do this for himself, and 
• will find the task amusing. Only of a few main themes 
shall we here speak. 
The reii- A stroug rcligious strain runs through his work ; indeed, 

giousmo ive ^^^ ^hole book might be marked Religioso. Of course in a 
medieval law-book, albeit a book of temporal law, we expect 
to see courteous words about Holy Church and her juris- 
diction, even though some of the extreme claims of the 
ecclesiastical courts are being strenuously resisted. Nor 
are we surprised when Bracton in fervent phrases preaches 
a sermon against the corrupt judge and threatens him 
with everlasting torments.' We have something very dif- 
ferent in the Mirror, something that we shall hardly find 
elsewhere, least of all in ecclesiastical law-books, for we 
shall not go far wrong if we call it Puritanism. There is 
a curious trait of bibliolatry,^ a tendency to collect prece- 
dents out of the Old Testament and to find legal maxims 
in the ancient laws of the Hebrews, a tendency which the 
medieval Church very wisely repressed, for it leads to a 
justification of the judicial combat by the precedent of 
David V. Goliath ^ and an acceptation of ' Eye for eye and 
tooth for tooth.' ■* But, further, our author chooses to re- 
^^ gard every breach of the law as sin. It is of sin that he 
will write even though this brings him to the flagrant 
absurdity of a classification of sins as ' real,. personal, and 
mixed.' ^ Religion, morality, law, these are for him all 

' Bracton, ff. 2, 106. should only be adjudged where there 

* See below, pp. 2, 3. has been wrongful imprisonment.' 

* Below, pp. 77, 109. ^ Below, p. 49. Even in his 

* Below, pp. 49, 143. Therefore application of these adjectives to 
it is that (p. 184) ' imprisonment actions he seems to depart widely 


one ; they are for him law. He knows nothing of the 
distinction, which any canonist would have taught him, 
between the forum externum and the forum internum. Hence 
his enormous and intolerable extension of the boundaries 
of larceny ' and perjury.^ Whatever is morally as bad as 
theft is theft, and should be treated as such. Hence also the 
freedom with which he can give the name of law to some rule 
directly contrary to that which King Edward's courts are 
enforcing. "What I think right is right ; what is right is law ; 
any divergence from the rule of right is an ' abuse ' of the 
law, even though courts and legislators may be guilty of it. 

What we find is religiosity real or assumed; it is not n.e author 
ecclesiasticism or sacerdotalism, it is not high-churchman- 
sliip. The distinction that is here indicated by terms that 
may not be very apt is none the less one on which we 
must insist. In the thirteenth century there were quarrels 
enough between Church and State, quarrels about matters 
which any writer of a legal text-book would have to men- 
tion : for example, about the privilege of sanctuary and 
the benefit of clergy and the writ of prohibition. Now it 
will seem to us that with these matters the Mirror deals 
pretty fairly.^ It does not violently champion the cause of 
either party. '' It holds that the Great Chart 3r and the 
Statute of 1275 are defective in not providing a punish- 
ment for justices who are remiss in delivering accused 
clerks to their ordinaries, or who poach in the ecclesiastical 
coverts.^ On the other hand, I cannot think that the 
following sentence came from one who was an ecclesiastic 
or an ecclesiastically-minded man : — ' It was forbidden 
[among the fundamental laws of the realm] that any bishop 
bliould ordain as clerks more laymen than are necessary 
to serve the churches, so that the king's jurisdiction may 
not be decreased or diminished.' "^ And again : — * The 

from the traditional P^nglish use of 34, seems to fall short of the dciDands 

words. He would make all turn on of the clergy, bee also Abubo 22 

mesne process, but of mesne process (p. 157). 

he 1ms theories that are all his own. * Below, pp. 92-3. 

' IJelow, pp. 25-28. ' Below, pp. 176, 185. 

- Below, pp. IG-H). ' Below, p. 11, and Abuse 1C9 

' The passage about i^anctuary, p. (p. 171). 




Is the 
genuine ? 

articles [in Circumspecte Agatis] which would compel 
parishioners to enclose churchyards, to make oblations, to 
give mortuaries, to pay money for confessions, or for the 
blessed bread, for roofing the churches, for chalices, lights, 
holy vestments or other ornaments of the churches, are 
founded rather on covetousness than on the amendment of 
souls, since the parsons of the churches are to be repre- 
hended in this respect, not the parishioners, and are to 
be charged for these things to the extent of one-third of 
their tithes.' ' This surely is the work of a layman. "We 
seem to hear in advance the voice of the modern Non- 
conformist who objects to compulsory church-rates and 
relies on ' the tripartite division of tithes.' It comes from 
a man who, despite Pope and General Council, would like 
to see * the judgment of God ' re-established among us.^ 

Let it not be supposed that this obtrusive religiosity is 
a common feature of medieval law-books. It is nothing of 
the kind ; it is a very distinctive feature of this book. No 
doubt in sound and practical treatises we may find religious 
reflexions, references to Holy Writ, and now and again 
some fragments of dogmatic theology. But it was no more 
the fashion in the middle ages than it is the fashion now- 
adays for a lawyer or for anyone else to speak habitually 
as if law and law-courts and parliaments existed for the 
purpose of saving the souls of sinners.^ Not every book is 
typical of the age in which it was produced. Every age 
has had its prophets, its eccentrics, and its paradoxers. 

Now the Puritanism, the edificatory design, the unctuous 
language, may be unaffected. On the other hand, all this 
may be cant ; or, again, it may be a convenient artistic 

' Below, p. 199. See also Abuse 
110 (p. 171) : clerks who have aban- 
doned the world ought not to hold 
lay fee. The word clerks seems to 
show that this is aimed, not at the 
monks, but at the secular clergy. 
If so, this is Puritanism. See also 
p. 183 : ' A clerk has no more right 
to sin with impunity than has a lay- 
man.' A staunch upholder of eccle- 
Biastical privileges would have said 

that this last sentence hovered be- 
tween truism and heresy. 

* Below, p. 110, and Abuse 127. 

' See e.g. p. 49, where an ap- 
pellor desires to drive the appellee 
to salvation, and p. 59, where the 
king is bound by his office to chasten 
sinners to salvation, and p. 155, 
where parliaments are to be held 
twice a year for the salvation of the 
souls of sinners. 


drapery. By assuming the garb of the. preacher, and 
boasting his familiarity with inspired books, this writer 
may be forging a title to lay down for law whatever rules 
he would like to enforce, and to tell tales that are not 
easily credible. So let us be upon our guard. 

Then we may see a tendency to dabble in the Canon The canoDi- 

cal motive 

Law, and yet may be sure that our author is not an in- 
structed canonist. He probably could command a copy of 
the Decretum. His queer account of divination takes us 
back ultimately, if not directly, to a passage of St. Augus- 
tin that Gratian has excerpted." From the same source 
he has obtained a proof that homicide can be committed by 
word as well as by deed : a proof which, in passing, seeks to 
explain the apparently discrepant statements as to the 
hour of Christ's death that are contained in the Gospels." 
Once he cites ' the canon itself ' as to the position of serfs 
who have been ordained, a topic about which there is much 
to be found in the Decretum and the Decretales GregoriiJ* 
From some canonical text-book he has borrowed the classical 
definition of afiSnity ; but this he could come by easily.* It 
is not impossible that the title of his book was suggested 
to him by the work of William Durant, the celebrated 
Speculum ludiciale, which soon earned for its author his 
well-known title ' Speculator.' The first edition of this 
l)Ook was, we are told, compiled before 1276, the second 
before 1287,^ and it very soon won a foremost place in the 
libraries of all practising canonists. On the other hand, 
it is possible that our author, who, like Andrew Horn,* 
believed that the English were Saxons,^ and could talk 
about the law of Germany," had heard the name of a 
famous German law-book, the Saxon Mirror (Sachsen- 
spiegel) of Eike von Eepgau,'' and it is a curious coincidence 
that German historians are now telling us that Eike's 

' See below, p. 16. ' Below, p. 6. 

* See below, p. 23. • Below, p. 46. 

* See below, p. 78. • The date of this book is not very 

* See below, p. 21. certain, ichrdder, Deutsche Rechts- 

* Schnlte, Oeschichte dcs canoni- gcschichte, p. 622, plaoes it between 
schrn liechts, ii. I-IO. 1215 aud 1235. 

* See above, p. xviii. 

DO cauuuiiit 


statements of law bear a markedly ' subjective character,' 
or, in other words, do not accurately represent the actual 
practice of the courts of his own day. There is a faint 
resemblance between the beginning of our Mirror and the 
beginning of the Sachsenspiegel, and our author might well 
have called his book Speculum Saxonicum, so positive is he 
that all that is English is Saxon. ^ However, the word 
* Mirror ' lay ready to the hand of anyone who desired a 
title for a manual of theology, law, or any other science. 
The author But, to retum from a digression, we shall not easily 

believe that our author is an expert in the law of the 
Church. Had he been this, he would assuredly have 
shown us his hand by some scientific citation. Your pro- 
fessional canonist would hardly have admitted that the sun 
shone at noonday without sending you to Gratian for the 
proof, and would never have written pages about law 
without one ut Extra. Besides, the ideas which attract 
our English Speculator in the books at which he glances 
are the mere curiosities. He is pleased with the notion 
that the Almighty made Moses a doctor ^ — utriusque iuris, 
we suppose — and that Christ ' sat in his consistory ' to 
judge the woman taken in adultery.^ Augustin's detailed 
account of heathen magic strikes his eye,'' and so does that 
apology for the seeming variance between evangelists 
which is also a lesson in the law of homicide.'^ He is 
fascinated by the idea of hei'esy as crimen laesae malestatis 
divinae,^ and though there are no heretics in England, or 
none worth persecuting, he likes to imagine an ' appeal ' of 
heresy ; it would be a picturesque event ; ^ almost as pic- 

' Compare the prologue Dieii tout Spiegel, we are not of necessity at- 

pussant of the Mirror with the pro- tributing to him a knowledge of the 

logue Got die clar is begin unde German tongue, for we are told that 

ende aller dinge of the Spiegel. The Eike wrote his work in Latin before 

prologue done, the Englishman de- he produced the German version 

scribes the division of England that has come down to us. 

among forty Saxon counts ; the ^ Below, pp. 5, 123. 

German sets forth the titles of the ' Below, pp. 43-4. 

Saxon nobles, though this account * Below, p. 16. 

of them does not, it is said, belong * Below, p. 23. 

to the first edition of his work. In ^ Below, p. 15! 

suggesting that the author of the ' Below, pp. 59, 60. 
Minor may have glanced at the 


turesque as the indictment of Nolling for a sacrifice to 
Mahomet.' But of the strict Bcho'aetic method, the labo- 
rious logic that he would have learnt in a school of canon 
law, there is no trace. Here, as elsewhere, we see the 
amateur. He has caught hold of some doctrines oiinfamia^ 
and of ' notoriety,' ' and of the various kinds of ignorance 
which Bracton had wisely left on one side. He would like 
to be taken for a well-read decretist ; but really his 
canonical lore seems to be of the kind that an outsider 
would pick up pretty easily if he haunted the consistories 
and now and then glanced at a handbook. The confusion 
between * capital crimes ' and * mortal sins,' the talk of 
'mortal actions' and 'venial actions,' of 'real, personal, 
and mixed sins,' the attempt to force upon our temporal 
law the distinction between ' notoriety in fact,' and ' noto- 
riety in law,' the attempt to represent the suitors in the 
local courts as 'judges ordinary': all this, if it be not a 
display of mere ineptitude, is a display of a perverse origin- 
ality which amuses itself by playing havoc among technical 
terms. And at this point we remember that Dr. Stubbs, 
without mentioning the Mirror, threw out the suggestion 
that Andrew Horn may at one time have held * some office 
in connexion with the Court of Arches.' The Canon Law 
of this book looks like the Canon Law of some aspiring 
usher, who adorns his conversation with the cast-off phrases 
of those learned doctors to whose discourses he is compelled 
to listen. 

So with his Roman Law. Almost all the Romanesque Roman Law 
tracks in bis book, and they are many, lead us in the first mrror 
instance to Bracton, with whose work he certainly was 
familiar. Indeed, but one passage has caught my eye in 
which he distinctly betrays a knowledge of a Roman text 
that he could not have obtained from Bracton. This is 
the definition of theft. Let us compare the three following 
passages : — 

Institut. 4. 1. 1. Furtum est contrectatio rei frau- 
dulosa vol ipsius rei vel etiam usus eius possessionisve. 

' Below, p. 60. ' Below, p. 133. • Below, p, 122. 


Bracton, f. 150 b [Fleta, p. 54] : Furtum est se- 
cundum leges contrectatio rei alienae fraudulenta cum 
aiiimo furandi invito illo domino cuius res ilia fuerit. 

Mirror, p. 25 : Larcin est prise dautri moeble 
corporel trecherousement contre la volunte celi a qi il 
est pur male gaigne de la possession ou del us. 

It seems fairly clear that the compiler of the Mirror com- 
bines Bracton with the Institutes. He restores the usus 
eius possessionisve, which Bracton had advisedly suppressed, 
and yet retains Bracton's invito domino. However, this 
one instance would be an insufficient cause for allowing 
him even a copy of the Institutes. The classical definition 
oi furtum he might find in many places. And so when he 
talks nonsense (for nonsense it is, if he is describing the 
English law of his own day) about the double damages 
paid for theft and the fourfold paid for robbery,' we gather 
that he has heard just enough of Eoman law to make this 
rubbish possible. But of any study of the Eoman books 
we can see no evidence, while it is almost incredible that 
he had ever been through a school of professional legists.^ 
Theim- And yet he is the man who writes what may in one 

perialist , . . 

motive sense be called the most Eomanistic passage that is to be 
found in any English book. Not only as a matter of 
general theory does he attribute force to * the written law ' ' 
and place the Emperor on a level with the Pope and above 
all kings '' — Bracton, with Azo's work before him, had been 
careful to exclude imperial pretensions ^ — but he has the 
sublime impudence to say that a chapter of an English 
statute, which he particularly dislikes, is void because it 
has not received the sanction of Pope or Emperor.'^ This 
doctrine of imperial supremacy he may have heard from a 
civilian or from a German merchant. Had it gained a 
foothold in England a ' reception ' of Eoman law would 
have been imminent. But we have here only a dream, 

' Below, p. 150. Instit. 4. 3. §§ 6. 7. 

^ The talk about homicide com- ' Below, p. 5. 

mitted by negligent physicians (be- * Below, p. 123. 

low," p. 137) is not due to Bracton, ' Bracton, f. 5 b, 107. 

and some phrases in it remind us of " Below, p. 195. 


and one that came through the ivory gate. The orthodox 
English doctrine, among men who cared to have any 
doctrine at all about so obvious a matter, was that the king 
of England was within his realm an emperor vel quasi.^ 

It seems plain that this man has Bracton at his elbow, rhc mrror 

and English 

There are in his book passages that might have been uw-books 
borrowed from Fleta or from Britton. But I think it clear 
that he has gone to the fountain-head. We will take for 
fexample his academic discourse on homicide and the kinds 
thereof. The very practical Britton has no such discourse. 
Fleta has abridged that which he found in Bracton, who 
in his turn had borrowed from Bernard of Pavia. 

Mirror, p. 22 : Homicide est occision de homme 
par homme fete. Car si par heste ou mescheaunce 
adunc nest pas homicide. Cest pecchie chiet en ij. 
maneres : par langue e par fete. Par langue en iij. 
maneres : par conseil, comandement e defense. 

Fleta, p. 33 : Homicidium est hominis occisio ab 
homine nequiter facta, et potest quis corporaliter occidi 
facto et lingua : facto, — iustitia, necessitate, casu et 
voluntate; lingua, — praecepto, consilio, defensione. 

Bracton, f. 120 b : Et est homicidium hominis 
occisio ab homine facta, si enim a hove, cane vel alia 
re non dicetur proprie homicidium. . . . Species homi- 
cidii sunt plures. . . . lingua vel facto. Lingua, 
tribus modis. . . . 

Bernardus Papiensis : Homicidium est hominis 
occisio ab homine vel ab hominibus facta, nam et si 
quatuor vel plures homines aliquem vulneraverint et 
ipse inde mortuus fuerit omnes qui eum vulneraverint 
homicidae reputantur . . . Species homicidii plures 
sunt . . . 

The remark that, if a man is killed by a beast, this is 
not homicide, is common to the Mirror and Bracton ; it 
does not come from Bernard ; it is not received by Fleta.' 

' See Rishanger, Chronica et An- ' In a forthcoming book Bracton's 

nales (Rolls Ser.), p. 255 : ' quia text will be compared with Ber- 
hie censetur Imperator.' nard's. 



Was Britton 
used ? 

The Mirror 
and Bracton 

of Bracton's 

That Britton as well as Bracton was used is possible, 
but cannot, so it seems to me, be proved. The niost strik- 
ing coincidence is the following. Britton has told a tale 
about one Kobert Walerand, who was a prominent justice 
and a royal favourite in the last days of Henry III.' As 
I understand Britten's words, they mean that to Robert 
Walerand was due an ordinance which gave the king the 
wardship of the lands of all born fools. We find the same 
story in the Mirror? However, Walerand was a dis- 
tinguished man, and the story has its point in the well- 
attested fact that his own heir was an idiot,^ so that his 
connexion with the ordinance would be easily remembered, 
and we need not be surprised if it is mentioned a few yeai-s 
after his death by two independent writers. The author 
of the Mirror will mix some true tales with his fables. 

It is difficult to say what English law-books he has or 
what he has not used, for he borrows nothing without 
distorting it. His procedure may be illustrated by what 
he writes about the crime of mayhem. He seems to have 
Bracton's account of the law before him, but he adorns it 
by attributing certain dicta to three ancient judges whom 
he calls Turgis, Senwel, and Billing.'' Whether this is 
the same Billing that King Alfred hanged he does not tell 
us, and the question is unanswerable, for Billing is the 
creature of his brain. He is borrowing from Bracton, and 
concealing the enforced loan by romance. 

When once we have been persuaded that our author 
has been studying Bracton's book, our estimate of his 
knowledge of law of any sort or kind, whether Roman, 
Canon, or English, will not be very high. 'Action nest 
autre chose qe loiale demande de son droit ' ; ^ this we say 
comes from the Institutes until we see that Bracton has 
already borrowed it.'' As to English law, it seems to me 
that when the Mirror makes any statement that is sober 
and verifiable and yet is a statement that goes beyond that 

Britton, i. 243. 

Below, p. 138. 

Engl. Hint. Rev. vi. 3G9. 

Below, p. 2i. Compare Bracton, 


' Below, p. 43. 

' Bracton, f. 98 b. 


sort of knowledge which every layman may have of the 
law of his own time, the source of that statement is 
Bracton. That Bracton's name should nowhere occur in 
the book (though Bracton's hero, Martin of Pateshull, is 
mentioned '), that is exactly what we might expect. The 
man who professed to have read records that never existed 
was the very man to conceal the name of the writer from 
whom he learnt almost all that he knew. 

That he deliberately stated as law what he knew "was wiifui mig- 
not law, if by law we mean the settled doctrines of the cfiaw 
king's court, will be sufficiently obvious to anyone who 
knows anything of the plea rolls of the thirteenth century. 
If at the present day a man wrote a law-book and said in 
it, * Law forbids that murderers should be hanged ; estates 
tail cannot be barred ; bills of exchange are not negotiable 
instruments,' he would be guilty of no extravagance for 
which a parallel might not be found in the Mirror. Let us 
take for example the following sentence : * The law also 
forbids that anyone should lease or take to farm land, or 
fee, or possession for any term of years beyond the term of 
forty years, and that any contracts should be made for a 
perpetual fee farm, or for any term at a higher rent than 
the fourth part of the annual value, and that any woman 
should be endowed of the advowson of a church.' ^ One 
word is wanted to make this true ; the word * not.' Our 
author knows that as well as we know it. Let us take 
another example. * If rent, suit, or other service due to 
any lord from his fee be in arrear, the tenant is not to be 
distrained by his movable goods.' ' This statement was 
as false in Edward I.'s time, as obviously and notoriously 
false, as it would be if it were written nowadays. But the 
author has a feudal fad ; instead of distress he wants to 
see proceedings taken by the lord in his seignorial court. 
A quantitative analysis of his work which would accurately 
distinguish all that is true from all that is false we can 
hardly make. We are naturally unwilling to contradict 

' Below, p. 147. " Below, p. 75 ; see also p. 1C4. 

* Below, p. 129 ; see also p. 175. 



Absence of 



The parlia- 

flatly a man of a remote age who talks to us about the 
law of his own time, and so this man has been able to 
trade upon our diffidence and ignorance. But, when 
once we know his character, we shall begin to suspect that 
those passages in his book which successfully stand a com- 
parison with plea rolls and honest treatises are the most 
deceptive, having been designed for the very purpose of 
inducing us to swallow the fables that lurk amongst them. 

For this reason it is hard for us to estimate the extent 
of his legal knowledge. He is wilfully and of set purpose 
misplacing his ' nots.' But of a lawyerly interest in law 
we see very few signs. He does not love to argue, as 
Bracton loves to argue. He takes no delight in a nice case 
or a moot point. When we do get from him anything that 
by courtesy could be called a legal argument, it is fantastic 
or it is puerile,' and this we say judging it, not by any 
standard of our own day, but by the standard set by Glan- 
vill and Bracton, by Britton and Hengham. 

His political theory is simple. He is strongly opposed 
to an unfettered monarchy and to a king who is above the 
law. But his ideal of the body which is, or ought to be, a 
check upon the king, is quaint and impracticable. He 
first puts it before us in the guise of ancient history. We 
must go back to * the coming of the English.' Further 
back than that we need not go. He is as ardent a Teu- 
tonist as was the la.te Mr. Freeman ; more ardent, for of 
the Norman Conquest he says no' word. Of British, of 
Scandinavian, of French elements in our history, he will 
know nothing. The very name of William he ignores. 
And yet how came he to be writing in French of English 
law ? He can, indeed, allude to the times of King Arthur,'^ 
but, at all events for political purposes, ' the coming of the 
English ' gives us the requisite tabula rasa. God abated 
the pride of the Britons, and handed over the land to those 
' humble and simple ' Saxons who came from the parts of 
Almain. These Saxons had forty sovereigns, who in course 

' See e.g. p. 162 (Abuse 73). See also the marvellous mistake about 
realiler on p. 190. * Below, p. 3. 


of time chose a king to reign over them. Then the king- 
ship became hereditary, and the forty princes became the 
king's cornites or counts. Each of them governed a county.' 
A parliament of counts or earls meeting twice a year in 
London,^ which aids the king in governing the people and 
hears all causes in which the king is defendant,^ seems to 
be our author's political ideal : * a curiously oligarchic and 
aristocratic ideal. Even of the barons we read very little, 
while the prelates seem to have nothing to do with tem- 
poral affairs. Of the representation of shires and boroughs 
we have no syllable ; no syllable of the right of the com- 
munity of the land to take part in legislation or even in 
taxation. The ideal is a belated ideal even in the days of 
Edward I. ; indeed, we may doubt whether at any time a 
council of forty earls ever stood in the political programme 
of any English party. But then we do not know that our 
author is serious. Is it not all a dream ? 

He shows some curious leanings towards liberty and Theequaii- 

" '' tarian 

equality, an intense and a very unmercantile dislike of motive 
imprisonment, more especially imprisonment for debt ; * a 
tendency to argue that the lord owes just as much to his 
man as the man owes to his lord ; a desire to give'the bailiff 
just the same remedy against the master that the master 
has against the bailiff. He holds that the villains are 
being unjustly treated. For all this, however, he is neither 
demagogue nor socialist. The feudal arrangement of 
society is for him a sacred, primeval, unalterable arrange- 
ment. He does not denounce it as modern or alien. It 
was established here immediately after * the coming of the 
English.' Knights' fees and wardship in chivalry and 
seignorial justice were among the first institutions of ' our 
holy predecessors.' He is decidedly opposed to that free 
alienation of land for which Bracton argued warmly. 
Indeed, at many points he appears as a stricter feudist 

' Below, pp. 6-8. • Below, p. 164 (Abuse 81) ; p. 179 

* Below, pp. 8, 156. (c. 29) ; p. 184 : ' imprisonment 
" Below, p. 7. should only be adjudged in case of 

* Below, p. 36. King John legis- wrongful imprisonment.' 
lates with the assent of the earls. 



Absence of 
civic pre- 

No mercan- 
tile motive 

than Bracton was. He has exceedingly severe notions con- 
cerning fealty and homage ; the tenant may easily forfeit 
the land, the lord may easily forfeit the seignory. 

With Andrew Horn, fishmonger and citizen, in our 
minds, we naturally are on the outlook for any phrase 
which may exalt the City of London or magnify civic 
privileges or civic pretensions. Especially will this he so 
if we remember that Horn possessed and annotated a copy 
of what I have called Dr. Liebermann's London law-book, 
a book whose compiler was ever tampering with his texts 
in order that he might advocate some claim dear to the 
hearts of London citizens. But, if I am not mistaken, 
there is only one matter about which the author of the 
Mirror speaks in the municipal key. That is the r-esidence 
of aliens within the realm. He holds that a foreigner 
should not be suffered to dwell here for more than forty 
days without being put in frankpledge.^ A claim of this 
sort is a distinctively urban or municipal claim, and is 
urged in the London law-book at the expense of historic 
truth.^ On the other hand, we may find in the Mirror a 
passage which, if written by a London citizen, is either 
marvellously impartial or marvellously well devised for the 
purpose of throwing hunters off the trail. It is explained 
to us that the ancient liberties which are guaranteed to 
the City of London by the Great Charter are only such 
liberties as have been lawfully granted and confirmed by 
the kings and have not been forfeited by abuse. Also we 
are told that no distinction in this respect is to be drawn 
between London and other places.^ Not a word of Troy, 
but a confession that Londoners hold their franchises by 
royal grant and may forfeit them, and then a confession 
that the great city is at most prima inter pares. Our author 
does not like franchises, whether seignorial or municipal. 
Franchises are inequalities, and he is for equality. 

Again, we can catch no specifically mercantile strain, 
no enhancement of the law merchant at the expense of the 

■' Liebermann, Leges Anglorum, p. 13. 
- Below, p. 156 (Abuse 6) ; p. 180 (c. 30). 

Below, p. 177. 


common law. On the contrary, our compiler has a marked 
hatred for King Edward's ' new ' mercantile statute.' It 
allows imprisonment for debt. So doing, it infringes the 
law of nature and the law of God. It must be confessed 
that if this book comes from a London citizen and a 
wealthy fishmonger, he has allowed his own private theories 
and fancies to override the interested opinions and pre- 
judices of the class to which he belongs, or else — for we 
must take nothing for granted —knows how to perplex his 

But we wrong the man if we wish to make him the Treatment 
representative of a class. He stands, for the sake of art magnate. 
or of mystery, outside all classes, and is not going to tell 
us whether he is hallowed or lay, gentle or simple, free or 
bond, from town or from country. If one of his ' motives ' 
would suggest one inference about such matters, he will be 
careful to suggest another inference by another motive. 
His political scheme of a parliament of earls and his 
attacks on royal officers might induce us to call him a 
member of an oligarchic and feudal party. But he has 
assaulted the dearest interests of that party with an energy 
that a law officer of the Crown might envy. In the first 
half of Edward I.'s reign one of the most flagrant disputes 
between the king and any class of his subjects was that 
which related to the ' franchises ' of the magnates. The 
royal doctrine was that franchises could not be claimed by 
prescription, while many of the prelates and barons could 
show no other title for those jurisdictional privileges which 
they exercised. In the end the king had to give way. In 
1290 he conceded that a seisin continued from the reign of 
Richard I. might be pleaded in reply to a quo tiaranto. 
Now, about this warmly controverted matter, we may find 
in the Mirror a doctrine which an attorney- general could 
have subscribed. To the full it sanctions the extremest 
claims that had been put forward in the name of kingly 
prerogative. The man who attempts to prescribe for a 

■ Below, p. 164 (Abuse 81) ; p. 179 (c. 29) ; p. 199. 



The author's 

of the 

franchise does but aggravate his offence by asserting that 
he is an old offender.' Shall we say, then, that our author 
is a royalist pamphleteer ? Far from it. Let the nobles 
wait ; their turn will come, for * it is an abuse that a tenant 
can without punishment enfeoff a third person in the fee of 
his lord to his lord's prejudice.'^ This is a handsome con- 
cession to the great folk at a time when Quia emptores is 
imminent; and, though the franchises are attacked, the 
seignorial jurisdiction of the court baron which is exercised 
by the suitors as 'judges ordinary' is warmly defended 
against the new-fangled writs which encroach upon its 

Is not this man a little too disinterested ? Have we not 
a little too much difficulty in assigning the class to which 
he belongs ? Have we not here the disinterestedness of the 
smart j'oung man who is amusing himself and laughing in 
his sleeve ? Having told us how Nolling was indicted for 
a sacrifice to Mahomet, he may be allowed the licence of 
the artist. The man who about the year 1289 says that 
there can be no prescription for franchises, and yet that 
the lord's consent is necessary if a tenant wishes to make 
a feoffment, is giving his opinion on two burning questions. 
One he decides against the nobles, the other in their favour. 
In each case his opinion is that which the statute roll is 
going to reject. Such a man is a representative, not of the 
spirit of the age, but of a disinterested spirit, the spirit of 

Of late years the pa.ssages in the Mirror which have 
attracted most attention are those which speak of villainage. 
The author warmly protests that according to law villains 
and serfs are not all one, that the villains are free men and 
are or ought to be protected in their holdings by the assize 
of novel disseisin.^ This no doubt is worthy of remark, 

' Below, pp. 113, 147. 

^ Abuse 151 (p. 175) ; p. 181 (c. 

» Below, p. 179 (c. 24) ; p. 182 ; 
p. 191 (c. 7). 

* The Statute Quia Emptores and 
the Statute of Quo Waranto both 

come from the year 1290, and from 
what seems to have been considered 
one and the same parliament. See 
Statutes, i. 106-7. 

' Below, pp. 79, 81, 162, 165, 177, 


and it may fairly be used, as it has been used, by way of 
argument to prove that the legal theory of villainage which 
we find, not merely in the text-books, but in the records of 
the king's court, ran counter to older doctrines which would 
have kept the servi and the villani apart from each other.' 
At the same time we must observe that the author's heresy 
about villainage is closely connected with other heresies 
which can hardly have any traditional basis. If it is an 
• abuse ' to deny the assize of novel disseisin to the tenant 
in villainage, it is also an ' abuse ' to deny the same assize 
to the ejected tenant for term of years, and it is also an 
' abuse ' to hold that this assize does not protect the seisin 
of advowsons.* The plea in favour of the villains loses some, 
though not all, of its force when we find it mixed up with 
these crotchets. 

Our author would not be angry, he would be pleased, if ReaeMonwy 

, motives 

we called him a ' reactionary ' or a ' retrogressist.' Like 
most of his contemporaries he believes rather in the good 
old time than in the good time coming, and it is his cue to 
restore to pristine purity those ' usages ' of ' our holy pre- 
decessors ' which have been ' turned to abuse.' But his 
hst of abuses is a strange medley. As to a few of them we 
may say with some certainty that if King Edward's justices 
and oflBcers were guilty of the practices that are denounced, 
they were knowingly breaking the law. That in and about 
1289 there were in high place men who were quite capable 
of knowingly breaking the law we may learn but too easily 
from sources incomparably more trustworthy than the 
Mirror. But then these few ' abuses ' are mixed up with 
many other ' abuses ' which really are the newer develop- 
ments of the common law. The man who calls them 
' abuses ' wants (or makes believe that he wants) to see the 
stream of law flowing backwards. Of any really remote 
time, even of the twelfth century, he does not know enough 
to enable him to demand the revival of many archaisms. 
But Bracton's book and living tradition teach him that 

Vinogradoff, Villainage in England, pp. 416-421. 
' Below, pp. 67,68, 162, 164. ISM. 

C 2 


certain doctrines and practices are novelties. In a good 
many instances the * abuse ' would disappear if the law of 
1200 or even of 1250 could be restored. Let us cite a few 
which seem to belong to this class. 

4. It is an abuse that force may be used in disseisins 
after the third day of peaceable seisin. 

9. It is an abuse that there are so many forms of plead- 
able writs. 

13, It is an abuse that treason is not more commonly 
attainted by appeals. 

19. It is an abuse that justices drive a lawful man to 
put himself upon his country when he offers to defend him- 
self by his body. 

50. It is an abuse that men can alienate more than a 
quarter of their inheritances away from their heirs. 

56. It is an abuse to make a man answer to the king's 
suit when he is not indicted or appealed. 

85. It is an abuse to outlaw a man for a default when 
the original cause of the proceedings against him is not a 

117. It is an abuse that rape is a mortal sin. 

124. It is an abuse that anyone should be bound to 
render an account of the profits of land whereof he is 
guardian by lawful title. 

126. It is an abuse that there is no trial by battle in 
personal actions as there is in case of felony. 

127. It is an abuse that proofs and purgations are not 
made by the miracle of God when no other proof can be had. 

Abuses new Now in thesc and some other cases the rules or institu- 

tions that are struck at seem to be novelties, and if by an 
' abuse ' the author merely meant that they were novelties 
to which he objected, he was free to use that word. And 
of course it is still open to question in our own day whether 
some of these innovations were wisely made : whether, for 
example, a little more courage might not have avoided the 
multiplication of new writs ; whether there was any need 
for the criminal information which is neither appeal nor 
indictment ; whether outlawry should not have been con- 

and old. 


fined to cases of felony ; and so forth. Our author's voice 
is (we are happy to say it) the one and only English voice 
that we have heard pleading for a restoration of 'the 
miracle of God.' Still he is here pleading for the old 
against the new, and the so-called * abuse ' is more or less 
of a novelty ; some yet living men may in their earliest 
childhood have seen an ordeal. If in these last years of 
the nineteenth century a man said, ' It is an abuse that 
fines and recoveries are not permitted ; it is an abuse 
that the peine forte et dure is not inflicted ; it is an abuse 
that choses in action are assignable,' we might call him a 
lunatic, but still should have to credit him with some 
knowledge of legal history. However, many of the Specu- 
lator's * abuses ' are not even novelties. Let us take this 
for example : — ' It is an abuse to suppose that terms of 
years and presentments to churches cannot be recovered 
by the assize of novel disseisin.' ' Now, without daring 
to say that never in any single instance had a term of 
years or the presentment of a church been recovered by 
this assize (accidents will happen even in courts of justice), 
we can, now that we have in print many excerpts from the 
oldest plea rolls, say with some confidence that the doctrine 
that, is here reprobated as an abuse is as old as the novel 
disseisin itself. But, further, the practice on which the 
lash of ' reprehension ' falls is sometimes no novelty ; it is 
an almost obsolete archaism that is lurking, if anywhere, 
in the local courts. Thus : * It is an abuse to allow 
voucher to warranty in larceny or in any other personal 
action.' * If this voucher in the * action of theft ' is being 
allowed in Edward I.'s day, we have here no new-fangled 
rule, but one of the most ancient traits of primitive Ger- 
manic law. In truth, no serious attempt is being made to 
separate the old from the new, and to restore the law of a 
past time. This manufacturer of ' abuses ' knew so little 
of any history that such an attempt, had he made it, 
would not have prospered in his hands. But he is not 
making it. He is enjoying himself. 

' Abuse 76 (p. 164). * Abuse 106 (p. 166). 



Pedantry of 
the Mirror 

The attack 
on the 

When we have to deal with some anonymous and im- 
personal book we gladly catch at any sentence which 
seems to reveal by chance some little of the author's 
life, and sometimes, perhaps, we rear too lofty an edifice 
of conjectural biography upon a very slight foundation. 
In the present case we are scarcely tempted to any such 
constructive feat. The indications are too many and too 
contradictory. And so we are not going to say that this 
book comes from one of the oppressed villains, or from one 
who has lain in prison for debt, or from one whose favourite 
crime was rape. But perhaps we shall say that it comes 
from one whose opinions, or professed opinions, are the 
bport of small philological or biblical pedantries ; who would 
oblige a lord to find maintenance for every serf, since servi 
are derived a servando ; ' who holds that imprisonment 
should never be inflicted except as a punishment for false 
imprisonment, because the Mosaic law demands strict 
retaliation ;^ who prides himself on knowing that the crime 
that in English law is called rape (Lat. rapum) is not 
exactly the raptus of the Canon law.* His book is an 
impersonal book, not because it is scientific, nor because 
he is modest, but because he is fantastic and irresponsible. 

Howbeit, the strain that dominates the whole book is 
the dislike of the king's officers and their ways. ■ Corrupt 
are they and become abominable in their doings ; there is 
none that doeth good, no not one. From the chancellor 
and the false judges downwards, they are all guilty of 
offences, which, to give them their plain names, are per- 
jury, larceny, and murder. If King Alfred came back 
among us he would hang such folk by the score. The 
system of government is as bad as those who administer 
it. What our author seems to detest most is any rule 
that puts the king or any of his subordinates outside the 
ordinary course of common justice. Writs should run 
against the king himself. The punishments that have 
been denounced of late against official oppressions are 

Below, p. 78 ; Abuse 89 (p. 165). 
Below, pp. 28-29. 

^ Below, p. 184. 


inadequate ; those who are guilty of them are simply 
perjurers and larceners, and should be treated as such. 
May we not guess that here, if anywhere, our author is 
really in earnest, and that a good deal of the rest of his 
book is but a cloud in which he wraps up his dangerous 
opinions — opinions, I mean, that may bring him into 
danger '? The man who wants to revive the ordeal, the 
man who holds that the emperor's consent is necessary if 
rape is to be made a capital crime, can always laugh at 
you if you take his words literally. May we not dream 
and tell our dreams ? 

The dream that the king of old time could be sued in The scandal 

of 1289 

his own court is a dream that is becoming popular. It is 
becoming an article of faith among those who have com- 
plaints against the king for the time being. Here, more 
definitely than anywhere else, we can connect the Mirror 
with a political programme that many will accept.' Again, 
if we suppose that the book was written about the year 
1289, the talk of ' false judges,' the hints that the chancery 
and the exchequer are full of perjurers and thieves, are not 
without point and truth. It was the time of the great 
scandal, the time of Solomon of Rochester and Thomas 
Weyland, the time of Adam of Stratton, the time when 
Edward appointed commissioners to try his judges, and 
even a Hengham hardly escaped with untarnished fame.' 
Even here, however, our friend is not going to speak out 
in simple and straightforward words. He will imply and 
he will allude. He will not talk of Stratton and Weyland ; 
he will talk of Billing and Watling. He will mix up real 
grievances with fables and falsehoods and views and 
visions. He will carp at Edward's reforming statutes, 

' Pollock and Maitland, Hist. Ann. Waverley, 408 ; Ann. Dun- 

Engl. Law, i. 500. stable, 355 ; Thomas Wykes, 319 ; 

* The Records relating to this Ann. Worcester, 499 ; Barth. Cotton, 

scandal deserve to be printed. It is p. 171 ; l^ic. Trivet (Eng. Hist, 

mentioned by many chroniclers. See Soc), 816. ^ee &\iO Parliamentary 

French Chrofiiclc of London {C&md. Writs (ed. Palgrave), vol. i. Chron. 

Soc.), p. 32 ; Contimiator of Florence Abstr. 14 ; Stubbs, Ccmst. Hist. ii. 

of Worcester (Eng. Hist. Soc), ii. 120. 
240; Rishanger (Rolls Ser.), 118; 


urging now some pedantic trifle and now some flighty 
fancy. It is the oddest jumble. At one moment we seem 
to hear the voice of Bentham, when codification is de- 
manded,' and at the next moment we are back among 
inalienable fiefs. All is wrong ; yes, all. 
Summary What, then, shall we say of this book ? and what 

shall we call its author ? Is he lawyer, antiquary, preacher, 
agitator, pedant, faddist, lunatic, romancer, liar ? A little 
of all, perhaps, but the romancer seems to predominate. 
He would like that some of his tales should be believed. 
He hopes, as other romancers have hoped, to edify as well 
as to amuse his readers. But he is careful not to tell us 
when he is in earnest and when he is at play. So to do 
would not merely be an inartistic blunder : it might end in 
his being taken but too seriously. He is making an attack 
on powerful persons, on the king's justices and ofl&cers. He 
is hinting that the royal court is a den of thieves. It is 
well for him that, if called to account for his words, he can 
say that he was but telling stories of Alfred and Arthur, 
and ask you whether you cannot see a joke. That is what 
makes his work so puzzling to us nowadays. We guess 
that he wanted his readers to believe some things that he 
said. We can hardly suppose him hoping that they would 
believe all. We feel sure that in Paradise, or wherever else 
he may be, he was pleasantly surprised when Coke repeated 
his fictions as gospel truth, and erudite men spoke of him 
in the same breath with Glanvill and Bracton. And yet 
we cannot say with any certainty when he intends to de- 
ceive, when to instruct, when to divert. That is just what 
he wished. He has puzzled us, and will puzzle us until we 
know much more than we know as yet of the times in 
which he lived. It is a variegated, tessellated book, this 
book of his : Dichtung und Wahrheit — or shall we adopt 
Ihering's Scherz und Ernst in der Jurisprudenz ? But why 
borrow from Germany? Perhaps (but even of this we 

' Abuse 3 (p. 156) : ' It is an abuse {hir enchesons), are not put in writ- 
that the laws and usages of the ing, so that they might be known 
. realm, with the reasons for them to all. 


cannot be sure) we have his own description of his own 
work : it is Ivory and Horn. 

To elaborate a theory as to the origin of such a book a theory of 

•^ .the book 

would be hazardous ; but we have seen how two lines of 
investigation seem to converge. In order to discover the 
date of its composition we ask what statutes are, and what 
are not, noticed in it, and we are thus led to the years 
between 1285 and 1290. Then we see that its main and 
ever-recurring theme is a denunciation of ' false judges,' 
and we call to mind the shameful events of 1289. The 
truth was bad enough ; no doubt it was made far worse by 
suspicions and rumours. Wherever Englishmen met they 
were talking of * false judges ' and the punishment that 
awaited them. All confidence in the oiBficial oracles of 
the law had vanished. Any man's word about the law 
might be believed if he spoke in the tones of a prophet or 
apostle. Was not there an opening here for a fanciful 
young man ambitious of literary fame ? Was not this an 
occasion for a squib, a skit, a * topical ' medley, a ' variety 
entertainment,' blended of truth and falsehood, in which 
Bracton's staid jurisprudence should be mingled with freaks 
and crotchets and myths and marvels, and decorated with 
queer tags of out-of-the-way learning picked up in the con- 
sistories ? While the ' false judges ' were being soundly 
lashed, and the gallows was being erected within their view, 
many other classes of men, especially those which were 
privileged, could be made to feel uncomfortable by attacks 
on their interests and their cherished beliefs. Then over 
the whole a solemn veil of religiosity could be thrown, and 
startled readers might be assured that all that was written 
in this book was sanctioned by holy writ and * the usages 
of our holy predecessors.' This, no doubt, is guess-work. 
It is very possible that some reader more learned or more 
acute than the writer of these lines will discover some 
serious purpose, some practical scheme of reform, running 
through the Mirror; I have looked for it and have not 
found it. 

And what of Master Andrew, the Chamberlain ? Did 



for Horn's 


he write this book ? Let us sum up the evidence which 
points to him as its author. In the first place, we have 
those five verses. They are obscure enough ; but one 
plausible interpretation of them is, that by contrasting 
Ivory and Horn they half reveal, while they half conceal, 
the author's name. In the second place, we trace the only 
known copy of the book into Andrew's possession, and have 
reason to believe that this copy was made for him and 
under his eye. Thirdly, we find in his possession another 
book, a law-book stuffed with fables, which may well have 
suggested the compilation of the yet more fabulous Mirror. 
Fourthly, we learn that he regarded these two books as 
forming part of a grand collection of materials which were 
to serve as a Corpus luris Anglicani. Lastly, we may attri- 
bute to Horn, as well as to the composer of the Mirror, a 
tendency to trifle with Canon law ; also a tendency to 
speak of English law as Saxon, and to listen to what 
Germans tell of Germany, the old home of the Saxons. 

On the other hand, we have some scruple in attributing 
this fantasia to the patient archivist of the Gildhall, who 
filled volume after volume with trusty transcripts of genuine 
documents, or to the chronicler who left behind him those 
creditable London Annals. The Statute of Westminster the 
Second, which in the Mirror becomes a target for cavil and 
reprobation, was for the civic Chamberlain peroptimum 
statutum. That some thirty or forty years after the book 
was written an honest antiquary should treat it as sound 
historical material would not surprise us. In the middle 
ages the clumsiest forgers deceived the gravest critics, and 
we have seen how Horn treasured and annotated a copy of 
another law-book which, though much less mythical than 
the Mirror, contained many a purposeful falsehood. Again, 
Horn did not die until 1328, while the Mirror looks as if 
it had been written about forty years earlier. But perhaps 
it is here that lies the solution of the difficulty. We may 
have before us the work of a young man who grew wiser as 
he grew older. In the Mirror he sowed his wild oats. He 
began, as clever youths often will, with the romance of law, 


with a very ' general jurisprudence,' with history written a 
priori, with a full persuasion that he is wiser than the 
judges and that those who differ from him live in * mortal 
sin.' He lived, as perhaps even a clever youth sometimes 
will, to love the document and collect materials for the Selden 
Societv. In that case, however, we shall have to add that 
to the end of his life he kept his early work by him, 
thought no great evil of it, and proposed to include it in 
his collection of legal treatises along with the prosaic 
Britton. But we are none of us severe enough judges of 
what we wrote while the ivory gate stood open. 

Were we sitting as a jury to try Horn for the publica- xhevenuot 
tion of this book, we should have to give him the benefit of 
the doubt, though we could hardly say that he ' left the 
court without a stain upon his character.' However, we 
need be in no hurry to decide the question. A good deal 
about Horn has been discovered in recent years, and pro- 
bably much more will be discovered. He was an important 
man in the City. A few more facts might turn the scale 
one way or another. For example, could we see him im- 
prisoned, we might begin to believe that the Mirror was 
written in gaol. At present there is evidence against him, 
but it is by no means conclusive. We should almost cer- 
tainly acquit him were it not for those verses ; and on 
them we must not lay much stress, for we cannot be sure 
that they have come to us in their original shape, and it 
may be within our memories that in days not long gone 
by, when 'verses' were 'compulsory,' a promising dactyl 
such as ebnre seemed to certain schoolboys too providential 
to be meaningless. 

Once more let it be repeated that, if this book was Failure of 

/ . . .the Mirror 

meant to be read and copied, it was a miserable failure. 
Our libraries teem with Glanvills and Bractons, with 
Brittons and Henghams, with Fct a saver and Cadit assisa. 
The copy of the Mirror that Horn gave to the Gildhall 
remained, so far as we know, a unique copy until it was 
unearthed by a generation which had forgotten the thir- 
teenth century and was greedy of old tales. No doubt a 



Defects of 
the manu- 

This edition 

well-read and circumspect historian may find valuable 
hints in this book ; but the statements of law that are 
in it he will often construe by ' the rule of contrary,' 
and he will insert a ' not ' whenever the author is more 
than usually positive. If ever we are tempted to accept 
any statement made in the Mirror and not elsewhere 
warranted, we shall do well to ask ourselves whether we 
believe that an Englishman called Nolling was indicted for 
a sacrifice to Mahomet, and to speculate as to what may 
happen if six centuries hence The' Comic Blackstone is 
mistaken for the work of the great commentator. 

If the book was composed so early as 1290 or there- 
abouts, the existing MS. cannot be the original. But I do 
not think that in any case it can be the first MS. that was 
written. It is full of mistakes. Some of these look to me 
like the mistakes of a clerk who is writing from dictation : 
they are mistakes committed by the ear ; but others seem 
to be mistakes of the eye.' If we suppose Horn to be its 
author, we may perhaps think of him as getting this MS. 
made near the end of his life from an older and, it may 
have been, a very rough copy. 

Mr. Whittaker's endeavour has been to put before the 
Society an exact transcript of this MS., the letters that in 
the MS. are m compendia being here represented by italic 
letters ; but the capricious punctuation of the MS. has not 
been preserved. In one respect he has departed from the 
original. The original is divided into four books. The 
printed text of 1642 is divided into five chapters, the third 
book of the MS. having been divided into two chapters in 
the printed text. As a good many of our law-books contain 
references to the Mirror, it has seemed well that we should 
at this point preserve the arrangement made in 1642. Our 
third and fourth books, therefore, represent the third book 
of the MS. ; our fifth book is its fourth. 

' ' In particular he has a curious 
trick of writing r instead of i at the 
beginning of a word. On many occa- 
sions he has written requis instead 
of ieques {moi.Fr.jusque). When, 

as frequently happens, rf;es is put for 
scs, this looks like a mistake of the 
ear ; but we often find ces for ceo, 
and this is a mistake of the eye. 


The text is so corrupt that a good editor of the Mirror corruption 

. , , J of the text 

ought to have that perfect and scientific knowledge of 
medieval French which would enable him to suggest 
numerous emendations. In particular he ought to know 
what medieval French would sound like when spoken by a 
medieval Englishman and listened to by a sleepy clerk. 
Any such knowledge we cannot pretend to have, but Mr. 
Whittaker may, I think, claim that his text is at all events 
far better than that which has hitherto been current. The 
editor of 1642 made many blunders and allowed himself a 
marvellous licence. One specimen may be enough : — 

MS. par quoi qe ne fet mie a crere mesdisaunz ne a 

la veine voiz del poeple. 
1642. per quoy que ne fit my tryer misdemeanors ne 

al a vicine del people.' 

Perhaps the oddest mistake is one which speaks of the 
crimes ' de heresie et de Romery.' Well, * Romery ' . might 
be an offence afid a sort of heresy in 1642, but hardly in 
the days of Andrew Horn or King Alfred. The MS. has 
reneire — that is, renegation. It is not very seemly, however, 
for us to be pointing out errors when we are but too 
conscious that we have not done all that philological skill 
and legal learning might have done for the restoration of 
our text. In translating it an attempt has been made to 
make the translation of bad passages serve as a comment 
upon them : in other words, conjectural amendments are 
thrown into the translation instead of being thrown into 
footnotes. A few passages we have been compelled to leave 

We owe our best thanks to the Master and Fellows of t^* '•<>"*• 
Corpus Christi College for allowing us to transcribe the 
MS., and to two successive librarians of the College, namely, 
the late Mr. S. S. Lewis and the Rev. J. R. Harmer (now 
Bishop of Adelaide), for many courtesies ; our debts to 
Dr. Verrall of Cambridge, and Dr. Liebermann of Berlin, 
we have already acknowledged. Mr. H. S. Milman has 

' Ed. 1642, p. 141 ; below, p. 59. 

liv rur. mjrkok of justices. 

been kind enough to allow us to see some valuable notes 
on the authorship of the Mirror that he wrote a few years 
ago. We could wish that the book had fallen into the 
hands of an editor who would have solved all its riddles. 

F. W. M. 

Apnl 18, 1895. 

Postscript.— Whether our author intended his book to 
be a Mirror of Justices or a Mirror for Justices is not very 
certain. Near the beginning we find ' Mireur a Justices ' 
(p. 3), while in the Explicit we find 'Mireour des Justices.' 
The Latin Ivcipit gives us ' Speculum lusticiariorum.' 

It has been pointed out to me that there may be in 
those mysterious verses a pun that I had not detected. We 
have the words apprenticiis ad barros immediately followed 
by the word ebore. I do not think that the word barros 
(which, though rubbed, is fairly legible) need surprise us, 
for a masculine barrus seems to have been in use as well as 
the more common barra. Again, the plural of the word 
seems to have been sometimes used to describe what we 
should call the bar of a court. Besides, the versifier may 
be speaking of the apprentices at the bars of the various 
courts. But, if an undesigned, it is a curious coincidence 
that he has brought into close contact with ivory {ebur) a 
word {barros) which may mean elephants. This word (barrus) 
occurs in Horace, Epod. 12. 1, and, though a very rare 
word, seems to have made its way into medieval glossaries. 
If we suppose that there is a pun, then, as our Secretary, 
Mr. B. F. Lock, suggests to me, the apprentices to the 
bars are also apprentices to the elephants and receive a 
gift 'graced with tusks' (ebore gratum). This book, we 
may say, conveys to the apprentices a present grateful as 
tusks to young elephants (for it will enable them to fight), 
while it provides solid food for older lawyers. He also 
suggests that gratum may be a mistake for gratius. This, 
if we assume that inridicis was pronounced with an initial 


vowel sound, might ' scan,' while it would make grammar 
and sense without the pun, and yet would not interfere 
with the pun, if pun there be : * a gift to the law students 
* more precious than ivory (to elephants),' Either of these 
suggestions might enable us to say that the first four lines 
can dispense with the fifth, and that the juxtaposition of 
ivory and Horn is accidental. Whether barms (elephant) 
was a word with which our author was likely to be ac- 
quainted is a question that I must leave to others. The 
supposition that the copyist of the manuscript wrote ebore 
when he ought to have written something else will not be 
ignored by those who know him. 


48, line 10 : le denger should be ledenger, meaning to abase, to insult. 
See the next correction. 

107. This passage about Leuthfred's statute appears again on p. 152, in 
a correcter form. Instead of des suz estuz et mis we should read des- 
vestuz et nus. Translate as follows : ' who ordained that one might 
defend [= deny] opprobrious words [= charges of having used oppro- 
brious words] and naked and devested contracts by one's law [ = by 
compurgation].' The word ledenge means insulting, opprobrious. See 
Ducange, Oloss. franq. s. v. Udangier, ledenge ; La Came de Sainte- 
Palaye, s. e. v. ; Diez, s. v. laido. It is coimected with Mod. Fr. laid ; 
litttrd, B. v. laid. 




Ilanc legum summam si quis vult iura tueri 
Perlegat et sapiens si vult orator haberi. 
Hoc apprenticiis ad barros ebore munus 
Gratum juridicis ^ utile mittit opus. 
Horn mihi cognomen Andreas est mihi nomen. 

Cum jeo maperceyvoie devers de ^ qe la lei deveroyenc 
govemer par rieules de droit, aver regard a lur demeine 
terriens proffiz, e as princes seignurages e amis plere, e 
a seignitries e avoir amassier, e nient assentir qe les dreiz 
usages fusent unqes mis en escrist, par unt poer ne lur 
fuse toleit, des uns par colour de jugement prendre, les 
autres exiler, ou enpnsoner, ou desheriter, saunz peine 
emporter, coveranz lur pechie par les excepcions de errour 
e de ignoraunce, e nient ou poi pernaunte regard as almes 
de peccheours sauver de dampnacioun par leaux jugementz, 
solom ceo qe lur office demaunde, e eient usez en cea a 
juger la gent de lur testes par abusions e examples dautres 
erpanz en la lei plus qe par droites riules de seint escripture, 
en arrerissement g?'antment de vostre ^ aprise, qi edefiez 
sanz foundement e apernez a juger eins ces * qe vows \ous 
conoissez en jurideccion qest pie de vostre aprise, e en lei 
de terre einz ceo qe en lei de persones, auxi com est de 

' The ■word juridicis, which is not now legible, is supplied from a 
comparatively modern copy of the verses, which has been written on the 
first page of the MS. 

- Supply ceux. ^ Or nostre. * Corr. ceo. 


Kead me, whoe'er the substance of the laws 
Desires to see, or plead with sage applause. 
Here Ivory's grace attracts apprentice eyes, 
While profit for the coif our book supplies. 
Horn — Andrew Horn — the author is who writes 
[Thus Horn with Ivory, Truth with Grace unites]. 

When I perceived that divers of those who should govern 
the law by rules of right had regard to their own earthly 
profit, and to the pleasing of princes and lords and friends, 
and to the amassing of lordships and goods, and would 
never assent that the right usages should be put in writing, 
whereby would be taken from them the power of arresting 
some by colour of judgment, and of exiling, imprisoning, 
or disheriting others, without suffering punishment there- 
for, and when I saw them cloaking their sin by the 
* exceptions ' ' of error and ignorance, and having little or 
no regard to the salvation of the souls of sinners from 
damnation by lawful judgments, as their office demands, 
and having hitherto used to judge folk out of their own 
heads by abuses and precedents of others erring in the 
law, and not by the right rules of Holy Writ, to the great 
hindrance of your endeavour, all ye who build without 
foundation, and take on yourselves to judge before that ye 
are learned in jurisdiction, which is the very groundwork 
of your profession, and hold yourselves out as learned 
in the law of land before ye have mastered the law of 

' We might say * special pleas,' or simply excuses ; but our author 
chooses to use a technical term. 



ceux qe apernent arz avant les parz : — Je persecutor de 
faus juges e par lur exsecucion fausement enprisone, les 
privileges le Eoi e les vieuz roulles de sa tresorie, dount 
amis me solacerent en mon soiour,' cerchai, e le founde- 
ment e la nessaunce des usages dEngleterre donez por lei, 
oveqe les gueredouns des bons jugez e la peyne des autres 
i trovai, e a plus bref qe jeo savoie la necessite mis en 
remenbraunce, a quoi compaigno72S meiderent destudier el 
viel testament, el novel, el canon e en lei escrist. 

Trovames qe lei nest autre chose qe riules donees par 
nos seinz predecessors en seinte esc7-ipture por sauver almes 
de dampnacion perpetuele, tut soit ele par faus juges de- 
fuscez. E trovames qe tote seinte escWpture remeint el 
vieu testament e el novel. Le viel contient treis ordres, lei, 
prophetes e agiograffes. En la^ sont vj. volums pentateuc. 
Genesis, Exode, Leviticus, le livre de Numeri e le livre 
Deuteronomii. En lordre des prophetes sunt viij. volums, 
Josue, Judicum, Samuel qi est le primer e le secunde des 
Rois, le quart Malachiel qi est des Rois e contient le tierz 
livre e le quart des Eois ; le quint est Isaie ; le sisime 
leremie ; le setime Ezechiel; le utime le livre de xij.' 
prophetes. En lordre des agiograffes sunt ix. volums, lob, 
le livre de Psaumes, les Proverbes de Salomon, dEcclesiastes, 
Cantica Canticorww, Daniel, Paralipomenon, Esdras, e 
Hester. E estre ces ■* sunt autres livres el viel testament, 
tut ne soient il auctorizes el canon, sicom Thobie, Judith, 

' Or sorour. ' Sn-piplj petits (?). 

' Supply lei. * Corr. ceo. 


persons ' (like to those who study the Hberal arts before the 
parts of speech ^) : I, the prosecutor of false judges, and 
falsely imprisoned by their order, in my sojourn [in gaol] 
searched out the privileges ' of the king and the old rolls 
of his treasury, wherewith my friends solaced me, and there 
discovered the foundation and the generation of the customs 
of England which are established as law, and the guerdons 
of good judges and the punishment of others, and as l)riefly 
as I could I set in remembrance what is essential, for 
which end my companions aided me in the study of the 
Old Testament and the New, and the canon and the written 

And we discovered that law is nothing else than the 
rules laid down by our holy predecessors in Holy Writ for 
the salvation of souls from everlasting damnation, although 
it be obscured by false judges. And we found that all 
Holy Writ consists of the Old Testament and of the New. 
The Old contains three divisions — the law, the prophets, 
and the hagiographers. In the law there are the live * 
volumes of the Pentateuch : to wit. Genesis, Exodus, Levi- 
ticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. In the class of the 
prophets there are eight volumes : to wit, Joshua, Judges, 
Samuel (which is the First and Second of Kings) ; the 
fourth is Malachiel, concerning the kings, and contains 
the Third and Fourth Books of Kings ; the fifth is Isaiah, 
the sixth Jeremiah, the seventh Ezechiel, the eighth is the 
book of the twelve minor prophets. In the class of hagio- 
graphers there are nine volumes : to wit. Job, Psalms, 
Proverbs of Solomon, Ecclcsiastes, the Song of Songs, 
Daniel, the Chronicles, Esdras, and Esther. And besides 
there are other books in the Old Testament, albeit they are 
not in the canon, such as Tobit, Judith, Maccabees, and 

' It appears from the last sentence • Perhaps in the sense of privi- 

of the book that our author regards legia granted by the king— charters 

his work as a treatise on ' the law of of immunity and the like, 

persons,' which is more elementary * As the text stands our author 

than the law of land. seems to make six volumes by add- 

* It is believed that this jingling ing the Pentateuch to its five corn- 
contrast between artes and partes poncnt books, 
was not uncommon. 


Machabees e ceo qe lenz est de Salomon e dEcclesiastes. 
Le novel testament contient les evangelistres, les apostres 
e les seinz peres. Les evangellistes contienent iiij. volu7«s. 
Le scripture des apostres contienent iiij. ; les epistres Pol, 
les epistres del canon, le Apocalips e les Actes des Apostres. 
De lescnpture des piers nen ad nul ce?-tein noumbre de- 

E de nows usages fiz concordaunce a lescripture. E en 
langage plus entendable en eide de vows e del comun del 
poeple e en vergoigne de faus juges compilai ceste petite 
Bumme de la lei des pe?'Sones, des genz, en v. chapitrcs, 
ceste assaver, en pecchiez countre la seinte pees, accions, 
excepcions, jugemenz, abusions, qe jeo appellai Mireur a 
Justices, solum ceo qe jeo t?-ovai les vc?-tues e les substaunces 
embullees e puis le temps le Eoi Arthur usez par seinz 
usages accordaunce ' as riules avantdites. E yous pri qe les 
defautcs voillez redrescier e aiouster solom ceo qe par verrei 
garraunt enporrez estre garantiz e procurer a rep?'endre e 
confondre les cotidienes abusions de la lei. 

Corr. accordauntz. 


what is therein of Solomon and Ecclesiastes. The New 
Testament contains the Evangehsts, the Apostles, and the 
Holy Fathers. The Evangelists contain four volumes ; the 
writings of the Apostles contain four, the Epistles of Paul, 
the Canonical Epistles, the Apocalypse, and the Acts of 
the Apostles. Of the writings of the Holy Fathers there is 
no certain number determined. 

And I made a concordance of our usages with the 
Scriptures. And in a language easy to be understood, and 
for your aid and that of the commonalty of the people, and 
to the shame of false judges, I compiled this little summary 
of the law of persons, or the law of the folk, in five chapters: 
to wit, (1) Of sins against the holy peace, (2) Of actions, 
(8) Of exceptions, (4) Of judgments, (5) Of abuses. And 
this summary I have called The Mirror for Justices, 
according as I found the virtues and the substances sanc- 
tioned by bulls and by holy usages which have obtained 
since the time of King Arthur in accordance with the rules 
aforesaid.' And I pray you to redress and adjust the 
defaults as best you may be warranted by good warrant, 
and to procure that the daily abuses of the law may be 
reproved and brought to naught. 

' Apparently, embullces (Lat. im- 
bullatas) must mean comprised in 
bulls or charters under seal, such as 
those privileges of the kings to which 

the anthor has recently referred. 
He is to give us the virtues and 
substances, that is, the force and 
substance of charters and usages. 

♦b 4 


PEES.] ' 

De la nessaunce de la seinte lei. 
De la venue des Engleis. 
Des premiers constituciouns. 
De pecchie e de sa devisioun. 
Del crime de mageste. 
De fausonerie. 
De traison. 
De arson. 
De homicide. 

De larcin. 

De hamsokne. 

De rap. 

Del office de corouner. 

Del eschere.^ 

Des menues courtz. 

Des cours de viscountes. 

Des veuues de fr«nc pleges. 

' The MS. does not give this heading. - Corr. del escheqiiere. 


1. Of the generation of Holy Law. 

2. Of the coining of the English. 

3. Of the first constitutions. 

4. Of sins and their classification. 

5. Of the crime of lacsa majostas. 

6. Of forgery. 

7. Of treason. 

8. Of arson. 

9. Of homicide. 

10. Of larceny. 

11. Of hamsoken. 

12. Of rape. 

13. Of the office of the coroner. 

14. Of the exchequer. 

15. Of petty courts. 

16. Of the sheriff's courts. 

17. Of views of frankpledge. 




[Ch. I. De la nessaunce de la seinte ley.'] ' 

Dieu tut pussiint moustra plus de affeccion a creature 
humeyne qe a autre q?/ant il la fist a sa semblaunce e la ^ 
dona discrecion, regardant qele estoit continuelement aticee 
a pecchie par iij. manere de adversaries, e la^ dona lei pur 
chacier peccheours a sauvacion par terriens peynes, qi de 
pwre amour dever Dieu ne voillent cesser de pecchier e en 
fist Moysen doctour qi lu tient ore lapostoille. 

Cele lei par lordeinement de nos seinz predecessors est 
partie en deux volu?«s, el canon qe se conoist en amende- 
menz de pecchiez espiritieus par amonicions, prters, reprjses, 
e escomengez : en lei escWste qe se conoist en corrections 
des pecchiez materieus par somonses, attachementz e 
peynes. Lespiritele guient les prelatz. Les autres guient 
les lais princes ; e se eide lune par lautre. 

La lei dunt ceste sum?»e est fete est estrete des aunciens 
usages garantiz de seinte escrtpture, e pur ceo qele est 
generalement done a touz est ele apele comune. E por ceo 
qe nul autre lei est for cele, est ele une ^ dantiquite en 
concilx generalx ou parlemenz est sufifert destre use pa;- 
seins usages. E ceo diversement par lus solom les diverse 
qualites de la gent de divers regiouns e lus. E ces usages 

' The titles of this and the follow- of Contents, 
ing chapters are in some cases sui^- '■' Corr. hii. 

plied by us from the preceding Table ' Some mistake may be suspected. 




[Ch. I. Of the Generation of Holy La?r.] 

Almighty God showed more affection for human than 
for any other heings, since He made them in His own 
image, and gave them discretion, considering that they 
were ever enticed to sin by three manner of adversaries, 
and He gave them the law to drive sinners to salvation by 
earthly pains, since for pure love of God they would not 
cease from sin ; and He made Moses a doctor, whose place 
the Pope now holds. 

This law, by the ordainment of our holy predecessors, 
is divided into two volumes : to wit, (1) the canon, which is 
conversant with the reformation of spiritual sins by ad- 
monitions, prayers, reprehensions, and excommunications ; 
and (2) the written law, which is conversant with the 
correction of material sins by summonses, attachments, 
and punishments. The prelates guide the one, the spiritual 
law ; the lay princes the other ; and each aids the other. 

The law of which this summary is made is extracted 
from ancient customs warranted by Holy Writ, and because 
it is given to all in common it is called common law. And 
for that there is no other law than this, it exists as one 
from of old,' and in general councils or parliaments it is 
suffered to be observed by way of holy usages. And these 
differ from place to place according to the different qualities 
of the folk of divers regions and places. And in certain 

> Translation doubtful. 


en plusours lus, citez e bourgs sunt changies par auncienes 
privileges al aisement del poeple de ceus lus. 

Touz nos usages sunt ausi fondez por la sauvacion e 
la exaltacion de la seinte pees Dieu, car le seu ' e li saver 
qe de Dieu vient nen est mie ajuger la gent a la volee^ par 
similitudes e examples nient canonizes, eins est amour de 
pees, de chastetie, dattemprure, damiable amonestoment 
de merci e des bones oeuvres. 

[C/i. II. De la venue des Engleis.'] ^ 

Apres ceo qe Dieux avoit abatue la nobleie des Bretons 
qe plus userent force qe droit, livera il le reaume as plus 
humbles e simples de tuz pais joygnauntz, cest assaver a 
Saxnes, qe le vindrent conquere des parties d'Alemaync. 
De la quele gent ieurent jesqes a xl. soveins * qe touz sei 
tindrent a compaignouns. Ceus appellerent p?7mes ceste 
tc7-re Engelonde qe avant fu nomee Bretaigne le Majour. 

Ceux apres grantz gueres, tribulacions e peynes par 
longe tens suffertz ellurent il de eus a ^ Eoi pur regner sur 
eus e pur governer la poeple Dieu, meyntenir e defendre 
les persones e les biens en quiete par les riules de droit. 

Al corounement le firent jurer qil meintendreit la seinte 
foi cristiene a tut son poer, e son poeple guieroit par droit 
saunz regard a nule pcrsone, e serreit obeissant a seinte 
eglise e justisiable a suffrir droit com autre de son poeple. 
E pus est le reaume torne en heritage. Solom le nombre 
de compaignons qe remistrent estoit le reaume pa^-tie pa?- 
pais e a chescun estoit j. pais livre a garder pur defendre 
de enemis solom chescuni estat, cest assavoir :— en 










' Or sen. 

2 Corr. volunte (?). 

' Supplied from the Table of Contents. 

* Corr. sovercins. 

* Corr. un. 


places, cities and boroughs, these usages are varied by 
ancient privileges, to the easement of the folk of those places. 
All our customs are also founded for the salvation and 
exaltation of the Holy Peace of God ; and the knowledge 
and wisdom that comes from God is to judge the folk, not 
at will by analogies and precedents that are not canonised, 
but by love of peace and chastity and temperance, and by 
friendly admonition towards mercy and good works. 

[Ch. II. Of the Coming of the English.] 

After that God had abated the nobility of the Britons, 
who had recourse to force rather than to law, He delivered 
the kingdom to the humblest and simplest of all the neigh- 
bouring nations : to wit, the Saxons, who came to conquer 
it from the parts of Almaine. Of which folk there were as 
many as forty sovereigns, who all aided each other as 
fellows. They first called this land England, which thereto- 
fore was called Britannia Major. And they, after great wars 
and tribulations and pains long time suffered, chose from 
among themselves a king to reign over them and to govern 
the people of God and to maintain and defend their persons 
and goods by the rules of right. 

And at his crowning they made him swear that he 
would maintain the Christian faith with all his power, and 
would guide his people by law without respect of any 
person, and would be obedient to holy Church, and would 
submit to justice and would suffer right like any other of 
his people. And after this the kingdom became heritable. 
And according to the number of the companions who re- 
mained the kingdom was divided into districts, and to each 
companion a district was delivered, to hold and defend 
against enemies, according to the estate of every of them : 
to wit — 









































E tut seit qe le Eoi ne deit aver nul pier en sa terra, pur 
ceo neqedent qe le Eoi de son tort sil pecche vers ascun de 
son poeple ne nul de ces commissaires ne poet estre juge e 
partie, eonvenist par droit qe li Roi ust compaignouns pwr 
oir e terminer as pa?*lementz trestuz les brefs e les pleintes 
de torz le Roi, de la Reyne, e de lur enfanz, e de lur espe- 
ciaus, de qi torz len ne poet aver autrement comun dreit. 

Ceus compaignows sunt ore appellez contes apres le latin 
de comites, e issi sont hui ceux pais appellez comtiez e en 
latin comitatus, e ceo qest dehors ces countiez as Engleis est 
de conquest puis cele tens. 

Ceus compaignouns apres la partie del reaume en pais 
partirent lur genz e la gent qil troverent remise en centeines, 
e a chescun assignerent un centener, e solom le nombre de 
centeines partirent chescun pais e a chescun centener 
assignerent sa partie en certeines metes -pur gardre e defendre 
ovesqes sa centeine, issi qil fusent aperesz a coure a armes 
a totes les foiz qe cri levast pur enemis ou qe mestier en fut. 
E celes parties sunt en alcuns lus appellez hundredes solonc 
la noumbre de cele primere gent ; e en ascuns lus tridengs 































Berkshire ' 

And albeit that the king should have no peer in his 
land, nevertheless in order that if the king should by his 
fault sin against any of his people, in which case [neither 
he] nor any of his commissioners could be judge, he being 
also party, it was agreed as law that the king should have 
companions to hear and determine in the parliaments all 
the writs and plaints concerning wrongs done by the king, 
the queen, their children, and their special ministers, for 
which wrongs one could not otherwise have obtained 
common right. 

These companions are now called counts, from the Latin 
comites, and therefore these districts are now called counties, 
and in Latin comitatus, and whatever outside these counties 
belongs to the English has come by conquest since that 

These companions after the partition of the kingdom 
into districts, partitioned their folk and the people that they 
found remaining into hundreds ; and to each hundred they 
assigned a hundredor, and according to the number of the 
hundreds they divided each district, and they assigned to 
each hundredor his part by certain bounds, to hold and 
defend with his hundred, so that they should be ready to 
run to arms whenever the cry should be raised on account 
of enemies, and whenever there should be occasion. And 
these divisions are in some places called hundreds, atfer 
the numerical divisions of these first occupiers ; and in 

Durham may be purposely omitted. 



ou wapentaes apres les Engles qest prise darmes en 
Fraunceis, Tieles divisions se furent par quoi la pees Dieu, 
qest charite e verroie amor, fust meyntenue. 


De amour 
entre gens 

De deo- 
dandes e des 
c hoses apur- 
tenaunt an 


[_Ch. III. Des premiers constitudouns.'] ' 

Pur lestat del reaume fist le Roi Alfred assembler ces 
contes e ordena pwr usage perpetuele qe a ij. fois par an ou 
plus sovent pur mestier en tens de pees sassemblerent a 
Londres pur parlementer sur le guiement de poeple Dieu, 
coment genz se gardereient de peccher, vivereient en quiete 
e recevereient droit par certeines usages e seinz jugemenz. 

Par cele estatut se furent plusours ordinances par 
plusors Eois jeqes al tiens ^ dore, les queles ordenaunces 
sunt desusez par meins sages e par defaut qe eles ne sunt 
mie mises en escrit e pupplies en certeine. 

Une des ordenaunces estoit qe chescun amast soun* 
Createur par esproeve des oevres solom les poinz de la 
foi Cristiene ; e defendu fust tort e force e chescun pecchie. 

Assentu fu qe cestes choses fussent appendauns as Eois 
e al droit de la coroune : — sovereine juresdiction, la sovereine 
seignurie de tote la terre jeqes el miluieu ^ fil de la meer 
environ la terre, koin, franchises, tresour auncienement 
mucie en terre,^ weif, estrai, chatiex de felons e des futifs qe 
remeinent outre autri droit, countiez, honurs, hundrez, 
soknes, gaoles, forosz,^ chief citez, chief porz de la meer, 
grantz maneries. 

Ces dreiz retindrent les primers Eois, e del remenaunt 
de la terre fefferent les contes, barons, chivalers, serjanz, e 
autres a tenir des Eois par service pwrveu e ordeine al defens 
del reaume. 


Supplied from the Table of Con- 

2 Corr. tens. 

' Corr. milieu (?). 
* Some word has been wantonly 
erased. * Corr. /ores*. 



other places they are called trithings or wapentakes, an 
English word equivalent to the French prise d' amies. These 
divisions were made in order that the peace of God, which 
is charity and very love, might be maintained. 

Of King 

Of love 
among folk 

[Ch. III. Of the original Constitutions.'] 

For the good estate of his realm King Alfred caused his 
counts' to assemble, and ordained as a perpetual usage that 
twice a year or more often if need should be in time of 
peace, they should assemble at London to hold parUament 
touching the guidance of the people of God, how the folk 
should keep themselves from sin, and live in quiet and 
receive right according to fixed usages and holy judgments. 

Under this statute divers ordinances were made by 
divers kings down to the present time, which ordinances 
are disused by those who are less wise and because they 
are not put in writing and published in definite terms. 

One of the ordinances was that everyone should love 

his Creator, giving proof thereof by his works according to 

the articles of the Christian faith. And tort and force and 

every sin were prohibited. ^ 

Of It was asscutcd that the following things should belong 

belonging to to thc kuigs and to the right of the crown : to wit, sovereign 

the King ..... . . i, i i i * 

jurisdiction, sovereign seignory over all the land as far as 
the mid-stream of the sea round the land, coin, franchises, 
treasure anciently hidden in the earth, waif, estray, chattels 
of felons and of fugitives which remain when rights of 
others are satisfied,^ counties, honours, hundreds, sokens, 
gaols, forests, the chief cities, the chief ports of the sea, the 
great manors. These rights the first kings retained, and 
of the remnant of the land they enfeoffed the earls, barons, 
knights, Serjeants and others, to hold of the kings by 
services provided and ordained for defence of the realm. 

' We write count rather than sentences of Canute's laws or one of 

earl, for our author is playing with the other ancient codes, 

etymology. ' The felon's just debts ought to 

'' It is just possible that the be paid, 
writer is referring to the opening 



Des articles Ordenez furent coroners en chescun contie e viscountes 

par vels Rois t i 'in 

ordeuez a gardir les pays quant les countes se demistrent des gardes 
e baillifs el lu des centeners. E qe viscountes e baillifs 
fussent • assembles de fieu tenauns de lur baillies as contiez 
6 as hundrez, e qe lem usast equite, si qe chescun jugeast 
son proeine partier jugement ^ cum len voissist autre foiz 
receivre en cas semblables, jesqes a taunt qe les usages del 
reaume fusent mis en escrist e establiz en certeine. E tut 
ne put lem f?-anc horame enserver sanz son gre, comwient ' 
nequident estoit assentu qe touz franc fieu tenaunz 
sassemblassent en countez, hundrez, e es contez* lur seignurs, 
sil ne seient privileges ou exempsz de tieles sutes fere, e 
illoec jugeassent lur p7*oeine. E qe dreit se hastast de xv 
jours en xv devant le Rei e ces commissaries, e de mois en 
mois en contiez si la largesce des countez ne demaundunt 
plus de respit, e de iij simenies en iij se hastast droit en 
autres cours. E qe chescun franc fieu tenaunt fust a teles 
siutes fere oblige, e chescun fieu tenaunt ust juresdiccion 
ordeneire, e qe de jour en jour se hastast droit destranges 
pleintifs en feires e marchiez cum pe poudrous solom lei 

Ordene furent torns des viscountes e veuues des francs 
pleges, e qe nul del age de xiiij ans ou de plus ne fust 
recettie el reaume outre xl jours forpris humwes passanz 
al foer de pelerins e de messagers, sil ne fust primes plevi 
de franc homme e jure au Roi par serement de feaute e pus 
resceu en disaine. 

Ordene fust qe chescun pleintif ust hrei remedial a son 
visconte ou al seignur de feu en ceste forme : — Questus est 

Corr. facent. Corr. comunemsnt. 

Corr. par tieu jugemmt Corr. courtz. 


Of the ar- And coroners were ordained in every county, and sheriffs 


ordained by [viceconiites] to ward the districts when the earls [comitesl 
^e Micien (j^jj^igg^ thcmselves from their wardship ; also bailiffs in 
the place of the hundredors. And it was ordained that 
sheriffs and bailiffs should cause the fee tenants of their 
bailiwicks to assemble in the county and hundred courts, 
and that equity should be administered, and that each 
should judge his neighbour as he would himself be judged 
in a like case at another time ; and that this should be so 
until the usages of the realm should be put in writing and 
established in definite terms. And albeit one cannot bring 
a free man into servitude against his will, nevertheless it was 
generally assented that all free fee tenants should assemble 
themselves in the county and hundred courts and in the 
courts of their lords, if they were not specially privileged 
and exempted from making such suit, and that they should 
there judge their neighbours ; and that right should be 
speeded before the king and his commissioners from fifteen 
days to fifteen, and in the county courts from month to 
month, unless the size of the counties should require a 
longer respite, and in other courts from three weeks to three 
weeks ; ' and that every free fee tenant should be bound 
to make such suit, and that every fee tenant should have 
ordinary jurisdiction ; and that right should be speeded 
from day to day to foreign plaintiffs in fairs and markets as 
with dusty foot ^ according to the law merchant. 

And turns of sheriffs and views of frankpledge were 
ordained, and that none of the age of fourteen years or 
upwards should be received in the kingdom beyond forty 
days, except men travelling in the guise of pilgrims or 
messengers, unless they were first pledged by freemen and 
sworn to the king by oath of fealty and afterwards received 
into a tithing. 

It was ordained that every plaintiff should have a re- 
medial writ to his sheriff or to the lord of the fee in the 

' This gives the effect of the writ ' Alluding to the so-called pi- 

of 1229 printed in the Annals of powder oourta. 
Dunstable, p. 119. 

c 2 


nobis C. quod D. etc. et ideo tibi vices nostras in hae parte 
committentes tibi precipimus quod causam illam audias et 
legitime fine descidas. 

Ordene fust qe chescun ust del chanceler le Eoi bref 
remedial a sa pleinte saunz nule difficulte, e qe chescun ust 
le proces de la jornee de son plee souz le seal le juge ou de 
la partie. 

Ordene fu qe coroners receussent apeals de felonies e 
rendissent les jugementz des utlagaries e feissent les veuuz • 
en cas apres dis, e qe les proschein villes presentassent as 
corouners es contiez les messaventures des charoines des 
genz e les nouns de trovours. E qe chescun pais p?'esentast 
felonies, mescheaunces e autres articles p?'esentables en 
heires pitr pecchie, qe les Eois les vousissent a ceo fere 
somondre contre les venues des Eeis ou des justices 
assignes a tuz plez. E pur les g7-antz damages qe li comun 
suffri pa?' amerciemenz issanz des concelementz e des 
defautes de tieux presentemewtz en eires, assentu fu qe 
tieux presentemenz se feissent en eires pa?* coroners par tut 
le com?Mun : e issi sunt coroners les baillifs al commun 
quant as custages, e jalemeins sunt il les ministres le Eey 
pwr ceo qil funt a li serement. De personel trespas neque- 
dent sunt les coroners soulement punisables saunz le 
damage de ceaux qe les elurent, si as dues amendes fere de 
lur trespas suffisent. 

Ordene fu leschecker en manere qe sut, e les peynes 
peccunieles de contes e de barons en certein e aussi des 
tenaunz condes ^ e baronies entiers ou des membres, e qe 

Or venuz * Corr. contiez(l). 


form following : — C. hath complained to us that D. etc., 
and therefore we, committing this matter to thee in our 
stead, command thee that thou do hear the said cause and 
determine it in due form of law. 

And it was ordained that everyone should have from 
the king's chancellor a remedial writ for his complaint with- 
out difficulty, and that everyone should have a copy of the 
process relating to his case ' under the seal of the judge or 
of the other party. 

It was ordained that coroners should receive appeals of 
felony and give judgments of outlawry, and that they cause 
views to be made in the cases mentioned below, and that 
the neighbouring townships should make presentment to 
the coroners in the county courts concerning the corpses of 
men slain by misadventure, and the names of the finders ; 
and that every district should present felonies, mischances, 
and other articles presentable in the eyres as sin, so that 
the kings may for this purpose cause them to be sum- 
moned against the coming of the kings or of their justices 
assigned to hold all manner of pleas. And by reason of 
the great damage that the commonalty suffered by amerce- 
ments issuing from concealments and defects in such pre- 
sentments at the eyres, it was agreed that such present- 
ments should be made in the eyres by the coroners on 
behalf of the whole commonalty ; and thus coroners are 
the bailiffs of the commonalty so far as expense is con- 
cerned, but none the less are they ministers of the king, 
because they make oath to him. Nevertheless as regards 
personal trespasses the coroners alone are punishable with- 
out any loss falling on those who elected them, if they [the 
coroners] are sufficient for the due amends of their tres- 

As to the exchequer it was ordained in manner hereafter 
mentioned, and the pecuniary punishments of earls and 
barons and of those who held whole counties or baronies or 
members thereof were determined, and their amercements 

' Apparently a copy of the record on each day on which it has come 
of what has been done in the cause before the court. 


ceus amerciemenz fussent affoerez par les barons del 
eschecqer, e qe len envoiast les estretes de lur amercie- 
mentz al escheqere ou qil fussent amerciez en la court le 

Ordene fu qe nul nust juresdiccion apres pleinte de tort 
avant la pleinte termine, cest assavoir en mesme le plee, e 
de ceo vient la clause el brief de droit, et nisi fece?-is 
vicecomes faciat. 

Ordene fu qe chescun de age de xiiij ans en sus sap- 
prestast des mortieux peccheours occire en lur pecchies 
notoires, ou de les cowsuire de vile en vile a hu e cri, si 
lem ne les poet occire ne deprendre ; e de mettre les 
contumaz en exigendes e de les utlager ou banir en manere 
qe sust ; e qe nul ne fust utlaguie forqe por felonie mortele, 
ne nul part forqe el contie ou li pecchie se fist. 

Ordene fu qe la curt le Eei fust OYeHe a touz pleintifs 
par quel il usent sanz delai brefs remedials aussi sur le 
Eei ou sur la Keyne come sur autre del poeple de chescun 
injurie, forpns en vengeances de vie e de membre ou pleint 
tient leu sanz bref. 

Ordene fu qe nul Eei de cete reaume ne puet changer sa 
moneye, ne empeirer, ne amender, ne autre moneie fere qe 
dargent sanz lassent de touz ces counties. 

Ordene fu qe felonies satendissent par apeals, e qe apeles 
se terminassewt ascune foiz par batailles, e qe les exigendes 
de contumaz durassent par iij contiez continues avant la 

Ordene fu e comwnement assentu qe touz fieu tenaunz 
fussent obeissantz aparer as somonses des seignurs des 
fieus, e si lem feit homme aillours somondre qe es fieus des 
auctours ou plus sovent qe de curt en court qil nestovereit 


were to be affeered by the barons of the exchequer ; and 
the estreats of their amercements were to be sent to the 
exchequer or they were to be amerced in the king's court. 

It was ordained that none should have jurisdiction after 
a plaint of wrong has been made before the plaint is deter- 
mined : that is to say, that none should have jurisdiction in 
the same plea. Hence the clause in the writ of right, Et 
nisi fexeris Vicecomes facial. ' 

It was ordained that everyone of the age of fourteen 
and upwards should be ready to slay mortal sinners in their 
notorious crimes and to pursue them from vill to vill with 
hue and cry if they could not kill or catch them ; and should 
put the contumacious in exigent or banish them in manner 
hereafter mentioned. Also that none should be outlawed 
save for mortal felony, or elsewhere than in the county 
where the sin was done. 

And it was ordained that the king's court should be 
open to all plaintiffs so that they might have without delay 
remedial writs as well against the king and queen as 
against any other of the people, for every injury, save 
where there is to be vengeance of life or member, in which 
case procedure is by plaint without writ. 

It was ordained that no king of this realm could change, 
impair, or amend his money, nor make money of anything 
save silver without the assent of all his earls. 

It was ordained that felonies should be attainted "^ by 
appeals, and that appeals should in some cases be deter- 
mined by battle, and that the exigents of those who were 
contumacious should endure through three successive 
county courts before the outlawry. 

It was ordained and generally assented that all fee 
tenants should be obedient to appear at the summonses of 
the lords of the fees ; and that if a man should be summoned 
elsewhere than in the fee of the author of the summons or 
moro often than from court to court, he should not be 

' Perhaps the point is that there court to another ; Bracton, (. 329 b. 
is to be DO appeal from uue scignorial * Translatiou doubtful. 


mie obeir a tiels somonces si noun as custages des auctours 
de somonses. 

Ordene fu qe feu de chivaler remist al einzne fiz par 
succession de heritage, e qe socage fieu fust portable par 
entre les masles enfanz. E qe nul ne puet aliener de son 
heritage forqe le quart saunz lassent de son heir. E qe 
nul ne puet ahener son purchaz de ces heirs si assignee ne 
fussent especefies es dons. 

Ordene fu qe chescun puet doner sa femme al hus del 
moustier de renable dowere saunz lassent de son homme ' ; 
que femeles heirs ou veudues se niariassent saunz lassent 
de lur seignurs liges, par quei as seignurs nestovereit 
p?-endre les homages de lur enemis ou dautres descovenables 
persones, e ceo estoit defendu sur peine de la forfeture des 
fieus le quele qe lur parenz sei assentissent ou noun. E qe 
itemoha- vedues pcrdisseut lur doeires en cas ou eles se mariassent 
aunciens sanz lasscnt des garans de lur doeires, qe seles aussi 
fussent disherites ou perdissent lur doeires qe se lessasent 
refeter einz ces qe eles fussent maries ; vedues nequident 
ne forfirent lur heritage par putage. 

E qe le fiz einzne ne puet rien forfere en prejudice de 
son auncestre ne des heirs vivant le auncestre qi heir il est 
plus apparant. 

Ordene fu qe les seignurs des fieus feissent somondre lur 
tenaunz par lagard de lur piers es cours des seignurs ou es 
countiez ou es hundrez a totes les foiz qil recenissent^ ou 
dedissent a fere lur droiz semces ou forfeissent vers lur 
seignur en fet ou en dit, e le revers, cest assavoir le seignurs 
vers les tenauntz e illoec saquitassent ou forfeissent lur 
ligeaunce oveqe les apurtenaunces par lagard des sutiers de 
tote lur tenaunce des seignurs, e les seignurs outraious e 
torcenous perdissent les fieus e les services, e les tenaunz se 
chevassent as sovereinz seigmtrs des fieus. 

' Corr. heir. ' This word is probably wrong. 


bound to obey such summonses except at the cost of their 

It was ordained that a knight's fee should come by 
inheritance to the eldest son, and that a socage fee should be 
partible among the male children, and that no one should 
be able to alienate more than a quarter of his inheritance 
without his heir's consent, or to alienate his purchase away 
from his heirs unless assigns were mentioned in the gift. 

It was ordained that everyone should be able to endow 
his wife at the church door without the consent of his heir, 
and that female heirs or widows should [not] marry without 
the assent of their liege lords, so that lords might not be 
bound to take the homage of their enemies or of other unfit 
persons. And this was prohibited upon pain of the forfeiture 
of the fees, whether the consent of parents had been given 
or no. Also that widows should lose then- dowers if they 
married without the consent of the warrantors of their 
dowers. Also they were to be disinherited and lose their 
dowers who allow themselves to be seduced before marriage ; 
but widows should not lose their inheritance by unchastity. 

And that the eldest son can forfeit nothing to the 
prejudice of his ancestor or his heirs in the lifetime of the 
ancestor whose heir apparent he is. 

It was ordained that the lords of fees should cause their 
tenants to be summoned by the award of their peers in the 
courts of their lords or in the county or hundred courts so 
often as they should deny or refuse to perform their right 
services or commit a forfeiture as against their lords by 
deed or by word ; and conversely in case the lords should 
commit a forfeiture as against their tenants ; and that then 
they should be acquitted or should forfeit their liegeance 
with the appurtenances by the award of the suitors touch- 
ing all they held of their lords ; and that outrageous and 
tortious lords should lose the fees and the services, and 
that the tenants should achieve ' themselves to the superior 
lords of the fees. 

' The tenant para vail achieves to ledges him as his immediate lord or 
the lord paramount : that is, acknow- head (Lat. accapitare). 


Defendu est qe nul destresce se feist par les biens 
moQbles des gentz mes qe par les cors ou par les fieus forpris 
cas especiaus apres diz ; e qe nul ne veast a autre renable 
destresce ne alescer naam mort pitr gage ne vif naam pwr 
plegges ou -pur gage suffisaunt. 

Ordene fu qe enfanz demorassent en garde ovesqe lur 
chatieus e lur heritages, e qe lur gardeins respondissent de 
trespas des enfanz e feissent satisfaccion as blesciez forpris 
des felonies ; e qe les mariages fussent as liges seignurs ; 
e qe escuages, relefs e aides se feissent des tenaunz as 
seignurages de lur heritages relever, des heirs car' seignurs 
fere chivalers e de lur einz nesces filles marier. E qe les 
heirs mascles feissent homage a lur seignurs, e les femeles 
lur jurassent feautie. E qe heritages descendissent a touz 
enfanz par garant del droit de possession e qe li mascle 
forcloreit la femele e li proschein le remue par garawt del 
droit de propriete. 

Ordene fu qe peccheours mortiels ne fussent mie suffertz 
a demorer entre innocenz. E qe le Eei ust lestrep des tene- 
menz as felons ou la value des terres e des rentes a un 
an. E qil ust les deodandes, e qe les chastieux des usuriez 
fussent au Eoi, e qe les heritages des usuriers remeissent 
eschaetes as seignurs des fieuz. 

Ordene furent essoines en mixtes actions e reales e ne 
mie en personeles solom ceo qe apres est dit. 

Defendu fu qe nul alienast hors del reaume nules issues 
des terres ne de rentes. 

Defendu fu qe nul argent ne fust porte hors del reaume. 

Defendu fu qe nul ne vendist vin el reaume forqe par 
tonel ou pipe. 

' Corr. lur. 


It was forbidden that any distress should be made by 
men's movable goods ; it was to be made by their bodies 
or their fees save in certain special cases mentioned below. 
And it was forbidden that any should deny to another 
reasonable distress or withhold any dead naam on tender of 
gage, or any live naam on tender of pledges or sufficient gage. 

It was ordained that children should remain in ward 
with their chattels and their inheritances and that their 
guardians should answer for their trespasses, and make 
satisfaction to the injured save in cases of felony ; and that 
their marriages should belong to their liege lords ; and that 
scutages, reliefs and aids should be given by the tenants to 
the lords for relieving inheritances, for the knighting of 
the heirs of their lords and for the marrying of their eldest 
daughters ; and that heirs male should do homage to their 
lords, and that heirs female should swear fealty ; and that 
inheritances should descend to all the children under 
warrant of the right of possession, and that the male 
should exclude the female and the nearer the more remote 
by warrant of the right of property.' 

It was ordained that mortal sinners should not be 
suffered to dwell among the innocent ; also that the king 
should have the right to waste the tenements of felons, or 
to take the value of their lands or rents for one year ; and 
that he should have the deodands ; and that the chattels 
of usurers should belong to the king and that the inheri- 
tances of usurers should remain as escheats to the lords of 
the fees. 

And essoins were ordained in mixed and real but not 
in personal actions, as will be said hereafter. 

It was forbidden that anyone should alienate outside 
the realm the issues of any lands or rents. 

It was forbidden that money should be carried out of 
the realm. 

It was forbidden that wine should be sold in the realm 
save by the tun or pipe. 

' Bracton, f. 64. holds that all the poMfjstotua, though the flrstborn is 
dead man's sons are pares in jure preferred quoad jua projuictatU. 


Defendu fu qe nul ne mcnast leyne liors del reaume ne 
tuast aignel ne veel qe pust vivre ne be^'bis ne chastris. 

Defendu fu qe nul evesqe ordenast lai homme al ordre 
de clers outre le noumbre de taunz qe necessaire fussent des 
eglises servir, par que la jurgsdiccion le Eei fust descru ou 

Ordene fu qe povres fusent sustenuz pa?- les persones, 
rectours des eglises e par les parosiens, si qe nul ne niorust 
par defaute de sustenaunce. 

Ordene fu qe feires e marchez se fussent par lus, e qe 
achatours de ble e de bestes donassent tolun as baillifs des 
seigmu's des marehiez ou des feires, cestassaver, maille de x 
sondes de bien ; e de meins meins, e de plus plus, al affe- 
raunt ; issi qe nul tolun passast un dener de une manere 
de marchaundize. E eel tolun fu trove pur testmoignir le 
cont?-act, car chescun privie contract fu defendu. 

Ordene fu qe nuli action fust recevable en jugement, sil 
nen ust proeve present des tesmoins ou dautre chose, ne nul 
nestovereit a respondre a bref en venial accion en la court 
le Eei devant juge commissaire, einz ceo qe lactour trovast 
seurte des damages e despenses resfcorez, sil cheist en sa 
pleinte ; forpris de reconusaunces de iiij petites assises, certi- 
ficacions, atteintes, redeseisines, e autres cas qe sunt aussi 
qe del office le Rei ; a la quele ordenaunce le Roi H. le 
primer mist cele mitigacion en favour de povres pleintifs, 
qe ceux navereient suffisance seurte presente fiansassent la 
satisfaccion a lur peer, solom renable taxacion. E en 
somonses en meme la manere. En haenge de pcrjurie furent 
atteintes ordenes en totes accions. 

Defendu fu qe nul marchaunt aliene ne hantast engle- 
terre forqe as iiij feires ne qe nul demorast en la terre outre 
xl jours. 

Garantie fu de la corteisie le Roi Henry le primer qe tuz 


It was forbidden that any should sell wool out of the 
realm, or should slay a lamb or calf capable of living, nor 
sheep nor wether. 

It was forbidden that any bishop should ordain laymen 
to the order of clerks beyond the number necessary for 
serving the churches, lest the king's jurisdiction should be 
decreased or diminished. 

It was ordained that the poor should be sustained by 
parsons, rectors of the churches, and by the parishioners, 
so that none should die by default of sustenance. 

It was ordained that fairs and markets should be held 
in certain places, and that buyers of corn and beasts 
should give toll to the bailiffs of the lords of the markets or 
fairs : to wit, one halfpenny for ten shillings of goods, and 
for less less, and for more more, in proportion ; no toll, 
however, was to exceed one penny for one kind of mer- 
chandize. This toll was ordained as evidence of the con- 
tract, for every privy contract was prohibited. It was 
ordained that no action should be received in judgment if 
there were not present proof by witnesses or some other 
thing, and that no one should be bound to answer a writ, 
in a venial action in the king's court, before a judge com- 
missary, until the plaintiff should have found security for 
damages and reimbursement of expenses if he failed in his 
action save only the recognitions of the four petty assizes, 
certifications, attamts, redisseisins, and other cases which 
likewise belong to the king ex officio. King Henry I. 
mitigated this ordinance in the following manner in favour 
of poor plaintiffs, that those who had not sufficient present 
security should pledge their faith* to make satisfaction to 
the utmost of their power, and according to a reasonable 
taxation. In summonses the same rule. In hatred of 
perjury attaints were ordained in all actions. 

It was forbidden that any foreign merchant should 
frequent England save at the four fairs, and that no [alien] 
should dwell in the land for more than forty days. 

It was established by the courtesy of King Henry I. 
that all husbands surviving wives who had conceived 



ceux qe sorvequissent lur femwes dunt eles usent conceves 
tenissent les heritages lur femmes a totes lur jours. 

Plusours autres ordenaunces se firent, e puys unt este 
fetes, en eide de la pees solom ceo qe apres iert dist. 

Ch. IV. Division de Pecche. 

Del pechie est breve division ; car mortel ou venial 
solum ceo qe ipert es peynes. Les mortiels sunt ces, le 
crim de majeste, le crim de faussonerie, le crim de traison, 
le crim darson, le crim de homicide, le crim de larcin, e le 
crim homsokne. 

Ch. V. Del pecchie de Majeste. 

Crim de majeste est un pecce horrible fet a Rei, mes ceo 
est au Eoi celestre ou a Rei terrestre. Ver le Rei de eel en 
iij maneres, par heresie, reneierie, e sodemie : ver le Eoi de 
la terre en iij maneres, par ceus qi occient le Rei ou com- 
passent del fere ; par ceus qe le desheritent del Reaume, 
ou traissont son host, ou compassent del fere ; e par ceux 
avoutres qi pwrguissent la femme le Roi, ou la fille le Roi 
einznesce legitimee einz ces ^ qe ele seit marie en la garde 
le Roi, ou la norice letaunt le heir le Roi. 

De Heresie Hercsio cst uno mauveissc e fausse creaunce sourdant 

de errour en la dreite foi crestiene. Cest pecchie est sorcerie 
e divinaille qe sunt membres de heresie. En cas nient 
notoires satteignent par mi presumpcions de males cevres 
defenduez, sicom est de ceus qi par malart sourdant de 
male creaunce, e ascune foiz de defaute de ferme creaunce, 
funt mervoilles damaious ; e ascune foiz satteignent par 
confessions, e aperte avouerie del errour. 

De Sorcerie Sorcerie cst un art a deviner. Devinail proprement 

soune en mal, sicom pi-ophecie soune en bien. De devinaille 
e de ses membres. Devinaille se soloit fere en plusors 

• Corr. ceo. 


by them should hold the inheritance of their wives for all 
their days. 

