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Henry I Records in United Kingdom

This issue under the Ruling of King Henry I of England

Henry I in Medieval Law

Henry I, at his coronation, compelled to purchase adherents, granted a charter full of valuable and fairly definite concessions. He was going back to his father’s ways. The abuses introduced by his brother were to be abolished, abuses in the matter of reliefs, wardships, marriages, murder fines and so forth. Debts and past offences were to be forgiven. The demesne lands of the military tenants were to be free from the danegeld. Above all the laga Eadwardi as amended by William I. was to be restored. Though the king required that concessions similar to those which he made in favour of his barons should be made by them in favour of their tenants, we can hardly treat this charter as an act of legislation. It is rather a promise that the law disregarded by Rufus shall henceforth be observed. This promise in after times became a valuable precedent, but it could not be enforced against the king, and Henry did not observe it.

The other great record of his reign, the Pipe Roll of his thirty-first year, shows that rightfully or wrongfully he was able to extend the rights of the crown beyond the limits that had been assigned to them in 1100, and the steady action of the exchequer under the direction of his able minister, Bishop Roger of Salisbury, evolved a law for the tenants in chief which was perhaps the severest in Europe. This was done in silence by the accumulation of precedent upon precedent. For the rest, we know that Henry, early in his reign, issued a writ declaring that the county and hundred courts should be held as they were held in the time of King Edward, straitly enjoining all men to attend them in the ancient fashion whenever royal pleas were to be heard, and in some measure defining the relation of these old tribunals to the feudal courts.

We are told that he legislated about theft, restoring capital punishment, that he issued severe laws against the utterers of bad money, that he prohibited the rapacious exactions of his courtiers, who had made the advent of his peripatetic household a terror to every neighbourhood, that he legislated about measures taking his own arm as the standard ell; but we depend on the chroniclers for our knowledge of these acts, and as yet they are not careful to preserve the words of the lawgiver. We have, however, a writ in which he speaks of the “new statutes” which he had made against thieves and false moneyers.

Source: Sir Frederick Pollock, The History of English Law before the Time of Edward I (1895)

Parliamentary Full Text Records

Henry I Records and Medieval Law

Henry I Records and Legal History

Legal Materials

(Compiled by the University of South Caroline Gould School of Law) Cobbett, William, and T. C. Hansard, ed. The Parliamentary History of England From the Earliest Period to the Year 1803, From Which Last-Mentioned Epoch It Is Continued Downwards in the Work Entitled Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates. 1625-1803.

Notes: Also available online in ECCO and Modern Economy (subscription databases)Abstract: v.1 – 36; 1066-1803.

Prynne, William, ed. The First Part of an Historical Collection of the Ancient Parliaments of England, From the Yeer of Our Lord 673, Till the End of King John’s Reign, Anno 1216 … London: R. Hodges, 1649.

Notes: First and second parts also available online in Early English Books Online (subscription database)Abstract: Second part published by Edward Thomas in 1655.

Bibliographies of English Law History

  • Maxwell, William H. A Legal Bibliography of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Volume 1: English Law to 1800. London: Sweet and Maxwell, 1955-
  • Beale, Joseph H. A Bibliography of Early English Law Books. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1926.
  • Winfield, Percy H. The Chief Sources of English Legal History. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1925.

Resources

See Also

  • Canon Law (in this legal Encyclopedia)
  • Chattels (in this legal Encyclopedia)
  • Ecclesiastical Courts (in this legal Encyclopedia)


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  • Article Name: Henry I Records
  • Author: Michael Mann
  • Description: This issue under the Ruling of King Henry I of England Parliamentary Full Text Records Henry I Records and Medieval Law [...]

This entry was last updated: November 30, 2017

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