52. EDWARD I: STATUTES AND ORDINANCES
(A) Statute of Gloucester (1278)
In the year of grace 1278, the sixth of the reign of King Edward, son of
King Henry, at Gloucester in the month of August, the same king, having
summoned the more discreet men of his kingdom, both greater and lesser, has
made provision for the betterment of his kingdom and the fuller administration
of justice, as is demanded by the kingly office....
The sheriffs shall have it commonly proclaimed throughout their
bailiwicks — that is to say, in cities, boroughs, trading towns, and
elsewhere — that all those who claim to have any franchises by charters of
the king's predecessors, kings of England, or by other title, shall come before
the king or before the itinerant justices on a certain day and at a certain
place to show what sort of franchises they claim to have, and by what
warrant [they hold them].... And if those who claim to have such
franchises do not come on the day aforesaid, those franchises shall then be
taken into the king's hand by the local sheriff in the name of distress; so
that they shall not enjoy such franchises until they come to receive
(French) Statutes of the Realm, I, 45 f.
(B) Statute of Mortmain (1279)
The king to his justices of the bench, greeting. Whereas it was formerly
enacted that men of religion should not enter upon the fiefs of any
persons without the consent and licence of the principal lords from whom those
fiefs were immediately held; and whereas since then men of religion have
nevertheless entered upon the fiefs of others as well as their own — by
appropriating them, buying them, and sometimes by receiving them through gifts
of other men — whereby the services which are owed from fiefs of this
sort, and which were originally established for the defence of the kingdom, are
wrongfully withheld and the principal lords [are caused to] lose their
escheats: [therefore] we, seeking in this connection to provide a suitable
remedy for the good of the kingdom, by the counsel of the prelates, earls, and
other faithful men of our kingdom who are members of our council, have enacted,
established, and ordained that no man of religion or any other whatsoever shall
buy or sell lands or tenements, or under colour of donation, lease, or other
title of any sort shall receive them from any one, or presume artfully and
craftily to appropriate them in any way whatsoever, whereby land and tenements
of this sort may somehow come into mortmain — under pain of
forfeiting the same [lands or tenements].... And so we command you to have the
aforesaid statute read in your presence and henceforth strictly held and
By witness of the king, at Westminster, November 25, in the seventh year
of our reign.
(Latin) Stubbs, Select Charters, pp. 451 f.
(C) Ordinance for the Household (1279)
... It is ordained and commanded that the stewards, or one [of them] if
both cannot be [there] together, with the treasurer, or the
comptroller if the treasurer cannot be [there], one of the marshals of the
hall, and the clerks and serjeants of the offices shall be present
each night for [drawing up] the account of the household. And there, by the
witness of the ushers of the hall, the servings of food in the hall (mes de
la sale) are to be checked; and according to the number of the servings,
the issues from the pantry, butlery, and kitchen are to be checked. And if
there is irregularity, let it be corrected and the serjeants be reproved. Each
night on the margin of the household roll is to be written the [amount of] wine
dispensed during the day; so that, by the testimony of this roll which bears
the record of the household, we may two or three times a year audit the account
of the tuns of wine [dispensed]. Next the wages of the serjeants, squires, and
grooms are to be there examined, as has been accustomed. And if at the account
any wrongdoing is presented which is not so bad as to require being brought to
the king's attention, let it be punished there at the discretion of the
stewards and the treasurer — by the withholding of wages or in some other
way according to what they may think best — so that the lord [king] shall
not be bothered with affairs that can be settled by those [officials].
The treasurer, having called to him one of the stewards, or both of
them, shall once or twice in every year audit the account of the chamberlain of
wines; so that he may clearly know how many pieces come from each port and from
each ship, and the names of the persons from whom the wines have been taken,
parcel by parcel, and how much is through purchase and how much through
prise. And this account is to be audited and checked by the
treasurer and one of the stewards in such fashion that the treasurer can
present a summary of it in his account at the feast of St. Edmund the King,
when he renders his account.
