The Civil Pleas of the Suffolk Eyre of 1240

June 2009
4 black and white, 1 line illustrations
450 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Suffolk Records Society
ISBN: 9781843834335
Format: Hardback
Suffolk Records Society
Boydell Press

The Civil Pleas of the Suffolk Eyre of 1240

Edited by Eric James Gallagher

Edition and translation of an important legal document, shedding new light on legal developments in medieval England.
The eyre was an organised judicial visitation to the counties of England by the king's justices to hear all types of plea, civil and crown, as well as to investigate any matters for the king that pertain to the county; it was thus a hugely important part of the legal process.

This volume presents an edition and translation of the civil pleas in the Suffolk Eyre Roll of 1240, now in the National Archives, the first civil pleas from a Suffolk eyre roll to be fully published. It throws light on common law in mid thirteenth-century England and its application within the county. It shows that the development of the King's justice in the counties was in accordance with the 13th century De Legibus et Consuetudinibus Angliae, commonly called Bracton after the 13th century judge, who supposedly wrote this book of medieval jurisprudence. And, more widely, it also illustrates the nature and government of local society and how people at all levels fared in this particular eyre.

The editor's introduction provides a summary of the eyre system and an analysis of those attending the eyre, the types of plea used and the outcome of those pleas. It attempts to estimate how much money was raised for the king and why the system became such a huge source of royal revenue. Finally it provides reasons for the demise of the eyre system in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries.

Table of Contents

Notes on the text, translation and editorial method
The Civil Pleas of the Suffolk Eyre of 1240


Here is a worthwhile addition to the growing corpus of edited and published thirteenth-century eyre rolls, in this case appearing in translation and with a long and commendably thorough introduction. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW

The calendar itself is very full and copiously footnoted, with particular attention given to place-name queries, to the benefit of local historians and topographers. The overall impression is of a job thoroughly and competently done, resulting in a very useful volume indeed. ARCHIVES

For anybody concerned with the history of East Anglia or the medieval period, it is clear that this book represents an extremely valuable contribution. Its publication makes accessible a rich source that enables the amateur historian to penetrate everyday life in medieval Suffolk. [...] Gallagher has produced a fine text that will undoubtedly be used by academic medievalists for many years, but this book also has a place on the shelves of the keen local and family historian. THE LOCAL HISTORIAN

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