Chapter 11

S. A. Reilly

The Times: 1485-1509

Henry Tudor and other exiles defeated and killed Richard III on Bosworth field, which ends the War of the Roses. As King, Henry VII restored order to the nation. He was readily accepted as King because he was descended from both royal lines who were fighting each other and married a woman who also was in the royal bloodline. Henry was intelligent and sensitive. He weighed alternatives and possible consequences before taking action. He was convinced by reason on what plans to make. His primary strategy was enacting and enforcing statutes to shore up the undermined legal system, which includes the establishment of a new court: the Court of the Star Chamber, to obtain punishment of persons whom juries were afraid to convict. It had no jury. The Star Chamber was the room in which the King's council had met since the 1300s. In his reign of 24 years, Henry applied himself diligently to the details of the work of government to make it work well. He strengthened the monarchy, shored up the legal system to work again, and provided a peace in the land in which can later flourish a renaissance of the arts and sciences, culture, and the intellectual life.

The most prevalent problems were: murder, robbery, rape or forced marriage of wealthy women, counterfeiting of coin, extortion, misdemeanors by sheriffs and escheators, bribing of sheriffs and jurors, perjury, livery and maintenance agreements, idleness, unlawful plays, and riots. Interference with the course of justice was not committed only by lords on behalf of their retainers; men of humbler station were equally prone to help their friends in court or to give assistance in return for payment. Rural juries were intimidated by the old baronage and their armed retinues. Juries in municipal courts were subverted by gangs of townsmen. Justices of the Peace didn't enforce the laws. The agricultural work of the nation had been adversely affected.

Henry made policy with the advice of his council and implemented it by causing Parliament to enact it into legislation. He dominated Parliament by having selected most of its members. Many of his council were sons of burgesses and had been trained in universities. He chose competent and especially trusted men for his officers and commanders of castles and garrison. The fact that only the King had artillery deterred barons from revolting. Also, the baronial forces were depleted due to war. If Henry thought a magnate was exercising his territorial power to the King's detriment, he confronted him with an army and forced him to bind his whole family in recognizances for large sums of money to ensure future good conduct. Since the King had the authority to interpret these pledges, they were a formidable check on any activity which could be considered to be disloyal. The earl of Kent, whose debts put him entirely at the King's mercy, was bound to "be seen daily once in the day within the King's house". Henry also required recognizances from men of all classes, including clergy, captains of royal castles, and receivers of land. The higher nobility now consisted of about twenty families. The heavy fines by the Star Court put an end to conspiracies to defraud, champerty [an agreement with a litigant to pay costs of litigation for a share in the damages awarded], livery, and maintenance. The ties between the nobility and the Justices of the Peace had encouraged corruption of justice. So Henry appointed many of the lesser gentry and attorneys as Justices of the Peace. Also he appointed a few of his councilors as non-resident Justices of the Peace. There were a total of about thirty Justices of the Peace per county. Their appointments were indefinite and most remained until retirement or death. Henry had yeomen serve as personal bodyguards night and day.

Many bills of attainder caused lords to lose their land to the King. Most of these lords had been chronic disturbers of the peace. Henry was also known to exhaust the resources of barons he suspected of disloyalty by accepting their hospitality for himself and his household for an extended period of time.

Henry built up royal funds by using every available procedure of government to get money, by maximizing income from royal estates by transferring authority over them from the Exchequer to knowledgeable receivers, and from forfeitures of land and property due to attaints of treason. He also personally reviewed all accounts and initialed every page, making sure that all payments were made. He made a regular practice of ordering all men with lands with 800s. 40 pounds per year to receive knighthoods or pay a high fee. As a result, the Crown became rich and therefore powerful.

Queen Elizabeth was a good influence on Henry's character. Her active beneficence was a counteracting influence to his avaricious predisposition. When Henry and his Queen traveled through the nation, they often stopped to talk to the common people. They sometimes gave away money, such as to a man who had lost his hand. Henry paid for an intelligent boy he met to go to school.