In the same way the treasurer shall draw up the account of the great
wardrobe.... And it is to be noted that the treasurer shall
henceforth have all articles for the great wardrobe bought at three fairs a
year by a certain man, who shall be keeper of the great wardrobe and shall go
to fairs to make the purchases; and he shall be put on oath to the king for
this particular office. And the usher of the wardrobe shall be comptroller for
him, going to fairs with him to view his purchases and at the account
witnessing liveries [made by him].... And the aforesaid keeper shall not
purchase anything or deliver anything to anybody without the special command of
the treasurer, and this in the presence of the comptroller....
The usher of the wardrobe should each day have the wax and candle-wicks
weighed — what is to be made [into candles] and what is to be kept. And
each night [he should] weigh what is given out in livery and on the morrow
reweigh what is left; so that through such weights he may know what has been
dispensed each night, and the sum of it all at the end of the year.... And the
chandler shall have nothing in his charge except what is to be dispensed at
night, as delivered to him by the usher.
And whereas it is rightful that the household of Madame [the queen]
should be regulated according to the ordinance of the king's household, it is
ordered that the steward of Madame, or the man who is in charge of her
household, shall each night be present at the account for the king's household,
together with the pantler, the butler, the chief cook, and the marshal of her
Furthermore, it is ordained that the marshals, or one of them, shall
make the circuit of the household each month of the year, or more often if they
see fit, to clear it of rascally men and women, and of horses belonging to
them, so that they shall take no hay, or oats, or wages. And [the marshals]
shall do the same for the household of Madame. And the marshals of the hall and
the ushers shall also see to it that the hall is well cleared of strange people
and of rascals who should not eat [there], and that the hall is served well and
for the common good (comunaument) and that no knight has more than one
squire eating in the hall.
The evening livery of wine and candles shall all be made by the king's
men, as well for the household of Madame as elsewhere. And the treasurer and
the stewards shall see to it that no liveries are made outside except in a
proper place, neither of bread nor of wine nor of candles, and each night they
shall examine the liveries for the household of Madame as well as for other
places and for the king's household.
Furthermore, it is ordained that no one shall sleep in the wardrobe
except the treasurer; Sire Thomas Gunneys [the comptroller];[9 ]Master
William of Louth, the treasurer's clerk; Master Simon, the surgeon;
Orlandino, when he comes to court; William of Blyborough and Sire
Stephen of St. George [clerks of the wardrobe]; John Rede, chief usher of the
wardrobe, and a footman under him — no others.
And it is ordained that no clerk who holds a benefice of the king shall
henceforth receive wages from the king. And it is ordained that no one shall
eat in the wardrobe except the under-usher; and the chamberlain, the treasurer,
and all the other chamberlains [shall eat] in the hall unless they are lodged
apart from the court.
With regard to the king's carriage [service], it is provided that for
the wardrobe there shall be three long carts; for the pantry a long cart and a
short one, which is to carry the demeine flour and the mills of the
saucery; for the butlery a long cart and a short one; for the
kitchen a long cart and two short ones.
Twenty men are chosen as serjeants-at-arms ... , and each is to receive
3½m. a year for robes.... Besides, it is ordained that each
squire shall receive 10s. a year for robes, and each serving man
(valet de mester) 1m. And each groom who receives 2d. a
day as wages is to have 10s. for robes; and each groom who receives
1½d. a day, and all the others who ought to have robes, are to
(French) Tout, Mediaeval Administrative History,
II, 158 f.
(D) Statute of Merchants (1283)
Whereas merchants heretofore, on lending their goods to various people,
have incurred poverty owing to the fact that no suitable law was provided
whereby they could speedily recover their debt on the day set for payment; and
whereas, on this account, many merchants have ceased coming into this land with
their merchandise, to the damage of the merchants and of the whole kingdom:
[therefore] the king, by himself and his council, has ordained and
established that the merchant who wishes to make sure of his debt
shall cause his debtor to come before the mayor of London or York or Bristol
— [that is to say,] before the mayor and a clerk whom the king shall
depute for that purpose — to acknowledge the debt and the day of payment;
and the acknowledgment shall be enrolled by the hand of the aforesaid clerk so
that it may be known. Moreover, the aforesaid clerk shall with his own hand
write out a record of the obligation, to which shall be attached the seal of
the debtor, together with the king's seal provided for that purpose, which seal
shall remain in the custody of the mayor and the clerk aforesaid. And if the
debtor does not pay on the day set for him, let the creditor come to the mayor
and the clerk with the record of the obligation; and if it is found by the roll
and the record that the debt was acknowledged and that the set day has passed,
the mayor shall at once, by view of worthy men, have movables of the debtor
sold to the amount of the debt.... And to meet the cost of the
aforesaid clerk, the king shall take a penny from every pound [of the debt].
