English Legal History and its Materials
While reading Baker's Introduction to English Legal History I ran across the term "The Moot" (p.4- Yeah, i takes me a while to read and understand these new history vocabulary).

Does anyone know who they were? What they did?

The reference helps to disambiguate that the question is about folk moots, rather than "moot courts." A sufficient answer can be found in the Oxford English Dictionary, which is freely available to all Columbia community members online.

For the answer team, let's take a more specific object of inquiry: the "hundred courts," which have their origin in the "hundred moot." What was the hundred in Anglo-Saxon England? How was the hundred as a unit affected by Norman legislation? What were the functions of the hundred court before Edward I?

-- InbarAsif - 03 Sep 2014

A hundred in Anglo-Saxon England was an administrative unit of local government, which may have had its roots in an older institution perhaps corresponding to a unit of taxation or a group of households. The Normans found the judicial, administrative, and police aspects of the hundred to be a useful unit of government to leverage to their advantage.

What does this last sentence mean?

Following the Norman takeover, power, which had been devolved to the earls under a feudal system

What does this mean? Is Norman government, the most completely theoretically feudal in the history of Western Europe, not "feudalism" for some reason?

was once again returned to the King, whose deputies had no more power than he was prepared to give them. English sheriffs were replaced by Normans, mostly drawn from the secondary level amongst William's follower , although the duties held by the sheriff remained largely unchanged save for their holding of authority over the royal castles in their shires.


William sought to control the sheriffs loyal to him by granting them office for limited periods of time. Ultimately, however, the office tended to become hereditary.

Within the lifetime of William? Source?

Last edit seems to have destroyed continuity. How is what follows now an example?

For example, if a Norman was found murdered in a hundred by an unknown person, then that hundred would have to pay a heavy murder fine.

What does this imply about the nature of Norman occupation?

In the early years of the Norman reign of William and his sons William Rufus and Henry I, the administration was mainly concerned with the raising of royal revenues for avaricious and military pursuits.

Editorialization. Wikipedia's neutral point of view principle should be followed.

Particularly, William Rufus (1087 - 1100) was in need of finances to secure his throne in the face of rebellion from the supporters of his older brother, Duke Robert of Normandy, who had been passed over by William for the throne. The fact that Robert was passed over reflects disregard for the principles of royal succession,

What principles of royal succession are you talking about and where did you source them in Norman precedent, history, or theory? Why was the division of the inheritance, however likely to produce struggle, uncharacteristic of either Norman government or William the Conqueror?

and could imply that the Normans were in view of England as a private estate rather than a royal monarchy.

What source licensed this implication?

The struggle against Robert continued under Henry I until Robert's defeat and capture and the Battle of Tinchebrai in 1106. During this period and increasingly so under Henry I, the administration of justice and finance was closely tied together. From 1009 to 1111, under the Ordinane of the Hundred, disputes concerning land held from different feudal lords were automatically referred to the shire courts, but in reality it was increasingly usual for those who could afford it to seek justice from the King in other types of cases.

Preceding paragraph is full of errors, was apparently not edited, Source?

Continuity was again destroyed by this edit.

The idea of making the entire hundred liable for undetected crimes was expanded upon for the next 500 years, including the Statute of Winchester (1285) which imposed such liability for undetected robberies.

Why 500 years?

The Assize of Clarendon (1166) required that every hundred produce 12 of the most lawful men that would swear to present any man suspected of a serious crime to the relevant authority, along with an oral account of how the prisoner was captured.

Why are you jumping back 125 years here, rather than taking matters in order? Why not explain that the institution created in 1166 remains the central accusatory system of common-law criminal justice.

The hundred court, often simply shortened to ‘hundred,’ was a court of first instance which was headed by a hundred man or the reeve. Traditionally, the hundred court met once every four weeks where it transacted its business – hunting down thieves and executing judgment on them, as well as ensuring that each member of the hundred was ‘in borh’ in what was later referred to as the ‘view of frankpledge.’

Why are you making penal matters the primary business of the hundred? Would "court" justify some explanation? If you're going to discuss presentation of Englishry, however briefly, why not discuss coroners?

The sheriffs frequently brought the hundreds under their control and by the time of Edward I, more than half of the hundreds were under private control.

Some explanation of the meaning of this detail would be useful.

(Plucknett, Concise History 87-90; Baker, Introduction to English Legal History, 7)


-- GregoryKang - 4 Sep 2014


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r7 - 04 Sep 2014 - 14:12:17 - EbenMoglen
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