54. JUDICIAL RECORDS (1220-83)

(A) Excerpts from the Curia Regis Roll of 1220.[1]

Hugh Hop-over-Humber appeals Thomas of Dean for [the following offense:] that on St. Giles's day, between the first and third hours, in the second year of the king's reign, while he, together with his cousin William of Leigh, was in the park of Cuckfield belonging to the earl de Warenne, for the purpose of guarding that park, the said Thomas came with a band [of accomplices], a multitude of men armed with bows and arrows, and assaulted them, aiming an arrow at the said William and hitting him in the leg, so that within nine days he died of the wound. And that [Thomas] did this wickedly and feloniously and in [violation of] the lord king's peace, [Hugh], as one who was present and saw it, offers to prove by his body, as the court shall decide. He also says that pursuit was made according to the law of the land and that hue was raised; that twelve jurors indicted [Thomas] on account of that death[2] before the itinerant justices on their last visit to these parts; and that the said William, while he was still alive after being wounded, stated that the said Thomas had struck him as aforesaid, and so blamed [Thomas] for his death.

And Thomas appears and denies the entire charge as an ordained clerk. And thereupon Robert of Dean, his brother, appears and presents letters close from the bishop of Chichester, in which it is set forth that the said Thomas has sufficiently proved before him by witnesses, etc., that the said Thomas was in due season promoted to the order of acolyte by Selfrid, one time bishop of Chichester, and that [the bishop] accordingly claims him as a clerk, so that justice may be administered with respect to him for all who may complain in the ecclesiastical court. Thomas is committed to R[alph], bishop of Chichester, who shall hold him for justice because he is a clerk. And it should be known that the lord [archbishop] of Canterbury, who earlier took the said Thomas into custody, is quit thereof.

William Smallwood[3] appeals Hugh the Large of Walthamstow for having received him together with two horses which he had [taken] from the chamberlain of Baldwin de Guisnes, whom he had slain; so that the said Hugh kept those two horses in his chamber for eight days, and for thus keeping them he received 6s., and a certain woman at the inn [received] 6d. for carrying water to the horses in order that they might not be seen. And that the same [Hugh] knew they were stolen property and received them as stated he offers to prove by his body. And Hugh denies the entire charge against him, [submitting to judgment] as the court shall decide; and he puts himself on the country[4] that he is held to be a trustworthy man. He is committed to the vill of Walthamstow, to be produced on summons.

The same [William] also appeals Nicholas of Trumpington as a receiver.... He is committed to the vill of Cheshunt, etc....

The same [William] also appeals Robert Woodcock and William his son as receivers.... Let the sheriff take pledges for them.

The same [William] also appeals William, son of Henry Ware, as a receiver, but he is so old that he can hardly move; [evidently] the charge against him is trumped up. And so the matter should be discussed. The jurors say that they know nothing [bad] of him; and so let him go quit because he is old.

The same [William] also appeals John and Adam, sons of the priest, for being his associates and for homicide: namely, that they along with him slew a man of Alfred Gernon, scalding him in the house of Robert Woodcock and taking from him property to the value of £4 sterling. Likewise they killed another man in the same house and a third between Writtle and Chelmsford. Likewise Adam together with him broke into the house of Michael Smallwood, his brother, and robbed it, so that the said Adam [thence] received a blue cloak with a hood of doe-skin worth half a mark. And this he offers to prove by his body, and he takes as his first opponent Adam. And they appear and deny the entire charge word by word, and they put themselves on the country. And the sheriff says that he held an inquest and that, according to the inquest, they are of ill fame. The lawful knights of the county give the same testimony. So the combat is to proceed, in the first place against Adam, whom [William] appeals for the death of the aforesaid men and for the robbery of his brother's house and [the theft of] the aforesaid cloak worth 7s., and who denies the entire charge [offering defense] by his body.... William Smallwood is vanquished and hanged; Adam and John are dismissed under pledge....

Alice, wife of William Black, confesses that she was present with her husband at the slaying of three men and one woman at Barnet. And so let her be burned....

Thomas of Lyminge, who was captured together with robbers, at St. Albans, appears and says that he has no lord, that he is not in frankpledge, and that he has no pledge [of any kind]. Furthermore, it is testified by the steward of the abbot of St. Albans and by [other] good men that he confessed the robbery in the abbot's court. Furthermore, he stated in the [court of the] bench that he knew no man who was so big a thief as Robert of Bermondsey, the archbishop's steward, and afterwards he withdrew the charge. And since he has nothing in his favour and refuses to put himself on the country, it is decided that he is to be hanged.

