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This book provides an introduction to the English legal system and its development during the period c 1215-1485. It affords a valuable insight into the character of medieval governance as well as revealing the complex nexus of interests, attitudes and relationships prevailing in society during the later Middle Ages. The book considers the theoretical and ideological aspects of medieval law and justice, examining the concepts and discourses to be found in official and non-official circles. It concentrates on manifestations of crime and disorder and the royal response to this in the form of the development of judicial institutions. The book then looks at the dispensation of justice both inside and outside the courtroom. It examines in detail the machinery and functioning of criminal justice both in the royal courts and in those autonomous areas exercising delegated powers. The book also considers the use of extra-judicial methods, such as arbitration and 'self-help', to illustrate the interaction of formal and informal methods of dispute settlement. It focuses on the personnel of justice, the justices of the central courts and the local officials who carried out the day-to-day administrative tasks. The smooth and successful operation of the judicial system was challenged and sometimes hindered by the existence of corrupt practices and abuse of its procedures.

Cary Howie

terminal encounter, on the other? I want to ask, in the next few pages, what it might mean to wait for a few different things, not just for Tristan’s uncle, but also, and more crucially, for the Middle Ages and for our own critical gestures, the work of our hands. First, however, I want to wait with another scene from an Old French text, and I want to ask you—in spite of Tristan’s gesture of refusal—to wait with me. Toward the end of Adam de la Halle’s thirteenth-century pastoral Le jeu de Robin et de Marion , a group of peasants throw together a picnic, to which one

in Transfiguring medievalism
‘Are you still my brother?’
Author: Simha Goldin

In this study, the various aspects of the way the Jews regarded themselves in the context of the lapse into another religion will be researched fully for the first time. We will attempt to understand whether they regarded the issue of conversion with self-confidence or with suspicion, whether their attitude was based on a clear theological position or on doubt and the coping with the problem as part of the process of socialization will be fully analysed. In this way, we will better understand how the Jews saw their own identity whilst living as a minority among the Christian majority, whose own self-confidence was constantly becoming stronger from the 10th to the 14th century until they eventually ousted the Jews completely from the places they lived in, England, France and large parts of Germany. This aspect of Jewish self-identification, written by a person who converted to Christianity, can help clarify a number of

Janet L. Nelson

The earlier Middle Ages are generally thought of as a period when there was no such thing as equality. Near the beginning of his fine book, Lebensordnungen , Heinrich Fichtenau writes: ‘the absolute necessity of a hierarchical order . . . resulted from the medieval reception of Neoplatonic thought’. Thus there was ranking of churches, of cities, of orders, of dignities, of seating arrangements; rank operated within monasteries . . . and in secular life (where they were not so au fait with Neoplatonism). 1 Even though, in Fichtenau’s view, feudalism was too

in Law, laity and solidarities

This book provocatively argues that much of what English writers of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries remembered about medieval English geography, history, religion, and literature, they remembered by means of medieval and modern Scandinavia. These memories, in turn, figure in something even broader. Protestant and fundamentally monarchical, the Nordic countries constituted a politically kindred spirit in contrast with France, Italy, and Spain. Along with the so-called Celtic fringe and overseas colonies, Scandinavia became one of the external reference points for the forging of the United Kingdom. Subject to the continual refashioning of memory, the region became at once an image of Britain’s noble past and an affirmation of its current global status, rendering trips there rides on a time machine. The book’s approach to the Anglo-Scandinavian past addresses the specific impact of Nordic materials in framing conceptions of the English Middle Ages and positions the literature of medievalism less as the cause of modern Anglo-Nordic interests than as the recurrence of the same cultural concerns that animated early modern politics, science, and natural history. Emphasising multilingual non-literary traditions (such as travel writing and ethnography) and following four topics – natural history, ethnography, moral character, and literature – the focus of Northern Memories is on how texts, with or without any direct connections to one another, reproduced shared tropes and outlooks and on how this reproduction cumulatively furthered large cultural ideas.

Susan Reynolds

the origins of the modern law have generally seen them in the recovery of Roman law and the rise of communal activity in the twelfth century. 2 Their arguments seem to be predicated on the supposed absence of any sense of the common good or public spirit, or indeed of any effective law, in the earlier Middle Ages. No one who has read Janet Nelson on Carolingian government or on early medieval political ideas in general can

in Frankland
Nest of Deheubarth
Author: Susan M. Johns

The book is an account of noblewomen in Wales in the high middle ages, focusing on one particular case-study, Nest of Deheubarth. Object of one of the most notorious and portentous abductions of the middle ages, this ‘Helen of Wales’ was both mistress of Henry I and ancestress of a dynasty which dominated the Anglo-Norman conquests of Ireland. The book fills a significant gap in the historiography - while women’s power has been one of the most vibrant areas of historical scholarship for thirty years, Welsh medieval studies has not yet responded. It develops understandings of the interactions of gender with conquest, imperialism, and with the social and cultural transformations of the middle ages, from a new perspective. Many studies have recently appeared reconsidering these relationships, but few if any have women and gender as a core theme. Gender, Nation and Conquest will therefore be of interest to all researching, teaching and studying the high middle ages in Britain and Ireland, and to a wider audience for which medieval women’s history women is a growing fascination. Hitherto Nest has been seen as the pawn of powerful men. A more general discussion of ideals concerning beauty, love, sex and marriage and an analysis of the interconnecting identities of Nest throws light on her role as wife/concubine/mistress. A unique feature of the book is its examination of the story of Nest in its many forms over succeeding centuries, during which it has formed part of significant narratives of gender and nation.

Martin Heale

The number of monasteries in medieval England remained remarkably stable over the later middle ages. Only a small number of new foundations were made after 1300, mostly lesser houses of Augustinian canons (like Maxstoke) or the fashionable priories of the Carthusians which could be endowed collectively. Similarly, the only major dissolution of these years

in Monasticism in late medieval England, c. 1300–1535
Bernhard Maier

1 Gaelic and Catholic in the early middle ages Bernhard Maier When we are asked to try to visualise Ireland’s material culture in what is com­mon­ly known as the early historic period, it is probably the remains of an ex­plicitly Christian civilisation that immediately come to mind: ruins of churches and monasteries, round towers, high crosses, illuminated manuscripts, and precious metalwork serving an explicitly Christian liturgical purpose. In some instances, what we see today still looks very much as it did when it was first produced, whereas in other cases

in Irish Catholic identities
Libellus de disposicione totius anni futuri
Marilina Cesario

In the Middle Ages extreme weather events, such as heavy rain and snowfalls, showers of hail, heat waves, droughts, floods and unseasonably warm or cold temperatures, would have had catastrophic effects on many areas of society, chiefly on farming, seafaring, health and commerce. Environmental knowledge and weather forecasting based on the observation of the behaviour of the current weather and season, and of meteorological phenomena, was of paramount importance to those societies whose economic fortunes were heavily dependent on

in Aspects of knowledge