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A study of the first trailbaston proceedings in England, 1304-1307.

Author: Amy Elizabeth Phelan
Dissertation: Ph. D. Cornell University 1997
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Document : Thesis/dissertation : eBook   Computer File : English
Summary:
Trailbaston was a special judicial commission that handled both criminal and quasi-criminal business. Edward I issued the first trailbaston commissions in November 1304, directing certain administrators to solicit presentments for felonies and a select group of trespasses in several counties. Many of these trespasses involved violence: they included such offenses as premeditated assault, extortion committed with
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Details

Material Type: Document, Thesis/dissertation, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Amy Elizabeth Phelan
ISBN: 9780591434453 0591434458
OCLC Number: 841776170
Notes: Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 58-05, Section: A, page: 1859.
Description: 1 online resource (231 pages)

Abstract:

Trailbaston was a special judicial commission that handled both criminal and quasi-criminal business. Edward I issued the first trailbaston commissions in November 1304, directing certain administrators to solicit presentments for felonies and a select group of trespasses in several counties. Many of these trespasses involved violence: they included such offenses as premeditated assault, extortion committed with force or with the threat of force, and violent disseisin. These commissions marked the first time that royal officials had solicited jury presentments for such offenses. Edward eventually gave justices the authority to try these presentments at the king's suit alone, using the same procedures employed in the accusation and trial of alleged felons. This too was a new development that set trailbaston apart from other royal courts.

Few historians have studied the proceedings of 1304-7, even though trailbaston was a unique institution (and seems a promising source of information about the alleged crisis of order of the early fourteenth century). This dissertation provides an historical context for the commissions, and each chapter handles a different aspect of proceedings. The first chapter surveys Edward I's legal reforms from 1272-1304, and observes that trailbaston grew out of his attempts to improve and extend royal control of local administration and justice. The second chapter traces the history of the 1304-7 proceedings, and argues that Edward I created trailbaston as a vehicle for reasserting royal authority in the counties. The third chapter analyzes the Staffordshire rolls of 1305-7, and observes that trailbaston punished upper-class offenders more harshly and consistently than any previous royal commission. The fourth chapter focuses upon a single case study, that of the Berkeleys v. the men of Bristol, and proposes that most litigants found trailbaston a very attractive forum for prosecuting disputes. The final chapter investigates its aftermath, and argues that it had a cold reception from knights and the gentry.

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