Henry had the first paper mill erected in the nation. He fostered the reading of books and the study of Roman law, the classics, and the Bible. He had his own library and gave books to other libraries.

The age of entry to university was between 13 and 16. It took four years' study of grammar, logic, and rhetoric to achieve the Bachelor of Arts degree and another five before a master could begin a specialized study of the civil law, canon law, theology, or medicine. Arabic numbers replaced Roman numerals, making multiplication and division possible. Humanist studies were espoused by individual scholars at the three centers of higher learning: Oxford University, Cambridge University, and the Inns of Court in London. The Inns of Court attracted the sons of gentry and merchants pursuing practical and social accomplishments. The text of 'readings' to members of the inns survive from this time. In the legalistic climate of these times, attorneys were prosperous.

The enclosure of land by hedges for sheep farming continued, especially by rich merchants who bought country land for this purpose. Often this was land under the plough. The tenants at will were thrown off it immediately. That land held by copyholders of land who had only a life estate, was withheld from their sons. Only freeholders and copyholders with the custom of the manor in their favor were secure against eviction. The real line of distinction between rural people was one of material means instead of legal status: free or unfree. On one extreme was the well-to-do yeoman farmer farming his own land. On the other extreme was the agricultural laborer working for wages.

Other land put to use for sheep breeding was waste land. There were three sheep to every person. The nearby woodlands no longer had wolves or lynx who could kill the sheep. Bears and elk are also gone.

There were still deer, wild boar, wildcats and wild cattle in vast forests for the lords to hunt. Wood was used for houses, arms, carts, bridges, and ships.

The villages were still isolated from each other, so that a visitor from miles away was treated as warily as a foreigner. Most people lived and died where they had been born. A person's dialect indicated his place of origin. The largest town, London, had a population of about 70,000. Other towns had a population less than 20,000. The population was increasing, but did not reach the level of the period just before the black death.

In most large towns, there were groups of tailors and hatmakers, glovers, and other leatherworkers. Some towns had a specialization due to their proximity to the sources of raw materials, such as nails, cutlery, and effigies and altars. Despite the spread of wool manufacturing to the countryside, there was a marked increase of industry and prosperity in the towns. The principal streets of the larger towns were paved with gravel. Gild halls became important and imposing architecturally.

London had some houses of stone and timber and some mansions of brick and timber clustered around palaces. In these, bedrooms increased in number, with rich bed hangings, linen sheets, and bolsters. Bedspreads and nightgowns were introduced. Fireplaces became usual in all the rooms. Tapestries covered the walls. Carpets were used in the private rooms. Some of the great halls had tiled floors. The old trestle tables were replaced by tables with legs. Benches and stools had backs to lean on. Women and men wore elaborate headdresses. There are guilds of ironmongers, salters, and haberdashers [hats and caps]. On the outer periphery are mud and straw taverns and brothels.

The Tailors' and Linen Armorers' Guild received a charter in 1503 from the King as the "Merchant Tailors" to use all wares and merchandise, especially wool cloth, as well wholesale as retail, throughout the nation. Some schooling was now being made compulsory in certain trades; the goldsmiths' company made a rule that all apprentices had to be able to read and write.

A yeoman was the second-rank person of some importance, below a knight, below a gentleman, below a full member of a guild. In London, it meant the journeyman or second adult in a small workshop. These yeomen had their own fraternities and were often on strike. Some yeomen in the large London industries, e.g. goldsmiths, tailors, clothworkers, who had served an apprenticeship started their own businesses in London suburbs outside the jurisdiction of their craft to search them.

The Merchant Adventurers created a London fellowship confederacy to make membership of their society and compliance with its regulations binding on all cloth traders. Membership could be bought for a large fee or gained by apprenticeship or by being the son of a member.

Foreign trade was revived because it was a period of comparative peace. The nation sought to sell as much as possible to foreign nations and to buy at little as possible and thereby increase its wealth in gold and silver, which could be used for currency.