This ordinance and establishment the king wishes henceforth to be observed
throughout his entire kingdom of England by all persons who shall freely choose
to make such acknowledgments, excepting Jews, to whom this establishment does
Given at Acton Burnell, October 12, in the eleventh year of our
(French) Statutes of the Realm, I, 53 f.
(E) Statute of Winchester (1285)
Whereas every day robbery, homicide, and arson are committed more
frequently than used to be the case, and felonies escape presentment by the
oaths of jurors who would see the felonies committed on strangers pass
unpunished rather than accuse the offenders, many of whom are persons of the
same country ...: [therefore] our lord the king, in order to abate
the power of felons, has established a penalty in such cases; so that
henceforth, through fear of the penalty rather than of the oath, no one will be
spared and no felony will be concealed....
Accordingly, inquests shall be held when necessary in a vill by him who
is lord of the vill, and afterwards in hundreds, franchises, and counties
— sometimes in two, three, or four counties, in cases where felonies are
committed on the borders of counties — so that the offenders may be
brought to justice. And if the country will not answer for criminals in this
way, the penalty shall be such that each country — that is to say, the
people living in the country — shall be responsible for the robberies
committed and the damages [thus incurred]....
And for better assuring the peace, the king has commanded that in great
towns which are walled the gates shall be closed from sunset to sunrise; and
that no man shall be lodged in the suburbs, or in the outskirts of the town,
except in the daytime — nor even in the daytime unless his host will be
responsible for him. And the bailiffs of towns each week, or at least every
fortnight, shall make investigation concerning men lodged in the suburbs or in
the outskirts of the towns; and if they find anybody harbouring or otherwise
lodging persons suspected of being in any respect violators of the peace, the
bailiffs shall have justice done in the matter. And the king has commanded that
henceforth all watches shall be kept according to the ancient
Furthermore, it is commanded that highways from one trading town to
another shall be enlarged wherever there are woods, hedges, or ditches; so that
there shall be neither ditches, underbrush, nor bushes for two hundred feet on
the one side and two hundred feet on the other, where men can hide near the
road with evil intent; yet so that this statute shall not apply to oaks or to
any great trees, so long as they are cleared underneath....
Moreover, it is commanded that every man shall have in his house arms
for keeping the peace according to the ancient assize....
Given at Winchester, October 8, in the thirteenth year of the king's
(French) Stubbs, Select Charters, pp. 464 f.
(F) Statute of Quia Emptores (1290)
Whereas the buyers of lands and tenements belonging to the fiefs of
magnates and other men have in times past frequently entered upon their fiefs
to the prejudice of the same [lords], because the freeholders of the said
magnates and other men have sold their lands and tenements to such purchasers
to be held in fee by themselves and their heirs of the feoffors and not of the
principal lords of the fiefs, whereby those same principal lords have often
lost the escheats, marriages, and wardships of lands and tenements belonging to
their fiefs; and whereas this has seemed very hard and burdensome to those
magnates and other lords, being in such cases manifest disinheritance:
[therefore] the lord king in his parliament at Westminister [held] after Easter
in the eighteenth year of his reign... , at the suggestion of the magnates of
his realm, has granted, provided, and established that henceforth
every freeman shall be permitted to sell his land or tenement, or a part of it,
at pleasure; yet so that the feoffee shall hold that land or tenement of the
same principal lord [of whom the feoffor held] and by the same services and
customs by which the feoffor earlier held....
(Latin) Ibid., p. 473.
