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its due meed of recognition, in his election to the thoroughly congenial Chair which he filled at the time of his death. Knowing Langmead as I had known him, working with him as I had worked with him on the previous editions of this book, I felt that I could bring to the preparation of the Third Edition a more intimate acquaintance with the author's mind on the subject matter of his book than any other Editor, though better known in the World of Letters. And I still think that I was right in undertaking the task, however the accomplishment may fall short of my desires. I have endeavoured to correct all such press errors as I noticed in revising the present edition, and I have also compared all the extracts of any length and importance with the text of the authors cited, and have, as far as possible, brought them into exact conformity with the originals. In the extracts from Rot. Parl, and the Mediaval Statutes, this has often involved the entire re-casting of the text. In the case of writers such as Kemble, I have used the same care to bring the passages cited into conformity with the special orthography of the author, and to shew, in all cases, by the ordinary marks of omission, where an extract was welded together from different portions of the same page, or of following pages, or of text and notes.

The foot-notes which I have added to the present edition are throughout distinguished from Langmead's by the use of square brackets, and generally also by the word “ED." For the notes at the end of several chapters, where I have brought out and sometimes criticised the views of M. Glasson, in his recent elaborate and interesting Histoire du Droit et des Institutions Politiques de l'Angleterre, I am necessarily solely responsible, as Langmead had only commenced reading the work, and had not left more than a few pencilled marginal notes by way of a guide to his own judgment of M. Glasson's book.

In illustrating the mediæval portion of Langmead's book, I have frequently cited Mr. Digby's valuable History of the Law of Real Property, Mr. Dowell's History of Taxation, and Mr. Clifford's Private Bill Legislation, on the subjects of their respective works. I have also availed myself of the interesting side-lights thrown upon History by the publications of Societies, such as the Royal Society of Literature, the Royal Archæological Institute, the Camden Society, and others, to a greater extent than in the previous editions. I have departed from Langmead's orthography in the matter of Anglo-Saxon names, because it was a matter on which I knew him to have simply followed others, and not given the result of his own independent judgment, while the point was one on which I always differed from him. At the same time it is one on which I do not think that an iron rule of consistency can be maintained. In the Appendices, for which I am solely responsible, I have sought to say a few words on some topics of Historical interest which seemed to me to require further treatment than could be given in footnotes, and on some of which Langmead himself would not improbably have spoken had he been bringing out this edition. Where the Appendices refer to passages in the text, I hope they may be found to set them in a somewhat clearer light. I would, of course, by no means have it

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supposed that I represent either Langmead's views or any other than my own, in so far as, whether in notes or Appendices, I express any opinion on controverted points. I am indebted to Mr. Luke Owen Pike, M.A., the learned Editor of the Year Books, for the readily given help by which he enabled me to track a reference to the Year Books, left incomplete by Langmead, and to strengthen my own judgment in the case of Dr. Standish and Convocation.

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For my old friend Taswell-Langmead's sake, I would express the hope that the present edition of his book may be found not unworthy of his own good fame among students of History alike in the Old World and among our "kin beyond sea."



February, 1886.




Origin of the English-Teutonic Conquest of Britain-Germanic origin of

English Institutions-Ancient German polity-The Mark system-

The successful leaders assume the regal title-Conversion of the English

to Christianity-National Character of the Church-The Bretwaldas-

Invasions of the Danes-Constitution of English nation from 7th to

with century-Appropriation of the Soil—The mægths-Folkland and

Bookland-Territorial divisions—The Township-The Hundred-

The Shire-The Burgh-Guilds—The City of London, Ecclesiastical

divisions--Ranks of the People-Slaves-Freemen (Eorls and Ceorls)

-Growth of Thegnhood-Its effects--The Ceorls-Earldormen-The

Clergy-The King-Nature of Early English kingship-Gradual in.