Ships weighed 200 tons and had twice the cargo space they had previously. Their bows were more pointed and their high prows made them better able to withstand gales. The mariners' compass with a pivoted needle and compass card was introduced. Ships had three masts. On the first was a square sail. On the second was a square sail with a small rectangular sail above it. On the third was a three cornered lateen sail. These sails make possible the use of almost any direction of wind to go in the direction sought. This opened the seas of the world to navigation. Adventurous seamen went on voyages of discovery, such as John Cabot to North America in 1497, following Italian Christopher Columbus' discovery of the new world in 1492. There are more navy ships, and they have some cannon.

There were morality plays in which the seven deadly sins: pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth, fought the seven cardinal virtues: faith, hope, charity, prudence, temperance, justice, and strength, respectively, for the human soul. The play "Everyman" demonstrates that every man can get to heaven only by being virtuous and doing good deeds in his lifetime. It emphasized that death may come anytime to every man, when his deeds will be judged as to their goodness or sinfulness. Card games were introduced.

The Law

Royal proclamations clarifying, refining or amplifying the law had the force of parliamentary statutes. One of the first things Henry did as King was make this proclamation against false rumors in 1486: "Forasmuch as many of the King our sovereign lord's subjects [have] been disposed daily to hear feigned, contrived, and forged tidings and tales, and the same tidings and tales, neither dreading God nor his Highness, utter and tell again as though they were true, to the great hurt of divers of his subjects and to his grievous displeasure: Therefore, in eschewing of such untrue and forged tidings and tales, the King our said sovereign lord straitly chargeth and commandeth that no manner person, whatsoever he be, utter nor tell any such tidings or tales but he bring forth the same person the which was author and teller of the said tidings or tales, upon pain to be set on the pillory, there to stand as long as it shall be thought convenient to the mayor, bailiff, or other official of any city, borough, or town where it shall happen any such person to be taken and accused for any such telling or reporting of any such tidings or tales. Furthermore the same our sovereign lord straitly chargeth and commandeth that all mayors, bailiffs, and other officers diligently search and inquire of all such persons tellers of such tidings and tales not bringing forth the author of the same, and them set on the pillory as it above said."

Statutes included:

Lords holding castles, manors, lands and tenements by knight's service of the King shall have a writ of right for wardship of the body as well as of the land of any minor heir of a deceased person who had the use [beneficial enjoyment] of the land for himself and his heirs as if the land had been in the possession of the deceased person. And if such an heir is of age, he shall pay relief to the lord as if he had inherited possession of the land. An heir in ward shall have an action of waste against his lord as if his ancestor had died seised of the land. That is, lands of "those who use" shall be liable for execution of his debt and to the chief lord for his relief and heriot, and if he is a bondsman, they may be seized by the lord.

Any woman who has an estate in dower, or for a term of life, or in tail, jointly with her husband, or only to herself, or to her use, in any manors, lands, tenements, or other hereditaments of the inheritance or purchase of her husband, or given to the said husband and wife in tail, or for term of life, by any of the ancestors of the said husband, or by any other person seised to the use of the said husband, or of his ancestors, who, by herself or with any after taken husband; discontinue, alienate, release, confirm with warranty or, by collusion, allow any recovery of the same against them or any other seised to their use, such action shall be void. Then, the person to whom the interest, title, or inheritance would go after the death of such woman may enter and possess such premises. This does not affect the common law that a woman who is single or remarried may give, sell, or make discontinuance of any lands for the term of her life only.

All deeds of gift of goods and chattels made of trust, to the use of the giver [grantor and beneficiary of trust], to defraud creditors are void.

It is a felony to carry off against her will, a woman with lands and tenements or movable goods, or who is heir-apparent to an ancestor. This includes taking, procuring, abetting, or knowingly receiving a woman taken against her will.

A vagabond, idle, or suspected person shall be put in the stocks for three days with only bread and water, and then be put out of the town. If he returns, he shall spend six days in the stocks. (A few years later this was changed to one and three days, respectively.) Every beggar who is not able to work, shall return to the hundred where he last dwelled, is best known, or was born and stay there.

