Page images





&c. &c. &c.


Of Courts and Civil Proceedings.

CLASS XV. Wales, Counties Palatine, and Liberties. * [ No. I. ] 3 Edward I. (Westminster 1.) c. 17.-The

remedy, if the distress be impounded in a castle or fortress. +

[This Act at length, infra.]

[ No. II. ] Statutum Wallie.--Claus. 12 Edward I.

dorso. in Turr. Lond. EDWARD, by the grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland, 12 Edward I.

and Duke of Aquitaine, to all his subjects of his land of Snowden, and of other his lands in Wales, greeting in the Lord. The Divine providence, which is unerring in its own government, among other gifts of its dispensation, wherewith it bath vouchsafed to distinguish us and our realm of England, hath now of its favour wholly and entirely transferred under our proper dominion the land of Wales, with its inhabitants, heretofore subject unto us in feudal right, all obstacles whatsoever ceasing; and hath annexed and united the same unto the crown of the aforesaid realm, as a member of the same body. We, therefore, under the Divine will, being desirous that our aforesaid land of Snowden and our other lands in those parts, like as all those which are subject unto our power, should be governed with due order to the honour and praise of God, and of Holy Church, and the advancement of justice,

It has been thought desirable to introduce The Editor of this Work has published an in this class some of the old statutes respect- account of the practice of the Court of Coming Wales, as indicating the state of that mon Pleas at Lancaster, which was formerly country, and the nature of its connection with submitted to the Prothonotary of the Court, England, although such statutes are not im- and may be therefore regarded as authentic. mediately applicable to the present general To which list the Editor of this edition must division.

add, the excellent Work of Mr. Oldnall Russell Mr. Abbot, the late Speaker of the House on the Practice of the Court of Great Sessions. of Commons, published a work on the prac- * At the close of the Chapter is the followtice of the Chester circuit, (of which he was ing enactment :-"And this is to be intended formerly

a member) preceded by a very valu- in all places where the King's writ lieth. And able preface, in which, in addition to his re- if that be done in the marches of Wales, or in marks on the particular subject, he makes any other place where the King's writ be not cursome very valuable observations on the general rent, the King, which is sovereign Lord over all, propriety of admitting alterations in the exist- shall do right there unto such as will complain." ing law, Vol. IV,


[ocr errors]

No. II.

and that the people or inhabitants of those lands who have submitted 12 Edward I, themselves absolutely unto our will, and whom we have thereunto so

accepted, should be protected in security within our peace under fixed laws and customs, have caused to be rehearsed before us and the pobles of our realm the laws and customs of those parts hitherto in use, which be diligently heard and fully understood, We have, by the advice of the aforesaid nobles, abolished certain of them, some thereof we have allowed, and some we have corrected ; and we have likewise commanded certain others to be ordained and added thereto; and these we will shall be from henceforth for ever stedfastly kept and observed in our lands in those parts, according to the form underwritten.

We have provided and by our command ordained, That the justice of Snowden shall have the custody and government of the peace of us the King, in Snowden, and our lands of Wales adjoining, and shall administer justice to all persons whatsoever, according to original writs of us the King, and also the laws and customs underwritten. We likewise will and ordain that there be sheriffs, coroners, and bailiffs of commotes in Snowden, and our lands of those parts; a sheriff of Anglesca, under whom shall be the whole land of Anglesea, with its cantreds, metes, and bounds; a sheriff of Caernarvon, under whom shall be the cantred of Arvan, the cantred of Arthlencoyth, the commote of Cruthin, the cantred of Thleen, and the cominote of Yvionith ; a sheriff of Merioneth, under whom shall be the cantred of Merioneth, the commote of Ardovey, and the commote of Penthlin, and the commote of Deyrinoin, with their metes and bounds; a sheriff of Flint, under whom shall be the cantred of Englefeud, the land of Maillor Sexeneyth, and the land of Hope, and all the land adjoining to our castle and town of Rothelan unto the town of Chester shall from henceforth be obedient under us, to our Justice of Ches'er, and shall answer for the issues of the same commote at our Exchequer of Chester. There shall be coroners in the same counties to be chosen by the King's writ, the tenor whereof is to be found among the original writs of the Chancery. There shall likewise be bailiffs of commotes, who shall faithfully do and discharge their offices, and diligently attend thereto according to what shall be given them in charge by the justice and sheriffs ; a sheriff of Carmarthen, with its cantreds and commotes, and ancient metes and bounds; a sheriff of Cardigan and Llampter, with its cantreds and commotes, and metes and bounds. There shall be coroners in these counties, and bai

