By J. Masschaele

This publication portrays the nice number of paintings that medieval English juries conducted whereas highlighting the dramatic raise in calls for for jury carrier that happened in this interval.

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Jury, State, and Society in Medieval England

This booklet portrays the nice number of paintings that medieval English juries performed whereas highlighting the dramatic elevate in calls for for jury carrier that happened in this interval.

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The first decade of Edward III’s reign documents a mature phase in the history of medieval inquests, one that persisted with relatively 36 J u r y, S t at e , a n d S o c i e t y i n M e d i e va l E n g l a n d minor changes into the sixteenth century and beyond. But, the decade also stands at the end of a period of growth and change that reaches back to the eleventh century. What, if anything, can be said about chronological development in this earlier period? When did the situation depicted in the second quarter of the fourteenth century come to the fore?

But, while it is clear that Henry I sometimes used sworn inquests in ways that herald their role in later centuries, his use of them also differed considerably from that of his Angevin successors. For one thing, Henry appears not to have insisted that the results of the inquests be returned to him. For later kings, receipt of the information supplied in a jury verdict was an important part of the whole process. Unlike his successors, Henry I did not view the final verdict as something that necessarily belonged to the Crown.

45 Though obviously more politicized than their counterparts in Domesday Book and the Hundred Rolls, the verdicts that informed the king about the activities and possessions of rebels were cut from the same cloth as those that dealt with property rights and the petty corruption of local officials. Such large-scale applications of sworn inquests reveal how central inquest procedure was to the conduct of English government in the Middle Ages. But focusing on the instances when royal officials convened thousands of local juries in short order across the kingdom as a whole can distort as well as clarify the work these juries did on a more regular basis.

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