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IN

THE

OF

THE

ARCH

BARONS

OF

KINGDOM CONCERNING THE ASSESSMENT OF AIDS, EXCEPT
THE THREE CASES AFORESAID, AND

FOR

ASSESSING SCUTAGES, WE SHALL CAUSE TO BE SUMMONED BISHOPS, BISHOPS, ABBOTS, EARLS, AND GREATER THE REALM, SINGLY BY OUR LETTERS. AND FURTHERMORE, WE SHALL CAUSE TO BE SUMMONED GENERALLY, BY OUR SHERIFFS AND BAILIFFS, ALL OTHERS WHO HOLD OF US IN CHIEF, FOR А CERTAIN DAY, THAT IS TO SAY, FORTY DAYS BEFORE THEIR MEETING AT LEAST, AND TO A CERTAIN PLACE; AND IN ALL LETTERS OF SUCH SUMMONS WE WILL DECLARE THE CAUSE OF SUCH SUMMONS. AND SUMMONS BEING THUS MADE, THE BUSINESS SHALL PROCEED ON THE DAY APPOINTED, ACCORDING TO THE ADVICE OF SUCH AS SHALL BE PRESENT, ALTHOUGH ALL THAT WERE SUMMONED COME NOT.

15. We will not for the future grant to any one that he may take aid of his own free tenants, unless to ransom his body, and to make his eldest son a knight, and once to marry

his eldest daughter; and for this there shall be only paid a reasonable aid.

16. No man shall be distrained to perform more service for a knight's fee, or other free tenement, than is due from thence.

17. Common pleas shall not follow our court, but shall be holden in some place certain.

18. Trials upon the Writs of Novel Disseisin,' and of Mort d'ancestor, and of Darrein Presentment, shall not be taken but in their proper counties, and after this manner: We, or if we should be out of the realm, our chief justiciary, will send two justiciaries through every county four times a year, who, with four knights of each county, chosen by the county, shall hold the said assizes 4 in the county, on the day, and at the place appointed.

19. And if any matters cannot be determined on the day appointed for holding the assizes in each county, so many of the knights and freeholders as have been at the assizes aforesaid shall stay to decide them as is necessary, according as there is more or less business.

'Dispossession.
2 Death of the ancestor; that is, in cases of disputed succession to land.
3 Last presentation to a benefice.

4 The word Assize here means an assembly of knights or other substantial persons, held at a certain time and place where they sit with the Justice. Assisa' or · Assize’ is also taken for the court, place, or time at which the writs of Assize are taken.” – Thompson's Notes.

20. A freeman shall not be amerced for a small offences, but only according to the degree of the offence; and for a great crime according to the heinousness of it, saving to him his contenement; and after the same manner a merchant, saving to him his merchandise. And a villein shall be amerced after the same manner, saving to him his wainage, if he falls under our mercy; and none of the aforesaid amerciaments shall be assessed but by the oath of honest men in the neighbourhood.

21. Earls and barons shall not be. amerced but by their peers, and after the degree of the offence.

22. No ecclesiastical person shall be amerced for his lay. tenement, but according to the proportion of the others aforesaid, and not according to the value of his ecclesiastical benefice.

23. Neither a town nor any tenant shall be distrained to make bridges or embankments, unless that anciently and of right they are bound to do it.

24. No sheriff, constable, coroner, or other our bailiffs, shall hold “ Pleas of the Crown." 2

25. All counties, hundreds, wapentakes, and trethings, shall stand at the old rents, without any increase, except in our demesne manors.

26. If any one holding of us a lay fee die, and the sheriff, or our bailiffs, show our letters patent of summons for debt which the dead man did owe to us, it shall be lawful for the sheriff or our bailiff to attach and register the chattels of the dead, found upon his lay fee, to the amount of the debt, by the view of lawful men, so as nothing be removed until our whole clear debt be paid; and the rest shall be left to the executors to fulfil the testament of the dead; and if there be nothing due from him to us, all the chattels shall go to the use of the dead, saving to his wife and children their reasonable shares.3

27. If any freeman shall die intestate, his chattels shall be

I“ That by which a person subsists and which is essential to his rank in life.”

2 These are suits conducted in the name of the Crown against criminal offenders.

3 A person's goods were divided into three parts, of which one went to his wife, another to his heirs, and a third he was at liberty to dispose of. if he had no child, his widow had half; and if he had children, but no wife, half was divided amongst them. These several sums were called “reasonable shares.” Through the testamentary jurisdiction they gradually acquired the clergy often contrived to get into their own hands all the residue of the estate without paying the debts of the estate.

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distributed by the hands of his nearest relations and friends, by view of the Church, saving to every one his debts which the deceased owed to him.

28. No constable or bailiff of ours shall take corn or other chattels of any man unless he presently give him money for it, or hath respite of payment by the good-will of the seller.

29. No constable shall distrain any knight to give money for castle-guard, if he himself will do it in his person, or by another able man, in case he cannot do it through any reasonable cause. And if we have carried or sent him into the army, he shall be free from such guard for the time he shall be in the army by our command.

30. No sheriff or bailiff of ours, or any other, shall take horses or carts of any freeman for carriage, without the assent of the said freeman.

31. Neither shall we nor our bailiffs take any man's timber for our castles or other uses, unless by the consent of the owner of the timber.

32. We will retain the lands of those convicted of felony only one year and a day, and then they shall be delivered to the lord of the fee.'

33. All kydells? (wears) for the time to come shall be put down in the rivers of Thames and Medway, and throughout all England, except upon the sea-coast.