(Latin) Maitland, Select Pleas of the Crown, pp. 120-34.

(B) Excerpts from Assize Rolls of 1221

Agnes, who was the wife of Robert Wood, appeals Thomas, son of Hubert, for the death of her husband Robert. And because the same [Agnes] has a [second] husband named Robert de Verdun who makes no appeal, she has no power of appealing; so the truth is to be sought by the country. And Thomas appears and denies responsibility for the death, but does not wish to put himself on the country. And the twelve jurors say that he is guilty of that death, and twenty-four knights chosen for this purpose, other than the aforesaid twelve, say the same; and so let him be hanged. The chattels of Thomas [amount to] 34s. 6d., for which the sheriff is answerable.

And the jurors testify that the said Thomas, after that deed, continued to go back and forth from his house to cultivate his land; and [yet] he was not arrested, nor was his land taken into the king's hands until the day before the arrival of the justices. So the sheriff [is to be brought] to judgment. And [Thomas] was a villein and for that reason his land was not taken.[5] And the township[6] of Spernal does not appear; therefore it is in mercy for default, and is to appear tomorrow.

The same Agnes appealed as accessories Henry, son of Hubert; Michael, reeve of Spernal; Simon, the priest's son; Patecoc, son of Simon of Spernal; and Robert of Shortenhall. And none of them appears; and [yet] she sued at a number of county courts after the death of her husband, and [the accused men] were neither attached nor outlawed. So the county [is to be brought] to judgment.

Afterwards the township of Spernal appears and confesses that all the aforesaid men were residents in their vill after the death of Robert and were not arrested. So [the township is] in mercy. And all those appealed as accessories have fled, and they were in the frankpledge of the township of Spernal. So [the township is] in mercy. The chattels of Henry [amount to] nothing. The chattels of Michael [amount to] 14s., for which the sheriff is answerable....

Simon of Coughton, on account of drunkenness, fell dead from his horse in the vill of Alcester. And Simon, his son, who was with him, does not appear, nor was he attached; he is not suspected. The township of Alcester confesses that they did not present the death [of Simon] at the county [court] or to the coroners. So the township is in mercy. No one is suspected. Judgment — misadventure. The township of Coughton confesses that the body was carried into their vill and that it was buried without the view of the serjeant [of the hundred] or of the coroners, and that they made no presentment at the county [court]. So [the township is] in mercy. The value of the horse is 1m., for which the sheriff is answerable....

Richard Goky, accused of the death of Henry Lightfoot who was slain at Ling, appears and denies the entire charge and puts himself on the country. And the townships of North Curry, Bridgewater, Creech, and Newton, also the twelve jurors, say on oath that they suspect of that death no one but the same Richard, and they affirm that he slew [Henry]. And so let him be hanged. Inquiry is to be made as to his chattels. And the township of Ling and the twelve jurors in the first place presented a certain Robert Young as having killed [Henry]. And afterwards they appear and confess that they did so on the instance of Roger Baryl, serjeant of the hundred. And so [he is to be put in] custody, and the twelve jurors and the township of Ling are in mercy for their false presentment. The amercement of the jurors is pardoned.

(Latin) Ibid., 99-117.

(C) Excerpts from Exchequer Plea Rolls of 1236-37

An assize, summoned and attached to make recognition on oath whether Richard of Hinton holds three-fourths of a knight's fee with appurtenances in Eastbury of the king in chief or of Ralph le Moyne, appears before the barons of the exchequer on the morrow of St. Hilary: namely....[7] They declare on oath that the said Richard of Hinton holds the said three-fourths of a knight's fee with appurtenances in Eastbury of Ralph le Moyne in chief; that the said Richard and his ancestors always rendered to the same Ralph and his ancestors the service owed from this [fief]; and that the said Ralph holds that tenement of the lord king. And so it is decided that the said Richard is to be quit of the scutage exacted from him for the said tenement, and that the same Richard shall henceforth render service for the said tenement to Ralph le Moyne and his heirs as has been accustomed....