Divers other ordinances were made then and after- 
wards, in aid of the peace, as will hereafter be said. 

Ch. IV. Division of Sins. 

There is a short division of sins, for they are either 
mortal or venial, as the penalties show. The following 
are mortal sins : the crime of laesa majestas, the crime of 
falsification, the crime of treason, the crime of arson, the 
crime of homicide, the crime of larceny, and the crime of 

Ch. V. Of the Sin of Laesa Majestas. 

The crime of laesa majestas is a horrible sin com- 
mitted against the king, and this may be against the king 
of heaven or earth. Against the king of heaven in three 
ways : by heresy, apostasy, and sodomy ; against the 
earthly king in three ways : by those who kill the king or 
compass his death ; by those who disinherit him of his 
realm, or betray his host, or compass to do so ; and by 
those avowterers who defile the king's wife, or his eldest 
legitimate daughter before her marriage, she being in the 
ward of the king, or the nurse suckling the heir of the 

Of Heresy Heresy is a wicked and false behef arising from error 

in the true Christian faith. This sin includes sorcery 
and divination, which are species of heresy. In cases 
which are not notorious guilt is proved [either] by pre- 
sumptions arising from evil and forbidden deeds, as is the 
case with those who by bad arts arising from bad belief, or 
it may be from want of firm belief, work hurtful marvels, or 
else by confession and open avowal of error. 

Of Sorcery Sorccry is the art of divination. We use ' divination ' 

in an evil sense, as we use ' prophecy ' in a good sense. Of 
divination and its species. Divination is wont to be made in 


especes. Dunt une manere de divinaille se fet par le mal 
feie par laquel la fitonesse suscita Samuel qi garni Saul de 
sa mort. Lautre espece est periromancie qe ceo fet par le 
fieu. Lautre est aermancie qe se soloit fere par signes en 
leir. Lautre fu idromancie qe se fist par signes en euue. 
Lautre fu geomancie qe se fist par signes en la terre. Lautre 
fu nigromancie qe se fist par morz qe lem fesoit pa^-ler. 
Lautre fu augurrie qe se fist par signes en volz, chanz, e 
gargons doiseaus. Dautrepart soloient ascuns divinours' 
crere en sors, ascuns en songes, ascuns en trouveure de 
vers el psauter, ascuns emporter evvangires e charmes as 
cols, ascuns en esternuers, ascuns enchantement e charmes, 
ascuns ensignees de boiaus des bestes, e des espaules de 
motouns, ascuns es signes de paumes, ascuns en estrenes,' 
e es pnners^ encontres. Ascuns furent appellez mathemaz e 
mages qe devinerent par les estoilles, autres furent arriols 
qi pristent respons del deable parmi mahoumez, autres 
aruspeaus qi aovrerent es neuz^ es jours e es houres e issi 
ordenerewt lur bosoignes, e autre manere furent plusours. 
Dunt totes maneres de divinaille es escomenge e maudite de 
dieu e del eglise, e defendu tant com mahoumerie, e chose 
contre la droite foi. E ceo pj-oeve seint Augustin par mouz 
des resons, e de ceo est qe tuz ceux qe travaillent a deviner 
pMr saver choses futttres, si dounent a creatures ceo qe 
appent soulement a dieu. Parunt tieux menestreus sunt 
tuz pernables e remuables hors del comwwaute del seint 
people deu, si qe nul bon crestien ne soit entochie de lur 
art, ne parcener de lur pecchie. 

Item de ceux qi encorunt le crim de majeste e pnmere- 
ment de perjurie. Le pecche de majeste est vicine a plusours 
autres pecchiez. Car tuz ceux qi pecchent en perjurie par 
quel lem soit fei mentu ver le Eoi cheent en ceste pecchie, 
sicom les ministres le Eei jurez a fere droit e se perjurent 
en ascun point, e sicom ceux qi descressent le Eei de ces 
franchises * dautre manere de droit appendaunt a la coroune 

Or estreues. ' Or ueuz. 

Corr, primers. * Supp. ou, 


several ways.' One manner of divination is by the devil by 
which the witch raised Samuel who warned Saul of his 
death. Another species is pyromancy, which is done by 
fire. Another is aeromancy, which is done by signs in the 
air. Another was hydromancy, which was done by signs 
in the water. Another was geomancy, which was done by 
signs in the earth. Another was necromancy, which was 
done by making the dead speak. Another was augury, 
which was done by signs in the flight, song, and cries of 
birds. Again, some diviners were wont to believe in lots, 
others in dreams, others in the finding of verses in the 
psalter, others in carrying the evangelists and charms on 
their necks, others in sneezes, others in spells and charms, 
others in signs on the entrails of animals and shoulders of 
sheep, others in palmistry, others in gifts and first meet- 
ings. Others, again, were called mathematici and magi, 
who divined by the stars ; others were haurioli, who took 
answers from the devil among the Mahometans. Others 
were aruspices, who observed nights, days, and hours, and 
thus ordained their business, and divers other sorts there 
were. All these manners of divination are excommunicated 
and cursed of God and the Church, and forbidden as much 
as Mahometry and things against the true faith. Saint 
Augustine shows this by many reasons, and hence it is that 
all those who labour to divine in order to know future 
things give to the creature that which pertains to God 
alone. "Wherefore such workers are all to be seized and 
removed out of the community of the holy people of God, 
so that no good Christian may be tainted by their art, or 
partaker in their sin. 

Again, of those who commit the crime of laesa majestas, 
and first of perjury. The crime of laesa majestas is akin 
to several other sins. For all those who sin in perjury 
whereby one belies one's faith to the king fall into this sin ; 
such are the ministers of the king sworn to do right, 
who perjure themselves in any matter, and likewise those 
who deprive the king of his franchises or other manner of 
• See c. C, C. 20, q. 2. 



par occupacions, ou pwrprestures, ou en autre manere, tut 
ne pecchent il mie mortelement. 

En perjurie pecchent tuz ces feaux le Eoi qi pwrpernewt 
juresdictionsurleEei, esefunt justices, viscountes, corouners, 
ou autres ministres, desavoer ^ de droit. En perjurie ver le 
Boi pecchent tuz les feals le Eoi qi approprirent a eus juris- 
diction, contie, honour, hundred, sokne, return de bref, ou 
chose qe poit cheir en heritage, ou gardes, eschaetes, relefs, 
sutes, services ou mariages, feires, marchez, infangenthef, 
utfangenthef, wrec, weif, estrai, tresor mucie enterre 
garennes en lur demeines terres ou en autri, travers tolnen, 
pavage, pontage, chiminage, murage, cariage, ou reles^ 
autres custumes. En perjurie ver le Eei pecchent ceux 
fealx le Eoi qi pement abjuracions de felons, e de futifs, e ne 
sunt mie corouners, ne garantiz del Eei. E ceaux qi 
oustent ascun enditee ou appelle de cnm hors del roulle de 
corouner, e ceaux corouners qe plus defoiz qe une receivent 
apealx de provours, ou procurent qe homme innocent soit a 
tort appelle de provour. E ceux qi unt termine appealx de 
provors de fez foreins, ou par la ou ascun forein est 
appelle ; e ceux corouners qi suffrent a escient les chatieux 
de felons e de futifs estre meinprises del droit, ^ ou de les 
conceler en tute ou en partie, ou a lur oeps demeyne les 
eient retenuz al damage le Eei, ou aillurs les unt fet liverer 
qe as viles, ou plus del verrai pris en damage des villes funt 
mettre en roulle ; ou soffrent lur serjanz aver garnement 
ou autre chose qe seit prisable al oeps le Eei, ou les garne- 
menz des morz, ou delaient de fere lur office par coveitise. 

En perjurie chient ver le Eoi ceux ministres qi par- 
dounent finz ou amercimentz qe au Eoi appendent, ou 
autre manere de peine corporele ou pur annele^ sanz 
especial garant, e ceaux ministres qe par somounces e 
aiornemenx funt bones genz travailler en vein sicom as 

Corrupt. make good sense. A negative may 

Corr. tiela. have been omitted. 

The text as it stands does not ♦ Corr. pecuniele. 


rights belonging to the Crown, by encroachments, purpres- 
tures, or in other manner, though they do not sin mortally. 

By perjury sin all those lieges of the king who encroach 
upon his jurisdiction, and of themselves make justices, 
sheriffs, coroners, or other officers against the law. By 
perjury towards the king sin all those lieges of the king 
who appropriate to themselves jurisdiction, to wit counties, 
honours, hundreds, sokens, return of writs, or other here- 
ditaments, wardships, escheats, reliefs, suits, services, 
marriages, fairs, markets, infangenethef, utfangenethef, 
wreck, waif, estray, treasure hidden in the earth, warrens 
in their own lands or in another's, toll-traverse or other 
toll, pavage, pontage, chiminage, murage, carriage, or such 
other customs. By perjury against the king sin those 
lieges of the king who take abjurations of felons or fugitives 
and are not coroners nor authorised by the king. And 
those who remove [the name of] any person indicted or 
appealed of crime out of the roll of the coroner, and those 
coroners who more than once receive the appeals of ap- 
provers or procure the wrongful appeal of an innocent man 
by an approver. And those who have determined the 
appeals of approvers concerning acts done out of their 
territories or whereby any foreigner is appealed ; and those 
coroners who knowingly allow the chattels of felons and 
fugitives to be mainprised against right, or conceal them, 
wholly or partially, or retain them to their own use to 
the damage of the king, or who cause them to be delivered 
otherwise than to the townships, or who set them down in 
the roll at more than their true price to the prejudice of 
the townships ; or allow their servants to have garments 
or any other thing seizable for the king's profit, or the 
garments of the dead, or delay the performance of their 
duty through their covetousness. 

Into perjury against the king fall those officers who 
forgive fines or amercements belonging to the king, or 
other manner of corporal or pecuniary punishment, without 
special warrant, and those officers who by summonses and 
adjournments cause good folk to labour in vain, as at gaol 

D 2 


deliverances de gaoles, assises, enquestes ou aillurs. E tuz 
cex fealx le Eoi qe le maudient ou escomengent, e tuz ces 
fealx qi portent armes countre le Eoi, e qi defuunt de sa 
bataille ou de son host dreiturel. E ceux ministres qe 
desavouablement estoupent et concellent qe genz ne voisent 
en guerre ove le Eei, ou il sunt tenuz daler, ou a ceo sunt 
renablement somouns, e qe gentz ne seient fetz chivalers 
for solom les establisementz de Eeaume. 

En perjurie cheent ver le Eoi trestuz ceux fealx le Eoi 
qe pledent ve de naam, e ne unt mie retourn de bref, ou 
tenent plez de prise davers ou dautre chose apurtenaunt a 
la jurisdiction le Eoi soulement, sanz especiale commission 
le Eoi, ou conoissent en cas de vie, ou de menbre, den- 
prisonment, de sane espandu, de faus jugement, ou de 
chose desavouable de droit sanz commission del bref le 
Eei ; e tuz ceux ministres le Eei qe meintenent faus actions 
fausses appealx ou faus defenses a escient. 

En perjurie chient ver le Eoi ceus ministres qe veent as 
pleintifs brefs remediaus de possession, datteintes, ou de 
fourme, ou autrement delaient droit ou vendent, e ceux 
qe a tort delaient ou desturbent droiz jugemenz, ou les 
fornissemenz, e ceux qe a tort fornissent torcenous juge- 
menz, e tuz ceux q^ lur privileges ou franchises torcenouse- 
mewt usent ou trop largement. En perjurie vers le Eoi 
pecchent ceux ministres qe pernent fins a autri oeps qe 
al oeps le Eoi por tresor trovie por wrec weif estrai 
aliene, pwr sane espandu, enprisonement, ve de naam, 
reddisseisine, ou disseisine, ou per-jurie ' por resistence 
fere qe loial jugement nust execucion, de fornissement de 
torcenous jugement, pur usure, pwrpresture sur le Eei, ou 
ptir autre chose dunt reconusance apent au Eoi ; e ceus 
recevours qe rien ne paient des dettes le Eoi solum ceo qe 
enjoint lur fust a fere ou rendent pa?-tie por satisfaccion 
del entier e ne rendent au Eoi le remenaunt. 

En perjurie ver le Eoi pecchent ceux qe chargent le Eoi 
a tort de overaignes en chatiex maynovres e aillours, ou 
dautre fause despense. E ceux qe la pierre, la chauz, 
' A mistake maj be suspected. 


deliveries, assizes, inquests, or elsewhere. And all those 
subjects of the king who curse or excommunicate him, and 
all those subjects who bear arms against the king, and those 
who flee from his battle or lawful host. Likewise those 
ministers who unlawfully hinder folk from going to the war 
with the king, to which they are bound to go, or to which 
they have received due summons, or connive at their ab- 
sence, or procure that men be not distrained to knighthood 
according to the customs of the kingdom. 

Into perjury against the king fall all those subjects who 
hold pleas de vetito namii and have not the [franchise of] 
return of writ, or hold pleas of the taking of beasts or other 
plea pertaining to the king's jurisdiction only, without 
special commission from the king, or take cognisance of 
cases of life, limb, imprisonment, bloodshed, false judgment, 
or thing disavowable in law, without commission under the 
king's writ ; and all those officers of the king who knowingly 
maintain false actions, false appeals, or false defences. 

Into perjury against the king fall those officers who 
refuse plaintiffs remedial writs of possession, attaint, or 
other writs of common form, or otherwise delay or sell 
right, and those who wrongfully delay or disturb right 
judgments and their execution, and all those who wrong- 
fully execute tortious judgments, and all those who exercise 
their privileges and franchises tortiously or excessively. 
By perjury against the king sin those officers who take 
fines to the use of another than the king, for the alienation 
of treasure trove, wreck, waif, estray, or bloodshed, or im- 
prisonment, ve de naam, redisseisin, disseisin, perjury, for 
resisting the execution of lawful judgments, for executing 
tortious judgments, usury, purprestures on the king, or 
any other thing the cognisance of which pertains to the 
king ; likewise those receivers who pay none of the king's 
debts as was enjoined them, or render part in satisfaction 
of the whole, and do not pay over the remainder to the king. 

By perjury against the king sin those who wrongfully 
charge the king with works [done] in repair of castles or 
elsewhere or other false expenditure. Likewise thoso who 


merrim, ou autre chose le Eoi, despendent aillours qe en 
sun service sanz suffisant garant. 

En perjurie ver le Eoi cheent eschaetours qe funt gast 
as gardes ou es fieus le Eoi ou pernent veneison ou pesson 
ou autres biens desavouables ou seississent les chatieux des 
morz par lur auctorite e por Icier les relessent ; ou douuent 
vedues al damage le Eei ou funt damaiouse estentes al Eei 
e meins de la verrei value en respounewt au Eoi ou a 
escient soeffrent possessions demorer en mortemein qe 
deussent estre pris en la main le Eoi, e dunt le Eoi doit 
avoir les issues ; ou qe plus rescevent de lur bailies qil nen 
respounent au Eoi ; ou qe a escient soeffrent feffemenz de 
possessions ou davoiessons de eglises prejudiciels au Eoi ; 
ou qe unt suffer z aliener gardez ou marriages en prejudice 
del Eei ; ou soeffrent a pro ver ages denfaunz en damage del 
Eei, ou pernent fins pur gardes ou marriages sanz bref en 
prejudice del Eoi, ou deseisent ascun par colour de lur 
office, ou levent deners de ascun de son propre amerci- 

En perjurie ver le Eoi pecchent viscountes qe trop 
chargent lur ostes par surcharge de gent de chevaus, ou 
ceo ' chiens, e qe levent fins ou amercimenz pur eschaps de 
prisons, ou pur autre chose desavouable de droit, einz ceo 
qe les eschaps soient ajugez par justices en eire, e qi accres- 
sent ou amenussent fins ou amercimenz outre la volunte des 
affoerrours ou jurours. E ceus ministres qe concelent 
genz deliverables en prison e ne les presente mie en juge- 

En perjurie pecchent touz ceux ministres qi sunt reper- 
nables de la soffrance negligence ou consence des fraun- 
chises ou des droitz le Eei aliener a tort occuper ou sustrere, 
e ceux qe aillours el reaume changent veille moneie defendue 
pur novele qe al chaunge le Eoi. 

' Corr. de. 


expend the stone, lime, timber, or other thing belonging to 
the king, elsewhere than in his service without sufficient 

Into perjury against the king fall escheators who make 
waste in the wardships or fees of the king, or take venison, 
fish, or other things unlawfully, or seize the chattels of 
dead persons by virtue of their authority and release them 
for reward, or endow widows to the damage of the king, or 
make extents prejudicial to the king and answer for less 
than the true value of the property to the king, or know- 
ingly allow possessions to remain in mortmain which ought 
to be taken into the king's hands, and of which he ought 
to have the profits. And those who receive more from 
their bailiwick than they answer for to the king, or who 
knowingly allow feoffments of possessions or advowsons of 
churches prejudicial to the king, or who have allowed the 
alienation of wardships, or marriages to the king's prejudice, 
or allow [premature] proof of the ages of children to the 
king's prejudice, or take fines for wardships or marriages 
without writ to the king's prejudice, or disseise anyone by 
colour of their office, or take money from anyone for their 
own amercement.' 

By perjury against the king sin sheriffs who overburden 
their hosts with too many folk, horses, or dogs, and who 
levy fines or amercements for escapes from prison, or other 
thing disallowed by law, before such escapes are adjudicated 
on by justices in eyre. Likewise those who increase or 
diminish fines and amercements fixed by affeerers or jurors. 
And those officers who conceal in prison persons who should 
be delivered, and do not present them for judgment. 

By perjury sin all those officers who are guilty of negli- 
gently conniving at the alienation, occupation, or subtraction 
of the franchises and rights of the king, and those who 
anywhere in the kingdom change old forbidden money for 
new save at the king's exchange. 

* A sheriff who has been amerced act the amercement from his justioi- 
(or official misconduct must not ex- ables. 


Ch. VI. De Fausonerie. 

Faussonerie se fet en ij. maners : par fausser le seal le 
Eoi, e par fausser sa moneie. 

Son seal porra estre faussie en plusours maners. II est 
faussie a totes les foiz qe bref, esc?-t8t, ou le^tre en est seale, 
dunt le gros, e la matire, ou la fourme nest avouable par le 
Eei, ne par lei, ou par les droitz usages del reaume, qe nest 
mie a entendre de chescun bref abatable. II est faussine 
si lem en seale apres ceo qe li chaunceler ou autre gardein 
savera qil eit son garant perdu par mort ou en autre 
manere. II est faussie qwant bref, ou lettre, le passe 
countre le defens le Eei. E est faussie par ceus qi ensea- 
lent par plates ' contrefetes, e par tuz ceaux qi ensealent 
de male art, ou par quointes nient avouable. E si est 
faussie pa?- ceaux qe ensealent, e ne sunt mie auctorizes de 

De la moneie falsee. La moneie estoit ordene ronde, e 
quarterable, e soleit issi estre ferue qe li forein cercle fust 
parant par tut e entiere, ou autrement ne fust point 
pernable, e qe la livere fust de xij unces de fin argent, e 
si estoit assentu qe le Eoi prist vj d. pur le seal de chescun 
bref e xij d. piw le coin de chescun livre de novel moneye, e 
qe plus de manere de moneies ne courreient el Eeaume. 
La moneie est faussee par ceus qi la funt nient avouable 
par male coveitise de gaigne. 

Ele est fausee par ceus qi la funt e ne sunt mie auctorisez 
ne garantiz de la fere. Ele est faussee par ceus qe par 
male gaigne le funt de plus de allai del droit. Ele est 
faussee par tuz ceaux qe la funt sanz le coin le Eei. 
Ele est fausee par tuz ceaux qi la contrefunt de mal art 
e par ceux qi la retondewt ou liment par male gaigne. 

• Houard suggests pUts. 


Ch. VI. Of Falsification. 

Falsification is committed in two fashions : by falsifying 
the king's seal, and by falsifying his money. 

His seal can be falsified in several ways. It is falsified 
every time that a writ, script, or letter is sealed with it, of 
which the substance, matter, or form cannot be warranted 
by the king, by the law, or the right customs of the realm ; 
but this is not to be understood of every abatable writ. It 
is falsified if a man seals with it after that the chancellor 
or other keeper is aware that he has lost his authority by 
the death [of the king] or in any other manner. It is 
falsified when a writ or letter passes it against the king's 
orders. It is falsified by those who seal with counterfeit 
plates, and by all those who seal by evil art or unlawful 
trick. It is falsified by those who seal with it and are not 
authorised to do so. 

Falsification of money. Money was ordained round 
and quarterable, and ought to be thus struck, so that the 
outer circle should be apparent all round it and unbroken, 
or otherwise a coin was not to pass ; and that the pound 
should be twelve ounces of fine silver ; and it was agreed 
that the king should take sixpence for the sealing of each 
writ and twelve pence for the coining of every pound of 
new money. It was ordained that other kinds of money 
should not be current in this realm. Money is falsified by 
those who make it unlawfully through evil desire of gain. 

It is falsified by those who make it and are not autho- 
rised or warranted to do so. It is falsified by those who 
for evil gain make it with more alloy than is right. It is 
falsified by all those who make it without the king's die. 
It is falsified by all those who counterfeit it by evil art and 
by those who clip it or file it for evil gain. 


Ch, VII. Diffinicion de Traison. 

Traison ne se fet forqe -par entre alliez qe poet estre 
par linage par affinite par homage par serement e par loier. 
Par sane com si lun parent face a lautre chose qe H tort ^ a 
mort ou a desheriteson ou a apert hontage. Car la qitantite 
de traison est a courcement de vie ou doute de menbre ou 
descrees de teriene honour ou encrees de vilenie honte. E 
en mesme la manere se fest cest pecchie par entre affins 
sicom par entre socres, gendres e parenz. Car sicom 
cosinage est lien de diverse pa?-ceners descendantes de 
. j . cep e estretes de carnele engendrure, aussi est affinite 
proscheinetie de persones descendaunt de carnele couple ou 
nul parente nen est.^ E sicom ceste pecchie se fet par 
entre affins e cosins aussi se fet par entre alliez. Alliaunce se 
fet ascun foiz par loier par homage e par serement, qe avient 
ascune foiz de feaute issant de servage de fieu, e ascun foiz 
issant de serement de service del cors. E sicom li . j . des 
alliez parenz ou affins fet ceste pecchie ver lautre en mesme 
la manere se fet pecchie al revers. Par loier cum si cil qe 
jeo averai louue pur moi fere leaute e seit seisi del men 
cum de manger ou dautre doun, ou loier ou curtoisie, 
faussee mon seel, ou porgice ma fille en ma chaumbre, ou 
ma femme, ou la norice de mon heir letaunt, ou fet chose 
qe me court a mort par felon compassemeut ou grandment 
a deshonur, ou damage de cors, ou de mes biens, ou 
descoevre mon conseel qe seit chargeant ou ma confession. 
E loier fet a entendre fieu, possession, robe, seele, pension, 
eglise, rente, ou autre doun, e manger e boivre, durant le 
loier. E aussi com cist me poet trahir qil print del mien 
tant cum il en est seisi, en meme la manere poes je pecchier 
ver li. E au tiel action en ad il ver moi cum jeo de ver li. 

' Corr. cort (?) rum ex eo proveniens, quod una 

^ Our author is referring to defi- persona descendit ab altera vel 

nitions current among the canonists. ambae ab eadem. Affinitas est 

Thus Johannes Andreae : " Con- personarum proximitas ex coitu 

sanguinitas est attinentia persona- proveniens omni carens parentela." 


Ch. VII. Definition of Treason. 

Treason can only be committed between those allied, 
and they may be allied by blood, affinity, homage, oath, 
or by hire. By blood, as if one kinsman does to another 
a thing which tends to his death, disherison, or open 
shame. For the essence of treason is the shortening of 
life, fear of limb or diminution of earthly honour or in- 
crease of villain shame, and in like manner is this sin 
committed between persons connected by affinity, as be- 
tween sisters in law, brothers in law, and other such kins- 
men ; for as consanguinity is a bond between divers 
parceners descending from one stock and arising from 
carnal engenderment, so affinity is the relation between 
persons estabhshed by carnal copulation where there is no 
common ancestry. And as this sin is committed between 
persons who are kin by affinity or consanguinity, so also it 
can be committed between those who are allies. Alliance 
is created by hire, homage, or oath, which oath is sometimes 
an oath of fealty issuing by way of service from the fee, 
and sometimes an oath of bodily service. And just as one 
of the allies, or persons related by blood or marriage, can 
commit this sin of treason against the other, so vice versa. 
By hire, as if he whom I have hired to do me loyal 
service and who is seised of my property, for example by 
way of food or other gift, wages, or guerdon, either falsifies 
my seal, or defiles my daughter in my room, or my wife, or 
the nurse suckling my heir, or (Joes something with felonious 
compassing which tends to my death, great dishonour, 
damage to my body or estate, or reveals either my counsel 
with which he is intrusted, or my confession. By hire is 
to be understood fee, possession, robe, seal, pension, church, 
rent, or any other thing given, including meat and drink, 
during the service. And in the same way that a person 
who takes of my property and is seised thereof can commit 
treason against me, in like manner can I sin against him. 
Such action as he can bring against me can I bring 
against him. 


Ck. VIII. De Ardours. 

Ardours sunt qi ardent cite, vile, mesoun, homme, beste, 
ou autre chatieux de lur felonie en tens de pees pur haine ou 
vengeaunce. E si ascun met le fu a homme felounessement 
de quoi il est bruUure ou blessure par le feu tut ne seit il 
occis par le feu jalemenz nen est le pecchie mortel. En 
cest pecchie cheent ascun foiz manaceours del arson. 

Ch. IX. De Homicide e de sa Nature. 

Homicide est occision de hom?ne par homme fete. Car 
si par beste ou mescheaunce adunc nest pas homicidie. 
Cest pecchie chiet en ij maneres par langue e par fete. Par 
langue en iij maners par conseil comawdement e defense. 
Conseil cum qi conseil dautre occire e ausi de comawde- 
ment. Defense cum qi defent sustenaunce de homme. Par 
fet en plusours maners ascune foiz par coup, ascune foiz 
par venim ou poison, ascune foiz par necessite e ascune 
foiz par voluntie. Par coup sicom apres piert en les 
appeax. Par poison venim ou entouche cum qi par coverte 
felonie e feinte amiste doune a autre a manger ou autre- 
ment user chose corrosive ou entouche ou envenime ascune 
chose dunt home seit occis tart ou tempre. Par enprisone- 
ment cum qi devient ^ cors de homme par colour de droit 
jesqes a la mort. Par cas cum qi gette ou trete a oisel, ou 
a autre chose, e ascun en seit occis par mescheaunce, ou 
par cheir de arbre, e tiex autres cas semblables. Mes dis- 
tinctez ou li occisour fet chose qe il poet de droit e dune 
ne pecche il nient : ou il fet chose qe il ne deit e met 
neqedent la diligence qil poet criaunt e garnissant, e uncore 
ne pecche il mie grantement; mes cil ne fet il pecche 

' Corr. detient. 


Ch. VIII. Of Arsoners. 

Persons committing arson are those who burn city, 
town, house, man, beast, or other chattels feloniously in 
time of peace for hatred or vengeance. And if any put fire 
to a man feloniously whereby he is burned or wounded, 
notwithstanding that he is not killed by the fire, neverthe- 
less the sin is mortal. Into this sin fall sometimes persons 
who threaten arson. 

Ch. IX. Of Homicide and its Nature. 

Homicide is the killing of a man by a man." For if 
[the killing] is caused by an animal or mischance, then it is 
not homicide. This sin is committed in two ways : by word 
and by deed. By word in three ways : by advice, com- 
mand, and refusal. By advice when a person advises the 
killing of another, and so also in the case of command. 
By refusal when one man refuses sustenance to another. 
By deed in several ways : by blow, venom, or poison, and 
the deed may be either done by necessity or of free will. 
By blow, as hereafter is seen in the chapter on appeals. By 
poison, venom, or drug when a person by hidden felony 
and feigned friendship gives another to eat or otherwise 
use something corrosive, poisonous, or venomous, whereby 
he is killed after a time or directly. By imprisonment, as 
where a person detains the body of another under colour 
of right until he dies. By accident, as where one throws 
or shoots at a bird or other thing. And such homicide may 
be by misadventure, the falling of a tree, and such other 
similar accidents. But we must distinguish whether the 
killer is doing a thing which he may do rightfully, for then 
he does not sin ; or else he is doing something he ought 
not to do, but nevertheless exercises all the diligence he 
can by crying out and giving warning, and in that case he 
does not sin greatly ; but if he does not exercise such 

' A groat deal of what follows seemB to have been taken with little 
change from Hracton, f. 120 b. 


mortelment. Par necessite, distinctez le quel cele necessite 
est eschuable ou noun, e si eschuable li pecchie est mortele. 
Par volunte e ce purra estre de li ou dautre persone. De 
ly si cum en cas ou genz se pendent ou neient ou autro- 
ment se occient de lur propre felonie. Dautre sicom par 
coup, famine, e autre peyne, en que cas tuz sunt homicides. 
Par volunte se fest aussi cest pecche sicuwi par ceux qi 
peynent homme tant qe il gehist aver pecche mortelment 
cum point ne fist einz pur estre allegie de la peyne 
desiraunt la mort confest felonie faussement : e ascune foiz 
diex ' par recorz de corouners ou de justices destruz. 
E si cum est de ceux par queus contrez, enfanz, e autres 
qi ne pount aler sunt gitez et lessez en deserz, ou en 
tieus lieus qe en eus ne remeint qil ne moerent de disede ^ tut 
les envoit dieu socours. E ausi sunt homicides de volunte 
faus jurours temoins e ceux qi apelent autres ou esclandrent 
par enditement ou en autre manere encusent fausement, 
es queux ne remeint qe la mort ne ifust. E ausi ceo fet cest 
pecchie par ceux qe enpn'sounent gent en tiex lus ou en 
teles peynes les mettent ou lem purra trovir par enqueste qil 
estoient plus prees de la mort par ceux mauveis lus ou 
celes peines. Par iij. maneres estoit diex occis car Longis le 
tua de fet ovesqe les autres qe li pendirent ou penerent. 
Par langue ou par dit loccist Pilast qe li comaunda doccire. 
E par voluntie loccistrent les faus testmoins e toux ceaux 
qe si consentirent. E de ceo est qe les evangelistes varient 
des houres de sa mort en ses passions. Cest pecchie 
contient plusours braunches cestasaver enprisonement, 
mahain, plaie, baterie, e faus tesmoignaunce en cas. 

Enprtsounement est torcenouse detenue de cors de 
humme. E ceo poet estre en ij maners, ou en commun 
prison roiale, ou en prison privee e defendue. En la comun 
prison ne fet nul a mettre si noun pwr mortel pecchie 
atteint ou principalment appele ou endite, e par jugement 

' Corr. tiex, * Corr. disete. 


diligence he sins mortally. And if it be a case of necessity 
we must distinguish whether the necessity were avoidable 
or not ; if avoidable the sin is mortal. A voluntary homi- 
cide may be of oneself or of another person ; the former is 
the case with persons who hang, drown, or otherwise kill 
themselves of their own proper felony. One can kill 
another by blow, famine, or other torment, in which case 
all [the partakers] are homicides, and this sin is also com- 
mitted by will in the case of those who torture a man so 
that he confesses to a mortal sin he has not committed, and, 
to alleviate torment, preferring death, falsely confesses a 
felony. And sometimes such persons are brought to their 
end by the records of coroners or justices. And in like 
case are those by whom cripples, children, and others who 
cannot walk are cast and left in desert places, or in such spots 
that if they do not die of hunger it is no thanks to those 
who put them there, albeit God sends them aid. And 
homicides in will are also false jurors, false witnesses, and 
those who appeal others or defame them by indictment, or 
in other ways accuse persons falsely so that it is not their 
fault that death does not follow. This sin is likewise 
committed by those who imprison folk in such places, or 
put them in such pain, that it can be found by inquest that 
they were nearer death by such evil places or pains. In 
three ways was God killed, for Longinus killed him in 
fact with the others who hung or tortured him. By tongue 
or by word Pilate killed him, for he ordered his killing, 
and by will the false witnesses killed him, as did all those 
consenting thereto. And this is the reason why the evange- 
lists vary the hour of his death in their stories of the Pas- 
sion.' This sin has several branches, to wit, imprisonment, 
mayhem, wounding, battery, and sometimes false witness. 

Imprisonment is the tortious detainer of the body of a 
man, and is of two kinds : — either in the common royal 
prison or in a private and forbidden prison. Into the 
common prison no one is to be put if not attainted, appealed 
as a principal, or indicted for mortal sin, or by judgment 
' Seec. 23, D. 1, depoen. 


de faus e torcenous enprisonement. Prison privee est ascune 
foiz droiturele e avouable e ascune foiz torcenouse. Ele est 
droiturele e avouable quant homme plevisable pris est mis en 
garde jesqes a taunt qil seit plevi de fere ceo qe il devera. 
En gard sunt genz en plusours maneres, en une manere 
par garaunt de droit sicom est de enfanz dedenz age, femmes 
en la garde lur barouns, genz de religion en la garde de lur 
abbez pnours ou autre chief de lur mesoun, e serfs en la 
garde de lur possessours. En autre manere sunt genz en 
garde par comun assent sicu^n. est de fous nastres, de gentz 
trop gascomes/ dostages, darrages, e de ceuxqe sunt atteinz 
de prisoner peccbez veniaus infamatoires qi sunt agarder en 
cas. El pecchie domicide cheent mortelement trestuz 
ceaux par queus homme moert en prison. E ceo poeit estre 
ou par les juges qi trop delaient a fere droit, ou par duresce 
des gardeins, ou par autre encheson desavouable. En ceste 
pecchie cheent genz par qi defaute gens moerent de disete 
qui les sunt tenux a sustenir, e ceux qi occient homme en 
prison par fur charge ^ de peyne en cas qitant ascun est juge 
a penaunce, e tuz ceux qi jugent homme desavouablement a 
la mort, e tuz ceaux qe sei assentent, e tesmoins qe fause- 
ment testmoignerent mortel pecchie sur hom7/ie innocent. 

En ceste pecchie cheent fous jures e fous fisiciens en cas 
e manaceours doccision e ceaux qi autre batent ou nafifrent 
par quel il soit plus loinz de sa vie e plus pres de sa mort. 

Mahain est defaute de menbre ou afebleure par brusure 
ou rasture de os de hom??ie par unt il seit meins pussant a 
cumbatre. E Turgis dist qe perte de denz devaunt est mahain, 
e reddour del poucier e del petit dei e del dei joignaunt e de 
mes ces ortieux il tendroit el pee est ausi mahain, e par plus 
de reson es cas ou plus de pierte piert. E Sennale dist qe 
pierte de coilz est mahain si nature ne les eit tolliz. Mes perte 
de denz messelez ou del nees ou desorailles ou de baleures nest 
mie mahain, tut enseitlicorsrevilie deshonore. E Billing dist 

' Corr. gastours. ' Corr. surcharge. 


for false or tortious imprisonment. Private imprisonment 
is sometimes lawful and avowable, and sometimes tortious. 
It is lawful and avowable in the case of a man plevisable 
who is taken and put in ward until he shall be plevied to 
do what he ought. In ward are folk in several ways : in 
one way by warrant of law, as is the case with infants 
under age, wives in the ward of their husbands, men of 
religion in the ward of their abbots, priors, or other the 
heads of their houses, and serfs in the ward of their pos- 
sessors. In another way are persons in ward by a general 
ordinance, as is the case with idiots, prodigals, hostages, 
madmen, and those who, having been attainted of venial 
infamatory sins, are imprisoned as is right in certain cases. 
Into the sin of homicide fall mortally all those through 
whom a person dies in prison. And this may be either 
through judges who too long delay to do right, or by the 
duress of the keepers, or by other disavowable act. Into 
this sin fall folk through whose default those whom they 
are bound to support die, and those who kill a man in 
prison by excessive pains when he is adjudged to do 
penance, and all those who wrongfully condemn a man to 
death, and all those assenting thereto, and witnesses who 
falsely swear mortal sin against an innocent man. 

Into this sin fall perverse ' jurors, and, in certain cases, 
perverse physicians, and those who threaten death, and 
those who beat or wound another whereby he is further 
from life and nearer to death. 

Mayhem is loss of limb or enfeeblement by breaking or 
crushing of a man's bone whereby he is rendered less able 
to fight. Turgis said that loss of front teeth is a mayhem, 
and of the thumb, and of the little finger and the finger 
joining; and he held that the loss of the corresponding 
toes of the foot was the same, and, a fortiori, if there be any 
greater loss. And Senwel said that loss of one's stones was 
mayhem, if one had not been deprived of them by nature. 
But loss of molar teeth, of nose, ears, or lips, is not mayhem, 
though the body be vilified and dishonoured. And Billing 

' It is difiicult to render fous. 



qe rasture pitr tenurer los de la teste e leveure descarde del 
teste en ^ mahain e aussi des autres os. 
De piaie Plaie est matire de la mort fete par couper darme ou de 

broche felonessement qe se monstre par longour laour e 
profundesce, car de coup de piere ou de baston devient 
rerement plaie mes de brusure. 

Ch. X. De Larcin. 
Larcin est prise dautri moeble corporel trecherousement 
contre la volunte celi a qi il est pur male gaigne de la 
possession ou del us. Prise est dist car bail nest mie title 
de larcin ne liveree einz la case. Moeble corporel est disl 
pur ceo qe en biens nient moebles ou nient corporeles sicom 
de terra ne de rentes ne davoissons deglises ne se fet nul 
larcin. Trecherousement est dist, por ceo qe si loignour 
entendi les biens estre fiens a qi ^ il les poeit bien prendre, 
en tel cas ne sei fet mie cest pecchie. Ne en cas ou 
lem pren lautri par la ou lem entent qil plest al seignur de 
biens qe lem les preigne, mes a ceo covendra enseigner 
ape7-te prcsumpcion e evidence. Deux menbres sunt de 
larcin, lun qe se fet apertement par robberie, lautre qe se 
fet nuttantre ou privement de jour. Eobberie se fet ascune 
foiz par larrons, ascune foiz par torcenouses destresces de 
baillifs e dautres qi sunt ' torcenouses extorsiouns al menu 
poeple, ascune foiz par extrusours e disseisissors qi a force 
e apertement pernent autri biens cow avant est dist, e ascune 
foiz par autres qi allopent autries femmes ou gardes ovesqe 
lur biens. En cest pecchie cheent tuz ceaux qe pernent 
lautri par lautrie ■* del rei ou dautre grant seignur, sanz le 
gre de ceaux as queux les biens sunt. Larcin se fet ascune 
fois par larrons aperz, e ascune foiz par trecheours, cum est 
en plusour manere de marchaundises, e sicom est de 
laborours qi emblent lur labours, e cum est de baillifs, 
recevours e administrors dautriz biens qi emblent en 

Corr. est. ^ Corr. funt, which stands in margin. 

Corr. siens e qe. * Corr. lautorite. 


said that an abrasion of the skull, if splinters of bone were 
taken from the head, was mayhem ; and so with other bones. 
Wounding is the cause of death when it is brought 
about by cutting with spear or other arm feloniously, and 
the wound has length, breadth, and depth ; for from a 
blow from stone or staff come bruises, but rarely wounds. 

Ch. X. Of Larceny. 
Larceny ' is the treacherous taking of a corporeal 
movable thing of another, against the will of him to whom 
it belongs, by evil acquisition of possession or of the use. 
Taking, we say : for bailment or livery excludes larceny. A 
corporeal movable, we say : for no larceny can be committed 
of an immovable or incorporeal thing such as land or rent 
or advowsons of churches. Treacherously, we say : because 
if the taker believed the things to be his own, so that 
he could lawfully take them, in such a case he does 
not commit this sin. Nor does he where he takes 
another's goods believing that his taking them is agree- 
able to the owner; but in this case he must show some 
open presumption and evidence. There are two kinds of 
larceny : one committed openly by robbery, the other by 
night or secretly by day. Eobbery is committed sometimes 
by thieves, sometimes by the tortious distraints of bailiffs 
and others who make tortious extortions from the smaller 
folk, and sometimes by extruders and disseisors who for- 
cibly and openly take the goods of others, as was said before, 
and sometimes by others who elope with other men's wives 
or their wards with their goods. Into this sin fall all those 
who take a man's goods by authority of the king or other 
great lord, against the will of those to whom the goods 
belong. Larceny is committed sometimes by open thieves, 
and sometimes by tricksters, as is the case in many kinds of 
merchandise, and is the case with labourers who steal their 
labours, and with bailiffs, receivers and administrators of 
other persons' goods, who steal in rendering account. 

' This definition, with the words ton, whom our author has been fol- 
about the usus, seems to go back to lowing in liis account of mayhem. 
Instit. 4. 1. 1, rather than to Brae- 

■ 2 


rendaunt acounte. El pecchie de larcin cheent ceaux qi 
emblent borses ou maletes, e qi autre larcin lunt par niceste 
ou quointise des meins, e tiiz lur fautours. En ceste 
pecchie ceaux cheent qi soeffrent les larrons passer cum il 
les potreient arestier. E ceaux aussi qe les porreient prendre 
ou desturbir ou garnir autres de lur malice e point nel funt. 
E ceux qi les concelent pur amiste, thefbote, ou autre loier, 
ou a esciewt recettent lur larcin ou lur persones. En ceste 
pecchie cheent tuz ceaux qi emblent par fauses mesures, e 
faus pois, ou en autre manere de trecherie par coverture de 
marchaundise, e ceaux qi a escient le soeffrent cum il les 
poreient desturber, e ceaux qi robbent prisons de chose qil 
eient. En ceste pecche cheent tuz ceaux qe torcenouse- 
ment amercient la gent, ou outraiousement affoerent 
amercimenz, ou qi outraiousement ou torcenousement con- 
dempnent lur proeine en damages ou en peyne. E ceaux 
qe vieuz tresor qe au Eoi appent ou wrec waif ou estrai qe 
au Eoi apent a tort li detenent. E ceux qe lautri troevent 
e nel rendent cum il pount e scievent a qi. En ceste pecche 
cheent touz ceaux qi pernent torcenous ou outraious tolnu 
en marche, citee, bourg, ville, molin ou aillours, e ceaux qi 
pernent pavage, murage, chiminage, cariage ou dautre 
manere de custumes plus qe droit nest. En ceste pecche 
cheent ceux baillifs qe enquerent en tournz e en veuues de 
plus darticles qe de peccheours personeux, e de torz fetez 
au Eoi, e a sa coroune, e de torz fetz al comun de poeple. 
E ceux qe par extorsions pernent deners de fins fetes pur 
bel pleder, ou purquei les jurours ne seient enchesonez, e 
ceaux qe amercent ascun de testee sanz renable affoerement 
de gent a ceo juree. En ceste pecchie cheent ceaux qe 
destreinent desavouablement, e ceux qe vendent nams -pur 
la dette le rey dedenz les primers xv. jours. En ceste 
pecche cheent ceaux ministres de lescheqere e autres qe 
veent a fere aquitaunce souz le seal del escheqere a chescun 
de taunt cum il javera paie, e qi plus de une foiz funt une 
dette levee, e qi pernent loiers par si qe veilles ne se facent 


Into the sin of larceny fall those who take purses or 
bags, and who otherwise commit larceny by sleight and 
dexterity of their hands, and all their abettors. Into this 
sin fall those who allow thieves to pass when they could 
arrest them. Those also who could take or disturb the 
thieves or warn others of their malice and do not do so. 
And those who conceal them for friendship, thefbote, or 
other reward, or knowingly receive the stolen property or 
the thieves. Into this sin fall all those who steal by false 
measures or weights, or by other manner of trickery under 
pretence of merchandise, and those who knowingly allow such 
practices when they could prevent them, and those who rob 
prisoners of things which they have. Into this sin fall all 
those who tortiously amerce the people or outrageously fix 
amercements, or who outrageously or tortiously condemn 
their neighbour to pay damages or to suffer pain. And those 
who keep wrongfully old treasure which belongs to the king, 
wreck, waif or stray which belongs to the king. And those 
who find the goods of other persons and do not restore them 
when they can and know to whom they belong. Into this sin 
fall all those who take wrongful or outrageous toll in market, 
city, borough, township, mill, or elsewhere, and those who 
take pavage, murage, chiminage, carriage or other kind of 
custom to a greater amount than is right. Into this sin 
fall those baillifs who inquire in tourns and views of other 
matters than personal sins, and of wrongs done to the 
king, his crown, or the commonalty of the people. And 
those who by extortion take money by way of fine for beau 
pleder, or in order that occasion may not be found against 
the jurors, and those who amerce any out of their own 
heads without lawful affeerment of men sworn for the pur- 
pose. Into this sin fall those who levy unavowable distress, 
and those who sell naams for the king's debt within the first 
fifteen days. Into this sin fall those officers of the Exchequer 
and others who deny receipts under the Exchequer seal to 
anyone for the amount he has paid, and who more than 
once require payment of a debt, and who take reward in 
order that watch and ward be not kept in due manner 


en due manere solom la constitucion de Wyncestre, ou pur 
sojffrir qe genz ne seient mie garnie de armes solom comun 
agistement. En ceste pecchie cheent lierres dautri veneson, 
e de pesson enclos, de conyns, levres, fesanz e perdriz en 
garenez, e dautri colums e cines, e de eires de tote manere 
doiseaus. En ceste peche cheent tuz ceux viscontes, 
baillifs e autres roiales qi desavouablement par extorsions 
per-nent deners del poeple, sicom pur defautes desavouables, 
ou pur travers ou pur autre custume desavouable, ou pa?- 
pie dunt li juge nad nule juridiction, e ceux qe pe?-nent de 
nouns pur ouster les des paneax e pur mettre autres. En 
cest pecchie cheent touz ceauz qe receivent terre ou tene- 
ment, cheval ou autre chose, e le usent outre le terrae 
certein assis el louage, e ceux qe par lauctorite de lur 
baillies sunt ' desavouables e cueillettes pur deners ou 
danrees cueiller, ou ble ou garbes pur scotales e filstuales, 
ou funt al poeple autre desavouable grevance en cas sem- 
blables, e ceux ministres qe une fin ou j. amerciment ou 
autre manere de dette funt plusours foiz lever de un hom?/ie 
ou de plusours, sanz fere restitucion. E ceux ministres 
qe pe7-nent dautre qe del Rei ou de lur seignurs pur lur 
office fere, e ceaux qe plus de deuz foiz par an tenent cours 
de viscounte, ou qe plus de une foiz par an tenent veuue de 
francplege en une court, e ceaux qe par articles desavouables 
am«?'cient la gent. E ceux qe as molins ou as marchez 
pernent outraious tolnu, e ceux qe amercient la gent par 
garauwt de presentemenz nient fez par duzeine entiere, ou 
dautres qe de francs homwes. En cest pecchie cheent 
ceaux qi funt chast dautri heritage, pur mauveise covitise 
ou pur haine. En cest pecche cheent countors qe pement 
outraious salaire ou nient deservie, e qi sunt atteinz de 
male defense ou dautre descowvenue, e ceaux qe dedient lur 
seals en jugement, e ceaux qe enservent franc sane par 
torcenouses destresces, e ceaux qe funt contraz defendues. 
En cest pecche cheent usurers qi prcstent deners ou danrees 

' Corr. funt. 




according to the Statute of Winchester, or in order that 
people be not provided with arms according to common 
assessment. Into this sin fall thieves of others' deer, fish in 
a stew, conies, hares, pheasants and partridges in warrens, 
pigeons and swans, eyrie of all manner of birds. Into this 
sin fall all those sheriffs, baillifs and other royal officers 
who unlawfully by extortion take money from the people, 
as for unlawful default, or for toll-traverse or for other un- 
lawful custom, or for plea in which the judge had no juris- 
diction, and those who take money to strike out names 
from panels and to put others therein. Into this sin fall 
all those who receive land, tenement, horse or other thing 
and use it beyond the time fixed at the hiring, and those 
who by the authority of their bailiwick make disavowable 
collections of money or money's worth, or take corn or 
sheaves for scotales and filstales, or do to the people any 
other unlawful grievance in like case, and those officers who 
levy a fine, amercement, or other kind of debt several times 
from one man or several, without making restitution 
thereof. And those officers who take anything from 
another than the king or their lords for doing their office, 
and those who more than twice a year hold sheriffs' courts, 
or more than once a year hold view of frankpledge in one 
and the same court, and those who under unlawful articles 
amerce the people.' And those who take outrageous tolls 
in mill or market, and those who amerce the people by 
waxrant of presentments not made by a complete dozen,' 
or made by others than freemen. 

Into this sin fall those who make waste of another's 
heritage, through evil covetousness or hatred. Into this sin 
fall pleaders who take outrageous or undeserved salaries, 
and who are attainted of bad or other improper defences, 
and those who deny their seals in court, and those who 
enslave free blood by tortious distresses, and those who 
make forbidden contracts. Into this sin fall usurers who 
lend money or money's worth at a fixed usury in a manner 

' The articles are the ' capitula ' ' Presentments made by a jury of 

of the view of franki)loUye. IcsB than twelve. 


a usure certein affoer fet par mauveise covoitise. E ceux 
qi robbent ou emblent autriz manages, ou allopewt noneins, 
ou autri serfs oveqe autri biens, e tuz forstallours par 
queux vitaille e danrees sunt cheries. Forstallours sunt qe 
de denz vile enfranchie achatent pur regraterie fere e plus 
cher vendre desavouablemewt. E ceaux bochiers qe venduwt 
char sussemee pur seine, e ceaux pessonwrs qi achatent e 
vendent countre droit establisement, e tuz autres de queux 
mestiers qe il seient fesanz trecheries en lur mestiers. 

Ch. XI. De Homsokne. 

Homsokne de aunciene ordenaunce est mortele pecchie, 
ear droit est qe chescun eit quiete en son ostiel qe a la lei 
est. Cest pecchie ne se fet mie soulement par brusure de 
meeson einz se fet par feloun assaut de enemis en tiens de 
pees, sur ceux qi sunt en lur oustieux en lentencion de 
ruposer en pees. E le quele assaut se fet pur occire, ou 
robber, ou batre ceaux qe en lur repos sunt de dienz 
meeson, E tut soit qe tieux peccheours ne complient lur 
porpos, sil facent neqedent ascune brusure par lur assaut 
de hus, fenestre, ou maisere, ou aillurs pur entrer felounes- 
sement, si sunt il coupables de cest crime. En cest pecche 
cheent ceaux qe felounessement a force entrent en autri 
ostel e funt .la enz ascune violence countre la pees, tut ne 
facent il nule brusure, e ceo aussi bien de jour qe de nuit. 
E ceux aussi qe deseisissent la gent en cas ou il les engettent 
de lur mansions hors de lur pesible possessions a tort. 

[Ch.XIL De Rap.]^ 
Eap se fet en ij maneres cest assaver de choses, e de 
femmes. Cest pecchie est mis ja por ceo qe le Koi Edward 
le fist mortel par sa constitucion qe plus est funde sur 
volunte qe sur descrecion. Car . j . est stupre, autre forni- 
cacioun, autre avouterie, autre incest, e autre rap, pur pro- 

' Supplied from Table of Contents. 


which shows evil covetousness. And those who rob or 
steal the marriages belonging to others, or abduct nuns or 
the serfs of others with other men's goods, and all forestallers 
by whom victuals or goods are raised in price. Fore- 
stallers are those who within an enfranchised town purchase 
to regrate or to sell dearer unlawfully. And those butchers 
who sell tainted flesh for sound, and those fishmongers who 
buy and sell against lawful ordinance, and all others, of 
whatsoever craft they be, working trickery in their crafts 
[fall into this sin]. 

Ch. XI. Of Hamsoken. 

Hamsoken by ancient ordinance is mortal sin, for by 
law everyone who is inlaw is to have peace in his house. 
This sin is committed not only by breaking a house but 
also by the felonious assault of enemies in time of peace on 
those who are in their own houses with the intention of 
reposing therein in peace. The aforesaid assault must be 
made with intent to kill, rob, or beat those within the 
house. And albeit such sinners do not accomphsh their 
intent, if nevertheless they in any way break in door, 
window, or outhouse or the like by their assault in order 
to enter feloniously, they are guilty of this crime. Into 
this sin fall those who feloniously and forcibly enter into 
another's house and do therein any violence against the 
peace, though they make no breaking ; and that whether 
by day or by night. Likewise those who disseise folk by 
casting them out of their dwellings and out of their peace- 
able possessions wrongfully. 

[Ch. XII. Of Rape.'] 

Rape is committed in two manners : it is either of 
things or of women. This sin is put here because King 
Edward made it mortal by his ordinance, which is founded 
rather on arbitrary will than discretion.' For stuprum is 
one thing, fornication another, adultery another, incest 
another, and rape yet another, if we speak correctly and 
■ See Stat. West. II. c. xxxiv. 


prement parler e le pecchie destincter, dunt li . j . pecche 
est greignur de lautre. Stupre est a despuceler femme 
felounessement. Fornicacion est a porgesir femmes cor- 
rumpues nient espouses. Avouterie est a porgiser autri 
espouse. Incest est a porgesir cosine parente ou affin. 
Eap est proprement alopement de fem9?ie pur desir del 
mariage, Eap neqedent solom la volunte del estatut est 
pris pwr . j . propre mot done pwr chescun afforcement de 
femme de quele condicion qe le seit. 

Ch. XIII. Del Office de Coroners. 

As coroners furent enjoinz auncienement les gardes de 
plees de la coroune qe ne sestent ore forqe as felonies 
e aventures : solom ceo qe apiert. ij maners sunt de coro- 
ners : coroners generals e coroners especials. Al office de 
generals apend a recevre les appeals de tut le countie de 
felonies fetes dedenz Ian, dagarder les exigendes de contu- 
maz, e a pronuwcier les jugemens des utlagaries. E 
pus denquere en qi plegeage tieux furent e ou dozeine 
ou qi meinpaz ou en qi garde. Coroners especiaux sunt 
corouners des franchises, ou de lus priveleges. Al office 
des uns e des autres appent aveoir les charoines as mortz 
de felonie ou de mescheaunce, e de veoir les arsons e 
les plaies, e les autres felonies cestasavoir chescun en 
sa baillie. E de veoir tresor trove, e wrec de la mer, 
e de recevir les conussaunces des felons, e de charger les 
abjuracions as futifs as seintuaires, e de prendre enquestes 
de felonies aventures en lur baillies. Quant a veuue 
de charoine de cors de homme, est son office qe si tost 
cum 11 enserra certefie a maunder al hundreder de lu qil 
face somondre suffisaument assez de bons genz de villes 
proscheins, qe a bref jour certein nome seient devant li a 
tel lu, a quel jour seit la charoine veuue. E sil la troeve 
enfoie seit desenfoie, e les nouns de enfoiours appent as 
corouners a mettre en remenbraunce. E si ele eit este 


differentiate sins of which some are greater than others. 
Stuprum is the felonious taking away of a woman's maiden- 
hood. Fornication is the defiling of an unmarried woman 
who is already corrupted. Adultery is the defiling of another 
man's wife. Incest is the defiling of a person related by 
consanguinity or affinity ; but rape is strictly speaking the 
abduction of a woman with intent to marry her. By the 
arbitrary words of the statute, however, the one word 
* rape ' is used for every forcing of a woman of whatsoever 
condition she m^ be. 

Ch. XIII. Of the Office of Coroners. 

The keeping of the pleas of the crown was anciently 
entrusted to the coroners, but now this only extends to 
cases of felonies and misadventures : at least, so it seems. 
There are two kinds of coroners : coroners general and 
coroners special. To the office of coroners general it 
belongs to receive for the whole county appeals of felony 
made within the year, to award process of exigent against 
those who are contumacious, and pronounce judgment of 
outlawry. Further they are to inquire in what frankpledge 
or dozen, or in whose mainpast or ward, such offenders 
were. Coroners special are coroners of franchises, or privi- 
leged places. To the office of both it belongs to view the 
corpses of men killed feloniously or by mischance, to view 
arsons and wounds, and other felonies, each in his own 
bailiwick. And to make view of treasure trove, wreck of 
the sea, and to receive the confessions of felons, and to 
impose abjurations on fugitives in sanctuaries, and to hold 
inquests on felonies which have happened in their bailiwicks. 

As to the view of the corpse of a man, it is his duty so 
soon as he shall be warned of it to order the hundredor 
of the place to summon sufficient good folk from the 
neighbouring towns, that on a near day named they may 
be before him at such a place, and on that day they shall 
view the corpse. If he finds it interred let it be disinterred, 
and he shall record the names of the buricrs. And if it 


detrete ou demagee pa?- male garde, ou si longement ieue 
par quoi ele ne seit jugeable coment ele morust, seit ensi 
mis en roulle, si qe cele negligence seit punie a la venue le 
Eoi ou de ces Justiciers errantz en cele pa^-ties. E si li un 
seit trovie jugeable, sen avise li corouner ovesqes les bones 
gentz adunc presentes de la manere de loccision, le quel ii 
morust dautre felonie, ou de sue, ou de mescheaunce. E 
si de coup, le quel de bastoun, ou de piere, ou darme. E 
les nouns de ceaux qe ifurewt somons e point ne ivindrent, 
face li corouner mettre en roulle, si qe li pecche de 
inobedience ne remeine despunie par quoi li coroner ne 
puisse a eel foiz fere son office par defaute de jurours. 

En cestes enquestes ne tenent mie lu excepcions, actions, 
ne chalenges de parties vers les persones des jurours. Einz 
apent a fere paneax de plus sages e par eus, e les moiens 
par eus, e les meins pussanz par eus. E veuue la cha- 
roigne seit enterree. Fetz les paneax j urgent les duzeines ; 
car coroners a celes enquestes, viscountes a lur tourns, 
baillifs a lur veuues, eschaetours e les ministres le Eoi de 
ses foresz unt poer del auctorite de lur offices a mettre 
genz a serement, qe nul autre nad sanz le bref le Eei, e 
ceo est por la savvacion de la pees, e pur le droit le Eei, e 
pur comun prov. 

Les articles sunt ces : — vows dirrez par vos seremenz de 
la mort de cest vu, le quel il morust de felonie ou de 
mescheaunce ; e si de felonie, lequel de sa felonie demeine 
ou dautri ; e si de aventure, le quel ele vint de dieu ou de 
homwe ; e si de famine, li quel de pove?'te ou de comun 
pestilence. E dunt il fu, e qi il fu. E sil morust dautri 
felonie queux il furent principals e queux accesories, e si 
hu e cri fu leve duement ou noun, e si les veisins y corrurent 
duement ou noun, e si la menee y f u a droit suye ou noun. 
E queux le manacerent de vie e de menbre, e queux furent 


has been taken away or damaged by careless keeping, or if 
it has lain so long that one cannot tell how death happened, 
let it be thus entered on the roll so that this neglect may 
be punished at the coming of the king or his justices in 
eyre into those parts. And if it is possible to judge the 
cause of death, let the coroner confer with the good folk 
then present as to the manner of the killing, whether the 
deceased died from another's felonious act, or his own, or 
from misadventure. If from a blow, whether from a staff, 
stone, or arm. The coroner is likewise to set down in the 
roll the names of those summoned thither and who did not 
come, so that the sin of disobedience through which the 
coroner has on this occasion been prevented from fulfilling 
his office, from want of jurors, go not unpunished. 

In such inquests there are no exceptions, actions, or 
challenges of the persons of the jurors by the parties. 
But it is the coroner's duty to make panels of the better 
folk by themselves, the mean folk by themselves, and the 
small folk by themselves. And when the corpse has been 
viewed let it be buried. The panels being made, let the 
dozens swear ; for coroners at these inquests, sheriffs at 
their turns, bailiffs at their views, escheators, and the 
king's forest officers have power from the authority of their 
offices to put folk to the oath, and no one else has this 
power without the king's writ, and this for the preservation 
of the peace, the king's right, and common advantage. 

The articles are these : — You shall say by your oaths 
concerning the death of him whom you have seen whether 
he died from felony or misadventure ; if from felony, 
whether by his own felony or by another's ; if from mis- 
adventure, whether it came from God or man ; if from 
famine, whether from poverty or from common pestilence. 
And you shall say from whence he came and who he was. 
And if he died from another's felony, who were principals 
and who were accessories, and also if the hue and cry were 
duly raised or not, and if the neighbours ran thither as was 
right or not, and if the menee was rightly followed or not. 
Likewise who threatened his life or limb, and who were 


pleges de sa pees. Ou sil morust par long enpnsonement 
ou de peyne, e par queux il fu plus loinz de la vie ou plus 
prees de la mort. E issi de tutes les circumstaunces qe 
valer iporrunt par prgsumpcions. E en cas ou il morust 
par noier ou de cheir ou dautre cheaunce de dieu, issi qil 
nout poer de parler avant sa mort, adunqe nous diez les 
nouns de troveours, e de iiij. proscheines veisins, e qe furent 
ces parenz. E sil estoit occis illoec ou aillurs, e si aillours 
par queux e coment il fu illoec portie. E pus de la value 
del deodande, e lespece, e as qi meins devient, car en cas 
ou homwe moert par cheir, en tiel cas solom Eandulf de 
Glanville est deodand qwanqe est cause de la mort, sicom 
est quanqe moveit en la chose dunt il chei, sicom cheval, 
charette, molleen, molin sigles e roes. Neefs ausi e batex 
sunt ascune foiz deodandes, mes ne mie en la meer. Les 
sum?nes sur chevals, les biens gisanz en neef, molins, 
charettes, baz, e meesons, ne sunt mie contables pur 
deodandes. E en cas dautri felonie, dient les jurours 
queux furent les felouns, en qi plegeage ou en diseine, ou 
en garde ou en meinpaz. E dunt il vindrent, e ou il 
retornerent e devindrent. E sil fust occis par faus juge- 
ment, adunqe deient queux e furent juges, queux ministres 
a fornir le jugement, e queux assessours ; e si de faus test- 
moinage queux ifurent jurours. E sil morust de felonie 
de li mesmes, adunqe dient la manere e la value des 
chatieux, e les nouns des parenz, de trovors e de veisins, e 
la value del estrep. 

Eef ' maneres sunt de accessoires — ceaux qi comandent, 
ceaux qi conseillent, ceaux qe iloent ou sei consentent, 
ceaux qi envoient, ceux qe eident, ceaux qe isunt parceners 
el gain, ceux qi ensievent e nel destorbent par defense ne 
par excusement, e ceux qe les recettent a lur escient, e ceux qe 
isunt en la force.^ Es aventures en torneiementz, bohorz, 

Corr. Nef. series are ' his force ' or are ' in his 

The principal's armed acces- force ' (forcia sua). 


pledges for his peace. [And you shall say] if he died 
through long imprisonment or torment, and by whose 
actions he was further from life or nearer death. And 
likewise of all the circumstances which could furnish 
ground for presumptions. In cases where the person died 
from drowning or falling or other visitation of God, and 
had not the power of speaking before his death, you are 
to say the names of the finders, and the four nearest 
neighbours, and who were his kinsfolk. And further if he 
were killed there or elsewhere, and if elsewhere by whom 
and how he was brought there. And then the value of the 
deodand, its species, and to whose hands it has come, for 
in cases where a man dies by an accident, according to 
Eandulf de Glanvill, whatever is the cause of death is deo- 
dand ; and that is taken to be whatever moved in the thing 
which caused the accident, e.g. a horse, cart, mill, sails or 
wheels of a mill. Ships also and boats are sometimes 
deodands, but not when on the sea.' Loads on horses, 
goods lying in a ship, mill, cart, boat, or house, are not 
deodands. And in case of the felony done by another, the 
jurors are to say who were the felons, in what frankpledge 
or what tithing they were, or whether they were in ward or 
in mainpast ; also whence they came, and whither they 
went. And if the person was killed by false judgment, then 
they are to say who were judges and who officers in execut- 
ing the judgment, who assessors ; and if from false evidence, 
who were the swearers thereof. Further, if he died from 
his own felonious act, they are to say the kind and value of 
his chattels, the names of his kinsfolk, and the names of 
the finders and the neighbours, and the value of the waste. 
Nine kinds of accessories there be : those who command, 
those who counsel, those who hire or are consenting 
thereto, those who send, those who aid, those who are 
partners in the gain, those who acquiesce and do not dis- 
turb the offenders by \vord or deed, and those who know- 
ingly receive them, and those who go out armed. As to 
adventures in tournaments, combats, jousts, and medleys, 
' See BiRcton, fu. 122. 


joustes, e lutes, ordena le Eei Henri le second qe por ceo qe 
tieux deduz sunt aventurous, se deit chescun aprester qe 
dieu le truice en seinte vie, si qe nul ne seit en mortel 
pecche ne atie autre, einz dona congie qe chescun en bone 
amour assaiast sa vigour a autres en places communes es 
avandiz deduz, par unt il se seust mieux eider vers ces 
enemis. E pur ceoqe nul ne idoit supposer felonie ne 
pecchie, nestoit mie qe corouners sentremettent des aventures 
qe escheent en teles com7?mnes assembles ou nule felonie ne 
fet acounter.' 

Corouners soleient ausi fere lur veuues en sodomies, e 
es enfanz monstres qe naveient rien de humanite, ou qe 
aveient plus dautre creature qe de homme. E ceux fesoient 
les corouners fere enfoir, mes la seinte foi se ferme chescun 
jour de plus en plus, par unt genz ne se cumbrent mes si 
commi&ment de tieux orribles pecchiez fere cum eles 

As arsons soloient aussi venir e enquere queux y mistrent 
le fieu, e coment e le quele felonie, ou de iveresce, ou dautre 
mescheaunce. E si de felonie, queux y furent principals, 
queux accessoires, e queux enfurent manaceours. 

A la veuue del veil tresor trovie auncienement recous 
en terre les apewt denquere coment eel tresor fu trovie, e 
par queux, e combien. E sil isoit tut, ou attamie, ou tut 
emportie, e queux lunt emporte, ou, e cumbien, e qi sont 
les troveours e les proscheins veisins. 

A lur veuue de wrec les appent denquere ou li wrek vint 
a terve, queles choses, cumbien, e la value destinctement 
par paj'celes : e si homme, beste, oisel, ou autre chose vivant, 
vint ovec ou noun. E issi par dividende soit livere a la 
proschein ville une ou plusors, por respondre ent al verrai 
seignur, si la veigne chalenger e desresner de denz Ian. 

A sa veuue de plaie apent qil voie e face mettre en 
remenbraunce la langour, laour, e la profundesce, en eide 

' ne fuit a comettre, Houard. 


King Henry the Second ordained that, forasmuch as such 
sjiorts are dangerous, everyone ought to prepare himself 
so that God may find him in holy life, that no one may 
he in mortal sin or hatred of another, but gave leave to 
every man to try his strength on others in good fellowship 
in public places in the aforesaid sports, whereby he might 
know how the better to defend himself against his enemies.' 
And because felony or sin is not to be presumed, coroners 
were not to meddle with mischances that happened in these 
public assemblies unless some felony were reported. 

Coroners were wont also to hold their views in cases 
of sodomy, and on infant monsters who had nothing of 
humanity, or who had naore of the beast than the man in 
them ; and these the coroners caused to be buried. But 
the holy faith grows stronger every day, whereby folk do 
not burden their souls with such horrible sins so commonly 
as they used. 

They are used also to attend at arsons and inquire who 
put the fire there, and how and by what felony, drunkenness, 
or other mischance it arose. And if from felony, who were 
the principals, who the accessories, and who the threateners. 

At the view of old treasure anciently hidden in the 
earth, it is their duty to inquire how the treasure was 
found, by whom, and its value ; further, whether it was 
entire, or had been tampered with, or completely taken 
away, and who took it away, whither, and how much, and 
who were the finders and the nearest neighbours. 

At their view of wreck it is their duty to inquire where 
the wreck came to land, what things there were, how much, 
and the value of the separate parts thereof; and whether 
man, beast, bird, or other living thing came with it or not. 
It is then to be delivered to the nearest township, or divided 
among several townships, and they must answer for it to 
the true owner if he comes to claim, it and prove his right 
within a year. 

At their view of a wound it is their duty to see it, and 
cause to be put on record the length, breadth, and depth of 
> )ye know of no each ordinance.' 


del blescie, en aventure si la plaie garrisse e il sen pleigne, 
qe li corouner pur tut le counte li puisse eider par son 
record. Aussi apent a eus aveoir hampsoknes, e denquere 
des nouns des felouns, e dunt il vindrent e ou il returnerent, 
e des manaceours e des autres circumstaunces. 

Les jur.ours soient severees par duzzeines, si qe nul 
duzeine ne parle a autre, einz respoigne chescun juree par 

E receuz les presentementz e les verdiz, tant tost sunt 
il charchables dencuser les conspiratours qi eient procure 
desavoer ' ascun peccheour ou denditer innocent en teles 
enquestes. E bien list as corouners denquere aillours, 
plus sovent, e par autres, sil entendent de plus atteindre 
del fet restrix.2 

Trestuz les enditez par devant corouners, aussi ben del 
accessorie cu7n del principal sunt pcrnables al mandement 
des corouners par viscountes, e les principals sunt recevables, 
e les accessories sunt liverables as meinpernours. E en 
presence de eus, e de viscountes, sunt lur biens moebles 
e noun moebles p<?rnables en la main le Eoi. E par loiale 
ostente e dividende, sunt celes terres moebles liverables as 
vilees, por trover ent as p?-rsons e a lur necessite ^ mesnee 
renable sustenaunce, e de respoundre ent au Eoi del 
remanaunt, savve chescun droit ou as prmcipalx sil sen 
aquitent, e as accessoires par meinprise. 

E si ascun defut se defendre, ou defut ne voet estre 
justiciable a la lei, bien list a chescun del occire si autre- 
ment nel pusse prendre. E Bermond agarda qe les 
chatieux as futifs remeissent forfez au Eoi, savve chescun 
droit, tut se rendissent il pus a la pees. E Iselgrim dist 
qil nest mie futif qi se presente en jugement einz ces ^ qe il 
Beit utlaguie. 

Si ascun se defut en seintueire e demaunde ent la 
protection, fet destincter, car. sil, est custumer Herre, 

' Corr. de sauver. 

•' Our translation is conjectural. Houard refers to the Latin re^rwdere. 
3 Corr. necessaire (?). * Corr. ceo. 


the wound, in aid of the wounded, so that if the wound 
heals, and he complains of it, the coroner, on behalf of the 
whole county', may aid him by his record. It is also their 
duty to view hamsokens, and inquire the names of the 
felons, from whence they came, and whither they went, 
and the names of persons threatening, and other circum- 

The jurors are to be separated by dozens, so that no 
dozen may speak to another, but each jury must answer 
for itself. And having received the presentments and 
verdicts, they are bound to accuse conspirators who have 
unlawfully procured that a guilty person shall be saved, or 
that an innocent person shall be indicted at such inquests. 
It is lawful for the coroners to make inquest elsewhere, more 
often, and by others, if they think they can thereby dis- 
cover more as to concealed facts. 

All persons indicted before the coroners, accessories as 
well as principals, are to be taken on the order of the 
coroners by the sheriffs, and the principals are to be kept, 
and the accessories delivered to mainpernors. And in their 
presence, and in that of the sheriffs, their moveables and 
immoveables are to be taken into the hands of the king ; 
and by lawful extent and division these lands and move- 
ables are to be delivered to the townships, so that they may 
find therefrom for keep of prisoners and for their necessary 
retinue a reasonable sustenance, and may answer for the 
remainder thereof to the king, saving every right to the 
principals if they be acquitted, and to the accessories when 

And if anyone makes default of defence or flees and 
will not be justiceable by the law, it is lawful for anyone to 
kill him if he cannot otherwise be taken. Bermund decided 
that a fugitive's chattels should remain forfeited to the 
king, saving every right, albeit that he afterwards came 
into the peace. Iselgrim said that he is no fugitive who 
presents himself in court before he is outlawed. If anyone 
flees to sanctuary and demands therefrom protection, a 
distinction is to be made^ for if he is by habit a thief, 

r 2 


robbour, murdrur ou vagant nutantre, e pur tele soit conu 
e escrie del poeple e de ses pleges e ses deservers/ ou si 
ascun isoit corue pur dette ou pur 'peche nient mortel, ou 
sil eit este atteint par jugement de mortel pecche, ou 
autrement par sa conusaunce, e eit forjure le Eeaume, ou 
eit este exile, bani, utlaguie ou weive, e retourne avaunt 
soun terme, ou si ascun eit pecche mortelement en sentuaire 
ou joignaunt sur cele seurte, e cele esperaunce de estre 
defendu del seint lu, tieu pora lem prendre, e trere, e boter 
hors del seyntueire, sanz fere oifense ou prejudice a la 
franchise del seintueire. Mes endreit des peccheours qi de 
mescheaunce cheent en pecche mortel hors de seintueires, e 
par verrei repentaunce courrent as mosters, e commonement 
se cowfessent contriz e repentanz, qi avant tiex trespas 
estoient de bone fame, si tieux demandent tuicion de 
leglise, as tieux granta le Eoi Henri le tierce a Clarendone 
qil fussent deffenduz del eglise par xl jours, e ordena qe les 
villes gardissent tieux futifs par tute la quarantine, e man- 
dassent as corouners. 

Al a venue del corouner, est en leleccion del pecheour 
de sei rendre a la pees^ le Eei, ou de conoistre son pecchie 
al coroner e al people e weifer la pees le Eei. Et sil se 
rent, seit livere a la gaole,^ e attendre sa quitaunce ou sa 
condempnacion, e sil conoist mortel pecchie, e prie de isser 
le Eeaume sanz la tuicion del eglise, voist a la fin del 
seintuaire, deschauz, desceint, en pure sa cote ou chemise, 
e jurge qil tendra le droit chemin a tel port, ou a tel 
passage qe il avera choisi, e ne demoera par nule part ij. 
nuz ensemble jesqes a taunt qe pur tiel pecche mortel qe il 
avera conu en audience del poeple eit veudie ceste Eeaume, 
ne point ne return erai en la vie le Eei .jj,^ saunz soun 
counge, si li eit dieux e seintes evangelies. E pus pregne 
le signe de la croiz e la porte taunt cum il ert en la pro- 
teccion de leglise. 

1 Corr. deseiners (?). ' These numerals must represent 

"^-"^ In the margin. some corrupt reading. 


robber, murderer, or a wanderer by night, and known and 
proclaimed as such by the people and his pledges or 
tithingmen, or if anyone is pursued for debt or sin not 
mortal, or if he haB been attainted of mortal sin by judg- 
ment or by his confession, and has forsworn the realm, or 
has been exiled, banished, outlawed, or waived, and has 
returned before his time, or if anyone has sinned mortally 
in sanctuary relying on his safety, and hoping to be 
defended by the holy place, such an one, I say, can be taken, 
dragged and thrust out of the sanctuary, without offence or 
prejudice to its franchise. But as regards sinners who by 
misfortune fall into mortal sin outside the sanctuary, and 
who truly repenting flee to churches, openly declaring 
themselves contrite and repentant, and who before such 
wrongdoing were of good report, if such demand protection 
of the Church, to them King Henry the Third at Clarendon 
granted that they should be protected by the Church for 
forty days, and he ordered that the townships should guard 
such fugitives for the whole quarantine, and should inform 
the coroners. 

At the coming of the coroner it is in the election of the 
sinner to surrender himself to the king's peace, or to 
acknowledge his sin to the coroner and to the people and 
waive the peace of the'king. And if he should surrender 
himself to the king, let him be committed to the gaol to 
await acquittal or condemnation. If he acknowledges 
mortal sin, and prays to go forth from the kingdom without 
the protection of the Church, let'him come to the limit of 
the sanctuary bare-footed, ungirt, in his coat or shirt only, 
and swear that he will keep the direct road to such port or 
such passage as he shall have chosen, and that he will not 
remain in any place two nights together until that for such 
mortal sin as he shall have acknowledged in the hearing of 
the people he has left the realm, and further that he will 
not return in the king's lifetime without his leave, so help 
him God and the holy gospels. And then let him take a 
cross, and bear it so long as he shall be in the protection 
of the Church. 


E si ascun demoert en seintuarie outre *la quara?tteine 
par taunt jert forclos de la grace de la abjuracion fere, si la 
defaute seit en li outre qe le terme nul . ne lur list a trover 
sustenaunce. E tut seient tieux hors de la pees e hors de 
la foi le Eei, nuli nequedent ne -lur deit destourber taunt 
cum il sunt en la proteccion deleglise, sil ne seient trovez 
hors del chemin en volunte denfreindre lur serement, ou 
autre meffet el chemin. 

Si li occis soit desconu en tieu cas apent as corouners 
a mettre murdre en roulle solom lestatut. le Rei Knout 
q/tant il sen parti ver Danemache, qi ordena pur la savva- 
cion de ses daneis qil lessa en Engleterre, qe par la ou 
homme desconu fust occis qe tut le hundred demorreit en 
la merci le Roi par le jugement de murdre. 

Quartre choses excusent le jugement de murdre : lune 
si li feloMn soit conu ou le occis, car si li ieloun seit conu, 
adunqe porra leur atteindre la felonie ; lautre si li feloun 
soit pris ou fuiz a mostier ; la terce si loccision ne seit mie 
venue de felonie einz par mescheaunce ; la quarte en cas 
ou hom?ne est feloun de li mesmes. E pwr ceo qe de homme 
conu ne se fet nul murdre, apent al corouners denquere 
en eels felonies de quel lignage tieux occis furent, si qe lem 
sache par lur parenz qe tieux occis furent engleis de nacion. 

Car si lem ne sache nomer nul des parenz, presumpcion 
jert qe il furent aliens, • e de ceo est qe lem appele eel 
parentie englescherie, le quel qe parentie isoit troeve dever 
pere, ou dever mere. E si nul englescherie ensoit troeve 
jert le jugement murdre. 

Al office de corouner apent aussi a recevre les confes- 
sions des feloims en audience de testmoins. Dunt de une 
grant felonie fet par plusours peccheours avint el tens le Rei 
John, qe li . j . des peccheours fist p?-eyer al Rei qil li grantast 


And if anyone remains in the sanctuary beyond the 
quarantine he shall be debarred from the favour of abjura- 
tion. If this is by his default, then after that term none 
may find him sustenance ; and albeit such people are out of 
the peace and faith of the king, nevertheless none may dis- 
turb them so long as they are in the protection of the 
Church, provided that- they be not found out of the road 
with intent to violate their oath or are doing some other 
wrong on the road. 

If the person slain be unknown, then in such case it belongs 
to the coroners to enter a murdrum on their rolls, according 
to the statute of King Knut, made on setting out for Den- 
mark, who, for the preservation of his Danes whom he left 
in England, ordained that whenever an unknown man was 
slain all the hundred should be in the mercy of the king 
under a judgment of murdrum.^ Pour things relieve from 
the judgment of murdrum : the first if the felon fee known 
or the person killed ; for if the felon be known then he can 
be attainted for the felony. The second, if the felon be 
taken or has fled to a church. The third, if the killing 
were not felonious but by misadventure. The fourth, 
where a man is felo de se. Since of a man who is known 
no murdrum can be committed, it is the duty of the coroner 
in these felonies to inquire into the lineage of such persons 
who are killed, so that one may know from their kinsmen 
whether they were of English birth. For if one does not 
know the name of any of their kinsmen, the presumption 
will be that they were aliens, and it is for this reason that 
this kinship is called Englishry, whether such kinship be 
found on the side of the father or of the mother. If no 
^^Inglishry be thus found the judgment will be murdrum. 

To the office of coroner it belongs also to receive the 
confessions of felons in the hearing of witnesses. Thus it 
happened in a great felony committed by several sinners in 
the days of King John, that one of them prayed the king 

' This seemp tn ronie from Bracton, folio 134 b, who took it from the so- 
called Leges lidwardi Coufessoris. 


la vie par si qil en atteinsist les autres peccheours qe furent 
ces cumpaignouns, e li Eoi lotria. E a la requeste le Eoi 
graunterent les contes qe en son tens soulement remeint 
eel usage pur lei, qe peccheours conuz de felonies pussent 
autres excuser,' e ordene fu donqe qe coroners prissent 
tieux confessions e tieux appealx a une foiz e ne mie par 

A tieux apealx fere ne sunt mie femnes recevables, 
nenfanz de deinz lage de xxj. an, ne fous . nastres, ne 
nieseaux apertz, ne profez en ordre de religion, ne clers, 
nenditez ou appelez de crim einz ces qil eient gehis ^ de 
eus mesmes, ne atteinz de fans appel, ne vencus de bataille 
pur felonie, ne nul aragie. 

Les appelez sont pernables cors e biens solom ceo ^ qe 
avant est dist. 

E si ascun forein soit appele de provour qe soit hors del 
poer le corouner le comissaire le Eei le face parer en juge- 
nient ou utlaguer. 

Ch. XIV. De la Place del Escheqere. 

Lescheqere est une place quarree qe soulement est 
ordene pur le pru le Eoi, ou ij. chevalers e ij. clers ou ij.' 
homwes lettres sunt assignez, pur oir e terminer les torz 
fetez au Eoi e a sa coroune endreit ses fes e ses franchises, 
e les acountes des baillifs e de ces recevours des deners le 
Eoi, e des administrours de ces biens, par la veuue de un 
soverein qest tresorer dengleterre. 

Les ij. chevalers soleient estre appelez ij. barons pur 
aflfoerer les amerciementz des countes, e des barouns, e de 
tenaunz counties e baronies si qe nul ne fust afifoere forqe 
par ces piers. 

En cele place estoit assigne j. seale j. gardien pur fere 
ent aquitaunce de chescun paiement qe avoir la voleit, e de 

' Corr. encuscr. belong to a subsequent chapter, and 

' gehis interpolated. which were therefore printed twice 

' The old edition gives at this over. Tliis was the result of a 

point some sentences which really copyist's error. 


that he would grant him his life provided he attainted the 
other sinners who were his companions, and the king 
granted this to him. And at the request of the king the 
earls granted that during his life, but no longer, this usage 
should remain for law, that sinners confessing their felonies 
should be able to accuse, others, and it was then ordained 
that coroners should take such confessions and such appeals 
once, and once only. 

To make such appeals women are not receivable, nor 
infants under twenty-one years of age, nor idiots, nor open 
lepers, nor persons professed in religious orders, nor clerks, 
nor those indicted or appealed for crime before they have 
confessed themselves, nor those attainted for false appeals, 
nor those vanquished in battle for felony, nor any madman. 
The bodies and goods of those appealed are to be taken, as 
we have said above. If any foreigner • be appealed by an 
approver who is out of the jurisdiction of the coroner, the 
king's commissary is to make him appear in court or out- 
law him. 

Ch. XIV. Of the Place of the Exchequer. ■ 

The Exchequer is a square place which is established 
solely for the king's profit, where two knights and two 
clerks, or two literate 'men, are assigned to hear and deter- 
mine wrongs done to the king and his crown in respect of 
his fees and franchises, and also the accounts of his bailiffs 
and the receivers of the king's revenues and administrators 
of his goods, under the suparvisiou of a chief who is trea- 
surer of England. 

The two knights are commonly called barons for the pur- 
pose of affeering the amercements of earls, barons, and of 
those holding counties and baronies, so that no one may be 
affeered save by his peers. 

To this place was assigned a seal and a keeper to make 
acquittance for every payment to anyone who wished to 

' A man o( another county is a foreigner, and probably the sheriff is 
the king's ' commiBBary.' 


Bealer les brefs e les estretes souz cire vert, issaunt de cele 
place por le prou le Koi. 

En la place Bont aussi chamberleyns e plusours autres 
ministres qe ne touche mie mout a la lei. 

Ch. XV. Des Menues Cours. 

Des assembles premers vindrent consistoires qe len 
appele ore cours. E ceo en dive?'S lus e en divers maners. 
Dunt une curt tenent viscountes de mois eia mois, ou de . v . 
someins en v. solom les g7-andours e les largesces de paiis. 
E celez courz sunt appellez countiez ou les jugemenz se 
funt par les sieuters si bref ne isoit. E ceo est par garant 
de jurediccion ordenaire. 

Autres menues cours sunt qe les baillifs le Eai tenent en 
chescun hundred de iij. someins en iij. par les siutiers des 
fieu tenaunz des hundrez. 

Autres menues courtz sunt es courtz de chescun seignur 
de fieu al foer deg courz hundredz, e aussi en feires e 
marchez ou covendra hastier droit sawz delai, le quel qe 
les bosoignes touchent les auctours ou les deifendanz solom 
les primers ordenaunces. En qeles courz unt conussances 
de dettes, covenanz e enfreinz, e en trespaz, e tieux autres 
peti pecchiez qe ne passent mie xl. sous ne la value, E 
aussi e eles^ conoisaunce d-e trespas e forfeture des fieus par 
ehtre les seignurs pleintifs e lur tenaunz defendaunz ou le 

Trestuz les tenaunz de denz les fieus sunt obliges a celes 
siutes fere, e ne mie par servage des persones, mes par 
servage des fieus; mes femmes, enfanz de dienz lagedexxj. 
an, sourz e muz, fornastres,^ ceaux qe sunt enditez ou 
appelez de felonie mortele avant due aquitaunce, apertz 
meseaux e escomengez sunt exempz de celes siutes fere. 
E soit qe tieux fieu tenanz poent fere teles siutes as menues 

1 Sic. ^ Corr. fous nastres. 


have it, and to seal writs and the estreats under green wax 
which issue from this place for the king's profit. 

In this place also are chamberlains and several other 
officers who have not much to do with the law. 

Ch. XV. Of Inferior Courts. 

Those primitive assembhes * were the origin of the con- 
sistories which we now call courts. And these exist in 
various places, and are of various kinds. Of these one 
court is held by the sheriffs from month to month, or from 
five weeks to five weeks, according to the size of the districts. 
These courts are called counties, and in them the judg- 
ments are made by the suitors if there be no writ.^ This is 
by warrant of the jurisdictio ordinaria. 

Other inferior courts are those which the king's bailiffs 
hold in each hundred every three weeks with the suitors of 
the fee tenants of the hundreds. Other inferior courts are 
the courts of each lord of a fee held in the likeness of hundred 
courts, and those in fairs and markets, where, according to 
the primitive ordinances, justice should be speeded without 
delay, whether the business concerns the plaintiffs or the 
defendants. Such courts take cognisance of debts, cove- 
nants broken, trespasses, and such other petty sins which 
do not exceed forty shillings or its value. And likewise 
have they cognisance of trespasses, and the forfeiture of 
fees between the lords who are plaintiffs and tenants who 
are defendants, and vice versa. 

All tenants within the fees are obliged to make suit |[to 
these courts], by reason not of the servitude of their persons, 
but of the servitude of their fees ; but women, infants under 
twenty-one years of age, deaf mutes, idiots, those indicted 
or appealed for mortal felony before due acquittal, open 
lepers, and excommunicates are exempt from doing such 
suit. And albeit such fee tenants can do their suits at 

' See above, p. 8. cause begun by writ, the sheriff is 

' If the county court is hearing a judge. 


courz par lour atturnez, par atturnee neqedent nest jammes 
jugement rendable ne tenable pur ferm. 

E si ascum plee soit menue par le bref le Eoi en teles 
courtz, sicom de droit, de justicies, de replegiari, de naifte, 
ou dautre nature, cil en ad la juresdiccioun a qi le bref est 
maunde principalment ou par retours. 

Ch. XVI. De Toms. 

Les viscountes daunciene ordenaunce tenant assembles 
generales ij. fois par an en chescun hundred ove touz les 
fieus tenanz dedenz le hundred sunt obligez de venir pa?- le 
servage de lur fieus, cest assavoir une foiz apres la Seinte 
Michel e autre foiz apres Paskes. 

E pur ceo qe les viscountes a ceo fere font lur tourns 
de hundred, sunt teles venues appelez tourns de viscountes, 
ou a viscountes appent denquere de touz peccheours per- 
soneles e de totes circumstaunces de pecchez fez en ceaux 
hundrez, e de torz des ministres le Koi e la Koyne e de torz 
fetz au Eoi e al comun del poeple, solom les pointz avantdis 
as devisions de pecchez. 

Trestuz feu tenaunz es hundrez ne sunt mie ore tenuz 
avaner a tieux tourns, car li Koi Henri le tierz en allegea 
ascuns pe^-sonas, e dist qe as tourns des viscontes nestoit 
mees qe erseveqas, abbez, priours, countez, barrons, gantz 
da Ealigion ne malades ne autres qe sont exempz de siutes 
fare, as manuas courtz veignant en p?-opres pcrsonas si lur 
presence ne isoit nacessaira pur autre chose qe pur la veuua 
fere. E si ascun eit di verses tenementz en divers hun- 
draas sa presence na soit point ' ne neqedent le gre le Eoi. 

■ Some omission is to be suspected. 


inferior courts by their attorneys, yet judgment by attorney 
can never be given nor held as binding. 

And if in these courts any plea be moved by the king's 
writ, e.g. writ of right, of justicies, of replevin, of naifty, or 
of any other kind, he to whom the writ is sent immediately 
or by way of return has the jurisdiction. 

Ch. XVI. Of Turns. 

The sheriffs by ancient ordinance hold general assem- 
blies twice a year in each hundred, whither all fee tenants 
within the hundred are obliged to come by service of their 
fees, to wit, once after the feast of St. Michael, once after 

And because the sheriffs in order to do this make turns 
through the hundreds, these visits are called the sheriff's 
turns, where it is the sheriff's duty to inquire as to all 
personal sinners and into all the circumstances relating to 
sins committed in such hundreds, and into wrongs done by 
the officers of the king and queen, and into wrongs done to 
the king and the commonalty of the people according to 
the aforesaid distinctions in our division of sins. 

All the fee tenants in the hundred are not now bound 
to come to such turns, for King Henry the Third relieved cer- 
tain persons, and declared that archbishops, abbots, priors, 
earls, barons, men of religion, and sick folk, and others 
who are exempt from doing suit to inferior courts need 
not come in their own persons unless their presence is 
necessary for some other purpose than the making of the 
view. And if anyone have divers tenements in divers 
hundreds his presence is not required unless the king 
demands it.* 

' Some words have been omitted. si qui in hundredis diversis habeant 

Our author has been stating the tenementa, non habeant necesse 

.eifect of the Statute of Marlborough venire ad huiusmodi turnos nisi in 

cap. 10, which ends thus: .' Et ballivis ubi fuerint conversantes.' 


Ch. XVII. De la Veuiie des Francs Pleges. 

De celes assembles p?'imers estoit aussi ordene- qe 
chescun hundreder feit comun assemble une foiz par an e 
ne mie soulement de fieu teiiaunz mes de tuz del hundred 
estraunges e dinzeins de xij. ans ensus, forp?'is ercevesqes, 
evesqes, a^bbes, pHours, e totes genz de religioun, e tuz 
clers, countes, barrouns, e chevalers, femme espouses, sourz 
e muz, malades, foxnastres e mese.aux e ceux qe sunt 
aillors en disseisnie ^ pwr enquere des poinz avantditz e 
des articles siuaunz. E ne mie par serfs ne par femmes, 
mes par les serementz de xij. f?-ancz homnes al meins, car 
serf ne poet nule franc homme enditer, ne nul autre qi nest 
recevable a siute fere en menues courtz. 

E pur ceo qe ordene fu aunciement q^ nul ne demoerast 
en Eeaume sil ne fist^ en diseine e plevi de franc homme 
apent as hundreders de veoir une foiz par an les francz 
pleges e les pleviz e pur ceo sunt teles veuues appelez 
veuues de fz-anc pleges. 

Les articles sunt ceaux : — vos dirrez par vos serementz si 
trestuz soient venues qe cea deivent venir a la jornee. Si 
tuz francz del hundred ou del fieu isoient presenz. Si les 
francz pleges i eient lur doseins enters, e tuz ceaux qil unt 
pleinz. Si trestuz ceaux del hundred ou del fieu de xij. ans 
en sus eient jure feaute au Eoi, e de recettors des autres a 
escient. De tut sane peccherousement espandu. De hu e cri 
levee a tort, ou a droit levie e nient sui duement, e des nouTis 
de ceaux qi neient corruerent.^ De tuz mortiels peccheours 
en totes especes com des pnncipaus e des accessoires. De 
tuz exules, utlaguez, weives, e baniz retornez, e qi les unt 
puis recettez. E de ceaux qi unt este condempnez a la 
mort, ou forjures le Eeaume. De cristiens usurers e de tuz 
lur biens. De tresor trovie. De wrek, weif, estrai e de 
chescun porprise e occupacion fet sur le Eei ou sur sa 
dignetie. De chesaun tort fet par ces ministres le Eei e par 

Corr. diseine. ^ Corr. fust. ' Or perhaps corrnerent. 


Ch. XVII. Of the View of Frankpledge. 

By these first assemblies it was likewise ordained that 
each hundredor should cause to assemble together once a 
year not only the fee tenants, but all men of his hundred, 
strangers as well as denizens of twelve years of age and 
above, except archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, and all 
men of religion, all clerks, earls, barons, knights, married 
women, deaf mutes, sick folk, idiots and lepers, and those 
who are in tithing elsewhere, in order to inquire into the 
aforesaid matters and the following articles. And the 
inquiry must be made not by serfs nor women, but by the 
oaths of twelve free men at least, for a serf cannot indict 
any free man, nor can any who is not receivable to make 
suit in the inferior courts. 

And because it was anciently ordained that no one 
should remain in the realm if he was not in tithing and 
plevied by free men, it is the hundredor's duty to view once 
a year the frankpledges and plevies, and for this reason 
such views are known as views of frankpledge. 

The articles are these : You shall say by your oaths if 
all those are come- who are bound* t;o come to this session, 
if all free men of the hundred or fee are there present, if 
the frankpledges have their dozens complete, and if all that 
they 'have are full. If all those of- the hundred or fee of 
twelve years and upwards have sworn fealty to the king, 
and what persons have knowingly received those who have 
not done so. Of all blood sinfully shed. Of hue and cry 
wrongfully levied, or rightfully levied and not duly pursued, 
and of the names of those who did not run to it. Of all 
mortal sinners of all kinds, both principals and accessories. 
Of all persons exiled, outlawed, waived or banished, who 
have returned, and of those by whom they have then been 
'received. Of those who have been condemned to death, or 
have abjured the realm. Of Christian usurers and of all 
their goods. Of treasure trove, of wreck, waif, stray, and 
every purpresture or occupation made against the king or 
his dignity. Of every wrong done by the officers of the king 


autres al comun del poeple, e des prtrprestures fetes en lu 
comun en terre ou en euue ou aillurs. Des bondes remues 
a comun nusaunce. De chescun assise enfreinte de pain, 
ca-voise, vin, dras, pois, mesures, trones, busseaux, galons, 
alnes, e tolhepes, e de totes fauses balances e qi les unt 
useez, e qi unt achatie par une manere de pois e de mesures 
e vendu par autre manere en fraude des marchanz. Des 
destourbeors de fornissementz des loiax jugementz, e de 
forjurours ^ de torcenous e des assessours e consentaunz. 
De chescun torcenous detenue de cors de homme ou dautre 
naam. De chescun faus jugement done pur ^ lautre veuue 
el hundred ou el fieu. De chescun forstal fet el chemin 
comun. De tuz torcenouse vez. De totes torcenouses 
recousses. De chescun outraiouse destresce ou en autri 
fieu, ou en marche pur forein contract. De tutz pontz 
rompus. De chaucees e de chemins connus brises e qi les 
doit refere. De adobbours de veuz dras demoranz hors des 
grantz viles en lus defenduz. Des tannours e blanchours 
de quirs e des mainoverours. Des bochiers e queus vendaunz 
char susseme pwr seine e gascrue pur bien quite. De ceux 
qi vendent vin poeri pur sein, e cervoise crue ou rousse ou 
de fenes ou de cineraie pur covenable e seine. De menus 
larcins. Des cillours ^ de bourses. De ceaux qe les soeffrewt 
user eur mestier pur loiers. Des pernours de thef bote. 
Des fesours e hantours de faus dez. Des outrodours 
tolneours. De touz trecheors e decevours. De tuz manners 
conspiratours e de tuz autres articles qe valoir iporrunt a 
pecchie destrure. 

Les presentemenz sunt sealables de seals des jurours si 
qe Une ne i puisse fere fraude dencrestre ou damenuser. E 
ceo qe ne porra par ceaux presentemenz estre illoec redresce 
est presentable al primer tourn de viscounte ; e ceo qe les 
viscontes ne purrent redrescer est presentable par les vis- 
countes al escheqer. 

' Corr. fournissour. ^ Corr. puis. ' Corr. cissours. 


or others to the community of the people, and of pur- 
prestures done on common land or water or elsewhere. Of 
boundaries removed to the common nuisance. Of the 
breach of any assize of bread, beer, wine, cloths, weights, 
measures, trones, bushels, gallons, ells, toll-dishes. Of all 
false balances and those who have used them. Of those 
who have bought by one weight or measure and sold by 
another in fraud of the merchants. Of those who disturb 
the execution of lawful judgments, and of those who execute 
tortious judgments or take part therein as assessors or 
consenting parties. Of every wrongful detention of the 
body of a man, or other naam. Of every false judgment 
given since the last view in the hundred or fee. Of every 
forestalment done in the public highway. Of every tortious 
vee. Of every tortious rescue. Of every outrageous dis- 
tress made in the fee of another, or in a market for a 
foreign contract.' Of all bridges broken. Of public paths 
and ways that are broken and who ought to repair them. Of 
redubbers of old clothes who dwell in forbidden places out- 
side the great towns. Of tanners and bleachers of leather, 
and hand workers. Of butchers and cooks who sell measly 
flesh for sound, and half raw for well cooked. Of those 
who sell corrupt wine for sound, and beer hard or red- 
dened or made of oats or of flea-bane for wholesome 
and sound. Of petty thefts, of cutpurses, of those who 
for reward permit them to carry on their business. Of 
those who take thefbote, and those who make or use false 
dice. Of those who take outrageous tolls. Of all those 
working treachery and deceit. Of all manner of con- 
spirators, and all other articles which may avail for the 
destruction of sin. 

The presentments should be sealed with the seals of the 
jurors, so that none may fraudulently increase or diminish 
them. And all matters that cannot be there redressed by 
these presentments must be presented at the first turn of 
the sheriff; and what the sheriflfs cannot redress they must 
present at the Exchequer. 

' A contract not made in tliat market. 


Trestuz ceaux sur queles mortel pecchie est presente e 
baniz retourne e lur recettours e ceux qe ne sunt mie a la 
fei le Kei sunt pernables e lur biens en la main le Eei. 

■ E tut isoit qe li baillifs ne puet oir ne terminer nulli 
accion a la jornee, si ascun nequedent present se sente 
greve par ascun torcenous presentement e senpleigne, ou si 
li baillif eit suspeceon qe les jurours soient en autre cas 
parjurs par cowcelement dascun pecchie presentable ou de 
ascun peccheour, bien list al baillifs par xij plus vaillans 
enquere ent la verite sanz delai. E tut seit qe les derreins 
jurours dient qe les primers soient parjurs por ceo neqedent 
qe nul tesmoign ou jurour nest atteignable de meins qe de 
ij jurours e pur ceo qe la derreine juree nest mie pris forqe 
del office le baillif e ne mie en manere datteinte, ne sunt 
mie les primers jurours tenables pur atteinz einz sunt 
simplemewi amerciables. 

