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Outlawry, Governance, and Law in Medieval England


Melissa Sartore

Outlawry, Governance, and Law in Medieval England evaluates the role of exclusionary practices, namely outlawry, in law and governance in England from the tenth through the thirteenth centuries. Traditional historical narratives dismiss exile, outlawry, and banishment as ineffective and weak methods of maintaining social order. More specifically, the pres¬ent volume reassesses these forms of exclusion in matters of politics, law, and society, as well as their influence on increased use of imprisonment in later medieval England. Outlawry, Governance, and Law in Medieval England is essential reading for scholars working in this field but is also highly recommended as a text for courses that assess medieval law and the practice of outlawry as well as the development of English Common Law.


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Chapter 6: Henry III and the Thirteenth Century: The customs, laws, and politics of outlawry and imprisonment


The outcomes from contests for authority and jurisdiction during the personal rule of Henry III defined later governmental and legal structures in England. The prominence of the eyre and legal systemization of the thirteenth century were heavily impacted by two ends of the spectrum of baronial discontent, from Magna Carta to the Baronial Reform movement. Outlawry and imprisonment alike played prominent roles in the struggle for political and legal control during the thirteenth century. By the end of Henry’s rule in 1272, juridical practices that excluded wrongdoers from the realm of England were as engrained in law and custom as ever, particularly in the localities, while imprisonment was heavi- ly relied upon by royal authorities. Exclusion and Politics During the Personal Rule of Henry III When Henry III took over personal rule in 1223, he affirmed his authority by neutralizing the power and prominence of magnates such as Fawkes de Breauté and Hubert de Burgh. As a result, both de Breauté and de Burgh were soon stripped of prestige and property and outlawed. Fawkes de Breauté had a long career in England and served as sheriff of several shires during the reign of King John. He was forced to resign many of his offices after taking part in a rebellion against the young king Henry in 1223. His role in the conspiracy against the King and the abuses he committed as sher- iff earned him enemies throughout England. Unlawful disseisin and disregard- ing royal writs were chief among his offenses,...

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