crease in power and dignity-Assumption of Imperial titles-Royal

prerogatives and immunities — The Queen - The Athelings - The

Witenagemot-Its Constitution-Its Powers-It deposed and elected

Kings- And participated in every act of government--But these exten-

sive powers not invariably exerted-Except in legislation and taxation

- Judicial system-The Frithborg, or Frankpledge-Responsibility of

the Hlaford for his dependents—The Hundredmoot-Private Soken or

Jurisdictions—The Shiremoot - Procedure -Compurgation-Ordeal-

Legally appointed witnesses to bargains-Punishments (Wergild, bột,

wite, death)-Ancient English Laws-Early attempts at Codification --

Alfred as a legislator-Diversities of local customs-Gradual develop-

ment from personal to territorial organisation-Increased power of

the great nobles—The great Earldoms under Cnut and Edward the


Claimants to the Crown on death of Edward the Confessor --- Earl

Harold-Elected and crowned King-William Duke of Normandy-

English Kingship Elective, The Conquest-William is elected and

crowned “King of the English ”—Theoretically a Constitutional king

- Continuity of the Constitution—The Norman race—Effects of the

Conquest Feudalism Its gradual establishment The English
redeem their lands-Insurrections, followed by extensive confiscations
-Continental Feudalism -Sub-infeudation - Commendation --Growth
of Feudalism in England-Difference between English and Continen-
tal Feudalism-Feudal tenure of land without feudal principles of
government-Gemot of Salisbury-Domesday Book-Checks to the
power of the Feudatories-Great' Earldoms abolished-Counties Pala-



tine-Feudal tenures-Their services and incidents-Tenure in Villein-
age-The Conqueror's policy National rather than Feudal-National
Witan continued—William's Laws—He renews the Law of Edward
the Confessor-Wager of Battle - Englishry - Public Peace – The
Forest Laws- The Church-Separation of Spiritual from Temporal
Courts-William's canons of the Royal Supremacy-Judicial organi-
sation-Curia Regis-- Justiciars appointed-Riches of the Conqueror-
His great power-Harshness of his rule




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Reign of William Rufus—How far constitutionally important-Ranulf

Flambard-Struggle between the Royal and Feudal powers-William
seeks support of the English against the Baronage--and promises good
laws-Henry I. : His Charter of Liberties - Mala consuetudines
abolished-Forests retained-So-called Leges Henrici Primi-Henry
courts and receives the support of the native English-Marries a niece
of Edgar Atheling—Triumphs over the rebellious barons-Raises up
new men-Strengthens jurisdiction of County and Hundred Courts--
Charters to Boroughs-Royal administration centralised and systema-
tised-Occasional Circuits of the judges-Severity in punishing offences
against the Laws-Question of Investitures--STEPHEN : His two
Charters-Feudal anarchy of his Reign-Creation of new earldoms-
Arrest of the three bishops-Wretched condition of the People—Peace
of Wallingford-Scheme of reform-Death of Stephen-Henry II. :
The Angevin Dynasty-Charter of Liberties—Inquest of Sheriffs-
Henry's policy-Establishes law and order— The two great Constitu-
tional results of his reign-Administrative reforms-Itinerant Justices

– The Grand Assize-Scutage-Contest with Becket and the clergy-
Constitutions of Clarendon-RICHARD I. : Character of his reign-
Excessive taxation—Ways of raising money-Popular rising under
William-with-the-Beard_Constitutional opposition of the Clergy-
Administration of the kingdom by the Justiciars-Longchamp, Wil-
liam of Coutances, Hubert Walter, and Geoffrey Fitz-Peter-Deposi.
tion of Longchamp-Principles of representation and election in the
assessment of taxes and appointment of County Coroners-Advance of
the Boroughs towards independence-Summary of Richard's reign


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The three great fundamental compacts between the Crown and the Nation

- Magna Charta-An Act of the whole people under the leadership of
the barons-in reality a treaty of peace between the King and his
people in arms—its moderate, practical, and conservative character-
based on the Charter of Henry I. and the Law of Edward the Con-
fessor-Events of John's reign which led to the granting of the Charter
--Separation of Normandy from England-Decay of Feudalism-Re-
fusal of the barons to follow the King on foreign service-John's per-
sonal character-Church, baronage and people united against him-
His struggle with the Papacy-Double election to see of Canterbury-
John refuses to receive the Pope's nominee-The Interdict, Excom-
munication and ultimate Deposition—The King submits, and surren-
ders his Kingdom to the Pope-Struggle with the barons—Councils at

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