Page images
PDF
EPUB

whole. It is not surprising then that, while we write these lines, an effort is being commenced, “ having for its object the better organization of the profession, and its union in a corporate body, for the maintenance of its honour and dignity, for the expression of its united opinion, for the preservation of a proper discipline among its members, and for the advancement of the science of jurisprudence.” Such are the terms of the document which has reached our hands, and which, we believe, has already received influential adhesions. If the rumour be correct, that an eminent member of the Bar, himself a Bencher, is prepared to introduce a measure into Parliament embodying some such idea as that sketched out above, the Bill would probably command almost universal assent. The recent action against the Benchers of the Middle Temple has shown that, unless the Bar is to sink into public ridicule, some steps must be taken for the better administration of its business ; we have no hesitation in avowing our opinion that self-government is the true remedy for the present evils; and if so great a reform should result from the recent litigation, we shall always, rejoice that the LAW MAGAZINE stood boldly in the front, and showed itself ready to face pecuniary loss rather than to fail in its duty, or to compromise the interests of the profession.

ART. II. - THE RIGHTS, DISABILITIES, AND

USAGES OF THE ANCIENT ENGLISH
PEASANTRY.

Part V.-Love-boons or Boon-days, and Holidays.
IT is rather remarkable that the word “ average,” which has

two distinct meanings as a technical term, in addition to its common and popular signification, should have been employed with a two-fold intention in the last number of the Law MAGAZINE. While one contributor used “ average " in the peculiar sense which it bears as a term of maritime law,

another made it mean land-transport and carriage, if not any service that can be done by a beast of draught or burden. Averpenny and aversilver anciently meant money paid instead of such service. Averpenny more than once occurs in Boldon Book; and in the same record, we meet with the forms averype and averere, which are derived from the Saxon words ríp (reaping or harvest), and erian (to plough) or yrth (tillage). Each villein at Boldon, in the year 1183, was required to reap three roods of averype and to plough three roods of averere.*

The service of tillage, called grass-erth, mentioned in the laws of landright, was in return for the privilege of feeding cattle in the lord's open pastures. The Saxon boor ploughed two acres of gærs-yrthe, and might be allowed to plough more if he required more pasture. In the year 1279 a yardlander at Newington, in Oxfordshire, was bound to plough an acre of winter tillage, called gerserthe ; for which service he might have common in the lord's pastures from the 1st of August until Mid-Lent. At Sturminster Newton, in Dorsetshire, certain tenants came upon the lord's grass-land on the morrow of St. Martin's Day with as many teams of oxen as they could bring; and they ploughed four acres of the land with each team; they brought seed from the hall, to sow the land; and afterwards harrowed it. This service entitled them to feed their oxen with the lord's oxen from the time that the meadows were mown until the cattle were housed. The term gærs-yrthe was extant in the year 1363, at Piddington, in Oxfordshire ; according to a rental of that year, the teams of the customary tenants came to plough the lord's land on a certain day chosen by the bailiff, within four days after the Feast of St. Michael ; this service was called grashearth, and

* či ob de auerseluer eo quod non debeant longius auerare quam ad Granarium sancti Pauli. (Dom. S. P. 90.)

xvi de averpenyng metunt üi rodas de auerype, et arat iii rodas de auerere. (Boldon-Book.)

cellarius libere solebat capere omnia sterquilinia ad suum opus in omni vico, nisi ante ostia eorum qui habebant Averland. (Joc. de Brakelond, 3 Monasticon, 164.)

it was done in order that the lord might raise no hedge, and might make no several pasture in the fallow field to exclude the cattle of the tenantry.*

The Saxon boor, in addition to grasserth, ploughed three acres of gafolyrthe ; that is, ploughing done in satisfaction of his gafol or rent, as well as three acres of benyrthe, or optional tillage, done as a boon to the lord,—done out of grace and kindness, not in the way of duty. The terms, averherthe, gavilherth, grashearth, and benerth or bedhurth, were used as late as the time of Edward the Second; and the exact phrases employed in the old Saxon laws of Landright to describe the services of benerth and grasserth recur in rentals of the fourteenth century.f

* to-eacan tham iii æceras to bene and ii to gærs-yrthe, gyf he maran gærses betyrfe thonze earnige thæs sva him man thafige. (Laws of Landright).

quelibet caruca debet arare duas acras quod vocatur Greserthe et pro illa arura debent omnes communicare infra dominicum absque gravimine. (2 Hundred Rolls, 754, also 761.) In crastino S. Martini

debent convenire super herbosam terram domini et congregare tot caracas boum quot poterunt de suis propriis et arare cum unaquaque caruca iii acras dicte terre et ibunt ad curiam domini Abbatis propter semen ad dictam terram seminand' et illam terram seminabunt et cum caballis suis eandem terram herciabunt et notandum quod propter predictum servicium omnes predicti viri habebunt tot boves quot habent proprios pascentes cum bobus dominicis ubique post falcationem pratorum usque presepe ligentur. (Add. 17450, f. 43 6.)

venient omnes carucæ infra villam de Pydinton ad arandam terram Domini uno die quem eligere voluerit Ballivus infra quatuor dies proxime post Festum Sancti Michaelis, per summonitionem Ballivi vel Præpositi, quod vocatur Grashearth : et hac ratione quod Dominus hayam nec pasturam separabilem faciet ab hominibus infra campum warectabilem. (Kennet, 495.)

† His gafol-yrthe iii aceras erige . . . ïïi æceras to bene (Laws of Landright.)

