Courts of Chivalry and Admiralty in Late Medieval Europe

Courts of Chivalry and Admiralty in Late Medieval Europe

Edited by Anthony Musson, Nigel Ramsay


Boydell Press



A multi-disciplinary approach to two of the most important legal institutions of the Middle Ages.
The wars waged by the English in France during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries led to the need for judicial agencies which could deal with disputes that arose on land and sea, beyond the reach of indigenous laws. This led to the jurisdictional development of the Courts of Chivalry and Admiralty, presiding over respectively heraldic and maritime disputes. They were thus of considerable importance in the Middle Ages; but they have attracted comparatively little scholarly attention.
The essays here examine their officers, proceedings and the wider cultural and political context in which they had jurisdiction and operated in later medieval Western Europe. They reveal similarities in personnel, institutions and outlook, as well as in the issues confronting rulers in territories across Europe. They also demonstrate how assertions of sovereignty and challenges to judicial competence were inextricably linked to complex political agendas; and that both military and maritime law were international in reach because they were underpinned by trans-national customs and the principles and procedures of Continental civil law. Combining law with military and maritime history, and discussing the art and material culture of chivalric disputes as well as their associated heraldry, the volume provides fresh new insights into an important area of medieval life and culture.

Anthony Musson is Head of Research at Historic Royal Palaces; Nigel Ramsay is Honorary Senior Research Associate in the Department of History at University College London.

Contributors: Andrew Ayton, Richard Barber, John Ford, Laurent Hablot, Thomas K. Heebøll-Holm, Julian Luxford, Ralph Moffat, Philip Morgan, Bertrand Schnerb, Anne F. Sutton, Lorenzo Tanzini.


13 colour, 4 black and white illustrations
272 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Hardback, 9781783272174, June 2018
eBook, 9781787442757, June 2018
Boydell Press
BIC HBLC1, 1D, 2AB, 3H
BISAC HIS037010, LAW060000
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Table of Contents

Introduction - Anthony Musson and Nigel Ramsay
Heralds and the Court of Chivalry: From Collective Memory to Formal Institutions - Richard W Barber
French Armorial Disputes and Controls - Laurent Hablot
Art, Objects and Ideas in the Records of the Medieval Court of Chivalry - Julian Luxford
Sir Robert Grosvenor and the Scrope-Grosvenor Controversy - Philip Morgan
From Brittany to the Black Sea: Nicholas Sabraham and English Military Experience in the Fourteenth Century - Andrew Ayton
'Armed and redy to come to the felde': Arming for the Judicial Duel in Fifteenth-Century England - Ralph Moffat
The Jurisdiction of the Constable and Marshals of France in the Later Middle Ages - Bertrand Schnerb
The Origins and Jurisdiction of the English Court of Admiralty in the Fourteenth Century - Thomas K. Heebøll-Holm
The Consulate of the Sea and its Fortunes in Late Medieval Mediterranean Countries - Lorenzo Tanzini
The Admiralty and Constableship of England in the Later Fifteenth Century. The Operation and Development of these Offices, 1462-85, Under Richard, Duke of Gloucester and King of England - Anne F. Sutton
Some Dubious Beliefs about Medieval Prize Law - John D Ford

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