E si ascun se proffre de jurer feautie au Eoi seit 
primes plevi de ascun franc plege e mis en disseisin e ' e 
puis jurge feaute au Eoi, e pus li soit pecchie defendue e 
comune oveqe peccheours. E li soit enjoint qil soit obeis- 
sant a son chief plege. 

De- cest serement fere en celes veuues nest nul exempt 
qe soit del age de xij ans homme ne femme, clerk ne lai, 
forp?-is aliens passanz al foer del messager, ou de pelerin, 
ou marchaunt e ceaux qi sunt engarde. 

A cestes venues de tourns e de veuues tient lu essoignes 
par les queles labsence de ceux qe ne purruwt estre ex- 
cusable, en "^ teles essoines sunt ajornables as courtz primers 
suanz qe les essoinours eient lur garantz. 

' Corr. diseine. * Corr, e. 


All those against whom mortal sin is presented, and 
those who have been banished and have returned, and their 
receivers, and those who are not in the king's faith are 
to be taken into the king's hand with their goods. 

And albeit the bailiffs cannot hear or determine any 
action at that session, nevertheless if anyone present feels 
himself grieved by any tortious presentment and complains, 
or if the bailiff suspects that the jurors have perjured them- 
selves in another case by concealing any presentable sin or 
sinner, it is lawful for the bailiffs by twelve more substantial 
men to inquire into the truth without delay. And although 
such last jurors say that the first were perjured, nevertheless 
because no witness or juror can be attainted by less than 
two jurors at least, and because this second jury is taken 
by the bailiff merely ex officio and not by way of attaint, 
the first jurors are not held to be attainted, but are merely 
amerciable. And if any of the people proffer himself to 
swear fealty to the king let him first be plevied by frank- 
pledge and put in a tithing, and then let him swear fealty 
to the king, and then let sin and community of sinners be 
forbidden him, and let him be enjoined to obey his chief 

From making this oath at these views no one is exempt 
who is of the age of twelve years, man nor woman, clerk 
nor lay, save aliens who are passing in the guise of mes- 
sengers, pilgrims, or merchants, and those who are in ward. 

At these visits, turns, or views essoins are allowed, by 
which the absence of those who cannot come is excused, 
and such essoins can be adjourned to the next ensuing 
courts, so that the essoiners may produce their warrantors. 

o 2 



Les chapitres del secunde livre. 

1. De actiouns. 

2. De juges, 

3. De actours. 

4. De loiers. 

5. De contours. 

6. De attachemenz. 

7. As queux action de appeller est 


8. De proces del exigendes. 

9. Des gaoles et gaolers. 

10. De pleuissables. 

11. [De lappel de majeste.] 

12. [Lappel de faussonerie.] 

13. [De appeals de traison.] 

14. [Le appel de arsoun.] 

15. [De lappel de homicide.] 

16. [Les appeals de roberie et lar- 


17. [De lappel de hamsokne.] 

18. [Lappel demprisonment.] 

19. [Lappel de mahim.] 

20. [Lappels de plaie.] 

21. [Lappel de rap.] 

22. De pecchies criminales a la 

suite le Eei. 

23. [De pecchez venials a la suite le 


24. [De pecches venials a personeles 


25. De assises de novel disseisine e 


26. Del ve de naam. 
De acounte.' 

27. De contract. 

28. De naifte. 

29. Des sumonses. 

30. Des assoines. 

31. De attornez. 

1 The Table of Contents in the ^ The little that our author has to 

MS does not contain the headings say about Account comes at the end 
that are here printed within brackets. of his chapter on Contract. 



The Chapters of the Second Book. 

Of Actions. 

2. Of Judges. 

3. Of Plaintiffs. 

4. Of Guerdons. 
6. Of Pleaders. 

6. Of Attachments. 

7. Of those who have an action by 

way of Appeal. 

8. Of the process of Exigent. 

9. Of Gaols and Gaolers. 

10. Of those who are Plevisable. 

11. Of the appeal of Laesa Majestas. 

12. Of the appeal of Falsification. 

13. Of appeals of Treason. 

14. The appeal of Arson. 

15. Of the appeal of Homicide. 

16. The appeals of Bobbery and 


17. Of the appeal of Hamsoken. 

18. Of the appeal of Imprisonment. 

19. The appeal of Mayhem. 

20. The appeal of Wounding. 

21. Appeal of Rape. 

22. Of criminal sins at the suit of 

the King. 

23. Of venial sins at the suit of the 


24. Of venial trespasses at the suit 

of private persons. 

25. Of the assize of Novel Disseisin 

and Be disseisin. 

26. Of Naam refused. 

27. Of Contract. ' 

28. Of Naifty. 

29. Of Summonses. 

30. Of Essoins. 

31. Of Attorneys. 




Ch. I. De Acciouns. 

Quant est dist qe les Eois e les lais princes unt liguie- 
ment ' e les corections des peccheours en eide des prelatz, e 
qe entant sunt il les vicaires dieu en terre, e a ceo fere unt 
jurediction pur assoudre les peccheours par peines e nome- 
me«t ceaux peccheours qe sunt mis en lour subjectioun, 
mes les Eois ne poient mie nen deivent savver ^ autriz 
pecchiez nient notoires sanz actions de accusours, qe bien 
piert par lexample qe dieu monstra quant il fist ^ juge en 
consistoire e demaunda laccusour de la femme peccheresce. 
E pur ceo qe nul sei presenta contre la peccheresce e pur 
nous doner ** perpetuel example qe dreit jugement ne se poet 
fere demeins de iij pe^'sones, de juge, de auctour e de 
defendour, dist dieux a cele femme qele sen alast sanz jour,^ 
de si cum point napent -a juge de sei presenter pur juge e 
pur partie. E pur ceo fet a conoistre de actions, e .queux 
sunt e estre purrent jugez, queux actours e queux defendours. 
Action nest autre chose qe loiale demaunde de son droit/' 
Et sunt iij maneres de actions, person ele, reale, e mixte, e 
unt introductions par brefs e par pleintes en manere qe 

' Corr. le guiement. nical phrase by which an English 

^ For sauvcr, apparently in the court acquits a defendant ; it tells 

sense of our to salve. him that his attendance is no longer 

^ Corr. se fist. required. 

* e pur nous doner; these words " Inst. 4, 6, pr. : ' Actio autem nihil 
are in another hand. aliud est quam ius persequendi 

* qiiod eat indc sine die, the tech- iudicio quod sibi debetur.' 

OF ACnONS. 43 



Ch. I. Of Actions. 

When we say that the kings and the lay princes have 
guidance and correction of sinners in aid of the prelates, 
and that so far they are God's vicars on earth, and for this 
purpose have jurisdiction to absolve sinners by penance, 
and especially those sinners who are in subjection to them ; 
yet the kings neither can nor ought to take cognizance of 
the sins of others that are not notorious without actions 
brought by accusers, as well appears by the example God 
gave when he constituted himself judge in consistory, and 
called for the accuser of the woman who had sinned. And 
inasmuch as no man came forward against the sinner, and 
to give us a perpetual example that there can be no lawful 
judgment without three persons — judge, plaintiff, defendant 
— God told her to go without day, since it does not pertain to 
a judge to act as both judge and party. We must therefore 
study actions, who are and can be judges, who plaintiffs, and 
who defendants. An action is no other thing than a lawful 
claim of one's right. There are three kinds of actions, per- 
sonal, real, and mixed, and they commence by writs and 
plaints in manner following. 


Cli. II. De J ages. 

Juges sunt qe unt juresdiction. Juges poent estre tuz 
ceaux a queux lei nel defent. As femmes defent droit qe 
eles ne seient juges, e de ceo est qe femmes sunt exemptes 
de fere siutes en menues comtz. Dautrepa?*t serfs ne pount 
estre juges, pur les ij estaz qe sunt repugnantz, ne atteinz 
de faus jugement ne poient mie estre juges, ne infames, ne 
nul demeins de age de xxj anz, ne meseals apertz, ne fous 
nastres, ne atturnez, continuelement arragez, ne sourz e 
muz, ne parties es plez, ne escomengez de evesqe ne hom7ne 
mminal. Car dieu meismes quant il fu en terre entra en 
consistoire ou une peccheresce devoit estre jugee a la mort, 
ou diez escrist en la ierxe e dist a siuters qi la deivent 
juger ' Ki de vows est sanz pecchie la doigne soun juge- 
ment,' en example de juges qe empernent a juger la gent 
chescun jour, dunt il les apprent qe nule nempreigne si 
haute nobleie a seer en la chaiere dieu pur juger les 
peccheours taunt cum eux meismes sunt de pecchie con- 
dempnables. E ceaux qi ne sunt a la fei crestiene ne poent 
estre juges, ne ceaux qe ne sunt a la fei le Eoi, ne ceaux qi 
nunt nule com??assion del Eoi ne poent estre justices, ne 
aver juresdiction pur le Eoi, ne nul qe poer est repelie, ne 
nul apres jugement rendu ne aprees son tort en mesme la 
cause. Example piert el brief de droit Et nisi feceris 
vicecomes faciat. Ne nul aprees la mort ou le reaume vient • 
de son garaunt si la cause neit este attame, ne nul qe garant 
est vicious, ne nul sanz soun aioint si soun poer nel voille.^ 
Juge comwissaire nad poer de juger forqe solom les poinz e 
dedenz les termes de sa commissioun e del bref original, 
nient plus qe li juge arbitre ad poer daler hors des poinz de 
sa cowpromisse. 

' Corr. remuement. justice to proceed without his fel- 

^ These last words refer to a Si lows. 
non omncs clause, permitting one 


Ch. II. Of Judges. 

Judges are those who have jurisdiction. All save those 
forbidden by law can be judges. The law forbids women 
to act as judges, and hence it is that women are exempt 
from doing suit to the inferior courts. Again, serfs cannot 
be judges, for the status of serf and judge are repugnant, 
nor can those attainted for false judgment, infamous per- 
sons, those under the age of twenty-one, open lepers, idiots, 
attorneys, lunatics, deaf mutes, the parties to the plea, those 
excommunicated by a bishop, nor criminal persons. For 
God himself when on earth held a consistory wherein a 
woman who was a sinner was to be adjudged to death, and 
he wrote on the ground and said to the suitors whose duty 
it was to judge her, ' He of you who is without sin, let him 
give his judgment,' thus setting an example to judges who 
every day take upon themselves to judge folk, and teaching 
them that none should take upon himself so high an office 
as to sit in God's seat to judge sinners when he himself is 
tainted with sin. Those who are not of the Christian faith 
cannot be judges, nor those who are not in allegiance to the 
king ; and those who hold no commission from him cannot 
be justices, or have jurisdiction for the king, nor he whose 
power has been withdrawn, nor anyone after judgment 
given or after his own wrongdoing in the same cause, as is 
shown in the writ of right, * Et nisi feceris vicecomes 
facial ; ' nor anyone after the death or removal of his 
warrantor if the cause has not already been begun, nor 
anyone whose authority is faulty, nor anyone without his 
colleague unless his commission authorises this. A judge 
commissary has only the power to judge according to the 
articles and within the terms of his commission and of the 
original writ, just as the judex arbitrarius has no authority 
to go outside the articles of the submission to arbitration. 


Ch. III. [De Actours.'] ' 

Queux poent estre actours. Actours sunt qi siuent lur 
droit ou lautri par pleintis. Accuser ou pleindre poent tuz 
ceux a queux lei ne defent. Accuser ne poent mie, meseals, 
ne fous nastres sanz gardeins, nenfanz dedenz age sawz 
gardeins, ne hom/ne criminal, ne utlaguie, exille, bani, ou 
femme weive, ne serf sanz soun possessour, ne femme marie 
sanz soun mari, ne gent de religioun sanz lur gardeins, ne 
escomengez, ne sourz ne mutz sanz lur gardeins, ne juges 
es cas ou il sunt jugez, ne nul qe nen est a la foi le Koi pur ^ 
quei il ert est ^ plus de xl. jours el reaume, forpWs provours 
as queux est suffert daccuser cnminalment gentz de sa con- 
dicioun pur favour de la pees. 

Coment loials homwies deivent pleindre. II deivent 
amiablement amonester les peccheours, cest a entendre lur 
trespassours, qil se amendent vers eux, e sil ne voillent e 
la cause soit criminale, distinctez — car si ascun quert ven- 
geaunce adunqe apent dat tamer sa accion par appele de 
felonie, e sil quert amende des damages adunqe appent 
dattamer laccion par bref qe contigne le noun le Eoi e de 
partiex e les nouns del juge e del countie e la pleinte ou la 
demaunde si les damages ou la demaundie passe xl sous. 
E si noun adunqe suffist pleinte sanz bref. E pur ceo qe 
tuz pecchez ne sassoillent mie par pe^-soneles '' siutes des 
pleintifs par quoi les Eois ne se pownt mie sentire deschargez 
nettement par autries siutes, soleient les Eois errer de 
contie en contie de vij. ans en vij. anz pur enquere des 
pecchiez e des trespas as ^ peccheours, e de torz fez a eux e 
a la coroune, e al comuw del poeple, e de torz, errours, 
negligences de lur ministres, e de tuz fauz jugemewtz, des 
peines pardonees ou a tort juges ou outraiouses, des 
utlaguez retournez e de lur recettours, des values des 
countiez, homirs, hundrez, villes, manoirs, e biens noun 
moebles qe as Eois e a la coroune appendent, des terres 

' Supplied from the Table of Contents. 

^ Corr. puis. ^ Corr. este. 

* persone les, MS. ^ Corr. des. 


Ch. III. Of Plaintiffs. 

Who may be plaintiffs. Plaintiffs are those who seek 
their own right or another's by plaints. All save those for- 
bidden by law can bring accusations and plaints. The 
following cannot accuse : lepers, idiots without guardians, 
children under age without guardians, criminals, outlaws, 
exiles, banished men, women who are waived, serfs without 
their owners, married women without their husbands, men 
of religion without their guardians, excommunicated persons, 
deaf mutes without their guardians, judges in causes in 
which they are judges, those who are not in allegiance to 
the king after that they have been in the realm more than 
forty days, save approvers, who are allowed to crimin- 
ally accuse folk of their own condition in favour of the 

How lawful men should make plaint. They should in 
love admonish the sinners, i.e. their trespassers, to make 
amends to them, and if they will not, and the cause be 
criminal, then we must make this distinction : — If anyone 
seek vengeance then shall he commence his action by an 
appeal of felony, and if he seek compensation for damage 
then shall he commence his action by a writ containing the 
king's name, the names of the parties, the judge, the 
county, and the plaint or demand, if the damages or sum 
claimed exceed forty shillings ;" if they do not, a plaint with- 
out writ suffices. And because all sins cannot be absolved by 
personal actions brought by plaintiffs, and thus the kings 
cannot feel themselves fully discharged by suits brought by 
others, they were wont to journey through the counties 
every seven years, to inquire concerning sins and trespasses 
of sinners, of wrongs done against them and their crown, 
and to the commonalty of the people, and of wrongs, errors, 
and negligences done by their ministers, of all false judg- 
ments, punishments pardoned or wrongfully or outrageously 
adjudged, of outlaws returned and their receivers, of the 
values of counties, honours, hundreds, towns, manors, of 
immoveables belonging to the king and the crown, of lands 


a fous nastres, des alienacions des fieus, des offenses 
a comuns inhibicions des Eois, des privileges e franchises 
jDrejudiciels as Eois, des chaucees ponz e chemins brisez, 
e de tuz autres articles necessaires. E soleient fere 
droit a tuz par eux ou par lur chief justicier. E ore les 
funt les Eois par lur justices com??iissaires erranz assignez 
a tuz pies. En eide de celes eires sunt tourns des viscountes 
necessaires e veuues des francs pleges. E quanqe bones 
gentz a teles enquestes enditerent de pecchie mortel soloient 
les Eois destrure sanz responz, les queux usages durent 
uncore en alamaine. Mes par garaunt de pite e de merci, 
e pur ceo qe la fresletie de homme ne sei poet tenir de 
pecchie si abstinence neit de la grace de dieu, acorde est qe 
nul appele ne endite soit destrut sanz responz, e ceo ' qe 
les Eois ne eient siutes forqe des pecchiez mortieux, e de 
droitz de la coroune, e de lur droiz demeine, de torz de lur 
ministres, e de torz fetz countre comun droit e communes 
ordenaunces pur comun prov, e des articles des eires. 

Ch. IV. Des Loiers. 

Les Eois soloient doner gareison a chief de vij anz a 
tuz ceux qe par taunt de tens les avereient lealment servi, 
e de guerdons des Eois pristrent autres example de rendre 
services^ a lur serjantes. E pur ceo qe nul ne poet franc 
home enservir countre soun gre par unt nul nestoit servir 
Eei nautre forqe pur le servage de soun fieu ou pur la 
reseantise e la demoere en autri fieu, sunt ascuns louuez a 
servir le Eoi pur certein par an. E a ceaux ministres qe 
pernent lur sertein * del Eoi ne list rien a prendre de nul 
del people, mes a ceaux juges qi ser-vent le Eoi en esperaunce 
de bien fet list bien a prendre xij deners del actour a la 
jornee ou sieurte einz ceux"* qeli actour eit audience, e nient 
plus tut isoientil ij. juges ouij. pleintifs ou^ une accion. E 

' Omit ceo (?). - Corr. guerdons. ^ Corr. certein. 

^ Corr. ceo. * Corr. ew. 


belonging to idiots, of the alienation of fees, of offences 
against the common inhibitions of the king, of privileges 
and franchises prejudicial to the king, of paths, bridges, 
and roads broken, and all other necessary articles. And 
they were wont to do right to all men by themselves or by 
their chief justices, but now the kings do this by their 
justices commissary in eyre assigned to hold all manner of 
pleas. In aid of these eyres, turns of sheriffs and views of 
frankpledge are necessary. And those whom the good folk 
in these inquests indicted of mortal sin the kings used to 
destroy without [hearing an] answer ; and this usage still 
prevails in Almain. But through pity and mercy, and be- 
cause the frailty of man cannot abstain from sin unless it be 
by the grace of God, it was accorded that a person appealed or 
indicted should not be destroyed without giving an answer, 
and that the kings should not make suit save for mortal 
sins, the rights of the crown, their desmesne rights, wrongs 
done by their officers, and wrongs done against common 
right and common ordinances made for the common advan- 
tage, and lastly the articles of the eires. 

Ch. IV. Of Guerdons. 

The kings were wont to give a reward every seven 
years to all those who for that time had loyally served 
them ; and others took example from the kings to give 
rewards to their servants, and since no man can enslave a 
free man against his will, so that no one was bound to 
serve the king or any other man against his will, save by 
reason of services due from his fee, or by reason of his 
residence and dwelling in the fee of another, certain persons 
are hired to serve the king at a certain amount by the year. 
And it is not lawful for these officers who have a fixed sum 
from the king to take anything from any man ; but those 
judges who serve the king in hope of advancement may well 
take from the plaintiff twelve pence for the day or security 
for the same before the plaintiff can have audience, but not 
more, though there be two judges or two plaintiffs in one 


al countour vj d., et chivaler tesmoin jurour vj d., e autre 
jurour iiij d. e les ij somenours iiij d. El tens nequedent 
le Eoi Henri le premer estoit ordene e communement 
assentu qe jurours en enquestes e jurees doffice cum es 
petites assises, de reconoissaunces, reddisseisines, certefica- 
cions, atteintes et teles autres ne pmssent nient de loiers, 
pur ceo qe eles se funt aussi com de office le Eoi. E de 
ceux deners rendre sunt les defendaunz chargeables entre ' 
les damages sil cheent en jugement. E a ceux qe suirent 
le profit le Eoi e ne furent mie ses ministres dona le Eoi 
primer Henri le vintime del profite estre ^ lur renables 
mises. En meme la maner fet a denier audience al actour 
sil ne troesse seurte a sa adversete pa?-tie de rendre li ses 
damages sil se pleint de li atort. 

Ch. V. Des Countours. 

Plusours sunt qe ne sevent lur causes pronuncier ne 
defendre en jugement, e plusours qe ne pount, e pur ceo 
sunt countours necessaires, si qe ceo qe pleintifs e autres ne 
pount ou ne sevent par eus facent par lur serjantz ou 
procuratours ou amis. Countours sunt serjauntz sachanz 
la lei del Eeaume qi servent al comun del poeple a 
pronuncier e defendre les actions en jugement pwr ceux qi 
mester en unt pur loer. A chescun countour pur autri 
bosoignes covendra aver regard en iiij choses qil eit persone 
recevable en jugement, qil ne seit herege, nescomenge, ne 
criminal, ne homme de religioun ne femme, ne dedenz 
seinz ordre de sudeacone en amont, ne clerk benefice de 
cure des alme's, ne demeins de xxj an, ne juge en mesme la 
cause, ne mesel apert, ne atteint de faussine centre le droit 

' Corr. oustre (?) ° Corr. oustre (?) 


action,' The pleader may have six pence, and a knight 
being witness or juror six pence, any other juror four pence, 
and the two summonors four pence. In the time of King 
Henry the First nevertheless it was ordained and commonly 
assented that jurors in inquests, and juries of office, as in 
the petty assizes, recognitions, redisseisins, certifications, 
attaints, and the like, should not take reward, since these 
inquests are made as it were by the king ex officio. And 
the defendants are bound to repay this money in addition 
to the damages if they fail in their action. And to those 
who sue for the profit of the king and who are not his 
officers King Henry the First granted the twentieth part 
of the profit besides their reasonable expenses. And in like 
manner audience is to be denied to the plaintiff if he do 
not find security to the opposite party to restore to him his 
damage, in case the plaint be wrongful. 

Ch. V. Of Pleaders. 

Some there be who know not how to state their causes 
or to defend them in court, and some who cannot, and 
therefore are pleaders necessary ; so that what plaintiffs 
and others cannot or know not how to do by themselves 
they may do by their Serjeants, proctors, or friends. 
Pleaders are Serjeants wise in the law of tlie realm who 
serve the commonalty of the people, stating and defending 
for hire actions in court for those who have need of them. 
Every pleader who acts in the business of another should 
have regard to four things : — First, that he be a person 
receivable in court, that he be no heretic, nor excommuni- 
cate, nor criminal, nor man of religion, nor woman, nor 
ordained clerk above the order of subdeacon, nor beneficed 
clerk with the cure of souls, nor infant under twenty-one 
years of age, nor judge in the same cause, nor open leper, nor 
man attainted of falsification against the law of his office. 

' A distinction is drawn between ment. It is believed that a great 

the judges who receive fixed salaries deal of judicial work was done by 

and those who are serving, e.g. as commissioners who received no 

justices of assize, in hope of advance- salaries. 


de son office. Lautre chose est qe chescim countour est 
chargeable pa/* serement qil ne meintendra ne defendra tort 
ne faussine a soun escient, einz guerpera son cHent quel 
oure qil puisse soun tort apercevoir. La terce chose est qe 
il ne mettra james avawt en court faus delais ne faus 
tesmoins, ne meura ne profera ne as corrupciouns deceites 
menceonges ne as fauses leis ne consenth'a, ehiz loialment 
meintendra le droit de soun client si qe il ne chece par folie 
negligence ne defaute de li ne de resoun qe a li apendroit 
de pronuncier. E pa?-' mestierie le denger despiser ' coup 
folie tenesoun manace noise ne viloigne ne desturberai juge 
partie serjaunt ne autre en court par quei il desturbe droit 
ou audience. La quarte est salaire en tour quei iiij choses 
sunt aregarder, la quantite de la cause, le travail del 
serjaunt, la value del contour com de soun ^ de facunde e 
donur e lusage de la court. Contour est suspendable 
quawt il est atteint de salaire resceu de ij adversaires en une 
cause, e sil. face ou die al juge chargeant despit, e sil chiece 
en nul des poinz avantdiz estre^ les excepciouns qe sunt a 
la persone le countour, car nul ne poet estre countour qi ne 
purra estre accusour ou actour. 

Ch. VI. De Attachementz. 

Personeles accions pc7'nent introductions par attache- 
mentz des cors, reales par somonses, e mixtes primes par 
somonses e pjts par attachementz. Endreit de mortieux 
peccheours voet dreit qil neient mie taunt de mitigacion ne 
favour qil seient amonstez ne somonez ne destreinz de 
parer en jugement, pernables en lur oevres si lur pecchiez 
soient notoires ou si tost cum len purra. E si ascun se defut 
adunqe solom la constitucion de Wincestre fet a siure a hu 
e a cri de corne e de bouche, issi qe touz ceux de une ville 

' These words seem to be cor- ' ouster. 1642. 

rupt : we leave them untranslated. '' Some words seem to be missing. 

-' Supply savoir (?) 


Secondly, that every pleader is bound by oath that he will 
not knowingly maintain or defend wrong or falsehood, but 
will abandon his client immediately that he perceives his 
wrongdoing. Thirdly, that he will never have recourse to 
false delays or false witnesses, and never allege, proffer, or 
consent to any corruption, deceit, lie, or falsified law, but 
loyally will maintain the right of his chent, so that he may 
not fail through his folly, or negligence, nor by default of 
him, nor by default of any argument that he could urge ; 
and that he will not by blow, contumely, brawl, threat, 
noise, or villain conduct disturb any judge, party, Serjeant, 
or other in court, nor impede the hearing or the course of 
justice. Fourthly, there is the salary, concerning which 
four points must be regarded — the amount of the matter in 
dispute, the labour of the Serjeant, his value as a pleader in 
respect of his [learning,] eloquence, and repute, and lastly 
the usage of the court. A pleader is to be suspended if he is 
attainted of receiving a fee from both sides in one cause, or 
if he says or does anything in contempt of the judge, or if 
he fails in any of the points above mentioned concerning 
the exceptions which may be taken to the person of the 
pleader, for none may be a pleader who cannot be an 
accuser or plaintiff. 

Ch. VI. Of Attachments. 

Personal actions are commenced by attachment of the 
body, real by summons, and mixed first by summons and 
then by attachment. As to mortal sinners, the law wills no 
such mitigation or favour as that they shall be admonished, 
summoned, or distrained to appear in court, but they are 
to be taken in their crimes if they be notorious, or as soon 
afterwards as may be. And if anyone flee, then, accord- 
ing to the statute of Winchester,' the hue and cry must be 
pursued with horn and mouth, so that all those of one 

' Stat. Winchester, cap. 1. 



qe poissanz soient de courre les ptwsuient ' jesqes a lautre 
ville proscheine. E si ascun soit atteint seit occis, a ^ aussi 
sil se court a defense sil ne pusse autrement estre pris. 
Autrement nequedewt est en felonies nient notoires, li 
pecheour nient notoire ne funt mie a occire sanz lur respons 
si lem les pousse prendre vif. E si ascun se vodra pleindre 
pur vengeance avoir ou pur chacer J)eccheour a savvacion 
de alme, voist al corouner de lu ouli pecchie se fist, e monstre 
sa pleinte en la fourme qil la voudra prover. E li corouner 
destinctement la face enrouller, e li pleintif se face escnre 
cwn homicide pur la voluntie corrumpue de occire son 
proene pa?- sa pleinte si qe il le ' jugement talion sil ne pusse 
atteindre de prover sa pleinte. Al proschein countie apres 
soun appel enroulle apent a tieux pleintifs de reciter lur 
apeals e trovier pleges de siure, ou remeindre en prison tanqe 
il enseient meinpris. E as meinpernours sunt tieu^ pleintifs 
liverables par corouners, cors pur- cors, qil suierent lur 
appealx e de les aver avant en court pur receivre droit quant 
il sereni demaundez sil natteignent a lur appealx prover. 

Les personeux pecchiez sunt ces : les mortieux pecchies, 
enprisonement, mahaim, plaie, baterie, pe?;jurie, -usure, 
emport de veux tresor trovie, de wrek, de weif, e de estrai, 
recousses, forstalles, brusure dautri pares, resistence de 
fornissemenz de loiaux jugemenz, execucions de faus 
jugemenz, torcenouses peccheries e tieux "* autres pecchiez 
personels venals. Les attachementz des peccheors mor- 
tieux sunt par les cors saunz plevine, e les attachementz 
des peccheours venials personels sunt aussi par les cors 
mes aplevine. Les reals pecches sunt ceux sur queux ces 
brefs sunt faundez de dreit, de cosinage, de doeire, de 
avoesson del eglise, deentre, de esoheate, de quo jure, de 
fourme de doun, e de tuz autres feodals. Les pecchiez 
mixtes sunt ceux sur queux ces brefs sunt foundez de 
custumes e de services, de naifte, de covenaunt, de homage 
vee,"** desc7*iz rendre, de fin fete, de meeson,^ ou dautre 

' que puissent, sont a currer les * tousautrespescMssont(H.on&rd). 

pursuivants. 1642. ' Or nee. 

■-' Corr. e. ° Corr. mesne. The action . de 

' Corr. leit. medio. 


township^ who are capable of following the cry, shall make 
pursuit to the next township. And if the fugitive be 
caught let him be killed, so also if he defends himself and 
cannot otherwise be taken. Otherwise is it in the case of 
felonies which are not notorious, for there the sinner, if he 
can be taken alive, is not to be killed without being heard 
to answer. And if anyone desires to complain for the sake- 
of vengeance, or in order to drive a sinner to the salvation 
of his soul, let him go to the coroner of the place where the 
sin was done, and show his plaint in the form in which he 
will prove it. And the coroner shall cause it to be distinctly 
enrolled, and the plaintiff will thus write himself down as a 
homicide, because of his corrupt desire to slay his neighbour 
by his plaint, so that he will be judged by the lex talionis if 
he cannot prove his plaint. At the next county court after 
his appeal has been enrolled the plaintiff must recite his 
appeal and find pledges to prosecute or remain in prison 
until he be mainprised. And such plaintiffs may be 
delivered by the coroners to mainpernors, body for body, 
who will undertake that the appeals shall be pursued, and 
that the plaintiffs shall be produced in court to receive 
judgment whenever they be demanded, if they do not 
succeed in proving their appeals. 

The personal sins are these : the mortal sins, imprison- 
ment, mayhem, wounding, battery, perjury, usury, asporta- 
tion of old treasure trove, or of wreck, waif, or stray, rescue, 
forestalment, pound breach, resistance to the execution of 
lawful judgments, execution of false judgments, tortious 
fishing, and such other venial personal sins. Attachments 
for mortal sins are by the body without plevin; attach- 
ments for venial personal sins are also by the body, but 
with plevin. The * real ' sins are those upon which are 
founded writs of right, of cosinage, of dower, of advowson, 
of entry, of escheat, of quo iure, of formedon, and all other 
feudal writs. The * mixed ' sins are those upon which are 
founded the writs of customs and services, of naifty, of 
covenant, for homage denied, for detenue of (iharters, de 
fine facto f of mesne, or for other acquittance, de sectitt 

H 2 


aquitaunce, de siutes fere, de deste e tieux autres ; e pur la 
medlure des introductions sunt les actions appelez mixtes. 

CJi. VII. As queux Action Dappeler. est done. 

Action dappeler nest mie done ouelement a tuz, mes 
al actioun de traison est receivable chescun a qi traison est 
fete forpns ceaux qe ne sunt recevables en nule actioun. 
Al appel de arsoun est chescun recevable a qi le damage e 
le propnete de la chose arse estoit. Al appeal de homicide 
soleient tuz parentz tuz affins e tuz alliez recevables, 
mes lapel del espouse al occis est recevable devaunt 
tuz autres. E ne mie de totes les espouses, mes 
de eel soulement en qi braz qest ataunt adire 
cnm en qi seisine il esteit occis, car sil eit eu plusours 
fem?7?es espouses, e totes furent en pleine vie en le tens de sa 
occision, cele nequedent est recevable devant totes les" 
autres qe il dereinement tint cum pur sa femme, tut ne fut 
ele sa femme de droit, e ceo est por ceo qe a la lei court 
napent nient detrier quele fu sa femme de fet e quele de 
droit, e les appealx de touz autres aunt suspendables pen- 
daunt lappel recevable. Apres lespouse est appel de filz 
einzne legitime al occis recevable devant tuz autres. Legi- 
time est dist, car bastard nest mie a counter par entre fiz 
car lei counte celi pur fiz qe esposailles le demonstrerent. 
Apres lappel del fiz einzne solent lappel de lautre proschein 
del sane apres li recevable et issi de degre en degre par 
droite ligne de cosinage descendant ; e si li sane defailli en 
cele ligne adunqe furent recevables ceus de lignes collaterals, 
ou les affins ou sane failli solu??i les degrez de figures de 
consanguinite e daffinite, e prmcipalment en la ligne dever 
le pere. Mes lapees ' de homicide fu restreint par le Eei 
Henri le premer jesqes es quatre proscheines degrez el 
sank.2 E si ascun dedienz lage de xxj. an appele, li defen- 
daunt ne lestovera ja de respoundre a si haute actioun 
einz ceo qil eit passe eel age, e pur ceo sunt tieux appealx 

I Corr. lappel. ^ We find no trace of any such legislation. 


faciendis, of debt and the like; and these actions are 
called mixed because of the mixture in the introductory 

Ch. VII. Of those who have an Action by Way of Appeal. 

The action by way of appeal is not given equally to al' 
men ; but to an action of treason anyone may be received 
to whom the treason is done, save those who can be received 
to no action. To an appeal of arson everyone may be 
received who was damaged and had the property in the 
thing burnt. To the appeal of homicide all persons con- 
nected by consanguinity, affinity, or alliance are wont to be 
received ; but the appeal of the wife of the slain is receiv- 
able before all others. This, however, is not so with all 
wives, but only of her in whose arms, i.e. in whose seisin, 
he was slain, for if he had several wives and all of them 
were alive at the time of his death, the appeal of her whom 
he last held as his wife is receivable before all the others, 
albeit she was not his wife de lure ; and this is because the 
lay court cannot try the question which was his wife de 
facto and which de lure; and the appeals of all the others 
are suspended pending the appeal which is receivable. 

The appeal of the eldest legitimate son is receivable 
next after that of the wife. 'Legitimate,' we say, for a 
bastard is not to be accounted as a son, for the law accounts 
as a son him quem nuptiae demonstrant. Then after the 
appeal of the eldest son, the appeal of him who stands next 
in proximity of blood is receivable, and so from grade to 
grade down the straight descending line of consanguinity ; 
and ii the blood fails in that line, then the collaterals, or 
those connected by affinity, blood failing, were admissible, 
according to their places in the tables of consanguinity and 
affinity, and in the first place those in the paternal line, 
but the appeal of homicide was restrained by king Henry 
the First within the four nearest degrees of blood. And if 
anyone under the age of twenty-one years appeals, the 
defendant need not answer him in so high an action until 
he has passed that age ; and therefore these appeals are to be 


suspendables jesqes ataunt qe audeus ^ les parties soient de 
plener age, si le noun age soit allegge en jugement en 
fourme de excepcioun. 

Appeller pount hommes e femmes, clers e lais, enfanz e 
autres de quele condicion qil soient, forpris ceaux qe ne 
sunt mie recevables en actions. E tut soit qe plusours 
appellent . j . soul nequedent est recevable a la continuance, 
8 eel pendant sunt autriz suspendables, e en tuz cas sunt 
les appealx vers les accessoires suspendables pewdawt lappel 
\er le principal j. ou plusors. 

Ch. VIII. Le Proces de Exigende. 

Al primer countie nappent nient plus a fere al corouner 
forqe de entrer les pleges qe proprement sunt meinpernours 
e de comaunder qe lempreigne les appelez e tutes lur 
possessions e lur biens en la main le Eoi solont ceo qe 
avant est dit. E sil soient pris soient gardez jesqes a due 
delivgraunce, e sil ne soient trovez e lactour veigne a lautre 
countie e recite soun appel ou ses appeals, adunqe sunt 
tieux appellez sotilement demaundables e triables ^ par lur 
nouns, e lur nouns dunt il sunt plus conus come une foiz 
demaundez qil viegnent a la pees le Eoi. Car si ascun soit 
appelie cum le fiz soun pere e eit autre surnoun conu par 
taunt est lappel vicious e par conseqent abatable al peril 
del actour. Al tierce countie en meisme la manere com 
par deuz foiz demaunde, e al qwart countie cum par iij. foiz 
demaunde, al quel countie si les appellez ne se presentent en 
jugement nen soient pris a main de les aver avant al pro- 
Bchein countie soit jugement rendu sur lur contumace paries 
corouner s, e ceux qi parruwt avant jugement rendu soient 
meintenaunt liveres a la gaole ou il leient ^ receuz saunz 
difficulte de fins ou de preiere.* 

' Corr. amhideus. . • Corr. seient (?) 

^ Corr. criabUs. * ou de payer, Houard. 


suspended until both parties are of full age, if the nonage 
be alleged in court by way of exception. 

Appeals can be brought by men and women, clerks and 
lay, infants and others, of whatever condition they be, save 
those who cannot be received in any action. And if several 
make an appeal, one only is to be received to continue it, 
and pending his appeal the others are to be suspended ; 
and in every case appeals against the accessories are to be 
suspended pending the appeal against the principal or 

Ch. VIII. Of the Process of Exigent. 

At the first county court the coroner has only to enter 
the names of the pledges, who in strictness are main- 
pernors, and to command that the appellees be taken, they 
and all their possessions and goods, into the hand of the 
king, as aforesaid. And if they be taken let them be kept 
in ward until they be duly delivered; and if they be not 
found and the plaintiff comes to the second county court 
and recites his appeal or appeals, then demand and cry is 
to be made for the appellees by their names, or the names 
by which they are best known, that they do come in to the 
king's peace as having been exacted a first time. For if 
any be appealed merely as the son of his father, and has 
some other known surname, then the appeal is vicious and 
can be abated to the plaintiffs peril.' At the third county 
court the same is done, and this is the second exaction ; 
and at the fourth county court comes the third exaction ; 
and if on this occasion the appellees do not appear in 
court, and no one has undertaken to produce them, then at 
the next court let judgment be given against them as con- 
tumacious by the coroners ; and if they appear before a 
judgment given, then let them be at once delivered * to 
gaol, where they are to be received without any difficulty 
as to fine or petition.* 

' It will not do to appeal a mau as Henry le fit Roger if be bp better 
□own as Henry de Weston. ' Translation doubtful. 


Ch. IX. De Gaole e des Gaolers. 

Gaole nest autre chose qe comun prisoun. E si com 
lepre est une maladie revillaunt cors de homme taunt qe il 
nest mie suffrable a demoerer entre senz genz, aussi est 
pecche mortel une manere de lepre qe fet lalme abhominable 
a deu e la del part ^ del comwun de totes seinz gentz. E 
pur quoi les innocens ne soient mie entochez de lur pecchez 
ordenes furent gaoles en tuz countiez pur mettre einz 
mortiels pecheors dattendre illoec lur jugementz es cas ou 
li peccheour fussent nient notoires. Deuz maneres sunt de 
prisoun, comwiune e pnvee. Chescune comun prison est 
gaole e nul nad garde for le Eoi. Prison privee est autri 
prison dunt chescun list deschaper qe fere le poet, savve qil 
ne face autre trespas en leschape. En comun prison nest 
nul emprisonable forqe. pur pecche mortiel e de ceo fu 
defendu par le Eoi Henri le tierce qe nul ne levast deners 
pur nul eschap en la terre le Eoi einz ces ^ qe leschap fu 
juge en eire des justices le quele peine pecuniele ou corporele 
fust agardable ou noun, E pur ceo qe defendu est qe nul 
soit pene avant jugement, voet droit qe nul ne soit mis entre 
vermine nen puriosie nen lu orrible ne perilloutz nen euue 
nen oscurete nen autre peine, einz list ben a gaolers defirger 
ceaux dunt il se doute, sauve qe les fierges ne poissent mie 
plus de xij unces, e de efforcer lagard a ceux qi sunt ' en la 
gaole violence, outrage ou trespaz. 

Ch. X. Des Plevisables. 

' Ascuns appellez de mortel pecchiez sunt qe tut ne soient 
il meinpernables de droit, par abusion neqedent est suffert 
qil sunt liverables par bail einz ceux qil viegnent en la gaole, 
nomeement les appellez de homicidie, robberie, larcin e 

• * et la doit parter, Houard. ' Corr. ceo. * Corr. funt. 


Ck. IX. Of Oaol and Gaolers. 

A gaol is nothing else than a common prison. And as 
leprosy is a malady which disgraces the body of a man so 
that he may not be sufifered to dwell among healthy folk, 
so mortal sin is a kind of leprosy which makes the soul 
abominable to God and severs it from the community of all 
holy folk. And in order that the innocent may not be 
tainted with their sins, gaols were ordained in all the 
counties, so that mortal sinners might be put therein to 
await their judgments, in case their sins were not notorious. 
There be two kinds of prison, common an^ private. 

Every common prison is a gaol, and only the king has 
the keeping of it. Every other man's prison is private, and 
from this anyone may escape who can, provided he do no 
other trespass in his escape. None is to be imprisoned in 
a common prison save for mortal sin, and it was forbidden 
by King Henry the Third ' that anyone should levy in the 
king's land any money for any escape before the escape had 
been adjudged by justices in eyre, and a decision given as 
to whether any punishment, corporal or pecuniary, was to 
be awarded or not. And because it is forbidden that any- 
one be tormented before judgment the law wills that no one 
be placed among vermin or putrefaction, or in any horrible 
or dangerous place, or in the water, or in the dark, or any 
other torment ; but it is lawful for gaolers to put fetters 
upon those whom they suspect (of trying to escape) ; but 
the fetters must not weigh more than twelve ounces ; and 
they may keep in stricter ward those who are guilty of 
violence, outrage, or trespass in the gaol. 

Ch. X. Of those who are Plevisahle. 

Some there are appealed of mortal crime who, albeit by 
law they are not mainpernable, are nevertheless — though 
this is an abuse — deliverable on bail before that they have 
been brought to gaol ; to wit, those appealed of homicide, 

> No, but by Stat. West. I. c. 3. 


homsokne, ou hors de la gaole en cas ou li Eoi troeve par 
enqueste qe il sunt appellez a tort, e pur tieu cas fu li bref 
trovie de odio et atia. Ceux qi sount condempnez a cor- 
porele peyne, ne sunt mie plevisables ne metables a 
meinprise einz ces ' qil ensoient alleggez par fin de peyne 

Ch. XI. De Lappel de Majeste. 

Des crimes de Majeste ne de faussonerie ne de rien qe 
touche le droit le Roi ne surt nul appeal mes accions ou 
enditemenz.2 Par esclaundres de sodomie nassentirent unqes 
nos aunciens peres qe len les monstrast en manere daccions 
par accusementz nenditemenz ne nule manere de audience 
nassentirent destre done pur la grant abhominacion del 
pecchie, einz ordenerent qe es pecchez notoires saunz respit 
fuissent jugez e les jugemenz forniz e en nient notoires 
pecchez sen teust chescune langue. 

De la machinacioun en la mort le Eoi e des autres 
especes de majeste ver le Eoi terrien se funt accusementz 
mes ne mie enditemenz, car chescun feal le Eoi qe ensoit 
Be deit hastier pur fere en la monstrance, au Eoi si qe il 
ne soit pris ne reprts pur sa longe demoere e trop de 
targe.^ En queus cas les encusez sunt pemables e en plein 
parlement die laccusour par li ou par serjaunt solom ceo 
qe monstre fu en eel cas en le tens le Eoi Edmund en 
cestes paroles — Eocelin, ici, dist Walegist illoec, qe a tiel 
jour tiel an del regne de tiel Eoi, en tiel leu, vient celi 
Walegist a cesti Eocelin e li trova* de estre en eonseil 
.e en eide ensemblement ovesqes Atheling, Thurkild, 
Balbard e autres, de fere poison ou entouche pur occire 
nostre seignur le Eoi Edmund, ou en autre manere par 
coup felonessement, e a ceo fere furent entre jurez a ceo 
counseil cowceler e a ceo felonie issi fornir solom lur poer. 

' Corr. ceo. * Corr. tarde. 

\ No Btop in MS. * This word seems wrong. 


robbery, larceny, and hamsoken, or are deliverable out of 
gaol, as in the case where the king finds by inquest that 
they are wrongfully appealed, and for this purpose the writ 
de odio et atia was invented. Those who have been con- 
demned to corporal punishment are not plevisable or main- 
pernable until they have returned to the law by making a 
pecuniary fine. 

Ch. XI. Of the Appeal of Laesa Majestas. 

For the crime of laesa majestas or for falsification or 
for anything which touches the king's right there is no 
appeal, but there are actions' or indictments. Because of 
the scandal of sodomy our ancient fathers would not -suffer 
that there should be any actions, accusations, indictments^ 
or audience of any kind concerning so abominable a sin, 
but ordained that those notoriously guilty should be judged 
without respite and the judgments executed, and in cases 
that were not notorious every tongue should hold its peace. 

As to compassing the king's death and other kinds of laesa 
majestas against the earthly king, there are accusations, 
but no indictments, for every one of the king's lieges who 
knows thereof should hasten to show it to the king, so that 
he may incur no reproof by reason of his inaction or delay. 
And in these cases the accused are to be arrested ; and 
then in full parliament let the accuser by himself or his 
Serjeant follow this precedent of the time of King Edmund 
and say, * Eocelin, who is here, says that Walegist, who is 
there, for that on such a day, in such a year, in the reign 
of such a king, in such a place, came the said Walegist 
to the said Eocelin and urged him to be in councU and 
aid along with Atheling, Thurkild, Balbard, and others in 
making poison or drug to kill our lord the king Edmund, 
or otherwise, by a blow feloniously, and to do this were 
they sworn, and to conceal this counsel (knd to execute this 
felony to the best of their power.' 


Ch. XII. Lappel de Faussonerie. 

Cest pecchie en fet nient notoire se monstre par faus 
bref ou par fans monoie trovie en ascun possession. E tut 
soit qe iij. persones soient necessaires en jugement en cest 
cas neqedent dist Ordmar ^ qe possessours de mauveistie 
sunt doffice de juge chaceables a respoundre del title de lur 
possession qe nen est mie en tuz cas. E si ascun soit qe 
nel voille dire en jugement, adunqe iert retornable a la gaole 
e trestuz ces biens pernables en la mein le Rei e recevables, 
sicom en totes criminals accions attamez par appeals ou 
par enditemenz ; mes en venials acciouns soloient tieux 
contumax estre condempnez par non respons aussi bien 
cum par lur respounz e lealment atteinz. E si ascun die 
qil y avint bien loialmewt e ne seit par qi, ne nul ne se 
profre countre li de prover laffirmative del accioun, adunqe 
appent al possessour a prover laffirmative de soun responz. 
E si ascun die qil avint par certeine homwe seit cum apres 
jert dit. 

Ch. XIII. De Apeals de Traison. 

Traison se monstre par appeals en ceste manere solom 
ceo qe fu trove en vieus roulles del tens le Roi Alfred — 
Bardulf, ici, appele Dorling, illoec, de ceo qe cum meisme 
celi Dorling estoit lallie cesti Bardulf, vint cesti Dorling tel 
jour tel an e cet. e la femme cesti Bardulf durant lalliaunce 
porruist, ou soun seal faussea, ou tiel autre mauveiste fist. 
Ou issi — Hakon son pere ou soun autre parent ou seignur 
ou lallie celi Dorling occist. Ou issi — demoera en eide ou en 
counseil ovesqes Sa£frei ladversaire cesti Bardulf, en plee qe 
toucha perte de vie ou de menbre ou de terrien honur. Ou 
issi — soun counsail ou sa confession descovri. Ou issi — par 
la ou ill devoit aver loial enroullement dendreit de tiel plee, 
meismes celi Derling fausement enroiilla a sa desheriteson 

' est ordeigne (1642 and Houard). 


Ch. XII. The Appeal of Falsification. 

This sin in a case that is not notorious is demonstrated 
by a false writing or false money found in anyone's posses- 
sion. And albeit that three persons are necessary for a 
judgment, nevertheless in this case Ordmar said that the 
possessors of a fraud may be compelled by the judge ex officio 
to answer as to the title of their possession, but this is not 
80 in all cases. And if anyone there be who will not make 
answer in court to this question, let him be returned to gaol 
and let all his goods be taken into the king's hand, as in the 
case of criminal actions begun by appeal or indictment ; 
but in venial actions the contumacious are usually con- 
demned for want of answer, as though they had answered 
and had been lawfully convicted. And if any answer that 
he came by the [fraudulent writing or money] lawfully, but 
does not know from whom he got it, and no one offers to 
prove against him the affirmation of the action, then the 
possessor must prove his answer affirmatively. And if he 
says that he had the thing from some certain person, then 
the case proceeds, as will be said below. 

Ch. XIII. Of Appeals of Treason. 

Treason is declared by appeals in this manner, as is 
found in old rolls of the time of King Alfred : Bardulf, who 
is here, appeals Dorling, who is there, for that whereas this 
Dorling was the ally of this Bardulf, came this Dorling on 
such a day in such a year, etc., during the alliance, and 
defiled the wife of this Bardulf, or falsified his seal, or did 
such other wickedness. Or thus : This Dorling killed Hakon, 
his father, or other kinsman, or lord or ally. Or thus : was 
in aid or counsel with Saflfrei, the adversary of this Bardulf, 
in a plea which concerned life or member or earthly worship. 
Or thus : disclosed his counsel or confession. Or thus : 
Whereas he ought to have made a lawful enrolment of such 
a plea, this Dorling made a false enrolment to his disherison 


ou autrement a son damage. Ou issi — par la ou illi mist en 
soun lieu en tele parole par de vaunt tieux juges pur gaigner 
ou pur perdre e li dust aver fet loialte, la perdi il par sa 
defaute, ou par sa folie, ou negligence, ou collusion, ou 
rendi la demande ou tiel autre mauveiste li fist. Ou issi 
— par la ou il dist ^ aver accuse ^ ou essoneie tiel jour ecet, 
la li lessa il perdrei del possession ou tiel autre chose par sa 
defaute. Ou issi — par la ou il dust loialment pronuwcie pur 
li en tiel cas, e com mesme cell Dorling malement li counsela 
ou pur li pronuwcia en tiel point. E puis issi : — cele 
traison li fist celi Dorling felonessement cum feloun, e 
traiterousement come traitre ; e si len voille dedire prest 
est cesti Bardulf del prover sur li par soun cors, ou sicom 
homme mahaigne, ou a femme, ou a clerk appent de prover. 
E tut soit qe quis seit a ascuns qe nestovereit a nul actour 
a monstrer la proeve de sa action einz ceo qele fust dedete 
de sa partie adversie, pur haster droit neqedent est cele 
usage suffert sicome en cest cas siuaunt e en autres. Soit 
qe ascun viscounte ou autre mette sus a autre homwe 
plegeage ou meinpnse, e cil le dedie, al actour appent a dire 
qe a tort le dedist, e pur ceo a tort, car en tiel an, tel jour, 
e cum devaunt tel e tiel, devient le plege tiel de soun gre e 
a ceo prover ad siute e deresne. Pur hastier droit est 
suffert qe lactour die en la monstraunce de sa pleinte issi — 
e sil le dedie e cet — car en tele manere se haste droit plus qe 
suffrir primes le respons de la partie adverse e puis descendre 
a eel proffre par replicacion. 

Ch. XIV: Le Appel de Arsown. 

Les appeals darsouns se funt en tele manere^Cede, ici, 
appelle Harding, illoec, ovesqe les surnouns, de ceo qe cum 
meme ce&ti Cede avoit une meeson ou plusours, ou j. tas de 

' Corr. duist. ^ Corr. excuse. 


or otherwise to his damage. Or thus : Whereas Dorling 
was Bardulfs attorney in a certain cause to gain or lose 
before certain judges, and should have acted loyally, he lost 
the cause by his default, folly, negligence, or collusion, or 
surrendered the thing in demand, or did such other wicked- 
ness. Or thus : whereas he ought to have excused him or 
essoined him on such a day, etc., he allowed him to Ipse 
possession or the like by his default. Or thus : whereas he 
ought by law to have pronounced for him in such a case, he 
pronounced for him badly or gave him bad counsel on such 
a point.' And then at the end : — This treason did the 
said Dorling feloniously as a felon, traitorously as a traitor ; 
if he will deny it this Bardulf is ready to prove it by 
his body — or as a maimed man, or as a woman, or . as a 
clerk should prove. And albeit some think that no plaintiff 
is bound to show the proof of his action before a denial has 
been given by his opponent, nevertheless that right may 
be speeded this usage is suffered in the following case and 
in others. Suppose that a sheriff or other person surmises 
against a man that he is a pledge or mainpernor, and this 
is denied, then the plaintiff must say that the denial is 
wrongful, for that in such a year, on such a day, before 
so and so, the defendant became a pledge of his own free 
will, and of this the plaintiff offers suit and deraignment. 
But for the sake of expedition the plaintiff is allowed to put 
in his count the clause And if he will deny it, etc., for in 
this way justice may be done more speedily than if the 
defendant gave his answer and then the plaintiff offered his 
proof by way of replication.' 

Ch, 'XIV. The Appeal of Arson. 

An appeal of arson is made in this manner : Cede, who 
is here, appeals Harding, who is there (add the surnames), 
for that whereas this Cede had a house or several houses, a 

' Probably this refers to a pleader last clause of the common form of 

who fails in his duty of speaking count, which seems to anticipate the 

(pronouncing) for his client. defendant's answer, and so trans- 

' Our author is explaining the gress the order of logic. 


ble, ou un moillon defein,* ou autre manere des biens en tiel 
lu, ou issi — par la ou Weland pere ou parent cesti Cede estoit 
en tiel lu tel jour ecet, la vient cell Harding e en la dite 
meeson mist le fieu & le dist Weland art laenz le quel qil en 
morust ou noun. Ceste arson li fist celi Harding felonesse- 
ment e cet. 

Ch. XV. De lappel de Homicidie. 

Del pecchie de homicide sunt les appeals tieles. Knotting, 
ici, appelle Carling, illoec, de ceo qe cum Cadi pere, frere, 
fiz, ou uncle cesti Knotting estoit en la pees dieu e la pees 
nostre seignur le Eoi en tiel lu, la vient mesme celi Carling 
e le djt Cadi tel jour, tel an, ecet de una espie, ou dautre 
manere nomee brocha par mi le cors ou tiel plaie li enfist 
en tiel endroit del cors, dunt il estoit plus prees de la mort 
e plus loinz de la vie ; ceste occision ' li fist il en assaut 
pwrpense felounessement ecet. Ou issi — de une hache, ou 
coignee, ou de pere,^ ou de baston le dit Cadi feri en la test 
ou aillours, de quel coup il morust tiel jour tel lu eteet. 
Ou issi — par la ou mesme celi Cadi estoit feru en tiel en- 
droite del cors de coup curable, ou tieu malon ou autre 
blesceure curable avoit, dunt il se mist en la cure cesti 
Carling, qi se dist estre mestre mire de practike, la vient 
cesti Carling e la gareison le dit Cadi emprist, e par sa 
folie, negligence ecet, tiel jour ecet, felonessement le occist. 
Ou issi — li sustret sa sustenaunce, par quel tel jour ecet li 
occist. Ou issi — taunt delaia sa deliveraunce a fere par 
quel il le tua. Ou issi — le pendi e felonessement loccist. 
Ou issi — comaunda ou envoia ou fu en leide ou en la force 
ou recetta. Ou faussement jugea Eaghenild, qe primermewt 
atteint les xij. faus jurours tesmoina qi pendirent Godrun 
soun mari atorl par xxiv. jurours, qe pus par divers appeals 
pendi le primers xij. jurours. Ou issi — tant li pena pur fere 

' ou violin, ou fein, Houard. * Corr. piere. 


stack of corn, or rick of hay, or other goods in such a 
place ; or thus : whereas Weland the father, or kinsman of 
this Cede, was in such a place on such a day, etc., came this 
Harding and set fire to the said house and burnt the said 
Weland therein, so that he died or otherwise. This arson 
did the said Harding feloniously, etc. 

Ch. XV. The Appeal of Homicide. 

Touching the sin of homicide, appeals are made thus : 
Knotting, who is here, appeals Carling, who is there, for 
that whereas Cadi, the father (brother, son, or uncle) of 
this Knotting was in the peace of God and in the peace of 
our lord the king in such a place, there came the said 
Carling and on such a day in such a year, etc., with a sword 
(or in some other specified manner) pierced him through 
the body (or gave him such a wound in such a part of his 
body), whereby he was nearer to death and further from 
life ; and this slaying he did in premeditated assault, 
feloniously, etc. Or thus : With an axe, hatchet, or stone, 
or staflf, struck the said Cadi on the head (or elsewhere), of 
which stroke he died, on such a day, at such a place, etc. 
Or thus : Whereas the said Cadi was struck on such a part 
of his body by a curable stroke (or had such a curable 
disease or wound), for the cure whereof he had placed 
himself under this Carling, who professed himself a 
master of medical practice, there came this Carling, and 
undertook the case, and by his folly and negligence, etc., 
feloniously slew him. Or thus : withdrew sustenance from 
him, whereby on such a day, etc., he slew him. Or thus : 
so long delayed his delivery [from prison] that thereby he 
slew him. Or thus : hanged and feloniously slew him. 
Or thus : commanded or procured [some one to slay him], 
or was in aid and force [at the slaying], or received [the 
slayers]. Or falsely judged Raghenild, who had in the first 
instance attainted by twenty-four jurors the twelve false 
jurors who wrongfully hanged her husband Godrun, and 
had then by divers appeals hanged the first twelve jurors. 



li conoistre e de devenir provour, qil se conust fausement 
aver pecchie ou nient ne peccha, e li fist appeller innocenz 
de cnm, si qe en Carling ne remist qe ceste Knotting ne fu 
jugee a la mort. Ou issi — par la ou cesti Knotting gist 
mahaigne countre lit, ou fu countrez, ou si joesnes, ou si 
veuz, ou si malades qe il ne poeit aler, la vient celi Carling 
e cesti Knotting porta ou caria de tiel lu tiel jour e ce«. jesqes 
en tele euue, fossie, pus, marlere ou desert e illoec le geta, 
e issi lessa saunz eide e sustenaunce, si qe en li ne remist qe 
il ne fust illoec mort de feim e de disete. Cest mauueistie 
li fist il felounessement cum feloun e cet. 

Ch. XVI. Les Apeals de Roherie e de Larcin. 

Les apeals de robberie sunt tieux : Osmwnd, ici, apele 
Saxemund, illoec, de ceo qe cum cesti 0. aveit un cheval de 
tiel pris, la vint celi Saxemund e del cheval li robba tiel 
jour ecet., ou de tant dargent, ou de tiel garnement de tiel 
pris, felonessement e cet., ou ses ij boefs de tiel pris ou 
dautre manerg de chatieux de tiel pris e cet., on les dits 
biens issi robbez recetta, ou fu en leide ou autrement con- 
sentaunt. De larcin issi — Athelwold, ici, apele Osketel, illoec, 
de ceo qe cwn cesti A. aveit ces biens nomement e cet., e 
ceus biens larcenousement cum lierre li embla e cet. En 
cestes actions courrent ij droiz, le droit de la possessioun cum 
est de chose robbe ou emble hors de la possessioun celi qe 
rien nad el droit de la propriete, cu?n, est de chose prestee, 
baillee ou lesee, e le droit de la propnete, com est de 
chose emblee ou robbe de la possessioun celi aqi la propnete 
de la chose est. 


Or thus : tortured him into confessing and becoming an 
approver, so that he falsely confessed to have sinned where 
he had not sinned, and caused him to appeal innocent folk 
of a crime, so that it was not for want of will on Carling's 
part that Knotting was not adjudged to death. Or thus : 
Whereas this Knotting lay maimed in bed, or was so lame, 
or so young, or so old, or so sick, that he could not walk, 
there came this Carling and fetched or carried this Knotting 
from such a place on such a day etc., to such a pool, ditch, 
well, marl-pit, or desert place, and there threw him and 
left him without aid and sustenance, so that it was no 
fault of his [Carling's] that he [Knotting] did not die there 
of hunger and thirst. This wickedness did he feloniously 
as a felon, etc. 

Ch. XVI. Appeals of Robbery and Larceny. 

Appeals of robbery are made thus : Osmund, who is 
here, appeals Saxmund, who is there, for that whereas this 
Osmund had a horse of such a price, there came this 
Saxmund and robbed him of the horse on such a day, etc., 
or of so much money, or of such a garment of such a price, 
feloniously, etc., or of his two oxen of such a price, or of 
such other kind of chattels of such a price, etc., or received 
the said goods thus taken in robbery, or was aiding or 
otherwise consenting. Of larceny thus : Athelwold, who 
is here, appeals Osketel, who is there, for that, whereas this 
Athelwold had his goods, and in particular, etc., these goods 
he [Osketel] stole from him larcenously as a larcener, etc. 
In these actions two rights may be concerned — the right of 
possession, as is the case where a thing is robbed or stolen 
from the possession of one. who had no right of property in it 
(for instance, where the thing has been lent, bailed or let) ; 
and the right of property, as is the case where a thing is 
stolen or robbed from the possession of one to whom the 
property in it belongs. 

I 2 


Ch. XVII. De lappel de HomsoJcne. 

De homsokne sunt tieux appeals : Athulf, ici, apele 
Colgrum, illoec, de ceo, qe cum cesti A. estoit en tiel lu en 
la pees e cet., la vient celi C. soun dist oustiel a force e as 
armes assailli e en tiel droit ^ brisa, ou tel autre violence 
ifist felonessement e cet. 

Ch. XVIII. Lappel demprisonnement. 

E a lappel denprisonement ici : ^ Darling, ici, appelle 
Wloc, illoec, de ceo qe cum cesti ecei., la vint ceste Wloc e 
le dist D. prist e de illoec le mena iesqes en tiel lu, ou il 
tel jour ecet. le mist en ceps ou enfirgez, ou en autre peine, 
ou en encloustre de eel jour iesqes a tiel jour ecet. Ou 
issi — e countre suffisaunte meinprise offerte pur li en cas 
plevisable retient, ou apres jugement rendu de sa delive- 
raunce — de tel houre iesqes a tiele. Ceste felonie li fist ecet. 

Ch. XIX. Lappel de Mahim. 

De mahaim sunt tieux : Umberd, ici, apele Maimound, 
illoec, de ceo cum ecet. la vint le dist M. currant de assaut 
prepense e de tele manere darme, le pie ou le poin le dit 
Umberd coupa, ou de j. tiel baston la summa en la teste 
dunt il li enfondra le tet de sa teste, ou de j. pierre li feri 
hors troiz denz devaunt dunt il li mahaima. Cest mahain 
li fist il felon e cet. 

Ch. XX. Lappel de Plate. 

De plaie sunt tieux appeals : Briming, ici, appelle Olof, 
illoec, de ceo qe cum ecet., de tiele arme li feri e nauffra ea 
tel endroit del cors, dunt la plaie conteient taunt delaour 
taunt de longour e taunt de profundesce. Ceste plaie li fist 
il felon c ce^ 

' cnd'roit (Ilouavd). ^ Corr. issi. 


Ch. XVII. Appeal of Hamsoken. 

Of hamsoken, appeals are made thus : Athulf, who is 
here, appeals Colegrum, who is there, for that, whereas this 
Athulf was in such a place in the peace, etc., there came 
this Colegrum and assaulted his said house with force and 
arms, and broke it in such a place, or did therein such other 
violence feloniously. 

Ch. XVIII. Appeal of Imprisonment. 

An appeal of imprisonment thus : Darling, who is here, 
appeals Wloc, who is there, for that, whereas this [Darling], 
etc., there came this Wloc and took the said Darling and 
carried him to such a place, and there on such a day, etc., 
set him in stocks or in fetters, or in other torment, or in 
restraint from such a day to such a day, etc. Or thus : 
And detained him in spite of sufficient mainprise offered 
for him in a case that was replevisable, or after a judgment 
given for his delivery, from such an hour to such an hour. 
This felony did he, etc. 

Ch. XIX. Appeal of Mayhem. 

Of mayhem thus : Umberd, who is here, appeals 
Maimound, who is there, for that whereas, etc., there came 
this Maimound running in forethought assault and with 
such manner of arms cut off the foot or the hand of 
this Umberd, or with such a staff struck him on the head, 
so that he broke the crown of his head, or with a stone 
knocked out three of his front teeth so that he maimed 
him. This mayhem did he feloniously, etc. 

Ch. XX. Appeal of Wounding. 

Appeals of wounding are made thus : Briming, who is 
here, appeals Olof, who is there, for that, whereas, etc., 
with such an arm he struck and wounded him in such a 
part of his body, with a wound that was of such a width 
and of such a length and of such a depth. This wound he 
gave him feloniously, etc. 


Ch. XXI. Appeal de Rap. 

Appeal de rap se fet en ceste manere : Arnebourgh, 
ici, appele Athelin, illoec, de ceo qe cum ecet., la vint cell 
Athelin e ceste Arnebourgh abati aforcea e purrust maugrie 
felon contre la pees. E pur ceo qe chescun rap ne soloit mie 
estre tenu pecche mortiel nestoit nule tiel appeal covenable 
si ele ne dust ' e soun pucelage li toli. 

Ch. XXII. Des Pecchiez criminals a la suite le Roi. 

Plusours sunt qi point ne querent absolucion tut eient 
pecchie ver lur proeine mortelement. E por ceo qe le Koi 
est tenu de soun ofl&ce achastier tieux a sauvacioun, soloient 
les Eois errer de vij. anz en vij. par touz paiis en soun 
Keaume por enquere solom ceo qe avant est.^ Cestre ' 
ceo en eide de celes eires furent corouners troviez, tourns 
de viscountes, veuues de iranc pleges e autres enquerours, 
pur enquere de tieux peccheours sicom dist est. Mes pur 
ceo qe ascuns sunt atort esclaundrez par quoi qe ne fet 
mie a crere mesdisaunz ne a la veine voiz del poeple, ordena 
le Eei Henri le premer qe nul ne fust pris nenpnsonie pur 
esclaundre de pecchie mortel, einz ces'' qe il en fust enditee 
par serement des prodeshomes par devant tieux qe fuissent 
auctorizes de tieux enditemenz resceivre. E adunqe aprimes 
fussent pemables, e cors e biens al foer des appellez e gar- 
dables en pnsoun tauntqe lur enfamie en fust purge par 
devant le Eoi ou ces comwissaires. 

Del crim de maiestie en nule espece ne sourt enditement 
forqe de heresie e de reneire, dunt si ascun ensoit enditee 
e soit mene en jugement, si ert lenditement pronuwciable 
pur le Eoi par ascu?i de soun poeple en ceste manere, solom 
ceo qe trovie est es vieuz roulles des Eois auncienes. 

Je dis Sebourgh, illoeC, est defame de bone gent del 
pecchie de heresie, pur ceo qele de mal art e creaunce 

' Corr. dist. ^ Supply dist. 

Corr. Estre. * Corr. ceo. 


Ch. XXL Appeal of Rape, 

An appeal of rape is made in this wise : Arnebourgh, 
who is here, appeals Athelin, who is there, for that, whereas, 
etc., there came this Athelin and knocked down, forced, 
and corrupted this Arnebourgh, against her will, feloniously, 
against the peace. And because it was not every rape 
that was accounted a mortal sin, such an appeal was not 
in due form unless she said, * and took away her virginity.' 

Ch. XXII, Of Criminal Sins at the Suit of the King. 

There are who do not seek absolution, albeit they have 
sinned mortally against their neighbour. And for that 
the king is bound by his office to chasten them to salva- 
tion, the kings were wont to journey through all the lands 
of their realm every seven years to inquire in manner 
aforesaid. Also in aid of those eyres coroners were 
established, sheriffs' tourns, views of frank pledge, and 
other inquests, to inquire of such sinners, as has been said. 
But for that some were accused falsely and it is not right to 
put faith in slanders and the idle talk of the people, King 
Henry I. ordained that none should be taken or imprisoned 
on a charge of mortal sin until they were indicted by the 
oath of good men before those who were authorised to 
receive such indictments. And they in the first instance 
were to be taken, their bodies and goods, and imprisoned 
like appellees, and to be kept in prison until their evil 
repute should be purged before the king or his commis- 

Of the crime of lese-majeste no indictment arises, save 
for heresy and for renegation, whereof if any be indicted 
and be brought to judgment, the indictment may be 
proffered on behalf of the king by any one of his people in 
manner following, as is found in the old rolls of the ancient 
kings : 

I say that Sebourgh, who is there, is defamed by good 
folk of the sin of heresy, for that she by evil art and for- 


defendue, e par charmes e enchauntemenz toll a Brightiene 
sa voisine tel jour e cet., la flour de sa cervoise, par unt ele 
enperdi la vente, issi qe jugement ne se face de meins de 
iij. persones. Ou issi : NoUing, illoec, est defamie de bona 
giens qe atiel jour ecet., reneia il son baptesme e se fist 
circumcire e devient jeu, ou sarasin, ou adora ou sacnfia a 
Mahoumet en despit de di«u e en dampnacion de sa alme. 
Cest pecchie fest il felonnessement ecet. E pus issi en 
chescun cas sembtable pur le Eoi. E sil ne ' voille dedire prest 
siu del prover sur li pur li Eoi com appent al Eoi de fere, 
cest assavoir al foer denfaunt de denz age. De faussonerie 
issi je dis pur le Eoi qe Wymund, illoec, est defamie ecef., 
de ceo qil tiel jour ecet., fausa le seal le Eoi ou sa monoie 
en tele espece ou tiele ecet. 

De traisoun cessent ore enditemenz. De arsoun issi : 
je dis ecet., qe Seburgh, illoec, est defamee ece^., de ceo a 
tel jour ecet en tele meesoun ou biens mist le fu ecet. De 
homicide je dis ecet. de tiel arme feri Aiold en tiel en droit 
del cors, par quel coup il occist. Les degrez accessoirea 
sunt monstrables apres les principals solom lur droit. 

De larcin en ceste manere : jadis ^ qe Cutberd, illoec, 
est ecet., tiel hom?we, conu ou desconu robba de soun cheval 
ou dautre manere de bien e cet., ou larcenousement embla, 
ou al pecchie de tiel larroun conu, ou de larrons desconus 
fu assentaunt par prise de thefbote, qest reschat de larcin, 
qil prist a e&cient pur li soffrir a tele foiz passer, ou pur 
estoper sute, ou pur procurer a tort sa sauvacioun ecet. 

Corr. le. ^ Corr. je dis. 


bidden miscreance, and by charms and enchantments, on 
such a day, etc., took from Brightwine her neighbour the 
flower of her ale, whereby she lost the sale of it, and in such 
case judgment shall not be given by less than three persons. 
Or thus : Nolling, who is there, is defamed by good folk for 
that on such a day, etc., he denied his baptism, and had 
himself circumcised and became a Jew, or a Saracen, or 
adored or sacrificed to Mahomet, in despite of God and to 
the damnation of his soul. This sin did he feloniously, etc. 
And so forth in every similar case for the king. And if he 
will deny it, ready am I to prove it against him on behalf 
of the king, as is proper in the king's case — that is to say, 
as one would do on behalf of an infant within age.' And 
of forgery thus : I say for the king that Wymund, who is 
there, is defamed, etc., for that on such a day, etc., he 
forged the seal or the money of the king in this wise or in 
that, etc. 

Of treason there are no longer indictments. Of arson 
thus : I say, etc., that Seburgh, who is there, is defamed, 
etc., for that on such a day, etc., to such a house, or to 
such goodsf she set fire, etc. Of homicide : I say, etc., that 
with such a weapon he struck Aiold on such a part of his 
body, by which stroke he slew him. The accessory degrees 
must be declared in their proper sequence after their prin- 

Of larceny thus : I say that Cuthbert, who is there, etc., 
robbed such a man, known or unknown, of his horse or of 
other manner of goods, or larcenously stole them from him, 
or was assenting to the sin of such a thief whose name 
is known, or of such thieves whose names are unknown, by 
taking theftbote — that is to say, a ransom for the theft 
knowingly taken to allow the thief to pass on such and such 
an occasion, or to stop a prosecution, or wrongfully to pro- 
cure his safety, etc. 

' One of the author's favourite doctrines is ' Bex fungitur vice minoris.' 


Ch. XXIII. Des Pechez personels a la suite le Roi. 

Venial pecche se devise en ij. menbres ; duntlun sestent 
as persones, e lautre al biens. Li pecchie venial qe sestent 
as persones est devisable en gros pecchiez, e en menuz. E 
tut soit qe li Eoi eit conoissawce des pecchez toutz materieux, 
labsolucion des gros pecchiez venials personels retient le 
Eoi a sa juresdictioun, e la conoissaunce des menuz relest il 
a touz francs homes qi unt court sur lur mesnee, E Athel- 
brus dist touz ceux estre de sa meisnee qe furent resceaunz 
en sow fieu. E sur cele devision des pecchiez ad le Eoi 
devisee sa pees issi qe tieux seignurages e baillifs eient le 
guiement de la pees es menuz pecchez. 

Li pecche venial qe sestent as biens, est aussi devisable, 
et sestent lun menbre as biens moebles. Le primer se 
fourche car de xl. s. ou de xl. soudees en aval se conoist 
chescun qi court tient, en annoi ^ taunt soul les Eois. 

Les venials pecchez personeles sont ceaux : — perjurie 
dunt len ^ est foi mentu ver le Eoi, e perjurie des nient 
ministres, les pecchez mortels nent moustrez felounesse- 
ment, enpnsonement, mahaim, plaie, baterie moustrez 
saunz appeals, alienaccioun de veu tresor trovie, disseisine, 
reddisseisine, plusours autres. 

Les demostraunces des personels pecchez venials in- 
famatoires sunt mostrables a la sieute le Eoi en ceste 
manere : Je dis pur nostra seignur le Eoi qe ci illoec est 
perjurs e fei mentu ver le Eoi, pur ceo qe par la ou mesme 
cesti si est ou esteit le chaunceler le Eoi, e fu juree qil ne 
verroit,^ venderoit, ne delaiereit droit ne bref remedial a nul 
pleintif, mesme cesti a tel jour ecet., vea a tiel tiel bref 
datteinte, ou tel autre bref remedial, e meins ne li voloit 
grauntier qe -pur demi marc ece*. Ou issi — par la ou il fu 
soun juge assigne e fu juree a faire dreit ece^., delaia droit 
en tiel manere ou en tiel, ou tel court sift ■* ou tel jugement, 
ou en tiel autre point de tele pertes ou tele peine relessa, ou 

' Corr. amont. ' Corr. hin{f). 

^ Con. veeroit. * Con. fist (7). This passage is corrupt. 


Ch. XXIII. Of Personal Sins at the King^s Suit. 

Venial sins are divided into two classes ; the one extends 
to persons and the other to goods. Venial sins which ex- 
tend to persons are divisible into gross sins and small 
sins. And albeit that the king has cognisance of all material 
sins, he retains the absolution of the gross venial personal 
sins for his own jurisdiction, while the cognisance of the 
smaller he leaves to all free men who have a court for their 
mesnee. And iEthelbirht said that all those men belonged to 
the mesnee who were resident in his fee. And over this class 
of sins the king has delegated his peace, so that lords and 
bailiffs have the control of the peace in case of the small sins. 

Venial sins which extend to goods are likewise divisible ; 
the one class of them extends to moveable goods, and has 
two branches, for up to forty shillings, or the worth of 
forty shillings, everyone who has a court has cognisance, 
but above that amount the king only. 

Venial personal sins are these : perjury, where it con- 
sists in belying faith to the king, or is committed by one 
who is not the king's officer, and the mortal sins when 
they are not charged as felonies, such as imprisonment, 
mayhem, wounding and battery when they are charged 
otherwise than by way of appeal, and the alienation of old 
treasure trove, disseisin and redisseisin, and many others. 

Charges of the venial personal sins which are infamatory 
may be made at the suit of the king in this wise : I say 
for our lord the king that such an one, who is there, is 
perjured and has belied his faith to the king, for that 
whereas he is, or was, the king's chancellor, and was sworn 
not to deny, sell, or delay justice or remedial writ to any 
plaintiff, he on such a day, etc., denied to such an one a 
writ of attaint, or such another remedial writ, and would 
not grant it to him for less than a half-mark, etc. Or thus : 
"Whereas he was a judge appointed by the king, and was 
sworn to do right, etc., he delayed right in such or such a 
manner, or [gave a false judgment], or released such an 
one in such a matter from such damages or such punish- 


tiele jurisdictioun porprist sur le Roi e se fist juge, ou 
corouner, viscounte, baillif, ou tel autre ministre le roi 
saunz garaunt. Ou issi — par la ou il fu chaunceller del 
eschecqer ecet., vea a tel. afere acquitaunce de taunt qil 
avoit paie al eschecqer de la dette le Eoi souz le seal del 
eschecqer, ou delaia de fere aquitaunce de tiel jour iesqes 
a tiel, ou ne volloit fere aquitaunce einz ceo qil achatast 
por taunt. Ou issi — de ceo qil tient del ' plee couwtre le 
deffens le Eoi e en prejudice de la dignete de sa coroune, 
de sicom a nul juge ecclesiastre nappent a nul plee seculer 
tenir forqe de testament e de matrimoigne, en prejudice del 
poer le Eoi. Ou issi — destourba le fornissement de tiel 
jugement, ou sursist del fere par mauveise negligence 
ou consence. En ceste manere sunt les presentemenz 
mostrables a la sieute le Eoi des pe?*sonels torz de tuz 
ministres le Eoi grandz e petiz, e ausi vers autres meint ^ 
ministres de touz tortz fetz au Eoi par ceus qe li unt jure 

Ch. XXIV. De Trespas venials a personels Soutes. 

As ceaux qe unt actioun e ne vollent mie suire a 
vengeaunce socourt droit par pleintes des trespas pur 
recoverer damages. De trespas neqedent distinctez ou de 
trespas fet as persone de hom^ne ou as chatieux. E si a la 
persone chescun ad actioun a qi le trespass est fet, forpris 
ceaux qe unt nule actioun sans lur gardein. E si as biens, 
destinctez si propres ou communs. Si propres distinctez si 
propres a homme ou propres a autre chose, sicom a la 
coroune ou a ascun eglise. Si a homme, distinctez si a 
homme franc de soi ou a homme engarde. Si a homme 
franc de sei il ad severale action. E si propres a autre 
chose engarde, al gardein appent lactioun qi qe unqes le 

Corr. tiel. ^ Corr. nient. 


ment, or usurped such jurisdiction from the king and 
made himself judge, coroner, sheriff, baiHff, or other minister 
of the king without warrant. Or thus : Whereas he was 
chancellor of the exchequer, etc., he refused such an one 
an acquittance under the seal of the exchequer of a sum 
paid by him at the exchequer for a debt to the king, or 
delayed to give an acquittance from such a day to such a 
day, or would not give him an acquittance unless he would 
purchase it for so much. Or thus : For that he held such 
a plea contrary to the king's prohibition, and in prejudice 
of the dignity of the crown, whereas it belongs to no eccle- 
siastical judge to hold secular plea, if it be not concern- 
ing testament or matrimony, in prejudice of the king's 
power. Or thus: For that he disturbed the execution of 
such a judgment, or by wrongful negligence refrained 
from doing execution, or consented to the default. In such 
wise may charges be preferred at the king's suit for the 
personal torts of his ministers great and small, and also 
against all others who are not ministers for all torts done 
to the king by those who have sworn fealty to him. 

Ch. XXIV. Of Venial Trespasses at the Suit of Piivate 


Those who have actions and yet do not wish to sue for 
vengeance, law succours by plaints of trespass for the 
recovery of damages. As to trespass nevertheless, distin- 
guish whether it be to a man's person or his chattels. And 
if to his person, then the person to whom the trespass is 
done has an action, save in the case of those who can bring 
no action without their guardians. And if to goods, then 
distinguish whether those goods are owned in severalty or 
in common. If in severalty, then distinguish whether the 
goods belong to a man or to another thing, as to the crown 
or to a church. If to a man, then distinguish whether to 
a man who is sui juris or to a man who is in ward. If to 
a man who is sui juris, then he has a several action. If 
the thing to which the trespass is done belongs to another 


soit -par successioun ou de conquest. Si a homme engarde, 
al gardein appent la sieute ou al proschein ami parent 
affine ou lallie, el noun ou al oeps celi qest en garde. De 
communs biens ne tient lu nule severable actioun. E par 
ceo des biens as gentz de religioun appent laction al chief 
de la meesoun en soun noun pur li e pur son covent, ou el 
noun de celi qi est en sa garde si laction soit personele 
veniale. E si ad difference par entre mortels actions e 
veniales en taunt qe en morteles appewt a fere primerement 
suite ver les prmcipaux singulerement e pus ver les 
accessoires ; e en veniales actions de pe^'sonels trespas 
appent acumprendre trestuz en une pleinte a une foiz en 
commun les principals, les comaundours, les conspiratours, 
e les autres accessoires, si qe len ne recoevre plusours 
amendes de j. trespass par pluralite des pleintes ; nul des 
accessoires neqedent niert tenu a respoundre al actioun einz 
ces ' qe ascun principal eit respoundu ou soit condemme 
par contumace. 

Les personels trespas soloient estre oiz e terminez es 
courtz de meisme les fieus, e adunqe se firent les attache- 
menz par les cors des peccheours, e les soloit len retenir e 
mener en jugement sil ne fussent meinpris saunz offendre 

Li bref remedial de trespas voet seurte de suire, qe nul 
ne poet trover qest en garde sanz son gardein, pur ceo qil 
ne se pount obliger daquinter lour pleges. Si ascuns 
neqedent deveignent pleges de sieure en tieux cas de lur 
gre il sunt a ceo rescevables, mes cil cheent par taunt en 
damage pur noun suite, il naverent nul recoverir ver le 

• Corr. ceo. 


thing which is in ward, then the action belongs to the 
guardian whoever he may be, whether he has come to it by 
succession or by purchase.' If to a man who is in ward, 
the suit belongs to the guardian or to the next friend, by 
consanguinity, affinity or alliance, in the name and for the 
use of him who is in ward. Of goods held in common there 
can be no several action. And therefore for the goods of 
men professed in religion the action belongs to the head of 
the house in his own name for himself and his convent. 
Or the action may be brought in the name of him who is in 
ward, if it be a venial personal action. And there is this 
difference between mortal and venial actions, for that in 
mortal actions it behoves one to make suit in the first 
instance only against the principals, and afterwards one 
may prosecute the accessories ; but in venial actions for 
personal trespasses one must comprehend at one time and 
in one plaint all in common, the principals, the commanders, 
the conspirators and all the other accessories, so that one 
may not recover many compensations for one trespass by a 
plurality of plaints ; nevertheless none of the accessories is 
bound to answer to the action until some principal has 
answered, or been condemned for contumacy. 

Pleas of personal trespass used to be heard and deter- 
mined in the courts of the fees on which the trespasses 
were committed, and in such case the attachments were 
made by the bodies of the sinners, and without breach of 
the law were they detained and brought before the court if 
they were not mainprised. 

The remedial writ of trespass requires surety for pro- 
secution, and this no one who is in ward can find without 
his guardian, because he cannot bind himself to acquit his 
pledges. But if nevertheless in such a case anyone will 
become a pledge for the prosecution of his own free will, he 
may be received as such, but if any loss falls upon him by 
reason of a non-suit, he will have no recovery against his 

' An ecclesiastical vestment, e.g., the parson. So chattels may belong 
belongs to another thing, namely, a to the crown, and the crown is in 
church, which thing is in ward to ward to the king. 


principal. Seurte de suire se fet en plusors maneres : — ascun 
foiz par pleges si com est de ceux qe les perjurent ^ trouer ; 
ascun foiz par fiauncer si com est de foreins e de povres qi 
nunt poer a trover pleges duzeines ; "^ e ascuns foiz par les 
cors des pleintifs sicom est dappellours qi nuwt autre 
sieurte qe les iiij. murs de la gaole. E pur les duresces qe 
lem soloit fere as cors de peccheours en personels pecchiez 
venials, ordena le Eoi Henri le premer qe les len attache 
T[)rimerem.ent par les cors jesqes ataunt qil se justicent par 
meinpernours, e sil ne soient troviez, ou sil naquitent les 
meinspemours, adunqe sont il naamables par lur fieus a la 
vaillaunce de la demaunde, e sil facent adunqe defaute a 
duwc sunt les fieus liverables as pleintifs a tenir jesqes a 
due satisf actio un par renable estewte sil avant ne sei 
justicent de estre adroit. 

Des plegges notez qe ceux sunt pleges de suire par 
queux pleintes safferment, e ceaux sunt pleges qe plevis- 
sent autre chose qi ^ cors de homme, car tieux ne sunt mie 
proprement pleges, einz sunt meinpernours, pur ceo qil 
supposent qe tieux plevissables sunt liverez a eus par bail, 
cors pur cors. 

Commune demonstraunce des pleintes veniales comen- 
cent en ceste fourme — Ceo vous monstre A. qe ci est, qe B. 
qi illoec est, atort delaia soun droit par une faus essoine qe 
il geta tiel jour en tiel lu ecet a ces * grefs damages. Les 
pleintes des trespaz fez countre la pees le Eoi sunt assez 
esies a monstre. E les trespas aussi fetz countre la pees 
des seignurs ou de baillifs. 

E en haine des fauses pleintes ordena le Eoi Henri le 
primer qe audience fust vee as pleintifs en venials accions, 

Corr. purrontC^). ^ Corr. denzeines (?). 

orr. ge. * Corr. ses. 


principal. Surety for prosecution is found in varjous 
ways : — One is by pledges, if such can be found ; another 
by plight of troth, as in the case of foreigners and poor folk 
who cannot find denizen pledges ; ' and another by the 
bodies of the plaintiffs, as in the case of appellors, for whom 
no surety will suffice save the four walls of the gaol. And 
because of the hardships which were commonly inflicted on 
the bodies of the sinners charged with venial personal sins, 
King Henry the First ordained that they should in the first 
instance be attached by their bodies until they should 
submit to justice by finding mainpernors, and if main- 
pernors were not found or if they did not acquit themselves 
of their undertaking, then [the defendants] were to be dis- 
trainable by their fees to the amount of the demand, and if 
they then made default, then those fees were to be delivered 
to the plaintiffs to hold until due satisfaction should be made 
according to a reasonable appraisement of the profits of the 
land, unless in the meanwhile they should submit them- 
selves to justice. 

As to pledges, note that some are pledges for prosecu- 
tion by whom plaints are affirmed, and others are pledges 
who undertake for something other than the production of 
a man's body : for those who undertake to produce a man's 
body are more properly called mainpernors than pledges, 
because it is supposed that those who are plevied by them 
are delivered to them by bailment, so that body must 
answer for body. 

The common count in the case of venial plaints begins 
thus : This sheweth to you A, who is here, that B, who is 
there, wrongfully delayed his right by a false essoin which 
he cast on such a day and such a place to his great damage. 
Plaints of trespass done against the king's peace can be 
easily set forth, and so can plaints of trespass done against 
the peace of the lords and bailiffs. 

And for the suppression of false plaints King Henry. the 
First ordained that in venial actions the plaintiff should not 

' Or, perhaps, ' a dozen pledges.' 


e qe nul nestoeit respondre si les actors ne eient testmoinage 
de loiale sute presente. 

En taunt est difference par entre criminale accioun 
contier e veniale, qe si counter met avant paroles criminales 
si com felonessement com feloun ecet., en les demon- 
straunces de venials accions, par tant sunt les counties 
vicious e abateables pur ceo qe li juge nad poer par veniale 
pleinte terminer felonie. E en mesme la manere est 
countie vicious e abatable e ^ li counte se monstre par 
paroles sur le droit de la propriete sur plee de possessioun 
ou le revers. E ascuns acciouns sunt ou nul counte 
nappent sicom deseisine redeseisine certificacioun faus 
jugement e atteinde. 

Ch. XXV. De Novele Disseisine Assise. 

Entre les autres personels trespas ne fet mie a oblier a 
fere mencioun del pecchie de disseisine ; dunt enpnmers 
fet aveoir del title purquei len appele cest ^ lassise de novele 

Assise en un cas nest autre chose qe cession des 
justices ; en autre cas une ordenaunce de un cej-tein, ou 
rien ne poet estre meins ne plus par droit. Car pur les 
g?'anz malices qe lem soloit p?'ocurer en testmoinage, e les 
granz delais qe se firent en les examinementz excepcions e 
attestaciouns ordena Eandulf de Glanvill tele certeine 
assise, qe reconussaunces e jurees se feissent par xij. jurours 
des proscheines veisins. E issi est eel establissement 
appelle assise. El tierz cas est assise proprement done pur 
actioun en iiij. maners des pies possessoires ; novele dissei- 
sine, mortdancestor, drein present, e de ntrum. Mes celes 
assises sunt appellez petites a la difference des grantz. 
Car lei de fieus tut founde sur ij. droiz, de possessioun e de 
proprtetie. E si com grant assise sert al droit de propWete, 
aussi sert la petite assise al droit de la possession. E 

Corr. ou. ^ Supp. assize. 


be heard and the defendant should not be put to answer 
unless the plaintiff produced the testimony of a lawful 

There is this difference between a count in a criminal 
action and one in venial action, viz., that if in a venial 
action the pleader puts in his count such words as * felon- 
iously as a felon,' the count is vicious and abatable, for 
that the judge who is trying a venial plaint has no power to 
decide about felony ; and similarly a count is vicious and 
abatable if it speaks of the right of property in a possessory 
action, or vice versa. And there are some actions in which 
there is no count, such as disseisin, redisseisin, certifica- 
tion, false judgment and attaint. 

Ch, XXV. Of the Assize of Novel Disseisin. 

Among the other personal trespasses we must not forget 
to mention the sin of disseisin ; and in the first place we 
must see why the action is entitled to the name assize of 
novel disseisin. 

By assize we sometimes mean merely a session of 
justices ; sometimes we mean an ordinance which fixes 
some certain measure and will not permit excess or defect. 
And because of the malice shown in the procuration of 
testimony and the great delay that there was in examina- 
tions, exceptions, and attestations, Ranulf de Glanvill 
ordained this certain assize, to wit, that recognitions and 
juries should be made by twelve jurors from among the 
next neighbours. And therefore this institution was called 
an assize. In a third meaning assize stands as the proper 
name of the action given by the law in four kinds of posses- 
sory pleas — (1) novel disseisin ; (2) mort d'ancestor ; (3) 
darein presentment ; (4) utrum. And these assizes are 
called petty to distinguish them from the grand assize. 
For the law of fees is all founded on two rights, that of 
possession and that of property. And just as the grand 
assize serves for the right of property, the petty assize 
serves for the right of possession. And because these petty 

K 2 


purceo qe teles petites assises sunt pernables as countiez 
ou les fieus sunt par lestatut le Eoi Edward, appele lem 
tiels actions assises ; ou pwr le general assessioun des justices 
e dautres ; ou pur les propres nouns de teles actiouns. 

Novele est dit a la difference de aunciene, car auncie- 
ment soloient les Eois en propres persones errer de paiis 
en paiis pur enquere, oir, e tg?'miner les pecchiez e pur 
redrescer les torz, e ceo qe nestoit point attame en teles eires 
des pc/*soneux trespas fetz avant remist al jugement dieu. 
E puis par multiplicacioun des pecchez ne poieient mie les 
Rois tut fere par eus e pur ceo envoierent il lur comissaires 
qi sont ore appellez justices erranz, qe neunt poer doir e 
terminer nul personel trespas forqe pur chose attame e nient 
terminie en la derreine eire e pus fete. E dunt pur ceo qe 
disseisins en personel trespas pur ceo qe lactione ou la 
disseisine est aunciene,' mes si deseisine soit fet pus la 
dereine eire a.dunc est ele novele. 

Desseisine est un pe?^sonel trespas de torcenouse toute 
de possessioun. Torcenouse est dist a la difference de 
droiturele qe nen est mie pecchie, cmn si jeo toille a ma 
fem7;ie a ^ moun serf ou a autre qi est en ma garde ceo qe 
mien est, ou si com vows me toillez le miene, jeo fresche- 
ment le vows retoille, jeo ne pecchie nient, car jeo en su 
garanti par lei naturele, de si com tel usage est comun a 
hom?/ies, bestes, pessons, oisealx e as totes teriens creatures, 
mes ceo ne poi jeo mie fere lendimein ne pus, car si jeo de 
ma force vous toille chose dunt vous avez eu pesible seisine, 
jeo Yous faz deseisine e faz despit au Eoi qitant jeo me defi 
de soun dreit e use force ou jeo deusse user jugemewt, 

Dautre pa^'t ceo qe toilleit me est par loial jugement del 
juge assigne, ordeneire, ou arbitraire ne mest mie tolleit 
torcenousement. Toute est ici pris aussi bien pur deforce- 
ment ou desturbeancc cum pur ejeccioun. Deforcement 

' Doyique jnir ceo, que le disseisin ceo, le action ou le disseisin est 
ou le personall action fuit fait avant auncient, Houard. ^ Corr. ou. 


assizes are by a statute of Eling Edward ' to be taken in the 
counties in which the fees to which they relate are situate, 
they are called assizes ; or else this is because they come 
before a general session of justices and others ; or else the 
name is merely a proper name for these actions. 

* Novel ' in the term * novel disseisin ' is opposed to 
ancient, for in old times the kings in their proper persons 
used to journey round the country to inquire of, hear and 
determine sins and to redress injuries, and any personal 
trespass previously committed which was not entered in 
such eyres stood over for the judgment of God. And after- 
wards, by reason of the multiplication of sins, the kings could 
not do all by themselves, and therefore they sent their com- 
missioners, who are now called justices in eyre ; and they 
have no power to hear and determine any personal trespass 
unless it was entered but not determined in the last eyre; 
or was done since then. And therefore a personal action 
which arose or a disseisin which was done before that time 
was ancient, but a disseisin done since the last eyre is novel. 

Disseisin is a personal trespass by a tortious taking of 
possession. * Tortious ' we say to distinguish it from a 
rightful taking, which is no sin ; as if I take from my wife 
or my serf or another who is in my ward that which is 
mine, or if you take what is mine and I at once take it back 
again, I do not sin, for I am warranted by the law of nature, 
since such a procedure is common to men, beasts, fishes, 
birds, and all other earthly creatures ; but I may not do 
this on the morrow nor at a later time, for if I by my force 
take from you that of which you have had peaceable seisin, 
I do a disseisin to you, and do despite to the king when I 
distrust his justice and have recourse to force where I ought 
to have had recourse to judgment. 

On the other hand, that which is taken from me by 
lawful judgment of a judge assigned, or a judge ordinary, 
or an arbitrator, is not taken tortiously. The word 
' taking ' as here used includes as well deforcement or 
disturbance as ejectment. Deforcement is as if one 

' Stat. West. II. cup. xxx. 


cum si ascun entre en autri tenement taunt cum li verroi 
seignur est al marche ou aillours, e retorne e ne poet aver 
lentre einz en est deforcie a debotie. Destorbaunce com 
si ascun me destourbe atort de user ma seisine la quele jeo 
ai euue pesible ; e ceo purra estre en iij. maners : lun cum 
qi me vee destresce qe jeo ne puisse destreindre tenement 
a ma destresce oblige, dunt jai este seisi avant ; lautre cum 
qi replevist sa destresce par le viscounte ou hundreder 
torcenousement ; la tierce cum si ascun me destreigne si 
outraiousemertt qe jeo ne puis moun fieu gaigner ne user 
duement, en quel cas suffist j. destreignour outraious pur 
desseisour e pur tenant. Eiectioun cum si ascun me gette 
de moun tenement dunt jeo ai este pesiblement seisi par 
descente de heritage ou autre loial title. 

De possession notez qe tut droit se tient en ij. menbres ; 
ou el droit de la possessioun ou el droit de la proprietie. E 
pur ceo qe li droit de proprietie nest jammes terminable 
par ceste assise, est motoie possessioun ^ cum cele qe tut 
savoure del droit possessour. 

Li remedie de disseisine ne tient lu de biens moebles ne 
de rien qe ne poet cheir en heritage, terre, tenement, rente, 
avoeson de eglise e de meson de religioun, fraunchises, 
apurtenauntes, e tieux autrez droiz le qel qil soient tenues 
perpetuelement a touz jours, ou a certein terme de vie ou 
ans solom le contract, aussi bien com de fieu engagie iesqes 
a tant qe tiel ou ces heirs rendent taunt a tel tenaunt ou a 
ces heires. 

Ejection de terme des ans de fieu chest en ceste assise 
qe ascun foiz ment ^ de lees ou de bail ou de preste, e ascune 
foiz de droit de garde par le noun age de ascun heir e 
appent le recoverir atenir solom la fourme del contract. 

' assise qui est de notoire possessioun, Houard. ^ Corr. vient. 


enters into the tenement of another while the true owner 
is at market or elsewhere, and he on his return cannot 
obtain an entry, but is deforced and repelled. Disturb- 
ance is as if one tortiously disturbs me in the use of a 
seisin that I have had peaceably ; and this can be in three 
ways : first, if he resists distress so that I cannot distrain 
a tenement which is subject to my right to distrain, of 
which right I have been seised in the past ; secondly, if 
tortiously he replevies the distress by the aid of the sheriff 
or the hundredor ; thirdly, if one distrains me so out- 
rageously that I cannot make profit of my fee nor make 
proper use of it, in which case a single outrageous distrainor 
will serve both as disseisor and as tenant in the assize. 
Ejectment is as if one casts me out of a tenement of which 
I am peaceably seised by the descent of an inheritance or 
other lawful title. 

As to possession, note that every right is of one of two 
kinds : it is a possessory or a proprietary right. And 
because the right of property can never be determined by 
this assize, it is [called possessory] ' as savouring altogether 
of the right of possession. 

The remedy by assize of disseisin is not applicable to 
movable goods nor to anything save what can come by 
inheritance, such as land, tenement, rent, the advowson of 
a church or of a religious house, franchises, appurtenances, 
and such other rights as are held perpetually for ever, or for 
a certain term of life or years under a contract ; also it is 
applicable to a fee which is put in gage until such time as 
such an one or his heirs shall render such a sum to the 
tenant or his heirs. 

Ejectment from a fee of a tenant for term of years falls 
within this assize, and such a term may have its origin in a 
lease or bailment or loan, or in right of a wardship by 
reason of the nonage of the heir, and the tenant is entitled 
to recover the land to hold according to the form of the 

> The meaning of the text is tenant for years can bring an assize, 
uncertain. is one of our author's heresies. By 

' This doctrine, that the ejected the/oc the land itself is meant. 


Villenage en eas chiet en eeste assise sicom apres iert 

Presentemenz de eglises cheent en ceste assise com 
franc tenement a ceaux qe sount engettez ou desturbez de 
continuer lur seisine dendreit les presentemenz, e dunt si 
contracts se face par entre ascun donour e ascun pur- 
chaceour, tut soit qe li purchaceour ne puisse seisi ^ vivawt 
le clerc le doneour institut de leglise, le title neqedent del 
contracte barre jalemeins le donour qe mes ne purr a resortir 
de presentir contre la fourme del contract, e cil face cil 
doneour chiet en cest assize, e li evesqe oveqe qi doune 
linstitucion a tiel qe point ne ^ presentee par celi aqi le 
droit de presenter appent en soun noun demeine. 

En cesti assise cheent aussi donours e purchaceours qi 
funt contracts vicious de fieus e de possessiouns, cum est 
de gardeins e de fermers qi lessent autriz heritages plus 
loinz qe lur terme ne dure, en prejudice de lur seignur de la 
propretie ou de celi a qi la reversioun appent, cum est de 
ceaux lessours qe unt fieu taille. 

