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Of the Power of the Justice and Bailiffs

The chief justice has power to amend the wrongs done by all the other justices and bailiffs, and earls, and barons, and all other people, according to the law and justice of the land, and in fit. places, and that the justice take nothing unless it be presents of bread and wine, and such things, to wit, meat and drink, as have been used to be brought to the tables of the chief men for the day. And let this same thing be understood of all the king's councillors and all his bailiffs. And that no bailiff by occasion of plea or of his office, take any fee in his own hand, or through the agency of another in any manner. And if he is convicted, that he be punished, and he who gives likewise. And if it be fitting, that the king give to his justiciar and his people who serve him, so that they have no occasion to take any thing from elsewhere.

Of the Sheriffs

Let there be provided as sheriffs, loyal people, and substantial men, and land tenants; so that in each county there be a vavasour of the same county as sheriff, to treat the people of the county well, loyally, and rightfully. And that he take no fee, and that he be sheriff only for a year together; and that in the year he give up his accounts at the exchequer and answer for his time. And that the king grant unto him out of his own, according to his contribution, so that he can guard the county rightfully. And that he take no fee, neither he nor his bailiffs. And if they be convicted let them be punished.

Be it remembered that such amendment is to be applied to the Jewry, and to the wardens of the Jewry, that the oath as to the same may be kept.

Of the Escheators

Let good escheators be appointed; and that they take nothing of the effects of the dead, of such lands as ought to be in the king's hand. Also that the escheators have free administration of the goods until they shall have done the king's will, if they owe him debts. And that, according to the form of the Charter of liberty. And that inquiry be made into the wrongs done which the escheators have done there aforetime, and amendment be made of such and such. Nor let tallage on any thing else be taken, excepting such as ought to be according to the Charter of liberty.

Let the Charter of liberty be kept firmly.

Of the Exchange of London

Be it remembered to amend the exchange of London, and the city of London, and all the other cities of the king which have gone to shame and destruction by the tallages and other oppressions.

Of the Place of Reception of the King and Queen

Be it remembered to amend the hostelry of the king and the queen.

Of the Parliaments, how Many shall be held by Year, and in what Manner

It is to be remembered that the twenty-four have ordained that there be three parliaments a year. The first at the octave of Saint Michael. The second the morrow of Candlemas. The third the first day of June, to wit, three weeks before Saint John. To these three parliaments the elected councillors of the king shall come, even if they are not sent for, to see the state of the realm, and to treat of the common wants of the kingdom, and of the king in like manner. And other times in like manner when occasion shall be, by the king's command.

So it is to be remembered that the commonalty elect twelve honest men, who shall come at the parliaments and other times when occasion shall be, when the king or his council shall send for them to treat of the wants of the king and of the kingdom. And that the commonalty shall hold as established that which these twelve shall do. And that shall be done to spare the cost of the commonalty.

There shall be fifteen named by these four, to wit, by the earl Marshall, the earl of Warwick, Hugh Bigot, and John Mansel, who are elected by the twenty-four to name the aforesaid fifteen, who shall be the king's council. And they shall be confirmed by the aforesaid twenty-four, or by the major part of them. And they shall have power to counsel the king in good faith concerning the government of the realm and all things which appertain to the king or to the kingdom; and to amend and redress all things which they shall see require to be redressed and amended. And over the chief justice and over all other people. And if they cannot all be present, that which the majority shall do shall be firm and established. [The names of the principal castles of the king, and of those who have them in keeping, follow in the Ms.]


The Provisions of the Barons or of Westminster

(October, 1259. Latin text and translation, I S. R. 8, Stubbs, S. C. 401. 2 Stubbs, 83.)


N the year of the Incarnation of our Lord, one thousand two hundred and fifty-nine, and the forty-third year of the reign of king Henry the son of king John, there being assembled at Westminster in the fifteenth of Saint Michael, our said lord the king and his great men, by the common counsel and consent of the said king and great men, the underwritten provisions were made by the same king and great men, and were published in the manner following.

1. Of doing suits, unto the courts of the great men and others the lords of these courts, it is provided and with full consent ordained, that no man who hath been infeoffed by deed shall be distrained from henceforth to do suit unto the court of his lord, unless he be specially bounden to do suit by the form of his deed: except those whose ancestors or who themselves have used to do such suit, before the first voyage of the said lord the king into Brittany; from the time whereof there have passed twenty-nine years and a half at the time of making this ordinance; and in like manner no man infeoffed without deed from the time of the Conquest, or by other ancient feoffment, shall be distrained to do such suit; unless he or his ancestors have used to do the same, before the first voyage of the said lord the king into Brittany.

