Politics and Law
The King of England is Henry III
The Earl of Devon is Baldwin de Redvers
The sheriff in Devon is Sir Robert de Courtenay
The coroner for the area around the Covenant is Sir John de Reville
Exeter is the largest major city. It can be reached in a single day of hard riding, or perhaps a day and a half of foot travel from the Covenant. It has several market-days per week, and also seven annual fairs. It has been a place of historic opposition to the Norman Kings, first rebelling against William I, and than against King Stephen during the Anarchy. As a consequence there are a couple of castles near or in the city occupied to secure it’s loyalty. There is presently a Norman Style Cathedral, as Exeter is also the center for the Bioshipic of Devon&Cornwall.
The Nearest local market down is Totnes, which was granted is Borough status in 1206 by King John. It’s close enough that one could walk to it, conduct business and be back within a day. The town is famed as the supposed landing spot for Brutus of Troy, the first king and founder of Britain. Besides the Market, the town is famous for the Leechwell. A mythical series of three springs that are suppose to have healing properties. The town also has a Leper Hospital, established a couple of generations ago. The Local church is St. Mary’s, and there is plenty of talk regarding the refurbishment of the Church(a full proper Medieval Church will not be built until 1260.)
A survey of the laws of England were written down some time before 1235 by Henry de Bracton.
Abjuring the Realm: A criminal or fugitive gaining sanctuary in a church had forty days grace in which to confess to the coroner and then abjure the realm (i.e. leave England), never to return. France was the usual destination but Wales and Scotland were also common.
Attachment: Holding someone in custody to face a criminal charge.
Coroner: An officer of the King whose purpose was to hear and keep the pleas of the Crown. The office was formed by the Articles of Eyre . An excellent article on the Medieval Coroner can be found here. It is written by Bernard Knight, a retired pathologist and the author of the excellent Crowner John myteries.
Essoin: Permission to not attend court in a civil case, usually given for sickness.
Eyre: A tour of the country by royal justices, to hear major cases
Hue: The pursuit of a criminal observed in the act by the residents of a place. Those engaged in the hue may legally kill the malefactor.
Ingfangtheof: The right to hang a thief caught in the act.
Murdrum fine: a fine imposed by a coroner when the corpse is presumed to be Norman on the assumption that the Norman was killed by Saxons. They became a cynical device to extort money.
Novel Disseisin: Recent dispossession of a piece of land. Also the writ allowing you to reclaim such land.
Pleas of the Crown: Criminal offenses that can only be tried in royal or palatine courts.
Presentment: At coroner’s inquests, a corpse was presumed to be Norman, unless the locals could prove ‘Englishry’ by presenting evidence of identity by the family.
Proctor: A legal representative
Sheriff: The king’s representative in a county, responsible for collecting taxes and dispensing justice.
Tourn: The sheriff’s formal visitation of his shire.
The Present Bishop is Simon of Apulia. He was appointed in 1214 after the end of King John’s conflict with Pope Innocent III. He participated in the 4th Lateran Council, as well as the Coronation of the present king.
The Present Pope is Honorius III, the successor to Pope Innocent III.
There are plenty of Monasteries and Priory’s in the area. There is a Benedictine Monastary in Exeter, a Mendicant Priory in Totnes, and numerous other monasteries and orders within the Diocese. It is to be noted that neither Dominicans or Franciscans are yet present, though the former have come to England.
Clerk: Someone in holy orders, whether major or minor. Beginning to be used to refer to anyone engaged in literate occupations, even if they are not in orders.
Consistory Court: A court of canon law in which cases are heard by the bishop’s deputy.
Major Orders: The four higher orders of ordination: bishop, priest, deacon and subdeacon.
Minor Orders: The four lower degrees of ordination: doorkeeper, lector, exorcist, and acolyte.
Parish: The local unit of church administration, centered on a single church.
Paten: The plate on which the host is placed at mass.
Rector: The clerk with a right to the tithes of a parish. Responsible for the sacraments, but may appoint a deputy.
Regular: A clerk who lives according to a rule.
Secular: A clerk who does not live according to a rule
Carol: A dance in which the participants form a ring