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struction or waste of men or goods; and if we have committed the wardship of the lands of any such minor to the sheriff, or to any other who is responsible to us for its issues, and he has made destruction or waste of what he holds in wardship, we will take of him amends, and the land shall be committed to two lawful and discreet men of that fee, who shall be responsible for the sues to us or to him to whom we shall assign them; and if we have given or sold the wardship of any such land to any one and he has therein made destruction or waste, he shall lose that wardship, and it shall be transferred to two lawful and discreet men of that fief, who shall be responsible to us in like manner as aforesaid.
V. The guardian, morever, so long as he has the wardship of the land, shall keep up the houses, parks, fishponds, stanks, mills, and other things pertaining to the land, out of the issues of the same land and he shall restore to the heir, when he has come to full age, all his land, stocked with plows and “waynage, according as the season of husbandry shall require, and the issues of the land can reasonably bear.
VI. Heirs shall be married without disparagement, yet so that before the marriage takes place the nearest in blood to that heir shall have notice.
VII. A widow, after the death of her husband, shall forthwith and without difficulty have her marriage portion and inheritance; nor shall she give anything for her dower, or for her marriage portion, or for the inheritance which her husband and she held on the day of the death of that husband,; and she may remain in the house of her husband for forty days after his death, within which time her dower shall be assigned to her.
VIII. No widow shall be compelled to marry, so long as she prefers to live without a husband; provided always that she gives security not to marry without our consent, if she holds of us, or without the consent of the lord of whom she holds, if she holds of another.
IX. Neither we nor our bailiffs shall seize any land or rent for any debt, so long as the chattels of the debtor are sufficient to repay the debt; nor shall the sureties of the debtor be distrained so long as the principal debtor is able to satisfy the debt; and if the principal debtor shall fail to pay the debt, having nothing wherewith to pay it, then the sureties shall answer for the debt; and let them have the lands and rents of the debtor, if they desire them, until they are indemnified for the debt which they have paid, for him, unless the principal
1 A word of uncertain meaning.
debtor can show proof that he is discharged thereof as against the said sureties.
X. If one who has borrowed from the Jews any sum, great or small, die before that loan can be repaid, the debt shall not bear interest while the heir is under age, of whomsoever he may hold; and if the debt fall into our hands, we will not take anything except the principal sum contained in the bond.
XI. And if any one die indebted to the Jews, his wife shall have her dower and pay nothing of that debt; and if any children of the deceased are left under age, necessaries shall be provided for them in keeping with the holding of the deceased; and out of the residue the debt shall be paid, reserving, however, service due to feudal lords; in like manner let it be done touching debts due to others than Jews.
XII. No scutage 1 nor aid 2 shall be imposed on our kingdom, unless by common counsel of our kingdom, except for ransoming our person, for making our eldest son a knight, and for once marrying our eldest daughter; and for these there shall not be levied more than a reasonable aid. In like manner it shall be done concerning aids from the city of London.
XIII. And the city of London shall have all its ancient liberties and free customs, as well by land as by water; furthermore, we decree and grant that all other cities, boroughs, towns, and ports shall have all their liberties and free customs.
XIV. And for obtaining the common counsel of the kingdom anent the assessing of an aid (except in the three cases aforesaid) or of a scutage, we will cause to be summoned the archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, and greater barons, severally by our letters; and we will moreover cause to be summoned generally, through our sheriffs and bailiffs, all others who hold of us in chief, for a fixed date, namely, after the expiry of at least forty days, and at a fixed place; and in all letters of such summons we will specify the reason of the summons. And when the summons has thus been made, the business shall proceed on the day appointed, according to the counsel of such as are present, although not all who were summoned have come.
XV. We will not for the future grant to any one license to take an aid from his own free tenants, except to ransom his body, to
1 Scutage was a direct tax in commutation for military service.
2 The three aids were direct taxes paid by the tenant to his lord upon the three occasions here specified.
make his eldest son a knight, and once to marry his eldest daughter; and on each of these occasions there shall be levied only a reasonable aid.
XVI. No one shall be distrained for performance of greater service for a knight's fee, or for any other free temement, than is due therefrom.
XVII. Common pleas' shall not follow our court, but shall be held in some fixed place.
XVIII. Inquests of novel disseisin, of mort d'ancestor, and of darrein presentment 4 shall not be held elsewhere than in their own county courts and that in manner following: We, or, if we should be out of the realm, our chief justiciar, will send two justiciars through every county four times a year, who shall, along with four knights of the county chosen by the county, hold the said assizes 5 in the county court, on the day and in the place of meeting of that court.
XIX. And if any of the said assizes cannot be taken on the day of the county court, let there remain of the knights and freeholders, who were present at the county court on that day, as many as may be required for the efficient making of judgments, according as the business be more or less.
