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which appeal the offender convicted is to suffer death and to lose all his lands and goods. If the wife or heir will not sue, or be compounded withal, yet the King is to punish the offence by indictment or presentment of a lawful inquest, and trial of the offender before competent judges: whereupon being found guilty, he is to suffer death and lose his lands and goods.
If one man kill another upon a sudden quarrel, this is manslaughter; for which the offender must die, except he can read; and if he can read, yet must he lose his goods and be burnt in the hand, but lose no lands.
If a man kill another in his own defence, he shall not lose his life nor his lands; but he doth lose his goods, except the party slain did first assault him, to kill or trouble him by the highway side, or in his own house; and then he shall lose nothing.
If a man kill himself, all his goods and leases are forfeited, but not his lands.
If a man kill another by misfortune, as shooting an arrow at a butt or mark, or casting a stone over a house, or the like, he is to lose all his goods and leases, but not life or lands.
If a horse, or beast, or cart, or any other thing do kill a man, the horse, beast, cart, or other thing whose motion is used to the death, is forfeited to the crown, and is called a deodand and usually granted and allowed by the King to some Bishop his Almoner, as goods are of those that kill themselves.
The cutting out of a man's tongue or putting out his eyes maliciously is felony; for which the offender is to suffer death and lose his lands and goods.
But for that all punishment is for example's sake, it is good to see the means whereby offenders are drawn to their punishment.
And first for matter of the peace:
The ancient laws of England planted here by the Conqueror (from whom, and not above, we derive our laws, he having subdued all the former laws),1 were, that there should be officers of two sorts in all the parts of this realm to preserve the peace: the one constabularii pacis, the other conservatores pacis. The constable's office was, to arrest the parties that he had seen breaking the peace or ready to break the peace, or was truly informed by others, or their confession, had freshly broken the peace which persons he might imprison in the stocks or in his own house, as their quality required, until they had been bound with sureties by obligation to the King to keep the peace; which obligation was to be sealed and delivered to the constable to the use of the King; and that the constable was to ́send this obligation to the King's Exchequer or Chancery, from whence process should be awarded to levy the debt, if the peace were broken.
But the constable could not arrest any, nor make any put in bond upon complaint of threatening, except he had seen them break the peace, or had come freshly after the peace was broken.
Also, these constables did keep watch about the town for the apprehension of rogues and vagabonds, nightwalkers, eves-droppers, scolds, and such like, and such as did go armed. And the constables raise and follow
1 The printed text omits the parenthetic sentence.
hue and cry against murderers, manslayers, thieves, and robbers.
Of this office of constable there were high constables and petty constables; high constables, two of every hundred; petty constables, one in every village. They were in ancient time all appointed by the sheriff of the shire yearly, in the court called the Sheriff's Turn, and there they received their oath. But at this day they are appointed and sworn either in the Law-day of that precinct wherein they serve, or else the high constables in the sessions of the peace.
The Sheriff's Turn is a court very ancient, incident to his office, and began upon this occasion.
At the first1 the Conqueror taking upon him to do justice in his own person, found that he could not attend to it, and hereupon erected his Court called the King's Bench, appointing men studied in the knowl edge of his laws to execute justice as substitutes to him in his name; which men are to be named Justiciarii ad placita coram Rege tenenda assignati: one of them being Capitalis Justiciarius called to his place by the King's writ; the rest in number as pleaseth the king, (of late but three Justiciarii,) holding by patent.
In this court every man above twelve years old was to take his oath of allegiance to the King were he Norman or Saxon: also, if he were a freeman and not bond,2 he was to put in pledges for his allegiance to the King: if he were bond, then his lord was to answer for him. In this court constables were appointed and
1 The printed text has: "it was erected by the Conqueror and called the King's Bench."
2 "bound" in MSS.; but I take the meaning to be bondsman, and have adopted the modern spelling.
sworn; breakers of the peace punished by fine and imprisonment; the parties beaten or hurt recompensed upon complaints with damages; all appeals of murder, maim, or robbery, decided; contempts against the crown, public annoyances against the people, treasons and felonies, heard and determined; and all other matters of wrongs for lands or goods between party and party.1
But the King seeing the realm grow daily more populous and that this one court could not dispatch all, did first ordain that his marshal should keep a court for controversies arising within the verge, which is within twelve miles of the chief tunnel2 of the court.
But this Court did but ease the King's Bench in matters only concerning debts, covenants, and such like, of those of the King's household only, never dealing in breaches of the peace or concerning the crown by any other persons, or any pleas of lands. Insomuch as the King, for farther ease, having divided this kingdom into counties, and committing the charge of every county to a count, comes, or earl, did direct that those. earls, within their limits, should look to the matters of the peace, and take charge of the constables, and reform public annoyances, and swear the people to the crown, and take pledges of the freemen for their allegiance. For which purpose the count did once every year keep a court, at which all the people of the county except women, clergy, children under twelve, and aged above sixty, did appear to give or renew their pledges
1 The Sloane MS. in this place shows the hand of a corrector who was aware the Sheriff's Turn was not a substitute for the King's Bench, by making sundry clumsy additions to the text as it stands in Harl. MS.
2 "tenell" is the word used in 2 stat. 13 Rich. II. c. 3., and the translation in Ruffhead's Statutes is "lodging."
of allegiance. And that court was called Visus franci plegii, a View of the Pledges of Freemen, or, Turna Comitatus.
At which meeting or court there fell, by occasion of so great assemblies, much bloodshed, scarcity of victuals, mutinies, and the like mischiefs which are incident to the congregations of people; by which the King was moved to allow a subdivision of every county into hundreds, and every hundred to have a court, whereunto the people of that hundred should be assembled twice a year for survey of pledges, and use of that justice that was exercised in the former grand court for the county and the count or earl appointed a bailiff under him to keep these hundred courts.
But in the end, the Kings of this realm found it necessary to have all execution of justice immediately from themselves, by such as should be more bound than earls were to that service and readily subject to correction for their negligence or abuse, and therefore took to themselves the appointing of sheriffs yearly in every county, calling them vicecomites, and to them directed such writs and precepts for executing justice in the county as fell out needful to have dispatched, committing to the sheriff custodiam comitatus; by which the earls were spared of their toil and labour, and it was laid upon the sheriffs. So as now the sheriff doth all the King's business in the county; that is to say, he is judge of this grand court for the county, and it is now called the Sheriff's Turn; and also of all hundred courts not given away from the crown.
He hath another court, called the County court belonging to his office, wherein men may sue monthly for debts or damages under forty shillings, and may have