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Title: An introduction to, and edition of, the Suffolk Eyre Roll 1240 : civil pleas
Author: Gallagher, Eric James
ISNI:       0000 0000 7693 1136
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2005
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The purpose of this thesis is to provide a transcription and translation of the civil, or common, pleas in the plea roll of the justices in eyre in Suffolk, an eyre which opened in Ipswich on 30 April 1240. It does not cover the criminal and crown pleas. It is hoped that these will be the subject of a subsequent study for the Suffolk Records Society. This eyre took place at a time of relative tranquillity in England with Henry III almost at his most powerful before the balance of power between the barons and the king began noticeably to shift. The close examination of the plea roll of any general eyre is of value in its own right and as an addition to the available canon of published eyre rolls. However, the Suffolk Eyre of 1240 is of particular interest as it is the first from Suffolk to be edited and is also from one of the most populous and economically prosperous parts of England at that time. The roll is also the earliest to survive in full - there is a roll from the Suffolk eyre of 1228 that survives, but unfortunately only for the civil pleas. The text of the 1240 roll provides the meat on the bones of the introductory analysis. The first chapter sets the geographical scene, provides the topography of the political structures in Suffolk in the thirteenth century, and shows the part played by the general eyre in enforcing royal power in the counties. The justices came to Ipswich very early in William of York's circuit (it was his second county) so the second chapter summarises the progress of the visitation of the eyre in 1240, highlights the types of participants who took part in the eyre and summarises the careers of the principal justices in the eyre. This chapter also tries to estimate the number of people who took part in the eyre in some capacity. The analysis of the 1240 eyre roll and other relevant documents follows, illustrated by reference to some cases. Then there is a discussion of the civil, or common, pleas in Suffolk and a description of the litigants experience in the main types of civil pleas taken at the eyre. Next, there is a discussion of the financial profits for the eyre, which shows how they formed a significant portion of the royal revenues in the mid thirteenth century. The mechanisms of the assessment and the administrative processes for the collection of debts arising from amercements and fines made in the eyre are also outlined. Two special groups of participants in the eyre- women and villeins - are analysed in the next two chapters which try to examine their legal and social status at the eyre within a male and status dominated society. The conclusion briefly analyses the effectiveness of the eyre and suggests possible further studies in the eyre rolls to throw further light on thirteenth century legal, political and social history. The choice of the Suffolk Eyre was dictated by the fact that I currently live in Suffolk and that nobody had edited a Suffolk Eyre roll before. It was also governed by the fact that I wished, eventually, to cover civil, crown and criminal pleas, and this roll was the first available that covers them all. Much of the research for this thesis depended on the staff of the National Archives( formerly the Public Record Office) and I give them my thanks for providing me with advice and help. I am also grateful to a number of members of the Suffolk Records Society who provided particular help on the place names of Suffolk. They are: Dr. John Blatchly, Mr. Peter Northeast and Mr. David Dymond. I
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available