De qualibet caruca arant unam acram de 'auerherthe . . . Item sunt a acr' et di' de Gavilherth . . . Item de qualibet caruca i acr' de Gresherth. (Add. 6159, ff. 24 b, 28.)

tenebit unam carucam ad quaslibet sea precarias arare que vocantur Benerthe. (2 Clutterbuck's Herts App.)

arabit ad Bedurtham et Gresurtham.-(Add. 17450, ff. 164 b, 168.) pro amore non pro debito. (Custumale Roffense.)

üi acras precum et duas de herbagio (ii tó gærs-yrthe). (Laws of Landright.)

ii acras de Gersherde et iii acras ad preces. (Add. 6159, f. 161 b.)

Under the name of the Laws of Landright, we cite the document usually called Rectitudines Singularum Personarum.

Bedrip is of course a compound of béd (a prayer or petition) and rip (harvest). Bedrip was optional service in the harvest field; compulsory reaping was called nedrip or nedirip, (necessary reaping,) perhaps also called gavilripp.*

The kindly services rendered to the lord in seedtime and harvest were otherwise called precations, (preces, precaria, precationes,) gifel-works, and love-boons. The days on which they were rendered used to be called boon-days, and occasionally love-days; a love-day more commonly meant a lawday, a day set apart for a leet or manorial court, a day of final concord and reconciliation:

Now is the loveday mad of as fowre fynially,
Now may we leve in pes as we were wonte:
Misericordia et Veritas obviaverunt sibi,
Justitia et Pax osculatæ sunt.-(Coventry Mysteries.)

A large part of the lord's arable land was entirely cultivated by the tenantry. The customary tenants at Cokefield, near Bury, ploughed 200 acres of the demesne in a year. The dominical plough-lands there consisted of 333 acres. We need not suppose that the tenants ploughed up two-thirds of this area; they ploughed each acre more than once; and the

* Biddath thæs ripes hlaford, thæt he sende wyrhtan to his ripe. (Pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.)

benyrthe, id est araturam precum, et benripe id est ad preces metere et pratum falcare. (Laws of Landright.)

Benerth is defined by Sir Edward Coke. (Co. Litt. 86 a.) There are malry strange compounds in the rentals. Lage erthe or laverthe. (Dom. S. P. lxvi. 3.). Gavilripp: . (Add. 6159, f. 172 b.) Nedripp, nedirip. (2 Hundred Rolls, 765, 766, bis. Metebedripe and Middeleyesrype (2 H. R. 723.) Hingbidripe. (Spelman--Bidripa.) Hungeryvedripp. (Spelman—Precariæ.) Wytebedripe. (2 H. R. 515.) Wedbedrep and bountebedrep. (Harl. 3977, f. 108.) Wardbedrep. (f. 86 b.) Wardacras. (Dom. S. P. 72.)

† opera scilicet de dono que vocantur yeuelwerkes. (Add. 6160, f. 74 b.) precar quam vocant luwebene. (Harl. 3977, f. 91.) facit xüi loue bones et valent xiii". (2 H. R. 482.)

Love-boons, that is the voluntary labour of the inhabitants of the neighbouring townships. (1 Nicolson and Burn, 525.)

The truce between the Yorkists and Lancastrians in 1458 was called a Love-day. VOL. XIV.NO. XXVIII.

AA

record means that their labour was equal to the single tillage of 200 acres. *

In large manors a benerth, or arable precation, was a matter of difficult arrangement. It was the reeve's duty to ascertain whether a tenant intended to do the service, or chose rather to pay for a substitute. Bond tenants, free tenants of bond land, and freehold tenants alike took part in these operations. The reeve had to deal with persons of both sexes and of all conditions. Some of the contributors of labour were knights, and gentlemen, and ladies of quality; others were independent yeomen, surly farmers, and poor widows. The gathering of the ploughs must have made a remarkable sight. Soon after dawn, on the appointed day, the tenants met the lord's officers in the field. Tenants who came without oxen were employed in delving and in making fences; tenants who came with single oxen, or with less than an entire team, were associated with others; and thus all the oxen and cart-horses present were sorted in teams of about eight animals. The teams were marshalled by the beadle, who carried his wand of office, not quite a bare symbol of authority, for we dare say it

omnes tenentes ejusdem villatæ debent quater venire per annum ad pastum domini ad precarias carucarum; illi scilicet qui carucas habent per se vel junctas cum aliis, et qui nullum istorum habent per ordinacionem servientis vel Bedelli curie claudent sepes et hujusmodi. (Dom. S. P. 86.)

To erie his half acre holpen hym manie;

Dikeres and delveres digged up the balkes (Piers Plowman.) carucas dominicas adeat, custumarias, et adjutrices, prospiciens quod antequam dietam suam plenè paraverint, minime disjungentur. (2 Fleta, 73.)

arabunt terram domini in dicto manerio eodem modo et in tantum quo terram propriam absque fictione. (Kennet, 320.)

Debet arare ter in anno sine cibo domini, quæ vooatur laverthe et semel in anno ad cibum domini quæ vocatur benerthe. (Dom. S. P. Ixvi.) falcant usque ad vesperam. . . et tunc habent corrodium. (Boldon-Book.) sarclare.

usque ad horam nonam et si dominus illum pascit usque ad vesperam. (Add. 17450, f. 25.)

veniet ad Beneharvyng cum equo suo. (2 Clutterbuck's Herts, Hatfield.) quilibet equus hercians habebit qualibet die tantum de avenis, sicut capi potest inter duas manus. (Spelman, Precariæ.) tres pugillatas avene ad equum suum. (Dom. S. P. 34.)

venit ad iïi Bedweding. (Add. 17450, f. 96 b.)

« PreviousContinue »