No one may take pheasants or partridges by net snares or other devices from his own warren [breeding ground], upon the freehold of any other person, or forfeit 200s., one half to the owner of the land and the other half to the suer. No one may take eggs of any falcon, hawk, or swan out of their nest, whether it is on his land or any other man's land, on pain of imprisonment for one year and fine at the King's will, one half to the King, and the other half to the holder of the land, or owner of the swan. No man shall bear any English hawk, but shall have a certificate for any hawk imported, on pain for forfeiture of such. No one shall drive falcons or hawks from their customary breeding place to another place to breed or slay any for hurting him, or pay 200s. after examination by a Justice of the Peace, one half going to the King and one half to the suer.

Any person without a forest of his own who has a net device with which to catch deer shall pay 200s. for each month of possession. Anyone stalking a deer with beasts anywhere not in his own forest shall forfeit 200s. Anyone taking any heron by device other than a hawk or long bow shall forfeit 6s.8d. No one shall take a young heron from its nest or pay 10s. for each such heron. Two justices may decide such an issue, and one tenth of the fine shall go to them.

No man shall shoot a cross-bow except in defense of his house, other than a lord or one having 2,667s. of land because their use had resulted in too many deer being killed. (The long-bow was not forbidden.)

No beasts may be slaughtered or cut up by butchers within the walls of a town, or pay 12d. for every ox and 8d. for every cow or other beast, so that people will not be annoyed and distempered by foul air, which may cause them sickness.

No tanner may be a currier [dressed, dyed, and finished tanned leather] and no currier may be a tanner. No shoemaker [cordwainer] may be a currier and no currier may be a shoemaker. No currier shall curry hides which have not been tanned. No tanner shall sell other than red leather. No tanner may sell a hide before it is dried. No tanner may tan sheepskins.

No long bow shall be sold over the price of 3s.4d.

Good wood for making bows may be imported without paying customs.

No grained cloth of the finest making shall be sold for more than 16s., nor any other colored cloth for more than 11s. per yard, or forfeit 40s. for every yard so sold. No hat shall be sold for more than 20d. and no cap shall be sold for more than 2s.8d., or forfeit 40s. for each so sold.

Silver may not be sold or used for any use but goldsmithery or amending of plate to make it good as sterling, so that there will be enough silver with which to make coinage.

Each feather bed, bolster, or pillow for sale shall be stuffed with one type of stuffing, that is, dry pulled feathers or with clean down alone, and with no sealed feathers nor marsh grass, nor any other corrupt stuffings. Each quilt, mattress, or cushion for sale shall be stuffed with one type of stuffing, that is, clean wool, or clean flocks alone, and with no horsehair, marsh grass, neatshair, deershair, or goatshair, which is wrought in lime-fats and gives off an abominable and contagious odor when heated by a man's body, on pain of forfeiture of such.

Salmon shall be sold by standard volume butts and barrels, or forfeit 6s.8d. Large salmon shall be sold without any small fish or broken-bellied salmon and the small fish shall be packed by themselves only, or forfeit 6s.8d. Herring shall be sold at standard volumes, or forfeit 3s.4d. The herring shall be as good in the middle and in every part of the package as at the ends of the package, or forfeit 3s.4d. Eels shall be sold at standard volumes, and good eels shall not be mixed with lesser quality eels, or forfeit 10s. The fish shall be packed in the manner prescribed or forfeit for each vessel 3s.4d.

Fustians shall always be shorn with the long shear, so that it can be worn for at least two years. If an iron or anything else used to dress such injures the cloth so that it wears out after four months, 20s. shall be forfeited for each default, one half to the King and the other half to the suer.

Pewter and brass ware for sale shall be of the quality of that of London and marked by its maker, on pain of forfeiture of such, and may be sold only at open fairs and markets or in the seller's home, or forfeit 200s. If such false ware is sold, its maker shall forfeit its value, one half to the King and one half to the searchers. Anyone using false weights of such wares shall forfeit 20s., one half to the King and one half to the suer, or if he cannot pay this fine, to be put in the stocks until market day and then be put in the pillory all the market time.