Dautre part cheent en ceste pecche les ministres le 
Eoi e autres qi desseisent homme ou comowaltie ^ de f?-an- 
chise dunt il sunt enheritez par loial title, si noun pur 
defaute, abusion ou negligence de ceaux ou de lur bailiffs a 
qi les f?-anchises sunt. En cest pecchie cheent aussi touz 
attornez qi rendent heritage ou le franc tenement lur clientz 
en jugement, e les justices aussi qi a ceo les retournent e 
les tenaunz ovek, car as attornez nappent nient arendre 
les droiz lur clienz, einz appent a defendre les jesqes a droit 
jugement. En cest pecchie cheent ausi tuz ceaux qe funt 

• puisse presenter. ^ Here the MS. begins a new 

' Corr. nest. paragraph. 


A tenement held in villainage is in some cases "within 
this assize, as shall be said hereafter.' 

Presentations to churches fall within this assize as 
being the free tenement of those who are ejected or dis- 
turbed in the continuance of their seisin in the matter of 
the said presentations, and if thereof a contract be made 
between a donor and a purchaser, albeit the purchaser can- 
not present to the church during the life of the clerk 
instituted by the donor, nevertheless the donor will at least 
be barred by his contract from presenting contrary to the 
form of the contract, and if he does present, then he is 
within this assize, and so is the bishop who institutes a 
clerk who has not been presented by one who was entitled 
to present in his own name.'^ 

And into this assize fall donors and purchasers who 
make vicious contracts as to fees and possessions, as is the 
case with guardians or farmers who lease the heritages 
which belong to another for a longer term than that of 
their own tenure, to the prejudice of the lord of the pro- 
perty or of him to whom the reversion belongs, as is the 
case of those lessors who have a fee tail.' 

And so too fall into this sin the ministers of the 
king and others who disseise a man or a commonalty of 
the franchises which they have inherited by lawful title, if 
it be not because of the default, abuse or negligence of 
those to whom the franchise^ belong, or of their bailiffs. 
Into this sin fall also all those attornies who surrender 
in court the inheritance or freehold of their clients, and 
those justices also who restore the fees to them and the 
tenants also,* for to an attorney it belongeth, not to 
surrender the rights of his clients, but to defend them until 
right judgment is given. Into this sin also fall all those 

' See below, Book II. c. 28. * The writer seems to be thinking 

* All this seems to be heterodox. of a case in which an attorney 
Was the Novel Disseisin ever applied surrenders land in court by fine, and 
to advowsons or rights of prcsenta- then takes it back as his own. The 
tion ? justices who take part in such a 

* Our author seems to think that transaction are, in his eyes, dis- 
a feoffment in fee simple made by a seisors. 

tenant in fee tail would be a disseisin. 


gast, exil ou destruction en fieus outre ceo qe nen est 
avouable de droit ; einz ceaux qi sunt • assignez ou li 
feffment de eux meimes ou de lur auncestres fet mencion 
forqe des heirs, e ceo poet estre en ij. maneres ou as heirs 
generalment ou as heirs especials nomez sicom en fiez 
talliez ou nient nomes sicom es mariages. 

Ceste actioun poet sure totes genz hom?7ies e femmes, 
clers e lais, enfauns e autres de quele conditioun qil soient, 
as queux lei nel defent. 

Defendu est as serfs asure ceste accioun taunt cum il 
sunt en la garde lur seignur saunz lur gardein, e en meme 
la manere as femmes espouses e as tutz autres qi en garde 
sunt, e as ceaux qi new furewt unqe tenaunz en lur noun 
demeine, nomement en lur noun demeine sure.^ Droit 
defend aussi la suite as ceaux qi autre foiz se sunt retrez 
de meime lactioun en jugement ou unt relessie e quite 
clame lur droit. 

E notez qe retrere e sutrere nest mie j. Eetrere se poet 
homme de ij. choses, de soun bref e de sa actioun, mes de 
lun ne del autre ne se poet len james retrere si len nel die 
apertement, car par atturne nel porra nul dire. Mes 
sustrere poet chescun actour par li ou par son atturnee, le 
quel qil soit present en court ou absent. E dunt, tut soit 
qe ascun ne voille suire sa pleinte pur ceo ne sei retret il 
mie de sa actioun qil ne puisse resortir a novele bref e a 
novele pleinte, sil ne die en jugement qil se retret del 

Ver queux tient lu ceste remedie ; ver le disseisour j. ou 
plusours, ver tuz ceux qi lur venent en force e en eide. 

Corr. funt. ' Corr. nomement en le noun lur seignur. 


who commit waste, exile or destruction in lands beyond 
what is by law avowable ; also those who make assigns 
where the feoffment to them or to their ancestors only 
makes mention of heirs ; ^ and this may be in two ways : 
either mention is made of heirs generally or of special heirs 
as is the case in fees that are tailed, or again the heirs 
may not be mentioned, as in the case of gifts in marriage. 

This action can be sued by all men and all women, 
clerks and laymen, infants, and others of whatever condition 
they may be, if the law does not deny it to them. 

It is denied to serfs so long as they are in ward to their 
lords to sue this action without their guardian, and in the 
same way it is denied to married women and all others who 
are in ward, and to those who have never held in their own 
name, in particular if they have been holding in the name 
of their lord. Law also denies the suit to those who 
on another occasion have retracted themselves from the 
same action or have released or quit-claimed their right. 

And note that to retract and to subtract is not all one. 
A man may retract himself from two things, from his writ 
and from his action, but from neither one nor the other can 
he retract himself unless he says so openly, for by his 
attorney he cannot say that he does so. But every plain- 
tiff can subtract himself either by himself or by his attorney, 
whether he be present in court or absent. And therefore, 
albeit a man will not prosecute his suit, he does not thereby 
retract himself from his action so as to prevent himself 
from having resort to a new writ and new plaint, unless he 
says in court that he retracts himself from the action. 

Against whom this remedy is available : against the one 
disseisor or the several disseisors, and all those who come 
to their force or their aid. 

■ This socms an attempt to restore what the writer believed to be the 
good old law. 


Ch. XXVI. De Vee de Naam. 

Une accioun mixte " founde sur personel trespas accrest 
as genz torcenousement naames qest appelle de naam. E 
pur quei nul ne passe ^ sa robberie ne son larcin covrir par 
naam, fet assavoir qe naam est, la division de naam, qe poet 
naamer, q?tant, ou de queles choses, ou naam est metable, 
e del vee. 

Naam nest autre chose qe renable destresce, Eenable 
destresce est a la vaillaunce de droiturele demaunde saunz 
autre vice car droit nanomie ^ nul outrage. 

Deus maneres sunt de naam. Naam mort sicom de 
blez, vins, e autres tiez chateaux, e naam vif, sico?;i de 
homme, beste, e tiels vives choses. Naamer ne poet nul qi 
a ceo fere nen est garanti par lei, ou par especiall fet ; par 
lei, Bicom pur damage fesant, e pur dettez e contract de 
foreins, car foreins sunt naamables par renable destresce 
des biens moebles e nient somonables pur ceo qil ne sunt 
mie fieus tenaunz es lus ou il sunt destreinz, e si com pur 
dette recoveree ou conue le quel ele isse de ame?'cient,^ de 
damages, darrerages dacounte, ou dautre chose; par fet, 
com si vous me doignez ascun amistie ^ me grantez ades- 
treindre en vostre fieu pur les arrerages de eel doun, ou 
dautre service, e obligez vos possessions qe ne sunt mie de 
mon fieu, en qi meins qe eles deveignent. 

Qmint lem purra naamer. Naamer poet lem hom^ne, 
beste, e tote vif chose, taunt cum len le troet el damage e 
ne mie lendemein ne apres. E apres le terme del paiement 

' jtiste, 1642 and Houard. '' Corr. amerciment. 

' Corr. puisse. * Corr. annuitc (?). 

* Corr. nallowe {?). 


Ch. XXVI. Of Naam refused.^ 

A mixed action founded upon a personal trespass 
accrues to those who are wrongfully naamed, which is 
called an action of naam. And for that no one can cover 
his robbery or his larceny by pretext that it is a naam, we 
should know what naam is ; how cases of naam may be 
divided ; who can naam ; when ; what things ; where a 
naam must be put ; and [we have also to consider] the 
refusal [which is the gist of the action]. 

A naam is nothing else than a reasonable distress. A 
reasonable distress is one corresponding to the value of a 
rightful demand and must not be affected by any other vice, 
for law will not justify any outrage. 

There are two kinds of naam : dead naam, as of corn, 
wine, and other such chattels ; and live naam, as of a man, 
or beast, or such living things. No one can naam who has 
not a warrant for so doing by law or by special deed ; by 
law, as for damage fesant, and for the debts and contracts 
of foreigners (since foreigners are naamable by reasonable 
distress of their movable goods, and are not summonable 
for that they are not tenants of fees in the places where 
they are distrained), also for a debt recovered or confessed 
which issues from an amerciament, from damages, from the 
arrears of an account, or otherwise ; or by deed, as if you 
give me an annuity and grant that I may distrain in your fee 
for the arrears of this gift, or for some other service, and 
oblige your possessions, which are not my fee, into whoseso- 
ever hands they shall come. 

When one can naam. One can naam man, beast, and 
every other live thing, provided he or it be found doing 
damage, but one must not wait until the morrow or a later 
time. And one must naam after the term for payment is 

' In the translation of this chapter to deliver up the naam is guilty of 

the old word naam, or 7mm, haa a vee de naam ; an action dc vctito 

been preserved ; it signifies a taking, naviii lies against him. We could 

or thing taken, in distress ; cf. our hardly give the sense of the original 

wiOicmam, and the German nehmcn, text if we called this action an 

to take. The distrainor who, when action of replevin. 
Buflicient security is oilcrod, refuses 


e ne mie avawt. E ne mie chescun jour, car ipar dimenclie 
ne fet point a destreindre si noun pur damage fesaunt ; ne 
en totes houres car avant le soleil levee, napres le solail 
recousie, ne nutantre deit nul destreindre, si noun pur 
damage fesaunt. 

Ou len purr a naamer. En lus ou ierz * es fieus obligez 
e ne mie dedenz enfermure. 

De queux biens. Var tutz biens qe droit ne defent. 
Droit defent qe nul ne destreigne par une ^ destresce taunt 
com len troeve suffisantmewt a naamer en lu overt covenable 
naam mort. E covenable naam mort nest mie -par 
armeures, par vessele, par robes, par ieueles, par esc7-/z, 
tant cow len troeve autre naam suffisalmewt en lu du. 
Covenable naam vif nen est mie par berbiz, chastriz, 
motons, ou de meme ^ mounteure, par bestes charueres, par 
chiens, oiseals, polaille, poison, ou par sauvagine tant com 
leur troet autres bestes udives/ 

Naam nest mie enportable, menable, ou chaceable a la 
volunte del destreignur. Par cas einz si ascun destreignur 
ne troeve qe naamer forqe dedenz enclosture, en tieu cas 
napent autre defrai forqe de ensealer les biens enclos e de 
les sequestrer saunz autre violence fere, e si ascun brise ou 
enfreigne tieux sequestrez del seal ou de part,^ si fet grand- 
ment countre la pees e trespas au Eoi e al seignur del fieu 
e as viscountes e as hundreders pur lur pees enfreinte, e a 
la partie pur la delai de son droit ; e pur ceo qe fet hu e cri 
lever sur tieux cum sur ceux qi sunt countre la pees. 

Naam mort trovie en lu covenable ne naam vif nest "^ 
mie portable ne chaceable hors del fieu, ou hors del hun- 
dred ou del countie, ne metable ne denz enfermure, ou 
aillours ou cell a qi le naam est ne en puisse aver linspec- 
cioun, einz est metable en lu ou li naam e celi qe le deit 
en purrewt meins estre grevez, 

De ve sunt ij. maneres, lune quant len vee vif naam 

' CoiT. terres (?). * Corr. vives or oisives [animalia otiosa]. 

' Corr. vive. * Corr. pare or pwte. 

* Corr. demesne (?). * nest repeated. 


passed, and not before. And one cannot do it on every 
day, for on Sunday one may not distrain save for damage 
fesant ; nor at every hour, for one may not distrain before 
sunrise, nor after sunset, nor by night, if it be not for 
damage fesant. 

Where one may naam. In places or lands in the fees 
that are under the obligation and not within closed doors. 

What goods. All goods not forbidden by law. Law 
forbids that one should distrain by a live distress so long as 
one can find in an open place a proper dead naam. Armour, 
plate, clothes, jewels and writings are not a proper dead 
naam so long as another sufficient naam can be found in 
a proper place. Ewes, wethers, muttons, or horses kept 
for riding, beasts of the plough, dogs, birds, poultry, fish or 
waterfowl are not a proper live naam so long as other beasts 
of pleasure can be found. 

A naam is not to be carried, led, or driven away at the 
will of the distrainor. If it happen that a distrainor can 
find no naam save within an enclosure, in such case he 
may do nothing else than seal up the enclosed goods and 
sequester them without further violence, and if anyone 
breaks or forces open the seal or the pound wherein the 
things are sequestered, he commits a great breach of the 
peace and trespasses against the king and the lord of the fee 
and the sheriffs and the hundredors by the breach of their 
peace, and against the party by delaying him of his right ; 
and for this reason hue and cry shall be made after such 
as do this as it would be after those who are against the 

Neither dead naam found in a proper place, nor live 
naam, may be carried or driven out of the fee, or out of the 
hundred or the county, nor may it be put within a place 
that is shut, nor elsewhere so as to prevent him to whom it 
belongs from inspecting it ; but it shall be put in such a 
place that both it and he to whom it belongs will suffer the 
least hardship. 

Then as to the refusal ; of this there are two kinds : the 
first where one refuses to deliver a live naam on the tender 


countre pleges ou gage suffisaunt, lautre quant len ne se 
soeffre mie estre destreint a droit. E lun e lautre sunt 
personex trespas countre la pees. E dunt si ascun soit 
naamie a tort, distinctez ou par ceux qi poejit naamer ou 
par autres. E si par autres, adunc tient lieu appeal de 
robberie ou hailif ^ jugement en fet notoire. 

E si par ceux qi poent, adunc appent adeliverer la naam 
par gage e pleges. 

E si le destreignwr e lactour del naam en fet le ve, 
adunc appent la conussartwce del ve au Roi, e issi tient lu 
remedie par le bref de replegiari. Pur laise neqedent de 
teles destresces e par hastier droit, ordena Eandulf de 
Glanville, qe viscowtes e hundreders preignent sieurte de 
suire des pleintif, e deliverent les naames, e eient ^ e 
terminent les pleintes de torcenouses destrescez, sauve au 
Eoi sa suite quant al ve. 

Deus choses cheent en ceste pleinte par simples pleintes, 
prise e detenue. Dunt iiij. degres sunt: — ou la pWse est 
avouable pur droiturele e la detenue aussi sicom pur dette 
due e atteinte ; ou ambedeus sunt torcenouses, si com teles 
qi sont desavouables de touz costes ; ou la p/-ise droiturele, 
sicom en damage e la detenue torcenouse sico???, countre 
gage e pleges suffisaunt ofiferz ; ou la prise torcenouse, 
sicom en enfermeure e la detenue droiturele, sicom pur 
dette conue. E de nient plus ne unt juges ordenaires 
conoissaunce. Mes en cas ou li pie se moet par bref apent 
aconoistre de la prise, e detenue^ tient lu remedie par 
assise de novele disseisine^ 

Prise e detenue se funt ascun foiz par j. home ascun 
fois par plusours, e ascune fois par corruz ^ e ascune par 
desconuz, mes coment qe les pe^-nours soient conuz, les 

Corr. hastif. * The manner in which this sen- 

Corr. oient. tence should be punctuated is un- 

del detinue, Houard. certain. * Corr. conuz. 


of sufficient pledge or gage, the other where one will not 
suffer oneself to be rightfully distrained. And both of these 
are personal trespasses against the peace. And therefore, 
if anyone be wrongfully naamed, you must distinguish 
whether this be done by those who are entitled to naam or 
by others. In the latter case an appeal of robbery will lie, 
or there will be speedy judgment against the distrainor as 
against a thief taken in the act. 

But if the naam be taken by one who is entitled to dis- 
train, then the owner must obtain a delivery of it by offer- 
ing gage and pledges. 

And if the distrainor who has taken the naam is guilty 
of a refusal, then the cognisance of this refusal belongs to 
the king, and the remedy by writ of replevin is applicable. 
But for the ease of those who are distrained and to hasten 
justice, Eanulf de Glanville ordained that sheriffs and hun- 
dredors should take from the plaintiffs surety to prosecute > 
and deliver the naams, and hear and determine the plaints 
of those who are tortiously distrained, saving to the king 
his suit founded upon the refusal. 

Two matters fall within this plaint where there is a 
simple plaint of taking and detaining. And here there are 
four degrees : — (1) Where both the taking and the detaining 
can be avowed as rightful, as for a debt due and recovered ; 
(2) where both are tortious, as when the distrainor cannot 
avow what he has done in any particular ; (3) where the 
taking is rightful, as for damage fesant, but the detaining 
is tortious, as being in despite of an offer of sufficient gage 
and pledges ; (4) where the taking is tortious, as where an 
enclosure has been opened, but the detaining is rightful, as 
for a debt that has been confessed. And no judge ordinary 
has cognisance of any points but these. But in case where 
the plea is begun by a writ, then the judge may take 
cognisance of the taking, while as to the detaining the 
remedy by way of assize of novel disseisin is applicable. 

The taking and detaining are sometimes done by one 
man, sometimes by several men, sometimes by those who 
are known, sometimes by those who are unknown ; and 



nouns neqedent de detenours covendra assavoir, e solom 
lavouerie del auctour ou de soun baillif sil ne seit present 
covendra fornir la monstraunce e la pleinte, jointement sur 
les pernours e sur les detenours, ou severalment sur lun de 
euz. E si sur ambedeus, adunc issi : atort prist e prendre 
fist par tiel conu ou desconu, e le chaca ou porta ecet, e 
atort le detient countre gage e pleges e uneore en est seisi. 
Ou issi : a tort le detint de tiel jour iesqes a tiel qe il le 
delivera par le baillif le Eoi, a ces damages ecet. Car cele 
parole qe uneore en est seisi sert a ceaux qi ne poent aver 
la veuue ^ del naam, e a ceux qe detenent naam par avouerie 
de propriete. 

Ch. XXVII. De Contract. 

Contract est pM7-parlance dentre gentz qe chose nient 
fet se face. E quitent ^ plusours especes dunt plusours 
sont perpetueles si com done, vente, e matnmoignes, e 
autres sont temporeles, sicom les bails e fermes. E une 
espece est mixte si com chaunge qe ascun foiz se fet a tieux ' 
e ascune foiz a james. E une espece est obligacion. E pur 
ceo qe droit ne se medle mie de chescun contract, fet aveoir 
qi porrent fere cont?-acts, e de quei. 

Contract list a fere a touz ou droit nel defent. Droit 
defent qe nul ne face cont?'act as enemis le Eoi celestre ne 
terestre, ne as mortiex peccheours, ne a ceux qe ne sunt a 
la foi crestiene^ ne as utlaguez ne as weivees, ne as. ceaux 
qi se sunt conuz pur felouns, ne as escomengez, ne a nul qest 
en garde si noun al p?'ofit de ceux en garde, ne as sourz ne 
a muz, ne as foux nastres, ne arragez, ne appeles ou enditez 
de cnm. 
• De queles choses list a fere contract. De totes choses 

. ' Or ventie. ' Corr. de qui sont, Houard. ' Corr. terns. 


although the takers be known, it is necessary to discover 
the names of the detainors, and one must form one's count 
and plaint according to the avowry of the person who made 
the distress, or, if he be not present, of his bailiff, so as 
either to charge the takers and the detainors jointly, or so 
as to charge them severally. And if the count be against 
both takers and detainors, it is made thus : * Tortiously 
he took and caused to he taken by such a person, known or 
unknown, and drove or carried etc., and tortiously detains 
against gage and pledges, and is still seised.' Or thus : 
* Tortiously detained from such to such a day, when he, the 
plaintiff, procured their deliverance by the king's baiHff; 
to the plaintiff's damage etc' For this phrase ' he is still 
seised ' serves only where the plaintiff has not been able to 
obtain a view of the naam, or where the defendant avows 
the goods taken as his own property. 

Ch. XXVII. Of Contract. 

Contract is a discourse between persons to the effect 
that something that is not done shall be done. And of this 
there are divers kinds, some of which are perpetual, such as 
gift, sale, matrimony, and others are temporary, such as 
bailments and leases. And there is a mixed kind, such as 
exchange, which may be for a time or may be for ever. 
And one kind of contract is an obligation. And for that 
law does not meddle with every contract, we must know 
who can make contracts and concerning what. 

Anyone may make a contract who is not forbidden to 
do 80 by law. Law forbids one to make a contract with an 
enemy of the heavenly or the earthly king, or with those 
who are in mortal sin, or with those who are not of the 
Christian faith, or with outlaws or those who are waived, 
or with confessed felons or excommunicates, or with those 
who are in ward unless it be for their advantage, or with 
the deaf or the dumb, or with born fools, or with lunatics, 
or with those who are appealed or indicted of crime. 

As to what matters one may lawfully make a contract. 

L 2 


nient defendues de droit, car de lautri droit defent dreit qg 
len ne face contract/ coment si qe lem ne pecche ne qe 
pecche male fei seit contenu'^ el contracts sicom usure, 
deseisine, blemure del cors, desheritesoun, ou autre pecchie 
ou vice. 

Contracts sei defent al damage de la partie gaignaunt 
par vice, par defense, e par mellure de pecchie. Contractz 
sunt vicious, ascune foiz par mellure de pecchie, ascune 
foiz par entremellure de male fei, ascun foiz q%ant il se 
funt countre defens, e ascun fois par faus supposicioun. 
El primer cas cum si jeo otroi qe si jeo ne vous face tiele 
chose ou tele, bien list a \ous ou a autre a fere de moi le 
peche de homicide, de plaie, denprisonement ou de deseisine 
ou de usure, issi qe vows me puissez demaunder u c pur x,^ 
ou autre pecchie. El secund cnm si jeo voms doigne ou 
bailie ou leste, en esperaunce qe vous le me redoignez, e 
eel don ne me retournez ; ou si com jeo devise en testament 
avendre ascun de mes tenemenz pur mes dettes rendre, ou 
ipur autre chose fere des devers,* e vows executours eel tene- 
ment retenez heritablement en propres us saunz fere 
execucion ; ou si com jeo vous vende, ou moblige, ou 
chaunge, bailie ou donne, ou lesse en beance de aver de 
\ous tantost ou a te7-meB,^ e yous me detenez ceo qe vous 
me promistes. 

El tierz cas, com si jeo face ascun contract as ceux qe 
ne list. Le contract neqedent de matrimoigne nen est mie 
defendu par entre enfanz coment qe estre soloit, forpns en 
disparagacions, car disparagacion est un pecchie g7'antment 

El quart cas, com est de chartres e de autres manere 
de mohumenz faus supposanz. Com est de chartres de 
feffement fetes en lasseisine de doneours, e de chartres de 
quiteclamance fetes hors de la seisine de ceux qe les unt, 
car nule char^re nule vente ne nul doune vaut perpetuele- 

' A new paragraph begins in MS. 

^ Coment que il enipesche tout en quoy mal foy est contenue, Houard. 

' This seems corrupt. * Corr. deners. ' Corr. terns (?). 


As to all matters not forbidden by law ; but as to the right 
of another, the law forbids one to make a contract, for it 
prohibits ' everything in which there is any sin or mala 
Jides, as, for instance, usury, disseisin, bodily hurt, disherison, 
or other sin or vice. 

Contracts are avoided to the disadvantage of the party 
who would have gained by them, by reason of vice, or of a 
prohibition, or of the intervention of sin. Contracts are 
vicious (1) by reason of the intervention of a sin, (2) by 
reason of the intervention of bad faith, (3) by reason of the 
breach of a prohibition, (4) by reason of a false supposition. 

(1) In the first case, as if I grant that, if I do not do this 
or that thing for you, it shall be lawful for you or for 
another to commit against me the sin of homicide, of 
wounding, of imprisonment, of disseisin, or of usury, e.g. 
that you should demand from me 100 for 10, or any other 

(2) In the second case, as if I give, or bail, or lease to 
you, in the hope that you will give back, and you do not 
return the gift ; or if I devise in my testament any of my 
tenements to be sold for the payment of my debts, or in 
order that something else may be done with the money, and 
you, my executors, retain this tenement heritably for your 
own use without executing my will ; or if I make a sale, 
obligation, exchange, bailment, gift or lease to you in 
expectation to have something from you at once or after a 
time, and you detain from me what you have promised. 

(3) In the third case, as if I make a contract with one 
with whom it is not lawful to contract. Nevertheless, the 
contract of matrimony between infants is not prohibited, 
as it used to be ; unless there be a disparagement, for 
disparagement is a sin strictly forbidden. 

(4) In the fourth case, as if false supposals be made in 
charters or other muniments. Such is the case where a 
charter of feoffment is made but the donor remains seised, 
or a charter of quitclaim is made to one who is not seised ; 
for no charter, sale or gift will hold good permanently if 

• The text is corrupt. 

75 . ■ DE ACTIOUNS. 

ment, si li donour nen est seisi el tens del contract de ij. 
droiz del droit de la possession e del droit de la propriete. 
E sicom chartre supposaunt doun estre fet sanz transmu- 
tacioun de seisin est viude, aussi est quiteclamance de 
chose dunt li actour de la chartre est memes en possession 
de la chose quiteclame. E sicom les chartres sont viudes 
avant diz es cas, aussi sunt les garanties e quant qe appent 
par tiex escriz, qe sunt sanz yertn pur lour fausse suppo- 

Dautrepart suppose simple monument faus qe testmoint 
doun returnable al donour ou a ses heirs, ou autre manere 
de condicion ; car doun est touz jours simple e ment • de 
tele affectioun del donour qwant al droit del doun qe la chose 
donee soit atteignalment al purchaceour saunz esperaunce 
de reversion. Simple monument ^ escrist sanz endenture e 
pur ceo voet droit qe les escritz tesmonials de contracts 
condicionels e supposanz reversioun soient endentiez e 

Contracts suppose auxi faus en hoinage prts en fraude 
de la lei, cum si jeo preigne vostre homage pur autre service 
qe por service issaunt de fieu de haubert. 

Droit defent aussi qe nul ne lesse ne preigne terre ne 
feu ne possession a terme de anz a ferme, outre le terme de 
xl. ans, ne qe nul contracts ne se face de fieu ferme per- 
petuelement, ne a terme rendreent par an plus qe la quarte 
partie de la value. Ne qe nule femme soit douueie de 
avoueison de eglise, ne qe nul alienacion davoueison se face 
hors del sane, si noun par doun perpetuel e pur, ne qe 
avoueison soit partie par entre parceners, einz remeigne 

' Corr. vient^ _ ' Supply est. 


the donor be not seised at the time of the contract in both 
rights, the right of possession and the right of property. 
And as a charter which supposes a gift to be made without 
a transmutation of seisin is void, so also is a quitclaim if 
the maker of the charter be himself in the possession of the 
thing that is quitclaimed. And as in these cases the 
charters are void, so also are the warranties and all that 
concerns such writings, for they have no validity because of 
their false suppositions. 

Again, a * simple ' muniment makes a false supposition 
if it supposes a gift which is to return to the donor or to his 
heirs, or contains any other condition ; for a gift is always 
simple, and if the gift is really a. gift, the donor's intention 
is that the thing given shall belong to the purchaser for 
ever, and that there shall be no hope of a reversion. A 
* simple ' muniment is a writing without indenture, and 
therefore the law wills that all writings which contain con- 
ditional contracts and contemplate a reversion shall be 
indented and chirographed,^ 

A contract may make a false supposal as to homage 
done in fraud of the law, as if I receive your homage in 
respect of any other service than the service which issues 
from a hauberk fee [knight's fee]. 

The law also forbids that anyone should lease or take 
to farm land, or fee, or possession for any term of years 
beyond the term of forty years, or that any contracts 
should be made for a perpetual fee farm, or for any term 
at a higher rent than the fourth part of the annual value, 
and that any woman should be endowed of the advowson of 
a church, and that any alienation of an advowson should be 
made outside the blood of the owner, unless it be by a gift 
that is perpetual and ' pure,*- and that an advowson should 
be partitioned among parceners, • instead of Remaining 

• The author's ' simple ' muni- parchment ; the word- Chirographum 

ment is what we ghould eall a deed in large letters is written between 

poll. Chirographing, like indenting, them, and then the sheet is cut in 

is a device for proving that two two by a line which runs trans- 

instruments are ' parts ' of one deed. versely through this word. 
They are written on one sheet of 


enterement al proschein heir launcestre ou al einznesce 
fille, ne a nul a tenae de ans, ou de vie, ne par fieu taille ; 
car avoueison deglise est aussi com une espiritaltie qe ne 
soeffre nul alienacion forqe perpetuelle. 

Endroit del contract de bailie e daministration dautri 
biens e deners, bien list a chescun ces biens sagement des- 
pendre ou folement gastir qi voet, e pur ceo savise chescun 
daver tieux baillifs e aministrours com il entendra tiel fieu 
bien sauver ; e sil cheet en damage par ascun fol serjaunt ou 
mauveis, recte ceo a son fol contract, quant il ne prist de li 
suffisaunte sieurte de tote loialte e descretion ; e aussi le 
revers ; car ver celi qe nad rien ne doune droit nul recovrir 
ne nul remedie forqe vengeaunce. Si ascun tel baillif 
neqedent soit qe ne voet loial acounte rendre a soun seignur, 
il est a ceo chaceable par bref ' dacounte, qest une accion 
mixte sil eit par quei il soit justiziable ; e sil ne soit 
destreignable ne fieu tenaunt e defut soun seignur e ne voet 
acounte rendre, pwr tele inobedience court laccion mixte en 
personel trespas, e solom le chaunge des natures des actions 
se change la fourme des brefs remedials, E coment qe tieus 
soient par contumace banissables a anes ou a james, nen 
est nul utlagable, enprisonable. Einz si ascun remeint en 
arreragez vers soun seignur, distinctez — sil eit dunt rendre 
soit li jugemewt al foer de dette atteinte, en autre case le 

Ch. XXVIII.- DeNaifte. 

Une action mixte est founde sur j. personel trespas qe 
homme fet a autre quani len travail] e franc homme pur 
enservir son sane, e de li fere ' vile condicion qest appelle de 

' Supply de. 


integrally to the nearest heir of the ancestor or his eldest 
daughter, and that an advowson should be alienated for 
term of years, or for life, or in fee tail ; for the advowson 
of a church is, as it were, a spiritual thing, which can suffer 
no alienation that is not perpetual.^ 

As regards the contract of bailment and the administra- 
tion of the goods and money of another, it is lawful for 
everyone to expend his goods wisely or to waste them 
foolishly if he pleases ; therefore everyone should be careful 
to have such bailiffs and administrators as he believes can 
well preserve that fee ; and if he falls into damage by reason 
of any foolish or wicked servant, he must set that down to 
his foolish contract, since he did not take sufficient security 
for a perfect loyalty and discretion ; and vice versa, for 
against one who has nothing law gives no remedy save 
vengeance. Nevertheless, if any such bailiff will not render 
a loyal account to his lord, he can be driven to this by a 
writ of account — which is a mixed action — if he has any- 
thing whereby he can be made legally responsible. And if 
he is not distrainable and holds no fee, and thus flees from 
his lord and will not render account, by reason of this dis- 
obedience the mixed action becomes one founded on a per- 
sonal trespass, and according to the change in the nature 
of the action there is a change in. the form of the remedial 
writs. And although such persons may be banished for 
contumacy for a term of years or for ever, they cannot be 
outlawed or imprisoned. Therefore if anyone remains in as against his lord, we must distinguish — if he has 
anything wherewith he can make payment, the judgment 
will be as for any other debt that has been recovered ; but 
otherwise in the other case. 

Ch. XXVIII. Of Naifty. 

There is a mixed action founded on the personal tres- 
pass that one does to another when one strives to enslave 
the blood of a free man, and to make him of that vile 

' A groat deal of what is here vail in king's court. By a ptirt gift 
said about advowsons is clearly is meant a gift in fee simple, 
opposed to the doctrines which pre- 


naifte. Ceste action est mixte en favour de franchise, car 
rerement se sustret nul del fieu soun seignur sil ne se 
cleime franc. Ceste action prent introduction par somonses 
e par attachement des fieus. 

Naif nest autre chose qe serf. E tut soit qe totes 
creatures diussent estre franches solom lei de nature, par 
constitution neqedent e fet de hommes sunt genz e autres 
creatures enserves, sicom est de bestes en pares, pesson en 
Bervours, e doiseax en cagez. 

Servage de homme est une subjection issant de si 
grant antiquite qe nul franc cep nen purra estre trove par 
humene remembraunce. E le quel servage solom ascuns 
ist de la maleiceon qe Noe dona a Chanaan le filz Cham 
soun fiz e a sa issue, ou solom autres des Philistiens qe 
devindrent serfs par foer fet a la bataille qe se fist par 
entre David pur ceux de Isrel de une part e Golie pur lea 
Philistiens dautre. E sicom autres creatures enserveis 
sunt gardables, aussi sunt serfs agarder de lur possessours. 
E de ceo sunt dist. E issi sunt genz serfs par devine lei 
e par droit de homme acceptie -e par droit del caaion 

De Sem e de Japhet sunt issus les gentils Cristiens, e 
de ceux de Chaam les serfs qe les Crestiens poent doner e 
vendre si com lur autre chatel, mes nient deviser en 
testament puis ceo qe il serent ascreis ^ pur ceo qe adunc 
sont annex a franc tenement, e de ceux sunt puis estriz 

Ceux sunt serfs qe sont engendrez de serfs e nez de 
serve, li quel qe se eit este en matrimoigne ou hors de matn- 
moigne. Ceux sunt aussi serfs qe sont engendrez de serfs 
e niez de franche en matrimoigne. E ceux sont serfs qi sont 
engendrez de franc home e de serve e nez hors de matri- 
moigne. Autre manere de serfs sont sicom ceux qi sont 
atteintz pur serfs par mi brefs de naifte, e lur issue pus. 

' Corr. astriers. 

' This seems to be corrupt. Read e depuia sunt ascriz a terrea (?). 


condition that is called naifty. This action is mixed in 
favour of liberty, for rarely does any man withdraw himself 
from the fee of his lord unless he claims to be free. This 
action commences by summons and attachment of the fee. 

A naif is nothing else than a serf, and albeit that all 
creatures should be free by the law of nature, nevertheless 
by constitutions and the act of men, human beings and 
other creatures may be enslaved, as is the case with beasts 
in parks, fish in stew-ponds, and birds in cages. 

Serfage in the case of a man is a subjection issuing 
from so high an antiquity that no free stock can be found 
within human memory. And this serfage, according to 
some, comes from the curse which Noah pronounced 
against Canaan, the son of his son Ham, and against his 
issue; or, according to others, from the Philistines, who 
became serfs . by reason of the battle which took place 
between David on behalf of the Israelites of the one part, 
and GoHath on behalf of the Philistines of the other part. 
And as other creatures that are enslaved are to be pre- 
served, so also serfs are to be preserved by their possessors, 
and therefore are they called serfs [servi a. servando] ; and 
thus are men serfs by divine law, and this is accepted by 
human law and confirmed by canon law. 

From Shem and Japhet are descended the Gentile 
Christians, and from the sons of Ham the serfs, whom the 
Christians can give and sell like their other chattels, but not 
devise by testament after that they have become astriers,' 
for from that time forward they are annexed to the free- 
hold and [thenceforth they are ascript to the land]. 

They are serfs who are engendered by a serf and born 
of a serf, and whether they be born in or out of wedlock. 
And one who is begotten by a serf but born of a free 
woman in wedlock is a serf. And one who is begotten of a 
free man but born of a bondwoman out of wedlock is a 
serf. There is another kind of serfs, viz. those who have 
been proved to be serfs by a writ of naifty, they and their 
issue after them. 

' The servua aslrarius has a hearth (aatrum) of his own. 


Serfs devenent francs en plusours maneres ascuns par 
baptesme, sicom est de ceux Sarrazins qe sont pris de 
Cristiens ou achatez e amenez par de sa la meer de Grece e 
tenent cum lur serfs ; ascuns devenent f?'anc8 par le mere ' 
sein pere cum est de ceux serfs qi swnt ordenez de evesqe 
de sudeacone en amount, mes tut seit eel issi suffert pur 
ceo ne perdra; nul soun droit qe suire le vodra, testmoin le 
canon meismes. 

Dautre part devient serf franc si soun seignur li grant 
daver franc estat si com heirs en succession de sane ou sil 
preigne son homage pur fee, ou si soun seignur li gette de 
son fieu e ^ li doune sustenaunce, ou sil le met en comune 
prison, si ceo ne soit pur crim. Femme aussi allegge de la 
possession soun seignur a franc list nest mes chalengeable 
pur serve tut deveigne ele vedue. E si seignur soeffre soun 
serf respoundre en jugement sanz li sur veniale action ou 
jurer entre francz a foer de franc, sachant e saunz recleim 
del seignur, par tant ad il excepcion contre servage, sil ne 
recourt de son gree. Ou si seignur enfranchist son serf 
par manumission ou li relest e quitecleime quanqe en li est. 
E aussi devient serf franc par la defaute del seignur el bref 
de naifte si com par noun siute de son bref. E aussi par 
proeve de franc cep, ou des francs parentz. E aussi 
par le garanter soun seignur en court, e aussi par prescrip- 
cion de tens, e aussi par defaute de proeve. E aussi par le 
negligence le seignur, sicom par le demoere le serf en la 
citee ou es demeines le Eoi par un an enterement, ou sil 
soeffre son serf a escient estre suiter dautri court, ou estre 
jurour en assises e aillurs entre francs. 

Si ascun serf defut son seignur reclamant franc estat, 
pur ceo nel purra mie soun seignur prendre hors de son fieu 

' le mere Saint Piere, 1642 ; le mirite de Saint Piere, Houard. 
* Supply ne. 


Serfs bec6me free in divers manners : some by baptism, 
as are those Saracens who are captured by Christians or 
purchased and brought from beyond the Grecian sea and 
held as their slaves ; others become free by the mark [?] -v^v^ 
of the Holy Father, as is the case with those serfs who are 
ordained by a bishop to the degree of subdeacon or 
upwards, but though this be suffered to be thus, no one is 
therefore to lose his right who will sue for it — witness the 
canon itself.' 

Again, a serf becomes free if his lord grants that he may 
have a free estate such as heirs in succession of blood, or if 
his lord takes homage from him for a fee, or if his lord ejects 
him from his fee and does [not] give him sustenance, or if he 
puts him in the common prison, unless this be for a crime. 
A woman also who has gone from the possession of her 
lord into a free marriage bed is not claimable as a serf 
although she becomes a widow. And if a lord suffers his 
serf to answer in court without him in a venial action or to 
swear [as a juror] between free men as though he were 
free, and the lord suffers this knowingly and without 
putting in a claim, then the serf thereby acquires an 
* exception ' against the lord's action of naifty, unless of his 
own free will he returns to his lord. Or again, if the lord 
enfranchises him or releases and quitclaims him, so far as 
in him (the lord) hes, then he becomes free. Also he 
becomes free if the lord make default in a writ of 
naifty, by non-suit of his writ. Also by proof of a free 
stock, or of free parents. Also by the warranty of his lord 
in court, also by prescription of time, also by default of 
proof. Also by the negligence of his lord, as if a serf 
dwells in a city or on the king's demesnes for a whole year, 
or if the lord knowingly suffers his serf to be a suitor in 
another lord's court, or to be a juror in assizes or otherwise 
a juror among free men. 

If any serf flies from his lord claiming to be of free 
estate, the lord may not for this capture him when out of 

> See Dist. 54 and X. 1. 18. 

V C'-t^ 


pur remener, ne en son fieu pus Ian, ou pus son bref de 
naiftie attame, einz appent al seignur qil le repurchace pa?* 
cest action qest viscountal, e pledable en contie par 
somonses e par destresce de soun fieu. Car droit voet qe 
len use jugement e ne mie force. 

Presentes les parties en jugement en countie e moustre 
laccion, li defendaunt purra dire en fourme dexcepcion qil 
est franc. E pur ceo qe franc estat est de plus haute 
nature qe servage par quel li viscounte nad poer a trier si 
haute excepcion par le bref de naifte, sunt tieux brefs e 
teles paroles suspendables iesqes a la venue des justices 
assignees a touz pleez en teles parties, si le Eoi nen maunde 
autre chose, mes pur ceo ne sont mie tieus plez aiornable 
forqe de courte en autre. 

La difference entre serfs e vileins.^ E notez qe 
villeins ne sont mie serfs, car serfs sunt dist de garder 
sicom dist est. Ceux ne poent rien purchaser forqg al 
oes lur seignur, ceux ne sevent le vespre de quoi il 
servirent al matin, ne nul certein de se?'vices. Ceux poent 
les seignurs firgir, ceppir, enprisoner, batre e chastier a 
voluntie, sauve a euz les vies a les menbres entiers. Ceux 
ne devient capir,^ fuir, ne adirer de lur seignwrs tant cum 
lies troevent dunt vivre, ne a nul ne list de les recetter sanz 
le gree lur seignurs. Ceux ne poent aver nule maneres 
daccion ver nul homme saunz lur seignurs, forqe en felonies. 
E si tieux serfs tenent fieus de lur seignurs fet aentendre 
qil ne tienent forqe de jour en jour a la voluntie des sei- 
gnurs, ne par nul certein de services. 

Villeins sunt cotivours de fieu, demoranz en villnages 
upelande, car de vile est dit villein, de hours boriois, e de 
cite cetezein, e de villeins est mention fete en la chartre des 
franchises, ou est dist qe villein ne soit mie si griefment 

' This stands in the margin. ^ This seems to be corrupt. 


his (the lord's) fee to bring him back, nor capture him 
within the fee after the lapse of a year, or after his (the 
lord's) writ of naifty has been commenced ; but the lord 
must recover him by this action, which is a vicontiel action, 
pleadable in the county court by summons and distraint of 
his fee. For the law requires that one should use judgment, 
and not force. 

When the parties are present before the county court 
and the ground of the action has been set forth, the defen- 
dant may say by way of * exception ' that he is a free man. 
And because free estate is of a higher nature than serfage, 
and the sheriff has no power to try so high an * exception ' 
under the writ of naifty, the writ and pleadings will be in 
suspense until the coming 'of the justices assigned to hold 
all pleas in such parts, unless the king gives some command 
to the contrary; but, for all this, these pleas are only 
adjournable from one county court to the next. v | \v 

The difference between serfs and villains. Note that ^ 

villains are -not serfs, for serfs are ' servi a servando,' as has 
been said above. They cannot acquire anything save to 
the use of their lord ; they do not know in the evening what 
service they will do in the morning, and there is nothing 
certain in their services. The lords may put them in 
fetters and in the stocks, may imprison, beat and chastise 
them at will, saving their hves and limbs. They cannot 
escape, flee, or withdraw themselves from their lords, so 
long as their lords find them wherewithal they may live, 
and no one may receive them without the will of their 
lords. They can have no manner of action without their 
lord against any man, save for felony. And if such serfs 
hold fees of their lords, it must be understood that they 
hold only from day to day at the will of their lords and by 
no certain services. 

Villains are cultivators of the fee, dwelling in upland 
villages, for the villain gets his name from the vill, the 
burgess from the borough, the citizen from the city, and 
there is mention of villains in the Charter of Liberties, 
where it is said that a villain is not to be so grievously 


amercie qe sa gaignere ne li soit sauve. Car de serfs ne fet 
ele mie mencion pur ceo qe il nuwt rien propre qe perdre. 
Et de villeins sount lur gaigneries appell villenages. 

E notez qe tenenz francs e quites de toiiz servages 
devenent enserver par contractz fetz par entre seignurs e 
tenaunz. E sunt de fieus plusours maneres de contractz, 
eicom de don, de vente, de change, e de ferme, qe touz se 
purrent fere a tens ou a james, e quitemewt sanz obligacioun 
e charge de servage ou ovesqe charge. E ces contractz 
sicome tuz autres se funt par escntz, cha?-tres e monumenz, 
qe fere se soloient sanz monumenz par solempne tesmoi- 
nage al foer del contract de esposaille qe deit estre mireour 
a touz autres contractz. A queu foer les contractz avantdiz 
ee firent par nos primers con(fuerous, quant les countez 
furent feoffez des countees, barons des baronies, chevalers 
des fieus de chevaler, serianz de seriauntes, villeins de 
villenages, burgois e marchanz des burgages, dunt ascuns 
recoivent fieuz assouz de chescun obligacioun sicome pur 
service fet, ou en pure amoigne, ascuns a tenir pnr homage e 
service al defens del reaume, e ascuns pur villeins custumez 
darer, aver, charier, sarclir, faucher, sier, tasser, batre,^ teles 
autre manere des services, e ascun fois saunz reprise de man- 
gier, e dunt plusours fins sunt troveez leveez en la tresorie, 
qe funt mencion s de tieux services e villes custumeez fere, 
aussi bien cum autres de plus cortois semces. E dunt, tut 
soit qe tiele gent veient ^ point de chartres ne monumenz, 
sil soient neqedent engetez ou destourbez de lur possessions 
a tort, droit les socourt par lassise de novele diBseisine 
atenir en lestat qe devant, par si qil puissent aveuer qil 
savoient lur certein de services e dovenengues ^ par an, 
cum ceux qi auncestres avant ceux furent astrers de plus 

Supply ou. '•^ Corr. neient. ' Corr. doveraignes [operationes]. 


amerced that hia wainage is not saved to him.' But of 
serfs there is no mention, for they have nothing of their 
own that they can lose. And the wainages of the villains 
are called villainages (villenagia). 

And note that tenants who are free and quit of all 
services become enserfed by contracts made between lords 
and tenants. 

And there are divers kinds of contracts respecting fees, 
such as gift, sale, exchange, lease, all of which can be made 
either for a time, or for ever, either free and discharged of 
all obligation and burden of serfage, or charged therewith. 
And these contracts, like all others, are made by writings, 
charters and muniments, and used to be made without 
muniments with solemn testimony [of eye-witnesses] like 
the contract of espousal, which ought to be a mirror for all 
other contracts. And it was after the likeness of this 
contract that the aforesaid contracts [concerning fees] were 
made by our first conquerors, when the counts were 
enfeoffed of counties, the b'arons of baronies, the knights of 
knight's fees, the Serjeants of serjeanties, the villains of 
villainages, the burgesses and merchants of burgages, 
whereof some received fees absolved from all obligation in 
respect of past services, or in pure alms, some received 
fees to hold by homage and service for the defence of the 
realm, some to hold by villain customs to plough, lead 
loads, drive droves, weed, reap, mow, stack, thresh or to do 
similar services, and sometimes without receiving food for 
this, and whereof various fines have been levied which may 
be found in the treasury and which make mention of such 
services and vile customs, as well as of more courteous 
services. And therefore, albeit these folk have no charters 
or muniments, nevertheless if they be ejected or disturbed in 
their possessions wrongfully, the la^jv succours them by the 
assize of novel disseisin to hold in the estate that they 
formerly had, provided that they can aver that they knew 
the certain measure of their annual services and works, 
their ancestors before them having been aatriers for a long 
' Magna Cbarta 1215, cap. 20. 



long tens, par cas qe les disseisours nen furent seignurs. 
E de ceo se entremist saint Edward en sons tens denquere 
de totes les grevaunces qe len feisoit a tel gaigneours outre 
lur droitz custumeez e enfist granz vengeaunces. E pus 
par genz qe meins doutent pecche qe fere ne duissent, sunt 
plusours tieux villeins par torcenouses destresces chatieux ' 
a fere a lur seignurs le service de rechat de sane, e plusours 
autres custumes volentrifs pur mener les en servage a lur 
poer, dunt lur remedie par le ne vexes enmorti par la 
negligence des Eois. 

Ch. XXIX. De Somounses. 

Cest title fet mencion de especiale somounses a la 
diiference de somounce general ou touz fieu tenaunz e 
autres devient venir solom la nature de la crie ; e dunt 
chescun del people poet fere la somounse par cojnmone 
criee, mes de cele somounce ne fet ceste chapitre nient plus 
de mencioun. 

Somonce especial est amiable awmonicion damende- 
ment de tort. E pur ceo qe nul nest tenu a respoundre a 
nuli action reale ne mixte avant somounces, fet a veoir 
queux pur7*ent somondre, queux sont somonables, ou len 
est somonable, cu?^ loinz, a qi custages, quant de foiz, 
queux purrent estre somenours, e quele somounce est 

Auctorite de fere somoundre unt touz ceux qi unt 

Somonables sont touz ceaux as queux lei nel defent. 
Nul nest somonable pur personel pecchie ne nul qe nen est 
fieu tenaunt. 

En touz lus nen est len mie somonable car nul nest 
somonable ne tenu a receivre somons hors del fieu del 
actour de la somounse, ne aillurs forqe el fieu appendaunt 
a cele court ou len deit respondre, ne en touz lus del fieu, 
einz soulement al tenement mis en la demande. 
' Corr. chases. 


time past — that is to say, if the disseisors were not their 
lords. And S. Edward in his day busied himself in this 
matter by making inquest as to all the grievances that were 
done to these cultivators in excess of their right customs, 
and he did heavy vengeance. And afterwards, by men who 
had less fear of sins that should not be done, many of these 
villains were driven by tortious distresses to do to their 
lords the service of blood-ransom [merchetum] and many 
other arbitrary customs to bring them into serfage and the 
power of their lords, and their remedy by the [writ] Ne 
vexes perished owing to the negligence of the kings. 

Ch. XXIX. Of Summonses. 

This title deals with special summonses as contrasted 
with the general summons which calls upon all fee-tenants 
and others to appear according to the nature of the cry ; 
and such a general summons every one of the people can 
make by a public cry ; but of this the present chapter will 
say no more. 

A special summons is a friendly admonition for the 
amendment of a wrong. And because no one is called upon 
to answer to any real or mixed action before summons, we 
ought to see (1) who can summon, (2) who are summon- 
able, (3) where one is summonable, (4) to what distance, 
(5) at whose cost, (6) how many times, (7) who can act as 
summoners, (8) what summonses are reasonable. 

Authority to summon have all those who have jurisdic- 

Summonable are all those whom no prohibitory law 
excepts. No one is summonable for a personal sin, and no 
one who is not a fee-tenant. 

It is not everywhere that one is summonable. One is not 
summonable or bound to receive a summons outside the 
fee of the author of the summons, nor elsewhere than 
within the fee belonging to that court in which one is to 
answer ; nor is one summonable in every part of that fee, 
but only in the tenement that is demanded in the action. 

u 2 


Com loinz len est somonable. Ne mie hors del fieu de 
la court a la quel lem deit respondre. 

A qi custages. As custages de ceaux qi en sunt les 
primers causes, forpris en jurees e enquestes aussi com 
doffice. Car nul franc home ne poet lem enserver de 
parer en jugement loinz a travailler a ses propres custages, 
tut voille droit qe chescun tenaunt soit obeissaunt a 
somonses son seignur. 

Quan de foiz len est somonable. Forqe une foiz sur 
une cause, resomonse neqedent tient lu en cas. 

Queux poent e deivent estre somenours. Somenour 
nestoit nul home estre sil ne voille de son gre, touz ceux 
neqedent poent estre somenours qi vodrent as queux lei nel 
defent ; femmes ne serfs, nenfanz, ne nul infams, ne nul qe 
nen est covenable en testmoignage, ne nul qe nest fieu 
tenaunt, ne poet estre bon somenour. 

Eenable somonce est quant ele est testmoignable par ij. 
loials francz tesmoigns veisins fete a la persone ou a la 
mesnee ou al tenement contenu en la demaunde, ovesqe 
garnissement del jour, lu, partie, juge e de laccion, e 
renable respet al meins de xv. jours de porvir respons e de 
parer en jugement. En jurees neqedent ne enquestes ne 
covendra mie pleinement tant de respit. 

Ch. XXX. De Essoignes. 

Essoigne est excusation de defaute par ascun desturb- 
aunce encheminant ver la court, e ceo aussi bien pur 
lactour cnm pur le defendaunt. Le droit de chescune 
essoigne est qe la cause de la destourbance soit enroullee 
en le non del essoneur, issi qe ci la partie adverse ou soun 
attournee ou essoneour voille la cause traverser, a ceo est 
recevable, qe si ele soit trovee fausse, adunqe feit lesoigne 
tornable en une defaute. 

Excuser se purrent touz ceux as queux droit nel defent. 


i'o what distance is one summonable ? Not outside the 
fee of that court in which one is to answer. 

At whose costs ? At the cost of those who are the 
prime cause of the summons, unless the summons be to 
serve on a jury or inquest, such as an inquest ex officio, for 
no free man can be compelled to appear in court or to 
travel far at his own costs, though the law wills that every 
tenant be obedient to the summonses of his lord. 

How many times is one to be summoned ? But once 
for one cause, though in some cases there may be a re- 

Who can and ought to act as summoners ? No one can 
be compelled to act thus save of his own free will. All 
nevertheless may be summoners whom the law does not 
prohibit if they will so to be ; but women, serfs, infants, 
infamous persons and those who cannot be witnesses, and 
those who are not fee-tenants, are not good summoners. 

A reasonable summons is one testifiable by two free 
and lawful neighbour witnesses, and made to the person in 
question or to his family or on the tenement that is demanded 
in the action, with notice of the day, place, party, judge 
and action, and a reasonable respite of at least fifteen days 
wherein to provide an answer and to appear in court. But 
a summons to serve on a jury or inquest need not give so 
long a respite. 

Ch. XXX. Of Essoins. 

An essoin is the excuse for a default which is due to 
some hindrance in the way to court, and this excuse may 
proceed from the plaintiff or the defendant. The law 
requires in every essoin that the cause of the hindrance 
and the name of the essoiner shall be enrolled, so that the 
adverse party or his attorney or essoiner may be received 
to traverse the alleged cause of the essoin, and if the 
allegation be found to be false, then the essoin counts as a 

All those may excuse themselves who are not forbidden 
to do 80 by law. 


Excuser ne se poent rml defendaunt en pgrsonels 
accions, ne nul apres defaute, ne a nul present en court; 
ne en scire facias, ne en venire facias, ne en recordari facias 
loquelam, ne en amesurement de pasture, ne apres ceo qe 
parties se serrent assentu en jugement, tut ne viegnent 
jurours, nen cas ou li plaintif nad mie trove sieurte a suire, 
ne ou latturne est assoneie, ne ou len ad attornee en court 
si andeus ' ne soient essoneiez, ne en nule somonse nest 
testmoignee, ne apres essoigne nient garantie, ne a celi qe 
point ne fu nomee el brief, ou en la pleinte forpns en 
garanties, ne nul qe est resomons en mort dauncestre e 
dreint present, ne quant le jour nest venu, ne ou lessoneour 
vient trop tart, ne nul qe adversaire est mort ou ascun de 
ces parceners, ne celi qest aiorne de jour en jour, ne 
ministre le Eei tant cum ministre, ne celi a qi est maunde qil 
viegne sil voille. Nul essoigne nest allouable si ele ne seit 
ordeneemewt gette, ne a enfant dedenz age, ne a nul qi est 
garde, ne a plusours eanz j. droit, si la cause se diverse. 

Essoneours purrent estre touz ces as queux droit nel 

Defendu est a femmes, a enfanz, a serfs e a touz ceux qi 
sunt engarde, as arrages, as escomewgez, as foxnastres, as 
juges e as parties en meme les plez, a essoneours autre 
foiz niewt garanties, ou atteinz de faus delai, a cnminale 
gent, e a ceux qi ne sunt a la fei crestiene, ou a la foi le 
Eoi ; qil ne soient essoneours. 

Deus maneres de essoignes sont principalment. Lune 
del service le Eoi e lautre de destorbaunce. La pnmere 
est devisable, ou del service le Eoi celestre ou del Eoi 
terrestre. Del Eoi celestre en iij. maneres, ou pur le 

• Corr. ambideus. 


The defendant in a personal action cannot essoin him- 
self, nor one who has already committed a default, nor one 
who is present in court, nor [the defendant] in Scire facias 
nor in Venire facias, nor in Recordaii facias loquelam, nor 
in an action for admeasurement of pasture, nor after the 
parties have assented to judgment, albeit the jurors have 
not come, nor where the plaintiff has not found surety for 
the prosecution, nor where the attorney is essoined, nor 
where one has an attorney in court unless both are 
essoined, nor where no summons has been testified, nor 
after an essoin that has not been warranted, nor can one 
not named in the writ or in the plaint essoin himself, 
except in the case of a warranty, nor one who has been 
resummoned in a Mort d' ancestor or a Darrein presentment, 
nor when the day [for appearance] has not yet come, nor 
when the essoiner comes too late, nor can one essoin one- 
self when one's adversary or one of his parceners is dead, 
nor if one has been adjourned de die in diem, nor can a 
minister of the king essoin himself qua minister, nor one 
who has been told to come if he pleases. No essoin is 
allowable if it be not duly cast, nor is it allowable to an 
infant within age, nor to any who is [within] ward, nor to 
several who have one right unless there be but one cause 
for the essoin.^ 

Anyone to whom this is not forbidden by law, may be 
an essoiner. 

This is forbidden to women, infants, serfs and all who 
are within ward, to madmen, to excommunicates, to natural 
fools, to those who are judges or parties in the cause, to 
essoiners who on some former occasion have failed to pro- 
duce their warrant or been attainted of a false delay, to 
criminals, to those who are not in the faith of Christ and 
of the king : — such as these cannot be essoiners. 

There are two chief kinds of essoins. One is the king's 
service, the other a disturbance. (1) The first kind is divisible, 
for the service may be that of the heavenly King or of the 
earthly. One may essoin oneself as being in the heavenly 

' Cf. UetiglMm Parva, cap. 1. 


general passage de touz croizez a la terre de lerusalem, cele 
essoigne nest mie autrement aiornable mes qe les parties 
senvoissent sanz jour, e se eide lactour par resomonse al 
revenir del deffendawt. Ceste essoigne nest jammes 
allouable as actours, ne al defendant renablement somons 
avant son partir de sa meeson ver soun pelrinage, ne a nul 
en personel accion, nen autre forqe en pie qe touche heritage 
meu par bref de droit overt, mes nient en doweire ne de 
burgage. Lautre essoigne del service le Eei eelestre est de 
commun pelrinage doutre meer en la terre seinte. E cele 
p?-mt respit par j. an. Cele essoigne ne tient lu forqe 
solom ceo qe lautre fet. La tierce de pelrinage de decea 
la meer de Grece sicom a Eoume, ou a seint Jage. E cele 
print respit par demi an. E sunt cestes essoignes garanti- 
zables as proscheins courtz suanz les termes aiornees. 
Apres resomonses tient lu la commune essoigne del mal de 
venue, e ausi apres le toime de leniornement, mes jam??ies 
ne tient lu cele comone essoigne avant les iij. essoignes 
avantditz. E lessoigne del service le Eoi terrestre en ij. 
maneres. Lune sicome est de ceux qi le servent come 
soudoiers, com mesuenges, ou com ministres ; e cele essoigne 
ne print respit forqe de court en court, ou de comun jour 
en comun jour, al foer de comun essoigne, si ele nesoit 
garantie a la p^-oschein court par le bref le Eoi si iert 
tornable en defaute. Lautre est de ceux qi servent le Eoi 
par obligacion de lur fieus pur le defens del reaume, e cele 
ne receit nul jour, einz fet adire al pleintif qil sen voist 
sanz jour e face resomondre la parole destre en meme 
.lestat quant son adversaire serra retornee. 

Cestes derreins essoignes sunt allouables en pies 


King's service in three ways : (a) on account of a general 

passage of all crusaders to the land of Jerusalem, and this 

essoin is adjourned in no other way than this, that the 

parties shall go without day, and then when the defendant 

returns the plaintiff can have recourse to a resummons. 

This essoin is never allowed to plaintiffs nor to a defendant 

who has received a reasonable summons before he leaves 

his house for the pilgrimage, nor is it allowed in a personal r ncK 

action, nor in any other action that does not concern the r' 

inheritance and which is not begun by a writ of right 

patent ; nor is it allowed in an action for dower nor in an 

action for a burgage. (6) Another essoin for the service of 

the heavenly King is for a general pilgrimage beyond sea 

to the Holy Land. And this causes a respite for one year. 

This essoin is only admissible where the previous essoin 

[the crusader's] would be admissible, (c) The third is that 

for a pilgrimage to some place on this side the Grecian sea, 

as to Rome or to S. James [of Compostella]. And this 

causes a respite for one half year. And these essoins must 

be warranted at the next court after the terms to which 

they are adjourned. After resummons, there may then be 

the common essoin de malo veniendi, and so there may be 

after the term of the adjournment, but this common essoin 

can never be made before any of the three essoins just 

mentioned. (2) One may essoin oneself because of the 

service of the earthly king in two ways, (a) The first case 

is that of those who serve as soldiers, or messengers, or 

ministers ; and this essoin is respited only from court to 

court or from one dies communis to the next, like the 

common essoin [de malo veniendi], and unless at the next 

court it is warranted by the king's writ, it is reckoned as a 

default, {h) The second case is that of those who serve the 

king being bound to the defence of the realm in respect of 

their fees ; and in this case no day is given, but the 

plaintiff is told to go without day and to have the suit 

resummoned in its present condition when his adversary 

shall have returned. 

These last-mentioned essoins are allowed to the 


somonables as pleintifs e as defendanz, forpris en doweires 
dunt rien nad, quare impedit, drein present ; ne a 
femmes, ne a enfanz, ne a celi qi sest pris a langour en 
lessoigne de mal delist, ne a fol nastre, ne a sourd e mut, 
ne arragiez, ne a nul qi est en garde, ou qi nest franc de 
sei, ne a nul atturne tant cum attorne, ne ou lessoneour 
conust en jugement la cause estre fausse ou qe tant vaut, 
ne apres nule cape ne apres destresce fete de fieu. 

Apres lessoigne del service le Koi tient lu lessoigne del 
mal venue mes nemie le revers. 

Lessoigne de destourbaunce est devisable ou de maladie 
ou dautre destourbaunce, cnm est de ceux qi sunt p?-ts de 
enemis cheminant ver la court, e issi destourbez, ou par 
ponz brisez ou euues desruees, ou par tempeste ou dautre 
renable destorbaunce, qil neunt poer de parer en jugement 
al jour. 

Lessoigne de destourbaunce de maladie est devisable : — 
ou de langour qest appelle del mal delit e cele print respit 
par j. an, ou de maladie passant e cele ne print respit 
forqe al foer de lessoigne commune e cestes essoignes de 
destourbaunce sont essoignes del mal devenue. Ceste 
essoigne tient lu apres chescun somonse e resomonse 
generale ou especiale mue sur pie, forpris a jurours e a ceux 
qi sont somons pur comun prov. Mes des aiornemenz fet 
a destincter ; car en eire des justices est lenjornement le 
iij. jours ou le iiij., ou plus ou meins, solom ceo qe les lieus 
sunt proscheines ou lointeins, e as foreins prent cele 
essoigne respit par xv. jours al meins. 

Lessoigne de maladie passant tient la ^ devant lessoigne 
del mal delit, e aussi apres Ian de la langour. E ou ele 
tient lu devant apparaunce tient lu e apres, forprises iiij. 
assises, e par la ou ele tient lu es accions tenent lu es gar- 

' Corr. lu. 


plaintiffs and the defendants in actions which are com- 
menced by summons, save in Dower unde nihil habet, Quare 
impedit, and Darrein presentment ; they are not allowed to 
women, nor to infants, nor to one who has essoined himself 
de malo lecti and relied on his languor, nor to a born fool, 
nor to the deaf and the dumb, the lunatic, nor to any who 
is in ward or is not sui juris, nor to an attorney qua attorney, 
nor where the essoiner confesses in court that the excuse is 
false or what is tantamount to that, nor after a Cope, nor 
after a distress against the fee. 

After an essoin de servitio regis there may be one de 
malo veniendi, but not vice versa. 

Essoins by reason of disturbance are divisible thus : 
they are either for a malady or for some other disturbance, 
as, e.g., if one who is on his way to court be captured by 
enemies, and be disturbed thus, or by broken bridges, 
floods that are out, or by tempest or other reasonable dis- 
turbance, so that he cannot appear in court on the proper 

Essoins for hindrance by malady are thus divisible : 
either they are for a languor (a bed-sickness), and these are 
called de malo lecti and are respited for a year ; or they are 
for a passing malady, and these are merely respited like 
the common essoins for disturbance which are called de 
malo veniendi. This essoin is in place after every summons 
and resummons, general or special, in the plea, save in 
the case of jurors and those who are summoned for the 
common good. But as to the adjournments we must dis- 
tinguish ; for in the eyre of the justices the adjournment is 
for three or four days, more or less, according as the place 
in question is far or near, and in the case of foreigners this 
essoin causes a respite for fifteen days at the least. 

The essoin for a passing malady may precede the essoin 
de malo lecti, and it may also be cast after the year of 
languor. And when it holds good before appearance it 
holds good after appearance, except in the case of the four 
assizes, and if it will hold good in an action it will hold 
good in a voucher to warranty arising out of that action. 


Ceste commone essoigne nest allouable es cas avantdiz, 
ne forqg une foiz puis lacord de parties en juree ou enqueste, 
ne apres ceo qe parties se averent assentu de venir sanz 
essoigne, ne la ou maundie est a evesqes qe il eit ou face 
venir tel son clerk, ne la ou plusours cleimewt par j. droit 
ou soient tenanz de j. droit, ne a homme e a sa femme ne a 
parceners, ne a plusours e j. heir forqe al foer de un soule 
persone. Mes si ascun parcener moerge sanz heir de sei 
apres href purchace e attaimee, le href iert par tant 
abatable, pur ceo qe al jour de la date nout lactour nul 
action vers les autres parceners vifs qwant a la portion en 
crue. Ceste eomune essoigne tient lu aussi bien a enfanz 
par la ou il sunt enpledez de lur purchaz, cuw as genz de 
pleine eage. E sicom ele est allouable al tenant, aussi est 
ele al garaunt, ou nule langour nest a jugee. Cest essoigne 
est allouable de jour en jour solom com??iun8 aiornemenz 
en href de droit, jesqes atant qe langour e soit a juge, si li 
tenant ne se leve avant de sa langour. Lever neqedent ne 
purra nul en tiel cas, si non del coungie del actour, ou del 
comandement le Eoi si lactour ne li voudra congie doner. 

Ceste essoigne tient lu el bref de droit overt mandie al 
seignur de fieu, e el bref clos de fieu tenu en chief de Eoi, 
e el bref de custumes de services apres ceo qe li deforceour 
avera respondu e dit cement bataille ou grant assise e purra 

Lessoigne de mal delit est getable en court par ij. amis 
ou messages en lu de essoneours quant la maladie se court 
en langour. Ceste essoigne ne tient mie lu a actour. E 
pus langour a jugee, est ele aiornable par j. an de respit a 
la tour de Londres. Langour ne tient mie lu en nul bref 
de droit apres apparaunce forqe par la ou bataille purra 
joindre ou grant assise 


This common essoin is not allowable in the aforesaid 
cases, nor can it be allowed more than once after the 
parties have agreed upon a jury or inquest, nor after the 
parties have agreed to appear without essoin, nor when a 
bishop has been told to produce or cause to appear such an 
one his clerk ; nor again where several persons claim in one 
right or are tenants in one right, nor to a man and his wife, 
nor to parceners ; nor again to several persons who together 
make one heir, for here they must behave as if they were but 
one person. But if one of several parceners die without heir 
of his body after writ purchased and commenced, the writ is 
abateable for that reason, because at the date of the writ the 
plaintiff had no action against the other parceners who are 
still alive in respect of the portion that has now accrued to 
them. This common essoin is available to an infant who is 
impleaded concerning what he has acquired by purchase, as 
well as to one of full age. And as it is allowable to the tenant, 
so also is it allowable to the warrantor, where no languor has 
been adjudged. This essoin is allowable from day to day, 
according to the common adjournments in a writ of right, 
until the alleged languor is adjudged, unless the tenant 
arises from his bed before the adjudication of languor. But 
in such a case no one is entitled to leave his bed without 
the permission of the plaintiff, or, if the plaintiff will not 
give this permission, then by the king's command. 

This essoin is allowable in a writ of right patent sent 
to the lord of the fee, and in the writ close that is used 
where the tenant holds in chief of the king, and in the 
writ of customs and services so soon as the deforceor has 
answered and pleaded in such a way that battle or a grand 
assize may be joined. 

The essoin de mala lecti must be cast in coart by two 
friends or messengers in the place of essoiners when the 
malady has turned to a languor. This essoin is not allowed 
to a plaintiff. When a languor has been adjudged, a day 
one year thence is given for appearance at the Tower of 
London. There can be no languor in a writ of right after 
appearance, save where battle may be joined or the grand 


Cest essoigne de mal del lit niert jammes allouable a 
nul attorne, ne a nul garant einzces qil eit garantie, ne 
devant la commone essoigne gette pur le tenaunt, ne a nul 
apres langour agardee e tenue sanz lever, ne en eire des 
justices, ne es brefs de quo jure, ne de renables devises, ne 
de quo warranto, ne de custumes e des services einzces qe 
la court seit certefie qe bataille ipuisse joindre ou grant 

Lessoigne de maladie supprenant est appele del mal de 
la vile, e cele tient lu en cas ou ascun qe fist profert ' le 
primer jour en jugement est suppris de maladie en la ville 
sodenement qil ne poet lendemein retorner en court. Cele 
essoigne est getable le secund jour par j., mes le tierz jour 
par autre, e le quart par le tierz. En quel cas appent al 
juge a fere receivre les attornez de tieux malades, mes 
ceste essoigne ne tient mie lu forqe par la ou lessoigne del 
mal delit tient lu. 

Ch. XXXI. Be Atturnez. 

Avant parole mue en court par essoigne, par attache- 
ment ou par apparaunce des parties nest nul recevable 
pMr atturnie, nient plws qe parole est remuable hors de 
court requis ^ en plus haute court ou la pleinte ou le bref 
nestoit mie attamee. Car nul ne est recevable i)ur attorne 
en parole qe fu, nen parole resera^ einz soulement en 
parole qest pendaunt. E si ascun ert fet attorne ceo 
parole pendant en countie ou aillours, ou ele est attamee 
par bref le Eoi, e cele parole soit puis remue en plus haut 
court pur eel remuement nest mie latturne remue ; ne nul 
attorne nest remuable sanz celi a qi attornee il est qi veignt 
en court en propre persone e le remue, e si noun en cas ou 
lenad gene?*als attornez, car generals attornez poent mettre 
especialx e remuer. Ne nul poet rescevire attorne apres 

Coxr. fust present C^^, ^ Covx.jesques. * Corv. qe serra. 


This essoin de nudo lecti is never allowed to an attorney, 
nor to a vouchee until he has warranted, nor before the 
tenant has cast the common essoin, nor after a languor has 
once been adjudged and observed without any arising, nor 
in the eyre of the justices, nor in writs of Quo jure, nor in 
writs De rationabiUbus divisis, nor in Quo waranto, nor in 
Consuetudines et servitia until the court is certified that 
battle may be joined or the grand assize. 

The essoin of supervenient malady is called de mala 
villae, and this has its place where one who appears in 
court on the first day is surprised by a sudden malady 
which comes upon him in the town in which the court is, 
so that he cannot appear in court on the morrow. This 
essoin may be cast on the second day by one essoiner, on 
the third day by another, on the fourth by a third. And 
in this case it is for the judge to receive the attorneys of 
those who are thus taken ill. But this essoin is only per- 
missible in those actions in which an essoin de mala lecti 
will lie. 

Ch. XXXI. Of A ttorneys. 

Before the suit has been moved in court by essoin or 
attachment or appearance of the parties no one can be 
received as an attorney ; this is no more possible than that 
a suit should be removed into a higher court before the 
plaint or the writ has been entered; for no one can be 
received as an attorney in a plea which has been, or in a 
plea which shall be, but only in a plea which is pending. 
And if anyone be made an attorney while the plea is pend- 
ing in the county court or elsewhere where it has been 
commenced by the king's writ, and afterwards the suit is 
removed into a higher court, the attorney is not removed 
by this removal ; and no attorney is removable, unless the 
person whose attorney he is comes into court in proper 
person and removes him, or unless it be where one has a 
general attorney, for a general attorney can appoint and 
remove special attorneys. And no one can receive an 
attorney after the suit has been commenced, save the king, 


pa7*ole attame forqg le Koi ou autre garanti par especial 
bref, si noun en presence des parties. 

Attornez poent estre touz ceux, as queux lei nel soeffre. 
Femmes ne poent mie estre attornez, ne enfanz, ne serfs, 
ne nul qi est engarde ou autrement nient franc de sei, ne nul 
criminous, ne nul escomenge, ne nul qe nest a la fei le Koi, 
ne nul qe ne porra estre contour, ne nul en nule personele 
accion, ne en acounte, ne en naifte, Actours neqedent 
poent aver attornez en personals accions. Ne apeser ne 
rendre en jugement ne poet nul par atturnee, einz deseisist 
son client quant il le fet. 


or another who is warranted thereto by special writ, unless 
it be in the presence of the parties. 

All those who are not prohibited by law may be 
attorneys, but the law will not suffer women to be attorneys, 
nor infants, nor serfs, nor any who are in ward or who 
otherwise are not sui juris, nor criminals, nor excommuni- 
cates, nor those who are not in the king's faith, nor one 
who cannot be a pleader, nor can there be an attorney in 
personal actions, nor in account, nor in naifty. But 
plaintiffs may have an attorney in a personal action. And 
no one can make a concord or a surrender in court by 
attorney, and an attorney who does this disseises his client. 




De excepcions. 


De homsokne. 


Que est excepcion e del ordre 


De rap. 





Excepcions dilatoires. 


De mahaim. 


Del excepcion de clergie. 


Juramentum duelli. 


Eeplicacion a bigamie. 


Ordinatio pugnantium. 


[Excepcion] al poer le juge. 


Excepcion de personel trespaz 


Excepcion a la persone le juge. 


De purprestures. 


Excepcion del tens. 


De tresor trove. 


Excepcion de lu. 


De wrek. 


Excepcion a la persone del 





De chacer. 


Excepcion de prison e de garde. 


De obligacion. 


Excepcion de somonses. 


De atteinte. 


Excepcion de vicious countes. 


Ordenance datteinte. 


Excepcion a provours. 


De serement fere. 


Excepcion a enditementz. 


[De homage.] 


Kesponse a traison. 


[Feautie annex a homage.] 


[Del arsoun.] 


Common serementz. 


Darsoune e homicide. 


De acorder. 


De larcin. 



1. Of exceptions. 

2. What is an exception, and of the 

order of excepting. 

3. Dilatory exceptions. 

4. The exception of clergy. 

5. The replication of bigamy. 

6. [Exceptions to] the power of the 


7. Exceptions to the person of the 


8. Exceptions founded on time. 

9. Exceptions to the place. 

10. Exceptions to the person of the 


11. Exceptions founded on imprison- 

ment and wardship. 

12. Exceptions to smnmonses. 

13. Exceptions to vicious counts. 

14. Exceptions against approvers. 

15. Exceptions to indictments. 

16. Answer in a case of treason. 

17. Answer in a case of arson. 

18. Arson and homicide. 

19. Of larceny. 

20. Of hamsoken. 

21. Of rape. 

22. Of imprisonment. 

23. Of mayhem. 

24. Of the oath of battle. 
26. The order of combat. 

26. Exceptions in cases of personal 


27. Of purprestures. 

28. Of treasure trove. 

29. Of wreck. 

30. Of usury, 

31. Of hunting. 

32. Of obligation. 

33. Of attaint. 

34. The order of an attaint. 
85. Of oaths. 

36. Of homage. 

37. Fealty annexed to homage. 

38. Common oaths. 

39. Of accords. 




Ch. I. De Excepcions. 

Entendue la demonstraunce del pleintif bosoigne a la 
partie adverse de bien respondre. E pur ceo qe genz ne 
sevent mie cow7?ionement totes les excepcions qe valent 
en respons, sunt countours necessaires qe sachent les causes 
avancer e defendre, par les riules de lei e des usage de 
roiaume, e plus sunt necessaires en endetemenz e appealx 
de felonie defendre qe en causes veniales. E pur eider 
nofctre remembraunce qe chescun jour decline en obliaunce, 
fet adire quoi est excepcion, de sa devision, e del ordre 
deccepper, car assez se veut ' pur coupable qe ne respound 
en jugement ou malement respound ou nient suffisalment ; 
example si ascun vouche agarant jugement passie, tiel 
respons nest nient plus allouable sil ne die quel an, ou, e 
pa?' devant queux juges li jugement passa, cu7;i sil rien ne 
deit pur respons. E issi dautre cas. 

E tut soit respons necessaire chescun neqedent nest 
mie dumemewt recevable en respons, car ascuns sunt 
recevables a respondre sanz tutors en totes accions, e 
ascuns nient si.en felonies noun, e ascuns ne sunt recevables 
a respons sanz tutours en nul cas. 

Kespondre sanz tutour poet chescun a qi droit nel 
defent.^ Defendu est as fem7nes mariez a respondre sanz 
lur mariz. Mes destinctez des cas : car si ele est de tenz ^ 

Corr. car ascuns se rendent (?). ^ defent repeated in MS. ' Corr. dedem. 




Ch. I. Of Exceptions. 

When the declaration of the plaintifif has been heard, 
the adversary is concerned to make a good answer. And 
because folk do not generally know all the ' exceptions ' 
which can be used by way of answer, pleaders are neces- 
sary who know how to set forth causes and to defend 
them according to the rules of the law and the usage of the 
realm, and they are the more necessary for the defence in 
indictments and appeals of felony than in venial causes. 
And to aid our memory which is always slipping into 
oblivion, we must say what an exception is, and how 
exceptions are divided, and of the order in which they can 
be put forward, for some folk make themselves guilty by 
not answering in court or answering badly or insufficiently. 
Thus, for instance, if one vouches to warranty a previous 
judgment, such an answer, if he does not say in what year, 
where, and before what judges the judgment passed, is no 
more admissible than if he gave no answer at all. And 
so in other cases. 

And albeit an answer is necessary, it is not everyone 
who can be properly received to make answer, for some 
may be received to answer without tutors in all actions, 
and others only in felonies, and others cannot answer 
without tutors in any case. 

Everyone may answer without a tutor who is not 
forbidden by law. Married women are forbidden to 
answer without their husbands. But we must distinguish : 


le eage de xxj. an, ele ne respondra en nul cas sanz soun 
mari ne recevable nest forp^-is en cas ou sa deheriteson ou 
qe tant vaut piert par la negligence ou la malice del mari ; 
e si ele soit de plener eage adunc respondra soille en mortex 
cas e felonies. E aussi est de genz ' de religioun e de 
serfs e de touz jeux qi sunt en garde e ne sunt mie de lur 
lige poer. 

Ch. II. Que est Excepcion e del ordre dexcepcion. 

Excepcion est un '•* e respons pttr delaier ou destrure 
accion. E sunt ij. maneres de excepcions, dilatoires e 

Lordre de excepper est tiel qe la peremptoire est el 
dIus haut degree. Car de la dilatoire poet lem aver 
rpf.ours a la peremptoire, e nient le revers. E des dila- 
toires sunt ascuns principales e ascuns secundaires, e des 
secundaires nest nul recours as pnncipales. E solom lur 
degres sunt eles ici mises en partie, en eide de nos remen- 
braunces. E ascuns excepcions sunt encontrables de 
replicacions, e teles de triplicacions, e issi outre requis ^ a 
tant qe verite seit clarifie en proces de plez par unt lem 
purr a surement descendre a clers jugemenz. 

Voucher agarant ne tient mie lu en personels accions, 
tut seit qe averremenz par recorz par monumenz e 
testmoines vaillent. 

Ch. III. Excepcions Dilatoires. 

Excepcions dilatoires sunt plusours, dunt le primer est 
al juge, e ceo en plusours maneres. Dunt lune est del noun 
poer le juge, e ceo poet estre en ij. maneres pur les ij. maners 
de juresdiccion, ou pur ceo qe le Eoi ou son juge delegad 

' de genz repeated in the MS. 

* chose allegiM pur respons. 1642 and Houard. ' Corr. ieques. 


for if the married woman be within the age of twenty-one, 

she shall in no case answer without her husband, and is /I A HI fY^ 

not receivable except it be that her disherison or what is ^ ^^ 

equivalent thereto (is imperilled) by the negligence or 

malice of her husband ; but if she be of full age she must 

answer alone in mortal cases and felonies. And so it is 

with men of religion and with serfs and with all those who 

are in ward and are not sui iuris. 

Ch. II. What is an Exception and of the order of Excepting. 

An exception is something alleged by way of answer in 
order to delay or to destroy an action.* And of exceptions 
there are two kinds, dilatory and peremptory. 

The order of excepting is this, that peremptory excep- 
tions are the highest, for from a dilatory one may have 
recourse to a peremptory, but not vice versa. And of the 
dilatory some are principal and some secondary, and from 
the secondary one cannot have recourse to the principal. 
And they are here stated in part according to their various 
degrees in aid of our memories. And some exceptions are 
encounterable by replications, and these by triplications, 
and so on until the truth is clarified in the process of 
pleading so that one may securely condescend to a clear 

There can be no voucher to warranty in a personal 
action, though averments by records or by muniments and 
evidence are available. 

Ch. III. Dilatory Exceptions. 

Dilatory exceptions are of divers kinds. The first is 
to the judge, and this may be of various kinds. One is to 
the power of the judge, and of this there are two kinds as 
there are two kinds of jurisdiction. One may, on the one 
hand, except to the king or his judge delegate that he 

■ In this instance the reading of seems much better than that of the 
the old edition adopted by Houard MS. 


nad poer de conustre en la cause, sicom est de la persone 
de clerc pwr privilege del eglise ; ou pur ceo qe li juge orde- 
neire nad poer a conustre pur la foreinetie ; car nul nad 
poer a conustre de fet fet hors de sa juresdiccion, ne nul 
en lu franchie de fet fet en gueldable, ne les rois ne ceux 
de j. co?mtie ou de une terve de fet fet en autre. 

Ch. IV. Del Excepcion de Clergie. 

Par privilege de clergie, cum si clerc ordene mene en 
court devant lai juge e pwr respondre de personel trespas 
e nomeement en cause cnminale e mortele die qil est clerc, 
li juge ne poet plus avant conustre. Car leglise est si en- 
franchie qe nul lai juge ne poet aver conussance en clerc 
tut le voisist clerc conustre pur son juge, en tiex cas est 
sanz delai deliverable a soun ordenaire. Por doner neqe- 
dent acciouns as actours vers les accessoires en appeax e 
enditementz, apent qe li juge tantost enquerge de son office 
par seremenz de prodes hom??ies en la presence del clerc, li 
quel il soit coupable ou noun. E sil soit trovie coupable 
adunc est liverable a son ordenaire sanz nule difficultie, e 
lactour sue tantost vers les accessoires en la court le Pioi e 
en crestiene court ver le clerc, e li clerc apres due purgacioun 
rehiet touz ces biens moebles e fieus sanz difficultie. 

Ch. V. Replicacion a Bigamie. 

Excepcion de clergie est ascuns foiz encontrable par 
replicacion de bigamie en ceste manere, Sire il ne deit joir 
le benefice de eel privilege, car il ad forfet par vice de 
bigamie cwn cil q« ad espose vedue ou plusours lemj/ies. 


has no power to entertain the cause ; such is the case where 
the party is a clerk, and this by reason of the Church's 
privilege ; or, on the other hand, one may except that the 
judge ordinary has no power to entertain the cause because 
it is foreign ; for none has cognisance of a deed done outside 
his jurisdiction, and no one within franchise has cognisance 
of what is done in the geldable, and no king or men of one 
county or one land can have cognisance of what is done in 
another county or land. 

Ch. IV. The Exception of Clergy. 

[An exception may be based] on the privilege of clergy, as 
if an ordained clerk brought into court before a lay judge 
to answer for a personal trespass and more particularly in 
a criminal and mortal cause, says that he is a clerk, the 
judge can take no further cognisance of the matter ; for 
the Church has this franchise that no lay judge can have 
cognisance of a clerk, albeit that clerk himself is willing' to 
acknowledge him as judge ; and in such a case [the clerk] is 
to be delivered without delay to his ordinary. Nevertheless 
in order that plaintiffs may be able to proceed in their 
appeals and indictments against the accessories, it is right 
that the judge should at once inquire ex officio by the oath 
of good men in the presence of the clerk, whether he be 
guilty or no ; and if he be found guilty, then he ought to 
be delivered to his ordinary without any difficulty, and the 
plaintiff can at once sue against the accessories in the king's 
court and against the clerk in court Christian ; and the 
clerk, after due purgation, shall have back again all his 
movables and fees without difficulty. 

Ch. V. The Replication of Bigamy. 

Sometimes the exception of clergy may be encountered 
by the replication of bigamy — in this manner : ' Sir, he ought 
not to enjoy the benefit of this privilege, for he has forfeited 
it by the vice of bigamy, being one who has espoused a widow 


E notez qe matrimoigne est un ordre de loiale assemble de 
homme e de femme par lassent 'de bone gent ; e sicome ' de 
dieu e de bone gent crestiene e de deitie e de humanite 
est fete unitie nient devisable, issi fet matrimoigne, e solum 
tiel unitie estoit tiele assemble trovie, e pur ceo ne poet nul 
remeindre en la unitie qi se print a pluralite, einz de 
pluralite sourt celi vice de bigamie le quel vice retret clercs 
a laite. 

E notez qe bigamie se poet fere en ij. maneres, lune par 
pluralite dever fem/nes cnm qi espouse ij. femmes ou plus, 
lune apres lautre mort, ou une vivant lautre ; lautre est 
par pluralite de horamea, come est de femme qe se part de 
unitie sicom est de vedue qe se lest esposer a autre homme, 
le quel qe la veduetie veigne par mort de marit, ou de cele- 
bracion de devorz. E pur ceo appent adire en que point 
clerc est bigamus, si qe la bigamie soit triable en laie court. 
Si jurees neqedent dient qil ne sievent, adunqe appent cele 
certificacion venir del ordenaire al maundement le roi, sicom 
en cas de matrimoigne dedit. 

Dautre part est clerk encontrable dautres replicacions, 
com sil est conu pur murdres e lierre notoire, e de tiele 
condicion qe leglise nel deit garauntir ensuiant la pees le 

Ch. VI. Al Poer le Juge. 

Al poer le juge se purr a li defendant eider par autres 
excepcions dilatoires en ceste manere — Sire jeo demant la 
veuue e la oie de la commission par qi vous clamez jures- 
diction sur mei. Qe si li juge ne la deigne ^ ou ne puisse 
moustier nestovera nul a conustre pur juge delegat. 

Moustre le poer, unqore purra il dire issi — Sire jeo ne dei 
mie a cele commission obeir pur ceo qele ne fet mie mencion 
de la cause dunt jeo su tret en jugement, ou nient de tel 

•— ' Omit these words, and transfer e sicome, which should follow crestiene. 
' juge la deny. Houard. 


or several wives. Note that matrimony is a kind of lawful 
union of man and woman by the assent of God and of good 
Christian folk, and as of deity and humanity there has been 
made an indivisible unity, so it is in matrimony, and this 
union of man and woman is after the form of the unity of 
deity and humanity, and therefore none can remain in this 
unity who betakes himself to plurality, but from plurality 
there ariseth this vice of bigamy, which drags down clerks 
to the level of the laity. 

And note that bigamy may be committed in two ways : 
first, by a plurality of women, as if one espouses two or 
more women, one after the other's death, or one while the 
other is alive ; secondly, by a plurality of men, as is the 
case of a woman who departs from unity, as, for instance, 
a widow who allows herself to be espoused to a second 
husband, whether her widowhood arises from the death of 
her husband or from a divorce. And, therefore, it is ne- 
cessary to allege in what manner the clerk is bigamous, so 
that the bigamy may be tried in a lay court ; but if the 
jurors say that they are ignorant, then a certificate about 
this point must come from the ordinary at the king's com- 
mand, in the same manner as if a marriage had been denied. 

And then, again, a clerk may be met by other replica- 
tions, as if he be known for a notorious murderer and 
robber and a man of such a kind that the Church ought 
not to warrant him out of a respect for the king's peace. 

Ch. VI. [Exceptions toi] the Power of the Judge. 

A defendant can aid himself by other dilatory exceptions 
against the power of the judge in this manner : — ' Sir, I 
demand sight and hearing of the commission by which you 
claim jurisdiction over me.' And if the judge refuses or 
cannot show the commission, no one need acknowledge him 
as a judge delegate. 

When the commission has been shown, then he may 
still say, * Sir, I have no need to obey this commission, for 
it makes no mention of the cause in respect of which I am 


point dunt vous eiez poer aconoistre de tiel point, ou porce 
qe ele est viciouse, e ceo purra estre en divers maneres, cum 
si ele ne soit seale del seal le Eoi de sa chancellerie, car al 
pnvee seal le Eoi ne al seal del escheqer ne autre seal forqe 
soulement al seal qest assigne destre conu de la comwonaltie 
de poeple, e nomeement en jurediccions e brefs originals, 
nestoit a nul obeir e leis e usages del Reaume si noun pur 
soulement le Eoi. Ou ele purra estre viciouse pur le seal 
contrefet ou autrement faussie, ou por ceo qe li Eoi nest 
mie nomie el bref ou nient testmoin del bref e il vient ' 
hors de son Eeaume ne engarde, ou pwrceo qe li bref 
contient la somonse ou la citation ou est^ personele, ou 
attachement ou laction est reale ou mixte, ou pur ceo qe 
le seal nest mie term al parchemin, einz le purra le remuer 
e remettre a voluntie, ou pur ceo qe li bref fu trop tard 
purchace ou trop tost, ou pttrceo qil iad rasture ou 
entreligneire ou deve?-sete de meins e de note ou faus latin, 
ou pur ceo qe li bref est escrist sur papir ou sur pa?'chemin 
defendu, ou pur defaute trovie el brief sicom de omission 
ou transposicion de mot, sillable ou de clause sicom est de 
brefs abatables, ou pur ceo qe le Eoi morust avawt le bref 
attamee, ou -pur ceo qe li poer est reappele, ou pur ceo qe 
li bref supposa faus le jour de la date, ou pur ceo qe la 
comwiission voet associacion de hom7?ie nient present, ou 
pur ceo qe li bref nestoit unqes sealie, ou pur ceo qe li fet 
ne se fist mie en sa juresdiccion ou en lu nient terminable 
illoec, ou por ceo qe li juge nad poer a conustre en la 
qualite ou la qwantite de la chose. 

Corr. nest. ' Corr. ou laccion est. 


brought into court,' or, * It does not authorise you to take 
cognisance of such or such a point ' ; or he may urge that 
the commission is vicious, and this it may be in divers 
ways, as if it be not sealed with the seal of the king's 
chancery, for to the king's privy seal, or the seal of the 
exchequer, or any other seal, save only the seal that is 
appointed to be known by the commonalty of the people, 
one is not bound (more particularly in the matter of juris- 
diction and original writs) to render obedience touching 
the laws and usages of the realm, but only in such matters 
as concern the king. Or it may be vicious because the 
seal is counterfeit or otherwise falsified, or because the king 
is not named in the writ or does not attest the writ, and yet 
is not outside his realm nor in ward ; or because the writ 
makes mention of a summons or citation where the action 
is personal, or of an attachment where the action is real or 
mixed ; or because the seal is not firm on the parchment, 
but can be removed and replaced at will ; or because the 
writ was purchased too soon or too late ; or because there 
is in it a rasure or an interlineation or a diversity of hand- 
writing or of phraseology, or because there is false Latin ; 
or because it is written on paper or on a forbidden kind of 
parchment ; or because a default is found in the writ such 
as an omission or transposition of a word, syllable, or clause, 
as is the case with abateable writs ; or because the king 
died before the writ was commenced ; or because the power 
thereby delegated has been revoked ; or because the writ 
states falsely the day of its date ; or because the commis- 
sion requires the commissioner to associate with himself 
some man who is not present ; or because the writ has 
never been sealed ; or because the deed was done without 
the jurisdiction or in such a place that the question cannot 
be there determined ; or because the quality or quantity of 
the matter in debate is beyond the cognisance of the judge. 


Ch. VII. Excepcion a la Persone le Jnge. 

Tut soit li bref convenable e li poer suffisant, uncore 
tenent lu excepcions dilatoires a la persone le juge, sicom 
est de celes persones qe ne poent estre juges. 

Ch. VIII. Excepcion del Tens. 

Autres dilatoires sunt del tens, de lus, de houres, des 
ma,nerea. E notez iij. maneres de tenz exempz aplez, ces 
queux nul proces cedunt e court ' ne jugement rendu nest 
estable, tut soi assentent parties. Dunt les ij. tens sunt 
defendu de droit e li tierz de la voluntie le Eoi. Lun tent ^ 
cowtient ij. mois aust e setumbre qe sunt assignez pur 
cueiller les fruiz des bles. Lautre tens contient les feirez 
e les dimenchez qe sont assignez a festir pur dieu honurer 
e les seinz, les qeles festes sont cestes les jours de Noel, de 
seint Estevene, de seint silvestre, de la tiffanie,^ de la 
purificacioun noire dame, de pasches ovesqe tut la simeine, 
des Roveisows qe contienent iij. jours, de Lassencion, de la 
pentecuste, de la Nativite de sein John le baptistre, de xij. 
Apostres, de seint Lorenz, de lasumpcion la mere dieu, e sa 
nativitie, de seint michel, de tuz seinz, e de seint martin 
oveqes celes festes qe touz qe qes * tenent festivables en lur 
eveschies par si qe eles soient canonizees, estre ces les jours 
de reliqes, de la jurciacion* de la mere deu e de sa con- 
cepcion e del invencion de la croiz. E notez qe de ceo qe 
dieu comaunda seintilier le sabbat fet atenir apres la 
Resureccion qe len sentefie les dimenges. Li tierz tens est 
deffendu par la proteccion le Roi. 

Des houres purrent sourdre dilatoires, car apres loure de 
noune ne nutantre ne se tient nul plee estable. 

' nul parties sedent en court. Houard and 1642. 

* Corr. tens, ' Corr. Epiphanie. 

* Corr. levesqes. * Corr. Annunciacion. 


Ch. VII. Exception to the Person of the Judge. 

Albeit the writ is in due form and the power sufficient, 
still there are dilatory exceptions to the person of the judge, 
as is the case with such persons as ought not to be judges. 

Ch. VIII. Exceptions founded on Time. 

Other dilatory exceptions are founded on time, place, 
hour, manner. And note that there are three kinds of 
times which are exempt from pleading, during which no 
process runs,' and if a judgment be given, it is not valid, 
albeit the parties agree to the contrary. Two of these 
seasons are forbidden by law and the third by the king's 
will. The one season contains the two months of August 
and September, which are appointed for the harvest. The 
other season comprises the festivals and Sundays, which 
are appointed for feasting in honour of God and His saints, 
which festivals are these— the days of Christmas, S. Stephen, 
S. Sylvester, the Epiphany, the Purification of Our Lady, 
Easter with the whole week, the Rogations, which comprise 
three days, the Ascension, Pentecost, the Nativity of S. John 
Baptist, the twelve Apostles, S. Lawrence, the Assumption of 
the Mother of God, her Nativity, S. Michael, All Saints, and 
S. Martin, with those feasts which all bishops observe in 
their bishoprics provided they be canonised ; also the day 
of the Eelics, the Annunciation of the Mother of God and 
her Conception, and the Invention of the Holy Cross. And 
note that because God commanded men to keep holy the 
Sabbath day, it behoves us after the Resurrection to keep 
Sundays holy. The third season is that banned by the 
king's protection. 

Exception may be taken to the hour, for after the hour 
of noon or by night no one can hold plea so that it will be 

' Translation doubtful. 


Ch. IX. Excepcion de Lu. 

De la manere nessent dilatoires, car en chevachant ne 
alant, nen tavernes ne aillours forqe en lu comun conu 
pitr consistoire ne se poet fere nule court. 

Cli. X. Excepcion a la Persone del Actour. 

Autres excepcions dilatoires nessent des persones de 
ascuns actours, sicom est de ceux qi sunt rebotables daccuse- 

Autres excepcions dilatoires accrescent des persones de 
contours, ou des attornez, ou des assoneours, car nul ne 
poet fere par attorne qe par li mesmes ne poet, ne nul ne 
poet estre essoneour, attorne, ne contour, qe ne purra estre 

Ch. XI. Excepcion de Priso7i e de Garde. 

Ou U purra exceppir de sa persone demeine e dire qil 
nest mie de son lige poer, cum sil soit en prison pur greignur 
pecchie, ou en bail, ou appelle ou endite de crim ou de plus 
haut crim. ; ou il purra dire qil nest mie tenu a respondre 
a ceste,^ desicom il nest mie mene en jugeme?it par droit 
ordre qe voet qe nul ne soit destreint par le cors tant cum 
il est destreignable par fieu ou par autres biens si non p%r 
personel pecchie. 

Ou il purra dire qil nest mie tenu a respoundre a nul 
accion qe touche perte de vie ou de menbre, ou droit de 
proprietie, jesqes ataunt qil soit plenereme?it de eage de 
xxij. 2 ans ou de plus. E autres dilatoires sunt des persones 
des respons dunt avant piert. 

Supply accion. ' Corr. xxj. 


Ch. IX, Exceptions to the Place. 

Dilatory exceptions may arise from the mode of holding 
the court, for none can be held by those who are riding or 
walking ; it must not be held in a tavern or elsewhere 
than in a place which is publicly known as a consistory. 

Ch. X. Exceptions to the Person of the Plaintiff. 

Other dilatory exceptions are founded on the personality 
of certain plaintiffs, as is the case of those who may be 
rebutted from accusations. 

Other dilatory exceptions are against the persons of the 
pleaders, attornies, essoiners, for no one may do by 
attorney what he cannot do in person, and no one can be 
a pleader, attorney, or essoiner who cannot be a plaintiff. 

Ch. XI. Exceptions founded on Imprisonment and Wardship. 

Or one may find matter for an exception in one's own 
person, and say that one has not liege power over oneself, 
as if one be in prison for a sin greater than that now 
charged against one, or in bail, or appealed or indicted of 
a crime or of a higher crime ; or one may say that one is 
not bound to answer to this charge because one has not 
been brought into court by due process, and due process 
requires that one shall not be distrained by one's body so 
long as one is distrainable by one's fee or other goods, unless 
it be for a personal sin. 

Or one may say that one is not bound to answer to any 
action which touches loss of life or member, or the right of 
property, until one is of the full age of twenty-one years or 
upwards. And there are other dilatory [exceptions] founded 
on the personaUty of the respondents, as appears above. 


Ch. XII. Excepcion de Somotises. 

En plez de somounse purra il dire qil ne deit mie 
respondre, pwr ceo qe lactour ne tient sute ne desresne 
nautre manere de p?'oeve nad present, ou pur ceo qe lactour 
nad trovie nule sieurte a siure sa pleinte ; ou pur ceo qe il 
ne fu point somons, ou nient renablement somons de ci qil 
ne recust la somonse pa?- nule franc hom???e ou forqe parun 
franc hom?ne ; ou pwr ceo qil en fu somons trop tart, ou 
pwr ceo qil ne fu mie somons al fieu, ou p?/r ceo qil nestoit 
unqe garni sur quele chose respondre ; ou pwr ceo qil nestoit 
unq<? somons ver tiel actour. 