liffs of commotes as before. Of the office of The sheriff ought to execute his office in this form, to wit, When sheriffin Wales, any one shall have complained to him of any trespass done to him and the man

against the peace of our Lord the King, or of the taking and wrongful ner of holding detaining of cattle, or of an unjust taking or of debt or any other concourts.

tract not fulfilled, and the like, either by writ or without writ, first let him take pledges of prosecuting his claim or the party's oath if he be a poor man, and afterwards make execution as is more fully declared in this manner; the defendants in each case shall be summoned to be at the next county court to answer unto the plaintiffs, at which court after summons made and proof thereof, if they come not they shall be summoned again by award of the court to be at another court next ensuing to answer as before, at which if they come not after summons repeated and proof thereof, they shall be summoned by award of the court a third time to be at the next third county court to answer as before, at which court if they come not, then the plaintiffs by judgment of the court, as well in pleas by writ as plaints without writs, shall recover their demands together with damages or amends as well in moveables as in immoveables, according as the actions require; and for such defaults a penalty shall be incurred to our Lord the King, according to the law and custom of Wales. And when the parties shall have appeared to plead, each shall be received without fine to relate the truth of his case, and according to the plaints, answers, and allegations on either side shall be the proceeding to judgment for the plaintiff or defendant, by the award of the county court, and the punishment shall be according to the quality and quantity of the offence. And it is to be known No. II. that the county court ought to be holden in this manner, to wit, from 12 Edward I. month to month, in such place as our Lord the King shall ordain ; and this upon Monday in one county, upon Tuesday in another, upon Wednesday in a third county, and upon Thursday in a fourth ; and not upon any other days. And the sheriff

' shall proceed thus in the holding of his county court :- First, he shall hear and receive before himself and the coroner, and the suitors of the county, the presentments of felonies and of casualties that shall have happened between two counties, touching the death of a man in this manner ; That the four townships next to the place where the fact of manslaughter or misaventure shall have happened, shall come to the next county court, together with him that found the dead man, and the Welchery, that is the kindred of the person slain, and there shall present the fact of felony, the case of misaventure, and the manner of either ; declaring thus, That on such a day,' at such a place, it fell out that such an one, known or unknown, was found slain feloniously, or drowned, or otherwise dead by misadventure, and such an one found him who is present, &c. and that presentment shall be forth with inrolled, as well in the coroner's roll as in the sheriff's. And if there should be present man or woman that would sue by appeal, there shall be pledges to prosecute taken forthwith, and the appeal shall be sued in that county court. So that if the appellees should appear they shall straight be taken and detained in the prison of our Lord the King until the coming of the justice, and be safely kept. And if they should not appear, then upon the prosecution of the appellor they shall be exacted from one county court to another ; and if they come pot at the fourth court, or be not taken to pledge, they shall be outlawed, and women shall be waived. And if they should not appear at the first county court where they shall be exacied, their lands and chattels shall be forth with taken and seised in the hand of our Lord the King, and shall be delivered into ward to the townships as hereunder. In the same manner shall the proceeding be in an appeal of wounding; maibem, rape, arson, and robbery against the appellees, if they should not appear. And if they should appear and find sufficient pledges, six at the least, or more, to abide judgment at the coming of the justice, they shall straight be replevied. And it is to be known that the proceeding to outlawry is not to have place against appellees of force, command, direction, or receit, until some one be convicted of the fact.