No alien nor denizen [foreigner allowed to reside in the nation with certain rights and privileges] may carry out of the nation any raw wool or any woolen cloth which has not been barbed, rowed, and shorn.

Silk ribbons, laces, and girdles of silk may not be imported, since they can be made in the nation.

No one shall import wine into the nation, but on English ships, or forfeit the wine, one half to the King and one half to the seizer of the wine.

No one may take out of the nation any [male] horse or any mare worth more than 6s.8s. or under the age of three years, upon pain of forfeiture of such. However, a denizen may take a horse for his own use and not to sell. This is to stop losing horses needed for defense of the nation and to stop the price of a horse from going up.

Freemen of London may go to fairs and markets with wares to sell, despite the London ordinance to the contrary.

Merchants residing in the nation but outside London shall have free access to foreign markets without exaction taken of more than 133s. sterling by the confederacy of London merchants, which have increased their fee so much, 400s., that merchants not in the confederacy have been driven to sell their goods in London for less than they would get at a foreign market. Exacting more is punishable by a fine of 400s. and damages to the grieved party of ten times the excess amount taken.

For the privilege of selling merchandise, a duty of scavage shall be taken of merchant aliens, but not of denizens. Any town official who allows disturbing of a person trying to sell his merchandise because he has not paid scavage, shall pay a fine of 400s.

Coin clipped or diminished shall not be current in payment, but may be converted at the King's mint into plate or bullion. Anyone refusing to take coins with only normal wear may be imprisoned by the mayor, sheriff, bailiff, constable or other chief officer. New coins, which have a circle or inscription around the outer edge, will be deemed clipped if this circle or inscription is interfered with.

The penalty for usury is placement in the pillory, imprisonment for half a year, and a fine of 400s. (The penalty was later changed to one half thereof.)

Lawbooks in use at the Inns of Court included "The Books of Magna
Carta with diverse Old Statutes", Doctor and Student" by St.
Germain, "Grand Abridgment" by Fitzherbert, and "New Natura
Brevium" by Lombard.

Judicial Procedure

These changes in the judicial process were made by statute:

The Chancellor, Treasurer, keeper of the King's privy seal, or two of them, with a bishop selected by them, and a temporal lord of the King's council selected by them, and the two Chief Justices of the King's Bench shall constitute the court of the Star Chamber. It shall have the authority to call before it by writ or by privy seal anyone accused of "unlawful maintenances, giving of liveries, signs and tokens, and retainers by indentures, promises, oaths, writings, or otherwise embraceries of his subjects" and witnesses, and impose punishment as if convicted under due process of law. These laws shall now be enforced: If a town does not punish the murderer of a man murdered in the town, the town shall be punished. A town shall hold any man who wounds another in peril of death, until there is perfect knowledge whether the man hurt should live or die. Upon viewing a dead body, the coroner should inquire of the killers, their abettors, and anyone present at the killing and certify these names. In addition, the murderer and accessories indicted shall be tried at the King's suit within a year of the murder, which trial will not be delayed until a private suit is taken. If acquitted at the King's suit, he shall go back to prison or let out with bail for the remainder of the year, in which time the slain man's wife or next of kin may sue. For every inquiry made upon viewing a slain body coroners shall be paid 13s.4d. out of the goods of the slayer or from a town not taking a murderer, but letting him escape. If the coroner does not make inquiry upon viewing a dead body, he shall be fined 100s. to the King. If a party fails to appear for trial after a justice has taken bail from him, a record of such shall be sent to the King.

If a Justice of the Peace does not act on any person's complaint, that person may take that complaint to another Justice of the Peace, and if there is no remedy then, he may take his complaint to a Justice of Assize, and if there is not remedy then, he may take his complaint to the King or the Chancellor. There shall then be inquiry into why the other justices did not remedy the situation. If it is found that they were in default in executing the laws, they shall forfeit their commissions and be punished according to their demerits.

Justices of the Peace shall make inquiry of all offenses in unlawful retaining, examine all suspects, and certify them to the King's Bench for trial there or in the King's council, and the latter might also proceed against suspects on its own initiative on information given.