Ch. XIII. Excepcions de Vicious Countcs. 

Sicum briefs viciouses sunt abatables aussi sunt vicious 
appealx ; cum si appel ne seit comwe?tce de dienz Ian de la 
felonie fete, ou nient devawt coroner, ou nient el countie ou 
li pecchie se fist, ou nient en lu du. Ou par variance, ou 
par defaute daffermeure del appel ; ou par omission, ou par 
inte7Tupcion ; ou pur ceo qe lactour defailli de son appel 
vers autres en meme lappel. 

Ascune foiz avient qe chose robbe ou emble eatrove en 
la possession de loial home ver qi le seignur de la propetie, 
ou de la possession, fet a soun appeal, cum celi qe ne siet 
autre robbour ou lierre de la chose. En quel cas destinctez, 
car si tiel possessour troeve qi li ' dona vendi ou bailla la 
chose, e cist avouue la chose sanz collusion, en tel cas est 
11 possessour quite ou al meins plevissable jequis a la venue 
des justices ; e issi de plusours mesnes ieqes al drein, e cist 
est tenable jesqes a son jugement. E qnant justices ven- 
drent li pn'mer possessour ensoit pnmes arresonie, e cist 
die coment il li avient ; sil voille voucher neqedent a garant 
ne poet il mie, ne adire le title de sa possession a pcrsonele 

' que a lui on. Houard. 


Ch. XII. . Exceptions to Summonses. 

In a plea commenced by summons one may say that 
one need not answer, because the plaintifif has no suit or 
deraignment or other manner of proof at hand, or because 
the plaintiff has not found surety to prosecute his plaint ; 
or because one was not summoned, or not reasonably sum- 
moned, since one did not receive the summons from a free 
man, or received it from but one free man ; or because one 
was summoned too late, or because one was not summoned 
upon the fee in question ; or because one had no notice of 
the matter to which one was to answer ; or because one 
was never summoned in respect of such plaintiff. 

Ch. XIII. Exceptions to Vicious Counts. 

As vicious writs are abateable, so also are vicious 
appeals ; as if an appeal be not commenced within a year 
after the felony was done, or be not commenced before the 
coroner, or not in the county where the sin was done, 01" 
not at a proper place. Or, again, because of a variance or 
a want of affirmation in the appeal ; or because of an 
omission or an interruption ; or because the plaintiff has 
in the same appeal made default against other appellees. 

Sometimes it happens that a thing that has been robbed 
or stolen is found in the possession of a lawful man against 
whom the lord of the property or of the possession makes 
his appeal, alleging that he knows no other robber or thief 
of that thing. In such case we must distinguish, for if 
such a possessor alleges that the accuser gave or sold or 
bailed the thing to him, and avows the thing without collu- 
sion, then the possessor is quit or at least plevisable until 
the coming of the justices; and so of several mesne [owners] 
up to the last, and he must abide his judgment. And when 
the justices come the first possessor must be first arraigned, 
and he must say how the thing came to him ; but though 
he may wish to vouch to warranty he cannot do this, and 
no law compels him in a personal suit to plead the title by 


Bute ne li chace?-a nule lei; mes el noun de voucher purra il 
dire qil ad defendour e qe il i avint par ascun loial title, 
sicom par achat en tiel mar.chie ou en tiel autre lu sanz 
moteier de qi, sil ne sache ou ne voil de dire de qi. En quel 
cas fet a maunder al viscounte del lu de fere venir jurours ; 
e si li respons soit trove verroi quites en jert, e si non si est 
dampnable aussi avant cnm si lactour eust la felonie provee. 
E si ascun se met avant, e avoe la chose estre sue, ])ur ceo 
nest il mie tantost recevable cum partie. einz jert primes la 
cause triable par entre les primers qe sen firent ipur tieux ; 
e pus se face lestraunge partie sil voille. E si lachat par 
cas se fist en lu enfranchi, e li viscounte de lu retorne qe 
il ne poeit fere lexecution del bref p!/r la franchise de tiel 
homme ou de tiel lu, einz manda son retour al seignur ou 
as baillifs de tiele franchise qi rien nen firent, en tieux caa 
fet amaunder al \icecoimte qil nel lesse p?/r la f^-anchise qil 
ni entre e face lexecucion : e si li possessour die qe il i avient 
par ascun ce?-tein hovame e celi soit present qe voille el 
defens sanz collusion soit a ceo resceu, elautre en ancquites.* 
E sil dedie le contract cele affirmature e cele negative sunt 
terminables par bataille ou juree. A la sute neqedent le Eoi, 
covient al possessour moustier title de sa possession ou de 
senpurgir, car ij. choses no7(s sunt necessaires conscience ptw 
nous e fame vers autres. E ceo qest dist de la monstraunce 
del title de la possession, est tenable es cas ou faus brief ou 
fausse monoie, ou larcin, ou chose perdue trovie, ou addirre 
ou estraree ou autre mauveiste est trove a la suite le Eei, e 
tut soit qe li derrein possessour saquite de la felonie, si 
lactour neqedent proeve la chose estre sue com de sa pos- 
session ou de lautre emble, addirre, ou autremejit perdue 

en alia quite. Houa 


which he held possession ; but, by way of voucher, he may 
say that he has a defender and that he came by the thing 
in a lawful way, e.g. by purchase in such a market or other 
place, without saying from whom, if he does not know or 
does not wish to say. In this case the sheriff of the place 
must be bidden to cause jurors to come ; and if the answer 
be found true he will go quit, and if not he is to be con- 
demned just as though the plaintiff had proved the felony. 
And if any [third] person puts himself forward and avows 
the thing as his own, he is not at once to be received as a 
party, but in the first place the cause must be tried between 
those who have first made themselves parties to it ; and 
this done, let the stranger make himself a party if he 
pleases. And if the supposed sale took place within a 
liberty and the sheriff returns that he cannot execute the 
writ because of the franchise of such or such an honour or 
place, but has bidden the lord of the franchise or the bailiffs 
make a return and they have done nothing, then the sheriff 
must be told * quod non omittat propter talem lihertatem,' but 
must enter and do execution. And if the possessor says 
that he came to the thing by the hand of such and such a 
man, whom he names, and that man be present, and will 
enter into the defence without collusion, then he shall be 
received to do this, and the other [the person originally 
accused] shall go quit. But if he [the third person] denies 
the alleged contract, then this affirmative and negative must 
be tried by battle or jury. Nevertheless, at the suit of the 
king, the possessor must plead his title to possession or 
must purge himself, for two things are necessary to us, 
conscience making for us and a good reputation among our 
neighbours. And what is said about showing title to pos- 
session holds good also when one is charged at the king's 
suit with having a forged writ or bad money, or stolen 
goods, or things that have been lost and found, or that 
have been mislaid, or that have strayed. And albeit that 
the last possessor acquits himself of the felony, nevertheless 
if the plaintiff proves that the thing is his as having been 
stolen, mislaid, or otherwise lost out of his possession, the 


voet droit qil recoere sa chose sanz chescun difficultie de 

Ou il purra aver excepcion dilatoire de vicious conte 
pax ' variance dentre les paroles del bref e la nature de 
laccion e le contie, ou com sil jeit omission de mot chargeant, 
ou sil met mot chargeant en countie, qe ne fet mie a 
pronu?icier en cele accion, sicom felonie en accion veniale. 

E sicom li defendant ad excepcion dilatoire de vicious 
contie abate, aussi ad lactour replicacion ver le defendant 
de vicious defens. Mes pur ceo qe nul nest remanable ne 
jugeable pur noun defendu en apeus de felonie, suffist a 
chescun defendre la felonie grossemewt, tut nen countre il 
piie en son defens chescun parole moteiee en lappel. E en 
cas venials ou les deffendanz rien ne dient en cxcusacion de 
ceo qe lem les met sus en jugement, sunt il jugeables e 
condempnables com noun defenduz, e en meme la manere 
est en cas ou len ne se defent mie duement ou nient 

Ch. XIV. Excepcions a Provours. 

A provour purra lem issi respondre — Sire, jeo sui loial 
homwie e a la foi le Eoi e plevi de francs pleges, e cist 
provour est feloun atteint par sa conoissaMwce e hors de la 
foi le Eoi, e par consequent hors de sa pees, par unt il ad 
perdu frarjche voiz e defet chescun droit e chescun action, 
si qe il nad mie persone recevable en nule accion, nient 
plus qe homrne utlaguie par jugement. Ou il purra dire qe 
il ne li deit mie respondre pur ceo qil nel appella mie en 
son pWmer appeal ou nient devant corouner. E si li pro- 
vour ne sei pusse eider par ceste replicacion, adire — qe 
lappelle soit enditee de meme le crim, ou ne puisse dire qil 
ne soit en ascune manere hors de la foi le Eoi, li defendant 
ne li iert ia tenuz a respondre, einz est livcrable as francz 
pleges par la ou il est en diseine, ou as autres meinpcrnours, 
tant qe il soit appelle ou enditee. 

' Corr. pur. 


law wills that he shall recover his thing without being 
compelled to pay for it. 

Again, we may have a dilatory exception to a vicious 
count on the ground of a variance between the words of th 
writ and the nature of the action and the count, as if t 
plaintiff omits a charging word, or puts into his count 
charging word which should not have been pronounced in 
that action, e.g. * feloily ' in a venial action. 

And as a defendant has a dilatory exception to abate a 
vicious count, so the plaintiff has a replication against the 
defendant for a vicious defence. But because, in an appeal 
of felony, no one ought to be treated or judged as undefended, 
it is enough for anyone to deny the felony compendiously, 
although he does not use in his defence every word that is 
set forth in the appeal. But in venial actions where the 
defendants say nothing by way of excuse against that which 
is surmised against them, they may be adjudged and con- 
demned as undefended, and the like is the case if one 
defends oneself improperly or insufficiently. 

Ch. XIV. Exceptions against A2)provers. 

To an approver one may answer thus : — * Sir, I am a 
lawful man and in the king's faith and pledged by frank 
pledges, and this approver is a felon attainted by confes- 
sion and outside the king's faith, and therefore outside the 
peace, so that he has lost his free voice and forfeited every 
right and every action, so that he has no persona that is 
receivable in any action, any more than has one who is 
outlawed by judgment.' Or one may say that he ought 
not to answer because he was not named in his accuser's 
first appeal nor before the coroner. And the defendant is 
not bound to answer, but is to be delivered to his frank 
pledges, if he be in a tithing, or to other mainpernors who 
will produce him if he be appealed or indicted, unless 
indeed the approver can aid himself by a replication to the 
effect that the appellee is indicted of the same crime or is 
in some manner outside the king's faith. 


Cli, XV. Excepcion a Enditementz. 

A enditemens unt lu cestes excepcions — Sire, jeo demant 
linspeccion del enditement par unt excepcions me purrewt 
encrestre, ver les persons des enditours e de la mawere de 
lenditement. Car serfs ne poewt enditer nul honi77ie. Ou 
sil lenditement ne seit fete par enterre duseine de francs 
homwes, ou par autres qe nul homme*ne poent enditer, ou si 
lenditement ne seit seale des seals des xii. jurours ou de plus, 
ne recordie de justice a ceo aucternee, ou si lenditement ne 
face mencion de fet especial, ou si lenditement ne jert este 
fet de denz Ian ou de creables genz e de bone fame, nest 
nul tenu a tel enditement respondre ; ne si lenditement 
neist este fet des veisins de meme le countie, ne si lendite- 
ment soit general, car esclaundre general ne defame nul 
hom?ne ne chace a respons, cum si lenditement soit tiel est 
homicide ou lierre ou mauveis, sanz dire de quel pecchie 
especial; car al veine voiz del people ne fet mie adoner 
entendement fei ne creance. 

Ou il purra dire qe justices errerent pus eele felonie fete 
ou rien fu motie de cest fet. 

Ch. XVI. Response a Traison. 

Dorling, ici, defent totes traisons e felonies e quanqe est 
countre la pees nostre seignur le Eoi. E quani a la con- 
sideracion' purra il dire issi — Sire, tut javeit il alliaunce par 
entre nous par homage en ascun tens, avant le tens neqe- 
dent qe il conte qe jeo duisse cele traison aver fete, li avere 
jeo rendu tut le fieu qe jeo ting de li, ou le perdi par juge- 
ment ou par disseisine qe lactour me fist, ou il meismes 
me assigna achevir a autre del tut. En quel cas se destrut 
la felonie e lactour est condempnable. 

Corr. confederation. 1642. 


Ch. XV. Exceptions to Indictments. 

To indictments there are these exceptions : — ' Sire, I 
crave an inspection of the indictment whereby exceptions 
may accrue to me, as to the person of the indictors and to 
the manner of the indictment.' For serfs can indict no 
one. Or if the indictment be not made by a complete 
dozen of free men, or be made by those who cannot indict 
anyone, or be not sealed with the seal of twelve or more 
jurors and put on record by a judge authorised thereto, or 
if the indictment make no mention of any particular deed, 
or be not made within the year and by credible folk of good 
fame, no one is bound to answer it ; nor if it be not made 
by neighbours of the same county, nor if it be in general 
words, for a general slander will not defame anyone nor 
force him to answer, as if the indictment be that such an 
one is a homicide, or a thief, or an evil doer, without saying 
what particular sin he has committed ; for to the empty 
voice of the people one must not give hearing, credence, or 

Or one may say that since the felony was committed " 
there has been an eyre of the justices in which nothing was 
alleged about it. 

Ch. XVI. Answer in a Case of Treason. 

Dorling, who is here, defends all treasons and felonies 
and all that is against the peace of our lord the king. And 
as regards the confederation, he may say thus : — ' Sir, 
albeit there was an alliance between us by homage at a cer- 
tain time, nevertheless at the time at which, according to 
his count, I was guilty of this treason, I had surrendered to 
him all the fee that I held of him,' or * had lost it by judg- 
ment,' or 'by a diseisin which the plaintiff did to me,' or 
' he himself assigned me over that I should acknowledge 
another as my immediate lord for the whole fee.' In which 
case the charge of felony is destroyed and the plaintiff is 
to be condemned. 


E q?/ant a la consicleracion ' par serement de feautie, 
purra il dire qe cele alliaunce defist lactour ver li en tiel 
point ou tiel. Ou issi — cele feautie issist de fieu dunt 
li defendant nen est point tenant ne en demeigne ne en 

E a la liaunce de curtoisie sen purra il dire qe tiel 
bienfet ne durra forqg al tens qe passa avant le tens nomie 
en lappel, car unke pus ne li paie rien de tele pension ou 
dautre curtoisie si par jugement non e maugre soen. Ou 
issi — avant le tens nomie en lappel li rendi il son escrit 
de cele pensioun ; ou la li relessa e quiteclama, par unt 
lalliaunee se defit. E^ quex cas jugement se fet pur le 

Ch.XVII. [DelArson.y 

Arson porra il dire qe laventure avient de mescheaunce 
e nient de felonie p«rpensee. 

Ch. XVIII. Darsoun e Homicide. 

Al apeal de homicide purra il dire qe laccion nappent 
mie a tele femme plentive desicom il nestoit mie occis en ces 
braz ne en sa seisine. Ou issi — Sire, cist actour ni ad nul 
accion, de sicom il jad autre plus proschein de sane, qi ad 
attame son appeal e ad persone recevable a accusement ; 
ou il purra dire qil nest mie tenu a respoundre en engletcrre 
p«r fet fet hors del Keaume, si now pur chose qe touche le 
droit le rei, cum de sa persone ou de son heritage ; nen lu 
privilegee ou li bref le Eoi ne court nient de fet fet el forein, 
ne se'' revers, ne en lu enfranchi de fet fet el gueldable, 
ne le revers. 

Ou il purra dire : — nent felonessement einz aventu- 
rousement, ou par loial jugement. Ou issi — nient countre 

' Corr. confederation. 1642. ' Corr. en. ' Not in MS. ■• Corr. le 


And as to the confederation by oath of fealty, he may 
^ay that the plaintiff undid the alliance between them 
at this or that point. Or he may say thus : — ' The fealty 
in question issued from a fee of which the defendant is not 
tenant either in demesne or in seignory.' 

And as to an alliance by courtesy, he may say, that the 
said benefit endured only for a time which had elapsed 
before the time named in the appeal, for never after that 
did the appellor pay him the pension or other courtesy save 
under stress of judgment and against his will. Or thus, 
that before the time set forth in the appeal the appellee 
surrendered to the appellor the writings that secured the 
said pension, or released or quitclaimed him, whereby the 
alliance was undone. In these cases there will be judg- 
ment for the defendant. 

Ch. XVII. Answer in a Case of Arson. 

To a charge of arson one may say that the event was 
the outcome of mischance and not of forethought felony. 

Ch. XVIII. Arson and Homicide. 

To an appeal of homicide he may say, that the action 
does not belong to the female plaintiff, since the dead man 
was not slain in her arms or in her seisin. Or thus : — 
' Sir, this plaintiff has no action, since there is one nearer 
in blood to the dead man who has entered his appeal and 
is the person to make the accusation.' Or he may say 
that he is not bound to answer in England for a deed done 
out of the realm unless it be for something that touches the 
right of the king, e.g. the king's person or heritage ; nor 
need he answer in a privileged place where the king's writ 
does not run for what was done outside its boundaries, nor 
vice versa, nor in a franchise for what was done in the 
geldable, nor vice versa. 

Or he can say : — ' not feloniously, but by misadventure, 
or by lawful judgment.' Or thus : — ' not against the peace 


la pees cmn futif ou cu?^ felon notoire ou emu cil qe nestoit 
mie a la pees le Eoi ne a sa fei el tens de sa occision. 

Ch. XIX. De Larcin. 

' Lappel de robberie ou de larcin porra il dire — qil fet 
atort cest appel, de sicom meme cesti actour sui meme 
laccion vers memes les persons venialment en fourme de 
trespas par devaunt tieux juges. E si ascun voille soun 
larcin coverer par avouerie de estrai ou de weif, en tiel cas 
covendra qe il moustre title allouable de cele franchise; 
mes cele excepcion est encontrable de cesti replicacion 
peremptoire — Sire, tiel avouerie ne li deit valer, pur ceo 
qil cele estrai ou weif ou trouveure enloigna meintenant, 
ou mucea, e vendi, ou occist ou le mist hors de la veuue e 
de la notice des veisins, ou il le dust aver pupplie par criees 
solempnes en marchie e moustrez joingnanz, e moustrie e 
tenu en lu commun par tut Ian entierement. 

Al excepcion de destresce, tient lu tele replicacion — 
Sire, tiele avouerie ne li deit valer, pur ceo qil nestoit mie 
baillif conu en cele hundred, ou pur ceo qil ne fist nient 
en manere de destresce, sico?^ nient en tens ne en houre 
due ne garant ne en moustra, einz nutantre, ou en tiele 
autre manere felonessement la robba ou embla, etc. E en 
meme la manere purra replicacion tenir lu contre robberie 
fete par colour de disseisine. 

Ch. XX. De Homsokne. 

A homsokne purra il dire qil entra ces tenemenz sanz 
felonie fere, e nient countre la pees, sico?/t el soen demeine 
e propre. 

' Supply A. 


Lilt as one slain while fleeing from justice, or as a notorious 
felon, or as one who when slain was not in the king's peace 
or in the king's faith.' 

Ch. XIX. Of Larceny. 

To the appeal of robbery or larceny he may say :— that 
wrongfully he makes this appeal, since he himself brought 
an action against the same persons venially in the form of 
trespass before such and such judges. And if anyone 
wishes to cover his larceny by avowing the goods as waif 
or stray, he ought to show a title to the franchise of waif 
and stray ; but this exception may be encountered by this 
peremptory replication : — * Sir, such an avowry ought not 
to avail, for that he at once renewed this estray, or waif, or 
those goods that had been found, or hid them, or sold or 
slew the beasts in question, or put them where no view or 
notice of them could be had by the neighbours, whereas 
he ought to have published the matter by solemn cry in 
the neighbouring markets and churches, and displayed and 
kept them in a public place for a whole year.' 

To the exception founded on a distress there is this 
replication : — * Sir, this avowry should not avail him, for 
he was not a known bailiff in this hundred,' or ' for he 
did it not in the way of distress, for he did not take the 
things at a proper season or hour, and he showed no 
warrant, but by night,' or in some other manner, 'he 
robbed or stole them feloniously,' &c. And in the same 
manner there may be a replication as to robbery done 
under colour of disseisin. 

Ch. XX. Of Hamsoken. 

To a charge of hamsoken he may say that he entered 
into the tenement without felony and not against the peace 
but as into his own demesne. 


Ch. XXL De Eaj). 

Al appel de rap purra il defendre la felonie e dire qe 
maugrie soen la poriust il mie, einz soi assenti qe bien 
parust par ceo qe ele conceust de li ameme loure, dautre 
part nule presumpcion ne sei moustra unke qil la prinst 
maugre soen par descirure de dras, ne par sane espandn, 
ne par Im cri levee, ne par autre evidence de violence. 

Ch. XXII. [^Den2)risonemc7it.y^ 

Lappel denpr/sonement purra il dire qil le fist par loial 
jugement de tel juge. Mes a tele excepcipn tient lu ceste 
replicaeion qe apres ceo qe garant li vint de li delive?-er, li 
retient il par le tens nome en lappel. 

Ch. XXIII. De Mahaim [e Plaiey 

Mahaim purra il defendre les moz defensables e deman- 
der ent la veuue, car de tiel endroit se purra il pleindre qe 
nul mahaim ne iert jugeable. E de lappel de plaie en meme 
la manere. 

Mort le Eoi soloit len clore les seax le Eoi, suspendre 
tuz plez, totes gaoles overer, nul justice, nul baillif ne nul 
ministre le Eoi se soloit mes de nul office entremettre par 
defaute de garawt ; e tuz utlaguiez, touz weives, e ceux 
qe aveint forjure le Eeaume e touz baniz soloient dune 
retourner, forp7'?s les exillez e baniz a touz jours. 

Si ascun recourt avant pur ceo nel appent mie detre 
courre sil ne voile justicier a la pees.^ E sil soit meni en 

' Not in MS. ceo ne luy appcndoit viy desire 

2 Supp. from 1642 and Houard. corue sil voiloit justifier a la peace. 

' Si ascun retonrnoit avant, piir Ilonard. 


Ch. XXI. Of Rape. 

In an appeal of rape he may defend the felony and say jA^^^^-MJ2^ <rf, 

,t he did not corrupt her against her will, but with her I 

that he did not corrupt her against her will, but with her 
assent, as fully appeared from this that she conceived a 
child by him at the same hour, and on the other hand no 
presumption arises that he took her against her will since 
there were no torn clothes, bloodshed, hue and cry, or 
other evidence of violence. 

Ch. XXII. Of Imprisonment. 

To an appeal of imprisonment he may say that what 
he did, he did by the lawful judgment of such a judge. 
But to this exception there is the replication that, after 
a warrant had come to him for the delivery of the appellor, 
he kept him in prison for the time named in the appeal. 

Ch. XXIII. Of Mayhem. 

In mayhem he may defend the words that have to be 
defended and crave a view of the wound, for the appellor 
may be complaining of a wound given to such a part of his 
body that it cannot be adjudged a mayhem. And so with 
an appeal of wounding. 

' On the king's death his seals are put away in safety, 
all pleas are suspended, all gaols opened ; no justice, bailiff, 
or minister of the king can discharge any duty, for his 
warrant fails him ; and all outlaws and waifs and those 
who have abjured or been banished from the realm, 
return, save those who have been exiled or banished for 

In case anyone returns before this, he is not therefor 
to be pursued unless he will not come mto the peace and 
submit to justice ; and if he be brought into court and 

' It is plain that here or here- the numeration of the chapters given 
aboutH a new chapter begins; but in tlic ohi edition. as rpferences may 
we have scrupled to interfere with have been made to it. 


jugement e soit encopie de utlagarie, si purra il dire qil est 
inlaguie par la chartre le Koi, ou il purra dire qe le 
utlaguerie ne li deit grever par la reson qil ne out mie lage 
xxj. an le jour del utlaguerie. E pur ceo qil nestoit mie 
utlagme pwr felonie, ou pur ceo qe la felonie ne se fist mie 
en tiel countie ; ou pur ceo qil ne fu mie utlaguie en 
engleterre, ou nient en la terre le Eoi ou son bref court ; 
car utlaguerie pronuncie sur hovame en levesche de Durham 
ou aillours en la terre ou le bres le Eoi ne court nient ne 
greve a nul qi demoert en la terre ou li bref le Eoi court, 
ne le revers ; ou pur ceo qe la felonie ne fist mie el tens de 
cesti Eoi, ou nient pus la dareine eire en tel countie ; ou 
pur ceo qe li proces del utlaguerie fu fausse ou par fans 
garant ou sanz garant ; ou pur ceo qil gust en langour de 
lessoigne de mal de lit ; ou pwr ceo qe cist est en pleine 
vie pur qi mort il fut utlaguie ; ou pur ceo qil fu en prison 
le jour de utlaguerie; ou pur ceo qil estoit el service le Eoi 
de ciel ver la terre de Jerusalim. ; ou el service le Eoi de 
la terre pur commun p^'ofit del reaume ; ou pur ceo qil 
estoit en la protection le Eoi ; ou pur ceo qil fu arragie de 
rage continuele, ou folnastre, ou sourd e mut, ou proffes en 
religion, en quex cas sil prie destre resceu a respons, il est 
a ceo recevable, e fet a demander al pleintif, ou fet atrier ' 
qe si nul sache dire pur quoi tel ne deit estre inlaguie qe il 
soit a certein jour sicom. 

Trestuz presens en jugement qi necessaires e sunt e les 
brefs lus en audience loriginal e le commission, die li 
pleintif la quantite ou la qualite de sa pleinte, e li disseisour 
ou lur baillifs dient chescun pur sei en ceste manere — II 
respont e dit pur li qil nad nul tort fet en nule disseisene 
ne rien nad es tenementz mis en la pleinte. E il respond 
en memo la manere, e issi de ceo e de autres requis ^ ataunt 
qe ce veigne al tenant en qi noun la disseisine fu fete, e celi 

' Corr. acrier. ^ Corr. jeques. 


accused of outlawry, he can say that he has been inlawed 
by the king's charter; or he can say that the outlawry 
should not hurt him, since he had not reached the age of 
twenty-one years on the day of the outlawry ; or that he 
was not outlawed for felony ; or that the felony was not 
done in that county; or that he was not outlawed in 
England, or not in the land of the king where his writ runs, 
(for an outlawry pronounced against a man in the bishopric 
of Durham or elsewhere in the lands where the king's writ 
does not run harms no one who dwells in the land where 
that writ does run, and vice versa) ; or because the felony 
was not done in the time of the king that now is, or was 
not done since the last eyre of the justices in such a county; 
or because the process of outlawry was false or upon a false 
warrant or without warrant ; or because he was lying sick 
in bed under an essoin de malo lecti ; or because the man 
for whose death he was outlawed is alive ; or because on 
the day of the outlawry he was in prison ; or because he 
was in the service of the King of heaven on his way to the 
land of Jerusalem, or in the service of the earthly king for 
the common good of the realm ; or because he was in the 
king's protection; or because he was mad with a continuous 
madness, or a born fool, or deaf and dumb, or professed in 
religion : in which cases if he prays to be received to answer, 
he is receivable, and then the question must be put to the 
plaintiff, or proclamation must be made that if anyone 
knows any cause why this man should not be inlawed, he 
must appear on a certain day. 

"When all necessary parties are present in court and the 
writs, the original writ and the justices' commission, have 
been read in their hearing, then the plaintiff must set forth 
the quantity and quality of his plaint, and then the 
disseisor or his bailiffs must, each for himself, make answer 
in this manner : — He answers and says for himself that he 
has done no tort and no disseisin, and has nothing in the 
tenements mentioned in the plaint. And so each one 
answers in the same way, until it comes to the tenant in 
whose name the distteisiu was done, and he may answer 



poet respondre e dire qil nest mie entre par disseisine einz 
est par D. qi lenfeffa qi point niest nomee el bref, e poez 
estre qe D, entra par E. issi purrewt estre plusours mesons * 
solum divers feoffmenz par entre le primer disseisour e le 
tenant, en queu cas nul voucher a garant tient lu pur le 
personel trespas ; e pur ceo sen garde chescun a fere 
contract de chose vicious e preigne tiel caucione tele sieurte 
el contract ou il puisse aver recours e recouvrir si li estovera 
la chose perdu, car poi de covoitise rent sovent damaious 
guerdoun. E pur ceo soleient les seignurs fere si bien garder 
lur fieus qe nul ni poieient entrer par entrusions ou par 
disseisines ou par autres vicious contractz, ne autrement 
sanz ceo qe les contractz ne fuissenl soulement ^ recordiz en 
lur pleners courz, parunt ne covendreit mie as seignurs de 
recetter lur enemis en lur fieus e prendre lur homage 
maugrie lur ; ne nul ne isoloit entreer einzces ' qe pleges 
fuissent trovez de restorer al purchaceour ou a ces heirs 
la chose ou la value, si par droit jugement li covenist pus 
la chose perdre par la pecchie le alienour ou par son noun 
poer de garantie. Al principal disseisour bosoigne bien 
aprendre garde si li pleintif mette trop en sa pleinte, si qe 
il ne respoigne forqe a cele qwantite qe il purra avouuer. 
II purra dire qe il iad variance entre loriginal e le comission, 
ou qe ascun bref est vicious. 

Contenu est el bref — pleintsestavotts.A.qc.B.E.; queles 
paroles lem purra cueiller excepcions sic, sicom en mesprision 
de nouns, ou de nouns sornouns, Bicom Eenaud pur Arnaud, 
Margerie pur Margarete e tieux autres. Ou il purra dire qe 
li bref est vicious par vices sournons, ou si les sournons de 
dignetiez ifaillent cum si evesqes, abbes, priours e autre 
prelatz seit disseisi del droit de sa dignetie, e il se pleint 
simplement de trespas fet a sa persone e nient a sa eglise 

Corr. mesnes (?). ^ Corr. solemnelment. Houard. ^ Corr. cim-ceo. 


and say that he entered not by disseisin but by the feoffment 
of one D. who is not named in the writ, and it may be that 
D. entered by E., and so there may be several mesne 
tenants by divers feoffments between the first disseisor and 
the now tenant ; but in this case there can be no voucher 
to warranty, because of the personal trespass ; and there- 
fore everyone should beware how he makes a contract 
touching a thing that is vicious, and should take such a 
security or pledge in the contract that he may, if need be, 
have a way of recovery open to him if he loses the thing, 
for a little covetousness often returns a hurtful reward. 
And for this reason lords are wont to guard their fees so 
well that no one may enter them by intrusions or disseisins 
or by other vicious contracts, or otherwise than by contracts 
which are solemnly recorded in the full courts of those 
lords, so that the lords may not be obliged to receive their 
enemies into their fees, or against their wills take the 
homage of their enemies ; and also it is usual that no one 
shall enter until pledges have been found to make restitution 
to the purchaser or his heirs of the thing or its value, in 
case by lawful judgment he shall afterwards lose the thing 
by the sin of the alienor or by his inability to warrant. 
The person charged as a principal disseisor should take 
good care that the plaintiff does not put too much land 
into his plaint, so that he, the defendant, does not answer 
for a larger quantity than he can avow. He can say that 
there is a variance between the original writ and the 
justices' commission, or that there is some vice in one of 
the writs. 

In the writ it is said : — * A . complains to yon that B.E.'; 
— to these words an exception may be taken on the score of 
a mistake in names or surnames, as if Reynold be put for 
Arnold, or Margery for Margaret, or the like. Or he may 
say that the writ is vicious because of a flaw in the sur- 
names, or the omission of titles of dignity. Thus if a 
bishop, abbot, prior, or other prelate be disseised in right 
of his dignity and complains simply of a trespass done 
to his person and not to his church or dignity, and speaks 

F 2 


ou dignete en ceste manere : pleint cest a vous A. simple- 
ment, ou il dust dire pleint cest a vows A. evesqe de Londres, 
e aussi est des disseisours. 

Ou il purra dire qe li bref est vicious, pur ceo qe li pleintif 
qe soul est en la pleinte, nad nule accion si non pur autre 
persone qe point nest nomie el bref; ou il purra estre 
vicious si contenu soit el bref disseisivit eum, ou dust estre 
disseisivit earn ou eos, ou dust estre eum ou earn ou le 

Contenu est el bref a tort e sanz jugement ecei., a ceo 
poet lem dire qe nient atort mes adroit sicom rebotant 
ou freschement engetaunt autri force. 

E notez qe lem poet estre disseisi a tort e sanz jugement, 
e a tort e par jugement, com est de ceux qi sunt deseisis de 
lur franc tenement par justices qi a ceo fere nwwt nule 
juresdiction, e forjugent neqedent homme estre engete de sa 
possession. E len poet disseisi a droit e sanz jugement 
cum es cas avandiz. E estre ceo a dreit e par jugement. 
E de ceo sourdent excepcions ; issi nient sanz jugement 
mes par jugement, e ceo poet estre ou par jugement des 
juges commissaires, ou de juges ordenaires cum sunt 

Dautre part purrent briefs estre vicious par mesprison 
des nons des villes, com si hamelez soit nomee pur ville, ou 
si la ville ne soit adroit nomee, ou si la ville ne soit destincte 
ou ij. semblables nons de villes sunt en j. countie. 

E de eel mot pus le terme purrent sourdre excepcions 
cum si ne mie pus le terme. 

Destresce purra il avoer pur arrerages de pension ou de 
especial obligacion, sauve qil neit fet nul tort, ou pur ceo 
qe autre brief de meme laccion est uncore pendant entre 
meme les parties. Ou il purra dire qe a tort se pleint 


thus : * A. complains to you,' whereas in this case he should 
have said ' A., Bishop of London, complains to you ' ; and 
so it is with the names of the disseisors. 

Or he may say that the writ is vicious, for that the 
plaintiff who is named in the plaint as sole plaintiff has no 
action unless it be in right of another who is not named 
in the writ ; or because the writ says * disseisivit eum,' 
where it ought to have said ' disseisivit eam ' or * eos,' 
or that it should have said not ' eam ' but * eum,' or vice 

And the writ says * injuste et sine judicio ' ; and to this 
one may say ' not wrongfully, but rightfully as one who was 
repelling the violence of another or making a speedy re- 

And note that one may be disseised 'injuste et sine 
judicio,' or * injuste ' but not * sine judicio,' as is the case of 
those who are disseised of their freehold by justices who 
have no warrant to do this, but nevertheless adjudge that 
a man be ejected from his possession. And one may be 
disseised 'juste ' but * sine judicio,' as in the cases [of speedy 
re-ejectment] mentioned above. Or again it may be both 
'juste ' and ' per judicium.' And out of this exceptions 
may arise ; thus — ' not sine judicio but per judicium,' and 
this may be by the judgment of judges delegate or of 
judges ordinary, such as are the suitors of a court. 

Again, a writ may be vicious because of the misnomer of 
the vill, as if a hamlet be called a vill, or a vill bo not rightly 
named, or if the vill be not distinguished where there are 
two vills of the same name in one county. 

And an exception may arise out of the words ' infra 
terminum,' if the disseisin took place before the term of 

A distress one may avow as having been made for the 
arrears of a pension or under an obligation by specialty, but 
with the saving clause that one has done no tort. [And an 
exception may be taken] because another writ in the same 
action is pending between the same parties. Or the tenant 
may say that the plaintiff complains wrongfully, because 



desicom a sa pleinte demeine perdi meme le tenement par 
loial jugement vers meme le tenant, ou de sicom il ad 
relesse e quiteclamie tut son droit ameme le tenant ou 
autrement ' ratifie son estat, ou pwr ceo qil se retret autre- 
foiz de sa accion par devant tieux juges. 

En eides des memoires des genz sunt escriz, chartres, e 
monumenz mout necessaires pur tesmoigner les conditions 
e les poinz des contracz par lestatut LeuthfL-ed,^ qe ordena 
qe len put defendre ledenges diz e contractz des suz estuz, 
e miz par sa lei.^ E qe actours prouassent lur escriz ou 
lur chartres dedites e nient p?'ouables par jurours en 
engleterre, por foreinz contractz ou de lus enf?'anchis ou 
aillours, ou le bref ne court nient par copie e coUacion de 
autres seals, ou par jurours ou par bataille solom laccion 
des actours. 

Pur doner matire e voie a excepcions en eide de res- 
poneurs, bon est assavoir le terme e la limitacion des 
accions e des pleez, par si qe pleez preignent fin, e -pur ceo 
furent ordene prescripcions e usucapcions. Duwt Thurmod 
ordena qe accions cnminales a siure vengeaunce cessent a 
la fin de primer an, si avant ne soient attamez, e-meme le 
terme assigna il en accions de wrec, weif, estrai, e de chose 
perdue, car as veillanz soulement eide droit. En personeles 
accions veniales dona il le te^Tue pus la derreine eire en teles 
pav'ties, en reales accions e mixtes dona il xl. ans de te?Tiie. 
Al Eei neqedent q^ant al dreit de la coroune ne a franc 
estat, ne poet nul tens encourre. 

Al accion daccounte purra il dire qil nestoit unqe soun 
recevour, ne administrour de ses doners ne de ces biens, 
dunt il li soit tenu dacounte rendre, e qe il recust de li souz 
le title demprwmt e duwt il li fist escrtst de rendre a termes 
certeines. Ou issi — tut fut il son recevour ou administrour 

' ou autrement occurs twice in contracts des cas et moyens per sa 

MS. ley. Houard. Perhaps estuz should 

2 d' Alfred. Houard. be escriz ; but we are unable to re- 

' Que Von voit deffeiidre diis et store this passage. 


the plaintiff on his own plaint has already by a lawful 
judgment lost this land to the tenant, or has released or 
quitclaimed all his right to the tenant, or otherwise ratified 
the tenant's estate, or on a previous occasion withdrew from 
his action before such and such judges. 

' By way of aid for men's memory, writings, charters 
and muniments are very necessary to testify the conditions 
and the terms of contracts under a statute of Leuthfred, who 
ordained that one might deny . . . sayings and contracts 
... by making one's law,^ and that plaintiffs should prove 
their writings or charters when these have been traversed 
and cannot be proved by jurors in England, being contracts 
made in foreign parts or in franchises, or elsewhere where 
the king's writ does not run, either by jurors or by battle, 
according to the nature of the plaintiff's action, and not by 
copies or a collation of other seals. 

In order to provide matter for respondents who are in 
search of exceptions, it is well to know the periods of limi- 
tation for actions and pleas, that so pleas may find their 
limits, and for this purpose prescriptions and usucapions 
were ordained. And about this matter Thurmod ordained 
that criminal actions in pursuit of vengeance should cease 
at the end of the first year, if they were not entered before 
that period, and he assigned the same period in actions for 
wreck, waif, estray and lost goods, for * vigilantibus ' only 
will the law aid. In personal venial actions he fixed the last 
eyre in those parts as a term of limitation, and in real and 
mixed actions he allowed forty years. But time does not 
run against the king in respect of the rights of the crown 
or his &ce estate. 

In an action of account, he may say that he never was 
the plaintiff's receiver, nor the administrator of his money 
and goods, so as to be bound to account, and that what he 
received he received by title of loan and under a writing 
which provided for redelivery at a time certain. Or thus : 
— 'Albeit he was the plaintiff's receiver or administrator 

' This parafsraph occurs again ; ' The text as it stands is unintel- 
sec lY. 0. xxvii. ligiblc. 



en France ou aillurs hors del reaume, ou* en lu enfranchi, 
pur ceo ne li est il nient plus tenu daeounte rendre el reaume 
ou li bref le Eol court, ou el gueldable qe le re vers. 

Ou il purra dire qe li bref eat vicious par fausse supposi- 
cion, e suppose faussement le defendant estre futif e estre 
ceo nient fieu tenant en la baillie celi a qi li bref est maunde. 
Ou il ne li est tenu en nul acounte, de si qe il nestoit 
unqe son recevour forqe de mein en goule, e de cotidiene 
receite tendi cotidien acounte, ou riew ne despendu nacata 
forqe a la veuue del actour ou des soens. Ou, pur ceo qe 
lactour est seisi des tallies e des roulles e de quanqe valleit 
purreit al defendant daeounte rendre. Ou, pur ceo qil en 
ad aquitaunce. Ou pur ceo qil nestoit unqe gardein de son 
heritage cum son gardein, einz fu gardein cum de sa chose 
p?'opre durant de tens cum celi a qi la garde del fieu 
appendi de droit, quel fieu qe ceo fust socage ou autre. 

Accion de naifte purra il dire qe il est franc e sil la 
proeve adunqe ou autre foiz par bref de sa franchise prover, 
si iert quite del chaleng del actour a tuz jours si renable 
replicacion nel encountre. E quant a seisine de villeins 
services, porra il dire qe tieux services li fet atort e par 
extorsions e durescea de li e de ces baillifs, ou pur le servage 
del villenage e del villein fieu qe il tient de li e ne mie par 
servage de son sane. E notez ij. choses : lune qe si le de- 
fendant puisse moustrer franc cep de ces auncestres en la 
concepcion ou en la nativite, ou pus, li defendant iert 
tenable pur franc a touz jours, tut isoient presens pere, e 
mere, frere, e cosins e touz son parentie qe se conoissent 
estre serfs al actour e tesmoignent le defendant estre serf ; 
lautre notabilite est qe nient plus ne fet lunge tenure de 
villenage franc homrwe serf qe,longe tenure de franc fieu ne 


in France or elsewhere out of the realm or within some 
franchise, he is not bound to render an account in this 
realm, or where the king's writ runs, or in the geldable, 
and vice versa. 

Or one can say that the writ is vicious because of a 
false Bupposal, in that it falsely supposes the defendant to 
be a fugitive and also no fee tenant within the bailiwick of 
him to whom the writ is sent. Or again, that he is not 
bound to account, for that one was only the plaintiffs 
receiver from hand to mouth and rendered daily account 
of daily receipts, or spent and bought nothing save under 
the eyes of the plaintiff or of his folk. Or, for that the 
plaintiff is seised of the tallies and rolls and all that would 
enable the defendant to render an account. Or, because 
the defendant has an acquittance. Or, because he never 
was guardian of the plaintiffs inheritance as being the 
plaintiffs guardian, but was guardian of the thing as of 
his own proper thing during the time in question as he 
to whom the wardship of the fee belonged by right, whether 
that fee were socage or otherwise. 

' In an action of naifty, the defendant may say that he is 
free, and if he proves this now or on another occasion by 
writ de libertate probanda, then he is quit for ever from all 
claim on the part of the plaintiff, unless some reasonable 
exception encounters him. And as to the seisin of villain 
services, he may say that these services he did wrongfully 
and under the extortion and duress of the plaintiff and his 
bailiffs, or by way of the services due from the villainage or 
villain fee that he held of the plaintiff, and not by reason of 
any serfage in his blood. And note two things : first, that 
if the defendant can show a free stock among his Euicestors 
at his conception, or his birth, or afterwards, he is ac- 
counted a free man for ever, although there be present his 
father, mother, brothers, cousins, and all his kindred, who 
confess themselves to be the plaintiffs serfs and testify that 
the defendant is a serf ; secondly, that long tenure of vil- 
lainage will not make a serf out of a free man any more 
than long tenure of a free fee will make a free man out of 


fet homme serf franc, car franchise ne se defet jammes par 
presenpscion de tens. 

Proeve dediz desdiz se font en plusours maneres, asciine 
foiz par recordz, ascune foiz par batailles, ascune foiz par 
tesmoins, ascune foiz par confessions des parties adverses. 

Par recorz cum en cas ou parties sassentent en ascun 
enroullement, ou el dit dacun juge ordenaire ou assigne. 

Par bataille, car sur le garaunt del combat qe se prist 
jadis par entre David pur le peopel de isrel dune part, e 
Golie pwr les philistiens dautre part nostre sire Dieu, est ' 
usage tenu pur lei en engleterre issi qe proeve de felonie e 
en autres cas se face par cumbat. Se diverse solom les 
diversetez daccions, car sicom il iad personele accion e 
reale, aussi ad il personel combat e real — personel en per- 
soneles accions, real en reales. E ces combatz diversent, 
en tant qe en personeles cumbat pur felonie ne poez nul 
combatre pur autre, en personeles accions neqedent veniales 
list as actours de fere les batailles pur ^ lur cors ou par loial 
tesmoiner, dendreit reales combatz pur ceo qe nul ne poet 
estre tesmoin de li memes e nul nest recevable a desrener 
son roial ^ droit demeine, covient qe tieux combatz se facent 
pur les actours par tesmoins, les defendanz neqedent pur- 
rent lur droit demeine defendre par lur cors demeine, ou 
par les cors de lur francs hommes. E estre ceo diversement 
en taunt qe en appeaux ne poet nul cumbatre pur autre, 
mes en reales accions est autrement, car si lune des pa?-ties 
meschece qe ele ne puisse combatre son fiz einzne legitime 
purea '' fere la bataille pur li. 

Cumbat est bataille de ij. hommes, suffert ^ a monstrance 
de verite, issi qe victoire isoit tenue pur proeve. Cumbaz 
se font en plus des cas qe en felonies, car il se funt en 
plusours faussetez atteindre, cum si ascun meit fet ascune 
faussetie en fet ou en dit, dunt il soit appelie ou enpecche 
en jugement, sil le dedie, a mei list de prover cele accion 

' Corr. cest. * Corr. purra. 

* Corr. par. » Corr. stiffist (?). 

' Corr. real. 


a serf, for freedom is never destroyed by prescription of 

Proofs of controverted statements are given in divers 
ways, sometimes by record, sometimes by battle, sometimes 
by witnesses, sometimes by the confession of the adverse 

(i.) By record, as if the parties have assented to some 
enrolment, or to the award of some judge ordinary or 

(ii.) By battle, for this usage is held for law in England 
by the warrant of our Lord God in the matter of the battle 
joined between David on behalf of the people of Israel of 
the one part, and Goliath on the part of the Philistines of 
the other part, so that proof in cases of felony and in other 
cases is made by combat. But there are distinctions to be 
drawn according to the diversity of actions, for as there are 
personal and real actions, so there are personal and real 
combats — personal combats in personal actions, real in 
real. And these combats differ thus : in personal combats 
for felony no one can fight for another, though in venial 
personal actions it is lawful for a plaintiff to do battle by 
the body of a lawful witness ; but in the case of real 
combats, because no one can be a witness on his own be- 
half and no one can be allowed to deraign his own real 
right, it is right that such combats should be fought on the 
plaintiff's part by a witness, but a defendant may never- 
theless defend his own right by his own body or by the 
body of a free man of his. And there is this further dif- 
ference that in appeals no one can fight in the stead of 
another, but in real actions it is otherwise, for if a mis- 
chance happens to one of the parties so that he cannot 
fight, his eldest legitimate son may do battle for him. 

Combat is a battle between two men, and this suffices 
to prove the truth, in that victory is accounted proof. 
Battles are joined in other cases besides felonies, for they are 
used for the attainting of various falsehoods, for if anyone 
has done me any falsehood in deed or in word, and if this 
is appealed or impeached in court, then if he denies it, I can 


par jurours, ou par mon cors, ou par le cors de .j. testmoin. 
E si ceo Boit de faus jugement de plusours adunc appent la 
proeve soulement ver le pronunciour del jugement pur tote 
la court e aussi en cas ou \ous dediez vostre don, bailie, 
vente, plegeage, escrit, seal ou autre manere de contract ou 
dist qe vous delates ou fet qe vous feistes. 

Des qualites des causes neqedent destinctez, car en 
appeals de felonie ne poet nul combatre pur autre sicom est 
dit, mes en venales causes tut seit qe ascun seit occis de 
bataille pur ceo ne fet il nul homicide aconter, einz soleint 
tieux vencuz ou lur cliens pur eus rendre as cumbatanz 
vencanz .Ix. en nom de recreantise e maille pur la borse a 
mettre einz ces deners, estre le jugement sur le principal. 
Es cas ou bataille ne se poet joindre ne nul tesmoinage 
nestoit, se soloient genz eider en personeles accions par les 
miracles dieu, en ceste manere — si li defendant fu femme 
ou tiel pur qi condicion bataille ne se poet joindre, e lactour 
nout point de testmoins a prover sa accion, adunqe estoit 
en le leccioun del defendour a purgir sa fame par la miracle 
dieu, ou doner la proeve sil ' actour. E es cas revers 
appendi la proeve soulement al actour. Al jour de la proeve 
ou de la purgacion, apres la beneiceon e la maleiceon, le 
p?*estre revestu des garnemenz de la messe, e apres les 
s<"remenz des parties, soloit len a gardir a la partie e la 
porter a la mie mein une pece de fer flaumbant sil fust 
f7*anc homwe, ou de mettre la mein ou le pie en euue 
boillant sil ne fu franc, ou tele autre chose a fere qe impos- 
sible smoit a fere sanz la miracle dieu, e cil ne se blesseast, 
la diverse partie remeindroit cum atteint. Mes seinte 
crestiene qe ne soeffre mie qe dieu soit par tiez acorz si len 

Entre totes genz ne se joint mie bataille, car ele ne se 
joint forqe par entre parigals, ne uncore nient entre touz 

' Corr. aZ. ' ;par tiels a torts silun jpoet avoider mctrement. 1642. 


prove against him by jurors, or by my body, or by the body 
of a witness. And if my complaint be of a false judgment 
given by more than one, then I need prove this only against 
him who pronounced the judgment on behalf of the court. 
And so if you deny your gift, bailment, sale, pledge, writing, 
seal, or other contract or speech or deed said or done by you. 

Nevertheless we must draw a distinction as regards the 
quality of causes, for, as already said, in appeals of felony 
no one can fight for another, but in venial cases, although 
one be slain in the battle, for all that no homicide is 
considered to have been committed, but those who are 
vanquished or their clients for them are .wont to render to 
the vanquishers sixty shillings in the name of ' recreancy ' 
and a halfpenny for a purse to put this money in, and 
besides this there is judgment against the principal. In 
a case in which battle cannot be joined and there is no 
witness, men used to have recourse in personal actions to 
the miracles of God, in this manner : — if the defendant was 
a woman or of such condition that battle could not be 
joined and the plaintiff had no witnesses to prove his case, 
then it was at the election of the defendant to purge his 
fame by the miracle of God or to concede the proof to the 
plaintiff. And in the reverse case [where the plaintiff could 
not fight] the proof [by ordeal] belonged to the plaintiff 
only. On the day of the proof or purgation, after the 
benediction and malediction by the priest robed in his mass 
vestments, and after the oaths of the parties, the practice 
was to keep the party in ward ' and to place in the middle 
of his hand a piece of red-hot iron, in case he was a free 
man, or if he were not a free man then to put his hand or 
foot in boiling water — or something else that it was impos- 
sible for him to do without a miracle of God, and if he 
suffered no harm, the adverse party remained as one 
attainted. But holy Christianity would not suffer that God 
[should be tempted thus if it could be avoided ']. 

Battle cannot be joined between all folk, for it can only 
be joined between ' peer-equals,' nor even between all peers, 

' Translation doubtful. 


piers, car ne mie par entre pere e filz ne par entre fem?nes, 
ou enfanz, ou clers, ou parenz, ou affins. Parigal ne sunt 
mie hom?ne e femme, ne homme seint e hom?we escome?zge, 
ne cristiene nient cristiene, ne homme sein e meseal, ne 
homme en bon estat e homme arragie, ne homme sage e 
homme folnastre, ne homme entier e homme mahamie, ne 
homme e enfant, ne clerc e lai, ne homme profes en rehgion 
e homme seculer, ne homme loial e felon, ne homme a la fei 
le Eoi e homme nient a sa foi, ne seignur e tenant ou famuler. 
Petuesce de chose aussi qe chiet en debat e en demande 
destorbe bataille, e plusours autres resons solom ceo qe 
piert en lei de fieus; si ceux neqedent qe ne sunt mie 
recevables a bataille voillent cumbatre si bataille se joigne 
par entre eus qi la desirent, qe lur fet tort, e si ascun se 
profre a cumbatre armie qi avant nestoit mie proffert par 
nule des parties, e la partie adve^'se demande jugement de 
la defaute soun adversaire sicom il tendi tesmoin qi se 
proffir a fere la desrenee e ore profifre a fornir la bataille 
par autre qi avant nestoit veu ne oi en court, ne qi ne poet 
nen deit la bataille fere ne fornir, en queu cas appent atrier 
lexcepcion cu?/i peremptoire del accion si les parties le 
voelent attendre. 

Ch. XXIV. Juramentum Duelli. 

Apres bataille jointeajorne, eprcsentes les parties e due- 
ment armees en primes jurge li defendant, en ceste forme: — 
Ceo oiez vous homme qe jeo par la mein tieng, qi \ous fetes N. 
appeller par droit non de baptesme, qe jeo noccis unqes tiel, 
vostre piere — ou tiele autre chose ne dis ou ne fis tel jour e 
cet., si meid dieux e les seinz euangires. 

Puis appent qe lactour jurge en ceste manere : — Ceo oiez 
vous homme qe jeo par la mein tient qe vous fetes J. appeller 


for not between father and son, nor between women, nor 
infants, nor clerks, nor kinsmen by blood or by affinity. 
Men and women are not ' peer-equals,' nor a holy man 
and an excommunicate, nor a Christian and one who is no 
Christian, nor a sound man and a leper, nor a man in good 
estate and a mad man, nor a sane man and a born fool, nor 
a whole man and a maimed man, nor a man and a child, 
nor a clerk and a layman, nor a man professed in religion 
and one who is secular, nor a loyal man and a felon, nor a 
man who is in the king's faith and one who is not, nor lord 
and tenant or servant. 

Battle also may be prevented by the triviality of the 
thing that lies in debate or demand, or by many other 
reason as appears in the law of fees ; but nevertheless if 
those between whom battle does not lie wish to fight and 
battle is joined between them, this is no injury to them ; 
and if a man offers to fight armed and was not originally 
tendered as a champion by either of the parties, and the 
adverse party craves judgment of his opponent's default as 
having tendered a witness who offered to deraign the matter 
and now tenders to furnish the battle by another who has 
not previously been seen or heard in court, and who there- 
fore cannot fight or furnish the battle, then this exception 
must be tried as one that is peremptory of the action, if the 
parties will demur on this point. 

Ch. XXIV. The Oath of Battle. 

After battle joined and adjourned, when the parties are 
present and duly armed, the defendant shall swear in the 
first place as follows : — Hear this thou man whom I hold by 
the hand, who hast thyself called N. by thy right name of 
baptism, never did I slay such an one thy father — or never 
did or said such a thing on such a day, &c. — so help me 
God and the holy Gospels. 

Afterwards the plaintiff shall swear thus : — Hear this 
thou man whom I hold by the hand, who hast thyself 


par droit noun de baptesme qe vous estez pe^^jurs, pur ceo 
qe vous a tiel jour ecet. felonessement occistes, ou tele chose 
deistes ou feistes. 

Ch. XXV. Ordinatio Pugnantium. 

Pris les seremenz, fet ap7^endre garde qe les parties soient 
armees solom lancien usage de quele condicion qeles soient, 
chevalers ou autres. Lancien usage destre armee en touz 
cas de cumbat est tel — les cors soient armees sanz fer, corn e 
balenie, e les testes, les cols e les meins soient descovertes, 
les reins, qesses, e jambes, e piez, soient armez de quir, e 
chescun eit escu quire, e bastown cornu dune assise. 

Lactour viegne en la place de devers lorient, e li defen- 
daunt devers loccident, e j urgent en la place en ceste manere 
qil nen unt sur eus charme ne deceite, rien nunt mangie 
beu ne usie dunt verite puisse estre destourbe, ou abesse e 
la lei al deable eshancee, si lur eid deus e les seintes 
evangires. Pus fet acrier tel lun qe nul ne destorbe la 
bataille par fet, cri ne noise, sur peine de peine corporele. 
E tantost sen voisent entre ferir, e si li defendaunt puisse 
sei defendre iequis apres le solail rescousie e demande juge- 
ment de la defaute lactour, se fet en tel cas jugement pur 
le defendaunt. E si fraude soit trovie ovesqes .j. des 
pa?-ties com darme privee e dautre chose desavouable e la 
partie adverse demande jugement de la fraude, tantost sont 
seve?'ables, e jugement en est tantost rendable. E li 
vencuz conoisse sunt ' pecchie en audience de people, ou die 
lorrible mot de c?'avent en noun de recreantise, ou li pe 
senestre li soit desarme e descovert en signe de recreantise, 
e maintenant soit jugement rendu sur le principal. 

Corr. sun. 


called J. by thy right name of baptism, that thou art per- 
jured, for that on such a day etc. feloniously didst thou 
slay — or, saidest or didst such a thing etc. 

Ch. XXV. The Order of Combat. . 

The oaths having been taken, it must be observed that 
the parties, of whatever condition they may be, whether 
knights or others, are armed according to the ancient usage. 
The ancient usage as to armour in all sorts of battles is 
this : the bodies shall be armed without iron, horn or whale- 
bone, and the heads, necks and hands shall be bare, and the 
reins, thighs, legs and feet shall be armed with leather, and 
each shall have a shield of leather and a horned baton of a 
certain length. 

The plaintiff shall come to his post facing the east, and 
the defendant facing the west, and at their posts they shall 
swear that they have not on them any charm or deceit, and 
that they have eaten, drunken and used nothing whereby 
the truth may be disturbed or abased or the law of the 
devil exalted, so help them God and the holy gospels. 
After this a cry shall be made that none do disturb the 
battle by deed, cry or noise, upon pain of corporal punish- 
ment. And thereupon they are to begin their strokes, 
and if the defendant can defend himself until the sun 
goes down and craves judgment of the plaintiff's default, 
in that case judgment is given for the defendant. And if 
fraud be found in one of the parties, as a privy weapon 
or other unallowable thing, and his adversary craves 
judgment of the fraud, then they shall at once be separated 
and judgment shall at once be given. And if the vanquished 
confesses his sin in the hearing of the people, or says the 
horrible word ' craven ' in sign of his recreancy, or his left 
foot be disarmed and uncovered in sign of his recreancy, 
judgment is at once given upon the principal matter. 


Ch. XXVI. Excepcion de personel Trespaz. 

Quant as ^'^^soneles trespas tient en cas lu ceste excep- 
cion — Sire atort me plede il de cest trespas, car meme cell 
enpleda tiel ou tieux devant tieux juges en tiel lu e de 
meme le trespas e ne mie nust ^ point en cele pleinte, e 
desicom il recovera plein damages par jugement ver ceaux 
adunqe nomez en sa pleinte, e ne fet ore ceste sieute ver 
moi si noun mes qe pur damages recovrir, e dreit ne donne 
mie qe len recoevre dubles damages pwr sengles, e demang 
jugement de sa accion. 

Quant a alienacions e occupacions des franchises realea 
appendantes a la dignitie de la coroune, ne tenant mie lu 
voucher a garant, ne veuue demander, ne title de prescnp- 
scion de tieux, car de teles dignitez ne poet nul estre eide 
del excepcion de longe prescripscion, einz sunt teles avou- 
eries de longe continuance plus contables pwr contumace 
de tort qe loiales excepcions, desicum nul tens nen court au 
Eoi en ses franchises, einz use le Eoi al foer denfant qe ne 
poez perdre, einz coment qe chescun pur le personel trespas 
del occupacion apent a chescun descuser son tort fet au 
Eoi ou a autre, e ceo purra estre en . ij . maneres : ou pur ceo 
qe son auncestre qi heir il est morust seisi, e issi lad il usie 
par title de succession cum chose annexe a son fieu ; ou 
pur ceo qe tel de qi il purchaca son fieu al quel tele franchise 
appent e fu seisi tantcum il en fu possessour. Mes ceste 
excepcion est contrable par tele replicacion — Sire par cest 
avouerie ne se porra il mie covrtr nescuser, car tut enfust 
tiel son predecessour seisi, il neqedent ne poet tele franchise 
aliener, car les Eois ne feffent james issi qe les feffez puis- 
sent fere assignez. 

> Corr, e ne moi mist, 1642 and Houard. 


Ch. XXVI. Exceptions in cases of Personal Trespass. 

As to personal trespasses this exception is available : 
* Sir, wrongfully he impleads me for this trespass, for he 
himself impleaded another or others before such and such 
judges at such a place for the same trespass and said nothing 
of me in his plaint ; and forasmuch as he recovered by judg- 
ment full damages against those who were thus named in 
his plaint, and now is only bringing this suit against me 
to recover damages, and law will not concede that one 
should have double damages for one wrong, I crave judg- 
ment of his action.' 

As regards alienations and occupation of the royal fran- 
chises belonging to the dignity of the crown, there can be 
no voucher to warranty, nor demand of a view, nor reliance 
on a title by prescription, for as regards these dignities no 
one can aid himself by the exception of long prescription, 
but such avowries of long continuance are rather to be 
reckoned as persistence in wrongdoing than as lawful 
exceptions, since no time runs against the king in his fran- 
chises, but the king is treated in the likeness of an infant 
who cannot lose [by negligence] ; so that it behoves every 
person to excuse himself for his own personal trespass 
against the king or another in occupying a franchise ; and 
this he may do in two ways : either he may allege that his 
ancestor whose heir he is died seised, so that he has used 
the franchise as a thing annexed to his fee ; or he may 
allege that he from whom he purchased his fee was seised 
of this franchise as annexed to that fee so long as he wag 
in possession. But this exception is enoounterable by thie 
replication : — * Sir, by this avowry he cannot shield or 
excuse himself, for albeit such a one his predecessor was 
seised, he could not alienate such a franchise, for kings 
never make feoffments in such wise that their feoffees cau 
make assigns.' 

« t 


Ch. XXVIl. De Purprestures. 

A purprestures, si li defendant puisse excuser son tort, 
ne convendra mie qil en respoigne sanz bref nient plus qe 
al aecion de franchises, ne de son propre tort de terre ou de 
fieu ou des apurtenaunces dever autre qe dever le Eoi, ne 
pur le Eoi forqg en sa presence. E si li tort original nen 
soit mie le fet le defendant, si tient lu voucher garant. 

Ch. XXVIII. De Tresor Trove. 

Alienacion de tresor trove purra il avouer sil en soit 
privilege Ou auctorize, ou il purra dire qe il meismes li y 
mist, ou tel autre ou memoire court, par unt le Eoi ne iad 
nule aecion. 

Ch. XXIX. De Wrek. 

Al aecion de wrek purra il dire qe li Eoi nen ad nul 
dreit pwr ceo qe Ian de lautri aecion nest mie uneore passie, 
e en meme la manere de estrai, de weif, e de tote autre 
chose trovee ; ou pur ceo qe len siet a qi les biens estoient 
qest en pleine vie, ou pur ceo les biens furent pris loinz en 
la meer e neseeient mie gete a terre par le refoill de la 

Ch. XXX. lUUsure.'] 

A usure porra il dire, qe tut prestat il ses blez en yver 
pwr receivre en septembre solom ceo qe ble se vendroit plus 
chir en mesn tens, ou tut prestat il ses doners pur receivre 
ent les meillour deintes par anees pw ceo nest il mie 


Ch. XXVII. Of Purprestures. 

As to purprestures, if the defendant can excuse his tort, 
he need not answer without writ, any more than to an 
action for franchises, or to an action founded on some 
wrong done by him in respect of land or fee or appur- 
tenances against some one other than the king, not even at 
the king's command unless it be in the king's presence. 
And if the original tort [of purpresture] was not the deed 
of the defendant, then there may be voucher to warranty. 

Ch. XXVIII. Of Treasure Trove. 

An alienation of treasure trove one may avow if one has 
privilege or authority in the matter, or one may say that 
oneself put the treasure where it was found, or some one 
else within time of memory, so that the king has no action. 

Ch. XXIX. Of Wreck. 

In an action of wreck he may say that the king has 
no right, for that the year given to the other [i.e. the 
owner of wrecked goods] for his action, is not yet passed ; 
and 80 with waif, estray, or other goods lost and found ; 
or, for that the man to whom the goods belonged is known 
and alive ; or, for that the goods were taken far out at sea 
and were not thrown on the land by the tide. 

Ch.XXX. [OfUsui-y.'] 

To a charge of usury he may say that although he lent 
his corn in the winter and was to receive in September the 
best price that could have been obtained for it during the 
mean time ; or, although he lent his money and was to 
receive for it the best return ' by the year — for all this, he 
was no usurer. 

' Translation doubtful. 


Ch. XXXI. De Chacer. 

As accions de chace, de coure, e de peschier purra il 
dire qil nad nul tort fet, car cest son droit de chacer 
illoec e de coure, ou est sa common pescherie apurtenant a 
son fieu de tel lu. 

Ch. XXXII. De Obligacion. 

Quant a obligacions, purra il dire qe tut soit cele obliga- 
cion son fet ele neqedent ne li deit grever cum tele qest 
viciouse, ou par faus supposcicion, ou pur ceo qe li defen- 
dant nen ont unt nul dener ne autre chose a la vaillaunce, 
ou par entremedlure de peschie ou de malefei, sicom dist 
est de vicious contractz abatables, ou il purra allegger 
Boute ou quiteclamawce, ou plus tardif contract. 

A gast, ou par ceo qil nen ad rien fet qe jugeable soit 
a gast, ou pur ceo qil nen ad rien pris forqe renables 
estovers par li housbote e heibote, ou il purra clamer fie 
et tenement par ascun loial title. 

Ch. XXXIII. De Atteinte. 

Si ascune partie die qe jurours eient fet faus serement 
en ascune juree, uncore socurt dreit a pleintifs par accion 
datteinte qe fet aprendre par xxiiij. jurours, si qe chescun 
tesmoin faus seit atteint de ij. jurours. En que cas si lea 
primers jurours de ' latteinte bosoigne al actour aver 
present souz le seal le Roi, ou de la partie, ou del juge, le 
partes ^ del plee e qe il die en quel point il unt fet faus 
serement ; ou li tenant purra dire qe lactour ne deit estre 
respondre a cele atteinte par la reson qe li premer juge- 
ment nad mie uncore plein effect, pur ceo qe le principal 
en tut ou en partie, ou endroit de la satisfaction de damages 
remeint uncore a fornir. Autres excepcions sunt qwant a 
chalenger les persones des jurours, eicom piert en cest 
chapitre suant. 

' dinient (Houard). * procet 1 


Ch.XXXI. Of Hunting. 

To actions for hunting, coursing or fishing he can say 
that he has done no injury, because it was his right to 
hunt and course there, or because it was his common 
fishery appendant to his fee in such a place. 

Ch. XXXII. Of Obligation. 

As to obligations, he can say that although this obliga- 
tion is his deed, it cannot charge him, being one that is 
vicious, or founded on a false supposal, or because he has 
received no penny or other thing by way of equivalent, or 
because of an intermixture of sin or bad faith, as has been 
said above about contrapts that are abateable as vicious ; 
or he can allege payment or quit-claim, or a later contract. 

In a case of waste [he may say] that he has done nothing 
which can be adjudged waste, or that he has taken nothing 
beyond reasonable estovers for his housebote and haybote, 
or he may claim a fee in the tenement by some lawful 

Ch. XXXIII. Of Attaint. 

If either party say that the jurors in any jury have 
made false oath, the law will succour the plaintiff by an 
action of attaint, which must be taken before twenty-four 
jurors, so that each false witness may be attainted by two 
jurors. In which case if the first jurors [contest the 
falsity of their oath], it behoves the plaintiff to have pre- 
sent under the seal of the king, or of the party, or of the 
judge, the process of the plea and to say in what particular 
they swore falsely ; or else the tenant may say that the 
plaintiff should not be answered in this attaint because the 
former judgment has not yet taken full effect, because the 
principal matter in whole or in part, or as regards the 
satisfaction of damages, has yet to be executed. Other 
exceptions there are which go to challenge the persons of 
the jurors, as will appear iu the following chapter. 


Ch. XXXIV. Ordenance datteinte. 

Pur ceo qe al actour appent a prover sa accion, e al 
affermant sa affirmacion e ne mie al niant sa negation, e ij, 
tesmoins covenables soluw le dit dieu suffisent a chescun 
tesmoinage, voellent nos usages qe la partie affirmative 
face venir par leide de la court les plus covenables veisins 
en tesmoignage, tant qe une juree se puisse fere al meins 
de xij. hommes, par certein assise a ceo ordene dantiquite, 
des queux si deux hommes soient p«r plain verdit ^ de eus 
e des autres jurours ou par bon examinement si trestuz 
les jurours par cas ne soient mie de . j . assent troeve 
covenables suffit e si noun ou si les jurours dient touz 
gene?-alment qil rien nen soievent, ou soient en doute, ou sil 
ne dient mie expressement contre le defendaunt, ou sil 
dient pwr le defendant, en tieux cas fet a juger contre 
lactour ne proeve mie suffisaument son dit. E tut voille li 
defendaunt retorner a autre defense a ceo niert point 
rescevables. Contre ^ jurours tenent lu chalenges sicom 
countre tesmoins, en cest manere — * Sire, cist nest mie 
covenable, pur ceo qil est . j . de ceus qe menditent de cnm 
mortel si qe en li ne remeint qe jeo ne fuisse destrite, e issi 
mest il mortel enemi, ou pur ascun autre cas de enemiste, 
ou pur ceo qil est escomenge ou enditee ou appelie de mortel 
felonie, ou pur ceo qil est ^ a la fei le Eoi, ou pur ceo qil 
estoit autre foiz atteint de faus serement, ou de faus 
tesmoinage ; ou tele corporele penaunce soffri par son 
pecche ou autrement est infamis, ou pur ceo qil est familler 
ou coein ou parent ou lallie ou affin de la partie adverse, 

' soient contraints en verdict stands gives nothing like this. 
(Houard). Brunner has suggested * In the margin, Excepcions e 

' contraires en verdict' (Schwur- cJialengcs countre cestes. 
gericht, p. 370), But the text as it ' Corr. n'est. 



Ch. XXXIV. The Order of an Attaint. 

For that it is the plaintiff's duty to prove his action, 
and the affirmer must prove . his affirmative, not the denier 
his negative, and according to the word of God two proper 
witnesses are sufficient for every testimony, our usages 
decree that the affirming party shall by the aid of the court 
cause to come the fittest of the neighbours as witnesses, so 
that a jury may be formed of at least twelve men, as has 
been ordained by an ancient assize, and if two of these 
men are by the full verdict of themselves and the other 
jurors, or (in case all the jurors are not of one opinion) 
then by good examination of all the jurors, found to be fit 
witnesses,' this is sufficient, and if this be not so, or if the 
jurors say quite generally that they know nothing or are 
in doubt, or if they do not find expressly against the de- 
fendant, or if they find for the defendant, in such cases 
judgment must be given against the plaintiff, since he has 
not proved his assertion. And although the defendant may 
wish to have recourse to some other defence, he is not to be 
received to this. 

Challenges may be made against jurors, as against 
witnesses, in this manner : — * Sir, such an one is not a fit 
juror, for he is one of those who indicted me of mortal 
crime, so that if I was not destroyed I owe him no thanks 
for that, and thus he is my mortal enemy : ' or some other 
cause of enmity may be named — or * because he is excom- 
municate or indicted or appealed of mortal felony ; ' or, 
* because he is not in the king's faith — or, has been pre- 
viously attainted of a false oath, or of false witness — or, has 
suffered such and such a corporal punishment through his 
sin — or, is otherwise infamous— or, is the famiUar, the 
cousin or kinsman of the adverse party or connected with 

' This is the only translation 
that we can give without suggesting 
large emendations. The author, 
who has just referred to the canonical 
rule about two witnesses, seems to 
require that there shall be among 

the twelve jurors two men who are 
proved, by the opinion of their fel- 
lows or by an examination made by 
the judge, to be witnesses of the fact 
in dispute. But the passage may 
be corrupt. 


ou pur ceo qil est serf ou autrement en garde, ou pur ceo qil 
est Ion vie,* ou procurie, ou tenant ladversaire, ou pur ceo 
qil est femme, ou pur ceo qil fu utlagie, ou pur ceo qil forjura 
le reaume, ou pur ceo qil se procura destre en la juree, ou 
pur ceo qil est dedenz age, ou pur ceo qil est lunatic ou 
frenetic. E plusours autres excepcions de challenges sunt 
allouables, des queles si ascun soit dedite, soit si chaleng 
trie par covenables jurours, e solom le triement, seit le 
jurour rescieu ou rebote. E si nule juree ne se puisse fere 
a une foiz par defaute de jurours se face a autre. 

Ch. XXXV. De Serementfere. 

Seremenz varient en plusours maneres dunt li principal 
serement est de feaute qe est annex a chescun homage 
issant de fieu, e ascun foiz ist li serement de feautie de 
reseantise e demoere en autri fieu, e ascune foiz en autri 
service. Li serement de feautie ceo fet en cestes ^ paroles — 
Jeo porterai fei a tel Eei par nom de vie e de menbre e de 
terrien honour sur touz tieux qe vivre porrent et morer, de 
cest jour en avant si meit deux e les seintes evangires. 

Ch. XXXVI. [De Homage.'] 

Homage se fet en cestes paroles : Jeo deviengai voire 
homme de tiel fieu, issi qe tote la quantite soit moteie e 
especefie e certein, par quoi li seignur sache cuwben e quoi 
il dout garanter a son tenant, e de combien il oblige son 
fieu a la garantie, e qe li tenant sache de cumbien il devient 
son homme. 

Ch. XXXVII. [Feautie annex a Homage."] 

Li serement de feautie annex a homage se fet en cestes 
paroles — Jeo porterai fei a tel par now de vie e de menbre 
ecet. tant cum jeo en serrai soun tenant, sur tuz ceux ecet., 
' Corr. homme 1642 and Houard. * en cestes repeated in MS. 


him by alliance or aflSnity — or, is a serf or otherwise in 
ward — or, is [hired] or procured by or the tenant of my 
adversary — or, is a woman — or, was outlawed or has abjured 
the realm — or, has procured himself to be on the jury — 
or, is within age, or lunatic or frantic' And many other 
exceptions by way of challenge are allowable, and if these 
be denied, the challenge shall be tried by fit and proper 
jurors, and according to this trial the juror shall be received 
or repelled. And if for want of jurors a jury cannot be 
taken at one time, it must be taken at another. 

Ch. XXXV. Of Oaths. 

Oaths vary in divers ways. The chief is the oath of 
fealty which is annexed to every homage issuing from a fee, 
and sometimes the oath of fealty issues from a residence or 
dwelling on the fee of another, and sometimes from a re- 
tainer in the service of another. The oath of fealty is in 
these words : — * I will bear faith to such a king of life, 
member and worldly worship against all those who can live 
and die, from this day forward, so help me God and the 
holy gospels.' 

Ch. XXXVI. [Of Homage.] 

Homage is done in these words : — * I become your man 
of such a fee,' so that the quantity of the fee be expressed 
and specified and certain, and the lord may know how 
much and in what manner he must warrant to his tenant, 
and to how much he obliges his fee by the warranty, and 
the tenant may know for how much he becomes his lord's 

Ch. XXXVII. [Fealty annexed to Homage.'] 

The oath of fealty annexed to homage is in these 
words : — ' I will bear faith to such an one (naming him) of 
life and member etc. so long as I shall be his tenant, 
against all those etc., saving my faith to the oath that I have 


sauve ma fei al serement qe jai fet a tel Eoi. E si jeo eie 
jure feaute a autres qe au Eoi, adunqe issi, sauve ma fei 
qe jai jure au Eoi e a mes autres seignurages. E si li 
homagez soit fet au Eei, ou a autre, a qi le tenant eit avant 
jurie feautie, en teux cas ne covendra mie autrefoiz jurer 
feautie, si lalliance neit estie rompue par ascun cas. 

Ch. XXXVIII. Common Serementz. 

Communs serementz se funt en cestes paroles — Jeo veoir 
dirrai de ceo qe wous me demandrez de cele chose si meit 
dieux ecet. Les seremenz en assizes se font en cestes 
paroles : — Jeo voir dirrat del fieu dunt jeo ai la veuue fete 
par lauctorite de ceste assise — ou del fieu dunt laccion de 
ceste redesseisine est ajrramie — ou de la pasture e del fieu — 
ou de la nusance, ou del mur, ou del fossie, ou del estanc, ou 
del euue, ou del eglise, ou de la rente, ou del fieu oblie — e 
pur rien ne lerrai qe voir rien dirrai ecet. 

De vie e de menbre e de terrein honur voet a tant cu?7i 
qe il ne serrai jammes assentant qe li Eoi ou son autre 
seignur eu damage de sa vie ne de nul de ces menbres, 
nen assentera qe sa honur soit de rien defame en poer nen 

Ch. XXXIX. De Aeorder. 

Pees ne aeord ne defent nul droit, par unt bien list 
a chescun dacorder a son adversaire e relesser e quitclamer 
son droit e sa accion : pus ceo neqedent qe ascun aura 
affermee e attame sa personele accion dunt infamie est 
surdant ne purr a nul apeeser del congie le juge, coment qil 
se pusse sustrere, car chescun actour daccion infamant qe 
natteint son adversaire solom ceo qil ad atthache sa pleinte 
est jugeable infamis, al foer qe son adversaire serreit sil en 
fust atteint. En favour neqedent de sauver hom??ie de la 


made to such a king.' And if I have already sworn fealty 
to others than the king, then I must say thus : — * saving 
my faith which I have sworn to the king and to my other 
lords.' And if homage is to be done to the king or to 
another to whom the tenant has already sworn fealty, it is 
needless to swear fealty again, unless the alliance has been 
broken for some cause or another. 

Ch. XXXVIII. Common Oaths. 

Common oaths are made in these words : — * I will speak 
truth of that which you shall ask of me about such a 
matter, so help me God etc' Oaths in assizes are made 
in these words : — * I will speak truth concerning the fee of 
which I have had a view by the authority of this assize — or, 
concerning the fee about which this action of redisseisin is 
summoned — or, of the pasture and fee — or, of the nuisance, 
wall, ditch, pond, water-course, church, rent — or, of the fee 
burdened with the right in question — and for naught will I 
let to tell the truth etc' 

The words * of life and member and worldly worship ' 
mean that he will never assent that the king or his other 
lord shall have damage in life or in member, or that his 
honour shall in any wise be diminished in power or fame. 

Ch. XXXIX. Of Accords. 

No law forbids peace and accord, and therefore every- 
one may agree with his adversary and release and quit- 
claim his right and his action. Nevertheless, so soon as 
one has affirmed and entered a personal action which im- 
ports infamy, he cannot make peace without the leave of 
the judge, though he may * subtract ' himself from hia 
action, for every plaintiff in an action that imports infamy, 
if he does not attaint his adversary according to the words 
of the plaint that he has raised, may be adjudged infamous, 
just as his adversary would have been had he been attainted. 
However, in order to save from death men who are not 


mort qi nen est mie atteint de pecche mortel est sufifert qe 
advcrses parties sacordent apres batailles gagees, lune des 
parties neqedent remeint infamis. 

Apeser ne poet nul qe ne seit del age de xxj. an ou de 
plus, ne nul qest en garde, ne nul par attornee. En garde 
sunt serfs, femmes espouses, proffes de religion, enfanz 
dedenz lage de xiiij. ans, heirs foxnastres, heirs, sourz e 
muz, heirs meseaux, e ceux qi sunt en prison e par 
meinprise, e femwes qe sunt en la garde de lur avoe en qi 
mariages eles sont. 


attainted of mortal sin, the parties are suffered to make 
accord after battle has been waged, but one of them will 
remain infamous. 

No one can make accord who is not of the age of 
twenty-one years or upwards, no one who is in ward, no 
one by attorney. In ward are serfs, married women, those 
professed in religion, infants within the age of fourteen 
years, heirs who are born fools, heirs who are deaf and 
dumb, heirs who are lepers, those who are in prison or under 
mainprise, and women who are in ward to the ' advocates ' 
who have the right to give them in marriage. 



1. De jugement. 

2. Ordenaunce de jugement. 

3. De jurediccion. 

4. Defautes punisables. 

5. De defautes. 

6. De personele accion. 

7. De defaute de real accion. 

8. Des accions mixtes. 

9. De plegge e meinpernour. 

10. De defautes apres somonses. 

11. De champeon. 

12. De peynes. 

13. De infams. 

14. De majestic. 

15. De arson. 

16. De jugement domicide. 

17. De peines en divers manerea 

18. De faux justices. 

19. De perjurie. 

20. De office des justices en eire. 

21. Des articles en eire. 

22. Des fraunchises. 

23. De satisfaccion de dette 

24. Gas de deseisine. 

25. De amerciement. 

26. Damerciement taxable. 

27. Doffice des justices en eire 



1. Of judgment. 

2. The order of judgment. 

3. Of jurisdiction. 

4. Of punishable defaults. 

5. Of defaults. 

6. Of personal actions. 

7. Of defaults in a real action. 

8. Of mixed actions. 

9. Of pledges and mainpernors. 

10. Of defaults after summons. 

11. Of a champion. 

12. Of punishments. 

13. Of the infamous. 

14. Of laesa majcstas. 

15. Of arson. 

16. Of the judgment of homicide. 

17. Of various kinds of punishment. 

18. Of false justices. 

19. Of perjury. 

20. Of the oflSce of justices in eyre. 

21. The articles of the eyre. 

22. Of franchises. 

23. Of the satisfaction of debts. 

24. Disseisin. 

25. Of amercements. 

26. Of taxable amercements. 

27. Of the office of justices in eyre. 





Ch, I. D& Jugement. 

La flur e la necessaire de lei depent en seint jugement, 
sanz quel lei ne poet prendre effect ne due fin. E pur ceo 
fet descendre as jugemewz, qe ne sunt mie en tuz poinz ici 
solom la reddour del veil testament e les usages uses par 
Moisen e les prophetes avant la incarnacion dieu, einz 
isunt solom mitigacion e la temprure de grace e de verite 
de merci e de dreit, qe dieu memes usa en terve e comanda 
de user el nouvel testament e qe ces apostres e lur succes- 
sours unt usez pus sa incarnacion en ca, e solom les 
jugemenz des auncienes sages en pleez tochanz les usagez 
de cest reaume. 

Ch. II. Ordenaunce de Jugement. 

Jugement vient de juresdicion qest la plus grant dignite 
qe apent al Eoi, e sont ij maneres de juresdiccion ordenaire 
e assigne. Ordenaire ad chescun si pecchie ne la li toille, 
car chescun poet juger son proene solom les seintes riules 
de droit. Mes cele juresdiccion est ore restreinte par poir 
des Rois, en tant qe nul nad poer a tenir plee des trespas 
ou de dette, qe passe xl s. forqe le Roi, ne nul nad poer a 
conustre de fieu sanz bref ; a chescun neqedent list doccire 
les mortieux peccheours ou les troez a meinoevre fesanz 
lur pecchie par bon tesmoignage, par garant de jurisdiction 




Ch. I. Of Judgment. 

The flower and the essence of the law are to be found 
in holy judgment, without which the law cannot take effect 
or attain its due end. And therefore we must pass to judg- 
ments. And these are not [to be pronounced] 'altogether 
according to the rigour of the Old Testament and the usages 
that were used by Moses and the prophets before the In- 
carnation of God, but with mitigation and temperament of 
grace and truth, of mercy and right, such as God Himself 
used upon earth, and in the New Testament commanded to 
be used, and such as the apostles and their successors have 
used since the incarnation, and according to the judgments 
of the wise men of old in pleas touchiiig the usages of this 

Ch. II. The Order of Judgment. 

Judgment springs from jurisdiction, which is the highest 
dignity belonging to the king. And there are two kinds of 
jurisdiction — ordinary and delegate. Ordinary jurisdiction 
has everyone who is not deprived of it by sin, for everyone 
may judge his neighbour according to the holy rules of 
right. But this jurisdiction is now restrained by the power 
of kings, so that none but the king has power to hold plea 
of trespass or debt, if it exceeds forty shillings, and no one 
can have cognisance of fee without writ ; but still it is 
lawful for everyone to slay mortal sinners where, having 
good testimony, he finds them in the very act of their sin. 



ordenaire, le quel lea peccheours clers ou lais, de non age 
de plein age, e tuz autres de quele condicion qil soient. 
E en tieux cas sunt tieux pecches appellez notoires pecchez. 
Deus maneres sunt de notoritie, notoire de fet e notoire de 
droit. Notoire de fet, est ou nul contredit ne tien lu ne 
nul juree nad mestre pur se se testmoinage * del poeple. 
Notoire de dreit est ou les peccheours sunt atteinz de lur 
pecchiez par lur gehir, ou par jurees des tesmoigns, ou 
autrement en jugement. Ceste juresdiction ne poet nul 
clamer pa?' assignacion. 

E juresdiccion assigne est cele qe li Eoi assigne par ces 
commissions de ces briefs, car sanz biref ne poet il mie de 
droit assigner nule juresdiccion si noun en presence e par 
lassent des parties. Juresdiccion ne poet nul assigner forqe 
le Eoi, e .ceo est pur ceo qil ne suffitz mie sanz eide a 
porter le charge qe a li apent a punir les trespassours e de 
assoudre les peccheours qil ad a governer. E issi ordene- 
rent nous aunciens . j . seal e . j . chaunceller pur le gardir, 
e pur doner brefs remediares a tuz pleintifs sanz donger.^ 

Es briefs soleient estre de ceste assise : il furent sanz 
rasture, sanz entreligneire, sanz faus latin, sans usuele 
transposicion, e sanz chescun vice de parchemin de encre 
e de lettre, e escriz de note engleche, de mein notaire conu 
pM,r familler de la Chanceller. E soloit contenir les nouns 
des parties, e la substaunce de la pleinte e le noun del juge 
e le noun del Eoi, ou dautre tesmoin del brief, qe ascune 
foiz fu escrit al seignur del fieu, ascune foiz as baillifs, 
ascune foiz as Justices del banc, ascune foiz as Justices en 
eire, e ascune foiz as genz nomeez, e ascune foiz nient 
nomeez sicom as baillifs, justices, e viscontes ; e soloit 
chescun pleintif aver commission a son juge par bref patent 
avantdit. E ore poent justices, viscountes, e lur clers 

a cause du tesimonage. Houard. ^ delay. 1642 and Houard. 


and this is warranted by his ordinary jurisdiction, be the 
sinners clerks or lay, within age or over age, and all others 
of whatever condition they be. In such cases the sins are 
called notorious sins. Of notoriety there are two kinds — 
notoriety in fact, and notoriety in law. Notoriety in fact : 
this is where no denial is possible and there is need of no 
jury by reason of the testimony of the people. Notoriety 
in law : this is where the sinners are attainted of their sin 
by confession or by jurors who bear testimony, or otherwise 
in court. Jurisdiction of this kind no one can claim by 

Assigned [or delegated] jurisdiction is that which the 
king assigns by the commissions of his writs, for without 
writ he cannot lawfully assign any jurisdiction, unless it be 
in the presence and with the assent of the parties. No one 
can assign jurisdiction but the king, and he may do this 
because he is not able to bear without assistance the charge 
that belongs to him for the punishment of the trespassers 
and the absolution of the sinners whom he has to govern. 
And therefore our forefathers ordained a seal and a chan- 
cellor to keep it and to grant remedial writs to all plaintiffs 
without [charge]. 

Writs used to be of this fashion : they were without 
rasure, interlineation or false Latin, without transposition,* 
without any flaw in the parchment, in the ink, or the 
writing, and they were written in English characters in a 
hand well-known as that of the Chancery. And they con- 
tained the names of the parties, the substance of the plaint, 
the name of the judge, and the name of the king or other 
the witness to the writ. Sometimes they were addressed 
to the lord of the fee, sometimes to the bailifif, sometimes 
to the justices of the bench, sometimes to the justices in 
eyre, sometimes to men whose names were given, sometimes 
to men whose names were not given, but who were addressed 
as bailiffs, justices, or sTieriffs ; and every plaintiff had a 
commission to his judge by writ patent as aforesaid. And 
now justices, sheriffs, and their clerks can falsify and sup- 

' Wc cannot translate the itsuelc of the text. 


forger brefs e retrere, perdre, amender e empeirer sanz 
ape?-tenaunce ou peyne, pur les briefs qe se funt clos par 
abusion de droit. Par cele seal soulement est juresdiccion 
assignable a touz plemtifs sanz diflficultie; e de ceo fere 
est li chaunceller chargeable par serement en alleggeaunce 
del charge le Koi qil vendra delaera ne veera droit ne brief 
remedial a nul. 

Ch. III. De Jurediccion. 

Jurediccion est poer a dire dreit. Cele poer dona deux 
a Moysen e eel poer unt ceaux qi tenent ore son lu en 
terre, sicom lapostoill e lempereur, e de souz euz tient ore 
le Eoi cele poer en son reaume. 

Li Eoi par lauctorite de sa dignitie fet eel ' justices en 
divers degrez e limite chescun poer, e ceo en div^rses 
maneres, ascune foiz en certein especialment sicom en 
commissions de menues assises, ascune foiz en certein 
generalment sicom est des 'commissions des justices errawtes, 
e des chiefs justices tenaunz les pleez le roi, e as justices 
del banc as queux poer est donie doir e a te?'miner les fins 
nient tenues, les grantz assizes, les translacions des pies e 
les droiz le roi e de la royne de ces fieus, e les paroles de 
briefs le Roi ou il Hunt nomez generalment e ou especial- 
ment. Estre ceo unt les barons del escheqer jurediccion 
Bur les recevours e les baillis le Eoi e sur alienacions des 
fieus e droiz appendaunz au Eoi e al droit de sa coroune. 
Ascune foiz est jurec^iccion done as viscountes par autri 
defautes, sicom piert el brief de droit qe dist E si \ous 
nel tiegnez a droit le viscount del pais ferra ; ascune foiz 
par ceux qi unt retourn de brefs retornables. Ascune foiz 
accrest jurediccion as justices del banc par remeuemenz 
des paroles hors des contiez requis ^ par devaunt les ditz 
justiciers, e ascune foix par fere recordir les paroles vivees ^ 

' Corr. ses. ' Corr. jesqties. 

* tenues, Houard ; corr. 7noves or mtiea ? 


press and lose and amend and impair writs without dis- 
covery or punishment, because the writs now are close 
writs by an abuse of the law. And by the said seal only is 
jurisdiction assignable to all plaintiffs, and no difficulty 
should be made ; and the chancellor is charged to do this, 
by oath upon his allegiance, for he is charged by the king 
that he will not sell or delay or deny remedial writ to any- 

Ch. III. Of Jurisdiction. 

Jurisdiction is the power jus dicere. This power God 
gave to Moses, and this power have those who now hold 
His place upon earth, such as the pope and the emperor, 
and beneath them the king has now this power in his realm. 

The king by the authority of his dignity makes his 
justices in divers degrees and limits to each his power, and 
this in various ways, sometimes for one special case, as in 
the commissions for the petty assizes, sometimes with a 
greater generality, as in the commissions of the justices in 
eyre, and of the chief justices who hold the pleas of the 
"king, and of the justices of the bench, to whom power is 
given to hear and determine cases of the infringement of 
fines, grand assizes, pleas that have been removed into 
their court, and those which concern the rights of the king 
or the queen in respect of their fees, and suits founded 
on the king's writs, where they are named generally or 

Beside this, the barons of the exchequer have jurisdic- 
tion over the king's receivers and bailiffs, and over the 
alienation of fees and rights belonging to the king in right 
of his crown. Sometimes jurisdiction is given to sheriffs 
on default being made by others, as appears when a writ 
says Quod nisifeceris, vicecomes meus de comitatu illo faciet; 
and sometimes by the default of those who have the return 
of returnable writs [i.e. the franchise retumus hreviuin]. 
Sometimes jurisdiction accrues to the justices of the bench, 
as when causes are removed out of the county courts, that 
they may come before the said justices ; and sometimes in 


en menues courtz sanz hreis requis ' par devaunt les justices 
del banc ; mes sicom tieux recordz ne devient valer as plein- 
tifs si noun apres jugementz renduz qe les paroles ^ sunt 
returnables requis ' apres lur jugemenz, e sicom les paroles 
muez sur le brief de dreit sunt rechaceables es courz des 
eeignurs es, ou lur seignurs ne y unt point faillez de droit, 
aussi sunt les paroles remuees par pone returnables es 
countiez es cas ou. les parties ne parurent unt en court pwr 

Al office de chief justices appent des torcenouses jugemenz 
e les tortz e les errours dautres justices redrescer e punir ; 
par bref neqedent de fere venir devant le Koi le proces e le 
record ovesqe le bref original. E par devant teles justices 
suns touz brefs pledables returnables e terminables ou 
mencion est fete devant le Roi mesmes, e les briefs nient 
pledables returnables devant le Eoi sunt returnables en la 
Chancellme. E si appent a lur office doir e terminer totes 
pleintes fetes de personeles tortz fetz a xij lues dentour le roi 
e des gaoles deliverer des persons deliverables, e a terminer 
qttanqe est terminable par justices erranz, e plus e meins 
solom la nature de lur commission. 

Dautre part est une manere de jurediccion qest appelle 
arbitraire, qe nest ordenaire ne assigne ; sicom est cele qe 
vient de lassent des parties adverses. 

De jurediccion vient jugement, qad plusours significa- 
cions. En lune est jugement au taunt adire com absolucion 
de pecchie. En autre a tant cum sentence qe ascune foiz 
Boune en bien come de guerdon, e daquitaunce de peyne, 
e ascune foiz en mal com escomenge. E en autre autant 
come issue de plee e fin de jurediccion assignee, qe poez 
estre a tens ou james; a tens, sicom ascune excepcion 

Corr. jesques. * rendvs par ceux a q^ui Us paroles, Houard. 


order that record of suits [pending] in the inferior courts 
without writ may come before the justices of the bench ; but 
whereas the reoordari facias ought not to avail a plaintiff 
until after judgment has been given [by those to whom] the 
suits ought to be returned, and as suits begun by writ of right 
are to be sent back from the bench to the courts of the 
lords in case the lords, have not made any default of right, 
so also suits which have been removed by pone are to be 
returned to the county courts in case they were removed 
before the parties had ever appeared in the county courts 
for the purpose of pleading. 

To the office of the chief justices it belongs to redress 
the wrongful judgments, the wrongs and errors of other 
justices, and to punish them ; but this must be done by 
writ Quod venire facias coram ipso rege processum et recordum 
cum brevi originali. And it is before these justices that all 
writs are pleadable and returnable and to be determined 
in which are the words coram ipso rege, and writs which 
are not pleadable and returnable coram rege are returnable 
in the chancery. And it belongs to their office to hear and 
determine all plaints of personal torts done within twelve 
leagues round the place where the king is, and to deliver 
the gaols of all prisoners who are deliverable, and to de- 
termine all that is determinable by justices in eyre — but 
their power may be greater or less according to the nature 
of their commission. 

And again there is a kind of jurisdiction which is called 
* arbitral,' and which is neither * ordinary ' nor 'assigned' ; 
such is that which comes from the agreement of the parties. 

From jurisdiction arises judgment, but judgment has 
several meanings. In one of these judgment is the same 
as absolution of sins. In another it is the same as sentence, 
which sometimes sounds in good, as when it is for a reward, 
or for an acquittal from punishment, and sometimes it 
sounds in ill, as when it is for excommunication. In an- 
other sense judgment is the issue of a plea and the end of 
an * assigned ' jurisdiction, and this may be a temporary or 
a final end : temporary, as when there is a dilatory excep- 


dilatoire ou laccion remeint enterre, a james sicom par 
sentence diffinitive sur laccion. 

Jugemenz varient solom les variaunces des pecchiez ; 
des semblables pecchiez neqedent semblables jugemenz ; car 
les pechiez mortiels solom le garant del viel testament 
sassoillent par la mort en terre, quant as jugemenz de lais 
juges. Car el viel testament est troevie qe dieu comanda 
a Moysen qil ne suffrit point les felouns vivre, issi qe peyne 
temporele allegge peccheours de la perpetuele. Mes einz- 
ces ' qe plus soit parle de peynes, fet a veoir par quele 
introduccion peccheours sunt contumax chaceables de parer 
en court e par queux jugemenz. 

Ch. IV. Defautes Punisahles. 

Defautes sunt punisahles en plusours maners. En 
appeals de felonies sunt eles punisahles par le jugement de 
utlaguerie le quel jugement est tel qe puis ceo qe ascun eit 
eistie solewpnment criez e demandie de venir a la pees le 
Eei par iij countiez continuelement pur felonie, e point ne 
vient, qe des adunc le tiegne lem pur lou e est criahle 
Wolvesheved, pur ceo qe lou est heste haie de tote gent; 
e des adunc list a chescun del occire al foer de lou. Dune 
custumie soloit estre de porter les testes al chief lu del 
countie, ou de la franchise, e soloit len aver decim '^ marcs 
del contie pwr chescuw teste de utlague e de lou. E tiex 
futifs forfunt par lur contumace le reaume, le pais, ames, e 
quanqest de la pees e a la pees, e tote manere de droit qil 
unqe urent par ascun title e tote manere de lei e ne mie 
soulement a eus mes a eux e a lur heirs a touz jours. 
Dautrepart tote consideracion ^ de homage, dalliaunce, 
daffinitie, de service, de amunitie,'* des seremewz, e de tote 
manere dobligacions entre utlaguez e autres de meillur 
condicion se derumpent, desiognent e se defunt par tiel 
jugemenz, e tote manere de dons, ventes, e contractz en^ 
totes maneres daccions qil urent ver queuqes persones 

' Corr. eim ceo. ^ Corr. confederation ? 

' demi. 1642 & Houard. * Corr. amistie. ' Corr. e. 


tion but the suit remains in its integrity ; final, as when 
there is a definitive sentence in the action. 

Judgments vary as sins vary ; but for like sins there 
should be like judgments ; for mortal sins according to the 
warrant of the Old Testament are absolved by death upon 
this earth, so far as lay judges are concerned. For in the 
Old Testament it is found that God commanded Moses that 
he should not suffer felons to live, so that a temporal 
punishment excuses sinners from the eternal punishment. 
But before we say any more of punishments we ought to 
see by what means and by what judgments contumacious 
sinners can be driven to appear .in court. 

Ch. IV. Of Punishable Defaidts. 

Defaults are punishable in divers ways. In appeals of 
felony they are punishable by judgment of outlawry, which 
judgment is this, that when on account of a felony any- 
one has been ordered by solemn cry to come to the king's 
peace in three successive county courts, and he does not 
come, then he shall be accounted a wolf, and * Wolfs- 
head ! ' shall be cried against him, for that a wolf is a 
beast hated of all folk ; and from that time forward it is 
lawful for anyone to slay him like a wolf. And there was 
a custom to bring the heads to the chief place in the 
county or the franchise, and one received ten marks from 
the. county for the head of every outlaw or wolf. And 
these fugitives forfeit by their contumacy the realm, the 
peace, their friends and all that is of the peace or at the 
peace, and every kind of right that they ever had by any 
title, and all manner of law, not only for themselves but 
for their heirs for ever. And again, all confederation of 
homage, alliance, affinity, service, friendship, oaths, and 
all manner of obligations* between outlaws and those of 
better condition are broken, disjoined, and undone by the 
judgment, and all manner of gifts, sales, contracts, and all 
manner of actions which they had against any are annulled, 


aventissent, e ne mie soulemewt puis eel jugement mes puis 
le tens de sa felonie pwr laquele tiel jugement se fist, e ces 
adunc ne purrent il jaiwes resortir a respondre de la felonie 
si li proces neit este vicious, si noun par gmnt m^rci ' e 
^race du Eoi. Femmes estre pleives e mises en diseine a 
foer des hommes einz furent weives. 