The sheriff shall make his turn in his several commotes twice in the year in some place certain to be therefore assigned ; that is to say, once after the Feast of St. Michael, and once after Easter; at which turn all freeholders and others holding lands, and dwelling in that commote at the time of the summons for holding of the term, except men of religion, clerks, and women, ought to come thither. And the sheriff by the oath of twelve freeholders of the most discreet and lawful, or more, at his discretion, shall diligently make enquiry upon the articles touching the crown and dignity of our Lord the King hereunder written.

of traitors to our Lord the King and the realm, the Queen and their children, and their abettors; of thieves, manslayers, robbers, murderers, burners, that make felonious burnings, and their receivers and accessaries; of mascherers, that sell and buy stolen meat knowingly ; of whittawers, that is, those that whiten hides of oxen and horses, knowing the same to have been stolen, that they may not be known again ; of redubbers of stolen cloths, that turn them into a new shape and change the old one, as making a coat or surcoat of a cloak, and the like; of outlaws and abjurors of the realm that have returned to it; of such as have withdrawn themselves against the coming and eyre of the justice, and have returned after the eyre; of ravishers of maids, nuns, and matrons of good repute ; of treasure trove; of turning watercourses ; of hindrance, restraint, and narrowing of the highway ; of walls, houses, gates, ditches, and marl-pits raised and made near unto the public way, to the nuisance of the same way and to the danger of passengers, and of them that raise and make the same ; of forgers of

No. II. the money and seal of our Lord the King of trespassers in parks and 12 Edward I. vivaries ; of breakers of the prison of our Lord the King; of takers of

pigeons flying from dovecotes ; of those who make pound-breach, that is, breakers of the inclosures wherein beasts are impounded; of forestall, that is, of the stopping of cattle; of hamsoken, that is, of breaking into houses; of theftbote, that is, of taking amends for theft without leave of the King's court; of them that do imprison any freemen whatsoever ; of usurers ; of removers and falsifiers of land-marks; of non-observance of the assize of bread and beer, and of breakers thereof; of unlawful bushels, gallons, and other measures; of unlawful yards and weights, and them that sell therewith ; of them that give lodging to persons unknown for more than two nights; of blood spilt; of hue and cry levied; of them that shear sheep by night in the folds, and that flay them or any other beasts ; of them that take and collect by night the ears of corn in autumn, and carry them away; and of all other the like trespasses. Let inquiry also be made of the rights of our Lord the King withdrawn, as of custodies, wardships, marriages, reliefs, fees, advowsons of churches if any there be; suits to the county and commotes, who shall have withdrawn them, and from what time ; and of them that shall have taken upon them to exercise royalties without warrant, as gallows-fives for breach of the assize of bread and beer, plea of vetitum namium, and other the like rights, which specially and by prerogative belong to the crown of our Lord the King. The sheriff in making his view and turn shall first cause to come together forth with before him all the men of the whole commote, and shall cause them to swear that they will true presentment make to the twelve or more of the jury chosen by the sheriff ; and that they will conceal nought that is true nor say ought that is false of those things that shall be given them in charge in behalf of our Lord the King; and the oath being taken, the above-written articles shall be laid before them, and they shall be charged to make diligent enquiry upon each ; and if they should find any who for their offence ought to lose life or limb, they shall intimate their names to the sheriff secretly, lest the men so indicted should escape if they were present in the turn, and were indicted publicly; but of the rest of the articles they may well declare their an. swers openly and in public, and return their verdict; and then it shall be told them to go apart by themselves and diligently to treat and enquire of those things that are given them in charge. And when they shall have been well informed, they shall return, and render their verdict, and make their presentment. But the sheriff in receiving the verdicts and recognitions shall not seek to trouble them that make presentments, nor shall he take fines of them for not being troubled. And when the verdict or presentment of the jury is brought in, the sheriff shall forthwith, or as soon as he may, take and keep in prison or discharge upon sufficient bail, such as have been indicted of offences whereof the punishment is death or loss of limb. And of the rest of the articles There shall forthwith be correction and due execution made in all and every the matters aforesaid, according to the inquisitions. And the bailiffs of commotes shall from henceforth hold their commotes, and

do and administer justice to the parties in suit. Of the office of It is provided, That in every commote in Wales there, shall be one coroner, that

coroner at the least who shall be chosen in the full county court by the is to say, of the writ of our Lord the King, according to the form among other royal pleas of the

writs in the following roll contained'; and he shall there make oath Crown in

before the sheriff that he will be faithful to our Lord the King, and Wales..