Perjury committed by unlawful maintenance, embracing, or corruption of officers, or in the Chancery, or before the King's council, shall be punished in the discretion of the Chancellor, Treasurer, both the Chief Justices, and the clerk of the rolls.

The Star Chamber, Chancellor, King's Bench and King and council have the power to examine all defendants, by oath or otherwise, to adjudge them convicted or attainted. They can also be found guilty by confession, examination, or otherwise. If a defendant has denied doing the acts of which he is convicted, he is subject to an additional fine to the King and imprisonment.

Violations of statutes may be heard by the Justices of Assize or the Justices of the Peace, except treason, murder, and felony.

Actions on the case shall be treated as expeditiously in the courts of the King's Bench and his common bench as actions of trespass or debt.

Proclamation at four court terms of a levy of a fine shall be a final end to an issue of land, tenements, or other hereditaments and the decision shall bind persons and their heirs, whether they have knowledge or not of the decision, except for women in covert [under the protection of a husband] who were not parties, persons under the age of twenty-one, in prison, out of the nation, or not of whole mind, who are not parties. These may sue within five years of losing such condition. Also, anyone not a party may claim a right, title, claim, or interest in the said lands, tenements, or other hereditaments at the time of such fine recorded, within five years after proclamations of the fine.

A defendant who appeals a decision for the purpose of delaying execution of such shall pay costs and damages to the plaintiff for the delay.

No sheriff, undersheriff, or shire clerk shall enter any complaints in their books unless the complaining party is present. And no more complaints than the complaining party knows about shall be entered. The penalty is 40s. for each such false complaint, one half to the King and the other half to the suer after examination by a Justice of the Peace. This is to prevent extortion of defendants by false complaints. The justice shall certify this examination to the King, on pain of a fine of 40s. A bailiff of a hundred who does not do his duty to summon defendants shall pay a fine of 40s. for each such default, after examination by a Justice of the Peace. Sheriffs' records of fines imposed and bailiffs' records of fines collected may be reviewed by a Justice of the Peace to examine for deceit.

Any sheriff allowing a prisoner to escape, whether from negligence or for a bribe, shall be fined, if the prisoner was indicted of high treason, at least 1,333s. for each escape. However, if the prisoner was in their keeping because of a suspicion of high treason, the fine shall be at least 800s.; and if indicted of murder or petite treason, at least 400s.; and if suspected of murder or petite treason, 200s.; and if suspected of other felonies, 100s.

Any person not responding to a summons for jury service shall be fined 12d. for the first default, and 2s. for the second, and double for each subsequent default.

A pauper may sue in any court and be assigned an attorney at no cost to him.

A Justice of the Peace to whom has been reported hunting by persons disguised with painted faces or visors or otherwise, may make a warrant for the sheriff or other county officer to arrest such persons and bring them before the justice. Such hunting in disguise or hunting at night or disobeying such warrant is a felony. This is to stop large mobs of disguised people from hunting together and then causing riots, robberies, and murders.

Benefit of clergy may be used only once, since this privilege has made clerics more bold in committing murder, rape, robbery, and theft. However, there will be no benefit of clergy in the case of murder of one's immediate lord, master, or sovereign. (This begins the gradual restriction of benefit of clergy until it disappears.)

For an issue of riot or unlawful assembly, the sheriff shall call 24 jurors, each of lands and tenements at least 20s. of charter land or freehold or 26s.8d. of copyhold or of both. For each default of the sheriff, he shall pay 400s. And if the jury acquits, then the justice, sheriff, and under-sheriff shall certify the names of any jurors maintained or embraced and their misdemeanors, or forfeit 400s. Any person proved to be a maintainer or embracer shall forfeit 400s. to the King and be committed to ward.

The principal leaders of any riot or unlawful assembly shall be imprisoned and fined and be bound to the peace with sureties at a sum determined by the Justices of the Peace. If the riot is by forty people or heinous, the Justices of Peace shall certify such and send the record of conviction to the King.

The penalty for giving or taking livery is 100s. per month. The penalty for causing oneself to be retained is 40s. per day.