Ch. V. De Defautes. 

Cil personels accions veniales solerent defautes estre 
puniez en ceste manere, lempnst des defendaunz a la 
vaillaunce des demande en biens moebles ou nient moebles, 
e puis furent somons doir lur jugemenz de lur defautes. 
E par defaute apres defaute torn jugement pur les pleintifs. 
Pus changea eel usage 'el tens le Eoi H. le primer qe nul 
franc home ne fust destreint par le cors pur personele 
accion veniale tancum il eust fieu, en quel cas li jugement 
de defaute se fist, tant qe al tens le Eoi Henri le tierz, qe li 
pleintif recoverat seisine del fiux a tenir en demeine apres 
defaute iequis a due satisfaction, issi qe defaute fust plus 
damageous as eontumaz qe profitable. 

Ascuns accions sont personeles el non, e mixtes en le 
introduccion sicom de naifte, daconte, de covenant, e de ve 
de naam. E ascunes accions sunt qe tut soit qeles savourent 
de personeles accions e reales quawt al introduccion neqe- 
dent ne tienent mie les reuUes des accions dunt eles savou- 
rent, sicom es reeonussances de menues assises ; es queles 
si les tenanz fasent defautes, pur ceo nappent nule destresce 
ne prise de fieu ou dautre chose en la mein le Eoi, einz 
sunt les reconussaunces pemables aussi com doffice e les 
jugemenz pronuneiables solom le verdit des jurours en 
despit de teles defautes. 

' The ed. of 1642 and Houard have a different punctuation. 


and not merely as from the date of the judgment but as 
from the date of the felony in respect whereof the 
judgment is given, and from thenceforth he never can go 
back [behind the outlawry] to a denial of the felony unless 
the process of outlawry was vicious, except it be by the 
great mercy and grace of the king. Women are [not] 
pledged and put in tithing like men, but are waived [instead 
of being outlawed]. 

Ch. V. Of Defaults. 

In venial personal actions defaults were punished thus : 
one took from the defendant moveable goods or immov- 
ables to the amount of the demand, and then they were 
summoned to hear judgment on their defaults. And on 
default after default judgment was given for the plaintiff. 
Afterwards the usage was changed in the time of king 
Henry I. so that no free man should be distrained by his 
body in a venial personal action so long as he had a fee, 
in which case judgment was given by default, [and this 
was so] until the time of king Henry IH., so that the 
plaintiff, after the default, recovered seisin of the fee to 
hold in demesne until due satisfaction was made, so that a 
default brought more damage than profit to the person 
guilty of contumacy. 

Some actions are personal by name, but mixed in their 
introduction, such as * naifty,' * account,' and ' vee de naam.' 
And there are some actions which savour of personal ac- 
tions or of real actions in their introduction, but which, 
nevertheless, do not observe the rules of the actions of 
which they savour ; such is the case in the ' recognitions ' 
of the petty assizes; for if in these the tenants make 
default, there is no distress and no taking of the fee or 
any other thing into the king's hand, but they are taken 
as if they were recognitions ex officio, and the judgments 
are pronounced according to the verdict of the jurors not- 
withstanding such defaults.' 

' In the petty assizes the mesne thing in dispute. Brocton wonid 
process is not directed against the not have called them real actions. 


Ch. VI. De Personele Accion. 

En personeles accions veniales ou les defendanz ne sunt 
mie ' fieu tenanz soloient les defautes estre punies en ceste 
manere : en primes soloit len agardir aprendre les cors, 
e ceux qi ne furent trovez furent mis en exigende en 
queqe court qe li pie fust, e furent par iij courtz soulement 
demandez e criez, e sil ne parussent a la quarte court, 
adunqe furent il baniz de la juresdiccion le seignur ou 
baillis de la court a anees ou a james solom les quantites 
des trespas. 

Ch. VII. De Defaute de Real Accion. 

Les defautes de reales accions sunt punissables en cest 
manere : a la primer defaute est la demande ou a la vail- 
launce pernable en la main le seignur de la court, e les 
tenaunz sunt somonables doir lur jugement des defautes ; 
ou apres apparaunce, en est la seisine jugeable as actours a 
tenir el noun de destresce tant qe dreit jugement len oustre ; 
e si ascun viegne en court en primes plevisse la chose 
demaunde e sanz delai respoigne a la defaute. En quel cas 
il purra dedire la somonsz, ou pur ceo qil nen fu unke 
somons ou nient renablement somons, e a ceo purra il estre 
a sa lei countre le testmoinage des somen ours, tut soient il 
presenz ; e sil fornist sa lei meintenant respoigne al accion 
ou a la pleinte. 

Ch. VIII. Des Accions Mixtes. 

Des mixtes accions sunt defautes punissables en ceste 
manere : les defendanz sunt distreignables par touz biens 
moebles e l&eus, sauve qil ne soient engetez de lur posses- 
sions, de court en court tant qe il perent e respoignewt, e les 
issues deviegnent as proffiz des seignurs des courz. 

' MS. repeats ne sunt mie. 


Ch'. VI. Of Personal Actions. 

In the venial personal actions, if the defendants are not 
fee tenants, defaults used to be punished in this wise ; in 
the first place it was awarded that their bodies should be 
taken, and if they could not be found they were put in 
exigend in whatever court the plea was, and they were 
demanded and cried for in three courts and no more, and 
if they did not appear at the fourth court, they were 
banished from the jurisdiction of the lord or the bailiffs of 
the court for years or for ever according to the amount of 
the trespass. 

Ch. VII. Of Default in a Real Action. 

Default in a real action is punishable thus : on the 
first default the thing demanded or its value is taken into 
the hand of the lord of the court, and the tenant is sum- 
moned to hear judgment of the default ; but if the default 
be made after appearance, then the seisin is awarded to 
the plaintiff to hold by way of distress until he shall be 
ousted of it by lawful judgment ; and then, if the tenant 
appears, in the first place he must replevy the thing that 
is demanded, and then must without delay answer for 
his default. And in this case he may deny the summons, 
saying that he was never summoned or never duly sum- 
moned, and about this he may make his law against the 
testimony of the summoners, although they be present ; 
and if he can furnish his law he shall answer then to the 
action or the plaint. 

Ch. VIII. Of Mixed Actions. 

Defaults in mixed actions are punishable thus: the 
defendants are distrained by all their movable goods and 
their fees, save that they are not ejected from their pos- 
sessions, and this from court to court until they appear 
and answer, and the issues come to the profit of the lord 
of the court. 


Ch. IX. De Plegge e Meinpernour. 

Plegge G meinpemours sunt dune signifiaunce tut 
diversent il es nons ; mes pleges sunt ceaux qe plevissent 
autre chose qe cors de homme, sicom en reales accions e 
mixtes ; meinpemours sont en personeles accions soule- 
ment ceux qi plegent cors de homme. Sauf pleges sunt 
qe suffirent ' a rendre la demande ou la value, e soient feaus 
humes e fieu tenaunz de celi a qi la pleinte est fete e en 
qi cjourt le pie iert attamable, e si ascun pert son cors ou 
son fieu pur defaute, assez est puni tut ne soit il mie 
amercie, mes adunc apnmes est li peccheour amerciable 
quant il est paru en jugemewt, e ne poet son tort escuser 
ne sa defense saver.^ E sicom nul qe rent avant somonse 
nest amerciable, aussi nest nul pleintif amerciable ne ses 
pleges de suire par noun sieute, ou li tenaunt rend solom 
le comaundement del garant de la somonse, ou autrement 
en face satisfaccion. Sicom es cas ou li rei comande al 
viscount qil comaunde a tel de rendre ou de fere, e sel ne 
face e li pleintif face sieurtie de sur, qe adunc le face 
somondre, ou attacher, destre ^ e cet., en quel cas si li 
viscounte namoneste le tenant de rendre ou de fere solom 
les poinz del garaunt, einz ces * qil preigne sieurte del 
pleintif il fet tort. Mes adunc a primes sunt pleintif s e 
lur pleges de suire amerciables quant les defendaunz se 
proffrent en jugement countre eus ou il funt defaute par 
non sute. 

E aussi font ceux viscountes tort qe soursient a fere 
les execucions des comandemenz le Eoi einz ces '' qe les 
pleintifs eient trove sieurte de sure les pleintes, ou nule 
mencion ne se fet es brefs de sieurtie fere. 

Repeated in MS. * Dedens. • Houard. 

Corr. defaute sauver. * Corr. ceo. 


Ch. IX. Of Pledges and Mainpernors. 

Pledges and mainpernors are all one, though they have 
different names ; but pledges are those who pledge some- 
thing other than a man's body, as in real and mixed 
actions ; mainpernors are found in personal actions only, 
and they pledge a man's body. Safe pledges are those 
who are sufficient to render the thing in question or its 
value, and are free men and fee tenants of him to whom 
the complaint is made and in whose court the plea is to be 
commenced, and if anyone loses his body or his fee by a 
default, this is punishment enough without his being 
amerced, but the sinner is not at once amerciable until he 
has appeared in court and has not been able to excuse his 
tort or salve his default. And as no one is amerciable who 
appears before summons, so also the plaintiff and his 
pledges for prosecution are not to be amerced for a non-suit 
if the tenant renders according to the words of the writ 
which warrants the summons, or otherwise makes satis- 
faction.^ Thus if the king bids the sheriff order a certain 
person to render or to do something and that if he does 
not do it and the plaintiff finds surety to sue, then he is to 
summon, attach, or distrain the defendant etc., in this case 
if the sheriff does not admonish the defendant to render 
or to do according to the terms of the warrant, but at once 
takes security from the plaintiff, he, the sheriff, does an 
injury. So the plaintiff and his pledges for "prosecution 
do not become amerciable until the defendant proffers 
himself in court against them and the plaintiff then makes 
default by non-suit. 

And those sheriffs also do wrong who defer to execute 
the commands of the king until the plaintiffs have found 
surety for the prosecution, when the writs make no mention 
of any requirement of surety. 


Ch. X. De Defautea aprea Somonsea. 

Sicom defautes se font de persones, e aussi se funt de 
choses, sicom de services issanz de fieus dunt fieus sent 
enservez. E dunt si rente, suite ou autre service Boit 
arere a ascun seignur de son fieu pur ceo nest mie li tenant 
destreignable par ses biens moebles, einz appent a fere 
Bomondre tieux tenantz pur saver les defautes ou pwr 
eatisfaccion fere, ou pur respondre purquoi tieux services 
duz de lur possessions sont areres a lur seignurs ; e sil 
ne viegnent a somonses, par lagard des sieuteres sunt les 
fieus pernables en la main les seignurs, tant qe il se justi- 
cent par pleges, e il sunt estre ceo somonables doir le 
jugement de lur defautes ; e tut ne viegne ascune par la 
Becunde somonse, pur ceo nest il mie amerciable einzces ' 
qil viegne ; uncore purra il rendre le fieu, ou alleger privi- 
lege, ou dire chose pur qi il ne dust a la somonse obeir. 
E si le seignur neit court propre ne sutlers, ou ne seit mie 
de poer de justicier ses tenanz en manere avantdit, e adunqe 
tient lu de ce fere en countie, ou en hundred, ou aillurs en 
la court le Roi, ou al drein par bref de custumes e de services 
e autre briefs remediaux. E si ascun eit meesn qi aquiter 
le dust, pur ceo nest li seignur de rien perdaunt de son 
dreit, tut ensoit il delaie, einz se preigne li seignur a son 
fieu sicom diet est, e le tenant recoevre ses damages par ou 
il purra, e rette a sa folie dentrer ou demorir en autre 
fieu sanz le- gre le seignur. E si ascun se ouste dautri fieu 
e de son terre feffe ascune certe persone a tenir de li e se fet 
moien par entre le seignur e le tenaunt en prejudice del 
seignur en tel cas eoloit droit tenir le cours apres diet. 

Corr. einz ceo. 


Ch. X. Of Defaults after Summons. 

Ab there may be default of persons, so there may be 
default of things, e.g. of services issuing from a fee which 
is bound to render them. And if rent, suit, or other ser- 
vice due to any lord fronj his fee be in arrear, the tenant 
is not to be distrained by his movable goods, but ought to 
be summoned to salve his default, or to make satisfaction, 
or to answer why the services due to his lord from his pos- 
sessions are in arrear ; and if he does not appear on the 
summons, then by the award of the suitors of the lord's 
court the fee is to be taken into the lord's hand until he 
shall find pledges that he will submit to justice, and in 
addition he is to be summoned to hear judgment for his 
default; and if he comes not at the second summons, he 
is not amerciable for that until he appears, for he may 
still surrender the fee, or allege a privilege, or give some 
reason for not having obeyed the summons. And if the 
lord has no court or suitors of his own, or has not the 
power to do justice on his tenants in manner aforesaid, 
then this is to be done in the county, or in the hundred 
court, or else in the king's court, or in the last resort by a 
writ of ' customs and services,' or some other remedial writ. 
And if the tenant has a mesne [lord] who is bound to 
acquit him, the lord by this loses nothing of his right, 
though he may be delayed ; but the lord as aforesaid shall 
betake himself to his fee and the tenant may recover his 
damages wherever he can do so, and he must account it 
his own folly that he entered or abode in another man's fee 
without the leave of the lord. And if anyone alienates 
another's fee and enfeoflfs a third person of the tenement to 
hold of him (the alienor), and thus makes himself a mesne 
between lord and tenant, to the prejudice of the lord, in 
that case the law used to take the course which will bo 
described below. 

8 2 


Ch. XI. De Champeon. 

Si ascun face ou die a son seignur de qi il tient chose 
qe li court a damage de son cors, ou a sa desheriteson, ou 
a grant deshonur, pnmCT'ement par agard de son court ou 
dautre est tiel somonable sil seit soun tenaunt, e puis 
sil fet defaute est destreingnable par son fieu, ou par la ' 
seignurie taunt qil viegne ; e sil piert e ne se puisse 
aquiter par la lei sei xij demein ou meins solom lagard de 
la court, si iert desheritable del tenaunce qil tient del 
seignur en tiel fieu par le jugement des suitiers. E issi 
covient qe les tenaunz departent de lur mesons,^ e se chevewt 
as chiefs seignurs. E si ascun dedie service qil deit, purra 
estre dit de par le seignur qe atort le dedist el tut ou en 
partie, e pur ceo atort e cet., e issi outre contaunt de la 
seisine e par mi qi mein ^ e puis issi e qe tiel soit le dreit 
e cet., sicom apres iert dist. E le tenaunt purra eslire a 
defendre eel droit par soun cors ou par autre, ou descendre 
en la grande assise e prier reconoissaunce li quel il eit 
majour droit a tenir tiel fieu especefie de A. quite de tiel 
service sicom il tient, ou le dist A . daver le dit fieu en 
demeyne sicom il cleime. 

E si le defendaunt voille son droit deffendre par le cors 
dautri, distincter, car si laccion soit personele ne lestovera 
mie aver suite present, e si laccion seit reale e le tenaunt 
eit son champion present, adunqe covient qe lactour presente 
le son champion contre le champion del defendant, ou il 
piert son counte e son bref; e li defendaunt neit mie 

' MS.' has a space at this point; ' Ilprouveqe mestne le tenant a 

a word is apparently omitted. payS. Houard. 

' Corr. mesnes. 


Ch. XI. Of a Champion. 

If anyone says or does to the lord of whom he holds 
anything which makes for the damage of his body, or for his 
disherison, or for his great dishonour, in the first place by 
the award of the lord's court or some other court, such 
person, if he is the lord's tenant, is to be summoned, and 
then if he makes default he is to be distrained by his fee, 
or by his seigniory, until he appears ; and if he appears 
and cannot acquit himself by his law with twelve hands or 
fewer according to the award of the court, then he shall be 
disinherited of the tenancy which he holds of his lord in 
that fee by the judgment of the suitors. And therefore it 
is fit that the tenants shall leave their mesne lords and 
achieve themselves immediately to the chief lords.' And 
if anyone denies a service that he owes, then on the part 
of the lord it may be said that wrongfully he denies it, in 
whole or in part, ajid wrongfully because etc., and so 
forth, the lord counting on the seisin that he has had of 
the service by the hand of such an one whom he names, 
and then going on to say ' and that such is his right etc' 
as will be explained below. And the tenant may elect to 
defend that right by his own body or by that of another, or 
may descend to the grand assize and pray that a recogni- 
tion be made whether he hath greater right to hold the 
said fee of A [the lord] acquitted from that service as he 
now holds it, or the said A to have the said fee in demesne 
as he claims it. 

If the defendant wishes to defend his right by the body 
of another, then we must distinguish, for if the action is 
personal, then it is not necessary for him to have pregent any 
suit; but if the action is real and the tenant has his 
champion present, then the plaintiff must present his 
champion against the defendant's champion, or he loses hia 
count and his writ ; but if the defendant has no champion 

' If the mesne lord drops out o( [ae accapilarc] to the superior lord, 
the tenure by forfeiting his rights, whose inuuediate teuaut he now 
the sub-tenant must achieve himself becomes. 


champion present, adunc Bont les parties aiornables sil 
Boient descenduz en bataille qe eles eient lur champions a 
la proscheine court. Sicom piert el proces de Saxling a qi 
Huwstan eestoit oblige en x li. de dette par escrit obliga- 
toire fet a Eome, lequel Hunstan dedist qe point nestoit 
son fet ; a quoi Saxling respondi par replicacion qe atort le 
dedit, e pur ceo atort car il lenseala de son seal, ou del 
seal tiel, qil empromta de li tel jourjiel an e tiel lu : e sil 
le vousist dedire prest fu del prover par son cors A . qe le 
vi, ou par B. ou C. qi le virent, e si de eus misavenist prest 
fu del prover par autre qi poeit e deveit. E issi piert qe 
nest mie mester dever suite present en teles personels 
accions le primer jour, einz fet aiorner les parties sicom il 
est dit. E si ascun qe ne poetz est covenable en test- 
moignage, ou qi seit champions lonuriz ' se proffre pur lune 
des parties a cumbatre qe ne fu mie avant nomie pur fere 
la bataille, e la partie adverse le chalenge e demande juge- 
ment de la defaute, en tiel cas se fet jugement contre le 
proffrour. E sil mesavient a ascun champion pur quoi il 
ne puisse cumbatre solom son proffre, nul nest recevable 
pur li a fornir la bataille forqe son einzne fille ^ legitime, 
sicom avant est dit. E si le champion le tenant soit 
vencus par tant se dejoint tote homage e tote alliance e 
touz seremenz de feautie e tut homage par entre le seignur 
pleintif e li tenaunt defendaunt, e li seignur recoevre son 
fieu a tenir en demeine, aussi com il recoverret par la 
grande assise. E si li champion le seignur seit vencu a 
dune iert li jugement qe li tenaunt tiegne a remenaunt 
del seecle son fieu quite del service mis en la demaunde. 

E si le Koi face tort a ascun de sea hommes fieus tenanz 
de li en chief, si est tenable meme le cours, ou les contes 
as parl^mens e les autres sinters en unt la jurediccion, de 

' ineonnu. Houard. ' Corr. ^/«. 


present, then the parties, if they have submitted to 
battle, must be adjourned to the next court, in order that 
they may then have their champions present. And this 
appears in Saxling's case : Hunstan had bound himself in 
a debt of ten pounds to Saxling by an obligatory writing 
made at Eome ; Hunstan denied the writing as * not his 
deed ' ; Saxling answered by way of replication, that wrong- 
fully did Hunstan deny it, and wrongfully for that it was 
sealed with his seal, or with the seal of such an one which 
[Hunstan] had borrowed in such a day, year, and place ; and 
[Saxling added] that if Hunstan would deny this, he, 
Saxling, was ready to prove it by the body of A, who saw 
it, or by B or C, who saw it, and if any mischance should 
befall them, then by another who could and would prove it. 
And thus it appears that there is no need to have suit 
present on the first day in these personal actions, but, as 
already said, the parties may be adjourned. And if anyone 
who cannot be a proper witness, or who is a hired [?] 
champion and was not named when the battle was waged, 
proffers himself to fight for one of the parties, and the 
adverse party challenges him and demands judgment of 
the default, then judgment must be given against him 
who proffers this champion. And in case any mischance 
happens to a champion so that he cannot fight according to 
his proffer, no one may be received to do battle in his 
stead, unless it be his eldest legitimate son, as has been 
said above.' And if the champion of the tenant is van- 
quished, thereby all homage, alliance and oaths of fealty 
and homage between the lord who is plaintiff and the 
tenant who is defendant are undone, and the lord shall 
recover his fee to hold in demesne, as he would have re- 
covered it by a grand assize. And if the lord's champion is 
vanquished, then the judgment is that the tenant do hold 
his fee for ever quit of the service that has been demanded. 
If the king does any tort to any man of his wjio holds 
a fee of him in chief, the same procedure is to be observed, 
but the earls in parUament and the other suitors there have 

• P. 109. 


teles causes oir e terminer pur qe le Eoi ne poez par li ne 
par ses justices les causes terminer, ne les jugemenz pro- 
nuwcier ou li roi est actour. E sicom les seignurs poent 
chalenger lur tenaunz de torz e de despit fez a euz entre 
les articles de lur feautie, en meme la manere sunt les 
seignurs chalengeables de tortz e despiz featez par eus a 
lur tenauntz, e si les seignurs ne deignent de parer en 
jugement a respondre a lur tenaunz, a dune fest agarder 
qe les tenaunz mes ne facent service pur lur fieus einz ceo ' 
qe les seignurs les eient responduz. 

Ch. XII. De Peynes. 

De^ peine est satisfaccion de trespas ou de pecchie. 
Deus maneres sunt de peine, voluntire e violente. Voluntire 
est cele qe tient son actour de son gre, sicom est en cowi- 
promisses, pur chacer gentz a tenir lur contractz : mes de 
celes peines ne sentremet mie droit. Des peines violentes 
dunt dreit sentremet sont ij maners, corporele e peccuniele. 
Des corporeles sunt ascuns morteles, e ascuns veniales. 
Des mortels se funt ascuns par perte de testes, ascuns par 
longe trayne, ascuns par pendre, ascuns par arson, ascuns 
par vif enfoeure, ascuns par saut de faleise ou dautre lu 
perilous, e ascuns par noer e ascuns autrement solon 
aunciens privileges ou usages. Les pecchiez qe demaun- 
dent morteles peines sunt les pecchiez mortiels. Des 
veniales peines corporeles ascuns se funt par pierte de 
menbre sicom la felonie de mahain en cas de toute de 
menbre, ascuns par pierte del poueif ' cuw est de faus 
notaires, e de cillours de bourses oveqe larcin de meins de 
xij d, e plus de vj d., e qe par le roi Kichard se changea a la 
perte doreille, ascuns par perte des bous des langes com 
soleit estre de faus tesmoins, ascuns par plaie, ascuns par 
enprisonement sicom pur enprisonement, ascunes par 
perte de iouz biens moebles e noun moebles sicom de faus 

ces MS. ' Omit De. * poucc ? (Houard). 


jurisdiction, for the king cannot hear and determine such 
causes or give judgment in them by himself, nor by his 
judges, because the king is plaintiff. And as the lords may 
challenge their tenants for tort and despite done to them 
within the terms of their fealty, so the lords may be chal- 
lenged for tort and despite done by them to their tenants ; 
and if the lords will not deign to appear in court to answer 
their tenants, then it should be adjudged that the tenants do 
them no service for their fees until the lords have answered 

Ch. XII. Of Punishments. 

Punishment is satisfaction for a trespass or a sin. 

There are two kinds of punishments, (1) voluntary, 
(2) violent. A voluntary punishment is one to which a man 
submits himself of his own free will, as in the case of a 
compromise, and thus men may be driven to fulfil their con- 
tracts ; but with such punishments the law does not concern 
itself. It concerns itself with violent punishments, which 
are of two kinds, (a) corporal, (h) pecuniary. Of corporal 
punishments some are mortal, some venial. Of mortal 
punishments some are by loss of head, some by a long 
•drawing,' some by hanging, some by burning, some by 
burial alive, some by leap from a cliff or other perilous 
place, some by drowning, and some otherwise according to 
ancient privileges or usages. The sins which demand 
mortal punishments are the mortal sins. Of venial corporal 
punishments some are by loss of limb (as for the felony of 
mayhem where a member has been destroyed), others by 
loss of thumb (such is the punishment of false notaries, 
and of the cutting of purses with larceny of less than 
twelve, but more than six pence, but King Richard sub- 
stituted for this the loss of an ear), others by loss of the 
tip of the tongue (as was the case with false witnesses) ; 
some by wound, some by imprisonment as a punishment for 
false imprisonment, some by loss of all goods movable and 
immovable (as in the case of delegated judges who give 


juges assignez, e sicom est de usuriers atteinz de usure apres 
lur deces, mes ne mie sil en soient atteinz en lur vivant, 
car adunc ne perdent il forqe soulement les biens moeblea, 
pur ceo purrent amender par penaunce e repentaunce e 
aver heirs, ascuns par exil e abjuracion de la cristienetie, 
ou del reaume on de la ville on del fieu e aneesS sicom est 
de ceus qi sunt atteint en personeles trespas e ne unt poer 
a fere satisfaccion, ascuns par ban sicom dist est de 
contumaz en personels accions veniales nul fieu tenaunz, 
ascuns par autres corporeles peines solom ceo qe piert apres 
par lus. 

E coment qe lem pecche en fet ou en dit, en tuz juge- 
mentz sur personeles accions sont vij choses a peser en 
balaunce de seinte conscience, cest assavoir, la cause, la 
persone, le lu, le tens, la qualite, la quantite, e la fin. La 
cause, le quele ele soit mortele ou veniale ; la persone del 
pleintiflf e del defendaunt ; le lu, le quel en seintuaire ou 
nient ; le tens, le quel de jour ou de nuit ; la qualite, le 
quel li trespas soit leger ou led ; la quantite piert en sei ; 
la fin, li quel prisee se fet en manere de destresce par avou- 
able enparkment ou en . manere de larcin par alienacion 

Ch. XIII. De Infams. 

Touz ceux qi loialment sunt atteinz de pecchie dunt 
corporele peine sunt, sunt infames.'* Infames sunt touz 
ceux qi pecchent mortelement ou felonessement ; tuz ceux 
qi se perjurent en faus testmoignage ; tuz faus juges ; tuz 
usuriers ; e tuz ceux qi sunt atteinz de personels trespas as 
queux overte penaunce est enjointe par droit jugement 
e pur ceo desuse dreit par fins e amerciemenz, par 
garant de pite. Estre ceo^ sont infams ceus qi ceurent* 
tumbes e sarcus nutauntre ou mucetis pur maufere ; ceus 
qi enservent franc homme contre son gree ou blemissent la 

' amies 1642 and Houard. ' mfuist 1642 and Houard. 

* ces MS. * feurent 1642, furitent Houard. 


false judgment, and of usurers attainted of usury after 
their deaths, but not if attainted while alive, for in that 
case they only lose their movables and may amend their 
sin by penance and repentance and have heirs) ; some by 
exile and abjuration of Christendom, or of the realm, or of 
the vill or the fee and .... (as is the case of those 
attainted of personal trespass who have not wherewith to 
make satisfaction), some by banishment (as said above 
about those who are contumacious in venial personal actions 
and who hold no fee) ; some by other corporal punishments, 
as will appear incidentally hereafter. 

And albeit one sins by deed or by word, in all judg- 
ments in personal actions seven things must be weighed in 
the balance of holy conscience, to wit, (1) the cause, (2) the 
person, (3) the place, (4) the time, (5) the quality, (6) the 
quantity, (7) the event.^ (1) the cause — this may be mortal 
or venial ; (2) the person of the plaintiff and of the defen- 
dant ; (3) the place — whether in sanctuary or no ; (4) the 
time — whether by day or by night ; (5) the quality — 
whether the trespass be light or grave ; (6) the quantity — 
this is self-evident ; (7) the event — e.g. whether a taking 
was made by way of distress and lawful impounding, or by 
way of larceny and unlawful alienation. 

Ch. XIII. Of the Infamous. 

All who are lawfully attainted of a sin whence corporal 
punishment ensues are infamous. All who sin mortally or 
feloniously are infamous ; all who perjure themselves by 
false testimony ; all false judges ; all usurers ; and all who 
are attainted of those personal trespasses for which open 
penance is enjoined by right judgment but is forborne in 
favour of fines and amercements, the infliction of which 
instead of open penance is warranted by compassion. 
Also they are infamous who hunt after tombs and coffins 
by night or hidden things for evil purposes ; also those who 
enslave a free man against his will or blemish the repute of 

• Dig. xlviii. 19, 16 , Bracton, f. 105. 


fame de sa franchise par extorsion ou par ascun pwrchaz ; 
ceux aussi qi portent atteintes e ne poent mie prover le 
perjurie par unt loiaux jurours sunt esclaundre ; e ceux qi 
enditent ou appellent hom^ne innocent de crim en blemisse- 
ment de sa fame ou dautre personel trespas infamant a tort. 
Car ceus iij plees sunt tenables odious ; lem ' par ceo qe 
seinte escripture ne sacorde mie a vengeaunce, eins retient 
deus vengeaunce de pecchez a li e comande merci. E ceo 
est countre apeax de felonie. Lautre datteindre perjurie 
est odious pur la peine corporele qe ensuit. Le tierz est 
odious pur ceo qe lei naturele le transverse e ne sei acorde 
a nul servage de homme ne dautre creature. 

Dautrepa?'t ceus qi combatent mortelemmt pur loier ; 
ceux qe sont vencus de combat joint par jugement entre ij 
homes ; ceux qi se retreent de batailles pus ceo qil aveient 
aflfermie de combatre si en eux soit la defaute ; ceux qe 
tienent bordel de femmes lorices; ceus qe repernent lur 
femmes apres le pecchie de lur avoutire a lur escient ou la 
retiegne cuw suspecte de eel pecche ; ceus qe font le pecchie 
de avouterie ; ceux qi espousent autres femmes vivantes les 
primers ; ceux qi allopent ou porgisent noneyn ; ceus qe 
pernent loier pur soffrer stupre ; celes qi gisent lur 
enfans a la mort ; ceux qi porgisent lur cosins e lur affins ; 
ceus qi espousent femwie dedenz Ian apres la mort lur 
femme avant ; celles qe se lessent marier dedenz Ian apres 
la mort lur autre mari ; ceux e celes qe afferment mariages 
aillours vivanz lur femmes ou lur mariz ; e celes qi trop tost 
se purefient. E plusours autres infames e punisables par 
corporele peine en divers maners. 

' Corr. lun. 


his liberty by extortion or by purchasing [writs] ; also 
those who bring attaints and cannot prove the perjury, 
and thus bring slander on lawful jurors ; also those who 
wrongfully indict or appeal an innocent man to the blemish- 
ment of his repute for any crime or other infamous personal 
trespass. For these three pleas are accounted odious : the 
first because holy writ does not agree with vengeance, but 
God has retained for Himself vengeance for crimes and 
enjoins mercy — and this is against the appeal of felony ; 
the second, namely, the attaint for perjury, is odious 
because of the corporal punishment to which it leads ; the 
third is odious because the law of nature forbids it and will 
not accord with the serfage of man or of any other 

Also those are infamous who do mortal battle for hire ; 
those who are vanquished in a battle adjudged between two ( 
men ; those who withdraw from the battle after they have 
afiSrmed that they will fight, if the default be due to them ; 
those who keep brothels of hired women ; those who know- 
ingly take back their wives when guilty of the sin of^ 
adultery ; those who retain their wives whom they suspect j 
of that sin ; those who commit the sin of adultery ; those 
who while their wives are alive espouse other women ; 
those who elope with or corrupt a nun ; those who take 
reward for suffering fornication ; those who overUe their 
children to death ; those who corrupt their relations by 
consanguinity or affinity ; those who espouse a woman | 
within a year after the deaths of their former wives ; those 
who suffer themselves to be married within a year after the / 
death of their former husbands ; those who, being married, 
affirm that they have other wives or husbands; those 
women who purify themselves too soon :— these and divers 
others are infamous and punishable by corporal punish- 
ment in divers manners. 


Ch. XIV. [De Majestic] 

Li mortiel pecchie de magestie ver le Eoi celestre de 
sodomie se fornist par enfoir lea peccheours tut vifs par 
fund en tere qe memoire sen esteigne, pwr la grant abomina- 
cion del fet, cum eel pecche qe crie vengeaunce e qe plus est 
orrible qe de porgiser mere. Mes eel pecche ne satteint 
James devant juge par accusement, einz en est laudience 

Li jugement de reneire se fornist par le feu cum par 
ardour en poudre.' 

Li jugement del herege si est quadruple ; lun est 
Bacomenge, lautre degradacion, li tierz desheriteson, e la 
quartre destre ars en cendre. 

Les jugemenz de magestie ver le Eoi de la terre se 
fornist par peines al ordenance e a la voluntie le Eoi e par la 
mort. Les jugemenz de faussonerie e de traisson se fornis- 
eent par trayner e pendre a la mort. 

Ch. XV. De Arson. 

Le jugement darson se fornist par pendre a la mort, qe 
se soloit fornir par ardour ; e en cas ou li fieu damaious 
sest pris par everesce de ascun custumablement yveroigne, 
soloit len geter tieux el j&eu e ardoir quant len les trova 
freschement el fet. 

Ch. XVI. De Jugement Domicide. 

Li jugement domicide se fornist commonement par 
pendre jequis a la mort, en felonies nient notoires ; e en 
notoires se fornist par -perte des testes. E homicidez neqe- 
dent distinctez ; car ascuns sunt homicides qe point ne 
pecchent ne peyne ne deservent, ascuns sunt homicides en 
significacion e ne mie en nouns, e ascuns de eus memes 
sont homicides. El primer cas sicom est de loiaux juges 
' ou pendre. Eouard. 


Ch. XIV. Of Laesa Majestas. 

The mortal sin of laesa majestas against the heavenly 
King, namely by sodomy, is punished by burying the sinners 
alive in the earth that their memory may be extinct, 
because of the great abomination of the deed, since this sin 
cries for vengeance and is more horrible than that of 
corrupting one's mother. But this sin is never attainted 
before a judge by accusation, for the hearing of it is for- 

The judgment of renegation is provided by fire and by 
burning to dust. 

The judgment of heresy is quadruple : the first element 
is excommunication, the second degradation, the third dis- 
herison, and the fourth burning to cinders. 

The judgment for laesa majestas against the earthly king 
is executed by torment according to the ordinance and will 
of the king and by death. The judgment of forgery and 
treason is that one be drawn and hanged. 

Ch. XV. Of Arson. 

The judgment for arson is that one be hanged to death ; 
it used to be that one be burned ; and in case the fire that 
did the damage was due to the drunkenness of an habitual 
drunkard, one used to throw him on the fire and burn him 
if one caught him freshly in the act. 

Ch. XVI. Of the Judgment of Homicide. 

The judgment of homicide is usually that one be hanged 
to death if the felony be not notorious ; but if it be noto- 
rious, then that one lose one's head. But as to homicides 
we must distinguish ; for some men are homicides who do 
not sin or deserve punishment, some are homicides in 
signification though not in name, and some are homicides 
of themBclves. (1) The first case is that of lawful judges 


qi par dreit jugement e par seine conscience occient, e les 
ministres assentanz e fornissanz les execucions de loiaux 
jugemenz de mort de homme ; e sicom est de ceus qi occient 
saunz jugement e sanz pecchie, com est des homicides sanz 
descretioun, sicom est darragez, foxnastres, e enfans de 
meins de vij. ans de eage, e sicom est de ceux qi occient 
pur la pees meintenir e de ceux qi occient par lei, sicom est 
des homicides qi occient les mortels peccheours en lur 
pechez notoires de fet, e sicom est de ceux qi occient pur 
eus memes sauver qi autrement ne poent lur propre mort 

En lautre cas cum est de ceux qi sont en voluntie doccire 
e point noccient, sicom est de ceus qi gettent enfanz, veillz 
e malades en tieux lus ou il entendent qil moergent pur 
defaute de eide, e sicom ceux qi peinent homjne innocent e 
le font conoistre e gehir felonie e aver pecchie mortelement, 
ceux sont jugeables a la mort pur lintencion corrumpue, 
tut noccient il mie solom ceo qil quideroit. E sicom des 
homicides de voluntie qi appellent ou enditewt homme 
innocent de crim mortel e ne proevent nient lur apeals ou 
lur ditz. E coment qe ceus soloient estre jugeables a la mort, 
le Eoi Henry neqedent li primer iordena cele mitigacion, 
qil ne soient mes juges a la mort einz sunt jugeables a 
corporele peine. E de ceux qi atort appellent, distinctez ; 
car si ascun eit autre appelie si fausement qil neit tule ' de 
son appel par enditement ne autre renable proeve, en tiel 
cas iert jugeable qil face satisfaccion a la partie pleyntive e 
pus a peine corporele. 

Des meinpemours usa le Eoi Knut a juger les al foer des 
principals quant les principaus ne parurent en jugement ; 
mes li roi Henri le primer imist cele destincteison qe lor- 
denaunce Knut se tenist en dreit des meinpcrnours consen- 
tanz a la sute,^ e les autres fuissent condempnables vers les 
pleintifs al foer des principals sil fuissent presenz, e de ver 
le Roi fussent punis par peine peccuniele. 

1 Corr. title. - Corr. fuitc (?). 


who kill by right judgment and holy conscience, and that 

of the ministers who assent to and execute lawful judg- (YV>^ 

ments of death ; such is also the case of those who kill \ 

without a judgment, but still without sin, being homicides A-^ 

without discretion, e.g. madmen, born fools, and infants 

under seven years of age ; and such is also the case of those 

who kill to maintain the peace or who kill by law, e.g. who 

kill mortal sinners in sins which are notorious in fact, or 

those who kill to save themselves and could not otherwise 

escape death. 

(2) Our second case is that of those who have the will 
to kill but do not kill, e.g. those who abandon infants, old 
or sick folk in places where they intend them to die for want 
of help, and those who torture an innocent man and make 
him acknowledge and confess felony and mortal sin ; and 
these are to be adjudged to death for their corrupt inten- 
tion, albeit they did not kill according to their purpose. 
Such is the case also of those who are homicides in will, 
who appeal or indict an innocent man of a mortal crime and 
do not prove their appeals or their assertions ; and such were 
formerly adjudged to death, but King Henry I. ordained this 
mitigation, that they should be adjudged, not to death, but 
to corporal punishment. And as to those who make wrong- 
ful appeals, let us distinguish ; for if a man has appealed 
another so falsely that he has no title for his appeal in any 
indictment or other reasonable proof, in such a case he 
shall be awarded to make satisfaction to the party grieved 
and also to suffer corporal punishment. 

As to mainpernors. King Knut used to judge them 
as though they were principals when the principals did not 
appear in court; but King Henry I. made this distinction, 
that Knut's ordinance should hold good if the mainpernors 
were consenting to the flight, but if not, then they were to 
be condemnable to make satisfaction to the plaintiff as their 
principals would have been condemnable had they been 
present, but as regards the king they should only be con- 
demned to a pecuniary punishment. 



El tierz cas com est de ceux qi se ardent, pendent, 
noient ou autrement se occient. Dautrepart fet a destiner ^ 
dautres homicides sicom de fisiciens, mirs,^ justices, test- 
moins, de ceus qi ferent e neqedent mie occire, de fous ^ 
darragez e de futifs. Car fisiciens cirurgiens soient sages 
en lur facultez e facent loials cures provablement e eient 
seines les consciences, si qe rien neit failli al pacient qe a 
lur art appendi, si lur paciens moerent pur ceo ne sunt il 
mie homicides ne mahairaours ; mes cil enpreignent a fere 
cure qil ne sievent a bon chef mettre ou sil a bon chef 
sevent e eentremettent neqedent follement ou negligealment, 
issi qil y mettent froid pur chaud ou le revers ou trop pou 
de cure, ou ne mettent une due diligence, e nomeement 
en arsons e abscissions, qe sunt defendues a fere forqe al 
peril des mestres, si lur paciens moerent ou perdent menbre, 
en tel cas sunt il homicides ou mahainours. Juges jugent 
ascune foiz hom^ne a la mort faussement a escient, e ascune 
foiz par ignoraunce. El primer cas sunt il homicides e 
pendables par jugement; e ne soulement les juges, mes les 
fornissours, assessours, consentanz, e tieux qe nel destor- 
berent cum fere le poieient. 

El secund cas distinctez, car une manere dignoraunce 
est sicom de chose nient sue ne nestoit estre sue, e cele 
escuse ; autre est de chose nient sue, qe estoit estre sue tut 
ne seit lem point tenu del saver, e cell escuse aussi ; la 
tierce manere est qe vient de non savance de ceo qe len est 
tenu a savoir, e cele nescuse nient. E notez par ignoraunce 
en sei nest mie pecchie, mes la negligence de savoir est 
pecchie ; ne li juge ne pecche mie de ceo qe il ne siet la lei, 
einz pecche de sa folie empnse de juger folement ou fause- 

La quarte manere dignoraunce est de ceo qe len quide 
de chose autre qe droit, e si tiele ignoraunce viegne de fet 
se escuse ele, e si de droit a dune nescuse ele mie. Ou issi, 

Corr. distincter. ^ jurees 1642. 

' MS. repeats de fous. 


(3) Our third case is that of those who burn, hang, 
drown, or otherwise kill themselves. 

And then again we must make distinctions as to other 
homicides : thus physicians, leeches, justices, witnesses, 
those who strike but do not slay, fools, madmen, fugi- 
tives. Physicians and surgeons being learned in their 
faculties and provably making lawful cures, and having 
clear consciences* so that in nothing have they failed 
their patients that to their art belongs, if their patients 
die, are not homicides nor mayhemers ; but if they under- 
take to make a cure which they do not know how to bring 
to a successful end, or, although they have such know- 
ledge, they behave stupidly or negligently, as by applying 
heat instead of cold, or the reverse, or too little of the cure, 
or if they do not apply a due diligence, more especially in 
their cauterisings and amputations, which are things that 
cannot lawfully be done save at the peril of the practi- 
tioners, then, if their patients die or lose a limb, they are 
homicides or mayhemers. As to judges who falsely adjudge 
a man to death, sometimes they do this knowingly, some- 
times in ignorance. In the first case they are homicides 
and should be adjudged to be hanged ; and not they only, 
but those also who execute their judgments, sit with 
them, or consent to their doings, and also those who do not 
interfere with them when able so to do. 

In the other case we must distinguish, for one kind of 
ignorance is that of a thing that is unknown and not to be 
known, and this is an excuse ; another is ignorance of a 
thing that is unknown but which is to be known though one 
is not bound to know it, and this also is an excuse ; but the 
third is ignorance of that which one is bound to know, and 
this is no excuse. And note that ignorance in itself is no 
sin, but neglect to know is a sin ; and the judge does not 
sin by not knowing the law, but he does sin if of his folly 
he undertakes to judge and does so foolishly or falsely. 

And there is a fourth kind of ignorance which consists 
in thinking otherwise than is right of some matter, and if 
this be ignorance of fact it excuses, but if it be ignorance 


une manere dignoraunce est qe lem poet veincre, e cele ne 
escuse nient ; une autre est qe lem ne poet nient veincre, e 
cele escuse, le quel qe ele viegne de nature sicom par trop 
de eage, ou de maladie sicom de rage. E ceo qest dit 
dendroit des juges est entendable des jurours tesmoins en 
cas notoires. 

Ou plusours sentremedlent felonessement e ascun ensoit 
occis e nul nel quident occire, en cas aussi ou enfant est 
occis par trop batre, e en cas ou plusours unt nauffri 
homwie qi de une soule plaie morust, sunt trestuz grosse- 
ment jugeables pur homicides pur laperte evidence del fet, 
car les volentez des ferours qi point ne voillent occire ne 
poeit nul juger for deu soul, ne pwr qwant pur ceo qe 
ascuns sembatent en teles medlees por destorber mal e en 
bone entencion. Ascuns y comandent aler qe poet estre 
pur bien e poet estre pur mal ; ascuns tenent, autres 
fierent ; ascuns donnent entre a meffesours, ascuns 
gueitent qe nul ne surveigne ; si tiex cas ne soient notoires 
se tiegne lur aquitance ou lur condempnacion en la des- 
crecion des jurours. E aussi en cas quant genz occient 
defendant eux e lur dreit, cum eschiet en disseisines. 
Dautre part si homme tret a autre de quarel dare ou de 
sete, e len plaie aussi com mortelement, sil engarrit, tut fut 
sa voluntie de occire, pur ceo nest il mie jugeable pur homi- 
cide quard a homme, qe ne poet juger for qe solom les fez e 
ne mie solom les pensees. 

Des fous ausi distinctez, car touz fous sunt contables pur 
homicides quant al jugement forpris les foux nastres e 
enfanz de meinis de vij ans de eage, car crim ne se poet fere 
ne pecche si noun parmi voluntie corumpue, e corrupcion 
de volunte ne poet issi si de discrecion noun e innocente 
de conscins sauve fous ragie.^ E pur ceo ordena 'Robert Wal- 
raund qe fous nastres heirs soient en la garde le Eoi pur 

» MS. has a full stop after nouiu 


of law it is no excuse. Or put it thus : there is an ignorance 
that is superable, and that is no excuse ; and there is an 
ignorance that is insuperable, and that is an excuse, whether 
it arises from nature, as from excessive age, or from a malady, 
such as madness. And what has been said of judges is to 
be understood also of jurors who testify in notorious 

Where divers persons are engaged in a felonious medley 
and one of them is killed, but no one thought to kill him ; 
and again, where a child is killed by too much beating ; 
and again, where divers persons have wounded a man and 
he dies of one wound — in these cases all of them in mass 
are to be adjudged homicides upon the open evidence of the 
fact, for the will of the strikers who did not wish to kill no 
one can judge save God only, albeit that some took part 
in the medley for the prevention of evil and with good 
intentions. Some command others to go, and this may be 
for good or for ill ; some hold down while others strike ; 
some let the evil-doers into the house while others are 
keeping watch to prevent their being interrupted : if such 
cases as these be not notorious, then acquittal and condem- 
nation must be left to the discretion of the jurors. So also 
when men kill who are defending themselves or their right, 
as is apt to happen in disseisins. On the other hand, if a 
man shoots at another with a bolt from a bow or with an 
arrow and wounds him as it were mortally — if none the 
less the wounded man recovers, the wounder is not to be 
adjudged a homicide by human judgment, albeit his intent 
was to kill, for man can judge only of deeds and not of 

Then as to fools let us distinguish, for all fools can be 
adjudged homicides except natural fools and children 
within the age of seven years ; for there can be no crime or 
sin without a corrupt will, and there can be no corruption 
of will where there is no discretion and an innocent con- 
science, save in the case of raging fools (?). And therefore 
Robert Walerand ordained that heirs who were born fools 
should be in ward to the king, to be married along with 


marier ovesqe lur heritages de qi fieus qil tiegnent. Des 
arragez ensement fet a destincter, car les frenetics e les 
lunatics poent felonessement pecchir, e issi sunt il contables 
pur homicides ascuns foit e jugeable, mes ne mie les con- 
tinuelement arragez. 

Denfanz ensement distinctez, des enfantz homicides e 
des enfantz occis : — les homicides dedenz lage de xxj an ne 
sunt mie tantost jugeables a la mort en fez nient notoires 
de fet einz qe il soient de plener eage. Des enfaunz occia 
distinctez, li quel il soient occis es ventres des meres ou pus 
lur nativite ; el pHmer cas nest nul homicide jugeable pur 
ceo qe nul ne poet juger enfant avant ceo qil soit veu el 
Becle le quel il soit monstrie ou non. E des enfawz occis el 
pnmer an de lur eage soit a la conoissaunce del eglise. 

Des futifs e de eus deffendaunz est la destincteson cele, 
qe cist qe occist futif apres ceo qil sest rendu a la pees en 
fet nient notoire de fet, il iert jugeable a la mort cum 
homicide; autrement nient. E cist qe occist homwe soi 
defendaunt qe porroit foier e eschuire doccire est aussi 
jugeable a la mort ; e autrement nient. 

Des crims de robberie, larcin e de homsocne ou le 
damage e laffrai passe xij d. sunt les peccheours pris en 
pecchiez occizables par la perte des testes si poeple soit 
present qe puisse le fet e la felonie tesmoiner. E es cas 
nient notoires est li jugement la mort -par pendre. 

Si li defendant soit femme, distinctez , le quel ele out 
mari ou noun, e uncore en soit vestue, e del accion le quele 
ele soit mortele ou noun ; car si ele soit e fu soule e sanz 
baron qil eit espose al hus de mouster, e laccion soit mortele, 


their inheritances, of whosesoever fees those inheritances 
might be held.' As to madmen we must distinguish, for 
those who are frantic or lunatic can sin feloniously, and 
thus may sometimes be accountable and adjudged as homi- 
cides ; but not those who are continuously mad. 

As to infants who are homicides and infants who are 
slain we must distinguish thus : homicides who are within 
the age of twenty-one years are not to be adjudged to death 
until they have attained full age, unless their crime be 
' notorious in fact.' As to an infant who is slain we must 
distinguish whether he is slain en ventre sa mere or after 
birth, for in the former case there is no homicide, for no 
one can be adjudged an infant until he has been seen in /^ 

the world so that it may be known whether he is a monster > 

or no ; and as to infants slain in their first year, this ^ ^v 

belongs to the cognisance of the church. 

As to fugitives and those who defend themselves the 
distinction is this — that if one kill a fugitive after that he 
has surrendered to the peace and the fugitive's crime be 
not * notorious in fact,' then one is to be adjudged to death 
as a homicide ; otherwise not. And one who in self-defence 
slays a man, if he (the slayer) could have fled and avoided 
the killing, is to be adjudged to death ; otherwise not. 

As to the sins of robbery, larceny, and hamsoken, where 
the damage and the affray exceeds twelve pence, the sinners 
taken in their sins are to be killed by loss of their heads if 
there be people present who can testify to the fact and the 
felony. But in cases that are not notorious the judgment 
is death by hanging. 

If the defendant is a woman, then we must distinguish 
whether she is married or no and whether she is still 
vested [with a husband], and as to the action whether it is 
mortal or no, for if she is, and was, an unmarried woman 
and without a husband whom she espoused at the church 
door and the action is mortal, she must answer by herself 

' The introduction of the rule a favourite and a justice of Henry 
that all idiots arc in ward to the III. See Britton, i. 243, and English 
king is ascribed to llobcrt VValcrund, Historical Itevicw, vi. 3G"J. 


respoigne soule al foer de homwe ; e si ele seit coverte de mari, 
distinctez, car si ele seit encopee de mortel crim prmcipal- 
ment, respoigne, e si del accessoire, distinctez, car si ele 
soit encoupee del consentement a la felonie son mari, ou 
dautre sachaunt soun mari, uncore distinctez del cnm, car 
es crims de larcin, de homsokne e de tote autres meindres 
pecchez purra ele respondre qele est souz la verge son mari 
e qe ele ne poet contredire : tel respons est peremptoire en 
larcin. E si nient sachant son mari, respoigne. E de 
i&mme sanz mari encopee de la cumpagnie de larron cum 
de mie nuit ou de poi de tens porra ele dire qele nestoit en 
sa cumpagnie mes cum puteine louice.' 

De mortiels jugemenz, de utlagarie, de abjuracion del 
reaume, des vencuz de bataille pur felonie mortele, e 
dautrement atteinz de pecche mortiel notoire ou nient 
notoire, est tiel effect qe par la corrupcion del cep qi est 
enmorti par la felonie mortele des peccheours est le dreit 
del sane esteint e de la descente de chescun dreit el sane, 
si qe rien ne porra descendre de eus a nul de lur heirs 
proscheins ne remuez par descente ne par nul resort, einz 
en remeinent eschaetes as seignurages des fieus, del tens 
qe les peochiez se firent, qi qe unques ensoient tenaunz, par 
quel qe contractz el moien tens e totes feuties, contractz, e 
obligacions se delient, e funt solom ceo qe dit est de utlaguez, 
e les bens moebles remeignaunz outre autri dreit remeignent 
forfet au Eoi ; e le Roi en le remembraunce de lur felonies 
e despit des felons fere estrepper totes lur mansions, lur 
gardins arracer, lur bois couper e gaster, e lur prez arrer ou 
autrement reverser ; qe li roi Henri le premer modefia a la 
requeste del comun en ceste manere qe pur sauver les 
fieus de villein gast prendrent les rois les fieus de felons 
mortieux en lur mein de qi fieu qil fussent, e les tendrent 

louee (1642 and Houard). 


like a man ; and if she is coverte of a husband, then we 
distinguish, for if she is accused of mortal crime as a 
principal she must answer, and if as an accessory then we 
must distinguish, for if she is accused of consenting to the 
felony of her husband or to that of another with her hus- 
band's knowledge, then once more we must distinguish, for 
to the crime of larceny or of hamsoken and all other lesser 
sins she may answer that she is under her husband's rod 
and that she may not contradict him, and in larceny this 
answer is peremptory ; but if what she did was done without 
her husband's knowledge, then she must answer. And an 
unmarried woman accused of being in the company of a 
thief at midnight or for a little while may plead that she 
was only in his company as a hired prostitute. 

The effect of a judgment of death, of outlawry, of 
abjuration of the realm, of those who are vanquished in 
battle for a mortal felony or otherwise attainted of a mortal 
sin, whether notorious or not notorious, is that by the 
corruption of the stock, which is mortified by the mortal 
felony of the sinners, the right of blood is extinguished 
and the descent of every right in the blood, so that nothing 
can descend from them to any of their heirs, near or 
remote, either by descent or by resort, but such rights 
remain escheated to the lords of the fees from the time 
when the sins were committed, whoever may have become 
tenants, so that contracts made in the meantime and all 
fealties, contracts, and obligations are undone ; and they 
are treated in the manner set forth above in connexion 
with outlawry ; and such movable goods as remain, when 
those that were held in right of another are subtracted, 
are forfeited to the king ; and the king in remembrance of 
their felonies and in despite of the felons shall cause their 
houses to be pulled down, their gardens to be rooted up, 
their woods to be cut down and wasted, their meadows to be 
ploughed or otherwise destroyed; but King Henry I. modified 
this at the request of the community, so that, to save the 
fees from villainous waste, the kings took into their hands 
the fees of mortal felons, of whosesoever fee they might be, 


e emprendroient les profiz par un an pur tiel estrep si len 
en feist autre gre. 

Le crim de rap se fornist ore pur pendre a la mort sanz 
aver regard li quel la femme ravie seit pucelle ou noun ou 
sanz destincter de quele condicion ele seit, ou le quel a sute 
personele ou a la sieute le Eoi, li qel crim avant le tens le 
Eoi Edward le secund se fornist par crevure de euz e la 
perte des 'coilz pur lappetit qe entra par mi les eulz, e la 
chalor de stupre vegnaunt es reins del leccheour. 

Set choses destorbent mortieux jugemenz : lune faus 
jugement ou fol jugement, lautre faus testmoinage, la 
tierce defaute de meillour respons, la quartre la hastivesce 
le Eoi, la quinte de feme ceinte denfaunt. Les primers iij 
cas prenent respit par xl jurs, le quarte par trente jours, e 
la quinte par xl simenes ou plus ^ lenfaunt ne seit einz ces ^ 
vie,^ La sisime est defaute de discrecion sicom est de foux 
nastres, des arragez e denfanz e de trop liens ou de eles 

La setime est povertie ; en quel cas distinctez, ou de la 
povertie del peccheour, ou de la chose. Car li poure qe 
defuie famitie prent vitaille pur sa vie sustenir, ou garne- 
ment qil ne moere pur froit si par tant se sauve de la mort 
nest mie pur taunt jugeable a la mort sil ne soit de poer del 
aver achatie ou empromptie, desico?7i teus en sunt garantiz 
par lei naturele. E tut seit qe lei neit regard forqe as quer 
des peccheour, le Eoi Edward neqedent limita la quantite 
de robberie e de larcin en ceste manere, cest assaver qe nul 
ne ust jugement de la mort si soun larcin, son hampsocne 
ou sa robberie ne passast xij d. desterlings. 

E notez qe li Eoi Henri le primer par Eanulf de Glanvil 
ordena en totes mortels accions qe par la ou laccion fust 

Supply si. 2 Corr. ceo. * Perhaps nie. 


and held them and took the profits thereof for a year, if 
[the lords] made agreement with him that he should have 
this instead of wasting the land. 

The punishment for the crime of rape is nowadays 
death by hanging, and this whether the ravished woman 
were a maid or no, and without regard to her rank, and 
whether the conviction be at her personal suit or at the 
king's suit ; and until the time of King Edward II. this 
crime was punished by tearing out of eyes and loss of 
testicles, because of the appetite which entered through the 
eyes and the heat of fornication which came into the reins 
of the lechers.^ 

There are seven causes which disturb a mortal judg- 
ment : * — (1) a false or foolish judgment ; (2) false testi- 
mony ; (3) default of a better answer ; (4) the hastiness of 
the king ; (5) in the case of a woman, pregnancy — the first 
three causes give respite for forty days, the fourth for thirty 
days, the fifth for forty weeks, or more if the child be not 
then born ; (6) want of discretion, as in the case of born 
fools, madmen, infants, and ; ' (7) poverty. 

In the case of poverty we must distinguish poverty of the 
sinner and poverty of the thing in question. For the poor 
man who to escape starvation takes victuals to sustain his 
life, or a garment to prevent death by cold, if thereby he 
saves himself from death, is not to be adjudged to death, if 
he had no power to buy or borrow, for such doings are war- 
ranted by the law natural. And albeit the law only has 
regard to the sinner's heart, nevertheless King Edward set 
a limit to the amount of robbery or larceny [that would 
serve to hang a man] in this manner, to wit, that no one 
should be adjudged to death if his larceny, hamsoken, or 
robbery did not exceed twelve pence sterling. 

And note that King Henry I.* by Randolph Glanvill 
ordained that in all mortal actions if the action was met 

' By Edward II. onr author means ' The last words of this sentence 

the king whom we call Edward I. ; have not been translated, 
he refers to Stat. West. 11. c. 34. * Either this should be Henry 

' These are causes for arrest of II., or our author has forgotten 

jadgment. Ulanvill's date. 


encontre de excepcion affirmative qe cele affirmacion fust 
pnmerement recevable a prover, en favour de sauvacion. E 
de ceo soloit estre qe si homme surmeist autre felonie e il deit 
al actour qil menti, qe la proeve fust agarde al defendant 
del affirmacion de la menceonge, cestasavoir par son cors ou 
autrement. E aussi si li defendaunt deist qe a tel fet ne 
poet il estre al jour, lu e Ian nomee en la pleinte, e par la 
reeson qil estoit aillurs en lu ou presumpcion ne se poeit fire 
qil poeit aver este a tiel fet, ou sil deit qe il li avint par 
ascun loial title, pur sauvacion apendi la proeve al defendant 
sur peril peremptoire de laccion e del excepcion. Mes si li 
defendant vie ou dedie simplement laccion, en tieux cas 
appent la proeve al actour. 

Des utlagez, veive,^ es exiillz, baniz e de ceux qi unt 
forjure le reaume retornez avant avouable terme, pris e 
detenuz, se fornist li jugement par pendre a la mort. 

Ch. XVII. De Peines en divers manere. 

Passie des peines corporeles morteles fet a descendre as 
corporel veniales, qe se funt par overtes penaunces infama- 
toires. E primes des peines taillons, qe se funt en treis 
cas, cest assaver en mahain, plaie e enprisonement, en 
queux si les plez soient attamez par appeals de felonie pur 
vengeaunce soulement, adunc appendent jugemenz talions, 
sicom mahain pur mahain, plaie pur plaie, e enprison- 
ment ^ pur enprisonement. E si venialement en forme de 
trespas, adunc tienent lu tieux jugemenz qe les peccheours 
facent renable satisfaccion as pleintifs, e pus sont agardables 
a fere overte penaunce as qwantites des trespas. Overtes 
penaunces sunt cestes, amendemenz de chemins, de 
chaungees,^ e des poinz, elevacion al pillorie, al tumbrel, 

' Corr. weives. * MS. repeats e enprisonment. ' Corr. chaticees. 


by an affirmative exception, this affirmative should be first 
received in proof, and this in favour of the salvation of 
defendants. And formerly if one man surmised felony against 
another and that other replied to the action by giving the 
lie, then the proof of this affirmation, namely, the ' You lie,' 
was awarded to the defendant and was to be given by his 
body or otherwise. And so too if the defendant said that 
he could not have been present at the crime at the time and 
place alleged, for that he was in some other place, such that 
the presumption was that he could not have been at the 
deed, or if he said that he came to the thing in dispute by 
some lawful title, then in favour of salvation the proof 
was awarded to the defendant, but under a peremptory 
peril of being defeated both in the exception and the action. 
But if the defendant simply traverses or denies the action, 
then in this case the proof is with the plaintiff. 

The judgment of death by hanging is provided for out- 
laws, and waifs, and for persons who have been banished 
or exiled or have abjured the realm, if they return before 
the lawful term and are taken and detained. 

Ch. XVII. Of various Kinds of Punishment. 

Having treated of mortal corporal punishments, we must 
descend to venial corporal punishments, which take the 
form of public and infamatory penances. And first we 
speak of retaliatory punishments, and these are awarded in 
three cases, to wit, mayhem, wounding, and imprisonment, 
in which cases if the pleas be commenced by way of appeals 
of felony for vengeance only, then retaliatory judgments 
are to be given, thus, mayhem for mayhem, wound for 
wound, imprisonment for imprisonment ; but if the pleas 
be commenced venially in the form of trespass, then the 
judgment is that the sinners do make reasonable satisfaction 
to the plaintiffs, and further an overt penance according to 
the quantity of the trespass is to be awarded them. Overt 
penances are these : [compulsion to] the repair of highways, 
footways, or bridges, being put in the pillory or the tumbrel, 


empnsonement par jugement, abjuracion del reaume, exil, 
bannissement de lu, ou de ville, ou de terre, ou de fieus, de 
entrer en lu ou de issir de lu par jugement e ranceon de 
tele peine par peine peccuniele, ou par autre fin, e tieles 
autres maners de jugemenz penales. 

E si les peccheours soient enfaunz ou autrement en 
garde, en tieux cas sunt les gardeins jugeables a la satisfac- 
cion des damages, e les gardeins se preignent as biens des 
trespassours, mes la penaunce overte est suspendable taunt 
cnm il sont en garde. E solom les differences des peccliiez 
e des peccheours varient les peines en manere qe suit. E 
p?"tmes de faus juges qi pecchiez poissent plus pttr tant qi\ 
sunt en plus haut degre dautres genz. 

Ch. XVIII. De Faus Justices. 

De faus juges assignez or den a le Eoi Alfred tiel juge- 
ment qe pur le despit qil funt a Dieu qi vicaires il se funt 
e al Eoi qi tant les honure qil les met en si noble siccom 
est la chaire Dieu, e lur donne si grant • dignetie de repre- 
sentir la persone Dieu e la sine p^r jugerles peccheours, en 
p7*tmes sunt agardables a fere satisfaccion as blessiez, e le 
remenant de lur biens sont remanables forfez au Eoi, sauve 
autriz droiz e dettes, e totes lur possessions forfetes, ovesqes 
totes lur possessions par eus purchacees, en qi meins qe 
eles seient devenus, e pus sunt trebuchables al foer del faus 
Lucifer si bas qe jammes ne relevent, e des cors sunt pe- 
nables ou exillables a la voluntie le Eoi ; e de mortel juge- 
ment faus sunt il pendables al foer dautres homicides, e 
pur mahaim mahaim, pur plaie plaie, e pur enpnsone- 
ment enp?7"sonment, tieus pur tieus, en meme le lu, e en 
meme lestat. 

Li jugement de faus juges ordenaires nest mie en 
venials jugemenz si chargeant cum est des juges delegat 

' MS. repeats si grant. 


imprisonment under judgment, abjuration of the realm, 
exile, banishment from the place, or the vill, or the land, or 
the fee, to enter such a place or to leave it under judgment, 
and ransom of such punishments by a pecuniary punish- 
ment or some other fine— and other such sorts of penal 
judgments. And if the sinners are infants or otherwise in 
ward, their guardians are adjudged to pay the damages and 
may betake themselves to the goods of the trespassers, but 
the overt penance is suspended so long as the sinner is in 
ward. And punishments vary according to distinctions 
between sins and between sinners in manner following. 
And first of false judges whose sins are heavier than those 
of others, since they are of higher rank than others. 

Ch. XVIII. Of False Justices. 

As to false justices delegate. King Alfred ordained this 
judgment, that (for the desi)ite which they do to God, whose 
vicars they make themselves, and to the king, who has 
honoured them by placing them in a noble seat, namely in 
the chair of God, and has given them the great dignity of 
representing the person of God and of the king for the 
punishment of sinners), they should first be adjudged to 
make satisfaction to the injured, and that the remnant of 
their goods should be forfeited to the king, with a saving 
for the rights and debts of others, and that all their posses- 
sions should be forfeited, and all the possessions purchased 
by them, into whosesoever hands they shall have come, 
and that then they should be cast down, after the likeness 
of the false Lucifer, so low that they should never rise 
again, and that their bodies should be punishable and exile- 
able at the king's will ; and that for a false mortal judgment 
they should be hanged like other homicides, and mayhem 
for mayhem, wound for wound, imprisonment for imprison- 
ment, and like for like in all particulars of place and con- 

The judgment of false judges ordinary in the ease of 
venial judgments is not so heavy as that of judges delegate. 


avantdit, einz enpnmes sunt condempnables a la satisfac- 
cion des pleintifs, e de ver le Eoi sunt punissables par 
peine peccuniele e foriugeables de chescun juresdiccion, e 
des cas mortieux e tallions solom ceo qe dit est dautres 

Ch. XIX. De Perjurie. 

De ' perjurie est grant pecchie distinctez ou de perjurie 
de faus testmoinage, ou de perjurie cum fei mentir contre 
le serement de feautie. Del primer perjurie fet a destincter 
ou de perjurie mortel ou de venial. Si de mortel adunc 
siut mortel jugement al foer daperz homicides. E notez 
qe en totes personels accions atteintes ^ torcenouses a 
personeles siutes appent tiel agard qe due satisfaccion ne ^ 
face as pleintifs, e les peccheors soient puniz par corporele 
peine, les qeles peines sunt achatees par ranceons de 
deners. E si de venial perjurie adunc soloient les con- 
dempnables a exil a anees ou a jammes, e lur bois, prez, 
mansions e gardins atirables al foer des homicides, sauve 
qe lur heirs ne remeissent desheritez. 

De lautre perjurie, distinctez ou cum fei mentir au Eoi 
ou a autre. E si au Eoi distinctez ou cum son tenaunt ou 
noun. E si de serement de feautie issant de fieu e la 
feautie soit blemie en ascuns de ses poinz, a dune tient lu le 
proces avant dit es defautes. E si de serement nient 
issaunt de fieu distinctez ou de commune feautie juree au 
Eoi pur la demoere en son fieu, e adunqe tient lu simple 
peine corporele qe passe la peine qe serreit jugeable a autres 
nient ministres solom la voluntie le Eoi.'' 

' Omit De. * Corr. attames (?). * Corr. se. 

* A loss of words from the preceding sentence may be suspected. 


which has been stated above, but in the first place they ar^ 
to be condemned to satisfy the plaintiffs, and then to be 
punished in relation to the king by pecuniary penalties, 
and they are to be forjudged of every jurisdiction ; but in 
mortal cases, and those which demand retaliation, they are 
to be punished like other judges in manner aforesaid. 

Ch, XIX, Of Perjury, 

As to the great sin of perjury, we distinguish between 
perjury by false testimony and perjury by belying the 
faith of one's oath of fealty. In the former case we 
distinguish mortal from venial perjury. In the case of 
mortal perjury there is mortal judgment, as in the case of 
open homicide. And note that in all personal actions 
[entered as tortious] at the suit of the party, the judgment 
is that due satisfaction be made to the plaintiff, and that 
the sinners be punished by a corporal punishment, which 
can be redeemed by a ransom in money. And for venial 
perjury those convicted may be condemned to exile for 
years or for ever, and their woods, meadows, houses, and 
gardens may be destroyed as though they were homicides, 
but their heirs will not be disinherited. 

As to the other sort of perjury, we distinguish between 
faith belied to the king and faith belied to another. And 
in the king's case we distinguish whether the swearer was 
his tenant or no. If the oath of fealty was issuing from 
the fee, and the fealty is blemished in any point, then the 
procedure is that described in our chapter on defaults. If 
the fealty does not issue from the fee, then we must dis- 
tinguish the common fealty sworn to the king by those who 
dwell within his fee, in which case there is a simple corporal 
punishment, which exceeds at the king's will the punish- 
ment which would be awarded to others who are not the 
king's ministers. 


Ch. XX. De Office des Justices en Eire. 

Presentemenz des pecchiez se funt par loffice de 
corouners, par viscontes e baillifs en tourns e veuues, par 
enquerours e justices especiaux, e par loffice des Eois, ou 
de lur chief justices, ou de lur justices generales. E pur 
ceo qe les uns nunt poer a terminer les pecchez de tieux 
presentemenz ne de punir les trespassours, e les autres qe 
point ' ne voellent, ou ne funt mie duement ceo qe droit 
douroit,'^ ou punissent les innocens e esparnient as cou- 
pables, estoit auncienement ordene qe les Eois par eus ou 
par lur chief justices ou par justices generals a tuz plez oir 
e terminer, errasent de vij. aunz en vij, ans par mie tuz 
countiez, pur receivre les roulles de totes justices assignez, 
de corouners, denquerours, de eschateours, de viscountes, 
de hundreders, de bailifs, e de touz seneschaus de trestuz 
lur jugements, enquestes, presentment e touz lur offices, e 
de ceux roulles diligealment examiner, si ascun eust erre 
taunt ne quant en la lei, ou quant al damage del Koi, ou en 
grevaunce del poeple ; e ceo qil trovassent nient termine 
terminassent en eire, redresseasse?<t eles ministres e les 
negligenz punirent solom les riules de droit, e puis enques- 
sent de touz pecchiez qe a la juresdiccion e la sute des Eois 
appendissent. E notez qe tut eient les Eois sute entor ' 
mortieus pecchiez, e es torz fez au lei e al droit de la 
coroune, pur ceo ne fet mie a entendre qil eit sute en touz 
pecchiez. Mes si ascun soit pleintif ne sue mie sa pleinte 
apres ceo qele averad este afferme, distinctez, car si de 
pecchie personel venial, suffit por les defendaunz, car la 
noun sieute des pleintifs suppose satisfaccion des blesciez ; 
e si de pecche mortiel, uncore niad le Eoi nule siute si noun 
par garaunt dappel ou denditement, en queux bosoigne as 
appellez e enditent * qil se hastent a due aquitaunce, ne lur 
est nul tenu a respondre de nule meindre ^ accion pur 
lexcepcion de la mortiele infamie qe les forbarre. 

' Corr. poient. ' en tous or eiivers. 

' de droit Us ptiissent, 1642 and * Corr. encZtices, 1642 and Houard. 

Houard. ° maniere, 1642 andHouard. 


Ch. XX. Of the Office of Justices in Eyre. 

Presentments of sins are made ex officio to the coroners, 
sheriffs, and bailiffs at turns and views [of frankpledge], to 
inquisitors and special justices, and ex officio to the kings 
or their chief justices or general justices. And because 
some have no power to * determine ' the sins thus pre- 
sented, or to punish the trespassers, and others who can 
do it will not, or will not duly do what law requires, or 
punish the innocent and spare the guilty, it was ordained 
of old that the kings in person, or by their chief justices, 
or their general justices appointed to hear and determine 
all pleas, should journey every seven years throughout all 
counties to receive the rolls of all justices delegate, coroners, 
inquisitors, escheators, sheriffs, hundredors, and bailiffs, 
and of all stewards, containing all their judgments, in- 
quests, presentments, and official doings, and should dili- 
gently examine these rolls, to see whether any one had 
erred in any point in the law, or to the damage of the 
king, or to the grievance of his people; and what they 
found undetermined they were to determine in their eyre, 
and should redress the deeds of officials, and punish 
neglects according to the rules of right, and afterwards 
inquire of all sins which are within the king's jurisdiction 
and prosecution. And note that though the king has suit 
[of] mortal sins and of wrongs done to the law or to the 
right of the crown, still it is not to be understood that he 
can make suit for all sins. But if any plaintiff will not 
pursue his plaint after that he has affirmed it, then we 
must distinguish, for if it be for a venial personal sin, that 
is enough for the defendants, for non-suit supposes a satis- 
faction of the harm done ; and even if it be for a mortal 
sin, still the king cannot sue unless he has warrant for this 
in an appeal or an indictment, in which case it behoves the 
appellees or indictees to be quick to get an acquittal, for 
until then no one will be obliged to answer them in any 
lower action, because the exception of mortal infamy will 
bar them. 

V 2 


Ch. XXI. Des Articles en Eire. 

Chescun pais solloit estre garni al meins par xl. jours 
par generale somonses des venues des Eois ; ou apres les 
essoignes aiornees, e les assizes de vitaille ordenez, e les 
bans des ordenancez criez, e ceux des franchises aiornees, 
e les jurours triez, jurez, e chargiez de lur articles, e les 
cliens de franchises e les roulles des justices, des corouners, 
de touz seneschaux e dautres e tote manere des pleez e de 
presentemenz pus la dereine eire priz e receux, soleit len 
enprimes enquere, oir, e terminer les articles presentez en 
la derreine eire attamez e nient terminez; e pus oir e 
terminer brefs e pleintes, deliverer prisons, examiner roullez 
e redrescer errours e tuz torz par loials jugemenz saunz 
regard de nuli persone. E tuz ceux juges ordenaires e 
assignes, viscountes, baillifs, e seneschaux des seignurs de 
lieus, e touz autres qe clamerent jurediccion qe lem poet 
attendre dascun tort fet co autre les seintes riules de droit 
dempna len par jugement de torcenous juges ova le regard 
a lei distincteison des greez. Corouners, eschateours, vis- 
countes, baillifs, e autres ministres fesaunz torz al Koi ou 
al poeple soloit len punir al foer dautres e outre solom la 
voluntie le Eoi. Les peccheours qe len trova usaunz fausses 
balaunces e fans detz ' e gainaunz par assise enfreinte de 
pain, vin, cervoise, dras e de autres marchaundises soloit 
len lever al pillorie, e les femes a tumeril, e mes nestoient 
sufferz de marchaundir, e ia ne se poient courir par usage 
ou franchise de ville ou de lu, par quoi lusage fust con- 
traiaunt a dreit. Les cillours de bourses soloit lem prendre 
en lur pecchiez notoires de fet, e pur la coupeure de bourses 
e dautres biens vaillaunz meins de xij. deners e plus de "vj. d. 

^ metes, 1642 and Houard. 

or JUDGMENT. 146 

Ch. XXL The Articles of the Eyre. 

Every county was warned at least forty days in advance 
of the king's coming by a general summons ; and then 
after the essoins were adjourned, and the assizes of victual 
were ordained, and the bans of ordinances were proclaimed, 
and days were given to the men of the franchises, and the 
jurors were challenged, sworn and charged with their articles, 
and the claims of franchises, and the rolls of the justices 
and the coroners and the stewards, and others, and of all 
manner of pleas and presentments since the last eyre, were 
taken and received — after all this, then the first business was 
to inquire of, hear, and determine the matters which were 
presented in the last eyre, and which were then commenced 
but not finished ; and the next was to hear and determine 
the plaints and writs, to deliver the prisoners, examine the 
rolls, and redress errors and all injuries, by lawful judg- 
ment without respect of persons. And all these judges 
ordinary or assigned, sheriffs, bailiffs, stewards of the lords 
of fees, and all others who claimed jurisdiction could bo 
attainted of any tort done against the holy rules of right, 
and were condemned by the judgment provided for tortious 
judges, with due respect to their degrees. Coroners, 
cscheators, sheriffs, bailiffs, and other officers guilty of 
wrongs against the king and the people were punished like 
other men, and in addition they were punished at the 
king's will. The sinners who were found using false scales 
and false weights, and making gain by breach of the 
assize of bread, wine, ale, cloth, and other merchandise, 
were sent, if males to the pillory, if women to the tumbrel, 
and were forbidden further merchandise, and were not 
allowed to excuse themselves by the usage or franchise of 
any town or place, for such a usage would be contrary to 
law. Cutpurses were seized in their crimes * notorious in 
fact,' and for cutting a purse, or taking other goods to the 
value of less than twelve, but more than six, pence, one 


soloit len fere freschement saunz mener les en prison ou 
aillours devant juge assigne couper lune oreille, e de banir 
les de la ville ou del fieu a lautre foit. E pur lour larcin 
meins vaillaunt de vj. d. soloient tieux estre levez al pillorie 
al primer foiz e destre baniz a lautre. 

En jugemenz des pe?-sonels trespas venials soloit Martin 
de Pateshull user quant a taxacion des damages mises en 
pleintes cest cours ; 11 soloit enquere doffice des jurors par 
queux ascun p?'mcipal trespassour fut atteint devant li, des 
nons de trestuz ceus qi coupables estoient el principal 
degrie e en laecessoire, e einz ces ' qil alast al jugement des 
damages solom le noumbre des enditez, issi qc nul pleintif 
ne recoverast plusours entiers damages par pluralite des 
pleintifs ^ de un soul trespas vers les trespassours several- 

Ch. XXII. Des FraiincJiiscs. 

Des fraunchises notez qc pur ceo qe le Eoi ne use forqe 
al foier denfant dendreit les e les dignetiez de sa coroune, 
nest nule feffement de loiale fraunchise si estable qe les 
Eois ne les poent rapelir par dreit proces, par si qil en facent 
satisfaccion a la valante cum pur la garauntie. E ben list 
a chescun qi sensent greive a fere la siute pur le Eoi pur 
fere anentir chescun fraunchise forfete par contumace, cum 
si baillif de fraunchise ne face execucion del retorn de vis- 
counte del comandement le Eoi, par abusion cum par 
desus de la fraunchise sicom trop largement ou nient 
duement ; car par le href suaunt qe li viceconte entre en la 
fraunchise, recovere le Eoi sa seisine e issi devent jug^ 
gueldable ceo qc avant fu enfraunchi, E tuz ceux soloient 
forfere la fraunchise de garde de gaole aver en feu qe -par 
title de fraunchise de infangenetheof ou de retorn des 
briefs, nenvoierent sanz delai les prisons pris en lus 

' Corr. ceo. ^ Coir, pleintes. ' Corr. juge. 


used, on the spot, without taking them to prison or else- 
where before a judge delegate, to cut an ear off for a first 
offence, and to banish them from the vill or from the fee 
for a second offence ; and if the larceny was to a less 
amount than sixpence, they were put in the pillory for the 
first and banished for the second offence. 

As regards the taxation of the damages that were laid 
in venial personal actions, Martin of Pateshull used to 
proceed thus : he inquired ex officio from the jurors by 
whom any of the principal trespassers had been attainted 
before him, concerning the names of all who were guilty as 
principals or as accessories, and then he proceeded to give 
judgment for the damages according to the number of the 
persons thus indicted, so that no plaintiff should recover 
his whole damages more than once for one trespass com- 
mitted by several trespassers by means of a plurahty of 

Ch. XXII. Of Franchises. 

As to franchises, note that as the king in his enjoyment 
of the [rights] and dignities of his crown is comparable to 
an infant (fungitiir vice minoris), no feoffment of a lawful 
franchise is so stable that kings cannot repeal it by right 
process on making recompense for its value as in the 
case of a warranty. And everyone who thinks himself 
grieved can make suit for the king to annul a franchise 
forfeited by contumacy (as if a bailiff of a franchise does 
not execute the king's command which the sheriff has 
handed to him for his return), or by abuse or disuse of the 
franchise, as if its limits are exceeded or it is not duly 
observed ; for by the writ which follows on such a procedure, 
and which bids the sheriff enter the franchise, the king 
recovers his seisin, and so that which before was enfran- 
chised becomes geldable. And all those forfeit the franchise 
of keeping a gaol in fee by reason of the franchise of 
iiifangthicf or of return of writs, who will not send to the 
gaol of the geldable all those who have bein arrested in 


fraunchis pur felonie fete el gueldable jesqes a la gaole del 
gueldable, si qc le Eoi ne pe?'dra les pelfres ne les chatieux 
des felouws ne autres proffiz e droiz ; car le Eoi ne donne 
nule fraunchise en prejudice de li ne de nul autre, nomee- 
ment de retorn de bref ne garde de gaole avoir. Example 
poeit estre, sicom par entre ij. veisins enfraunchis, qe sicom 
lun ne poet nul prison retenir en prejudice del autre, aussi 
ne poet nul homme enfraunchi retenir prison en prejudice 
del Eoi, e sil le face il forfet la frauncbise. E aussi appent 
qe jurours veignent hors des fraunchises requis ' par devaunt 
le Eoi e ces comwdssaires requis ' el gueldable e aillours a 
Boun mandement, aussi ben sur criminals accions qe sur 
reales. E si ascun recette felouw en sa fraunchise a escient 
cist en est chalengeable. 

Ch. XXIII. De Satisfaccion de Dette. 

Des damages recove?-ez vers autre .j. ou plusours iert 
jugement rendable countre lactour; sicom en cest cas, si 
plusours deivent une dette dunt chescun seit tenu el tut, 
si lun de eus en face gre, tut ne face il gre especialment 
pur touz les dettours trestiiz, neqedent en sunt quites pur 
Qeo qe satisfaccion regarde la dette ne mie les persones. 

Ch.. XXIV. Cas de Deseisine.^ 

Si les jurours en petites assises soient de un assent, die 
un le comMW verdit pur touz. E sil dient qil nen savent 
nient, lactour ne recovre nient pur ceo qil ne proeve mie sa 
accion. E sil seient de divers assenz, pur ceo ne sent il 
mie manasables ne enprisonables, einz sunt tretables e 
severables e examinables diligealment ; e si ij jurours soient 
trovez accordaunz entre trestuz les autres, suffit pur celi 

' Coxi. jeques. ^ The letters cis are obliterated in MS. 


their franchise for felonies committed in the geldable, so 
that the king may not lose the pelf [stolen goods] nor th© 
chattels of the felons, nor other profits and rights ; for the 
king gives no franchise to the prejudice of himself or of 
another, more especially the return of writs and the 
custody of gaols. To take an example : just as if two 
neighbours enjoy franchises, one cannot retain a prisoner 
to the prejudice af the other, so no man witli a franchise 
can retain a prisoner to the prejudice of the king, and if 
he does it he forfeits his franchise. And it behoves also 
that jurors must come from the franchises before the king 
and his commissioners into the geldable and elsewhere at 
his command, as well in criminal as in real actions. And 
if anyone knowingly receives a felon into his franchise, it 
is challengeable on that account. 

Ch. XXIII. Of the Satisfaction of Debts, 

If damages be recovered against one or more, judgment 
[in a subsequent action] must be given against the plaintiff ; 
in this case, for example, namely, if divers persons owe a 
debt in such wise that each of them is bound for the whole, 
then if one of them makes accord with the plaintiff, albeit 
he does not expressly make the accord on behalf of all the 
debtors, nevertheless all of them are quit, for satisfaction 
has relation to the debt, and not to the persons of the 

Ch. XXIV. Cases of Disseisin. 

If the jurors in petty assizes are of one miAd, let one of 
them on behalf of all give their common verdict ; and if 
they say that they know nothing, the plaintiff will recover 
nothing, for he has not proved his action ; and if they are. 
of different minds, they are not on that accoun,t to be 
threatened or imprisoned, but are to be separated frona. 
each other, and argued with, and diligently examined ; and, 
if any two jurors out of the whole set agr^e, tha^t is enough, 


pur qi il testmoingnent ; e rien ne sunt examinables sur le 
title de sa possession einz suffist al juge savoir mon si 
lactour estoit desseisi de sa possession, le quel qe ele estoit 
droiturele ou torcenouse, solom la pleinte, car si ele fu 
torcenouse, pur ceo neqedent qe li tenaunt usa force, ou il 
dust aver use jugement, e ceo fist memes juge, est jugement 
rendable pur lactour, issi qil recovere sa seisine tele quele, 
sauve chescun droit par autre bref. Car assise ne tient mie 
lu sur assise de ,j. tenement entre meme les parties ne 
atteinte sur atteinte. E si les jurours dient pur le quel 
qil eient juree sur laccion ou sur ascun excepcion fet ajuger 
pur li. E appent denquere des autres nomeez el bref, e 
si les disseisours ininterent a force e a armes, tut soit qil 
ne feirent damage a nul de son cors, trestuz neqedent sunt 
agardables a peine corporele solom la quantite del pecchie. 
E sil engeterent de sa mansion ou de meson ou de sa meinee 
demoera la felonie de tel homsokne est punissable a la sute 
le Eoi ou de la partie. Car nul nest engetable de sa meeson 
ou il iad demore e la quele qil ad usee pur sue propre par 
un an saunz jugement, tut nen eit il nul title forqe par 
disseisine ou entrusion. E suffist pur force e armes soule 
montreison darmes pur enpourir les adversaires. E en 
noun darmes sunt compris arcs, saietes, arbalastes, baches, 
lances, espeies, bastons, fondes, targes, e ling armure e de 
fer. Pus fet enqere des damages cestassavoir des issues des 
tenemenz puis la disseisine fete e qe meins celes issues 
soient pus devenues, e des mises castagez e renables 
despenses qe lactour ad suffert entour soun recoverer, e en 
totes choses de cumbien il en est endamagie en descrees de 
ses biens e de sa honur. E les damages assummez,' soit 
agarde qe li pleintif recovere sa seisine tele quele par la 

> Doubtful. 


for the party for whom they testify ; and they are not to be 

examined about his title to the possession, for it is enough 

for the judge to know that the plaintiff was disseised from 

hia possession, whether that possession were rightful or 

wrongful ; for albeit it was wrongful, nevertheless because 

the defendant had recourse to force instead of judgment, 

and made himself a judge, judgment shall be given for the 

plaintiff, that he recover his seisin such as it was, with a 

saving for every right which may be asserted under any 

other writ ; but there cannot be assize upon assize, or 

attaint upon attaint, between the same parties as to the 

same tenement. And if jurors find for one party, then 

judgment must be given for him, whether they have been 

sworn to give a verdict on the action or on an ' exception.' 

And inquiry must bo made as to the other persons named 

in the writ, and as to whether the disseisors came with 

force and arms; and if they came with force and arms, 

albeit they did no damage to the body of anyone, all of 

them shall be adjudged to a corporal punishment according 

to the quantity of their sin. And if they ejected the plaintiff 

from his mansion or his house where some of his family 

dwelt, the felony of this hamsoken is punishable at the suit 

of the king or of the party ; for no one is to be ejected 

without judgment from his house in which he has dwelt 

and which he has used as his own for one year, albeit he 

has no title save by disseisin or intrusion. And there is 

' force and arms ' enough if there be but a show of arms Vj 

to frighten the adverse party ; and under the name of ' arms ' 

are comprised bows, arrows, cross-bows, axes, lances, swords, 

staves, slings, shields and armour whether of linen or of iron. 

And afterwards inquiry must be made as to the damages, 

that is, of the issues of the tenements after the disseisin, 

to whose hands those issues have come, and of the costs, 

charges, and reasonable expenses to which the plaintiff has 

been put in and about his recovery, and in all respects how 

much he is damaged by decrease of his goods or of his 

honour. And the damages being taxed, it shall be awarded 

that the plaintiff do recover his beisin, such as it was, by the 


veuue des jurours e les damages, e les disseisours sunt 
punissables solom les poinz des pecchiez. 

Dendreit les biens trovez es tenemenz dunt nul ne poeit 
savoir lestimacion par cas sicom pur chartres, escriz loiaux, 
tresor e teles choses enserrees, ad lactour accion par appel 
de robberie ou par bref de trespas. 

Li jugement de larcin atteint venalment a fere satisfac- 
cion as pleintifs al double de la value de la chose emble. 
^ de robberie al quadruple. 

Ch. XXV. B£ Amerciement. 

Peine peceunielle appelluns nous amerciementz qe soient 
reales peccheours ' e mixtes, qe ascuns poinz sont en ce^-tein 
e en ascuns pointz nient. En certein amerciementz sunt 
en certein ascuns foiz solum les dignetiez des gentz, sicom 
est de contes e des barrens. Car cum tenaunt contie 
enteree est amerciable a c. li. q^ant meins est amercie. E 
baron de baronie en entcre a c. marz. E qi meins entenent 
ou pltts, solom la quantite de sa tenure. E ascune foiz pa?- 
certein assize en aut?-e cas sicom est de eschaps de genz 
retenues. En quel cas distinctez. Car ou len escbape de la 
prison le Eoi, ou de lautri prison le Eoi,^ distinctez ou la 
cause est mortele ou veniale. E si mortiele distinctez ou 
la cause fu atteinte ou noun. E si atteinte par notorite de 
fet ou de droit, adunc tient lu peine corporele non certein. 
Car si li gardein .j. ou plusours soient assentaunz a leschap, 
adunc sue mortele peine. E si la cause ne fu mie atteinte 
e le gardein ne fu le ministre le Eoi ne assentaunt a leschap, 
adunc est lassiae de la peine c. souz desterl. ou plus solom 
lusage del pais ou de lu ou del prisone. E si la cause soit 
veniale, adunc nest mie leschap punissable. E si leschap 

Corr, personcls (?). ' Om. le Boi (?). 


view of the jurors, and his damages, and the disseisors are 
punishable according to the particulars of their sins. As 
to the goods found in the tenement, of which the value 
cannot perhaps be estimated, e.g. charters, legal writings, 
treasure, and other things that are locked up, the plaintiff 
has his action by appeal of robbery or writ of trespass. 

The judgment for larceny, when this has been proved in 
a venial action, is for satisfaction to the plaintiffs to the 
double value of the things stolen, and in case of robbery to 
the fourfold value. 

Ch. XXV. Of Amercements. 

Pecuniary punishments we call amercements, which are 
real, personal, or mixed, and sometimes are certain and 
sometimes uncertain. Amercements are certain in some 
cases according to the dignity of the persons amerced ; 
thus it is with earls and barons, for one who holds a whole 
earldom is amerced at one hundred pounds at the least, 
and a baron for a whole barony at a hundred marks ; and 
those who hold less or more are amerciable in proportion 
to what they hold. In some other cases the amercement is 
fixed by a certain assize, as is the case where prisoners have 
escaped. And here you must distinguish whether the 
escape be from the king's prison or from another prison, 
and if from the king's prison, then whether the cause of 
imprisonment was mortal or venial, and if mortal, whether 
this cause had been proved [attainted] or no ; and if it has 
been proved, whether by notoriety of fact or notoriety of 
law, then there is an uncertain corporal punishment ; for 
in this case if the guardian or guardians of the prison were 
assenting to the escape then a mortal punishment ensues ; 
but if the cause was not yet proved, and the guardian was 
not the king's minister and was not assenting to the escape, 
then the assessment of the punishment is a hundred shil- 
lings sterling, or more or less according to the usage of the 
country or place or prison. And if the cause be venial, 
then the escape is not punishable. And if the escape be 



se face de lautri prison, distinctez de la cause de la capcien 
ou la cause est mortele ou veniale. E si mortele, adunc 
tient lu veniale peccunielle avantdit. E de venial cause ne 
sont nulle peine pur nul eschap. 

Ch. XXVI. Damerciement Taxable. 

Somoouns^ amerciemenz sont taxables ipao- le serement e 
lafoermewt de piers de ceux qi cheent en la merci solom la 
constitucion de la chartre des franchises, qe voet qe franc 
hovame soit afeere qwant il chiet en la merci solom la 
quantite de trespas, e issi qe sa contenaunce ne soit abaissee, 
marchant sauve sa marchaundise e villein sauve sa gai- 
gnerie ; e ceus affoerours sont elizables par lassent des 
parties sil voillent estre. Les ministres le Eoi neqedent 
sont plus grevables pur lur fei enfreinte. 

Plusours cas sont qe peines corporeles sunt rachatees 
par fins de deners. E celes fins sont appellables raunceons 
qe sunt a taunt a dire com redempcions de corporeles 
peines. E dune ascuns fins sunt comuns sicom pur murdres 
e pur personeux trespas de villes e de comuns des queles finz 
le Eoi Edward ordena qe eles soient assises en la presence 
des justices si qe les nouns de ceux qi escoter idevient 
soient mis en roulles des justices, si qe les estretes veinent 
as viscountes allever par parceles e nemie par les totales 
summes. En cas ou lem recoere dette ou damages pur 
jugement ordena le Koi Edward qe en leleccion soit de ceux 
a fere les execucions par fere lever tieles dettes ou tieux 
damages des biens moebles as dettours ou de avoir touz lur 
biens moebles par verroi pris requis ^ a la vaillaunce des 
demandes forpWs les boefs e les affres des charues ensemble- 
ment ovesqe la moite des terres e tenemenz as dettors, si les 

Commons, Houard. ^ Corr, jeques. 


from a prison of some one other than the king, you must 
distinguish whether the cause of arrest be mortal or venial ; 
and if it be mortal, then the aforesaid pecuniary penalty is 
appHcable ; and if it be venial, then there is no punishment 
for the escape. 

Ch. XXVI. Of Taxable Amercements. 

Common amercements are taxable by the oath and 
affeerment of the peers of those who fall into mercy accord- 
ing to the constitution of the charter of liberties,' which 
wills that the amercement of a free man shall be affeered 
according to the quantity of the trespass and so that his 
countenance be not abased, and the merchant with a 
saving for his merchandise, and the villain with a saving 
for his wainage. And the affeerors are to be chosen by the 
assent of the parties if they wish to be present. But the 
king's ministers are to be more severely charged, because 
of their broken faith. 

There are divers cases in which corporal punishments 
are redeemed by fines in money ; and these fines are called 
ransoms, which means that they are redemptions of corporal 
punishments. And some fines are ' common,' such as the 
murder fines and those inflicted on vills and communes for 
personal trespasses, and as to these King Edward ordained 
that they should be assessed in the presence of the jus- 
tices, so that the names of those who ought to scot for 
them should be set down in the justices' rolls, so that the 
estreats might come to the sheriffs in parcels and not in 
gross sums.^ 

In cases where one recovers debts or damages by judg- 
ment. King Edward ordained that it should be in the elec- 
tion of the creditors to have execution made by levying 
such debts or damages from the movable goods of the 
debtors, or to have all their movable goods at the true price 
to the extent of the demand, save oxen and beasts of the 
plough, together with a moiety of the lands and tenements 

' Mag. Cart. 1216, c. 20. » Stat. West. I. c. 18. 


biens moebles ne suffisent a tenir, par certeine estente taunt 
qe les dettes ou les damages soient levez. 

Es dreit de ceux qi sunt appellez ou enditez de felonie e 
ne sunt trovez, appent denquere coment il sunt cruz e nome- 
ment devant le Eoi e ces justices erranz. E sil soient cruz 
par copables, adunc sunt il comandables a mettre en exi- 
gendes issi qe al p?*imer countie apres leire soit li p?-imer 
jour ; e issi sunt il demandable par troiz countiez requis ' 
al utlaguerie sil ne se rendent a la pees. 

Ch. XXVII. Dqffice des Justices en Eire. 

Al office des justices en heire appent especialment 
enquere par jurours e par examinement des roulles as 
corouners de trestuz les utlaguiez pus la derreine heire, e 
pus la certificacion des nouns appent enquere des nouns de 
lur pleges, cest adire ou il furent en deseine ou en veuue de 
franc plege. E si lur pleges soient de meme lur contie, 
adunc sunt les pleges punissables par peine peccunielle pur 
ceo qe il neurent avant tieux cu??^ il meinpristerent. E sil 
furent aillours en diseine, adunc appent denqere qi les recetta 
en eel countie en qi meinpai il furent. E ceux sunt punis- 
sables al foer des pleges par meme la reson. 

Escrit eide des memoires des genz, sunt escriz chartres e 
monumenz mout necessaires pur tesmoignir les condicions 
e les poinz des contractz, de dons, des ventes, de fermes, e de 
autres par le statut Leuthfred qi ordena qe lem pust defendre 
ledengues diz e contractz nuz e desvetuz par sa lei ordena 
qe actours provassent lur escriz dediz e nient pj-ovables par 
veisins en Engleterre pur les foreins contractz par bataille 
ou par copie e collacion dautres seales ou par jurours solom 
leleccion des actours. 

Corr. jeques 


of the debtors, if the movable goods were not sufficient, to 
hold according to a fixed ' extent ' until the debts and 
damages should be levied.' 

As to those who are appealed or indicted of felony and 
who are not to be found, it behoves that inquiry be made, 
and more particularly before the king and his justices in 
eyre, as to their credit. And if they be believed to be 
guilty, then command is to be given that they be put in 
exigend, so that the first county court after the eyre shall 
be the first of the days [for their exaction], and then they 
are demandable at three county courts until they are out- 
lawed, unless they will surrender themselves to the peace. 

Ch. XXVII. The Office of Justices in Eyre. 

To the office of justices in eyre it especially belongs to 
inquire by jurors and by examination of the coroners' rolls 
concerning all those outlawed since the last eyre, and, after 
their names have been certified, to inquire also as to the 
names of their pledges, that is to say, where they were in 
tithing or view of frankpledge ; and if their pledges are of 
the same county, then they are punishable by a pecuniary 
punishment for not having produced those who were in 
their mainprise; and if the pledges be elsewhere, then 
inquiry must be made as to who received those men in that 
county and in whose mainpast they were, and these are 
punishable as pledges would be, and for the same reason. 

To aid the memory of men, writings, charters, and muni- 
ments are very necessary, to testify the conditions and par- 
ticulars of contracts, gifts, sales, and so forth, by the statute 
of Leuthfred, who ordained that one might deny by one's law 
injurious words and contracts which are naked and devested, 
and he ordained that plaintiffs should produce their docu- 
ments if they were denied and were not provable by neigh- 
bours in England, because they were foreign, and should prove 
these documents by battle, or by copy and collation of other 
seals, or by jurors, according to the election of the plaintiffs.' 
' Stat. West. II. c. 18. » Text obscure and translation doubtful. 


Si jurees par cas eient oscurement dotousement ou 
nient suffisaument pronuncie lur verdit en jugement en 
queuqe accion ou excepcion ou ascune des parties ensoit 
grevie, la tient lu remedie par commission de ce?-tificacion 
pur autre foiz fere revenir les jurours e les parties, ou 
covendra as pleintifs ou actours aver suz le seal le Eoi ou 
del juge ou de la partie le p?*oces de la pa?-ole avawtdite e 
monstrer la defaute e le pecchie des jurours. En qe cas si 
juge troeve doute par examinement, cele doute est remenable 
en certein e oscuritie en claritie e errour a varitie e issi est 
le primer jugement redresceable. 


If perchance jurors have too obscurely, dubiously, or 
insufficiently given their verdict in court on any action 
or 'exception,' or either of the parties feels aggrieved 
thereby, in that case there is a remedy by a commission of 
* certification,' under which the jurors and the parties are 
again summoned, and it behoves the plaintiffs to have, 
under the king's seal or that of the judge, or that of the 
party, the process of the said suit, and to point out the 
default and sin of the jurors. And in this case if the judge 
finds doubt, then by an examination [of the jurors] the 
doubt may be reduced to certainty, and obscurity into 
clearness, and error into truth, and thus the first judgment 
may be redressed. 

