Kings, Lords and Courts in Anglo-Norman England
Title Details

271 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

Imprint: Boydell Press

Kings, Lords and Courts in Anglo-Norman England

by Nicholas Karn

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
  • Reviews
First study of the origins of the lordship courts that dominated the lives of the peasantry of medieval England.

About the year 1000, hundreds and shires were the dominant and probably the only local assemblies for doing legal and other business in England. However, this simple pattern did not last long, for lords established separate courts which allowed them to manage and discipline their dependents without external interference, and therefore to intensify and redefine their claims over their dependents. These can be seen clearly by the early twelfth century, and were the basis from which the later manorial courts, courts leet and honour courts originated.
The appearance of these courts has long been recognised; what is novel about this book is that it shows how they came into being. It argues that lordship courts ultimately originated through subtracting business from the public courts of Anglo-Saxon England, not from the rights inherent in land ownership. It also shows how and when royal justices appeared for the first time as a response to these changes, and how the earliest generation of judges differed from their successors in their roles and functions, which has considerable consequences for how we understand the changing roles of justices in shaping English law. Overall, the changing pattern of assemblies and courts helped to redefine lordship, peasant status and royal authority, and to expectations about how business should be transacted, with widespread implications across Anglo-Norman society, culture and politics
Introduction
Lords and their Dependents in Court: the Later Anglo-Saxon Paradigm
The Aspirations of Lords in Eleventh- and Twelfth-Century England
Private Claims and Hundreds in the Later Eleventh and Earlier Twelfth Centuries
The Division of Hundreds and the Proliferation of Courts
From Debate within Courts to Debate between Courts: the Origins of Jurisdictional Debate
Courts, Pleas and Kings in the Early Twelfth Century
Pleas and Justices in the Early Twelfth Century
Conclusion
Appendix: the Evidence for Justices, 1100-1154
Bibliography

NICHOLAS KARN is Associate Professor of History in the University of Southampton.

"[This] work deserves considerable praise and ought to be widely read." HISTORY
"Karn's volume is a triumph, both a major contribution to our understanding of Anglo-Norman politics and valuable analysis of the legal practices that laid the foundation for the emergence of Common Law. He is to be congratulated on a book that will certainly shape the discussion of this topic for years to come." JOURNAL OF BRITISH STUDIES
"This is an important book, filling a significant gap in scholarship on late Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman law, lordship, and administration. . . . [A] highly stimulating study of a neglected topic." John Hudson, Speculum

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9781783274864

January 2020

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9781787448896

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Title Details

271 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

Imprint: Boydell Press