that he will faithfully do and execute all things belonging to the office of coroner. And his office shall be this, -That when he shall be required by any one to come and view a man dead by felony, or drowoed, or in any other manner dead by nuisadventure ; and also to view a man grievously wounded, so that his life be despaired of, that he shall forthwith require the sheriff or bailiff of the commote to cause to come before him at a certain day and place all persons of twelve years of age and upwards of that town wherein the casualty shall have happened, and of the four townships next adjoining; and by their oaths he shall No. II. faithfully, cautiously, and secretly and diligently make enquiry of the 12 Edward I. felony, the felons, and their chattels; likewise of the fact and the manner thereof, that is to say, who bath been guilty of the fact, who of force, and what manner of force, who of command or direction, and who of receipt after the fact; and of the chattels of all those who shall be found guilty thereof by the inquest. He shall likewise make enquiry wbo first found the body, and his name shall be inrolled, and he shall be attached by pledges whose names shall be inrolled, to come to the next county court, and also before the justice in his circuit. And the inquisition being made, be shall forthwith cause the same to be jorolled distinctly and openly, together with the names of those who shall have been found guilty, and their chattels; and he shall secretly deliver to the sheriff, if he be present, or to the bailiff of the commote, their names in writing, giving in charge on the behalf of our Lord the King, that straight their bodies be taken and safely kept in the prison of our Lord the King until they stand upon their acquittal in the court of our Lord the King; and he shall cause their chattels to be faithfully appraised, and shall set down in his roll as well the particular chattels as the value thereof; and shall cause the said chattels by the view of the sheriff or bailiff, and of the other liege subjects of our Lord the King, who shall be there present, to be delivered to every of the townships wherein the said chattels shall severally be found ; that they may duly answer for the same upon the coming of the justice of our Lord the King. The coroner when he shall make inquisition concerning the dead shall enquire of the Welshery, that is to say, the kindred of the dead man; and if any one on the part of the father, and another on the part of the mother, shall appear, and say that they are of his kindred, and the same be testified by liege subjects of the King, he shall straight cause their names to be inrolled in this roll. But if none of the kindred should appear, it shall likewise be inrolled in his roll that none doth appear ; that the justice at his coming may the more clearly proceed in what is fit to be done thereupon. The coroner also shall diligently make enquiry of the happening of the accident and the manner thereof; and according to what he shall find upon the inquest shall cause the same to be distinctly inrolled. He shall likewise inquire who found the body, and cause his name to be inrolled as above.

Moreover when a thief or manslayer or other malefactor shall fly to the church, the coroner, as soon as he shall be certified thereof, shall direct the bailiff of our Lord the King for that commote to cause to. come before bim at a certain day the good and lawful men of the neighbourhood ; and in their presence, after recognition made of the felony, shall cause the abjuration to be made in this manner ; That the felon shall be brought out unto the church-door, and a sea-port shall be assigned bim by the coroner, and then he shall abjure the realm, and according as the port assigned shall be far or near, the term shall be set for his going out of the realm aforesaid: so that in journeying towards that port, bearing in his hand a cross, he shall not in any manner turn out of the King's highway, that is to say, neither upon the right hand nor upon the left, but shall always hold to the same until he shall depart the realm. The writ of Novel Disseisin for a freehold whereof any freeholder shall

have been disseised unjustly, and without judgment. • The King to the Sheriff of Anglesey, greeting, A. hath complained The forms of conto us that B. and C. unjustly and without judgment have disseised the King's ori

him of his freehold in M. after the proclamation of our peace in ginal writs to 'Wales, in the eleventh year of our reign. And therefore we com

be pleaded in

Wales. * mand you that if the aforesaid A. shall give you security to prosecute * his claim, then you shall cause the said tenement to be reseised' of the .chattels that shall have been taken in the saine ; and the same tene'ment with the chattels to be in peace until a certain day, whereof our justice shall give you notice. Ånd in the mean time cause twelve free

« PreviousContinue »