XX. A freeman shall not be amerced for a slight offense, except in accordance with the degree of the offense; and for a grave offense he shall be amerced in accordance with the gravity of the offense, yet saving always his "contenement”; 6 and a merchant in the same way, saving his “merchandise”; and a villein shall be amerced in the same way, saving his “waynage” — if they have fallen into our mercy: and none of the aforesaid amercements ? shall be imposed except by the oath of honest men in the neighborhood.
XXI. Earls and barons shall not be amerced except through their peers, and only in accordance with the degree of the offense.
XXII. A clerk shall not be amerced in respect of his lay holding except after the manner of the others aforesaid: further, he shall
1 That is, law suits in which the Crown had no special interest.
5 The word “assize” here means an assembly of knights or other substantial persons, held at a certain time and place where they sit with the justiciar.
6 That by which a person subsists and which is essential to his rank in life.
7 An amercement was a payment demanded from a wrongdoer, who wished to buy himself back under protection of the law.
not be amerced in accordance with the extent of his ecclesiastical benefice.
XXIII. No village or individual shall be compelled to make bridges at river banks, except those who from of old were legally bound to do so.
XXIV. No sheriff, constable, coroners, or others of our bailiffs shall hold pleas of our Crown.'
XXV. All counties, hundreds, wapentakes, and trithings (except our demesne manors) shall remain at the old rents, and without any additional payment.?
XXVI. If any one holding of us a lay fief shall die, and our sheriff or bailiff shall exhibit our letters patent of summons for a debt which the deceased owed to us, it shall be lawful for our sheriff or bailiff to attach and catalogue chattels of the deceased, found upon the lay fief, to the value of that debt, at the sight of law-worthy men, provided always that nothing whatever be thence removed until the debt which is evident shall be fully paid to us; and the residue shall be left to the executors to fulfill the will of the deceased; and if there be nothing due from him to us, all the chattels shall go to the deceased, saving to his wife and children their reasonable shares.
XXVII. If any freeman shall die intestate, his chattels shall be distributed by the hands of his nearest kinsfolk and friends, under supervision of the Church, saving to every one the debts which the deceased owed to him.
XXVIII. No constable or other bailiff of ours shall take corn or other provisions from any one without immediately tendering money therefor, unless he can have postponement thereof by permission of the seller.
XXIX. No constable shall compel any knight to give money in lieu of castle-guard, when he is willing to perform it in his own person, or (if he himself cannot do it from any reasonable cause) then by another responsible man. Further, if we have led or sent him upon military service, he shall be relieved from guard in proportion to the time during which he has been on service because of us.
XXX. No sheriff or bailiff of ours, or other person, shall take
1 These are suits conducted in the name of the Crown against criminals.
2 Counties or shires in England were subdivided into smaller districts known as hundreds in the south and as wapentakes in the Danish districts of the north. Intermediate divisions called trithings or ridings existed in some of the large counties.
the horses or carts of
any freeman for transport duty, against the will of the said freeman.
XXXI. Neither we nor our bailiffs shall take, for our castles or for any other work of ours, wood which is not ours, against the will of the owner of that wood.
XXXII. We will not retain beyond one year and one day the lands of those who have been convicted of felony, and the lands shall thereafter be handed over to the lords of the fiefs.1
XXXIII. Al kyddels ? for the future shall be removed altogether from Thames and Medway, and throughout all England, except upon the seashore.
XXXIV. The writ which is called præcipe shall not for the future be issued to any one, regarding any tenement whereby a freeman may lose his court.3
XXXV. Let there be one measure of wine throughout our whole realm; and one measure of ale; and one measure of corn, to wit, the “London quarter"; and one width of cloth (whether dyed, or russet, or "halberget”), to wit, two ells within the selvedges; of weights also let it be as of measures.
XXXVI. Nothing in future shall be given or taken for a writ of inquisition of life or limbs, but freely it shall be granted, and never denied.4
XXXVII. If any one holds of us by fee-farm, by socage, or by burgage, and holds also land of another lord by knight's service, we will not (by reason of that fee-farm, socage, or burgage) have the wardship of the heir, or of such land of his as is of the fief of that other; nor shall we have wardship of that fee-farm, socage, or burgage, unless such fee-farm owes knight's service. We will not by reason of any small serjeanty which any one may hold of us by the service of rendering to us knives, arrows, or the like, have wardship of his heir or of the land which he holds of another lord by knight's service.
XXXVIII. No bailiff for the future shall, upon his own unsupported complaint, put any one to his “law,” 5 without credible witnesses brought for this purpose.
1 Forfeiture for felony was abolished by laws passed in the reign of Queen Victoria. 2 Fish-weirs.
3 The effect of the writ præcipe was to remove certain cases from the courts of the feudal lords to the king's court.
4 The writ of inquisition here mentioned has nothing to do with the writ of
6 Perhaps equivalent to compelling his submission to the ordeal.