Essays in honour of Susan Reynolds

This book is dedicated to Susan Reynolds and celebrates the work of a scholar whose views have been central to reappraisals of the position of the laity in the Middle Ages. The themes and concerns include a medieval world in which the activity and attitudes of the laity are not obscured by ideas expressed more systematically in theoretical treatises by ecclesiastics; a world in which lay collective action and thought take centre stage. Reynolds has written her own Middle Ages, especially in her innovative book Kingdoms and Communities whose influence can be seen in so many of the essays. Collectivities, solidarities and collective action are everywhere in these essays, as Reynolds has shown us to expect them to be. Collective action was carried out often in pursuit of social peace, but it existed precisely because there was discord. Of the narratives and interpretative frameworks with which Reynolds's work has been concerned, the book has least to say directly on the debate over feudalism. The book engages many of the themes of Reynolds's work and pursues some of the issues which are prominent in re-examinations of the medieval world and in studies of the medieval laity. It discusses secular aristocratic attitudes towards judicial combat within the broader setting of fictional 'treason trials' of the later twelfth century. Although kinship did not start out as an explicit and overt theme of the book, it emerges as a leitmotiv, perhaps in part because when feudalism is removed, kinship is thrown into sharper relief.

The trial of Daire le Roux
Stephen D. White

During the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries, chansons de geste, romances, and other Old French narratives produced in France and England routinely included at least one episode in which a character, by accusing another character of treason, initiates a judicial plaid, that is a trial. The earliest imaginary treason trial in Old French is found in the Oxford version of La chanson de Roland from around 1100, in which Ganelon is tried for treason in Charlemagne’s court. 2 In c. 1150 the author of Le roman de Thèbes supplemented a retelling of

in Law, laity and solidarities
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Liberty and press control in the 1640s
Randy Robertson

the presses but of the discourse surrounding censorship.45 Lilburne’s 1649 treason trial represents perhaps the most dramatic contest over censorship of the entire decade. Lilburne and his cohorts had long harried those in power, no matter what form that power took – king, 139 part ii: rethinking context Westminster Assembly, Parliament, and army – and Lilburne often found himself in prison. In 1649, amid rumours of his shifting into the Royalist camp, Lilburne, along with other Levellers, faced off against the Council of State. With the publication of the Second

in Texts and readers in the Age of Marvell
Martyn J. Powell

scrutinise the value of witness testimony; or, if it was scrutinised, a failure of juries to take note of significant deficiencies in the type of evidence offered. This was particularly problematic if the case was dependent on the evidence of one individual, as allowed in treason trials under Irish law. The quality and nature of evidence is therefore of key importance to any such study, but there is no attempt in this chapter to ascertain guilt; such an approach is largely redundant as most of the defendants discussed here were undoubtedly involved in plotting against the

in The Cato Street Conspiracy
Steve Poole

Else but it is the Powr that I do not like’. The Bedfordshire bench considered egalitarian language of this sort dangerous enough to charge him with treason. A county magistrate, who insisted Bull was ‘more knave than fool’, wrote to caution Grenville against indulging him as a poor madman and issued a warrant to have the man brought back to Bedford for a treason trial. But ministers had no intention of paying for one. Nepean ordered strict vigilance around the palaces but Wright’s officers managed to capture Bull before he went anywhere near them. They immediately

in The politics of regicide in England, 1760–1850
Jeffrey Denton

criminal behaviour (adultery and murder) and consorting with the devil. The second recent case against a bishop patently foreshadowed the accusations against the pope. Indeed, it was the renowned attack by Philip of France upon Bernard Saisset, bishop of Pamiers, that brought down the full 123 Jeffrey Denton force of papal wrath against the French Crown and precipitated the bitter crisis between king and pope.31 The Saisset case was ‘the first important treason trial of a cleric in later medieval France’.32 The bishop was seized, held prisoner and tried before the king

in Judicial tribunals in England and Europe, 1200–1700
Abstract only
Pauline Stafford, Janet L. Nelson and Jane Martindale

’s analysis of late Anglo-Saxon charters, and from Peggy Brown’s reappraisals of the records of the French monarchy in the early fourteenth century. Stephen White’s discussion of ‘fictional’ treason trials, too, reveals how early verse romances in French can be used to throw light on secular attitudes towards questions of lay solidarity, fidelity and the law. Paul Brand, by contrast, has used the records of the common law courts of England to illuminate the ideas of ‘ordinary’ laymen and women towards issues of pressing importance, such as the inheritance of land or the

in Law, laity and solidarities
Steve Poole

recommend British approaches to monarchy. The King’s sensibility also provided his ministers with an opportunity to distance the modern Hanoverian State from the circumstances leading to the trial and execution of the boy Shepherd for threatening the life of George I in 1718. A humanitarian approach to Nicholson’s insanity negated her usefulness to the opposition as a symbol of discontent, and in avoiding the unpleasantness of a treason trial also denied the accused any kind of public platform. ‘The consequences’, considered The Times, ‘will render the minister essential

in The politics of regicide in England, 1760–1850
‘It is a voice full of manly melody'
Katie Barclay

character across multiple performance contexts. Nor did naturalness allow men to ignore general rules for manly behaviour. Not only could similar acts of physical exertion move from admirable to excessive, but the character conveyed through oratory could be ‘bad’, as well as ‘good’. This was evidenced during the French and Irish Revolutions where, as the prosecution during Robert Emmet’s 1803 treason trial argued, powerful oratory, if truthfully reflecting the sentiments of the speaker, ‘deluded’ the peasantry, where the ‘composition of heated minds and disordered

in Men on trial
The judicial duel under the Angevin kings (mid–twelfth century to 1204)
Jane Martindale

treason trials’ of the later twelfth century. 12 As a legal phenomenon the duel has generally been treated as one of a larger group of ‘irrational’ procedures which were characteristic of every type of judicial process throughout Europe during the earlier Middle Ages. These ‘ordeals’ have been described as ‘ceremonially administered physical tests used as a form of proof from time immemorial’, and have often been regarded primarily as ‘judgements of God’. For a number of legal historians the use of ordeals for the settlement of disputes has been interpreted as

in Law, laity and solidarities