The King's steward, Treasurer, and comptroller have authority to question by twelve discreet persons any servant of the King about making any confederacies, compassings, conspiracies, or imaginations with any other person to destroy or murder the King or one of his council or a lord. Trial shall be by twelve men of the King's household and punishment as by felony in the common law.

When a land holder enfeoffs his land and tenements to people unknown to the remainderman in tail, so that he does not know who to sue, he may sue the receiver of the profits of the land and tenements for a remedy. And the receivers shall have the same advantages and defenses as the feoffees or as if they were tenants. And if any deceased person had the use for himself and his heirs, then any of his heirs shall have the same advantages and defenses as if his ancestor had died seised of the land and tenements. And all recoveries shall be good against all receivers and their heirs, and the feofees and their heirs, and the co-feoffees of the receivers and their heirs, as though the receivers were tenants indeed, or feofees to their use, or their heirs of the freehold of the land and tenements.

If a person feoffs his land to other persons while retaining the use thereof for himself, it shall be treated as if he were still seised of the land. Thus, relief and heriot will still be paid for land in socage. And debts and executions of judgments may be had upon the land and tenements.

The penalty for not paying customs is double the value of the goods.

The town of London shall have jurisdiction over flooding and unlawful fishing nets in that part of the Thames River that flows next to it.

The city of London shall have jurisdiction to enforce free passage of boats on the Severn River in the city, interruption of which carries a fine of 400s., two-thirds to the King and one third to the suer.

Jurors impaneled in London shall be of lands, tenements, or goods and chattels, to the value of 133s. And if the case concerns debt or damages at least 133s, the jurors shall have lands, tenements, goods, or chattels, to the value of 333s. This is to curtail the perjury that has gone on with jurors of little substance, discretion, and reputation.

A party grieved by a false verdict of any court in London may appeal to the Hustings Court of London, which hears common pleas before the mayor and aldermen. Each of the twelve alderman shall pick from his ward four jurors of the substance of at least 2,000s. to be impaneled. If twenty-four of them find that the jurors of the petty jury has given an untrue verdict, each such juror shall pay a fine of at least 400s. and imprisonment not more than six months without release on bail or surety. However, if it is found that the verdict was true, then the grand jury may inquire if any juror was bribed. If so, such juror bribed and the defendant who bribed him shall each pay ten times the amount of the bribe to the plaintiff and be imprisoned not more than six months without release on bail or surety.

The church may punish priests and clerics for any adultery, fornication, incest, or any other incontinence of the flesh, by imprisonment.

Other changes in the judicial process were made by court decision. For instance, the royal judges decided that only the King could grant sanctuary for treason and not the church. After this, the church withdrew the right of sanctuary from second time offenders.

The King's council has practically limited itself to cases in which the state has an interest, especially the maintenance of public order. Chancery became an independent court rather than the arm of the King and his council. In Chancery and the King's Bench, the intellectual revival brought by humanism inspires novel procedures to be devised to meet current problems in disputed titles to land, inheritance, debt, breach of contract, promises to perform acts or services, deceit, nuisance, defamation, and the sale of goods.

A new remedy is specific performance, that is, performance of an act rather than money damages.

Evidence is now taken from witnesses.

Various courts had overlapping jurisdiction. For instance, trespass could be brought in the Court of Common Pleas because it was a civil action between two private persons. It could also be brought in the Court of the King's Bench because it broke the King's peace. It was advantageous for a party to sue for trespass in the King's court because there a defendant could be made to pay a fine to the King or imprisoned, or declared outlaw if he did not appear at court. In a couple of centuries, trespass on the case will extend all over the previous common law including assumpsit, ejectment, trover, deceit, libel, slander, battery, and assault. And the rigid writs with specific forms of action for common law cases will fall into disuse.

Parliament's supremacy over all regular courts of law was firmly established and it was called "the high court of Parliament", paradoxically, since it came to rarely function as a law court.

The humanist intellectual revival also caused the church courts to try to eliminate contradictions with state law, for instance in debt, restitution, illegitimacy, and the age of legal majority.

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