X 8 



1. Des abusions de la lei. 

2. Des defautes de la grande chartre. 

3. Les reprehensions des estatuz de 


3b. [Les reprehensions des estatuz 
de Marleberge.] 

4. Les reprehensions des primers 

estatuz de Westmoustier. 

5. Les reprehensions des eecunz 

estatuz de Westmostier. 

5b. [Sur lestatut de Gloucestre.] 

6. Les reprehensions de Circum- 

specte agatis. 

7. La reprehension de novel estatuz 

de marchanz.* 

Here follows Incipit liber qtiartm de almsions. 



1. Abases of the Law. 

2. Defects in the Great Charter. 

3. Reprehensions of the Statutes of 


3b. [Reprehensions of the Statutes 
of Marlborough.] 

4. Reprehensions of the First Sta- 

tutes of Westminster. 

5. Reprehensions of the Second Sta- 

tutes of Westminster. 

5b. [On the Statute of Gloucester.] 

6. Reprehensions of Circumspecte 


7. Reprehensions of the new Statutes 

of Merchants. 




Ch. I. Des Ahusions de la Lei. 

Plusours sunt qe dient qe coment qe autres reaumes 
use lei escrite soulle Engleterre neqedent use ses custumea 
e ses usages pur lei. Mes entre droiz usages e torcenouses 
ad grant difference, car torcenous usages nient garantis- 
sables par lei ne soeffrables par seinte escnpture ne funt 
point a usure, example des larrons qi usages sunt a robber 
e emblir. E pur monstrer ascuns abusions tenues pur 
usages qe sont fraudes a la lei e repugnantes a droit nen 
sont trovez avouable par seinte esc?*tpture est fet cest 
chapitre de une cueillecte de partie de abusions de la lei des 
persones en afforcement de la conoissaunce de la dreite lei 
e des verreis usages. 

Abusion est desus ou mesus de dreit usages tournent 
en abusions, ascune foiz par contrairetie e repugnaunce a 
dreit, ascune foiz par trop user, ascune foiz par nent ou 
trop poi user, e ascune foiz par trop largement user. 

1. La premere e la soverein abusion est qe li Eoi est 
outre la lei, ou il dust estre subject, sicom est contenu en 
son serement. 

2. Abusion est qe ou les parlementz se duissent fere 
sur les sauvacions des almes des trespassours e ceo a 
Londres e as .ij. foiz par an, la ne se funt il ore forqe rere- 
ment e a la voluntie le Eoi sur eides e cueillettes de tresor. 
E ou les ordenaunces se duissent fere de comun assent del 
Eoi e de ces ' countes la ce funt ore par le Eoi e ces ' clercg 

' Corr. ses. 




Ch. I. Abuses of the Law. 

There are some who say that, while other realms make 
use of written law, England alone makes use of her customs 
and usages as law. But between right and wrongful usages 
there is a great difference ; for wrongful usages, which are 
not warrantable by law nor allowable by holy writ, are not 
to be followed, e.g. the usage of thieves which is the usage 
to rob and steal. And to set forth certain abuses which 
are held for usages, and which are frauds on the law 
and repugnant to right and not avowable by holy writ, is 
the object of this chapter, which makes a collection of a 
part of the abuses of the law of persons as a supplement 
for the knowledge of right law and true usages. 

Abuse is disuse or misuse of right usages, turning them 
into abuse, sometimes by contrariety and repugnance to 
right, sometimes by excessive use, sometimes by non-use or 
deficient use, and sometimes by extravagant use. 

1. The first and sovereign abuse is that the king ia. 
beyond the law, whereas he ought to be aubject to it, as is 
contained in his oath. 

2. It is an abuse that whereas parliaments ought to ba 
held for the salvation of the souls of trespassers, twice a 
year and at London, they are now held but rarely and at 
the king's will for the purpose of obtaining aids and col- 
lection of treasure. And whereas ordinances ought to be 
made by the common assent of the king and his earls, they 
are now made by the king and his clerks and by aliens and 


e par aliens e autres, qi nosent contreviner le Eoi, einz 
desirent del plere e de li conseiller a son proffit, tut ne soit 
mie lur conseil covenable al comun del people, sanz appeller 
les countes e saunz suire les riules de droit, e dune plusours 
ordenaunces se foundent ore plus sur la voluntie qe sur 

3. Abusion est qe les leis ne les usagez del Eeaume 
ovesqe lur enchesons ne sunt mie escrit par quoi il soient 
connus issi qil pussent estre seuz de tuz. 

4. Abusion est qe force vaut en deseisines apres le tierce 
jour de pesible seisins, desicom il nest mie digne destre 
eide de la lei qi se defie de jugement e use la force. 

5. Abusion est qe dreit prent ore delai en la court le 
Eoi plus qe aillours. 

6. Abusion est de soeffrir nul el reaume outre xl. jours 
qe seit del eage de xiij. anz ensuz, soit Engleis, seit alien, 
sil ne soit jure& ai Eoi par serement de feautie e pie viz e en 

7. Abusion est qe elers e fem??res sont exe77ipz de fere 
al Eoi le dit serement,, desicom le Eei prent lur homage e 
lur feautie pur t«rre. 

8. Abusion est a tenir eschap de prison ou de brusure 
de gaole p%r peeche mortal, car cele usage nest garanti par 
nule lei ne nule part est usie forqe en cest reaume e en 
Fraunce einz est len garaunti de ceo fere par lei naturell. 

9. Abusion est a soffrir taunt de fourme de brefs ple- 
dables, e de ceo nomeement qe les brefs sunt clos e nient 
patenz a foer de brefs de dreit. E de ceo qe len les fet a 
enterligneire a rasture e autrement vicious. 

10. Abusion est qe la monoie ne soit quarterable, qele 
nest dargewt fin, qe ele tenu par able si le forein cercle ne 
isoit entier, daillaier la monoie ou len met xviij. d. e 
maille pesaunz de quivre a chescuri .xx. s. 

11. Abusion est qe le Eoi prent plus de xij. d. pwr la 
change de chescun livre. 


others who dare not oppose the king but desire to please 
him and to counsel him for his profit, albeit their counsel 
is not for the good of the community of the people, and this 
without any summons of the earls or any observance of the 
rules of right, so that divers ordinances are now founded 
rather upon will than upon right. 

3. It is an abuse that the laws and usages of the realm 
with their occasions are not put in writing, so that they 
might be published and known to all. 

4. It is an abuse that force may be used in disseisins 
after the third day of peaceable seisin, whereas he is not 
worthy of the law's aid who, defying judgment, uses force. 

5. It is an abuse that nowadays right is longer delayed 
in the king's court than elsewhere. 

6. It is an abuse that any is suffered to be in the realm 
beyond forty days who is over the age of thirteen years, be 
he English, be he alien, without being sworn to the king by 
the oath of fealty and being pledged and put in tithing. 

7. It is an abuse that clerks and women are excused 
from taking this oath to the king, whereas he takes their 
homage and fealty for land. 

8. It is an abuse that an escape from prison or breach 
of gaol is accounted a mortal sin, for this usage is war- 
ranted by no law, and does not obtain anywhere save in 
this realm and in France, and one is warranted by the law 
of nature [in attempting to escape]. 

9. It is an abuse that there are so many forms of plead- 
able writs, and in particular that the writs are close and 
not, like the writ of right, patent. Also that they have 
interlineations and erasures in them and are otherwise 

10. It is an abuse that money is not quarterable, that 
it is not of fine silver, that it is good tender although the 
outer circle be not perfect, that it is alloyed by eighteen 
and a half pennyweights of copper in every twenty 

11. It is an abuse that the king takes more than twelve 
pence on the change of every pound. 



12. Abusion est qe nule livre est sofferte a peser xxv. d. 
ou plus de xij. unces. 

13. Abusion est qe traison ne sateint plus par appeaux 
qe ne fet. 

14. Abusion est qe homwe homicide par necessitie ou 
ove la pees e nient felonessement est retenu ou pris taunt 
qe il est purchace la char^re le Koi de pardon de la mort 
aussi com par mescheaunce. 

15. Abusion est a tenir les biens moebles de futifs a 
forfez einz ces ^ qil soient atteinz de felonie par utlaguerie 
ou autrement. 

16. Abusion est de utlaguer homme einz ces ' qil en eit 
enquis par se?'emewt des veisins qil en soit mescru. 

17. Abusion est qe lem soeffre genz atteintes de felonie 
estre provours e aver voiz a homme loial, e qe clers, femmes, 
enfaunz e autres qe ne poent cumbatre sunt suffertz destre 

18. Abusion est qe autre resceive les appeaus des pro- 
vours qe corouners, e qe il sunt suffert dappeler plus de 
une foiz ou par destreser ou par aticement de enemis ou en 
autre manere faussement. 

19. Abusion est qe justice chace loial home prendre sei 
a pais ou il se p?'o£fre sei defendre countre provour par 
Boun cors. 

20. AbusioT} est de chacer genz appellez de provour a 
la quitance ou li provour renie son appeal, sil nen soit 
aillors enditie, ou ap?-es la menceonge de provour atteinte 
ou apres la mort de p7'ovour. 

21. Abusion est de suffrir provour vive apres ceo qil 
serra atteint a mentour de son appeal. 

22. Abusion est a suffrir larrons e felons escriez g 
notoires estre defenduz de seintuaires, 

23. Abusion est qe tieux felons qi forjurent le reaume 
ne sunt mie suffert de eslire port ou passage liors del 

' Corr. ceo. 


12. It is an abuse that any pound should be suffered 
to ■weigh twenty-five pennyweights or more than twelve 
ounces (?). 

13. It is an abuse that treason is not more commonly 
attainted by appeals than is the case. 

14. It is an abuse that a man who has committed homi- 
cide of necessity, or for the peace, or in self-defence, is 
taken or detained until he has purchased the king's 
charter of pardon, just as though it were a case of mis- 

15. It is an abuse that the movable goods of fugitives 
are held as forfeited before they have been attainted of 
felony by outlawry or otherwise. 

16. It is an abuse to outlaw a man before an inquest of 
his neighbours has been taken as to his ill repute. 

17. It is an abuse that men attainted of felony are 
suffered to be approvers and make accusations against 
lawful men ; and to suffer clerks, women, children, and 
others who cannot fight to be approvers. 

18. It is an abuse that anyone, save coroners, should 
receive the appeals of approvers, or to suffer them to make 
appeals more than once, or under compulsion or at the 
instigation of enemies, or in some other false manner. 

19. It is an abuse that justices drive a lawful man to 
put himself upon his country when he offers to defend him- 
self against an approver by his body. 

20. It is an abuse to drive folk who are appealed by 
approvers to an acquittal, when the approver denies his 
appeal and they are not otherwise indicted, or to drive 
them to an acquittal after the approver's lie has been 
attainted, or after the approver's death. 

21. It is an abuse to suffer an approver to live after he 
has been attainted as a liar in his appeal. 

22. It is an abuse to suffer thieves and felons, pro- 
claimed and notorious, to be defended by sanctuaries. 

23. It is an abuse that felons who abjure the realm are 
not allowed to choose their own port of departure from the 


reaume. Abusion est de les assigner port e de limiter lur 

24. Abusion est qe tieux entrent en la meer e de lever 
la menee sur la meer, e les assentis costices ' as grantz 
chemins lur sont defenduz e qe il ne poent tenir e aver les 
chemins e les hostiex al foier des pelrins. 

25. Abusion est a juger murdre par defaute denglescherie 
desicom meindre ^ dust estre la peine de engleis de alien. 

26. Abusion est qe aquitaunces des paiemenz fez au 
Eoi al escheeqere se funt par tallies e ne mie par le seal a 
ceo assigne. 

27. Abusion est qe les ministres del escheeqere eient 
juresdiccion dautre chose qe des deners le Eoi, de ces j&eus 
e ces f?'anchises, saunz bref originall de la chauncellerie 
souz blanche cire. 

28. Abusion est de veilles estretes de lexchecqer des 
dettes le Eoi e a mal tort dorment ou delaient ses dettes 
allever, de sicovn. les arrerages des viscountes e dautres 
recevours le Eoi sont levables saunz delai de ceux qe les 
imistrent sil ne suffisent, e les arreragez des dettes dautres 
sunt levables de la surtie ou les principaux ne suf&sent, e 
les arrerages des issues sunt levables des viscountes ou des 
ceux qi le imistrent, e les arrerages des amerciemenz sunt 
levables des affoerours si les pnncipaux ne suffisent. E issi 
des fins e de totes autres dettes le Eoi, par quoi piert qe 
nule dette ne doit mie mout delaier, einz quident plusours 
qe nul nest charge de auncienne dette si noun par malice 
ou par la negligence des ministres le Eoi. 

29. Abusion est qe ceux del eschecqer ou autres re- 
ceivent attornez ou conussaunces sanz original brief de la 
chauncelkWe de si qe nul nel poet fere saunz jurediccion. 

30. Abusion est qe autres qe francs hommes fieu tenaunz 

' e les scntiers jesques (1642). * murdre (1642). 


realm. It is an abuse that ports are assigned to them and 
their journeys limited. 

24. It is an abuse that these abjurers are compelled to 
wade into the sea and raise hue over the sea, and that the 
footpaths that run beside the great roads are forbidden 
them, and that they cannot use the roads and hospices in 
the manner of pilgrims. 

25. It is an abuse to adjudge a murder for default of 
EngUshry, whereas the punishment in the case of an 
Englishman should be less than that in case of an alien. 

26. It is an abuse that acquittance for payments made 
to the king at the exchequer are made by tally and not 
under the seal appointed for this purpose. 

97. It is an abuse that the officers of the exchequer 
have jurisdiction in matters other than debts due to the 
king and his fees and franchises, without original writ from 
the chancery under white wax. 

28. It is an abuse that estreats of the exchequer for 
old debts due to the king lie dormant and are delayed 
wrongfully, whereas the arrears of sheriffs and other the 
king's receivers are leviable without delay from those who 
gave them their places, if they themselves be not sufficient, 
and the arrears of other debts are leviable from the sureties, 
if the principal debtors be not sufficient, and the arrears of 
issues are leviable from the sheriffs or those who gave them 
their places, and the arrears of amercements are leviable 
from the affeerers if the principal debtors be not sufficient ; 
and so with fines and other crown debts ; whereby it appears 
that no debt should be long delayed, insomuch that there 
are some who think that no one is charged with an ancient 
debt unless this be by malice or by the negligence of the 
king's officers. 

29. It is an abuse that those of the exchequer and 
others receive attorneys and recognizances without original 
writ from the chancery, whereas no one can do this who 
has not jurisdiction. 

30. It is an abuse that any should have an ordinary 


eient jurediccion ordinaire ou aillurs forqe es courz des 
seignurs des fieus ou des hundreders ou des countiez. 

31. Abusion est damercier nul homriie par garaunt de 
presentements Bur personel trespas desi qe nul nest amerci- 
able forqe sur le pecchie de real accion ou de mixte. 

32. Abusion est dani€?-cier nul homme par nul presente- 
ment fet de meins qe de xij. francs homes jurees. 

33. Abusion est de mettre amerciemenz en certein saunz 
iaffoerement de francs homes a ceo jureez. 

34. Abusion est daffoerer amerciemenz en labsence des 
amerciez si voillent estre. 

35. Abusion est de charger les jurours de nul article 
tochaunt tort fet de veisin a veisin. 

36. Abusion est a crere qe home eit jurediccion assignee 
si sa com7?ussion nel voille. 

37. Abusion est obeir a juge de qi tort len appelle ; 
example piert el auncien brief de dreit, et nisi fecms 
\icecomes faciei. 

38. Abusion est qe franc home seit fet le ministre le 
Eoi par ascune eleccion sil nel voille estre. 

39. Abusion est qe salaires de countours ne sunt mis 
en certein. 

40. Abusion est qe les defendaunz nunt nules amendes 
des torcenous pleintifs. 

41. Abusion est countours sont esperniez destre sere- 
mentez solom les poinz chargeables. 

42. Abusion est de suspendre countour sil ne seit atteint 
de orde * trespas dunt il est condempnable a corporele peine. 

43. Abusion est a somondre hom^we pur pe?-8onel pecchie. 

44. Abusion est a juger hom??ie a la mort pur felonie 
par suitiers, si noun en cas si notoires qe respons ne juree 
ne iad mestri ne lu ne poez tenir. 

45. Abusion est a comencer appel aillours qe de vaunt 

' laide (1642). 


jurisdiction save free men holding fees, or that anyone 
should have it save in the courts of the lords of fees and 
the hundred and county courts. 

31. It is an abuse to amerce a man on the warrant of 
a presentment of a personal trespass, since no one is 
amerciable save for sin in a real or mixed action. 

32. It is an abuse to amerce a man on a presentment 
made by less than twelve free men who have been sworn. 

33. It is an abuse to fix an amercement at a certain 
sum without the affeerment of free men sworn for this 

34. It is an abuse to affeer amercements in the absence 
of the amerced, if they wish to be present. 

35. It is an abuse to charge the jurors to make pre- 
sentment of wrongs done by neighbour to neighbour. 

36. It is an abuse to believe that a man has a delegated 
jurisdiction, unless he has a commission stating this. 

37. It is an abuse to obey a judge from whose tort one 
is appealing, as may be seen, e.g., from the ancient writ of 
right, with its * et nisi feceris, vicecomes faciet.' 

38. It is an abuse that a free man should be elected to 
serve as the king's officer against his will. 

39. It is an abuse that the salaries of pleaders are not 

40. It is an abuse that defendants get no amends from 
tortious plaintiffs. 

41. It is an abuse that pleaders are excused from being 
sworn according to the articles. 

42. It is an abuse to suspend a pleader, if he be not 
attainted of some foul trespass for which he might be con- 
demned to corporal punishment. 

43. It is an abuse to summon a man for a personal sin.' 

44. It is an abuse to adjudge a man to death for felony 
on the testimony of suitors, except in cases so notorious 
that there is no need or room for any answer or jury. 

45. It is an abuse to begin an appeal elsewhere than 

' Summons is appropriate to real and mixed actions. 


corouner del contie e par ceo piert qe brief dappel ad fol 
fundement cum brief trovie sur errour. 

46. Abusion est de lesser par pleges homme appele ou 
endite de mortiel pecchie prmcipalment. 

47. Abusion est a terminer appel de felon ie par juges 
ordenaires sutlers. 

48. Abusions est qe totes persones sunt comuniment * 
recevables en appeals de felonie. 

49. Abusion est qe enfanz dedenz age ne sunt mie touz 
en garde. 

50. Abusion est qe genz poent aliener lur heritages de 
lur heirs plus qe le qwart ou lur purchaz de fieus ou fere 
ne poent assignez, car nul ne poet fere assignie ou nul 
assignie nest contenu el purchaz. 

61. Abusion est qe les heritages des heires femeles sunt 
tenues en garde, tut soient de hauberc, cum de heirs malez 
de sico?7i fem??ie receit son eage al terme de xiiij. anz de 

52. Abusion est qe gaolers ou lur sov^reins despoillent 
prisons e lur tolent autre chose qe armeures. 

53. Abusions est qe prisons ou autre pur eux paient 
rien pwr lur entres a la gaole ou pur lur issues. 

54. Abusion est qe prison soit charge de fer ou mis en 
peine avant ceo qe il soit atteint de felonie. 

55. Abusion est qe les gaoles ne sunt delivrces des 
prisons deliverable saunz delai apres brief purchace. 

56. Abusion est a fere homwe respondre a la sute le 
Eoi ou il nest endite ne appellie. 

57. Abusion est denp?isoner autre qe homme enditeeou 
appelle de felonie saunz especial garaunt, si en cas now pur 
defaute des pleges ou de meinpernours. 

58. Abusion est qe justices delivrent p?-isons nient p^is 
avaunt la date de lur garanz, e desicoTw lentencion le Eoi 
ne se poet estendre forqe a ceux qi adunc sunt detenuz en 

' Apparently so, but the com is ill written. 


before the coroner of the county, and thereby it appears 
that the writ of appeal is vain writ as being one based on 

46. It is an abuse to let out on pledges one who is 
appealed or indicted as a principal for a mortal sin. 

47. It is an abuse that suitors as judges ordinary should 
determine an appeal of felony. 

48. It is an abuse that all persons without distinction 
are received in appeals of felony. 

49. It is an abuse that all infants under age are not in 

50. It is an abuse that men can alienate more than a ' 
quarter of their inheritances away from their heirs, and 
can alienate fees acquired by purchase, although they 
cannot make assigns, for no one can make assigns if 
* assigns ' be not mentioned in his purchase deed. 

61. It is an abuse that the inheritances of female heirs 
are kept in ward just as though they were those of male 
heirs, and this although they be hauberk fees [knight's 
fees], whereas a woman attains full age at fourteen. ^^-^ y — (^'c 

52. It is an abuse that gaolers or their superiors de- 
spoil prisoners and take from them other things besides 
their armour. 

53. It is an abuse that prisoners or others on their 
behalf should pay anything on entering or leaving gaol. 

54. It is an abuse that a prisoner should be loaded 
with iron or put in pain before he is attainted of felony. 

65. It is an abuse that gaols are not delivered of 
deliverable prisoners without delay after writ purchased. 

56. It is an abuse to make a man answer to the king's 
suit when he is not indicted or appealed. 

57. It is an abuse to imprison a man who is not 
indicted or appealed of felony, unless this be by special 
warrant or for default of pledges or mainpernors. 

58. It is an abuse that justices should deliver prisoners 
who were not arrested at the date of their warrant, for the 
king's intention expressed in the commission can only 
extend to those who were in prison at its date. 




59. Abnsion est qe le hrei de odio et atia ne tient lu 
forqe en homicidie. 

60. Abusion e qe eel brief tient lu a enditez. 

61. Abusion est qe appellez ou endites de mortel crim 
sunt sufferz hors de p?ison par plevine ou ceux qi sunt 
condempnez a corporele peine einz ces ' qil facent lur 
penaunce ou qil eient raehatie par fin de peine peccuniell. 

62. Abusion est qe les briefs de sicut alias e sicut 
pluries passent le seal en cas ou appendreit de fere tieux 
ministres com inobedienz a droit e al Eoi e de charger ent 
autres a fere tieu maundement. 

63. Abusion est a mettre cestes paroles en briefs nisi 
captus sit per speciale preceptum nostrum, vel capital/s 
justiciarn nostxi vel pro foresta nostra e cet. Car nul 
especial mandement deit passer commun dreit. 

64. Abusion est de soffrir qe juges soient actours pur 
le Eoi. 

65. E abusion est qe alienes ou autres qi nuwt mie juris 
feautie al Eoi ou infames ou endites ou appeles de crim 
mortel ou qi nunt point de com?nission sufiisaunt ou ascun 
ap?'es tort fet ou apres jugement rendu sunt sufferz davoir 
juresdiccion ou de juger hors des poinz especefies en lur 

66. Abusion est qe len pince ^ en appeax par countier 
les pa?-tes del monde e les nons des rues e les hours des 
jours en countre la pees desicom chescun pecchie est contre 
la pees e tieles autres paroles nient necessaires. 

67. Abusion est de abatre appeals suffisaunz solom 
lestatut de Gloucestre. 

68. Abusion est qe briefs remediaux sunt veniales, e qe 
le Eoi mande as viscountes pernez sieurtie de tant a nostre 
oes pur le brief, car pa?- le purchaz de tieux briefs porroit 
lem destrure son enemi torcenousement. E par ceo qe 

\ ' Corr. ceo, ^ Perhaps puice ; 1642 gives len preiiits. 




59. It is an abuse that the writ de odio et atia can only 

be obtained in case of homicide. i 

60. It is an abuse that this writ is applicable to those \ 
who have been indicted. ' 

61. It is an abuse that men appealed or indicted of 
mortal crime are allowed to be out of i)rison on pledge, 
and those also who have been condemned to corporal 
punishment and who have not yet done their penance or 
redeemed it by fine and pecuniary penalty. 

62. It is an abuse that writs sicut alias and iicut pluries 
should pass the seal, when instead of this the officers, to 
whom they are sent, ought to be treated as disobedient to 
the law and the king, and others should be charged to 
carry out the original command. 

63. It is an abuse to put in the writ [of mainprise] 
* unless he has been arrested by our special command or 
that of our chief justice or for our forest, &c.,' for no special 
command should override common law. 

64. It is an abuse to suffer judges to be plaintiffs for 
the king. 

65. It is an abuse that aliens, or others who have not 
sworn fealty to the king, or the infamous, or those indicted 
or appealed of mortal crime, or those who have no sufficient 
commission, or any persons after a tort has been done or 
after judgment has been given, should be suffered to have 
jurisdiction or [that any should] judge outside the points 
specified in their commission. 

66. It is an abuse that in appeals one should have to 

mention (?) the parts of the world and the names of streets vJl v 

and days and hours, and to say ' against the peace,' for 

every sin is against the peace and the other phrases are ^i 


67. It is an abuse to abate appeals which are sufficient 
according to the Statute of Gloucester. 

68. It is an abuse that remedial writs are vendible, 
and that the king should bid the sheriff take surety for a 
certain sum * to our use ' for the writ, because by the 
purchase of such writs one might tortiously destroy one's 



tieles fins sunt enroulles e puis courre?it en estretes tut 
ne facent les si damage noun as purchaceours, 

69. Abusion e qe foreins ne sont mie recevables en 
accions par sieurtie des frances qe point nunt poer a trover 

70. Abusion est a destreindre par biens moebles en 
pgrsoneles accions ou le proffit des issus devien tut au Koi e 
nul proffit nen accrest as pleintifs. 

71. Abusion est qe nule pleinte est recevable a audience 
sanz sute p7-esentee a tesmoigner la pleinte estre verroie. 

72. Abusion est qe len dit qe villenage nest mie franc 
tenement e ceste assise ne siert nient a ejeccion de terme 
des ans sicom fet de tenement tenu a terme de vie ou a 
jam?nes. Car villein e serf ne sont mie .j. en voiz nen 
significacion, einz poet checun franc home tenir villenage 
a li e a ces • heirs fesant le servage e le charge del fieu. 

73. Abusion est a crere^ qe plener seisine nacrest mie 
a purchaceour taunt cu??i li donour i soeffre e lest ces ' 
chatieux, car sicom cont7*act se fet de manage par conjunc- 
tion de volunties de home e de fem??ie, tut soit qe lun se 
repent e tantost apres lesposailles sen voudra retrere, mes 
ne se porra li contract desjoindre, einz isuffist conferme- 
ment del cont?'act par bailie sieuant e par celebracion ^ de 
esposail, tut ne i eit le purchaceour autre seisine par -prise 
de esplez ne chartre ne escrit pur tesmoigner le contract. 
E tut fust qe femme tantost apres lesposaille fust ravie e 
tollecte '' e li mari sen pleinsist ^ e li ravissour responaunt a 
la pleinte deist qe li mari naveroit dreit naccion, pur ceo 

' Corr. ses. * Or collecte, MS. ; consent (1642). 

* atrere, MS. * se eniplevist (1642) 

* cebracion, MS. 


enemy, and because these fines are enrolled and afterwards 
are current in estreats, albeit the purchaser has got nothing 
but damage by the writ. 

69. It is an abuse that foreigners who cannot find 
pledges are not receivable in actions on the surety of 

70. It is an abuse to distrain by movable goods in 
personal actions, where the whole profit of the issues comes 
to the king and no profit accrues to the plaintiff. 

71. It is an abuse that a plaint should be received and 
heard where there are no suitors presented to testify that 
the plaint is true. 

72. It is an abuse to say that villainage is not free 
tenement, and that the assize [of novel disseisin] is not as 
applicable to the ejectment of a tenant for years as to that 
of one who holds for life or for ever ; for * villain ' and 
' serf ' are not all one either in sound or in meaning, and 
any free man may hold villainage to him and his heirs 
doing the service and bearing the burden of the fee. 

73. It is an abuse to believe that plenary seisin should 
not accrue to a purchaser of land so long as the vendor has 
left his chattels behind him.' Take a parallel case. A 
contract of marriage is made by the union of the wills of 
man and woman, and neither of them can retreat from it 
after the moment of espousal although desirous to do so, 
and the contract cannot be undone, for by way of con- 
firmation it is enough that there has been a bailment of 
seisin by virtue of the celebration of the espousals, albeit 
the purchaser [husband] has no other seisin than this, and 
there has been no taking of esplees and no charter nor 
writing to witness the contract ; and if the woman imme- 
diately after the espousal is ravished and carried off ['?] and 
the husband makes plaint, and the ravisher, in answer to 
the plaint, says that the husband has no right nor action, for 

' In their anxiety to make the not really given np possecsion, but 

livery of seisin a reality, the judges is retaining it animo if not corpora. 

Keom to liuve been inclined to hold Our author argues against this in an 

that if the fcntTor has not removed elaborate passage, 
his chattels from the land be has 


qil nen fu unqes seisi plenerement par p7-?se de esplez, on 
deist qil memes nestoit unqes hors de seisine de la femwe 
pur ceo qe ele fu vestu de sa robe e par la robe reraist 
il en seisine de voluntie, rien ne li deit lexcepcion valoir pur 
escuser son tort, nient plus qe en cest cas. Si ascun achat 
chival e face ent gre al vendour e li vendour face ent le 
bail a lachatour, tut soit qe li vendour sen repente e de sa 
force repr^igne le chival, e tut ' qe lachatour nad nule accion 
pwr ceo qe il memes remist touz jours en seisine de voluntie 
par ceo qe il nen ousta unqes ses chatieus pleinement par 
une seele qe il i lessa sur le cheval, rien ne vaudreit 

74. Abusion est a quider qe contractz se defunt en 
biens nient moebles autrement qe en bien moebles. 

74 (a). Abusion est a quider qe escriz e chartres facent 
estat e de user a fere les chartres de feffemenz avant 
transmitacion de seisine, desicom chartre est viciouse qe 
testmoint doun estre fet ou la transmitacion nest mie 
uncore fete de la seisine, car nul doun ne vaut sanz bail de 

75. Abusion est quider qe seisine nacerest mie si tost 
a purchaceour de soun porchaz com a heir de son heritage, 
desicom dreit ne requert qe .iij. choses en contractz, con- 
juncion des voluntiez, satisfaccion al donour, e bail de la 
possession. E dune si transmitacion de seisine soit fete al 
purchaceour par le donour a houre de prime,^ li pur- 
chaceour moerge a houre de tierce, il moert aussi bien seisi 
del tenement cum il froit de iemme ou de cheval, tut nen 
eit li donour oustie e remue pleinement ses chatieux, ne 
unqes ne vient de bone foi a dire qe franc tenement apres 
transmitacion de seisine par simple bail demoert el brief ' 
le doneour, qe remeint el tenant apres tel bail del tene- 

Corr. dit (?). ^ The MS. begins a new paragraph. 

' Coix. chief (7). 


that he was never seised by taking esplees, or says that he 
[the ravisher] was never out of seisin of the woman, for 
that she was wearing a dress of his, and by that dress he 
retained seisin ' animo,' this exception will not avail him to 
excuse his tort. And so it is in the case before us. If one 
buys a horse and makes agreement with the vendor, and 
the vendor makes delivery of the horse to the purchaser, 
then if the vendor repents and takes back the horse by 
force, and says that the buyer has no action because he 
[the vendor] all along remained in seisin of the horse 
' animo,' and had never wholly removed his chattels because 
he had left his saddle on the horse, this excuse would not 
avail him. [So with land.] 

74. It is an abuse to suppose that contracts in the case 
of immovables can be undone otherwise than in the case of 

74 (a). • It is an abuse to suppose that writings and 
charters can make an estate, and to make charters of 
feoffment before the transmutation of the seisin, for a 
charter is vicious if it testiJBies that a gift has been made 
whereas as yet there has been no delivery of seisin, for no 1 
gift is of any avail without delivery of seisin. i 

75. It is an abuse to suppose that seisin will not accrue 
so soon to a purchaser in respect of what he has bought, as 
to an heir in respect of his inheritance ; for law requires 
but three things for a contract, (1) union of wills, (2) satis- 
faction to the giver, (3) delivery of possession ; and so if 
seisin be given by the donor to the purchaser at the 
hour of prime, and the purchaser dies at the hour of terce, 
he dies seised, just as though the case related to the seism 
of a wife or of a horse ; and this, albeit the donor has not 
utterly ousted and removed his chattels ; and never from 
good faith can arise the assertion that after a transmuta- 
tion of seisin by simple delivery the freehold remains on 
the side of the donor, for it remains in the tenant after this 
delivery of the tenement. However, if the purchaser does 

* This clause was omitted in the old edition. 


me«t, mes si le gre le doneour nen soit mie fet solom les 
contrctctz adunc i eide bon foi. 

76. Abusion est a quider qe len ne poet recovmr terme 
de anz ne p7-esentemenz de eglises par ceste assise en maner 
de disseisine desicom plusours reesons purroient valer a 

77. Abusion est qe atteintes ne sunt grauntes en la 
chanceWerie sanz difficultie pur touz faus jurours atteindre 
aussi ben en totes autres accions pe/^soneles reales e mixtes 
coni en petites assises. 

78. Abusion est de chacier naam hors del hundred. 

79. Abusion est a fere la veuue de naam al baillif, einz 
Buffist pleinte e countier qe uncore en est seisi. 

80. Abusion est qe len ne siue torcenouse destresce par 
moz de felonie e qe len natteint teles robberies a la sute le 

81. Abusion est qe dreit sacorde a vicious contractz e 
as defenduz e medlees de peechie. Nest mie usure pecchie ? 
Nest mie enprisonement pecchie ? Coment se j)oet dune 
obliger a usure ou a enp7-tsonment on a disseisine sil ne 
pecchie ? 

82. Abusion est qe avocsons de eglises soient alienez de 
dreit saunz par doeires ' par gage ou par ferme ou soit 

83. Abusion est qe fermes se funt a termes de plus de 
xl. ans par quoi qe continuance de seisine e longur de tens 
desherite nul hom/ne. 

84. Abusion est qe nul tere est lessee a ferme en fieu 
ou a anz rendant rent pa?- an au plus qe la value de la 
quarte partie. 

85. Abusion est de utlaguer home pur defaute en cas 
ou la prnicipale cause nest mie felonie. 

8^. Abusion est qe auditours sunt donables par les 
seignurs pur aconte oir saunz lassent des baillifs. 

' sont aliens de drM sans perdans par gage (1642). But read dreit saunc. 

01<' ABUSES. 164 

not perform his part of the agreement according to the 
contract, then good faith may aid the donor. 

76. It is an abuse to suppose that terms of years and 
presentments to churches cannot be recovered by the assize 
of novel disseisin, since [were this so] divers reasons might 
avail a redisseisor.' 

77. It is an abuse that writs of attaint are not granted 
in the chancery without difficulty for the attaint of all false 
jurors, as well in all other actions, personal, real, or mixed, 
as in the petty assizes. 

78. It is an abuse to drive a naam out of the hundred. 

79. It is an abuse to make view of a naam to a bailiff, 
but a plaint is enough with a ' still seised ' in the count. 

80. It is an abuse that tortious distresses are not prose- 
cuted as felonies, and that these robberies are not attainted 
at the king's suit. 

81. It is an abuse that law should suffer vicious contracts 
and such as are forbidden, and those in which sin inter- 
venes. Is not usury a sin ? Is not imprisonment a sin ? 
How, then, can a man oblige himself to usury, or imprison- 
ment, or disseisin, without sin ? ^ 

82. It is an abuse that advowsons of churches should 
be alienated from the right blood by dowers, by gages, and 
by lease?, and that they should be partible. 

83. It is an abuse that leases should be made for more 
than forty years, so that continuance of seisin and lapse of 
time may disinherit no one. 

84. It is an abuse that land should be let to farm in 
fee or for years at an annual rent exceeding a fourth of the 
annual value. 

85. It is an abuse to outlaw a man for a default when 
the original cause of the action is not felony. 

86. It is an abuse that lords should appoint auditors to 

hear their bailiffs' accounts without the consent of the 


' If there can be no disseisin, there appropriating to oneself a prosenta- 

can be no redisseisin ; and thus, tion or a term of years, 

without incurring; the grave punish- ' A hit at the ijtatute de Merca- 

nicnt of the redisseissnr, one might toribus. 
repeat the offence of wrongfully 


87. Abusion est qe bailifs nnnt nul recoverer des 
damages des torcenouses auditours. 

88. Abusion est qe regard se fet as persones, q?/ant au 
tiel dreit nest ordene as bailifs ver lur seignurs com le 
re vers endreit des dettes dues de lun a lautre. 

89. Abusion est qe hom^ne puisse chalenger celi por 
soun naif a qi il ne trova unqes sustenaunce, desicow serf 
nest mie serf forqe taunt qil est agarde, e de si qe nul ne 
poet clialenger son serf pur serf, tut soit il en sa garde, sil 
ne troeve sustenaunce a son serf qi le vaut mees e terre en 
son fieu ou il purra gaigner sa sustenaunce ou autrement 
le retient en son service. 

90. Abusion est qe serfs sunt franc pleges ou pleges de 
franc home. 

91. Abusion est soffrir qe autriz serfs soient en autriz 

92. Abusion est qe seignurs soeffrent lur serfs pledir ou 
estre emplede sanz eus, car serf nest mie amcrciable en 
autri court por ceo qe il ne poet ren perdre com cil qe rien 
nad propre. 

93. Abusion est a tenir villeins serfs, e ceste abusion 
norrust ^ grant destruccion de poure poeple, grant poverte 
e grant pecchie. 

94. Abusion est qe hume soit somons qe nest fiu 

95. Abusion est a somondre hom??ie aillurs forqe e le 
fieu contenu en la demande, si fieu isoit contenu. 

96. Abusion est qe homme travaille a ces propres cus- 
tages par nuli somonse personele. 

97. Abusion est qe justice ou autre face somonse qe 
nest fieu tenaunt en meme la contie. 

98. Abusion est de somondre homwje sanz garnir le 
renablement sur quele chose respondre. 

Or vemies. * merust (1642), 


87. It is an abuse that bailiffs cannot recover damages 
against tortious auditors. 

88. It is an abuse that in this action of account there 
should be respect of persons, for bailiffs cannot thereby 
recover against their lords debts due to them by their lords, 
though in the converse case the action lies. 

89. It is an abuse that one can claim as a bondman 
him for whom one has never found sustenance, whereas a 
semis is only a scrvus so long as he is in ward [servus a 
servando], and whereas no one ought to claim as a serf even 
one who is in his ward unless he finds sustenance for this 
serf, or an equivalent, namely house and land in his fee 
whence the serf may gain his sustenance, or in some other 
way retains the serf in his service. 

90. It is an abuse that serfs should be frankpledges or 
pledges of a free man. 

91. It is an abuse to keep the serfs of another man in 
one's view of frankpledge. 

92. It is an abuse that lords allow their serfs to plead 
and be impleaded without them, for serfs are not amerciable 
in another man's court, since they can lose nothing, having 
nothing of their own. 

93. It is an abuse to count villains as serfs, and this 
abuse gives rise to great destruction of poor folk, great 
poverty, and great sin. 

94. It is an abuse that one who is not a fee tenant 
should be summoned. 

95. It is an abuse to summon a man elsewhere than on 
the fee that is put in demand, if there be a fee in the 

96. It is an abuse if on any personal summons a man 
is obliged to journey at his own costs. 

97. It is an abuse if a justice or other man who is not 
a fee tenant in the same county makes a summons. 

98. It is an abuse to summon a man without giving 
him reasonable notice of the matter about which he is to 


99. Abusion est qe fauses causes sunt recevables de 
essoignez de si qe dreit nallouue fausserie ne ^ nul eas. 

100. Abusion est qe essoigne est allouue en personel 
accion al defendaunt, desicom len est meinpris daver en 
court par meinpe/'nours. 

101. Abusion est a resceivre essoigne retee^ par enfant 
dedenz age. 

102. Abusion est a reeeivre atorne ou nul poer nest 
donee a ceo fere par brief de la chauncellerie. 

103. Abusion est a resceivre attorne ou la parole nest 
mie attame par presence des parties si noun en cas ou len 
fet attorne general. 

104. Abusion est qe nul puisse fere attorne en personeles 
accions ou corporele peine est agardable. 

105. Abusion est a resceivre excepcions en jugement si 
ele ne soit suffisaument pronu/icie, car de orbe excepcion ^ 
sourt rerement cleer jugement. 

106. Abusion est de allouuer garant voucbir en larcin 
ou en autre personele accion. 

107. Abusion est qe juge assigne ne face monstraunce 
as parties pledauntes de son garant ou de son poer q^iant 
il le demanderent e nemie soulement la oye mes lin- 

108. Abusion est qe justices e lur ministres qi occient 
la gent par faus jugement ne sunt destruz al foer dautres 
homicides. Que ^ fist le Eoi Alfred prendre*' xliiij. justices 
en un an taunt cum homicides pur lur faus jugemenz. 

II pendi Watling pur ceo qe il avoit juge Sidulf a la 
mort pur le recet de Edulf son fiz qi puis saquita del fet 

II pendi Signer qi aveit jugie Ulf a la mort apres 
Buffisante aquitaunce. 

II pendi Eadwine pur ceo qe il jugea Hathewi a la mort 
saunz lassent de tuz les jurours en cas il se estoit mis en 
la juree de xii homes, e pur ceo qe les troiz le voloient sauver 

' Corr. en. * Last four words omitted (1642). 

2 Corr. jetce. * Euc, MS. 

* order de exception (1642). * Corr. pendre. 


99. It is an abuse that false excuses are received 
by way of essoin, since law in no case allows a false- 

100. It is an abuse that an essoin should be allowed to 
a defendant in a personal action, for when he is mainprised 
the mainpernors become bound to produce him. 

101. It is an abuse to receive an essoin cast by an 
infant under age. 

102. It is an abuse to receive an attorney where there 
is not a dedimus potestatem from the chancery. 

103. It is an abuse to receive an attorney where the suit 
has not been begun in the presence of the parties, except 
where an attorney general is appointed. 

104. It is an abuse that anyone should make an attorney 
in a personal action in which a corporal punishment can 
be awarded. 

105. It is an abuse to receive exceptions in court if they 
be not sufficiently defined, for from an obscure exception a 
clear judgment rarely arises. 

106. It is an abuse to allow voucher to warranty in 
larceny or in any other personal action. 

107. It is an abuse if a judge delegate does not show to 
the parties to the plea his warrant or commission when 
they ask for it, and he should allow them not only to hear 
but to inspect it. 

108. It is an abuse that justices and their officers who 
slay folk by false judgments are not destroyed like other 
homicides. And King Alfred in one year had forty-four 
judges hanged as homicides for their false judgments. 

He hanged Watling, for that he had judged Sidulf to 
death for receiving Edulf his son, who was afterwards 
acquitted of the prmcipal crime. 

He hanged Signer, who had judged Ulf to death after a 
sufficient acquittal. 

He hanged Eadwine, for that he judged Hathewy to 
death without the assent of all the jurors when he had put 
himself upon a jury of twelve men ; and because three 
against nine wore for saving him, Eadwine removed those 


countre le ix si remua Eadwyne les trois e mist autres trois 
es quex cest Hatliewi ne se mist nient. 

II pendi Coel pur ceo qe il jugea Yve a la mort qe fu 

II pendi Malmere pur ceo qil jugea Prat a la mort par 
faus conoissaunce qil fit de felonie par deseparaunce. 

II pendi Athulf pur ceo qil fit pendre Copping avant 
lage de xxj. ans. 

II pendi Markes pur ceo qe il jugea Duning a la mort 
par xij. nient jurie.^ 

II pendi Oscelin pur ceo qil jugea Seaman a la mort pa?- 
vicious garant fondie sur fausse suggescion qi supposa celi 
Seaman estre en prison par le garaunt einz ces qe il i 

II pendi Billing pur ceo qil jugea Lefston a la mort par 
fraude en ceste manere. II dit al poeple Seez tuz ius forqe 
cist qe occist le hoxRine. E pur ceo qe Lefston ne sassist 
mie oveqe les autres, li comanda de mener ^ pendre, e dit 
qe assez le conust quant il ne sassist. 

II pendi Sefoul pur ceo qil jugea Or ding a la mort cu)?i 
non respondu.' 

II pendi Thurstone pur ceo qil jugea Thurgner a la 
mort par verdit denqueste pnse doffice saunz sa mise. 

II pendi Athelstone pur ceo qe il jugea Herbert a la 
mort pur pecclie nient mortiel. 

II pendi Eumbold pur ceo qe il jugea Lifehil a la mort 
en cas nient notoire saunz appel e saunz enditement. 

II pendi Rof pur ceo qil jugea Dunston a la mort pur 
eschap de p?-ison. 

II pendi Freberne pur ceo qil jugea Harpin a la mort 
ou les jurours furent en dote de lur verdit. Car en doutes 
deit len einz ces sauver qe dampner. 

II pendi Sibrigbt qi jugea Athelbrus a la mort pur qe il 
ne forni mie j. sien faus jugement* mortiel. 

' jjirees (1642). * viesine (1642) ^ Corr. nmi defendu (?). 

* il fauxa mie une si en faux jtidgment (1642). 


three and put in their stead other three, upon whom 
Hathewy had never put himself. 

He hanged Coel for judging to death Yve, who was a 

He hanged Malmere for judging to death Prat, who, 
when desperate, had made a false confession of felony. 

He hanged Athulf for hanging Copping, who was under 
the age of twenty-one years. 

He hanged Markes, for that he judged Duning to death 
upon the verdict of twelve men who had not been sworn. 

He hanged Oscelin, for that he judged Seaman to death 
under a vicious warrant founded on a false suggestion, 
which supposed that Seaman was in prison before that he 
really was so. 

He hanged Billing, for that he judged Lefston to death 
by fraud in this manner. Billing said to the people, ' Sit 
down all of you who did not kill the man ; ' and then, be- 
cause Lefston did not sit down with the rest, he commanded 
that he should be hanged, and said that he had made a 
sufficient confession by not sitting down. 

He hanged Sefoul, for that he judged Ording to death 
for want of an answer. 

He hanged Thurstan, for that he judged Thurgnor to 
death on a verdict taken ex officio on which Thurgnor had 
not put himself. 

He hanged Athelstone, for that he judged Herbert to 
death for a sin that was not mortal. 

He hanged Rumbold, for that he judged Lifchil to 
death in a case that was not notorious, without appeal or 

He hanged Rof, for that he judged Dunston to death 
for escape from prison. 

He hanged Freberne, for that he judged Harpin to death 
when the jurors were in doubt about their verdict, for in 
case of doubt one should rather save than condemn. 

He hanged Sibright, for that he judged Athelbrus to 
death for that he would not execute one of his (Sibright's) 
false mortal judgments. 

168 DE ABUSI0N3. 

II pendi Halo pur ceo qil sauva Tristran le viscounte a 
la mort qi avoit pris vins al oes le Eoi desico??i par entre 
prise de lautri contre son grie e robberie nad nul difference. 

II pendi Arnolt pur ceo qil sauva baillifs qi robberent la 
gent pa?' colour de destreces. Dunt ascuns por les naams 
alienez e ascune pur extorsions de fins, desicom par entre 
extorsion de fin -pur torcenous naam releaser e robberie nad 
nule difference. 

II pendi Erkenwold pur ceo qil pendi Franling pur nul 
autre desertz mes pur ceo qe il enseigna a celi qi il venqui 
par bataille mortele a dire le mot de cravent. 

II pendi Bermond pur ceo qil fust ' coupir la teste Gar- 
bolt par son jugement en Englet«?-repur tant qil fu utlaguie 
en Irelande. 

II pendi Alkemund pur ceo qe il sauva Cateman par 
colour de seisine ^ qi fu atteint de homsocne. 

11 pendi Saxmund pur ceo qil pendi Berild en Engleterre 
ou li bref li Eoi court pur fet qil fist en memo la terre ou li 
bref le Eoi ne court nient. 

II pendi Alflet pur ceo qil jugea un clerk a la mort de 
qi il ne poent aver conussaunce. 

II pendi Piron qi avoit juge Hunting a la mort pur ceo 
qil fist fornir le jugement avant la qwarrantieme jour pen- 
daunt lappel par bref de faus jugement devant le Eoi. 

II pendi Dilling pur ceo qe il fist prendre Edous qi occist 
j. hom^ne par mescheaunce. 

II pendi Oswyn pur ceo qe il jugea Blithe a la mort de 

II pendi Osbert pur ceo qil jugea Fulcher a la mort hors 
de consistoire.^ 

II pendi Vivelin pur ceo qil pendi Iselgrim par garant 
denditement nient especiall. 

II pendi Horn pur ceo qil pendi Suuein par jour de- 

' Corr.yis^ * de disseisin {16i2). 

' The old edition, by omitting some words, confuses Oswyn and Osbert. 


He hanged Hale, for that he saved from death Tristram 
the sheriff, who had taken wine for the king's use, because 
between taking what is another's without his will and 
robbery there is no difference. ! 

He hanged Arnolt, for that he saved bailiffs who robbed 
folk by colour of distress, some of them by alienating 
naams and others by extortion of fines, because between 
the extortion of a fine for the release of a naam and 
robbery there is no difference. 

He hanged Erkenwold, for that he hanged Franling for 
no other cause than because he taught one whom he had 
vanquished in battle to say the word ' craven.' 

He hanged Bemond, for that he had Garbolt's head cut 
off by a judgment given in England on an outlawry in 

He hanged Alkemund, for that he saved Cateman, who 
was attainted for hamsoken, by treating it as a mere case 
of disseisin. 

He hanged Saxmund, for that he hanged Berild in 
England where the king's writ ran, for a deed done in a 
part of the same land in which the king's writ did not 

He hanged Alflet, for that he adjudged to death a clerk 
over whom he could have no cognisance. 

He hanged Piron, for that he judged Hunting to death, 
because he caused a judgment to be executed before the 
fortieth day, pending an appeal to the king by writ of false 

He hanged Dilling for hanging Edous, who had slain a 
man by misadventure. 

He hanged Oswyn, for that at night time he judged 
Blithe to death. 

He hanged Osbert, for that when not in a consistory he 
judged Fulcher to death. 

He hanged Vivelin, for that he hanged Iselgrim by 
warrant of an indictment that was too general. 

He hanged Horn, for that on a prohibited day he hanged 




II pendi Bulraer pur ceo qil jugea Gerent a la mort par 
colour de larcin de chose qil avoit rescieu par title de bail. 

II pendi Thurbern pur ceo qil jugea Osgot a la mort pur 
fet dunt il estoit avant aquitie ver meme lactour, e la quele 
aquitaunce il tendi daverrer par jure, e pur ceo qil ne voloit 
averrer par record ne li voloit Thurbern allouer la quitaunce 
qil tendi. 

II pendi Wolston pur ceo qil avoit jugie Hubert a la 
mort a la sute le Eoi pur fet qe Hubert conust e duwt li Koi 
li out pardonie sa sute, mes il nen out nule chartre, de quel 
pa7-doun neqedent il voucha le Eoi a garaunt, e estre ceo le 
tendi de averrer par lenroullement de la chauncellerie. 

II pendi Osketil pur ceo qil jugea Culling a la mort par 
record de corouner ou replicacion allouable ne li tient lu. 
E fu li cas tiel. Culling fust pris e peine taunt qil conust 
daver pecchie mortelement, e pur estre quite de la peine. 
E Osketel le jugea a la mort pur sa confession qil avoit fet 
al corouner saunz trier la veritie de la peine e del fet. 

E estre ceo furent penduz corouners, ministres, ac- 
cessours, ceux qi penerent la gent e tuz ceux qi poient le 
fans jugement aver destorbe e ne les destorberent, en touz 
poinz ou les justices furent penduz. Car il pendi trestuz 
les juges qil poeit atteindre qi aveient faussement sauve 
homme coupable de la mort ou faussement pendu genz 
countre dreit, ou countre ascune renable excepcion. 

II pendi les sutlers Talebot pur ceo qe il aveient juge 
un homme a la mort en cas nient notoire, tut en fust il 
copable. Car tieux ne poeit nul juger el reaume forqe le 
Eoi, ou ses com?7iissaires forpris ceux seign^rs en qi fieus 
les briefs le Eoi ne courent nient. 

II pendi les sutlers de Dorcestre pur ceo qe il jugerent 
un homwie a la mort par jurours de lur franchise pur 
felonie qil fist el forein, e dwnt il ne poeient conustre pur la 


He hanged Bulmer, for that he judged Gerent to death 
for the larceny of a thing that he had received by bailment. 

He hanged Thurbern, for that he judged Osgot to death 
for a deed of which he had already been acquitted as against 
the same plaintiff ; and Osgot offered to aver the acquittal 
by a jury, and Thurbern would not receive the allegation 
of acquittal because Osgot did not offer to aver it by the 

He hanged Wolfston, for that he judged Hubert to 
death at the king's suit for a deed which Hubert had con- 
fessed, whereas the king had pardoned his suit ; but 
Hubert had no charter of pardon, but vouched the king to 
warranty, and in addition offered to aver the pardon by the 
enrolment in the chancery. 

He hanged Osketil, for that he judged Culling to death 
on the record of the coroner, where an allowable replication 
was not allowed him. The case was this : — Culling was 
taken and tortured until he confessed a mortal sin, and this 
he did to be quit of further torture ; and Osketel judged 
him to death on his confession made to the coroner, without 
trying the truth of the allegation as to the torture and the 
other facts. 

And besides this, the coroners, officers, assessors, and 
those who tortured folk, and those who could have disturbed 
the false judgments but did not do so, were hanged when- 
ever the justices were hanged, for King Alfred hanged all 
the judges whom he could attaint of having falsely saved a 
guilty man from death, or falsely hanged folk against law 
or in the teeth of a reasonable ' exception.' 

He hanged the suitors of Talebot for judging a man to 
death in a case that was not notorious, though he was 
guilty ; for in such cases no one in the realm can be judge 
save the king and his commissioners, except those lords 
into whose fees the king's writs do not run. 

He hanged the suitors of Dorchester for judging a man 
to death on the verdict of jurors of their franchise for a 
felony committed outside the franchise, and of which they 
could take no cognisance because it was a ' foreign ' plea. 

/. 2 


II pendi les sutlers de Cirencestre pur ceo qe il retindrent 
tant un home en prison qi se voilloit acquiter par foreins 
ou il dust aver pecchie felonessement tant qil morust en 
lur pr-ison. 

En son tens perdirent les sutlers de Anecastre lur jure- 
diccion estre lautre peyne pur ceo qil tindrent pie defendu 
par les usages del Reaume as juges ordenaires sieutiers a 

En son tens pe?'di Colgnm sa franchise de infangeneteof 
pur ceo qe il ne voloit mie envoier un larron a la commone 
gaole del countie qi fu pris dedenz sa franchise pur felonie 
fete dehors el gueldable. 

En son tens pe?-di Botolf sa veuue de franc plege pur 
ceo qil chargea les jurours dautres articles qi napendirent a 
la veuue e amercia genz en pe^-soneles accions ou nul nest 
punissable par peine peccuniele. 

E solom ceo qil fist rendre as criminals juges mortieux 
guerdons pur mortieux jugemenz torcenous, en meme la 
manere fist il rendre as torcenous juges venials prison pwr 
torcenous enpnsonment e tieux -pur tens oveqes les autres 
peines. Car il livera Thedwad a la prison pur ceo qe il 
jugea Touz ' a la prison pur pecchie nient mortel. II 
jugea Cantuard a la prison pur ceo qe il enprisona Old pur 
la dette le Eoi. 

II livera Sithing a la prison pur ceo qe il enprisona 
Herbold pur le pecchie sa femne. 

Dautre pard fist il couper le poin Harulf pur ceo qe il 
sauva Aruccok le poin qe fu atteint devant li qil avoit felo- 
nessement coupe le poin Eicholde. 

Dautre part il jugea Edulf de estre plaiez pur ceo qe il 
navoit mie jugie Arwold a plaier qi fu atteint devant li qe 
il avoit felonessement plaie Aldous ne congie ne prist 

En meindres pecchiez ne fist il mie del tut si tieux ^ 
jugemenz, einz desherita ses justices e les anienti solom les 
poinz de ces ep.tatuz en tuz poinz ou il les poieit atteindre 

' Perhaps not a proper name. 

' 7iefist il my del tcyrt cy tiels (1642). 


He hanged the suitors of Cirencester for keeping a man 
in prison until he died in their prison, when that man was 
wilHng to acquit himself by a jury of ' foreigners ' from the 
place where, as was alleged, he had sinned feloniously. 

In his time the suitors of Ancaster lost their jurisdic- 
tion, besides sufifering other pmiishment, because they held 
a plea which, by the usages of the realm, it was not law for 
suitors as judges ordinary to hold. 

In his time Colgrhn lost his franchise of infangenetheof 
because he would not send to the common gaol of the 
county a thief caught within his franchise for a felony 
committed outside in the geldable. 

In his day Botolf lost his view of frankpledge, because 
he charged the jurors with articles that did not belong to 
the view, and amerced folk in personal actions in which no 
pecuniary punishments should be inflicted. 

And as he rendered mortal rewards to criminal judges 
for their wrongful mortal judgments, so in the same 
manner for wrongful venial judgments he rendered im- 
prisonment for wrongful imprisonment, and like for like as 
regards other punishments ; for he delivered Thedwad to 
prison because he adjudged [men] to prison for sins that 
were not mortal, and he delivered Cantward to prison 
because he imprisoned Old for a debt owed to the king. 

He delivered Sithing to prison because he imprisoned 
Ilerbold for the sin of his wife. 

And again, he had Harulf's hand cut off because he 
saved the hand of Aruccok, who was attainted before him of 
having feloniously cut off the hand of Eichold. 

And so he adjudged that Edulf should be wounded for 
not having adjudged to wounding Arwold, who was 
attainted before him for having feloniously wounded 
AldouB, whereas no licence for an accord had been ob- 

In the case of smaller sins he did not pass such severe 
judgments,' but disinherited his justices and deposed them, 
according to the articles of his statutes, whenever he could 

' Text obscure. 


qil avoient passie les poinz ou les metes de lur delegacie ou 
de lur commission ou aveient fet rales de fin ou damercie- 
ment ou dautre chose qe appendi au Koi, ou aveient relessie 
peine ou encrue outre le dreit, ou pi-ocurie dencrestre, ou 
plede saunz garaunt, ou en la propnete par garant de bref 
ou de pleinte de la possession, ou le revers, ou en la veniale 
accion par motz de felonie ou le revers, ou aveient vee a 
nule paj'tie transcWt de son pie a la jornee, ou ascun des 
parties torcenousement delaie, grevee ou autre tort fet en 
desallouance de renable excepcion de partes ou de juge- 

En son tens poet chescun pleintif aver com77zission e 
brief a son viscounte al seignur del fieu ou a certein justice 
assignee sur chescun tort. En son tens se hasta dreit de 
jour en jour issi qe outre xv. jours nestoit nule defaute ne nul 
essoine ajornable. En soun tens poieientles parties emporter 
les partes de lur plez les seals les juges ou des pa?-ties ad- 
\ereea. En son tens nestoit nul brief de grace einz furent 
touz brefs remediaux grantables com de dette * par vertu 
de serement. En son tens soloient les juges prendre de 
chescun actour xii. d. a la jornee. En son tens recovererent 
pleintifs ne mie soulement damages des issues des posses- 
sions e des fieus einz recovererent custages, travax, blemisse- 
menz ^ de fames e q?(ant qe len poet loialment taxer qe 
len estoit meins puissant par lencheson de tiel fet. 

109. Abusion est qe lem soeffre qe tant de multitude 
des clers sunt sufferz destre ordenez, par quoi la juresdiccion 
le Koi est descruz. 

110. Abusion est qe clers qe nuwt^ lesse ceo qe al secle 
appent tienent lais fieus. 

111. Abusion est qe len tent plez par dimenches ou par 
autres jours defenduz ou devant le soleil levie ou nutantre 
ou en deshonest lu. 

112. Abusion est qe nul respoigne de felonie ou dautre 
personel trespas infamatoire avant son eage de xxi. an. 

CcHT. droit (?). ' cuslages quant aux blemishments (1642). 

* Corr. unt. 


attaint them of having exceeded the articles or limits of 
their delegation or commission, or of having released any 
fine, amercement, or other matter that belonged to the 
king, or of having released or increased any punishment 
contrary to law or procured any such increase, or of having 
entertained pleas without warrant, or proprietary actions 
when they only had a warrant for possessory writs and 
plaints, or vice versa, or of having allowed words of felony 
in venial actions, or vice versa, or of having denied to either 
party a transcript of his plea on the day [on which it was 
pleaded], or of having delayed or aggrieved either party, or 
of having done any other wrong by disallowing any reason- 
able exception against the parties or the judgment. 

In his time everyone could have for every wrong a 
commission and writ to the sheriff, or to the lord of the fee, 
or to some certain judge delegate. In his time right was 
speeded from day to day, so that no default or essoin was 
adjourned for more than fifteen days. In his time the 
parties could carry off with them the copies of their plead- 
ings [under] the seals of the judges or of the adverse parties. 
In his time no writ was of grace, but all remedial writs 
were grantable as of right by virtue of [the chancellor's] 
oath. In his time all the judges used to take twelve pence 
from every plaintiff for each day's session. In his time 
plaintiffs recovered by way of damages, not only the issues 
of the possessions and fees [that were in dispute], but also 
costs and charges and compensation for the blemish to 
their good names and all that could be lawfully taxed to 
them as loss incurred by reason of the act in question. 

109. It is an abuse that so many clerks are suffered to 
be ordained that the king's jurisdiction is diminished. 

110. It is an abuse that clerks, who have given up all 
that belongs to this world, hold lay fee. 

111. It is an abuse to hold pleas on Sundays or other 
forbidden days, or before sunrise, or by night, or in im- 
proper places. 

112. It is an abuse that anyone should have to answer 
for felony or other infamatory personal trespass before 
the age of twenty-one years. 


112 [a].' Abusion est qe nul respoigne taunt cum il est 
en pHson si sur soun prou noun einz ces ^ qe il Boit quite 
del fet pur qi il est en p/ison. 

113. Abusion est quant accion affirmative est encountre 
de respons ou de excepcion affirmative aprendre la proeve 
de la primer affirmative forpris en favour de sauvacion. 

114. Abusion est qe homwie soit encoupie sur vie a 
menbre ausicom doffice saunz sute e sanz enditement. 

115. Abusion est qe justice ne monstre lenditement as 
enditez sil le demaundent. 

116. Abusion est qe homTrze respoigne enEngleterre pur 
chose fete hors del reaume ou le re vers, ou en lu privilege 
ou li brief li Roi ne court nient pur chose fete el forein ou 
le reve?"S, nen lu enfraunchi de fet el gueldable ou le revers. 

117. Abusion est qerap estpecche mortel. 

118. Abusion est qe rap se estent a autre femme qe a 

119. Abusion est de utlaguer hom?we si now pur felonie. 

120. Abusion est qe lem preigne en Engleterre hom?ne 
utlague en Irlaunde ou aillurs hors del reaume ou len est 
oustie de son fieu par droit jugement des juges ordenaires 

121. Abusion est qe acontitr de si long tens dunt nul 
nel poent testmoigner de veuue e de oie, qe ne dure mie 
gene?-alment outre xl. anz. 

122. Abusion est qe len eit personal accion da pluz 
loinz qe de la derreine heire. 

123. Abusion est del brief de acounte de monstravit par 
le quel chescun poet fere enprisoner autre torcenouement. 

' In the old edition this abuse is fused with the last preceding abuse by 
an omission of words. '^ Corr. ceo. 


112 [a]. It is an abuse that anyone should be put to 
answer while he is in prison, unless this be for his 
advantage, until he is acquitted of the deed for which he is 
in prison. 

113. It is an abuse that when an affirmative action is 
met by an affirmative answer or exception, the proof of the 
first [the plaintiff's] affirmative is received, unless this be 
done in favour of salvation. 

114. It is an abuse that a man is accused of matters 
touching life or limb quasi ex officio without suit and with- 
out indictment. 

115. It is an abuse if a justice will not show the 
indictment to the indicted if they demand it. 

116. It is an abuse if one be put to answer in England 
for a deed done out of the realm, or vice versa, or to 
answer in a privileged place where the king's writ does 
not run for a thing done outside, and vice versa, or to 
answer in a franchise for a thing done in the geldable, or 
vice versa. 

117. It is an abuse that rape is a mortal sin. 

118. It is an abuse that rape is extended to women who 
are no maids. 

119. It is an abuse to outlaw a man if it be not for 

120. It is an abuse to arrest in England one outlawed 
in Ireland or elsewhere outside the realm, whereby he is 
ousted of his fee of having ' the right judgment of the 
suitors who are his judges ordinary. 

121. It is an abuse to plead about a time so remote that ^^ 
no testimony of sight and hearing can be given about it, 

and as a general rule such testimony cannot be had after 
forty years. 

122. It is an abuse to found a personal action on what <^ 
happened before the last eyre. 

123. It is an abuse of the writ of account [Mojisiravit 
de compoto] to enable a man to wrongfully imprison another. 

' Translation doubtful. 


124. Abusion est qe len est tenu a rendre aconte des 
issues de terre dunt len est gardein par title de lei. 

125. Abusion est qe le bref de ne vexes va issi en 

126. Abusion est qe batailles ne se funt en pg?-soneles 
actions aussi ben com en felonies. 

127. Abusion est qe proeves e purgations ne se funt 
pa?- la miracle dieu en cas ou dautre proeve ne vaut. 

128. Abusion est a joindre bataille par entre persones 
nient recevables a bataille. 

129. Abusion est qe chevaler soit autrement armie qe 
autre homme pur cumbatre. 

130. Abusion est qe juge se conoisse par bref original 
en garauntz pa?- voucher ou en autres as queus sa jures- 
diccion ne sestent. 

131. Abusion est a soifrer voucher a garaunt as accions 
le Eoi de quo waranto. 

132. Abusion est qe ceux qe sen ' troeve usuriers par 
enditemenz apres lur morz stmt sufifertz destre sevely en 
seintuaire e qe lur fieus ne remeignent eschaetes as seignurs 
des fieus. 

133. Abusion est qe viciouses obligacions chacent lur 
actours a respons damaious ^ desi qe eles sunt voidables. 

134. Abusion est a chacer jurours tesmoins a dire 
chose qil ne sevent par destresce de feim e demprisonment 
apres lur verdit qe il nen sievent rien. 

135. Abusion est de user le mot de lur escient en sere- 
menz pur fere les jurors pronuwcier sur lur queder, desico7« 
la principale pa?-ole de lur serement est qil voir dirrent. 

136. Abusion est qe len nexamine les jurours taunt 
qe len en troeve al meinz ij. acordaunz. 

137. Abusion est a mettre plus des paroles en homages 
fere forqe taunt jeo devieng vostre homwe del fieu qe jeo 
cleim tenir de vous. 

' Corr. len. ^ a persojialls dammages (1642). 


124. It is an abuse that any should be bound to render 
account of the profits of land whereof he is guardian by 
lawful title. 

125. It is an abuse that the writiVe vexes is thus falling 
into decline. 

126. It is an abuse that there is no trial by battle in 
personal actions as there is in case of felony. 

127. It is an abuse that proofs and purgations are not 
made by the miracle of God when no other proof can be had. 

128. It is an abuse to decree battle between persons who 
cannot be received to fight. 

129. It is an abuse that in a judicial battle a knight 
should have arms different from those which another man 

130. It is an abuse that a judge by virtue of an original 
writ should take cognisance of warranties by voucher or 
other matters to which his jurisdiction does not extend. 

131. It is an abuse to suffer a voucher to warranty in 
an action of Quo waranto by the king. 

132. It is an abuse that those who are found by indict- 
ment to be usurers are after their deaths suffered to be 
buried in holy ground, and that their fees do not remain 
escheated to the lords of the fees. 

133. It is an abuse that vicious obligations compel 
those who made them to a damaging answer, whereas they 
are voidable. 

134. It is an abuse to force jurors or witnesses to say 
what they do not know by distress of hunger and impri- 
sonment, when their verdict is that they know nothing. 

135. It is an abuse to insert in oaths the phrase ' t( 
the best of their knowledge,' so as to compel jurors to saj 
what they opine, whereas the principal words in their oatl 
are to the effect that they will say the truth. 

136. It is an abuse not to examine the jurors until one 
finds at least two of them in agreement. 

137. It is an abuse to put into the words of homage 
anything beyond ' I become your man of the fee that I 
claim to hold of you.' 


138. Abusion est de rendre ou de apeseer par attornie. 

139. Abusion est dassigner justices en tieu pa^-ties sanz 
bref en ' la presence le Eoi si non par lassent des parties. 

140. Abusion est des briefs de audita querela e de con- 
Bpiratis e dautres qe ne contenent nient les substances des 

141. Abusion est qe les justices del banc sentremettent 
des plus des pleez qi tort fet contres fins, de grant assises, de 
translacions de plez hors de meindre courtz e de drein pre- 
senz e de fieus e les dreiz le Eoi e la Eeine alliez.^ 

142. Abusion est duser poneet ^ einz ces * qe lur causes 
Boient discusses si les parties les chalengent, car mentour 
purchaceour ne deit aver benefice de sa menceonge. 

143. Abusion est sure grant destresces en plez datha- 
chemenz dunt les def antes sunt profit au Eoi e nient as 

144. Abusion est ^ trespassours qe rien ne unt ne sunt 
baniz de villes, de contiex, de fieus e de liundrez sicom 
estre soloient. 

145. Abusion est a crere qe petiz capez facent autre 
title forqe sauve chescun droit en reales accions nen autres. 

146. Abusion est les issues des grantz destresces de 
mixtes accions ne devenent as proffiz des seignurs des fieus 
e dautres qi unt court sicom sunt al Eoi des plez meuz en 
sa court sur memes les accions. 

147. Abusion est a quider qe autele peine fet agardee 
as meinpernours cnm as principax qi funt defaute ou qe il 
ne sunt forqe amerciables en cas. 

148. Abusion est damercier bom we enpledie de fieu ou 

Corr. ou (?). ^ Corr. alicnez. ' Corr. Pone. 

* Corr. ceo. * Supply ge. 


138. It is an abuse to suffer an attorney to surrender 
[the land in demand] or compromise the action. 

139. It is an abuse to assign justices [to hear pleas] be- 
tween such and such parties, save by writ or in the king's 
presence, unless this be done by the assent of the parties.* 

140. It is an abuse to issue writs of Andita querela, of 
Conspiracy, and so forth, which do not contain the substance 
of the complaints. 

141. It is an abuse that the justices of the Bench meddle 
with other pleas than such as relate to the infraction of 
fines, grand assizes, pleas translated from minor courts, 
darrein presentments, or the alienation of the fees and 
rights of the king and queen. 

142. It is an abuse to use a Pone before the cause has 
been discussed, in case the parties challenge the writ; for 
the lying purchaser [of the writ] should take no benefit by 
his lie. 

143. It is an abuse to sue out a gi'and distress in pleas 
begun by attachments, whereby the king, not the plaintiff, 
gets the profit. 

144. It is an abuse that trespassers who have no pro- 
perty are not banished, as they used to be, from vills, 
counties, fees, and hundreds. 

145. It is an abuse to hold that either in a real action 
or in another a petty cape can give any title other than 
salro iure ciiimlibct. 

146. It is an abuse that the issues of grand distresses 
in mixed actions do not come to the profits of the lords of the 
fees and others who have courts, just as they come to the 
king when similar actions are begun in his court. 

147. It is an abuse to suppose that the same punishment 
should be awarded to mainpernors as to the principals who 
make default, for in some cases the former should only be 

148. It is an abuse to amerce a man who is impleaded for 

Translation doubtful. 


de service issant de fieu pur defaute en personele accion on 
reale. Car utlaguerie ou perte del fieu suffist pur peine. 

149. Abusion est qe viscountes ne funt point dexecu- 
cion as briefs viscontals einz ces ' qe les pleintifs eient 
trovez pleges de sure, ou nule mencion ne se fet de sieurtie 

150. Abusion est a destreindre pur arrerages de 
service issant de fieu par biens moebles, ou nule destresce 
ne se dust fere forqe par le fieu. 

151. Abusion est qe tenaunt pusse sanz peine feffer la 
tierce persone el fieu son seignur en prejudice de li ou autre 
chose fere ou dire contre les poinz de son serement de 

152. Abusion est a soflfrir champion louuiz estre recevable 
en testmoinage. 

153. Abusion est qe nul ne ad recoverer del tort le Eoi 
ou de la Koine si non a la voluntie le Eoi. 

154. Abusion est a juger hom7?ie a divers peines pur un 
trespas sicom a corporele peine e a ranceon, desicom 
ranceon nest forqe redempcion de peine corporele par fin 
de deners. 

155. Abusion est qe genz defamees par pecchie ne sunt 
rebotes de seremenz fere e de dignitiez e dautres honurs. 
E autres abusions perent par lus qi bien enteut la lirre 
avant escritz. 

[Ch. 11.'] Des Articles [de la Grande Chartrel. 

Cum la lei de ceste reaume fondee sur xl poinz de la 
grande cha^-tre des fraunchises soit desuse dampnablement 
par les guiours de la lei e par estatuz pus fetez contj-aianz 
a ascuns de ces poinz, pur monstrer les defautes des poinz 
avantditz e les errours dascuns estatuz ai jeo mis en 
memorial cest chapitre des defautes e reprehension des 
estatuz ; e pi-imes des defautes des poinz de la cha?tre. 

' Corr. ceo. 


a fee or the service issuing from a fee for default in a personal 
or real action, for outlawry or loss of the fee is punishment 

149. It is an abuse that sheriffs will not execute vicon- 
tiel writs until the plaintiffs have found pledges to prosecute, 
where no mention of taking surety is made in the writ. 

150. It is an abuse to distrain by movable goods for 
arrears of service issuing from a fee, whereas no distress 
should be made save by the fee. 

151. It is an abuse that a tenant can without punish- 
ment enfeoff a third person in the fee of his lord to his 
lord's prejudice, or do or say any other thing against the 
terms of his oath of fealty. 

152. It is an abuse to suffer a hired champion to be 
received as a witness. 

153. It is an abuse that one has no recovery against 
the king or queen for a tort save at the king's will. 

154. It is an abuse to adjudge a man to several punish- 
ments for one trespass, e.g. to both corporal punishment 
and ransom, for ransom is but a redemption of a corporal 
punishment by a money fine. 

155. It is an abuse that men made infamous by sin are 
not rejected from taking oaths and from dignities and other 
honours. And other abuses there are which will appear 
from place to place to one who reads the foregoing books. 

[Ch. II. Of the Great Charter.] 

Whereas the law of this realm founded upon the forty 
articles of the Great Charter of Liberties is damnably dis- 
regarded by the governors of the law and by subsequent 
statutes, which are contrary to some of these articles, 
therefore to demonstrate the defects of these articles and 
the errors of certain statutes I have put on record this 
chapter concerning the defects and reprehensions of statutes. 
And first of the defects in the articles of the Charter : ' — 

' In the margin we give references Charter of 1225 upon which our 
to tiie various chapters in the autlior comments. 


Al point qe leglise denglete?Te eit ces ' dreiz entiers e 
ces ' fraunchises desblemies serreit peine n^ccessaire a 
ordener corporele, e nomement as lais juges, ministres le 
Eoi e autres qi jugent clers en mortels crirns e as cor- 
poreles peines infamatoires, e detienent lur biens apres lur 
purgacion, e as ceux seculars juges qe se medlent a co- 
noistre en mat7'imoigne ou testament oudautre espiritualitie. 

Pur lautre point proschein est chescun franc hom?ne del 
reaume enheritie des franchises de la chartre, e dunt 
chescun est disseisi com de soun franc tenement qi nen est 
jugie solom les poinz suanz, e tient lu recoverer damages 
par lassise de novelle disseisiiie. 

Li tierz point semble defectif, car aussi com le relief de 
countie ente?-re fet a decrestre en la persone celi qi meins 
en tient, aussi semble qe tel certein fet a encrestre en taunt 
com countie plus en tient, issi qe tendra ij. contees. E 
qi tendra countie e baronie paie a foer de contie e estre ceo 
a foer de baron. E issi dautres fieus si expres ne soit a la 
charire qe la fin de cent livres ne soit point encrue pur nul 
encrees de plus de fieu e issi des autres certeins. 

Li quart point est defectif, car tut soit qe eel point soit 
fondie sur dreit pur Her les seignurs des fieus as garanties 
par lapprise de tieux homages le quel qe il les p?-?ssent des 
droiz heirs ou non, pwr ceo nest mie expres qi devient estre 
gardeinz des fieus vacanz e avoir les issues el moien tens en 
cas ou les dreiz heirs defoient ^ lur seignwrs ou ne poent ou 
ne vollent lur homage fere. 

Li point des gardes est defectif en taunt qe nule difference 
nest exp7*esse par entre les heirs madles e les heirs femeles. 
Car feme ad son plener eage quant ele est pleinement de 
xiiij. anez e les vij. outre ne furent primes ordene forqe 

' Corr. ses. * defuont (1G42). 


As to the article ' Quod ecclesia Anglicana . . . habeat <"' i 
omnia iura sua integra et libertates suas illaesas,' some 
corporal punishment should be ordained, and in particular 
for the lay judges, royal ministers, and others who judge 
clerks for mortal crimes and to infamatory corporal punish- 
ments, and detain their goods after their purgation, and 
for those secular judges who meddle in the cognisance of 
matrimony or testament or other spiritual matters. 

By the next article every free man of the realm is <?• i 
heritably entitled to the franchises of the charter, and 
therefore everyone is disseised of his free tenement who is 
not judged according to the following articles, and in such 
a case he ought to recover damages by an assize of novel 

The third article is defective, for as the relief due for a e. 2 
whole county is to be decreased in the case of one who 
holds less, so seemingly this certain sum should be in- 
creased when an earl holds more than one county, e.g. two 
counties. And he who holds a county and a barony should 
pay as for a county and also as for a barony. And so in 
the case of other fees, if it be not expressed in the charter 
that the fixed sum of £100 is not to be increased by reason 
of any increase of the fees ; and so with the other fixed 

The fourth article is defective, for albeit it is founded c 3 
upon law that the lords of the fees may be bound to 
warranty by the receipt of such homages, whether they 
receive them from the right heirs or no, still it is not 
expressed that they ought to have the wardship of vacant 
fees and take the issues during the mean time in case the 
right heirs defy their lords or cannot or will not do 

The article about wardship is defective, since no differ- cc. s. 4 
ence is expressed between heirs male and heirs female ; 
for a woman attains full age on accomplishing fourteen 
years, and the seven remaining years were ordained in the 

' Every breach of the charter by the king should give an assize of 
novel disseisin to the party grieved. 

A A 


pur les madles heirs, qi avant lage de xxj. ans ne furent 
mie suffisanz as armes porte?- pnr le defens del reaume. 
E notez qe chescun gardein est charge de tierz choses, 
lune de sustenir lenfant soffisaument, lautre a sustenir 
ces ^ dreiz e son heritage sanz gast, la tierce de respondre 
e a la satisfaccion des trespas de tieux enfaunz. 

La defaute del point des desparagacions piert par entre 
les estatuz de Mertone, e la defaute des francs bancs e 
veudves en memo la manere. En quel point est assez 
expres qe nule femTne nest doable si ele neit este solempne- 
ment esposee al hus de moustier e illoec doee. 

Li point qe comande qe la citee de Londres eit ces' 
aunciens franchises e ces ^ franchises custumes est inter- 
pretable en ceste manere qe les citizeins eient lur franchises 
dunt il sont enheritez par loial title des douns e conferme- 
menz des Eois e les queles il ne unt forfetes par nule 
abusion, e qe il eient lur franchises custumes qe sunt 
soffrables par droit e nient repugnanz a lei. El inter- 
preteison qest dite de Londres soit entendue de .v. porz e 
dautres lus. 

Li point qe defent torcenouses destresces des fieus est 
covenable en sei, mes il nest guers homme el reaume qi 
tenaunz eit qil ne trespase en cost point par li ou par ces ' 
ministres sicom piert el chapitre de naiftie al parogref de 

Li point qe defent qe comuns plez ne suent la court des 
Eois est interpretable en ceste manere, qe gentz ne tra- 
vaillent mie a sure lostiel le Eoi en lointeins pais sicom fere 
Boloient, einz voet cest point qe pleintifs eient commissions 
as viscontes, as seignurs des fieus ou as justices assignes issi 
qe dreit soit fet as parties en lus certeins ou les pa7*ties e 
jurours soient meins travaillez. 

' Corr. ses. 


first instance only for male heirs, who until they are of the 
age of twenty-one j'ears are not able to bear arms for the 
defence of the realm. And note that every guardian is 
charged with three duties : to sufficiently maintain the 
child ; to maintain its rights and inheritance without waste ; 
thirdly, to answer for the satisfaction of its trespasses. 

The defect in the article about disparagement will o. « 
appear below when we deal with the Statute of Merton ; so 
also the defect in the article about freebench and widows, c r 
In that article it is sufficiently expressed that no woman is 
dowable if she be not solemnly espoused at the church door 
and endowed there. 

The article which commands that the city of London o. 9 
shall have its ancient and accustomed liberties is to be 
understood thus : that the citizens shall have their fran- 
chises, to which they are heritably entitled by the gifts 
and confirmations of the kings, and which they have 
not forfeited by any abuse, and that they shall have such 
of their free customs as are allowable by right and not 
repugnant to the law.' And the interpretation applicable 
to the case of London is applicable also to the case of the 
Cinque Ports and other places. 

The article which forbids wrongful distraint of fees is 0. 10 
proper as it stands, but there is hardly a man in the realm 
who has tenants and who does not trespass against it by 
himself or his ministers, as appears in the chapter on 
Naifty in the paragraph about villains.' 

The article which forbids that common pleas shall follow c. n 
the king's court, is to be interpreted thus : that men are 
not to toil to follow the king's household into distant parts, 
as they formerly did, but this article wills that plaintiflfa 
shall have commissions to the sheriffs, or the lords of the 
fees, or to justices assigned, so that right shall be done to 
the parties in locis certis so that the parties and the jurors 
may not have so much toil. 

' This hardly comes from a strong landlord is unlawfully oppressing 
champion of civic customs. his villuins. 

■■' 8ee above, p. 79. Almost every 

A A 2 


Tut soit qe le point qe comande qe petites assises soient 
prises en lur eountiez estoit fundie sur laisement des 
jurours, uncore est il desusie en taunt qe les justices funt 
les jurours travailler es plus foreins marchies des contiez, 
ou mieux vaudreit qe justices t?-availlassent de hundred en 
hundred qe de travailler taunt de poeple. 

Li point des amerciemenz est desusie par justices, 
viscountes, baillifs, seneschauz e autres qi ame?*cient la 
gent en ce^-tein a lur voluntie en ceste manere, metez tiel 
a taunt pur despit ou pur trespas, sanz peser le trespas e 
sanz affoerement de genz a ceo jurees e saunz especefier la 
manere e la qualite del despit. Dautrepart ou les affoerours 
duissent estre esluz par lassent des amerciez e en lu comun, 
la funt tieux sovereins venir a lur oustieux affoerours 
cum eus memos volent ' mettre e funt acrestre e amenuser 
les amerciemenz a lur voluntie. 

Li point qe defent qe rive?-8 ne soient mises en defens 
est desusie, car plusours rivers sont ore approp?*is e engarnes 
e mises issi en defens qe soloient estre comuns a pescher e 
user el tens le Eoi Henri le premer. 

Li ^ qe defent qe viscountes, chasteleins, corouners ne 
baillifs ne tenent les plez de la coroune ne semble mie 
necessaire, car apeax de felonie sont par droite nskturele ^ 
attamables devaunt corouners e les exigendes continuables e 
les jugemenz des utlaguaries pronunciables, e pur ceo averoit 
eel point mestier de plus de \etre si qe sa entencion fut 

Par la fin del point des biens moebles as morz piert qe 
accion accrest as vedves e as enfanz des morz a demander 
lur renables pa?-ties des chatieux lur piere esloignez. 

Ceo qest defendu a conestables a prendre lautri defend 
droit a tote gent de si qe nule difference nest par entre prise 
de lautri maugrie soen e robberie, li quel qi cele prise soit 

' Apparently inolent, MS. ^ Supply point. 

^ drcit nient (1642). 

Ob' ABUSES. 178 

Albeit the article which commands that petty assizes be c. la 
taken in their own counties was made for the easement of 
jurors, none the less it is disregarded, for the justices cause the 
jurors to journey to the extreme boundaries of the counties, 
whereas it would be better that the justices should journey 
from hundred to hundred and not labour so many folk. 

The article about amercements is disused by justices, c u 
sheriffs, bailiffs, stewards, and others, who amerce men at 
fixed sums according to their will and pleasure, saying, 
* Put down so and so for so much, for a contempt, or for a 
trespass,' without weighing the trespass and without any 
aflfeerment by men sworn for the purpose, and without 
specifying the manner or quality of the contempt. And 
again, though the affeerors ought to be chosen with the 
assent of those who are amerced and in a public place, these 
magnates cause to come to their own houses such aflfeerors 
as they please and increase and decrease the amercements 
at pleasure. 

The article against putting rivers in defence is disused, c i6 
for divers rivers are now appropriated and warrened and 
put in defence which were open for fishing and using in the 
time of King Henry I.' 

The article which forbids sheriffs, castellans, coroners, o. n 
and bailiffs to hold pleas of the crown seems unnecessary, 
for by natural law appeals of felony ought to be commenced 
before the coroners, and the process of exigend should go 
on before them and outlawries ought to be pronounced by 
them ; thus there should be more words in this article to 
express its intention. 

By the last words of the article about the movable goods o. is 
of dead men, it appears that an action de rationahili parte 
Ixmorum should accrue to the widow and children if the 
goods of the father be eloigned from them. 

As to the ordinance that constables are not to take cc. m, 30 
what belongs to others, this is a rule of right which extends 
to all mankind, for there is no difference between taking 
what is another's against his will and robbery, whether the 

' But it is the time of Henry II. that is mentioned in the Charter. 


de chevauz, de vitaille, de marchandie, de cariage, de 
oustieux, ou dautre manere des biens. 

Li point des te^Tes as felons tenir pa?* un an est desusie, 
car par la ou li Eoi nen dust aver qe le gast de droit, ou Ian 
el non de fin pur sauver le fieu de lestrep, prenent les 
ministres le Eoi andeus. 

De defens del precipe nest point tenu einz se funt tant 
des briefs de possession de fourme e par estatuz chescun 
jour qe les seignurs perdent lur conoissances de lur fieus e 
les avantages de lur courz. 

Li point qe eomaunde qe une mesure soit par mi tut le 
reaume e une manere de pois ceo ' desuse par marchanz e 
burgois usanz dantiquite la livre del pois de xx. s. de dreite 
assise ; e aussi dalnes e dautres mesures. 

De defens qe se fet del brief de odio e atia qe le Eoi ne 
son chauncelk'r ne preignent pur le bref g?-anter se dust 
estendre a touz briefs remediaux, E li dist brief ne se dust 
mie soulement estendre as felonies de homicide einz ceo 
dust estendre as totes felonies e ne mie soullement en 
appeax mes en enditemenz. 

Li point qe defent qe nul baillif ne mette franc home a 
serement saunz sieute presente est inte?-pretable en ceste 
manere, qe nul justice, nul ministre le Eoi, ne autri 
seneschal ne baillif neit poer a mettre franc homme a 
Berement fere saunz le comaundement le Eoi, ne pleinte 
receive saunz tesmoins presenz qi testmoignent la mon- 
straunce estre verrie. 

Li point qe li Eoi grante qil ne disseisera nul homwie ne 
nemprisonera ne destruira forqe par loial jugement destrut 
lestatut des marchandes e autres estatuz, e est inter- 
pretable en ceste manere, nul ne soit pris, sest "^ a dire si now 

est (1642). * Corr, cest. 


taking be of horses, of victual, of merchandise, of carriage, 
of lodgings, or of any other kind of goods.' 

The article about the year and day of a felon's land is o. m 
disused ; for whereas the king ought only by rights to have 
either * the waste ' or else ' the year ' by way of a fine to 
save the fee from being wasted, the king's ministers now 
claim both the year and the waste.' 

The prohibition of the breve quod vocatur Praecipe is o. 24 
disregarded, for every day so many writs which are posses- 
sory in form are issued, and this too by statute, that the 
lords lose the cognisance of matters concerning their fees 
and the profits of their courts.' 

The article which commands that there be one measure c. 26 
throughout the realm and one weight is disregarded by 
merchants and burgesses, who by ancient custom make use 
of the pound of twenty shillings of right assize [?] And so 
as to ells and other measures. 

As to the clause forbidding the king and his chancellor c. 26 
to take anything for granting the writ de odio et atia, this 
ought to be extended to all remedial writs ; and the said 
writ ought to be extended, not only to the felony of homi- 
cide, but to all felonies, and not only to appeals, but also to 

The article which forbids a bailiff to put a free man to c 28 
his oath without producing suit should be interpreted in 
this manner : that no justice or minister of the king or other 
steward or bailiff has power to put a free man to his oath 
without a command from the king, and that no plaint is 
to be received unless there be witnesses present who testify 
to the truth of the count. 

The article whereby the king grants that he will not c. 20 
disseise, nor imprison, nor destroy any man nisi per kgale 
indicium, renders invalid the statute de Mercatoribus * 
and other statutes, and should be thus interpreted : 

' There uhould be no need to re- ' This is very true. Our author 

Btrain 'purveyance,' for purveyance is in favour of seignorial justice, 
is robbery. * Stat. 11 Edw. I. de Meroatori- 

' The Chaiter says nothing about bus ; IB Edw. I. (Actou Burneil). 
the waste. 


par gar ant fondie sur personele accion. Distinctez, car si 
laccion soit veniale nul enprisonement ne iest avoable si 
non pwr defaute de meinp^rnours, e issi piert qe nul nest 
enp^-isonable pur dette. E si ascun estatut soit fet repu- 
gnaunt a cest point, ou pwr la dette le Eoi ou pur lautri, 
ne fet point a tenir. Nul ne soit utlaguie, fet a entendre si 
noun pur mortele felonie dunt len est mescru par serement 
de vesins a ceo jurez aussi com doffice al foer qe len use en 
eires. E par ceo se destrut en lestatut de utlaguer hom?ne 
pur arrerages dacontes e de tuz autres tieux estatuz. E 
ceo qest dit nul ne soit exulle ne destrut, est interpretable 
en cest entendement, qe len eit accion dappeller touz juges 
e tuz sutlers, tons assessours e touz fornissours qi 
destruent homme contre le dreit cours e les dreites riules de 
lei. Dautrepart ceo qe le Eoi defent qe nul ne soit deseisi de 
son f7*anc tenement, de ces ^ franchises ou de ces ' fraunches 
custumes, est issi a entendre, qe len recoevre par lassise de 
novelle disseisine tut manere de f?'anc tenement e tote 
manere de possession reale de fieu ou de fraunchises du»t 
len est engite si par loiall jugeme«t non. E cest mot si 
non par loial jugement fert a totes les pa7-oles de cest 

Cest point qe li Eoi grante a soun poeple qil ne vendera 
dreit noiera ^ ne delaiera est desusie par le chaunceller qi 
vent les briefs remediaux e les apele briefs de grace, e li 
chaunceller del eschecker qi vee aquitance souz la verte cire 
des paiemenz fez al Eoi, e tuz ceus qi delaient dreit juge- 
ment ou autre dreit. 

Li point del congie de la demoere des marchaunz aliens 
est issi entendable, qe ceo ne soit en prejudice des villes ne 
des marchaunz d'Englete?'re, e qil soient serementes al 
Eoi e pleviz sil demoerent plus de xl. jours. 

' Corr. ses. ' Corr. ne veera (?). 


Nnllus capiatnr, none is to be taken unless it be by warrant 
founded on a personal action. (Here we must distinguish, 
for if the action is venial, no imprisonment is justifiable 
save for default of mainpernors, and so it appears that none 
can be imprisoned for debt, and if any statute be made 
repugnant to this article, whether it concern debts due to 
the king or debts due to others, it is not to be obeyed.) 
Nvlliis titlagetur— here one must understand ' unless it be 
for mortal felony whereof one is found suspected by the 
oaths of one's neighbours who are sworn quasi ex officio in 
the manner customary in eyres.' And this clause annuls 
the statute which outlaws a man for arrears on an account, 
and other similar statutes.* Nnllus exuletur aut destruatnr 
— this is to be interpreted thus : that one has an action to 
appeal all judges, all suitors, all assessors, all executants of 
judgments who destroy a man against the right course and 
the right rules of law. And then as to the king's prohibi- 
tion, Nulliis disseisietvrde libero tenemento suo rel libertatibus 
vel lihens consuetudinibtis siiis — this is to be understood 
thus : that one can recover by an assize of novel disseisin 
every manner of free tenement and every manner of ' real ' 
possession of a fee or of franchises wherefrom one is ejected 
otherwise than by lawful judgment. And this clause nisi 
j>er legale iudiciiim has reference to all the clauses of this 

The article whereby the king grants to his people that 
he will not sell, nor deny, nor delay justice, is disregarded 
by the chancellor who sells remedial writs and calls them 
writs of grace, and by the chancellor of the exchequer who 
refuses to give acquittances under green wax for payments 
made to the king, and by all those who delay right judg- 
ment or other right. 

The article about the residence of alien merchants is to 
be 80 understood that this residence is not to be prejudicial 
to the towns nor to the merchants of England, and bo that 
the alien merchants are to be sworn to the king and pledged 
if they stay beyond forty days.^ 

> Stat. We&t. I. c. 11. ' The Charter cays nothing of the forty da;B. 


Li point qe defent qe nul naliene sa terre en prejudice 
des seignur del fieu est interpretable en ceste manere, qe 
nul tenant nalliene le fieu son seignur saunz son assent ou 
a tenir en chief del seignur saunz encrees de novel service. 

Li ' point des gardes de abbies e des lus religious vacanz 
fet issi a entendre qe chescun seignur eit la garde de son 
fieu durant la vacacion. 

Li point qe nul ne soit pris nenprisone par appel de 
fem^ne dautre mort qe de la mort son mari, fet a entendre 
de cele femme qil marit dreinement tut ^ pur sa femwe si 
par cas out plusours femmes en pleine vie. 

Les poinz des tourns de viscountes e des veuues de franc 
plege sont desusez en troiz maners. Lune qe viscontes, 
baillifs, e seneschaux arentent extorsions de fins qil funt 
genz finer par quoi il ne soient enchesonez qil appelent pur 
bel pleder. Lautre qil amercient genz par presentemenz 
sur personeles acciouns. La tierce est qil chargent les 
jurours darticles tochaunz torz fet de veisin a veisin, ou de 
tenaunt a autre seignur qe al Eoi. 

Li point qe defent as genz de religion purchacer fieus 
destrut lestatut pus fet a Westmouster de meme le defens, 
en taunt qe laccion del chef seignur est limitie en si court 
terme pur hastir laccion le Eoi en prejudice des seignurs 
de fieu. 

Si MS. » Corr. tint. 


The article which forbids any one to alienate his land to c. 32 
the prejudice of the lord of the fee is to be understood 
thus : that no tenant is to alienate the fee of his lord with- 
out his lord's assent, or so that it shall be held in chief of 
his lord without the addition of a new service.' 

The article as to the guardianship of abbeys and religious c. 33 
places during a vacancy is to be thus understood : that 
every lord is to have the wardship of his fee during the 

The article that no one is to be taken or imprisoned on c. 34 
the appeal of a woman for the death of any one save her 
husband is to be understood of that woman whom the dead 
man last held as his wife in case he has several [would-be] 
wives alive. ^ 

The article as to the sheriffs' turns and views of frank- c. ss 
pledge is disregarded in three ways. The first is that 
sheriffs, baiUffs, and stewards arrent the extortionate fines 
which they exact from people ne occasionentur (that occasion 
be not taken against them) , which fines they say are pur 
hel pleder.* Secondly, they amerce folk by presentments 
upon personal actions. Thirdly, they charge the jurors 
with articles touching torts done by neighbour to neigh- 
bour, or by a tenant to a lord who is not the king.* 

The article which forbids men of religion to purchase c. ss 
fees annuls the statute afterwards made at Westminster, 
which contains the same prohibition, in so far as it limits 
a short term for the lord's action and speeds the king's 
right to the prejudice of the lords of the fee.^ 

' It is hard to believe that this compelled to pay a sum in advance 

clause was written after the statute to absolve him from the penalties 

Quia emptores was in full operation. that he will assuredly incur if the 

'' This seems to be a perversion. strict rules of pleading are enforced 

Our author means that during a against him. One ' occasions ' a 

vacancy every piece of land held by pleader by catching at his words, 

the abbey is to fall into the wardship Then the sheriffs ' arrent,' i.e. let to 

of the lord of whom it is held. farm, the extortionate profits of the 

' The ' possessory ' title of that courts, 

wife in whose arms the man dies is ' The presentment procedure 

to be preferred to proprietary claims. should not be used for tlie redress of 

Compare Bracton, f. 306. mere private wrongs. 

* The sheriffs exact fines from the * Stat. 7 Kdw. I. De viris religio- 

suitors for beaupkader. A suitor is sis. It gives each lord a year for 


Le derreine point est de tele \ertn e de tele entendement 
qe sicom le Eoi ad les conoissaunces des trespas fez en ces ' 
fieus aussi eient tuz fieu tenaunz lur courtz e les conois- 
saunces des trespas fez en lur fieus e aussi ben de reales 
accions, personeles Gwn de mixtes. 

[Ch. 111.1 Des articles sur lestatut de Mertone. 

Ascuns poinz sont repemables entre les estatuz fetz a 
Mertone pus la dite chartre fete, e nomeement le point de 
redeseisines, desicom dreit nateint nul trespassour par 
enqueste de office, e pur ceo qe respons porroient par cas valer 
a tieux tenanz e seroient par dreit alloables tendreit lu 
assises al foier de novel diaseisine. E ceo qest dist qe 
redeseisours soient pris e detenuz en prison e puis seient 
reinz ^ nest iorqe abusion de dreit qe voez qe chescun qe 
iert atteint de personel trespas soit puni par peine corporele 
sil ne la puisse reimbre ^ par deners. E ceo qest dit de cest 
estatut fet a entendre de trestuz les estatuz fez apres la 
pnmere confeccion de la grande chartre fete el tens le Eoi 
Henri le tierz, car nest raie droit qe le * soit puni pur un 
fet de peine corporele denprtsonment ou dautre e estre ceo 
par peine peccuniele ou par rancon, car ranceon nest autre 
chose qe rachat de peine corporele. 

Li point denprouemenz de gasz e de deserz est reper- 
nable cum celi qest fet trop geney-alment, einz le covendreit 
aver distinctie, car en plusours lus est qe comuners sunt 
feffez en tieu manere qe les comuns -^ sunt soulement as 
tenaunz issi qe les seignurs ne i unt rien forqe le fieu. E 
en tieux cas est cest estatut p?-ejudicial as comuners e 
repugnaunt a la grande chartre qe voet qe nul ne soit en- 

' Corr. ses. ^ remise (1642). ' Apparently so with dotted 

* Corr, len. * que lentier comoti (1642). 


