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Title: The grand jury in seventeenth century England, with special reference to the North Riding of Yorkshire
Author: Goto, H.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis explores various aspects of the grand jury and grand jurors in seventeenth century England based on the case study of the grand jury in the North Riding of Yorkshire. A central theme is an examination of the nature of ‘substance’ and ‘sufficiency’ required for the grand jury, and it focuses on the grand jury’s membership and its relationship with superior magistrates. The first part concentrates on perceptions of the grand jury expressed in magistrates’ words and actions through charges to the grand jury expressed in magistrates’ words and actions and a lawsuit in the Star Chamber. These reveal justices’ ambivalent attitudes towards the grand jury, which rested on an unstable balance between trust and suspicion, between independence and subordination. Underlying this was the problem of recruiting sufficient jurors. The actual composition of the grand jury is discussed in Part II. The analysis is based on a systematic survey of grand jury panels returned to the quarter sessions between 1605 and 1705, excluding the Interregnum. Cross-sectional examinations of national and local tax assessments, and parochial office-holding, lead to a conclusion that the North Riding grand jury was comprised of a broad social spectrum of the middling sort of people between the magistrates and the non-rate-paying population: a mixture of the ‘subordinate inhabitants’ of the villages and towns, and more minor members who occasionally, and often indirectly, shared various local responsibilities with them. The substantial inhabitants served as a core of the grand jury, and were constantly returned to the office as foremen and regular jurors at least until the mid-1690s. These people were also actively involved in the parish administration as churchwardens, overseers, or constables. The sheer number of those involved in jury service quarterly each year, and the unique balance between continuity and diversity in its membership, indicates the widening potential reach of the state’s authority.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available