Robert Musard has offered himself against Henry of the exchequer with respect to a plea of 6m. for the scutage of Poitou, as is contained in the writ. Henry, having been summoned and attached a number of times, has appeared and has acknowledged that he received from the aforesaid Robert 6m. for the aforesaid scutage of Poitou; and he states that he acquitted the said Robert for 40s. out of the 6m. aforesaid in the county of Nottingham when he was sheriff of Berkshire. And the barons have had inspection made of the account rolls of that county for the fifteenth and sixteenth years, during which the said Henry was sheriff of Berkshire; and from the rolls they have found that nothing was paid by the said Henry on behalf of the aforesaid Robert in the county of Nottingham for the aforesaid scutage, as he has alleged....[8] Finally, however, they have come to an agreement by permission of the barons: to the effect that the same Henry will acquit Robert of the said scutage and will give him 4m. for his trouble and expense. And because the same H[enry] had rendered account in full and had pledged his faith to having rendered an honest account, when [actually] he had not fully accounted for the said scutage, because of his concealment, he is delivered to the marshal as a prisoner. Afterwards he is liberated from prison by the bishop of Carlisle. And the same Henry is in mercy, but is pardoned by the barons....

Hubert of Wick and Walter of Hales, executors of the will of Richard of Brome ... have appeared and declared that they have in deposit at Langley about 25m. from the goods of the said Richard, and they have undertaken to pay that sum at the exchequer within three weeks after Easter toward satisfaction of the debt that the same Richard owed the lord king. Moreover, they have declared that William Bernehouse, who lives in the county of Suffolk, owed the said Richard 20m.; that Nicholas Crawe, who lives in Norfolk, owed the same Richard 20s.; [and that] Ralph of Selton [owed him] four oxen worth 40s. Besides, as they say, the men of Earl R[oger] Bigot in Ditchling carried off the crop from five acres of corn belonging to the said Richard, worth 1m. And the sheriff is ordered to distrain the said debtors for the said debts to the king's use.... Afterwards the said executors paid £17. 4s. of the said debt, and they have declared that they have nothing more of his goods. And so they are acquitted, and the lord king is to recover the remainder of the said debt from the heir of the said Richard of Brome.

(Latin) Jenkinson and Formoy, Select Cases in the Exchequer, pp. 7-13.

(D) Excerpts from Coroners' Rolls of 1266-67

Richard of Eltisley of the parish of Eaton came to the county [court] of Bedford on Monday next after Epiphany in the fiftieth year of King Henry [III] and appealed William Moring of Staplehoe for [the following offense:] that before the hour of vespers on Sunday next after the Lord's Nativity he came into the house of the said Richard and assaulted the said Richard wickedly, feloniously, and against the peace of the lord king by premeditated assault, striking him on the right shoulder with a willow stick and so knocking him to the ground; afterwards, falling upon the said Richard, [William] seized with his right hand [Richard's] finger — the one called index, next the thumb — and bit it, so that [Richard] believes himself to be maimed. This he offers reasonably to demonstrate and prove as a maimed man can and should, according to the decision of the lord king's court. The said Richard finds pledges for prosecution: [namely,] Henry of Basing from Staplehoe and John Poignant from the same [vill].

Item, at the county [court] of Bedford, on Monday next after the Purification of the Blessed Mary, Richard appears and sues, and the said William, having been called for the first time, does not appear. Item, at the county [court] of Bedford, on Monday next after the feast of St. Matthew the Apostle in the fiftieth year, the aforesaid Richard appears and sues, and William Moring, having been called for the second time, does not appear. Item, at the county [court] of Bedford, on Monday next after the Annunciation of the Blessed Mary in the aforesaid year, Richard appears and sues, and William Moring, being present, denies the entire charge and finds pledges: [namely,] Reginald, son of Walter of Honeydon, and William Allen of Staplehoe....

It happened about bedtime on Sunday next before the feast of St. Bartholomew in the fiftieth year that Henry Colburn of Barford went out of his house in Barford to drink a tankard of beer and did not return that night; but early the next morning Agnes Colburn, his mother, looked for him and found the said Henry dead. And he was wounded in the body about the heart and in the belly with seven knife-wounds, and in the head with four wounds apparently made with a pick-axe, and also in the throat and the chin and the head as far as the brain. The aforesaid Agnes at once raised the hue and pursuit was made. And she finds pledges: [namely,] Humphrey Quarrel and Thomas Quarrel of the same Barford.