(G) Ordinance Concerning Judicial Circuits (1293)
Whereas the lord king, in his recent statutes at
Westminster commanded that in each county certain justices, and no
others, should be commissioned for the holding of assizes, juries, and
certifications at particular times in those counties; and whereas
the justices of the two benches, as well as the itinerant justices
assigned to carry out the aforesaid [commissions] for limited periods, have
often, when they were not on eyre, been hindered, both by their offices and by
precepts of the lord king directed to them, from coming to the [appointed]
places on the days announced by them; and whereas, on account of their absence,
justice has long been withheld from many persons and misdeeds have gone
unpunished: [therefore] the lord king, desirous that, in so far as he can
[provide it], speedy justice shall be rendered to every one in his kingdom for
the wrongs done to that person, commands that henceforth eight circumspect and
discreet justices shall be commissioned to hold assizes, juries, and
certifications throughout the whole kingdom of England — namely, two in
the counties of York, Northumberland, Westmorland, Cumberland, Lancaster,
Nottingham, and Derby; two in the counties of Lincoln, Leicester, Warwick,
Stafford, Shropshire, Northampton, Rutland, Gloucester, Hereford, and
Worcester; two in the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire,
Hampshire, Oxford, Berkshire, Sussex, and Surrey; and two in the counties of
Kent, Essex, Hertford, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridge, Huntingdon, Bedford, and
Buckingham. And the assizes, juries, and recognitions of Middlesex shall be
held before the justices of the bench....
(Latin) Statutes of the Realm, I, 112.
(H) Articles of 1300
... Moreover, no common pleas shall henceforth be held in the exchequer,
contrary to the form of the Great Charter. On the other hand, the king wills
that the chancery and the justices of his bench shall follow him; so that he
may always have near him certain men expert in the law, who, whenever the need
arises, will know how rightfully to dispatch all such business as may come
before the court. Henceforth no writ touching the common law shall be issued
under the small seal.
(French) Ibid., I, 138 f.
[l ]Statutum had not as yet acquired the technical
meaning of a legislative enactment in full parliament, as distinguished from an
ordinance in council. The word was still vague, being generally applied to
especially formal statements of law; see Holdsworth, History of English
Law, II, 172 f., 244 f.; and cf. the examples cited below, no. 62.
 Quo warranto here and in the writ employed for legal
proceedings of this sort. See especially H. M. Cam, The Hundred and the
Hundred Rolls, ch. xiv; in which work the student will also find a full
account of the inquests that led up to the formulation of this statute —
e.g., the Articles of 1274, pp. 248 f.
 In the reissue of Magna Carta (above, p. 123, n. 45),
somewhat extended by the Provisions of Westminster.
 Literally, "dead hand" — permanent possession by a
church or other corporation.
 Of the wardrobe, on which see Tout, Chapters in
Mediaeval Administrative History, II, 27 f. More detailed information
concerning most of the officials mentioned here will be found in the Household
Ordinance of 1318, no. 57.
[6 ]Mesters (i.e., métiers), such as the
pantry, butlery, kitchen, etc.
 See above, p. 166, n. 6.
 "So-called not because of its importance, but because it
dealt with bulky commodities": Tout, Place of Edward II in English History,
 As appears from other entries in the record.
 Of Lucca, the king's banker.
 Demeine flour was that of superior quality for the king's
use; cf. above, p. 66, n. 3. On the saucery see below, p. 204.
 Preceding the ordinance as printed is a memorandum of the
wages and liveries enjoyed by the other officials, listed by name. The steward,
the marshal, the surgeon, the chaplain, and the chiefs of the wardrobe received
8m. a year for robes, together with various fees, unless they had
received lands or benefices. Subordinates usually received 3m.
for robes, and wages of 7d. a day.
 Despite the phrasing of the act, it was actually drawn up
in the assembly of burgesses first summoned to Shrewsbury (above, p. 157) and
then transferred to Acton Burnell.
 The statute includes detailed provisions for the
attachment of property in towns other than those mentioned, for imprisonment of
debtors with insufficient chattels, and the like.
Pays (Latin, patria) — the
neighbourhood in which a person had his home.
 What is omitted here and in the second paragraph below is
largely a repetition of Henry III's ordinance (no. 46H).
 The parliament was attended only by prelates and lay
 The reference is to art. 30 of the lengthy enactment known
as the Second Statute of Westminster (1285). The article in question provided
that for each county two justices should be commissioned to hold assizes three
times a year. See Stubbs, Const. Hist., II, 284.
 Certification was a process by which a vague or
insufficient verdict was brought before a court for examination.
 Cf. S4E.
 Issued as an explanatory supplement to the Confirmation of
the Charters (no. 51a).
 Cf. no. 54G, the last excerpt.