34. The writ which is called præcipe, for the future, shall not be

nade out to any one, of any tenement, whereby a freeman may lose his court.

35. There shall be one measure of wine and one of ale through our whole realm; and one measure of corn, that is to say, the London quarter; and one breadth of dyed cloth, and russets, and haberjeets, that is to say, two ells within the lists; and it shall be of weights as it is of measures. 36. NOTHING FROM HENCEFORTH

WRIT OF INQUISITION OF LIFE OR LIMB, BUT IT SHALL BE GRANTED FREELY, AND NOT DENIED.”

2

SHALL

BE

GIVEN OR

TAKEN

FOR A

3

* All forfeiture for felony has been abolished by the 33 and 34 Vic., a 23. It seems to have originated in the destruction of the felon's property being part of the sentence, and this “waste” being commuted for temporary possession by the Crown.

2 The purport of this was to prevent enclosures of common property, or committing a Purpresture. These wears are now called "kettles" or “kettle-nets" in Kent and Cornwall.

3 This important writ, or “writ concerning hatred and malice," may have been the prototype of the writ of Habeas Corpus, and was granted for a similar purpose.

2

ANY WAYS DE

37. If any do hold of us by fee-farm, or by socage, or by burgage, and he hold also lands of any other by knight's service, we will not have the custody of the heir or land, which is holden of another man's fee by reason of that fee-farm, socage,' or burgage; neither will we have the custody of the fee-farm, or socage, or burgage, unless knight's service was due to us out of the same fee-farm. We will not have the custody of an heir, nor of any land which he holds of another by knight's service, by reason of any petty serjeanty by which he holds of us, by the service of paying a knife, an arrow, or the like.

38. No bailiff from henceforth shall put any man to his law 3 upon his own bare saying, without credible witnesses to prove it.

39. NO FREEMAN SHALL BE TAKEN OR IMPRISONED, OR DISSEISED, OR OUTLAWED, OR BANISHED, OR STROYED, NOR WILL WE PASS UPON HIM, NOR WILL WE SEND UPON HIM, UNLESS BY THE LAWFUL JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS, OR BY THE LAW OF THE LAND.

40. WE WILL SELL TO NO MAN, WE WILL NOT DENY TO ANY MAN, EITHER JUSTICE OR RIGHT.

41. All merchants shall have safe and secure conduct, to go out of, and to come into England, and to stay there and to pass as well by land as by water, for buying and selling by the ancient and allowed customs, without any unjust tolls; except in time of war, or when they are of any nation at war with us. And if there be found any such in our land, in the beginning of the war, they shall be attached, without damage to their bodies or goods, until it be known unto us, or our chief justiciary, how our merchants be treated in the nation at war with us; and if ours be safe there, the others shall be safe in our dominions.

42. It shall be lawful, for the time to come, for any one to go out of our kingdom, and return safely and securely by land or by water, saving his allegiance to us; unless in time of war, by some short space, for the common benefit of the realm, except prisoners and outlaws, according to the law of the land, and people in war with us, and merchants who shall be treated as is above mentioned.

“Socage" signifies lands held by tenure of performing certain inferior offices in husbandry, probably from the old French word soc, a plough-share. 43. If any man hold of any escheat,' as of the honour of Wallingford, Nottingham, Boulogne, Lancaster, or of other escheats which be in our hands, and are baronies, and die, his heir shall give no other relief, and perform no other service to us than he would to the baron, if it were in the baron's hand; and we will hold it after the same manner as the baron held it.

2 The tenure of giving the king some small weapon of war in acknowledgment of lands held.

3 Equivalent to putting him to his oath. This alludes to the Wager of Law, by which a defendant and his eleven supporters or “compurgators” could swear to his non-liability, and this amounted to a verdict in his favour.

• The Crown has still technically the power of confining subjects within the kingdo.n by the writ “ne exeat regno,” though the use of the writ is mrely resorted to.

44. Those men who dwell without the forest from henceforth shall not come before ov. justiciaries of the forest, upon common summons, but such as are impleaded, or are sureties for any that are attached for something concerning the forest.”

45. We will not make any justices, constables, sheriffs, or bailiffs, but of such as know the law of the realm and mean duly to observe it.

46. All barons who have founded abbeys, which they hold by charter from the kings of England, or by ancient tenure, shall have the keeping of them, when vacant, as they ought to have.

47. All forests thać have been made forests in our time shall forth with be disforested; and the same shall be done with the water-banks that have been fenced in by us in our time.

48. All evil customs concerning forests, warrens, foresters, and warreners, sheriffs and their officers, water-banks and their keepers, shall forth with be inquired into in each county, by twelve sworn knights of the same county, chosen by creditable persons of the same county ; and within forty days after the said inquest be utterly abolished, so as never to be restored : so as we are first acquainted there with, or our justiciary, if we should not be in England.

49. We will immediately give up all hostages and charters delivered unto us by our English subjects, as securities for their keeping the peace, and yielding us faithful service.

50. We will entirely remove from their bailiwicks the relations of Gerard de Atheyes, so that for the future they shall have no bailiwick in England; we will also remove Engelard de Cygony, Andrew, Peter, and Gyon, from the Chancery; Gyon

1

* The word escheat is derived from the French escheoir, to return or happen, and signifies the return of an estate to a lord, either on failure of tenant's issue or on his committing felony. The abolition of Feudal tenures by the Act of Charles II. (12 Charles II. c. 24) rendered obsolete this part and many other parts of the Charter.

2 The laws for regulating the Royal forests, and administering justice in respect of offences committed in their precincts, formed a large part of the law.

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