Inquest was held before S[imon] Read, the coroner, by four neighbouring townships: Barford, Boxton, Wilden, and Renhold. And they say that Gilbert, son of Margaret, killed the said Henry as aforesaid. They also say that they have suspicion of Hugh Cointerel, Agnes Cointerel, Hugh, son of the same Agnes, and Alice Wrong, who have appeared in the full county [court] and are delivered to G. Read, the sheriff, [to be put] in jail.... Gilbert had no chattels. Englishry was presented by Richard, brother [of Henry], on the side of his father and mother; and by Maurice Plane, his uncle, on the side of his father.

It happened in the vill of Wilden on Wednesday next before the feast of Simon and Jude in the fiftieth year that unknown malefactors came to the house of Jordan Hull of Wilden and broke into the said house while the said Jordan was absent. And the said malefactors wounded Agnes, wife of the said Jordan, and killed Emma, his eight-year-old daughter. Afterwards they carried off all the goods from the house.... Inquest was held before S[imon] Read, the coroner, by four neighbouring townships ... , who said what has been reported, and that the malefactors were unknown....

It happened at Eaton on Thursday next after the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul in the fiftieth year that Reginald Stead of Eaton, reaper of John Francis, went into the meadows of Eaton to guard the meadow of his lord and, being taken with falling sickness, collapsed and died forthwith by misadventure. Alice, his wife, was the first to discover him, and she finds pledges.... Inquest was held before S[imon] Read, the coroner, by four neighbouring townships ... , who say that he died by misadventure of the aforesaid disease, and they know nothing beyond that.

(Latin) Gross, Select Cases from Coroners' Rolls, pp. 2-6.

(E) Memorandum of Judicial Appointments (1278)

Justices of the bench for pleas of the king:

Ralph of Hengham, Chief [Justice], who is to receive annually in fee for maintaining himself in the king's service, at two terms, ................................. 60m.

Nicholas of Stapleton, at two terms, .................. 50m.

Walter of Wimburn, at two terms, .................... 40m.

Total 150m.

Justices of the bench at Westminster:[9]

Thomas of Weyland, Chief [Justice] ................... 60m.

Walter of Helion ................................... 50m.

John of Lovetoft .................................. 50m.

Roger of Leicester .................................. 40m.

William of Brompton ........................ till now nothing

Total 200m.

Itinerant justices toward the north, namely, in the counties of Cumberland, Westmorland, and Northumberland:

The Abbot of Westminster, Chief [Justice][10] John de Vaux William of Saham ................................. 50m.

Roger Loveday .................................... 40m.

John of Metingham ................................. 40m.

Master Thomas of Sodington ........................ 40m.

Itinerant justices toward the south, namely, in the counties of

Hertford and Kent:

The bishop of Worcester, Chief [Justice] John of Reigate .................................... 60m.

Geoffrey of Leukenore .............................. 40m.

William of Norburgh .............................. 40m.

Walter of Hopton .................................. 40m.

Solomon of Rochester ............................... 40m.

The aforesaid justices were installed by the king himself and others of his council [at Gloucester]....

(Latin) Palgrave, Parliamentary Writs, I, 382.

(F) Excerpts from the Coram Rege Rolls of 1281

Command was given to the mayor and sheriffs of London that they should send to the king here on this day the record and process of the suit recently held before them in their husting of London between Edmund Trentemars, plaintiff, and Master Thomas of Bread Street concerning a messuage with appurtenances in the suburb of London; which same record and process they sent to the following effect.... And Edmund, being asked why he had caused the aforesaid record to come here, says it is because the lord king granted by his Statute of Gloucester[11] that, if any one within the city of London vouches any foreigner to warranty, he shall, according to the Statute of Gloucester, sue against his warranty before the justices of the bench, etc. Whereupon the said Thomas Trentemars was adjourned until the next arrival of the itinerant justices at the Tower of London. And thereof he seeks remedy, etc....

The abbot of Fécamp was summoned to answer to the lord king by what warrant he holds the manor of Steyning, which is ancient demesne of the crown of England, as is said, and concerning which William of Pembridge, who sues for the king,[12] says that the lord king Henry, father of the present lord king, was seised of the aforesaid manor, etc.... And the abbot now appears by his attorney and says that he holds the aforesaid manor by this warrant: that St. Edward [the Confessor], one time king, gave the aforesaid manor with its appurtenances to the abbot and monks of Fécamp, which same deed was confirmed by William [I], one time king of England, and a certain Henry, king of England, ... When this charter had been read and understood, the attorney of the same abbot was told that in such connection he might go sine die, etc....

