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Title: Customary law in English manorial courts in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
Author: Beckerman, John Stephen.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3453 3831
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 1972
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This essay examines various aspects of the legal protection available to English peasants in manorial courts in the thirteenth and fourteenth centurie s. The chronological limits have been determined by the documentary evidence itself. The earliest manorial courts for which records of proceedings are known to exist were held in 1237, and by 1400 diplomatic tendencies towards abbreviation and omission of facts produced court rolls which are stereotyped and jejune. The first main theme is the effect of procedural innovations on the quality of justice dispensed in manor courts. A common need for more rational and more efficient ways of ascertaining what had happened in the past led to changes in the theory and practice of oath-swearing and the introduction in many courts of jury trial and documentary prc of, while seignorial desire for a better way of prosecuting breaches of manorial custom led to the widespread adoption of presentment procedure. These innovations immediately led to greater efficiency but ultimately undermined the traditional position of the suitors of the court. This development, in turn, was clo aely related to the inability of many courts to provide adequate justice in the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The second theme is the way in which manor courts enforceddistinctions of personal status and maintained security of land tenure. By focusing on the anomalous instances which cloud the distinction between freedom and servitude, an effort is made to see what difference the distinction made in practice. The third theme is the theory and practice of litigation in manor courts. The effects of pleading by plaint are considered through an analysis of terms frequently met with in counts, exceptions, and denials. Documents reproduced in the four appendices illustrate matters of pleading, procedure, and jurisdiction in manorial courts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available