2. And if any inheritance where from only one suit was due, shall descend unto many heirs, as parceners thereof, he that hath the elder's share of that inheritance shall do one suit for himself and his coparceners; and his coparceners shall contribute after their shares, to the doing of that suit. And in like manner if many shall have been infeoffed of any inheritance where from one suit were due, the lord of that fee shall have but one suit therefrom; nor can he exact more than one suit from the said inheritance, as it hath been used to be done before. And if the persons infeoffed have no warrantor or mean who ought to acquit them thereof, then all of them shall contribute after their shares, to the doing of that suit.

3. And if it happen that the lords of courts do distrain their tenants for such suit, contrary to this provision, then upon the complaint of those tenants they shall be attached to appear in the

king's court at a short day to answer therefore; and they shall have but one essoin if they be within the realm; and the cattle or other distresses taken upon this occasion shall be delivered to the plaintiff forthwith, and shall remain delivered until the plea between them be ended. And if the lords of the courts who have made such distresses, shall not appear at the day whereto they were attached, or shall not keep the day given to them upon the essoin, then the sheriff shall be commanded to cause them to come upon another day; at which day if they come not, the sheriff shall be commanded to distrain them by all that they possess within his bailiwick, so that he shall answer to the king for the issues, and to have their bodies by a certain day to be prefixed, so that if they should not come upon that day, the party plaintiff may go thence without day; and the cattle or other distresses shall remain delivered until those lords shall recover that suit by award of the court of our lord the king; and in the mean time such distresses shall cease: saving to the lords of the courts their right to recover those suits in form of law, when they will sue therefore. And when the lords of the courts shall appear to answer unto the plaintiffs for such distresses, if they be thereupon convicted, then by the award of the court, the plaintiffs shall recover against them their damages, which they have sustained by occasion of the aforesaid distress. And in like manner, if tenants, after this act, do withdraw from their lords their suits which they ought to do, and which before the time of the aforesaid voyage and hitherto they have used to do, the lords of the courts shall obtain justice to recover their suits, together with their damages, by the same process and dispatch, in respect of appointment of days and awarding of distresses, like as the tenants do recover their damages. And this matter of recovering damages must be understood of the withdrawings done to themselves, and not of the withdrawings done to their predecessors: nevertheless the lords. of the courts shall not recover seisin of such suits against their tenants by default; as that hath not been the custom hitherto. And concerning the suits that were withdrawn before the time of the aforesaid voyage, let the common law have its course, as it hath used to have before.

4. Concerning the sheriff's turn, it is provided that archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons, shall not be obliged to come thither, nor any men of religion, or women, unless their presence be specially required; but the turn shall be holden as it was wont to be in the times of our lord the king's predecessors. And where any do hold tenements in divers hundreds, they shall not be obliged

to come to such turn except in the bailiwicks where they shall dwell and the turns shall be holden according to the form of the king's Great Charter, and as they were wont to be holden in the times of king John and king Richard.

5. It is also provided that neither in the circuit of justicers, nor in the county and hundred courts, nor in the courts baron, shall fines be taken from any from henceforth for fair pleading, nor for not being troubled on that account.

6. In the plea of dower that is called Unde nihil habet, from henceforth there shall be given four days in the year at least, and more if it may be conveniently done.

7. In assizes of darrein presentment, and in the plea of Quare impedit of churches vacant, the day shall be given from fifteen days to fifteen days, or from three weeks to three weeks, according as the place may be far or near. And in the plea of Quare impedit, if the disturber come not at the first day for which he shall have been summoned, nor cast an essoin, then he shall be attached unto another day, on which day if he come not nor cast an essoin, he shall be distrained by the great distress above mentioned. And if he come not then, upon his default the bishop shall be written to, that the claim of the disturber shall not obstruct the plaintiff for that term; saving unto the disturber his right at another time, when he will sue therefore.

8. Concerning charters of exemption and privilege, that the purchasers shall not be impanelled in assizes, juries, or recognitions, it is provided, that if their oath should be so necessary, that without it justice could not be administered, as in the great assize and perambulations, and where they may have been named as witnesses in charters, or writings of covenants, or in attaints or other like cases, they shall be compelled to swear; saving unto them at another time their aforesaid privilege and exemption.

9. If any heir should be under age after the death of his ancestor, and his lord have the wardship of his lands, if that lord will not render unto the said heir his lands when he cometh to lawful age, without plea, the heir shall recover his land as from the death of his ancestor, together with the damages that he shall have sustained by that withholding from the time of his coming to lawful age; and if an heir at the time of his ancestor's death be of full age, and such heir, apparent and known to be the heir, be found in the inheritance, his chief lord shall not put him out, nor take or remove any thing therefrom, but shall take simple seisin only for the acknowledgment of his seigniory.

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