The jury [in the suit] between Hugh le Despenser, plaintiff, and Roger le Bigot, earl of Norfolk and marshal of England, having been chosen by the consent of the parties, [comes to make recognition] whether Alina le Despenser, who was wife of the aforesaid Roger, bore of the same Roger offspring since deceased that was heard to cry or raise its voice within four walls in the manor of Woking, or not; and if so, what kind of voice it raised, and whether that offspring was male or female, and in what house such child was born and in what church it was baptized, and when and at what time and in whose presence, and how long the same child lived, etc....[13]

Command was given to the sheriff that he should cause to come here on this day the appeal which Wenthiliana, daughter of William le Prestre made in his county [court] against William d'Evreux for the death of Adam le Gouth, her husband, and also the appeal which Susan, daughter of Organ, made in the aforesaid county [court] against the aforesaid William for the death of her brother, John son of Organ, together with all appendant matters touching those appeals....[14]

The lord king, by Walter of Wimbourne who sues for him, brings suit against Robert Banaster for the advowson of the church of Wigan with appurtenances....[15]

Command was sent to John de Vaux and his associates, justices of the last eyre in the county of York, that under their seals they should send to the king the record and process of the suit brought before them on the aforesaid eyre by writ of right of the lord king between Peter de Mauley, plaintiff, and the abbot of Whitby, tenant, concerning the manors of Newholm, Stakesby, and Dunsley with their appurtenances.... Which same justices sent the record to the following effect....[16]

Agnes Colle appeals Henry le Ternur and Gilbert of Grafham for the death of her son John. And she appeals them for this: that, while her aforesaid son was in the peace of the lord king on Saturday next after the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin in the eighth year of the present king's reign, at a place called Broneswellbrook between the vill of Offord Cluny and [that of] Offord Darcy, the aforesaid Henry le Ternur and Gilbert came with a certain Henry Nichol of Bedwin, and they held the aforesaid John by his hands and neck while the same Henry struck the aforesaid John with a Cologne sword [wounding him] to the brain, whereof he died. And that they wickedly and by felony aforethought committed the aforesaid felony on the aforesaid day in the aforesaid year she offers, etc....[17]

(Latin) Sayles, Select Cases in King's Bench, pp. 74-91.

(G) Excerpts from the Parliament Roll of 1283[18]

Aymer de Pèche, who is ill, beseeches the lord king graciously to command the escheator to return to him the seisin of the manor of Steeple, the custody of which belongs to him because Hugh son of Otto ended his days holding of the said Aymer by military service the aforesaid manor, with which he had been enfeoffed by the same Aymer, who held the aforesaid manor of the lord king in chief.

[Endorsed:] Let it be restored because [Hugh] held nothing of the king in chief.

The lord William Martin seeks a writ of the lord king to the treasurer and the barons of the exchequer [permitting him] to pay the debt that he owes the king by instalments of £10 a year.

Let him pay 50m. a year in two [instalments]....

When our lord the king was at Bristol on the festival of Easter in the eighth year of his reign, the mayor and community [of the town] made to him devout supplication, asking that he regard their condition which, through default of confirmation of the liberties obtained by grant and confirmation from the lord king Henry, father of the present lord king, and from his other ancestors, had been greatly injured by the divers oppressions of justices, sheriffs, and bailiffs; and requesting that the lord king would confirm their charters of liberties aforesaid. And the lord king promised them that he would do so when he first confirmed any liberties. We beseech you, lord chancellor, that you apply your counsel to whatever may be done in this matter for the sake of the community aforesaid.

The king will respond in the next parliament....

The prior of Hexham beseeches the lord king to grant him licence[19 ]to enter upon land to the value of £20 in North Milburn within the county of Northumberland, which is held of Robert de Stuteville and Eleanor his wife for the service of 6d. a year for all service, and concerning which the sheriff of Northumberland was commanded to make diligent investigation as to what damage the lord king would suffer if the said prior took possession of the said land in fee. And the sheriff, having carried out an investigation, made a return in which it was stated that the lord king would thereby suffer no damage, except only to the amount of 6d. per year. And when [the result of] this inquest had been seen by the chancellor, the prior was told that he should come to this parliament.

[Endorsed:] The king will not grant the favour asked in the petition.