The last article has this force and meaning : that as the 
king has the cognisance of trespasses done in his fees, so 
also all fee tenants may have their courts and the cognisance 
of trespasses done in their fees, in all actions, whether 
real, personal, or mixed.' 

[Ch. III.'] Articles upon the Statute of Merlon. 

Some points in the statutes made at Merton after the 
making of the Charter are to be reprehended, and in par- 
ticular the clause about redisseisins, for law will not attaint stat. Mert. 
a trespasser by an inquest taken ex officio; and since in 
some cases the tenants [accused of redisseisin] may have a 
good answer and one that the law allows, the procedure 
ought to be like that of an assize of novel disseisin. And 
as to what is said of arresting and imprisoning redisseisors 
and then of ransoming them, this is a mere abuFe, for the 
law wills that every one attainted of a personal trespass 
be punished by a corporal punishment if he cannot ransom 
it with money. And what is said of this statute is to be 
understood of all statutes made after the first making of 
the Great Charter in the time of Henry III., for it is not 
law that anyone should be punished for a single deed by 
imprisonment or any other corporal punishment, and in 
addition by a pecuniary punishment or ransom ; for ransom 
is nothing else than the redemption of a corporal punish- 

The article as to the approvement of wastes and deserts c. 4 
is open to reprobation as being too general ; for a distinc- 
tion should have been made ; for in some cases the com- 
moners are enfeoffed in such manner that the common 
belongs to the tenants only, so that the lords have nothing 
but the fee. And in this case the statute is prejudicial to 
the commoners and repugnant to the Great Charter, which 

his entry. Our author takes the Charter, whereby the barons are en- 

side of the mesne lords against the joined to allow to their tenants the 

king. same liberties that they have re- 

' This seems a strange perversion ceivcd from the king. Our author 

of the concluding clause of the favours seignorial justice. 


gette de son franc tenement nes apurtenaunces sanz loial 

Li point de rap des mariages est repernable en taunt 
qe il iad accepcion des persones de lais e des clers, car nest 
nient plus dreit qe clerc pecchie saunz peine qe homme lai. 

Autres poinz sunt repgrnables si tenaunz sunt ' damage 
a lur seignurs ou le revers. Car ne mie soulement ne sont 
mie punissables solom les peines des estatuz, einz se 
defunt tuz liens de homage e de feaute par entre eus pur 
lur trespas sicom avant est dit entre les jugemenz des 

Li point dattornez fere en suties^ as hundreds est 
entendable en ceste manere, qe tut pusse sutier fere attorne 
pur li par cest estatut a sauver li defaute, pur ceo ne poet 
nul jugement estre rendu par attorne, ne nule femme nest 
nomee en cest estatut pur ceo qe nul jugement nest rendable 
par femwie. 

[Ch. III. (B.)] Des estatuz de Marleberge. 

Des estatuz de Marleberge sunt ascuns repernables e 
nomeement les p?'imers .v. poinz, pur ceo qe chescun 
personel trespas est punissable par corporele peine si li 
trespassour nen pust estre allegie par redempcion solom la 

Li point qe comande qe la grande chartre soit tenue en 
touz ces poinz est defective par defaute de adicion de peine 
e semble truffe ^ a fere constitucions nient tenues. 

Les poinz remediaux as seignurs des fieus est re^ernable 
en la mitigacion de la peine, car touz ceus qe funt fraude 
a la lei sunt punissables par peine corporele e ne mie par 
simples amerciemenz. 

Corr. funt. ^ Sic. ' semble crosse (1642). 


wills that none is to be ejected from his free tenement or 
the appurtenances without lawful judgment.' 

The article about rape of ward is reprehensible, since it 
draws a distinction between laymen and clerks, for a clerk 
has no more right to sin with impunity than has a layman.' 

Other articles are reprehensible, namely, those touching cc. e, i 
damage done by tenant to lord and vice versa, for in such 
cases the wrongdoers are not merely to suffer the punish- 
ments mentioned in the statute, but all the bonds of homage 
and fealty are undone between the parties by the trespass, 
as has been said before where we spoke of the judgments 
for defaults.' 

The article as to the making of attorneys for suit at the c. w 
hundred courts is to be understood thus : that albeit by 
this statute a suitor can make an attorney so as to save his 
default, still no judgment can be given by attorney. And 
in this statute there is no mention of women, for no woman 
can give judgment. 

\Ch. Ill, {B.)'\ The Statutes of Marlborough. 

Some of the Statutes of Marlborough are reprehensible, cc. 14 
and in particular the first five articles, for every personal 
trespass is punishable by corporal punishment if the tres- 
passer cannot obtain an alleviation by a proportionate 

The article commanding that the Great Charter be c 6 
observed is defective, for that it specifies no penalty, and it 
seems humbug to make constitutions which are not obeyed. 

The articles which give remedy to the lords of fees are c. • 
reprehensible in so far as they mitigate the punishment, 
for all those who defraud the law are punishable by corporal 
punishment and not by simple amercements.' 

* Our author seems to contem- only against laymen, 
plate a case in which, though the ' See above, pp. 129, 130. 
ownership of the waste is in the lord, * The chapters in question relate 
he has no right to turn out beasts for the more part to unlawful dis- 
upon it. traint. 

• The chapter in question (Stat. » The chapter in question relates 
Jdert. c. 4) denounces a punishment to collusive feoffments. 


Li point des p?-oclamacions de gardes est repernable 
cwn celi qi est tut fondie sur errour sicom piert el chapitre 
de defautes. 

Li point des redeseisours est repe?-nable, car nul mande- 
ment especial ne deit passer comun dreit, ne nul peine 
denpj-isonement nest jugeable forqe ' pur torcenous en- 

Li point de doaires est repernable de si qe dreit se dust 
plus hastier en la court le Roi qe aillors. 

Li point suant dattachemenz e des destresces est re- 
pej-nable, car en plez dattachemenz nest nule essoine 
allouable pur les defendaunz ne nul tiel ordre de destresces 
nest tenable solom dreit. 

Li point qe defent qe nul ne face jurer ses tenaunz est 
repernable par ceo qe nule peine ni est ordene, e par ceo 
quil ni ad nule forpKse, car plusours cas sunt ou genz 
deivent jurer tut ne voient il le comandement le Roi, sicom 
devant justices des forez, devaunt corouners e devant 
eschaetours, e sicom as tours de viscountes, as veuues de 
franc pleges, e sicom affoerours e as deliverances des 

Li point qe comande la capcion de ceux qi sunt tenuz 
daconte est repgrnable desicwri laccion est mixte e voet 
Bomonse e nient personele. 

Li point de gastours de fermes est repernable, car gast 
est personel trespas e demande personele peine e ne mie 
simple amerciement. 

Ch. IV. Ai'ticles sur lestatut de Westmoustier. 

Plusours autres poinz sunt repernables es estatutz 
primers de Westmoustier, car les poinz tochanz genz de 
religion sunt matire aporchaz denemis^ e purchacie sur 
fundement de avarice plus qe a lur ava?itage. 

' forqe repeated. * vialer pur purchaser deniers (1642). 


The article as to the proclamation of wardships is repre- c 7 
hensible, being altogether founded upon error, as appears 
in our chapter on defaults.' 

The article about redisseisors is reprehensible, for no c. 8 
special ordinance ought to exceed common law, and the 
punishment of imprisonment should only be adjudged 
where there has been wrongful imprisonment. 

The article about dower is reprehensible, for right c. 12 
should be speedier in the king's court than elsewhere. 

The following article about attachments and distresses c u 
is reprehensible, for in pleas prosecuted by attachments no 
essoin is allowable to the defendants, and no such order of 
distresses holds good according to law. 

The article which forbids a man to cause his tenants to c 22 
swear is reprehensible, because it specifies no punishment, 
and because it makes no exception ; for there are divers 
cases in which men ought to swear, although they do not 
receive the king's command, as e.g. before the justices of 
the forests, before coroners, before escheators, and at the 
sheriffs' turns and views of frankpledge, and as affeerors, 
and at gaol deliveries. 

The article which commands the arrest of those who c. 23 
are bound to render account is reprehensible, for the action 
is mixed, not personal, and should be commenced by 

The article about farmers who commit waste is repre- c. 23 
hensible, for waste is a personal trespass and demands a 
personal punishment and not a simple amercement. 

[Ch. I v.] Articles 0/ the Statute of Westminster I. 

There are divers other articles in the first statutes of 
Westminster which are reprehensible, for the articles 
which concern men of religion are procured by enemies (?), 
and are founded rather on avarice than on the advantage 
of the religious.'* 

' See above, p. 129. great men and others to constrain the 

' The chapter in question forbids religious houses to entertain thorn. 

15 11 


Li point des clercs rettez de felonie est repeniable, car 
pa?- defaute de addicion de peine ne sunt tieux clercs 
deliverez a lur ordeneires forqe a la voluntie del Eoi e de 
ces justices. 

Li point de wrec est repernable en taunt qe li trovour 
en est forjugie par lestatuz de part avouent ' duwt il dust 
estre pa?-cener del p?*offit, e si est repernable qu&nt al agard 
de la peine. 

Del point des amerciemenz est dit avant en la chartre. 

Li point de pnses est mout repe?'nable sicom avant est 

Li point des felons siure pur la pees meintenir est 
repernable en la peine, car ascuw est consentaunt as felons 
qe ne les prent cum il les porroit. E en memo la manere 
est de la peine des corouners contenu en larticle suant. 

Li point des corouners eslire ne fu mie mestier daver 
este ordene, car plus bosoigne est as eslisours daver bons 
loiaux e sages corouners qe al Eoi. E meux vaudroit daver 
ordene qe les corouners p?vsentassent les poinz de lur 
office desouz les seals des jurours qe viscountes fuissent 
lur contre rouUes. 

Li point del enqueste de odio et atia est repernable pur 
Londres e autres lus enfranchiz ou nuls chevalers ne 

Li point de mettre genz rettez de felonie qe ne se 
voellent mettre en pais a penaunce est si desusie qe len les 
tue sanz aver regard as condicions des persones. E si est 
repernable desicom len se purra par cas eider e aquiter 
en autre manere qe par pais e desicom nul nest penable 

' de parte avoier (1642) 


The article touching clerks accused of felony is repre- o- » 
hensible, for that no punishment is specified, and therefore 
such clerks are not delivered to their ordinaries save at the 
pleasure of the king and of his justices. 

The article about wreck is reprehensible, for that the c. 4 
finder is forejudged by the statute from claiming any share, 
whereas he ought to have a share in the profit ; and it is 
reprehensible as to the j)unishment to be awarded. 

Of the point about amercements we have spoken above c e 
in connexion with the Great Charter.' 

The article about prises is very reprehensible, as appears c. 7 

The article about the pursuit of felons for the main- cc. 9. 10 
tenance of the peace is reprehensible as regards the 
punishment denounced, for he is consenting to felons who 
does not arrest them when he can. There is a similar 
objection to the punishment of coroners mentioned in the 
next article. 

There was no need for the article about the election of c. lo 
coroners, for the electors have a greater interest than the 
king in having good, lawful, and prudent coroners. And 
it would have been better to have ordained that coroners 
should present the articles of their office under the seals of 
the jurors than that the sheriffs should be their controllers. 

The article about the inquest de odio et atia is repre- c. 11 
hensible as regards London and other privileged places 
where there are no knights.' 

The article about putting to their penance men accused c. u 
of felony who will not put themselves upon their country is 
so much disused that they are killed without regard to 
their condition. And this article is reprehensible, because 
on occasion one may aid and acquit oneself in other wise 
than by one's country,'* and because no one should be put 

' See above, p. 178. quires two knights on every inqnest 

* A ' prise ' is mere robbery. See de odio. 
above, p. 178. * A hint at the ordeal. See above. 

' Here the hand of a Londoner p. 173. The statute here speaks of 

may be apparent. The statute re- le pi'ison forte et dure. 

o li 2 


einz ces ' qil isoit atteint de pecche par quoi il deit esfcre 

Les ordena??ces des peines de lung enpn'sonement sunt 
a rep?Tndre sicom avant est dist. 

Li point del orde de utlaguer les p?-mcipaux avant les 
accessoires nest mie estatut einz est revocacion de errour. 

Li point des plevissables est repernable soloni ceo qe 
dit est es accions. Les peines de lung enp?-isonment 
contient errour solom ceo qe avant est dist. 

La peine ver le Eoi des heires madles mariez sanz le 
grie lur seignurs liges pa?- entre les xiiij. anz e xxj. an est 
repcrnable. Dunt doit le Kei aver amende pus^ ceo qil 
nad nule personele sute pur amendes demander ? 

Li point des heirs femeles contient errour sicom piert 
en la reprehension del point des mariages de la g?-ande 

Li point des torcenouses destresces dust contenir la 
peine de robberie. 

La peine des ministres deseisours par colour de lur 
office est repernable pur la simplesce si com piert entre lea 

Li point qe defent qe viscountes ne preignent ^ est re- 
pe?'nable de ceo qe li Eoi p?-ent de eus e il ne prenent rien 
del Eoi. 

Li point de fieus * des clers e des ministres des justices 
en eires est repc?'nable pur comune grevaunce del people 
sanz rep?'ise de p7-offit. 

Les peines denprisonement sunt repernables par les 
reesons avantdites. 

Li point de tolunz est repe^-nable pa?- la peine denp?-t- 
sonement e par ceo qe tolunz ne sunt establiz en ct'?-tein. 

' Corr. ceo. ^ Corr. 2^ur. ' Supply rewards (1G42). ■• fines (1642). 

OF ABUSES. 186. 

to pain until he is attainted of some sin for which he 
ought to be pained. 

The ordinances denouncing long imprisonments are <>■ i3 
reprehensible, as has been said above. 

The article about the order of outlawry — that the prin- o. 14 
cipals be outlawed before the accessories — is no statute, but 
the revocation of an error. 

The article about the replevin of prisoners is leprehen- c. is 
sible, as has been said above in our treatise on actions. 
Long terms of imprisonment are erroneous, as has been 
said above.' 

The penalty due to the king in the case of an heir 0. 23 
male married between the ages of fourteen and twenty-one 
years without the lord's consent is reprehensible. Why 
should the king have any amends when he has no personal 
suit to demand the amends ? 

The article about heirs female is erroneous, as appears 0. 28 
in our strictures on the article about marriages in the 
Great Charter.'^ 

The article about tortious distresses should impose the c. 23 
same punishment as for robbery. 

The article about ministers who commit disseisin by «• 2* 
colour of their office is reprehensible on account of its 
slightness, as appears in our chapter on judgments.^ 

The article which prohibits the sheriffs from taking c. 2« 
reward is reprehensible, because the king takes from them 
and they take nothing from the king. 

The article about the fees of the clerks and ministers of 0. 27 
justices in eyre is reprehensible, because of the common 
grievance of the people without any equivalent profit. 

The punishment by imprisonment is reprehensible for c. 20 
reasons given above.'* 

The article about tolls is reprehensible, because of the c. si 
punishment of imprisonment, and because the amount of 
tolls is not defined. 

' This clmpter is the famous • See above, p. 140. 

statute of bail. * Tlie Ktatutc here speaks of decei 

' Sec above, p. 176. committed by pleaders. 


Li point qe voet qe ceus qe desusent murage ' le per- 
dent ne fu mie mestier davoir este fet, car lei voet qe cist 
qe ^ pe?*de sa franchise qi la desusera. 

Li point des recevours des deners le Eoi et nient 
rendaunz lur pn'ses est repernable par la simplesce de la 
peine solom ceo qe piert par reesons avantdites. 

Lerrour des prises de charettes e dautres biens piert 
Buffisament par reesons avantdites. 

Li point qe defent jugement estre renduz par est?-ange8 
en contiez est repe?-nable, car nul jugement rendu par autre 
qe par juge ordenaire ou assignie ne fet a tenir. 

Li point qe fet mencion de robberie en deseisines est 
repgrnable, car tuz ceux sunt pernablesquijurours enditent 
de robberie a foer de larrons ou dautres felons. 

Li point datteintes est rep^rnable, car il ne se duist mie 
estendre a un cas einz dust comprendre tuz seremenz pris 
par duzeine si lune des pa?-ties sen pleigne. 

Li point des limitacions daccions est repernable par les 
reesons dites el chapitre sur meme la matire. 

Les poinz qe defendent fausines e abusions usez en 
court avant tel tens sont vergoignoi/s as faus juges qi la 
lei desuserent par suff/"aunce des faussines. 

Li point des champions est rep67'nable, car nul champion 
louiz nest recevable e ^ testmoinage. 

Li point de essoines nient alouuer apres apparaunce 
en menues assises est repernable pur lassise de novele 
disseisine ou nule essoine nest allouable pur les tenanz 
nient plus devant apparaunce qe apres ne en nule autre 
personele accion. 

Les autres poinz des essoines sunt repernables, car 
nule fausse cause de essoine ne dut fere avantage a nul 

nariadges (1642). ^ Omit ge. ' Corr. en. 


There was no need for the article that those who make c 31 
no use of the right of murage are to lose it, for the law 
wills that he who does not use his franchise shall lose it. 

The article about the receivers of the king's moneys c. 33 
who do not give up what they take is reprehensible, 
because of the slightness of the punishment, as appears by 
the reasons given above.' 

The error as to the seizure of carts or other goods 0. ss 
sufficiently appears for reasons given above.'^ 

The article which forbids that judgments be given in c. 34 
the county courts by strangers is reprehensible, for a 
judgment given by one who is neither judge ordinary nor 
judge delegate is of no avail. 

The article [about] making mention of robbery in case of c- 37 
disseisin is reprehensible, for all ought to be arrested whom 
jurors indict of robbery, like thieves and other felons. 

The article about attaints is reprehensible, for it ought c. ss 
not merely to extend to one case, but should comprise all 
oaths taken by a jury, if one of the parties makes com- 
plaint [of their falsehood].^ 

The article about the limitation of actions is repre- c. 39 
hensible for reasons given in the chapter which deals with 
this matter.'' 

The articles directed against falsehoods and abuses prac- c 40 
tised in court in time past are shameful to the false judges 
who set the law at naught by suffering falsehoods. 

The article about champions is reprehensible, for no c. 41 
hired champion should be received as a witness. 

The article against allowing essoins after appearance in c 43 
petty assizes is reprehensible, for in the assize of novel 
disseisin no essoin is allowed the tenants either after or 
before appearance; and so it is in all other personal 

The other articles about essoins are reprehensible, for cc. 43, 44 
no false excuse for an essoin should ever profit a man. 

' This chapter relates to purvey- felony, 
ance, which in our author's eyes is ' The statute only allows attaint 

mere robbery. in pleas relating to freehold. 

' bucb a seizure ought to bo * tiee above, p. 1U7. 


Li point de lais ' en plez dattacliemenz est repernable 
en plusours poinz solom ceo qe piert el chapitre des defautes. 

Li point a parpleder briefs sourt de surcharge qe chiet 
en prejudice des viscountes e de seignurs de fieus e de 

E tut ne soient les ij. poinz de deseisines forqc comune 
dreit e ancien, cest assaver qe chescun poet sure les amendes 
ou la peine del personel trespas fet a soun p^-edecessour en 
taunt com a sa accion appent, de quel age qe les parties 
soient, uncore est li primer repernable en taunt qe les pleintifs 
nwit nul recovrn- as damages fez a lur predecessours ne 
nule accion iovqe al restitucion de la possession. E lautre 
jDoint est repernable par la simplesce de la peine, einz 
apendreit solom comun dreit tele peine qe mes ^ ne se teinst 
lien de homage par entre eus par la forfeture del scignur 
quant il comensa desheriter soun tenaunt contre le dreit 
del homage. 

La preiere le Koi est repcrnable pur ceo qil ne dust 
rien p7-fer countre dreit, einz est la p?-tere des justices qi 
desirent daver tuz les jours mout a fere. 

Li point qe voet qe cil qe est vouchie a garaunt ne doit 
mie garantir, tut soit il oblige pa?- le fet son auncestre qi 
heir il est en cas ou il allegge pur li qe rien ne li est 
descendu de eel auncestre par qi fet il est vouche, est 
repernable, car solum auncien droit demoerent fieus obligez 
a la sieute de la dette qe ceux reconoisse7?t as queux les 
fieux sunt en qi meins qil deviegnent. En meme la manere 
soloit estre en touz autres contractz ou les cont^-actz furent 
atteinz ou grantez. Car asset reconust qi par eon fet sa 

' Corr. de dclais. ' jammes (1642). 


The article about delays in pleas prosecuted by attach- 
ments is reprehensible at several points, as appears in our 
chapter on defaults. 

The article about pleading writs to the end ' is too 
onerous and is to the prejudice of the sheriffs and the lords 
of fees and franchises. 

And albeit the two articles about disseisins are but 
common and ancient law, namely, that everyone can sue 
for the amends or the punishment of a personal trespass 
done to his predecessor, according to the nature of his 
action, of whatever age the parties may be, still the first 
article is reprehensible because the plaintiffs have no 
recovery for damages done to their predecessors and only 
an action for restitution to possession. And the other 
article is reprehensible because of the slightness of the 
punishment imposed, for according to common law the 
punishment should be that the bond of homage should be 
utterly dissolved between them by the forfeiture committed 
by the lord when he began to disinherit his tenant contrary 
to the right of homage. 

The prayer of the king is reprehensible, for he should 
pray nothing contrary to law ; but this is really the prayer 
of the justices who desire to have much to do every day.'-' 

^ The article which says that one who is vouched to 
warranty need not warrant, albeit he is bound to warranty 
by the deed of his ancestor, whose heir he is, in case he 
alleges that nothing has descended to him from that ances- 
tor on whose deed he is vouched, is reprehensible, for 
according to the ancient law the fees of those who confess 
a debt remain obliged as security for that debt, into whose- 
soever hands they may come. And the same rule was 
observed in all other contracts when the contracts were 
recovered or confessed in court ; for there is recognisance 

' The statute requires that the praying that assizes may be taken 

justices shall plead out (parpleydcnt) in Advent and Lent, 

the writs of one day before beginning * Apparently our author, having 

those of another. done with Stat. West. I., here attacks 

- The statute ends with a request one chapter (ch. .'{) of the Statute of 

by the king addrcb&cd to the bishops, Gloucester (ti Edw. I.). 


conoissance conferme. E tut soit qe rien ne descendist al 
heir, pa?- taunt ne p^-di nient le tenaunt pa?- defaute 
daquitaunce. E si cist qe fu obligie a la garantie ne 
vousist garantir ne voucher outre, parrust par taunt qe 
launcestre en fu tenant par vicious title e qe il en fu 
possessour de male fei. E si le heir nust rien dunt fere 
laquitance, recoverast as tenemenz a cele garantie obligez. 
E si li heir nust dunt fere acquitance, ne nul fieu ne ifust 
trovee obligee, si li possessour perdit son purchaz, rectast ' 
ceo a son fol contract, e autre foiz se purvoit de meillur 
sieurte avoir. 

\_Ch. V. Lestatut de Westmoustier II.'] 

Ceo qest dit es secunz estatuz de Westmoustier qe lei 
defailli en plusors cas fet a rep?*endre, car as tuz trespas 
est lei ordene coment qele soit desusie, oblie ou controvee 
par ceus qi ne la sevent. E les troiz p?nmers poinz ne 
sunt mie estatut, einz sunt revocacions de errours de 
negligenz juges. Car dreit ne soeffre mie a son poer qe 
homwie face a autre meillur estat qe il memes nad, einz 
voet qe chescun loial contract se face solom la conjunction 
des voluntiez des p^^rparlours. E ceo qe est en lestatut qe 
si fin se leve en fraude dreit qe ele soit nule est repernable, 
einz put mieux estre dit issi qe par eel fin ne soit nule 
terce ^ person barre de son droit, car fin levee ne poet mie 
legerement estre nule, einz se tient en sa vertu e forclos al 
meins le donour daccion. 

Li point des destresces ne rapele nul errour, einz lafferme 
sicom avant {)iert el secund livre. E ceo qest dit en 
meme lestatut qe sutiers ou countiez nunt nul record nest 

Corr. rcttast. ' ccrtaine (1642). 


enough if by one's deed one confirms one's ' cognisance ' 
(confession). And albeit nothing descends to the heir, the 
tenant ought not by this reason to lose his acquittance [the 
benefit of the contract to acquit him] ; and if the vouchee 
will neither warrant nor vouch over, then it appears by 
this that his ancestor held by a vicious title and was a 
mala fide possessor. And if the heir has nothing whereout 
to acquit the tenant [by giving him an exchange], then 
the tenant must have recourse to the tenements that were 
bound by the warranty. And if the heir has nothing 
whereout to acquit the tenant, and no fee can be found that 
is thus bound by the warranty, then the possessor loses his 
purchase, and must set this down to his foolish contract, 
and take care another time to have better security. 

[Ch. V. Statute of fVestmiiister J/.] 

What is said in the second statutes of Westminster ' 
as to the failure of law in divers cases is open to objection, 
because for all trespasses there is law ordained though it 
may be disused, forgotten, or perverted by those who know 
it not. And the first three articles are no statutes, but '^' ^' ^' ^ 
merely revoke the errors of negligent judges. For law 
will not allow that anyone can make to another a better 
estate than he himself had, but wills that every lawful 
contract be executed according to the conjoint wills of the 
contracting parties.'* And what the statute says about a 
fine in fraud of the law being void is reprehensible ; it would 
be better to say that by such a fine no third person shall 
be barred of his right, for a fine when levied cannot easily 
be null, but holds good of its own virtue and estops at least 
the donor from his action. 

The article about distresses affirms, rather than repeals, o. » 
an error, as appears in our second book. And what is said 
in the same statute about the suitors of the county courts 

' Sec the preamble. should have been no need for Buoh a 

' This is aimed at the famous statute. 
De donis coiiditionalibus. There 


forq<? abusion, einz est chescun loial testmoinage record e 
chescun faus testnioinage menceonge. E ausi loialment 
poent autres genz testmoigner cum les justices assignez. 
Nest ceo bien abusion a gr-antir as countiez recorz en 
utlaguaries, plegeages, meinpv-ises, batailles, granz assizes, 
e autres cas, e ne mie autres poinz; e dedire qe viscounte 
ou seignur del fieu, ou autre a qi le Roi mande son bref, 
neit aussi ben record des p?-oces dedut devant li qe tiex qi 
sapelent justices, nest forqe errour ? E quant as causes des 
briefs de ponez ' est sofferte g?-ant error de ceo qe grantie 
nest mie qe cil pusse ^ en laccessoire qe poet conustre el 
prmcipal, desico?;i dreit ne soeffre nul estre eidie par 
menceonge ne pa?- brief vicious. Dautrepa?'t de quoi siert 
plus realiter en lestatut qe p(?rsonalit<^r, desicom plus sunt 
attachemenz agardez en pcrsoneles accions qen mixtes ou 
reales ? 

Li point de meesus^ est repernableq^antasproclamacions 
e quant as non acquitaunces de ceux qi pa?- meins de service 
tenent qe les moiens ; car soit qe B tiegne cent liveres de 
trrre de A pa?" service de xx. li. par an, e cil B doigne ent sa * 
moiete en pure aumoine ou en mariage ou j)ur le service 
de une rose a C, cil avient qe cest B forface ou alliene 
q?(ant qil ad, par cest estatut nest ordene nule remedie a C, 
qi estoit achever a A. E ipnr ceo fet a tenir launcien courz 
qe avant est dit es jugemenz. 

Lestatut remedial de dreit la femme perdu par la 
defaute del marit est repernable, car auncien droit voet qe 

' paines (1042). ' measures (lfi42) ; corr. mesne s 

"- Supply conustre. * Corr. la (1642). 


having no record is a mere abuse, for every lawful testi- 
mony is a record and every false testimony is a lie, and 
other folk may just as lawfully testify as may the jus- 
tices assigned. Is not this a pretty abuse, to allow that 
the county courts can have record of outlawries, plevins, 
mainprises, battles, grand assizes, and so forth, and yet no 
record of other matters ? And to deny that the sheriff or 
the lord of the fee to whom the king sends his writ can 
just as well bear record of the processes which take place 
before him, as can those who call themselves justices, is 
not this mere error ? ' And as to the causes alleged in 
writs of Pone ^ great errors are suffered, since he who can 
take cognisance of the principal matter is not allowed to 
entertain an accessory question, whereas right will not 
suffer that anyone should profit by a lie or a vicious writ. 
Again, why should there be more talk of realiter in the 
statute than of lyersonaliter, when more attachments are 
awarded in personal actions than in mixed or real ? ^ 

The articles about mesne tenures is reprehensible, so far c. » 
as regards the proclamations, and so far as regards the 
non-acquittance of those who hold by less service than 
do their * mesnes.' For put case that B. holds a hundred 
librates of land ol A.hy the service of £20, and gives half of 
it to C. in frank almoign, or in marriage, or by the service 
of a rose, if then it happens that this B. commits a for- 
feiture or alienates what he has, no remedy is ordained by 
this statute for C.,who has to achieve to A. And therefore 
we must follow the old rule which is set forth in our chapter 
on judgments.'* 

The statute which gives remedy to the wife who loses c. s 
her right by her husband's default is reprehensible, for the 

* An outburst in favour of the ' This is a stupid, if not a wilful, 

local courts, which ought to be misinterpretation of the statute, 

treated as ' courts of record.' which uses the word realiter, not as 

'^ The I'onc is the writ for re- a contrast to prj-sojwi Zi7<*r, but in that 

moving a cause from the local to the sense in which we often use really 

royal court. The cause for the re- when we say that sonietliing is 

nioval is mentioned in the writ ; but really true. The avowant in the 

apparently the local court has no action of replevin is really rather 

nuans of protecting itself against plaintiff than defendant, 
writs obtained by false allegations. • Sec above, pp. I'i'J, 130. 


femme apres le deces son mari face replevir son heritage ou 
purchaz issi perduz e resomondre les tenaunz. Car nul cape 
nest forqe destresce e ejeccion de seisine sauve chescun 
droit, e si com list a lun des tenaunz en comun defendre 
son dreit ou il sent son damage pa?- fraude ou la negli- 
gence ou le non poer de son parcener, en meme la manere 
le poet fem??ie solom dreit dendreit son baron. 

E ne mie soulement ne donne dreit a vedves accion a 
demander doeires en cas nomeez en lestatut, eint fet en 
tuz cas ou dreit donne recoverer de fieu perdu par juge- 
ment reversable. 

E ceo qe contenu est qe tenaunz ou autres poent 
voucher garaunz nest forqe abusion : comewt tient voucher 
lu ou brief ne tient lu ? Einz entendez seinement qe nule 
juresdiccion de jugie ' assignie ne sestent a autre persone 
qe as celes qe sunt nomees el brief par nul voucher nen plus 
qe en mesus^ par brief de replegiari. E pur ceo sunt 
garaunties attamables e te?-minables par briefs. E si con- 
tient plusours autres errours, sicom piert en la lei de fieus. 

Lestatut suant qe ordene briefs remediaux novex apres 
defautes est prejudiciel as seignurs de fieus qi pernent ^ les 
avantages de lur courz par ceo qe briefs de dreit sunt 
defenduz en tieux cas ou il soloient estre usez. 

Presentemenz deglises ne se deivent fere for es nons de 
ceux as queux le mier droit des avoesons appent solom ceo 
qe avant est dit en les cont?-actz. E tut est errour e 
abusion de dreit a pa7*tir avoesons deglises ou de douuer 
ent femmes ou de lesser les a ferme ou a terme dautri 
vie ou en mariage ou en gage ou par fieu taille ou autre- 

• juge (1642). * mestne (1642) ; corr. mesnes (?). ' Corr. perdent. 


old law wills that a woman after her husband's death shall 
replevy her heritage or her acquests thus lost, and shall 
resummon the tenants : for no Cape is more than a distress 
and an ejectment from seisin salvo iiire cuiiislihet ; and as 
one of several tenants in common can defend his own right 
where he feels that he is damaged by the fraud, negligence, 
or impotence of his parcener, in the same way according to 
law a woman may behave as regards her husband.' 

And law does not give to widows an action for their «• * 
dowers merely in the cases mentioned in the statute ; it 
does the same in every case where law gives a recovery of 
a fee that has been lost by a reversible judgment. 

And what is said about tenants and others vouching to "■ « 
warranty is a mere abuse, for how can there be warranty 
where there can be no writ ? We ought to understand 
aright that no jurisdiction of a judge delegate can by any 
voucher to warranty be extended to any person not named 
in the writ, any more than the jurisdiction given by a writ 
of replevin can be extended to mesnes.^ And for this 
reason is it that vouchers to warranty are to be com- 
menced and determined by writs. And there are other 
errors here contained, as appears in the law of fees. 

The following statute, which ordains new remedial writs c. 7 
after default, is prejudicial to the lords of fees, who lose the 
profits of their courts, because writs of right are forbidden 
in cases in which they were formerly used.' 

Presentations to churches should only be made in the c. 6 
names of those to whom the greater right in the advowsons 
belongs, as has been said above in our chapter on contracts ; 
and it is altogether error and abuse to make partition of the 
advowsons of churches, or to endow women therewith, or to 
let them to farm or for the life of another or in marriage 
or by way of gage, or in fee tail, or otherwise than in 

' Our author's doctrine seems to tenant, as though the original action 
be that if in an action the husband were still pending; a judgment 
loses the wife's land by making given upon a default is merely pro- 
default, then after his death the wife visional and reversible, 
has no need to begin a fresh action, ' Text obscure, 
but can proceed by way of replevy- * In favour cf scignorial justice, 
ing the land and resummoning the 


mcnt qe en pcrpetuitie. E ceiix qi receivent clers prc- 
sentz as eglises en pn-judice de tex as queux le mier 
droit pg?-petuel est sunt tenuz a la restitution des damages. 
E ceux eient recoverer as jurours pa?- queux il estoient 
cc?-tifiez del droit del patronage. E issi piert qe la peine 
tient plus les evesqes qe les prcsentours. E ceo qest 
ordene long enprisonment pur peine nest forqe abusion, 
desico?;i nul nest enprisonable si noun pur torcenouse 

Lestatut de garanties nest forqe revocacion de errour 
usee jesques a dreite lei. 

Lestatut damesurement est repe?'nable q?/ant as pro- 
clamacions, desicom amesuremenz e surcharges sont fesables 
par jurees doffice. 

Lestatut des moiens est repernable en plusours poinz, 
sicom piert es chapitres de naams, de contractz e de 
defautes, e ceo piert en la fin del estatut ou les actours ne 
saveint fin mettre. 

Lestatut de suspencion des briefs en eires est reper- 
nable cum repugnaunt a la grande chartre qe dist, * Nous ne 
veerons a nul dreit ne delaerons.' E pur quei sunt briefs 
rebotables de audience ? Einz pur la multitude des briefs 
qe adunt se funt e par petit noumbre des justices perist 
dreit a plusours. 
Lestatut Li cstatut dcs obligez en aconte est repcrnable en 

plusours poinz. Lun quant as excepcions ^ des p^j-sones, 
car as seignurs est ordene recove?'ir e as serjanz nul. 
Autre quant auditours sunt donables sanz lassent des 
serjaunz. Lautre qe as auditours nestoit allouuer forqe a 
lur voluntie sanz peine. Lautre qe li recoverer est ordene 

' Corr. accepcion. 

sur acoute 


perpetuity.' And those who receive clerks who are pre- 
sented to churches in prejudice of those to whom the 
greater perpetual right belongs are bound to make restitu- 
tion in damages. And those who have to pay such damages 
can recover them from the jurors [?] who made certificate 
about the right of patronage. And thus it appears that 
the punishment falls rather upon the bishops than 
upon the presenters. And as to what is ordained about 
punishment by long imprisonment, this is just an abuse, 
for no one should be imprisoned save for wrongful im- 

The statute about warranties is merely the revocation c. e 
to right law of a prevailing error. 

The statute of admeasurement is reprehensible so far c. 7 
as concerns the proclamations, for admeasurements and 
surcharges should be effected by juries ex officio. 

The statute about mesnes is reprehensible in various c. 9 
points, as appears in our chapters on naams, contracts, and 
defaults ; and this is plain from the end of the statute, 
for its makers did not know how to make an end to it.* 

The statute about the suspension of writs in the eyres «• 10 
is reprehensible, as being repugnant to the Great Charter 
which says ' We will not deny nor delay justice to any.' 
And why is it that writs are rejected and do not come to a 
hearing ? Because of the multitude of writs made nowa- 
days and the small number of the justices ; and thus many 
fail to get law. 

The statute about those who are bound to account is c n 
reprehensible in divers particulars. One concerns the 
acceptance of persons, for a remedy is ordained for the 
lords and none for the servants. Another is this, that the 
auditors can be appointed without the assent of the ser- 
vants. Another that auditors should not make allowances 
at their discretion without punishment.' Another that the 

* See above, p. 75. and that further legislation will be 

' At the end of this chapter the necessary, 
legislator confesses that he has not * Meaning doubtful, 

dealt with all existing grievances, 

C C 


par la detenue des serjaunz e mie a la siourtie ne as 
chaiieux. Lautre qe les seignurs ne sunt arestables al foer 
des serjaunz. Lautre qe la malveistie des auditours 
remeint despunie. Lautre del lutlaguerie, car nul nest 
utlagable si nbn pur pecche mortiel. Lautre q?/ant a la 
peine del enprisonement, car nul nest enprisonable si non 
pur torcenous enprisonement. 

Lestatut des appeax est repernable en ij. poinz, lun de 
lespece de la peine corporele e de la pluralitie des peines, 
desi qe redempcion par peine peccuniele nest forqe alleg- 
giaunce de' peine cprporele. Lautre de juresdiccion aver 
sur les abbettours sanz bref origenal. 
Puriestatu Lcs estatuz dc gast sont fundiez sur errour, desicom 

gast est un p^TSonel trespas, e voet autre manere de 
proces sicom piert el chapitre des defautes. E a defendre 
person el trespas par brief nest forqe vein travail. 

Lestatut de.fause cause nient allouer en lessoine de mal 
de lit est defectif, car en nule essoigne ne nule part est 
fausse cause ne autre faussine allouable ne p?-ofitable ne 
deit estre a nul. 

Li estatut des dettes e damagez recoverez est defectif, 
car ne mie soulement ferroit ' eel remedie atteint en la court 
le Roi einz dust comprendre totes lais courz. 

Lestatut des morz saunz testament est defectif, car il 
dust comprendre felons e futifs aussi bien cum loials genz, 
e le Eoi e tuz autres en qi meins lur biens devenent aussi 
bien com ordenaires, cat nul ne poet forfere autri droit. 

Lestatut dallouer une manere dexcepcions en semblables 
accions ne fu mie mestier davoir este ordene, si no?? ])ur 
negligence des justices, car chescun affirmation est encon- 
trable de sa negative al peril del niant. 

' Corr. serroit. 


recovery is enforced by detention of the servants and not 
by process against their sureties and chattels. Another 
that the lords cannot, like the servants, be arrested. 
Another that the wickedness of the auditors remains un- 
punished. Another that there is outlawry, for none should 
be outlawed save for mortal sin. Another that the punish- 
ment is by imprisonment, for none should be imprisoned 
save for wrongful imprisonment. 

The statute about appeals is reprehensible in two c. 12 
particulars. One concerns the nature of the- punishment 
and the plurality of punishments, for the pecuniary punish- 
ment should be nothing else than an alleviation of the 
corporal punishment. The other is that which gives 
jurisdiction over abettors without an original writ. 

The statutes about waste are based on error, for waste c. u 
is a personal trespass and requires another kind of process, 
as appears in our chapter on defaults, and to issue a pro- 
hibitory writ against a personal trespass is labour lost. 

The statute about not allowing false causes for the c. 17 
essoin de malo lecti is defective, for in no essoin and on no 
occasion is a false cause or other falsehood allowable, but it 
should profit no man. 

The statute about the recovery of debts and damages ' c is 
. is defective, for this remedy should be attainable not only 
in the king's court, but all lay courts should be compre- 
■ hended. 

The statute about those who die intestate ^ is defective, c 19 
for it should comprise felons and fugitives as well as lawful 
folk, and the king and all others into whose hands their 
goods shall come, as well as the ordinaries, for none can 
forfeit the right of another.' 

The statute about allowing similar ' exceptions '■ in c. jo 
similar actions would have been needless but for the negli- 
gence of the justices, for every affirmative may be encoun- 
tered by its negative at the peril of him who denies. 

' The chapter which gives the * The king should be bound to 

elegit. Apply the forfeited chattels of dead 

'' The ordinary is to pay the in- felons in payment of their debts, 
testate's debts. 

c c2 


Lestatut de detcnue de service est novelerie damaious 
as seignurs dcs fieus, sicom piert el chapitre des defautes. 

Lestatut de brefs noveax fere nust mie este mestier 
daver este fet, si la pn'mere ordenaunce des briefs fut 

Lestatut de remedie aver pa?- assise de novele disseisine 
est repernable en taunt qe il ne comprent nient fieus chargez 
de villeins custumes ne fieus tenuz a terme des anz. Le 
point nestovereit aver defendu fauses excepciona si les poinz 
se tenissent del charge des contours. E quant a la peine 
enp?-?sonement est lestatut rep«?*nable par resons avant- 
dites, e aussi quant a la peine des doubles damages, car 
dreit ne donne a nul plus qe sa demande. E par ceo piert 
qe lestatut de faus apeals est plus errour qe dreit en lordene- 
ment dagarder amendez as defendaunz par la ou il ne sunt 
mie pleintifs. E quant del boef al oeps des viscountes en 
deseisines nest mie estatut einz est voluntie e tort. 

E ceo qest usie a grantir damages en partie ou el tut as 
justices ou a clers corelaires ' as justices ou a ministres ou 
a autres serroit bon defendu cuw usage damaious al poeple. 
• E sicom les peines sunt repe^'nables en noveles deseisines 
aussi sunt eles en les estatuz de redeseisines. Corporeles 
peines neqedent tienent lu en tiex persones ^ trespas, mes 
en redeseisines plus qe en seisines.^ 

Lestatut defendaunt qe briefs doir e terminer ne soient 
mie lege?-ement grantie nest fondie sur nul dreit cum celi 
qest repugriaunt a cest mot de la chartre, nous ne veeroms 

contraries (1642). * Con. personels. ^ Con. deseisines. 


The statute about detention of services ' is a novelty c. 21 
injurious to the lords of fees, as appears in our chapter on 

The statute about making new writs need never have "• " 
been made had the original ordinance about writs been 

The statute giving a remedy by assize of novel disseisin c. 25 
is reprehensible, in so far as it does not comprise fees 
charged with villain customs or fees held for terms of years.^ 
And it need not have forbidden false ' exceptions ' if the 
articles concerning the duties of pleaders had been observed. 
And as to punishment by imprisonment the statute is 
reprehensible for reasons given above. And so as to the 
penalty of double damages, for law will give to none more 
than his demand. And therefore it is that the statute c. 13 
about false appeals seems rather error than law, for it 
awards damages to defendants, whereas defendants are not 
plaintiffs. And as to the ox for the use of the sheriff in dis- 
seisins, this is no statute, but lawless will and pleasure."* 

And as to the practice of granting the damages in whole 
or in part to the justices or to the clerks related to* the 
justices, or to the officers or others, it were well to forbid this 
as injurious to the people. 

And as the punishments for disseisins are open to objec- c. a 
tion, so are those ordained by the statutes of redisseisin ; 
still, corporal punishments are permissible for such per- 
sonal trespasses, but rather for redisseisins than for 

The statute forbidding that writs of oyer et terminer be c 2» 
lightly granted is founded upon no right, but is repugnant 
to the words of the charter, ' We will not deny or delay 

' The chapter gives the Cessavit * This passage refers to the ox 

per biennitim. which the sheriff claimed from a 

^ Aimed at the celebrated clause convicted disseisor. SeeBracton, f. 

about writs in consimili casu. Our 187, and this chapter of the statute, 

author supposes some original ordi- ^ Translation doubtful. Appa- 

nance declaring that there shall bo rcntly a successful plaintiff was in 

a writ for every wrong. some cases expected to allow the 

' Once more the doctrine that justices or officers of the court to 

villain holders and termors should receive some part of the damages, 

have the assize. See Stat. 17 Car. II. c. G. 


pe delaerons dreit a nul, einz nient • de temporeles justices 
(|il le fir§nt pur lur avantage cum ceux qi desirent tuz plez 
enbracier e heent ^ qe plus des justices seient, si pa?* eux lie 
seient a eel avancement procurez. 

Lestatut des capcions des assises a iij. foiz par an est 
rep^rnable qiiant a leiliornement des parties liors de counties 
requig ^ par devant les justices del banc qi nule jurisdiccion 
punt de sur ces plez sicom les commissions sont donees as 
justices assignes. E quant as jurees e enquestes prendre 
en lur conties nest lestatut nient tenu a deshonour des 
auctors e en damage del poeple. 

Lestatut qe defent q^ justices ne facent jurours dire 

forqe lur avis est defectif sicom piert el chapitre de jurours. 

Lestatut des excepcions allouables reboties par justices 

nest fun die sur nul dreit, sicom piert el jugement de fausses 

justices, einz est truffe qi^nt il nest pule pa?-t tenu. 

Lestatut de rap est repernable, car nul ne poet ordener 
par estatut qe venial pecche soit torne en mortiel sanz 
lassent lapostoille ou lemperour, 

Lestatut qe li Eoi eit sute en rap ou en allopement des 
fem^nes maries est repernable, car pul nest tenu a respondre 
a la siute le Eoi si non par apel ou par enditement. E ceo 
qe est contenu de fem??ies perdre doeire pur le pecche 
devoutire dust aussi comprendre ceus avoutres qe cleiment 
a tenir les heritages lur femmes par la lei d'Engleterre, si 
qe nule accepcion ne soit en persones. Lenprisonment des 
allopours de noneyns e la rapceon ovek nest mie lei, einz 
est errour en douliite manere sicom avant est dit en 
plusours lus. 

' Corr. heent les temporeles justices (?) This passage is very obscure. 
It seems to accuse the permanent justices of procuring a clause profitable 
to themselves. 

* nient (1642). ' Covr. jeques. 


riglit to any,' [and those who made the statute hate the 
temporary justices since they desire to embrace all pleas for 
their own profit and hate that there should be any more 
justices, unless it be such as are advanced to the bench by 
their procurement.] 

The statute as to taking assizes three times a year is <-•. so 
reprehensible, so far as concerns the adjournment of the 
parties out of their counties before the justices of the Bench, 
for those justices have no jurisdiction over such pleas, for 
the commissions are given to the justices assigned.' And 
as to the taking of juries and inquests within their proper 
counties, this statute is disregarded, to the dishonour of 
its authors and the damage of the people. 

The statute which forbids the justices to compel jurors c so 
to give verdicts without mentioning 'the best of their 
belief ' is defective, as appears in our chapter on jurors.^ 

The statute about the rejection by justices of allowable c. si 
* exceptions ' is not founded on law, as appears from the 
judgment of false jurors ; on the contrary, it is humbug, 
for it is nowhere observed. 

The statute about rape is reprehensible, for no one can c. 34 
by statute ordain that a venial shall be converted into a 
mortal sin without the assent of the Pope or the Emperor. 

The statute giving the king a suit for rape and for c 34 
elopement of married women is reprehensible, for no one is 
bound to answer to the suit of the king save upon appeal 
or indictment. And what is said about women losing their c. ss 
dowers by the sin of adultery should mclude adulterous 
husbands who claim to hold the inheritances of their wives 
by the law [curtesy] of England, that so there may be no 
acceptance of persons. The imprisonment, coupled with 
ransom, for the elopers of nuns is not law, but is error and 
twofold error, as has been already shown in many places. 

' In a writ of novel disseisin or ^ See above, p. 173. Jurors are 

mori d'ancestor there is no mention sworn to tell the truth, not to give 

of any justices save the justices of their opinions. The statute errs in 

assize ; therefore, it is argued, the allowing the justices to be content 

justices of the Bench have nothing with something short of an express 

to do with these assizes. answer to the question at issue. 


LempWsonement de ij. ans ou de plus ordene pur peine 
eorporele as ravissours de mariages nest forqe errour, car 
nule eorporele peyne ne dust estre ordene si non pur comun 
prou, sicom avant piert de penaunces overtes. E ceo qest 
ordene de proclamacions en pe?-soneles accions nest forqe 
abusion de dreit, sicom est dit en lestatut de moiens. 

Lestatut qe agard ranceon est rep<?rnable, car ranceon 
nest autre chose qe redempcion de peine eorporele. 

Lestatut des destresces fetes par baillifs desconuz est 
destinctable, car en destresces torcenouses sanz garant 
tendreit lu lo jugeraent de robberie e pa?* garaunt est 
chescun recevable conu e desconu. 

Lestatut des jurours est repe?'nable, car dreit voet qe les 
actours eient eide de la court a fere venir les testmoins 
duwt il se puissent plus loialment eider saunz destinteison 
des persones. E ceo qe juresdiccion est gmntie as justices 
assignez doir e te/-miner pleintes sanz especiale com/nission 
nest forqe abusion, 

Lestatut qe agard qe brief de jugement se face sanz 
garant de brief original nest autre chose qe congie a fausser 
le seal le Eoi. 

La peine des viscountes malement responaunt est 
repcrnable quant a la peine, car desheritours le Eoi pecchent 
el crim de magestie e sont par consequent punissables par 
la mort, qe ne deit mie estre en tieux cas. E quant as issues 
est lestatut repernable, car nuls issues sunt agardables 
forqe ap?'es defautes en accions mixtes, e ne mie al oes le 
Eoi, einz pur le prou des pleintifs. 

Les defenses fetes es estatuz suanz des clers, criours e 
autre ministre de la court ne sunt forqe truffe pur ceo qe 
eles ne sont point tenues, 

Lestatut qe conoissaunces e enroullemenz qe se funt 


The imprisonment for two years or more ordained as "■ " 
punishment for the ravishers of marriages is naught but 
error, for no corporal punishment should be ordained save 
for the good of the public, as appears where we spoke of 
open penances. And what is ordained about proclamations 
in personal actions is mere abuse of law, as is said in our 
remarks on the statute of mesnes. 

The statute awarding ransom is reprehensible, for "• ^ 
ransom is but a redemption of a corporal punishment. 

The statute about distresses made by unknown bailiffs c. 87 
is distinguishable, for in the case of tortious distresses 
made without warrant the judgment should be as for 
robbery, but if there be warrant then anyone can be 
received [to avow the distress], be he known or unknown. 

The statute about jurors ' is reprehensible, for the law <=• ^ 
wills that the plaintiffs shall have aid of the court to cause 
to appear those witnesses by whom they can aid themselves 
most lawfully without distinction of persons. As to the grant 
of jurisdiction to justices assigned to hear and determine 
plaints without special commission, this is a mere abuse. 

The statute which awards the making of a judicial c- 38 
writ without the warrant of an original writ is no better 
than a licence to falsify the king's seal. 

The punishment for sheriffs who answer badly is repre- o. 3» 
hensible as regards the punishment named in it, for the 
disheritors of the king ^ sin by the crime of U'se majcste and 
are punishable by death, and this should not be so in these 
cases. And as to the issues the statute is reprehensible, 
for no issues are awardable except after defaults in mixed 
actions, and then they do not go to the king's use, but to 
the profit of the plaintiffs. 

The prohibitions contained in the following statutes c. 44 
about clerks, criers, and other ministers are just humbug, 
for they are not regarded. 

The statute that confessions and enrolments made in c. 4« 

' Relieving the poorer freeholders Bheriffs who make false returns are 
from jury service. to be punished as disheritors of the 

' The statute declares that king. 


en la chatincellerie a leschecqer e par devant justices soient 
cruz e tenuz eatables est auctorite de grant mal, car par 
faus enroullemenz porreit chescun a ceo auctorite destrure 
queux qil voosist, qe serreit grant inconvenient. Dautrepart 
accrestreit par cest estatut auctorite al chanceller e a autres 
a fauser le seal le Eoi par briefs de jugement fere sanz 
garaunt de briefs origenaux. E pur ceo notez qe nul ne 
poet forp77s le Koi receivre attornez en la court le Koi ne 
reconoissances sanz garant des briefs origenal e sanz dreit 
proces dentre parties. 

Lestatut des enprovemenz des gastz e des comuns pas- 
tures est repcrnable e distinctable solom ceo qe avan't est dit. 

Lestatut de veuUe de terre avoir nest forqe torcenous 
delai del droit auctours, car assez suffist la veuue par la 
certificacion des somenours qi deivent saver del quel tene- 
ment les tenanz sunt somenables. 

Lestatut qe defent qe nul ministre de la court ne preigne 
prcsentement deglise ne autre chose qe soit en pie ou 
en debat nest nient tenu. 

[Ch. V. (B).'] Sur lestatut de Gloucestre. 

Les estatuz des damages recovc/er en plez de possession 
purvueus a Gloucestre e aillurs e des treble damages en 
gastz sont repernables, car droit ne donne a nul plus qe sa 
demande, e pur ceo cowvendreit qe mencion de damages se 
feit es briefs, si damages 8e?Teint agardables, car juge ne 
poet nient passer les poinz de son garant, e issi* serreit 
mestier duser solom la p?'tmere ordenaunce des briefs. 

Lestatut de tenemenz alienez en fieu en prejudice dautri 
dreit est repernable, car li remedie dust estre tiel Gwn est de 
gardeins alienors a la desheriteson des dreiz heirs. 


the chancery or the exchequer or before justices are to be 
credited and taken as established is a source of great evil, 
for by means of a false enrolment anyone, can destroy 
by this authority whom he pleases, and this would be a 
great absurdity. And, again, by this statute there accrues 
to the chancellor and others power to falsify the king's seal, 
by issuing judicial writs without the warrant of original 
writs. And note here that no one, save the king, can re- 
ceive an attorney in the king's court, or a recognisance 
without the warrant of an original writ and without due 
process between litigants. 

The statute about approvement of wastes and common 
pastures is reprehensible and distinguishable, as has been 
said above. 

The statute as to having a view of the land is just a 
wrongful delay for rightful plaintiffs, for the certificate of 
the summoners will satisfy the requirement of a view, for 
they ought to know in respect of what tenement the tenants 
are to be summoned. 

The statute which forbids any officer of the court to 
accept the presentment to a church, or anything else that 
is the subject of plea or debate, is disregarded. 

[Ch.V.(B).] Of the Statute of GUmcestcr. 

The statutes provided at Gloucester and elsewhere about si«t «»ouo. 
the recovery of damages in possessory actions and about 
the treble damages for waste are reprehensible, for law 
gives to none more than he demands ; and therefore there 
ought to be mention of damages in the writs, if damages 
are to be awarded ; for a judge cannot exceed the terms of 
his warrant ; therefore the practice should be that which 
was required by the original ordinance of writs. 

The statute about tenements alienated in fee to the pre- c 
judice of another's right is reprehensible, for the remedy 
should be the same as that which there is when a guardian 
alienates to the disherison of the right heir. 


Lestatut de trespas pleder en contiez est rep^rnable par 
defaute de distinteison, car menuz trespas, dettes, covenaunz 
enfreinz e tieux autres injuries nient passanz xl. soudz unt 
Butiers poer a oir e terminer saunz href par garant de 
juresdiccion ordenaire e par brefs plus grauntz, ear vis- 
countes unt plus aperte juresdiccion en lur briefs viscountals 
qe justices de banc par les pones. E notez brief ment qe 
qiianqe est toleit des plez as viscountes e as seignurs de 
fieus est ordene al avantage des justices al damage des vis- 
contes qe unt les conties afferme e al damage del poeple. E 
quant al recoverer de xx. s. ou plus dendreit lessoine del 
service le Roi nient garanti est lestatut repe?nable, car cele 
essoigne porra estre gete ou li defendaunt vodra fere de- 
faute par la pa^-tie adverse e issi averoit il avantage de sa 

Lestatut qe defent legier abatement de apeals nest mie 

Lestatut qe agard homwe innocent a demorer en prison 
ou daver nule manere de peine pur homicide necessaire ou 
par mescheaunce ou nul pecchie nest trovie nest forqe 

Les estatuz fesanz mencion de Londres e des Londreis 
se dussent estendre comwjonement parmi le reaume. 

[Ch. VI. De Circumspecte agatis.] • 

Le primer point qe dist qe la reale prohibicion ne tiegne 
lu en correcions des pechies mortels en cas ou peine pec- 
cuniele est enjoingnable par ordenaires, est fondie sur 
aperte errour ki sage^ enjoindra peccuniele peine pur 

' No new heading in MS. For this so-called statute, see Statutes of 
the Realm, vol. i. p. 101. 
* e usage (1642). 


The statute about pleas of trespass in the county courts °- ^ 
is reprehensible as ignoring a distinction ; for petty tres- 
passes, debts, breaches of covenant, and such other injuries 
as do not exceed the sum of forty shillings, the suitors may 
hear and determine without writ by the warrant of their 
ordinary jurisdiction, and greater matters they may enter- 
tain by writ, for sheriffs under their vicontiel writs have a 
more patent jurisdiction than have the justices of the bench 
under writs of Pone. And observe in short that whatever 
pleas are taken away from the sheriffs and the lords of the 
fees are given over to the profit of the justices to the damage 
of the sheriffs, who hold their counties at farm, and to the 
damage of the people. And as to the recovery of twenty 
shillings or upwards in respect of an essoin de servitio 
regis which has not been warranted, the statute is repre- 
hensible, for this essoin may be cast by the adverse party 
where the defendant wishes to make a default, and so [the 
plaintiff] will profit by his own malice.' 

The statute against the abatement of appeals for slight c. 9 
cause is not obeyed. 

The statute which awards an innocent man to remain c » 
in prison or to suffer any kind of punishment for homicide 
by necessity or mischance where no sin is found, is nought 
but an abuse. 

The statutes which mention London and the Londoners "c- 12-15 
ought to be extended generally to the whole realm. 

[Ch. VI. Of Circumspecte agatis.l 

The first article, which says that the royal prohibition 
is not applicable to cases of the correction of mortal sins 
where the ordinaries enjoin a pecuniary punishment, is 
founded upon obvious error and a practice of enjoining 
pecuniary punishment for a mortal sin, which practice is 

' The plaintiff will cast a false essoin in the defendant's name in-order 
to claim the statutory penalty. 


pecchie mortel ne place a teu, einz sentremettent a descrestre 
la juresdiccion le Eoi com foi mentuz qe lavuouent. 

Les autres poinz a chacer parochiens par cohercion de 
clore cimitiers, doffrir, de doner mortuaires, deners pur 
confessions, pur pain benoit, pur eglises coverer, chaliz, 
luminaire, seinz vestemenz ou autre aornement deglise sunt 
plus fondes sur covetise qe sur amendement dalmes, desicom 
les persones de eglises en font a reprendre e ne mie les 
parosiens e en sunt chargees -par le tierz de lur dimes. Des 
dimes notez qe puis ceo qe eles sont offertes a dieu sont eles 
si espiritueles qe eles ne sunt dispendables forqe en amones 
e espiritalment, car mes ne sorit convertibles en lais us, e 
dunt si ascun parossien pur mal de la persone de leglise 
retient dimes, ou les emble ou ne les rent nient duement ou 
nient pleinement, pur ceo nest il mie punissable par peine 
peccuniele einz est par corporele. Pur lescomenge ne ' nul 
peccunniele ni fet a demander pur restitucion ou satisfaccion 
nient plus qe de pain ou de jeu ; e si demande peccuniel 
icourge la prohibicion itendra lu, e de mout plus fort en 
demandes de pensions, .ou de damages de trespas, ou de 
defamacion, mes es plez de correccions, ou len ne plede forqe 
sur amendement soulement dalme par issue de peine cor- 
porele, ne tient mie lu la roiale prohibicion. 

[Ch. VII, 1 Pur estahit des marchauns. 

Le novel estatiit de dettes est contraire a droit, sicom 
piert el cbapitre des contractz ; car chescun enpr/sonment 
de cors de homme est pecche si non pur torcenous jugement.^ 

' Ne with a capital. " ^ Corr. emprisonment (?). 


out of place,' and they who avow it meddle so as to decrease 
the king's jurisdiction and helie their faith to the king. 

The other articles, which would compel parishioners to 
enclose churchyards, to make oblations, to give mortuaries, 
to pay money for confessions, for the blessed bread, for the 
roofing of churches, for chalices, lights, holy vestments, or 
other ornaments of the churches, are founded rather on 
covetousness than on the amendment of souls, since the 
parsons of the churches are to be reprehended in this 
respect and not the parishioners, and are to be charged for 
these things to the extent of one-third of their tithes. As 
to tithes, note that so soon as they are offered to God they 
are things spiritual so that they may not be expended save 
in alms and for spiritual purposes and are not to be con- 
verted to lay uses ; and therefore if any parishioner, to the 
wrong of the parson of the church, retains tithes, or sub- 
tracts them, or will not render them duiy and fully, he is 
to be punished for this not by a pecuniary but by corporal 
punishment. From the excommunicated no money is to be 
demanded for their restitution to communion, no more than 
from a pagan or a Jew ; and if money be demanded, then 
the prohibition is in place ; and a mnlto fortiori is it in 
place if there be a demand for a pension, or for damages 
for trespass or defamation, but in pleas for correction, 
where the plea only makes for the amendment of the soul 
by means of corporal punishment, there the king's prohi- 
bition has no place.'^ 

[Ch.VII.'] Of the Statute of Merchants. 

The new statute about debts is contrary to law, as ap- 
pears in our chapter on contracts,' for every imprisonment 
of a man's body, unless it be for a wrongful [imprison- 

' Translation doubtful. The text expense of divine service on the 

is corrupt. ptiraon to the alleviation of the 

* If this chapter be the work of parishioners, 

an ecclesiastic or a canonist, he has * See above, p. 74. The new 

shown a singular disregard for the statute is the Statute Merchant, 13 

worldly interests of hia profession ; Edw. I. See above, p. xxiv. 
in particular, when he throws all the 


E dreit ne soeffre nul obligacion ne nul contract vicious par 
mesUure de pecchie. E pur ceo fet anienter quanqe sur 
pecchie est fundie, car a eel contract qe nul ne face pecchie 
de li memes ou a son proeine ne deit nul prodhome ne nul 
dreit assentir. Dautrepart si est il contraire a la grande 
chartre qe dist qe nul ne soit pris nenpj-jsone si non par 
loial jugement de ses piers ou par lei de terre. E coment 
est tenable peine denpWsonement quant ele ne se tient ' en 
argent ? 

lei finist le mireour des Justices des droites leis ^ de 
pgrsones solom les aunciens usages dengleterre. 

' Corr. scstint (?) ' A full stop. 


ment], is a sin ; and the law will suffer no obligation or 
contract that is vicious by reason of an intermixture of sin. 
And therefore the statute should be annulled as being 
founded on sin, for to a contract which obliges a man to sin 
against himself or his neighbour no good man and no 
law can assent. Further, it is contrary to the Great Charter 
which says, ' Nullus imprisonetur nisi per legale judicium 
parium suorum vel per legem terrae ; ' and how can the 
punishment of imprisonment [for debt] hold good when it 
does not issue in money ? ' 

Here endeth the Mirror of Justices concerning the right 
Law of Persons according to the ancient usages of England. 

* Translation doubtful. The text requires amendment. 

1) b 


Abjuration, law as to, 34 

and see Abuses 
Abuses,' as to, 155-175 

Abjuration, [23, 24] 

Account, [86, 87, 88, 123, 1241 

Advowson, [82] 

Alienation, [50, 151] 

Aliens, [6, 69] 

Amercement, [31, 32, 33, 34, 148] 

Appeals, [45. 47, 48, 61, 66, 67] 

Approver, [17, 18, 20, 21] 

Attaint, [77] 

Attorney, [102, 103, 104, 138] 

Aiidita qttercla, [140] 

Banishment, [144] 

Battle, trial by, [19, 126, 128, 129] 

Champion, [152] 

Clerks, [109, 110] 

Contracts, [74, 81, 133] 

De odio et atia, [59, 60] 

Disseisins, use of force in, [4] 

Distress, [70, 80, 143, 146, 150] 

Englishry, [25] 

Essoin, [99, 100, 101] 

Exception, [105] 

Exchequer, [26, 27, 28, 29] 

Fealty, oath of, [6] 

Fealty, in case of women and 
clerks, [7] 

Felony, [44] 

Fugitives, goods of, [15] 

Gaol. [52, 5.1. 54] 

Gaol delivery, [55, 58] 

Abuses, as to —continued 
Homage, [137] 
Homicide, [14, 108] 
Indictment, [114, 115] 
Infamy, [155] 
Infants, [112] 
Judges, [64, 65, 139] 
Jurisdiction, [30, 36, 37, 116, 141] 
Juror, [35, 134, 135, 136] 
King, [153] 
King, officer of, [38] 
Larceny, [106] 

Law, in that it is unwritten, [3] 
Lease, [83, 8i] 
Mainpernors, [147] 
Mainprise, [63] 
Money, [10, 11, 12] 
Naam, [78, 79] 
Ne vexes, [125] 
Novel disseisin, [76] 
Ordeal, [127] 

Outlawry, [16, 85, 119, 120] 
Parliament, holding of, [2] 
Petty cape, [145] 
Plaint, [71] 
Pleader, [39, 41, 42] 
Pleading, [112 a, 113] 
Pleas, [111] 
Pone, [142] 
Pound-weight, [11] 
Prison breach, [8] 
Punishment, [154] 
Rape, [117, 118] 

' The numbers withn brackets under this word refer to the number of 
the Abuse, not the number of the page. 

o o 2 



Abuses, as to— continued 

Eight, delay of, in King's court, 

Sanctuary, [22] 

Seisin, [73, 74 a, 75] 

Serf, [89, 90, 91, 92] 

Suitors, [44] 

Summons, [43, 94, 95, 9G, 97, 98] 

Treason, appeals of, [13] 

Usurers, [132] 

Villainage, [72, 93] 

Wardship, [49, 51] 

Warranty, [106, 130, 131] 

Writ, [9, 62, 68] 
Accessories, species of, 31 

procedure against, in mortal ac- 
tions, 63 

procedure against, in venial ac- 
tions, 63 
Accords, 118-119 
Account, exception in action of, 107, 

Achievment to superior lord, 130 
Actions, definition and classification 
of, 43 

how commenced, 45, 48 

order of proof in, 55 

when infamous, 134 
Advowson, within the assize of novel 
disseisin, 68 

no dower of, 75 

partition of, 75 

restriction on alienation of, 75, 76 
Adultery, definition of, 29 
Aeromancy, 16 

Aids, when payable by tenant, 13 
Alfred, King, 8 

old rolls of time of, 54 
Alien, appeal by, 36 

residence of, 14 
Alienation, none of lands to foreign- 
ers, 13 

power of, as to fee, 12 
Alliance, how created, 21 
Almayne (Germany), 6 

usage as to those indicted in, 46 
Amercements, certain and. uncertain, 

for escape, 150, 151 

how taxed, 151 

Amercements under Magna Carta, 

And see Abuses 
Apostacy, 15 
Appeals, 50, 51, 53 

And see Abuses 
Approvers, exception against, 99 

And see Abuses 
Arson, 22 

appeal of, 55 

appeal of, answer in case of, 101 

appeal of, forms of, 55, 56 

duties of coroners at arsons, 32 

how punished, 135 
Arthur, King, 3 
Aruspex, 16 
Assize, meaning of the tei'm, 65 

division into gi'and and petty, 65 

mesne process in petty, 126 

of bread and beer, 40 
Astrier, meaning of term, 77 

can be sold but not devised, 77 
Attachment, 48 
Attaint, effects of, 140, 141 

order of, 116 

procedure in, 115 
Attainted persons, cannot be judges, 

Attorney, cannot be a judge, 44 

disseisin by, 68 

exception to person of, 96 

in what actions not allowed, 88 

none for defendant in personal 
action, 88 

power of, 88 

suit of court by, 38 

when not receivable, 87 

who can be, 88 
Augustine, Saint, 16 

Bail, who deliverable on, 52, 53 

Bailiff, court of King's, 37 
liability of, to lord, 76 
writ of account lies against, 76 
writ of account, mesne proces 
on, 76 

Bailment, 76 

Bastard, 50 

Battle, trial by, 109-111 
form of oath in, 111, 112 



Battle, order of, 112 
Beau Pleder, 26 

Bigamy, certificate of ordinary, as to, 

how committed, 93 

trial in lay court, 93 
Bracton, 11, 25, 31, 35, 133 

the author's obligations to, xxxiv, 


Bradshaw, quotes the Mirror, ix 
Britannia Major, G 
Britons, overthrow of, 6 
Britton, xxxvi 

Canaan, 77 

Canon Law, references to, 5, IC, 23, 

Carriage, 26 

Challenge, manner of, against jurors, 

trial of, 117 
Champion, 130-132 

challenge of, 131 
Cheminage, 26 

Christian faith those not of, cannot 
be essoiners, 83 

those not of, cannot be judges, 44 

those not of, may not contract, 73 
Clergy, benefit of, defeated by repli- 
cation of bigamy and other re- 
plications, 92 

exception of, 92 

exception of, when allowed, 92 

form of replication of bigamy, 92 

not to prevent procedure against 
accessories, 92 

procedure against clerk if war- 
ranted, 92 
Clerk, above sub - deacon cannot 
plead, 47 

beneficed, cannot plead, 47 

procedure against criminous, 92 
Coin, King's prerogative as to, 8 

to be of silver, 11 
Coke, ix 

Common Law, meaning of, 5 
Consanguinity, definition of, 21 
Consideration, failure of, 74 
Consistory, held by God, 44 
Conspirator, 40 

Constitution, 8 
Contract, definition of, 73 

species of, 73 

who may make, 73 

unlawful, 74 

void, 74 

creating serfage, 80 

And see Abuses 

Coroner, duties of, 10, 29 

at the view of a corpse, 29, 30 

institution of, 9 

liability of, 10 

presentments by, 10 

species of, 29 
Count, exceptions based on, 97, 99 
County Court, an inferior court, 37 

judges in, 37 

meeting of, 9 

action of naifty in, 79 
Courtesy, 14 
Criminal, disabilities of, 45, 47, 73 

Damage fesant, 70 
Damages in larceny and robbery, 150 
Darcin presentment, assize of, 65 
David, 77 

Dc odio ct atia, 53, 161 
Debt, satisfaction of, 148 
Defaults, after summons, process in, 

efifect of outlawry for, 125 

how punished, 125 

how punished in mixed actions, 

how punished in real actions, 127 

how punished in venial actions, 

no distraint by body if freeman 
has lands, 126, 127 

in render of services, 129 
Deodand, species of, 31 

what can be, 31 
Descent of estates of inheritance, 

Devise to executors, 74 
Disparagement, a sin forbidden, 74 
Disseisin, 66 

by attorneys, 68 

by force and arms, 149 

by justices, 68 



Disseisin, of reversioner by tenant 
in tail, OcJ 

process in action, as to jurors, 148 

process in action, based on, 104, 

process in action, damages, 149 
Distress, none of movables, 13 

taking unlawful, larceny, 26 
And see Abuses 
Disturbance, definition of, 67 
Divination, sjDecies of, 16 
Dower, creation of, 12 

forfeiture of, by widows, 12 

none of advowson, 75 
Durham, omission of, 7 

Edward I., 28, 151, 152 
- statute as to rape, 141 

limitation of punishment for lar- 
ceny, 141 
Edward II., 141 
Edward the Confessor, his inquest 

as to villain service, 81 
Ejectment, definition of, 67 
Emperor, 123, 195 
England, naming of, 6 
English, coming of the, 6 
Englishry, presentment of, 35 

And see Abuses 
Escape, amercement for, 52, 150, 151 

from private prison, 52 
Escheat of lands of usurers, 13 
Essoiners, exception to person of, 96 
Essoins, 13, 41, 82-84 
Exception, definition and species, 91 

form of, 93, 94 

against approvers, 99 

based on defect in commission or 
writ, 94 

based on defect in summons, 97 

bafced on imprisonment, 96 

based on infancy, 96 

based on place, 96 

based on time, 95 

exception to the person of the 
judge, 95 

to the power of the judge, 91, 92 

to the person of the plaintiff, 96 

in action concerning treasure 
trove, 114 

Exception, in action of account, 107, 

in action as to purprestures, 114 

in action of naifty, 108 

in action of personal trespass, 113 

in action of usury, 114 

in action for wreck, 114 

in appeal of arson, 101 

in appeal of hamsoken, 102 

in appeal of homicide, 101 

in appeal of imprisonment, 103 

in appeal of lai'ceny, 102 

in appeal of larceny founded on 
distress, 102 

in appeal of larceny founded on 
franchise, 102 

in appeal of mayhem, 103 

in appeal of rape, 103 

in appeal of treason, 100 

to writ against disseisor, 105-107 
Exchequer, barons of, 11, 36 

constitution of court of, 36 

duties of court of, 36 

larceny, how committed by officials 
of, 26 

And see Abuses 
Excommunicates, cannot be essoi- 
ners, 83 

cannot be judges, 44 

cannot bring action, 45 

cannot contract, 73 

may not be pleaders, 47 
Executors, devise to, 74 
Exigent against appellees, 51 

process of, 51 
Exile, cannot bring action, 45 
Eyre, justices commissary in, 46 

of king, 46 

powers of justices therein, 66 

the articles of, 146 

the office of justices in, 145, 152 

Fairs, tolls at, 14 

False imprisonment, appeal of, 58 

Falsification, appeal of, 54 

power of judge ex officio in appeal 
of, 54 

procedure in appeal of, 54 

form of indictment for, 60 

species of, 20 



Fealty, annexed to homage, 117, 118 
confederation by oath of, 101 
oath of, 41, 117 
those exempt from taking, 41 
And see Abuses 
Fee farm, no contract for perpetual, 

Fee simple, alienation by tenant in, 69 
Fee tail, alienation by tenant in, 68, 

Fee tenant, court of lord, 11 
Felons, cannot contract, 73 

chattels of, 8 
Felony, appeals of, instituted, 11 
appeals of, 45 
appeals of notorious, 48 
appeals of not notorious, 49 
married woman may answer with- 
out husband, 91 
outlawry for, 11 
pleading in case of, 99 
pledges for pursuit of appeal of, 49 
Fetters, weight of, 52 
Filstales, 27 
Foreigners, not summonable, but 

naamable, 70 
Forfeiture, by non-performance of 
service, 12 
none by wrongdoing of heir appa- 
rent, 12 
Fornication, definition of, 29 
France, law of, as to prison breach, 

Franchise, forfeiture of, 147, 148 
king can revoke, 147 
no prescription for, against king, 
Frank marriage, gift in, 69 
Frankpledge, view of, articles at, 39 
essoins at, 41 

hundredors' duty as to, 39 
institution of, 9 
manner of taking, 39 
perjury of jurors at, 41 
those exempt from, 39 
Fugitives, 33 
chattels of, 8 
lawful to slay, 33 
slaying of, 189 
And see Abuses 

Gaol, institution of, reason for, 62 

what is a, 52 
And see Abuses 
Gentile, 77 
Geomancy, 16 
Gift, must be in perpetuity, 75 

void if owner be not seised, 75 
Glanvill, Randulf de, opinion as to 
deodands, 31 

ordains assize of novel disseisin, 

ordinance as to tortious distress, 72 

ordinance as to order of proof, 141 
Goliath, 77 

Green wax, seals of, in Exchequer, 37 
Guerdon, king's, 46 

necessity of, 46 

Hagiographers, 2 
Ham, son of Noah, 77 
Hamsoken, appeal of, exception in, 
appeal of, form of, 58 
definition of, 28 
species of, 28 
Henry I., ordinance of, as to appeals 
of homicide, 136 
ordinance of, as to defendants in 

venial personal actions, 64 
ordinance of, as to indictments, 59 
ordinance of, as to courtesy, 14 
ordinance of, as to guerdons in 

actions, 47 
ordinance of, as to mainpernors, 

ordinance of, as to plaintiffs, 14 
ordinance of, as to pleading in 

mortal actions, 141, 142 
ordinance of, as to property of 

felons, 140 
restrains appeals of homicide, 50 
Henry II., ordinance of, as to 

tournaments, 32 
Henry III., enactment as to sanc- 
tuary, 34 
ordinance oi, 52 
Heresy, forms of indictment for, 
59, 60 
proof of, 15 
species of, 15 



Heretic, may not be a pleader, 47 

Holy Writ, 2 

Homage, manner of doing, 117 

only due from a knight's fee, 75 

by serf, frees him, 78 
Homicide, definition, 22 

species and classification of, 22, 
23, 135-139 

appeal of, form of, 56, 57 

appeal of, by whom it can be 
brought, 50 

appeal of, defences to, 101, 102 

punishment for, 135 

And see Abuses 

Horn, Andrew, xii, xv, 1 

as a canonist, xvii, xviii 

his will, xiv 

was he in prison, xxii 

was he the author of the Mirror, 
1, li 
Houard, xi 
Hue and cry, 11 

inquiry as to, at view of frank- 
pledge, 39 
■ under Statute of Winchester, 48 
Hughes, translation of the Mirror 

by, xi 
Hundred, court of, its jurisdiction, 37 

division of kingdom into, 7 
Hundredors, duty of, 7 

to take view of frankpledge, 39 
Hunting, 115 
Hydromancy, 10 

Idiot, cannot be a judge, 44 

cannot be an essoiner, 83 

cannot bring action without guar- 
dian, 45 

cannot be guilty of homicide, 138 

cannot contract, 73 

ordinance by Eobert Walerand, 
Imprisonment, dilatory exception 
based upon, 96 

exception in appeal of, 103 

. homicide by, 23, 24 

private, when lawful, 24 

species of, 23 
Incest, definition of, 29 

Indenture, when necessary, 75 
Indictment, exception to, based on 
invalidity, 100 

none for laesa tnajestas against 
earthly king, 59 

procedure on, 59 
Infamous person, 133, 134 

disabilities of, 44, 82 
Infancy, dilatory exception based 

upon, 96 
Infant, cannot be a judge, 44 

cannot be an essoiner, 83 

cannot be a pleader, 47 

cannot be a summoner, 82 

cannot bring action without guar- 
dian, 45 

contract of matrimony between, 
formerly prohibited, 74 

homicide by, 139 

homicide of, 139 

suspension of appeal of, 50 

under seven cannot be guilty of 
homicide, 138 
Inquest, articles at coroner's, 30 
Israelites, 77 

Japhet, 77 

Johannes Andreae, his definition of 

consanguinity, 21 
John, King, 35 
Judge ex officio, power of, in appeal 

of falsification, 54 
Judges, species of, 44, 91, 92 

who may and who may not be, 44 

the hanging of the false, 166-170 
And see Abuses 
Judgment, based on jurisdiction, 121 

causes for arrest of, 141 

how to be pronounced, 121 

meanings of, 124, 125 

necessity that there should be 
three persons, 43 

points to be considered in per- 
sonal, 133 

species of, 125 
Jurisdiction, supreme in Pope and 
Emperor, 123 

sovereign, belongs to king, 8 

species of, 124 



Jurisdiction, delegate, created only 
by king's writ, 122 
And see Writ 
delegate, forms of commissions, 

ordinary, 121, 122 
ordinary, restraint of, 121 
And see Abuses 
Jurors, at inquests of coroners, 30-33 
pay of, 47 

pay of, at inquests of office, 47 
Justices, disseisin by, 68 

duties appertaining to chief, 124 
punishment of false delegate, 143 
punishment of false ordinary, 143, 

King, eyres of, 59, 145 
eyres of, inquiries at, 45 
eyres of, procedure at, 46 
death of, effect of, 103 
justiciable in Parliament, 7 
things belonging to, 8 
writs available against, 11 
time does not run against, 107, 
And see Abuses 
Knight's fee, 12 

Knut, ordinance as to mainpernors, 
ordinance as to murdrum, 35 

Lacsa Majestas, species of, 15 

no indictment for, 53 

punishment for, 135 
Larceny, definition of, 25 

species of, 25 

ways of committing, 25-28 

appeals of, forms of, 67 

appeals of, exceptions in, 102 

indictment for, form of, 60 

punishment of, 139, 141 

punishment of, double damages in 
venial action, 150 
And see Abuses 
Lay court, jurisdiction of, 50 
Lease, for more than forty years, 75 
Lepers, disabilities and exemptions, 

39, 44, 45, 47 
Leuthfred, stfttute of, 107, 152 

Lex talionis, 49, 142 
Liebermann, Dr., xv, xviii 
Limitation of actions, Thurmod's 

ordinance as to, 107 
Lucifer, the false judges compared 

to, 143 
Lunatic, disabilities, 44, 73 

homicide by, 138 

Mahomet, 16, 60 
Mainpernors, 83, 128 

ordinances as to, 136 
Marriage, of heirs and widows, 12, 13 
"^ Married woman, 45, 91 
Matrimony, the perfect contract, 80, 

between infants, 74 
Mayhem, definition of, 24 

appeal of, 58 
Menee, 30 

Merchant, foreign, 14 
Merchetum, 81 

Mirror of Justices, authorship of, 
XXV, xxvi 

author's motives, xxviii et seq. 

author's falsehood, xxvi 

date of, xxiv 

manuscripts of, xi, xv, xviii 
Money, not to be carried out of realm, 

falsification of, 20 
And see Abuses 
Mort d'ancestor, assize of, 65 
Moses, doctor of law, 5 
Muniment, simple, what is a, 75 

simple, differs from an indenture, 
Murage, 26 
Murdrum, 36 

Naam, species of, 70 

who can naam, 70 

time and place of seizure, 70, 71 

what things can be seized, 71 
Naif, definition of, 77 
Naifty, action of, 76, 77 

how commenced, 77, 79 

commencement of, bars recapture, 

exceptions io, 79, 108 



^e vexes, 81 

Novel disseisin, Assize of, instituted 
by Eandulf de Glanvill, 65 
meaning of term novel, 66 
scope of, 66, 67, 68 
not available for movables, 67 
available for advowson, 67 
can be had by tenant for years, 67 
can be had where tenant in tail 

alienates, 68 
lies against guardians and farmers, 
And see Abuses 
Nullum tempus occurrit regi, 107, 

Oath, form of common, 118 
Obligation, definition of, 73 

exception based on, 115 
Ordeal, 110 

Ordination, restriction of, 14, 78 
Outlaw, disabilities of, 45, 73 
Outlawry, none save for mortal 
felony, 11, 152 

grounds for setting aside, 104 

effect of, 125, 126 
And see Abuses 

Palgrave, Sir F., as to the Mirror, x 
Parliament, holding of, 3, 155 
Pateshull, Martin of, 147 
Pavage, 26 

Perjury, a species of laesa majestas, 
by king's officers, 17, 18, 19 
species of, by encroaching on 

king's jurisdiction, 17 
species of, by unwarrantably as- 
suming jurisdiction, 17 
species of, by taking abjurations 

without authority, 17 
species of, by tampering with roll 

of coroner, 17 
species of, by coroners, 17 
species of, by judges, 17 
species of, by remitting punish- 
ment without warrant, 17 
species of, by holding pleas with- 
out the king's warrant, 18 

Perjury, species of, by cursing or ex- 
communicating the king, 18 
species of, by default in military 

service, 18 
species of, by connivance at such 

default, 18 
species of, by wrongfully refusing 

writs, 18 
species of, by wrongful execution 

of judgment, 18 
species of, by falsely accounting 

to the king, 18 
species of, by falsely charging the 

king, 18 
species of, by escheators, 19 
species of, by sheriffs, 19 
punishment for, 144 
Pipowder, courts of, 9 
Plaintiffs, who are, 45 
who cannot be, 45 
approvers as, 45 
must find security, 47 
exceptions to person of, 96 
Pleaders, who are, and their duties, 
who cannot be, 47 
necessity for, 90 
oath of, 48 
salary of, 47, 48 
salary of, how estimated, 48 
suspension of, 48 
And see Abuses 
Pledges, 128 
Pone, writ of, 123, 124 
Pope, 5, 78, 123 

Presentation to churches, within 
assize of novel disseisin, 68 
purchase of, 68 
Prison, 52 
Prisoner, 33 
Proof, in appeal of falsification, 54 

order of, in action, 55 
Punishment, species of, 132, 133, 142 
Purprestures, 17, 39 

Quarantine, 34, 35 
Quitclaim, 75 

Rape, definition and species of, 28, 29 
punishment, 28, 141 



Rape, statute of Edward I. as to, 28, 

appeal of, 59, 103 
And see Abuses 
Record, proof by, 109 
Religion, men of, their disabilities, 

45, 47, 91 
Rent, reservation of, on lease, 75 
Replevin, 72 
Replication, 55, 91 
Rex fungitur vice minoiis, 60 
Richard, King, 132 
Robbery, hpw committed, 25 

appeals of, 57, 72 

punishment, 141 

punishment, fourfold damages in 
venial action, 150 

Sachsenspiegel, xxxi 
Sale, 74, 75 
Sanctuary, 34 

And see Abuses 
Saxons, 6 
Scutage, 13 
Seigniory, sovereign, belongs to king, 

Serfs, derivation of word, 77 

how men become, 77, 80 

disabilities of, 44, 45, 79, 82, 83, 

how they become free, 78 

distinction between serfs and vil- 
lains, 79 
Services and customs, Writ of, 129 
Sheriff, to summon county court, 9 

larceny by, 27 

perjury by, 19 

court of, where to be held, 87 
Sins, classification of, 15, 48, 49, 50, 

Socage fee, 12 
Sodomy, 15, 32, 53 
Soken, 8 
Sorcery, 15 
Statutes — 

Circumspecte agatis, 198 

of Gloucester, 197 

Magna Carta, 175 

Magna Carta, c. xx. (1315), 80, 

Statutes —continued 
of Marlborough, 183 
of Marlborough, c. x., 38 
of Merton, 182 
of Mortmain, 7 Edw. I., 181 
of Westminster I., 184 
of Westminster I., c. iii., 52 
of Westminster I., c. xi., 180 
of Westminster I., c. xviii., 151 
of Westminster II., 189 
of Westminster II., c. xviii., 152 
of Westminster II., c. xx., 66 
of Westminster II., c. xxxiv., 28 
of Winchester, 27 
of Winchester, c. i., 48 

Stuprum, definition of, 29 

Suit of court, 37 

Summoners, 47, 82 

Summons, 81, 82, 97 

Termor, has assize of novel dis- 
seisin, 67 
Theft, warranty in action of, 98 
Theftbote, 60 

Time, exceptions founded on, 95 
Torture, 52 

Toui-naraents, misadventures at, 32 
Treason, definition of, 21 

appeals of, 54, 55, 100, 101 

no indictment for, 53, 60 
Treasure-trove belongs to king, 8 

inquiry as to, 32, 39 

exception in action as to, 114 
Trespass, exception in action of, 

Turn, institution of, 9 

holding of, by sheriff, 38 

Statute of Marlborough as to at- 
tendance at, 38 

Usury, larceny by, 27 
avoids a contract, 74 
exception to action of, 114 
by Christian usurer, 39 

Utrum, assize, 65 

Fm eU naatn, species of, 71 
personal trespass, 72 
procedure in respect of, 72 



Vee dc naam, when appeal of robbery 
lies, 72 
when writ of replevin, 72 
when assize of novel disseisin, 72 
what falls under plaint of, 72, 73 
forms of count in plaint for, 73 
Villain, 79, 80, 81 

Villainage, tenement in, recoverable 
by assize of novel disseisin, 68 
And see Abuses and Serfs 

Waif, 39 

Walerand, Eobert, 138 

Wapentake, 8 

Ward, 73, 83 

Wardship, 13, 96 
And see Abuses 

Warranty, 75, 91, 97, 98 

Waste, king's right to waste lands 
of felons, 13 
remedy by assize of novel dis- 
seisin, 69 

Waste, exception to action for, 115 
Wine, sale of, 13 

Woman, disabilities of, 45, 47, 82, 

serf, enfranchised by free mar- 
riage, 78 

punishment of, for crime, 139, 
Wounding, 32, 33, 58 
Wreck, 32, 39, 114 
Writ, right form of, 122 

remedial form of, 10 

abuses of close writs, 123 

Audita querela, 174 

Conspiracy, 174 

Consuetudines et scrvitia, 87, 129 

De odio et atia, 53, 161 

De rationabilibus divisis, 87 

Monstravit de compoto, 172 

Po7ie, 123, 124, 190 

Ne vexes, 81, 173 

Qua jure, 87 

Qua waranto, 173 

or THE 


rnixTEn by 


Selben Society, 

FOUNDED 1887. 

To Encourage the Study and Advance the Knowledge of the History of English Law. 

patrons : 




HIS EXCELLENCY THE HON. T. F. BAYARD, United States Ambassador. 

president : 
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\Dlce»presiOents : 
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The Hon. Mr. Justice Bruce. 
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Vol. I., for 1887. SELECT PLEAS OF THE CROWN. Vol. L, a.d. 1200-1225. Edited, from the 
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Vol IX., for 1895 (in the press). Selections from the Coroners' Rolls (Henry III. to Henrj' V.), 
edited by Charles Gross, Ph D., Assistant Professor of History, Harvard University. 

The functions of the coroner were more important in the middle ages than in modern times. 
These records will throw light on the early development of the jury, on the jurisdiction of the hundred 
and county courts, and on the collective responsibilities of neighbouring townships. 

Vol. X., for 1896 (nearly ready for press). The Earliest Records* of the Equitable Jurisdiction 
of the Court of Chancery, edited by W. Paley Baildon. 

Of these valuable records but very few have as yet been printed. It is hoped that they will throw 
new light on the development of English " Equity." The petitions practically commence in the reign 
of King Richard II. Many relate to mercantile and shipping matters. 

Vol. (nearly ready for press). Select Pleas of the Court of Admiralty. Vol. II., a.d. 

1 545-1 585, edited by Reginald G. Marsden. 

This will be in continuation and completion of Vol. VI., and will contain a further selection of 
interesting records and a summary of all the classes of cases dealt with by the Court during this period. 

Vol. (in preparation). Select Pleas from the Records* of the Court of Requests. Vol. I., 

Henry VII. and Henry VIII., edited by I. S. Leadam, M.A. 

This Court, sometimes called the " Court of Conscience," was originally a Court of Equity for poor 
men's causes, but later it took cognisance of all suits that by colour of equity or supplication to 
the Prince could be brought before it. The President of the Court was the Lord Privy Seal, who was 
assisted by the Masters of Requests. 

The follozviiig are among the Works contemplated for future volumes 

Vol. . Placita Forestae. 

The Forest Plea Rolls' are very interesting and little known. They begin as early as the reign of 
King John, and consist of perambulations, claims, presentments and other proceedings (such as trials 
for poaching and trespass on the Forest) before the Justices in Eyre of the Forest. 

Vol. Memoranda of the Court of Exchequer, AD. 1199*272. 

The Rolls* of the King's Remembrancer and of the Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer throw the 
fullest light both upon the curious and intricate system of accounting at the Royal Exchequer and 
the far-reaching jurisdiction of the Court, together with its relation to the Chancery and the Courts of 
Common Law. They deal with matters of great constitutional import.ince. 

• For further inrormation on these Records, «ce the valuahle and learned " Guide to the Hrinc-ipal Cla<u(et of Dociunentt pre»erv«d 
in the Public Record Office, " by S. R. ScARCiii.i.-BtRn, F.S.A. (London, KjTe & Spottiswoode, 1891.) 

Vol. . Selections from the Plea Rolls* of the Jewish Exchequer, a.d. 1244-1272. 

These Rolls illustrate a department of the history of English law which is at present very dark. 
The Justiciarii Judaeorum, who had the status of Barons of the Exchequer, exercised jurisdiction in 
all affairs relating to the Jewish community, namely, in the accounts of the revenue, in pleas upon 
contracts made between Jews and Christians, and in causes or questions touching their land or goods, 
or their tallages, fines, and forfeitures. 

Vol. . Select Pleas of the Court of Star Chamber. Henry VII. and Henry VIII. 

The Records* of this Court consist of Bills, Answers, Depositions, and other proceedings. They 
are of great importance as illustrating both public and private history. None of the Orders or Decrees 
are known to exist. In the Report of a Committee of the House of Lords made in 1719, it is stated 
that " the last notice of them that could be got was that they were in a house in St. Bartholomew's 
Close, London." 

Vol. . Select Pleas in Manorial and other Seignorial Courts, Vol. II. 

Vol. . Select Civil Pleas, Vol. II. 

Vol. . Conveyancing Precedents of the Thirteenth Century. 

There are several interesting sets hitherto unprinted. The mercantile transactions are very curious. 

Vol. . Brevia Placitata, a book of precedents for pleading in the King's Courts, Thirteenth Century. 

Vols. . The History of the Register of Original Writs : 
The reign of Henry III. 
The reign of Edward I. 
The reign of Edward III. 
The Fifteenth Century. 

* For further information on these Records, see the valuable and learned " Guide to the Principal Classes of Documents preserved 
in the Public Record Office," by S. R. Scargill-Bird, F.S.A. (London, Eyre & tjpottiswoode, 1891.) 

The Society has also contemplated the collection of materials for an ANGLO-FRENCH DIC- 
TIONARY, for which practical instructions have been kindly drawn up by Professor Skeat. The Council 
will be glad to receive offers of help in this collection with a view to future publication. 

The Council will be grateful for any information upon the contents and custody of any 
MSS. which may be of sufficient interest to be dealt with by the Society. 

July 1895. 

Selben Society, 

FOUNDED 1887. 


1 . The Society shall be called the Selden Society. 

2. The object of the Society shall be to encourage the study and advance 
the knowledge of the history of English Law, especially by the publication 
of original documents and the reprinting or editing of works of sufficient 
rarity or importance. 

3. Membership of the Society shall be constituted by payment of the 
annual subscription, or in the case of life members, of the composition. Form 
of application is given at the foot. 

4. The annual subscription shall be £1. Is., payable in advance on or 
before the 1st of January in every year. A composition of £21 shall con- 
stitute life membership from the date of the composition, and in the case of 
Libraries, Societies, and corporate bodies, membership for 30 years. 

5. The management of the affairs and funds of the Society shall be vested 
in a President, two Vice-Presidents, and a Council consisting of fifteen 
members, in addition to tlie ex officio members. The President, the two 
Vice-Presidents, the Literary Director, the Secretary, and the Hon. Treasurer 
shall be ex officio members. Three shall form a quorum. 

6. Until the Annual General Meeting in the year 1890 the following shall 
be the fifteen members of the Council : — The Hon. Mr. Justice Bruce, Mr, 
A. M. Channell, Q.C., Sir Howard W. Elphinstone, Bart., Mr. M. Ingle 
Joyce, Mr. B. G. Lake, Mr. H. C. Maxwell Lyte, Mr. A. Stuart Moore, Mr. 
R. Pennington, Sir F, Pollock, Bart., Mr. W. C. Renshaw, Q.C., Mr. S. R. 
Scargill-Bird, The Hon. Mr. Justice Stirling, Mr. J. Westlake, Q.C., His 
Honour Judge Meadows White, the Hon. Mr. Justice Wills, five of whom (in 
alphabetical order) shall retire at the Annual General Meeting in the year 
1896, five (in the like order) in the year 1897, and the remaining five in the 
year 1898. At each subsequent Annual General Meeting the five members 
who have served longest without re-election shall retire. A retiring member 
shall be re-eligible. 

7. The five vacancies in the Council shall be filled up at the Anniml 
General Meeting in and aftrr the year 1890 in the following manner : {n) 
Any two Members of the Society may nominate for election any other 
member by a writing signed by them and the nominated member, and sent 

K K 


to the Hon. Secretary on or before the 14th of February, (h) Not less than 
fourteen days before the Annual General Meeting the Council shall nominate 
for election five members of the Society, (c) No person shall be eligible 
for election on the Council unless nominated under this Eule. (d) Any 
candidate may withdraw, (e) The names of the persons nominated shall 
be printed in the notice convening the Annual General Meeting. (/) If the 
persons nominated, and whose nomination shall not have been withdrawn, 
are not more than five, they shall at the Annual General Meeting be 
declared to have been elected, (g) If the persons nominated, and whose 
nomination shall not have been withdrawn, shall be more than five, an 
election shall take place by ballot as follows : every member of the Society 
present at the Meeting shall be entitled to vote by writing the names of not 
more than five of the candidates on a piece of paper and delivering it to the 
Hon. Secretary or his Deputy, at such meeting, and the five candidates who 
shall have a majority of votes shall be declared elected. In case of equality 
the Chairman of the Meeting shall have a second or casting vote. 

8. The Council may fill casual vacancies happening in their number. 
Persons so appointed shall hold office so long as those in whose place they 
shall be appointed would have held office. The Council shall also have 
power to appoint Honorary Members of the Society. 

9. The Council shall meet at least twice a year, and not less than seven 
days' notice of any meeting shall be sent by post to every member of the 

10. There shall be a Literary Director to be appointed and removable by 
the Council. The Council may make any arrangement for remunerating the 
Literary Director which they may think reasonable. 

11. It shall be the duty of the Literary Director (but always subject to 
the control of the Council) to supervise the editing of the publications of the 
Society, to suggest suitable editors, and generally to advise the Council with 
respect to carrying the objects of the Society into effect. 

12. Each member shall be entitled to one copy of every work published 
by the Society as for any year of his membership. No person other than an 
Honorary Member shall receive any such work until his subscription for the 
year as for which the same shall be published shall have been paid. 

13. The Council shall appoint an Hon. Secretary and also an Hon. 
Treasurer and such other Officers as they from time to time think fit, and 
shall from time to time define their respective duties. 

14. The funds of the Society, including the vouchers or securities for any 
investments, shall be kept at a Bank, to be selected by the Council, to an 
account in the name of the Society. Such funds or investments shall only 
be dealt with by a cheque or other authority signed by the Treasurer and 
countersigned by one of the Vice-Presidents or such other person as the 
Council may from time to time appoint. 

1'). Tlie accounts of the receipts and expenditure of the Society up to the 
Blst of December in each year shall be audited once a year by two Auditors, 
to be appointed by the Society, and the report of the Auditors, with an 
abstract of the accounts, shall be circulated together with the notice convening 
the Annual Meeting. 

16. An Annual General Meeting of the Society shall be held in March 
1890, and thereafter in the month of March in each year. The Council may 
upon their own resolution and shall on the request in writing of not less 
than ten members call a Special General Meeting. Seven days' notice at 
least, specifying the object of the meeting and the time and place at which 

t is to be held, shall be posted to every member resident in the United 
Kingdom at his last known address. No member shall vote at any General 
Meeting whose subscription is in arrear. 

17. The Hon. Secretary shall keep a Minute Book wherein shall be 
entered a record of the transactions, as well at Meetings of the Council as at 
General Meetings of the Society. 

18. These rules may upon proper notice be repealed, added to, or modified 
from time to time at any meeting of the Society. But such repeal, addition, 
or modification, if not unanimously agreed to, shall require the vote of not 
less than two-thirds of the members present and voting at such meeting. 

MarcJi 1895. 


To Mr. Fbancis K. Munton, 95a Queen Victoria Street, London, E.G., 
Honorary Treasurer of the Selden Society. 

I desire to become a member of the Society, and herewith send ray 
cheque for One Guinea, the annual subscription [or £21 the life contribu- 
tion] dating from the commencement of the present year. [I also desire 
to subscribe for the preceding years , and I add 

one guinea for each to my cheque.] 





[NoTF,.— Cheques, crossed " Robarts & Co., a c of the Selden Society," 
should be made payable to the Honorary Treasurer, from whom forms of 
bankers' orders for payment of subscriptions direct to the Society's banking 
account can be obtained.] 


« n \^ 

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