Thomas de Torneye, who had been in Wales to perform the service that the lord Gilbert de Bulebeke owed to our lord the king in connection with his recent expedition into those parts, was taken, after returning from Wales, and held in the prison of Aylesbury in the county of Buckingham on suspicion of a robbery suffered by Master John de Saint-Omer, of which he is not guilty; and by letters under the king's privy seal in the possession of the sheriff, to the effect that he is not to be released, he is being held in that prison until the delivery of the same prison.[20] Wherefore he beseeches our lord the king that he may be brought under the common law and have a jury trial;[21] for in the prison he is at the point of death on account of the duress with which he is treated.

[Endorsed:] Let a writ be issued for the two men imprisoned at Aylesbury; it is not to be neglected on account of a mandate under the small seal. Let an inquest be made by the justices through a good [jury of the] country.

(French and Latin) Richardson and Sayles, Rot. Parl. Anglie, pp. 17-25.

(H) Excerpts from Manorial Court Rolls (1246-49)[22 ]

Pleas of the manors ... of Bec, Hokeday term, A.D. 1246: —

Bledlow [Buckinghamshire].... The court made presentment that Simon Combe has raised a certain fence on the lord's land. Therefore let it be pulled down.... A day at the next court is given to Alice of Standen for producing her charter and her heir....

Tooting [Surrey].... The court made presentment that the following persons had encroached on the lord's land....[23] Therefore [they are] in mercy. Godwin [is] in mercy because he neglected to do what he was ordered on behalf of the lord. Fine 12d. Roger Reed [is] in mercy for non-payment of rent. Pledge: Jordan of Streatham. Fine 6d....

Ruislip [Middlesex].... The court makes presentment that Nicholas Breakspeare is not in tithing, and he holds land. Therefore let him be distrained. Breakers of the assize [of beer]....[24] Roger son of Hamo gives 20s. to have seisin of the land that was his father's and to have an inquest by twelve [men] as to a certain croft held by Gilbert Bisuthe. Pledges: Gilbert Lamb, William son of John, and Robert King.... Richard Maleville [offers to prove] at his law[25] as against the lord that he did not take attached property away from the lord's serjeants to the lord's damage and dishonour [amounting to] 20s. Pledges: Gilbert Bisuthe and Richard Hubert. Hugh Tree [is] in mercy for cattle of his taken in the lord's garden. Pledges: Walter of Hull and William Slipper. Fine 6d. Twelve jurors say that Hugh Cross has title to the bank and hedge over which there was a dispute between him and William White. Therefore let him hold in peace, and let the said William be distrained for many trespasses. Later he fined for 12d....

Pleas of the manors of Bec, Martinmas term, A.D. 1247: —

Weedon Beck [Northamptonshire].... Elias Deynte resigned his land in full court and seisin of it was given to William Deynte, his son, who swore fealty and found pledges, named above, for his 55. of relief. Later he paid it. The whole township gives 6m. for the abbot's tallage.... William Green and Guy Lawman have gallon measures that are too small. John Mercer will give three hens yearly at the feast of St. Martin to have the lord's patronage,[26] and he is received into a tithing....

Wretham [Norfolk].... Gilbert son of Richard gives 5s. for permission to marry a wife.... The following women have been violated and accordingly owe leyrwite....[27] From the township 3m. for the abbot's tallage....

Tooting [Surrey].... The whole township gives 2½m. for the abbot's tallage. William Jordan [is] in mercy for badly ploughing the lord's land. Pledge: Arthur. Fine 6d. John Shepherd [is] in mercy for encroaching upon land bordering on his. Pledge: Walter Reeve. Fine 6d. Lucy Reed [is] in mercy for cattle of hers taken in the lord's pasture after ward had been set....[28] Elias of Streatham [is] in mercy for default of autumn [labour] service. Fine 6d. Bartholomew Chaloner, who was at law against Reginald son of Swain, has defaulted in his law. Therefore let him be in mercy and let him satisfy the aforesaid Reginald for the latter's damage and dishonour, namely with 6s. Pledges: William Shoemaker and William Spendlove. Fine 6 gallons [? of beer].

Deveril [Wiltshire].... William Miller [offers to prove] at his law that he was not pledge for William Scut of Hull, whose sheep were taken in the lambs' pasture. Pledges for his law: William Swineherd and Thomas Guner. Arnold Smith is in mercy for not producing the said William Scut, for whom he was pledge. The parson of the church is in mercy for a cow of his taken in the lord's meadow. Pledges: Thomas Guner and William Cook. The township gives 2m. for the abbot's tallage. From William Cobbe, William Cook, and Walter Dogskin 2s. for [neglect of] ward [in the case] of seven pigs belonging to Robert Gentil and for the damage that they did in the lord's corn. From Martin Shepherd 6d. for the wound that he inflicted on Pekin....

Weedon Beck [Northamptonshire].... The court made presentment that William son of Noah is the fugitive bondman of the lord and is living at Dodford. Therefore he is to be sought. They also say that William Askil, John Parsons, and Godfrey Green furtively carried off four geese from the vill of Horepoll. John Witrich [is] in mercy for a colt of his taken in the lord's corn. Pledges: Guv Love and Simon Winbold....

Pleas of the manors of Bec, A.D. 1249: —

Ogbourne [Wiltshire].... Presentment was made that Stephen Shepherd by night struck his sister with a certain knife and badly wounded her. So let him be committed to prison. Later he fined for 2s. Pledge: Walter of Wick. Presentment was made that Robert son of Carter by night invaded [the property of] Peter Burgess and feloniously threw stones at his door, so that the same Peter Burgess raised hue [and cry]. Therefore let the aforesaid Robert be committed to prison. Later he fined for 2s.... Adam Moses gives half a sester of wine to have an inquest as to whether Henry Ayulf imputed to him the crime of larceny and used vile and insulting words [concerning him]. Later they came to agreement, and Henry gives security for amercement. Fine 12d.... From Ralph Joce ½m. for his son because [the latter] unlawfully took corn from the lord's court.... From Ralph Scales 6d. for carrying off timber. From William Cooper 12d. because without licence he ploughed his land with the lord's plough. From Hugh New 12d. for trespass in the wood. From Richard Penant 12d. for the same. From Helen, widow of Little Ogbourne, 6d. for the same. From Nicholas Seward 6d. for a false claim against William Pafey. From William Pafey 12d. for engaging in a fight with the same Nicholas....

(Latin) Maitland, Select Pleas in Manorial Courts, pp. 6-20.


[1] On the nature of these records see Maitland's introduction; cf. immediately below, no. 54E, F.

[2] See no. 31, art. 1.

[3] William, a confessed felon, has turned approver. That is to say, he now has to appeal and vanquish a certain number of persons — often five — in order to secure a pardon. In the present case, however, he is himself vanquished in his first duel. See F. C. Hamil, in Speculum, XI, 238 f.

[4] The ordinary phrase for submitting to jury trial, on the beginnings of which in criminal cases see Pollock and Maitland, II, 648 f.

[5] An addition to the record, to explain the sheriff's conduct.

[6]Villata meaning the people of the vill or their legal representatives.

[7] The names of the twelve jurors are omitted.

[8] Henry says he paid the rest of the money into the exchequer and a mistake was made in the tallies, but his explanation is found to be worthless.

[9] This is the common bench; the court preceding is that of coram rege, or king's bench. Cf. no. 52G.

[10] The man heading the circuit, being a beneficed clergyman, receives no salary.

[11] No. 52A.

[12] That is to say, acting as king's attorney.

[13] The case did not go to the jury, for Roger surrendered Alina's lands to Hugh, her nearest heir. If she had borne Roger a living heir, he would have had a life estate.

[14] The cases were sent to the hundred court of Archenfield because of that district's ancient liberty.

[15] A jury of twelve awarded the right to Robert.

[16] A jury of twelve gave a verdict for Peter; the abbot was declared in mercy.

[17] The accused denied the charge and put themselves on the country. A day was set for trial,

[18] On the nature of these enrolments see the editors' introduction to the volume cited below; also that of Maitland to his Memoranda de Parliamento.

[19] Cf. no. 52B.

[20] By the itinerant justices.

[21] Literally "have his country (pays)"; see above, p. 178, n. 4.

[22] On the nature of these courts and their records, see the famous introduction by the editor, F. W. Maitland.

[23] Seven persons are named, with fines from 6d. to 2s.

[24] Thirteen persons are named, with a normal fine of 6d.

[25] That is to say, by compurgation; see above, p. 77, n. 3.

[26] Meaning to be received as a manorial tenant.

[27] The fine for unchastity. Five girls are named, with fines from 6d. to 12d.

[28] That is to say, after it had been closed to such use.


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