Staffordshire Eyre, A.D. 1203
Pleas at Lichfield in the Fifth Year of the Reign of King John
Hundred of Cuttlestone
1 Simon, son of Richard of Brereton, was slain as he was returning from
an ale. Simon Pring fled on account of his death. He was in the frank-pledge
of Osbert of Abton, which is therefore in mercy. Simon's chattels were worth
twelve pence, for which Thoas of Erdington, the sheriff, must account. And the
twelve jurors say in their verdict as appears from their writing, and also say
by word of mouth that [Simon Pring] was not outlawed. Therefore to judgment
against the jurors. The county and the coroners record that he was not
outlawed. But the coroners' rolls and the sheriff's roll testify that he was
outlawed. Therefore to judgment against the county and the coroners.
2 Adam, son of Baldwin, who allowed his wife to come into the county
[court] and appeal Thomas, son of Godwin, of a wound given him, is in mercy,
for that he refused to sue, whereas his wife had pledged faith to sue.
Hundred of Totmonslow
3 Robert, son of Robert of Ferrers, appeals Ranulf of Tattesworth, for
that he came into Robert's garden and wickedly and in the king's peace
assaulted Robert's man Roger, and beat and wounded him so that his life was
despaired of, and robbed him [Roger?] of a cloak, a sword, a bow and arrows:
and the said Roger offers to prove this by his body as the court shall
consider. And Ranulf comes and defends the whole of it, word by word, and
offers the king one mark of silver that he may have an inquest of lawful
knights [to say] whether he be guilty thereof or no. Also he says that Roger
has never until now appealed him of this, and prays that this be allowed in his
favour. [Ranulf's] offering is accepted. The jurors say that in turth there
was some quarrel between Robert's gardener, Osmund, and some foot-boys, but
Ranulf was not there, and they do not suspect him of any robbery or any tort
done to Robert or to Osmund. Also the county records that the knights who on
Robert's complaint were sent to view Osmund's wounds found him unwounded and
found no one else complaining, and that Robert in his plaint spoke of Osmund
his gardener and never of Roger, and that Roger never came to the county
[court] to make this appeal. Therefore it is considered that Ranulf be quit,
and Robert and Roger in mercy. Pledge for Ranulf's mark, Philip of Draycot.
Pledges for the amercement, Henry of Hungerhill, and Richard Meverell. Pledge
for Roger, the said Robert.
Hundred of Pirehill
4 One L. is suspected by the jurors of being present when Reinild of
Hemchurch was slain, and of having aided and counselled her death. And she
defends. Therefore let her purge herself by the ordeal of iron; but as she is
ill, the ordeal is respited until her recovery.
5 Andrew of Burwarton is suspected by the jurors of the death of one
Hervey, for that he concealed himself because of that death. Therefore let him
purge himself by ordeal of water.
Hundred of Offlow
6 The jurors say that Richard, brother of John of Sowe, appeals
Herbert, the serjeant of Mathew of Gamages, for that he in the king's peace
slew John his brother; and this he offers to prove against him as the court
shall consider. And Herbert defends the whole word by word as the court shall
consider. It is considered that the appeal is null, for in his appeal he made
no mention of sight and hearing, nor even of felony. So let the appellor be in
7 Godith, formerly wife of Walter Palmer, appeals Richard of Stonall,
for that he in the king's peace wickedly and by night with his force came to
her house and bound her and her husband, and afterwards slew the said Walter
her husband; and this she offers to prove against him as wife of the salin as
the court shall consider. And he defends all of it. And the jurors and the
whole neighbourhood suspect him of that death. And so it is considered that he
purge himself by ordeal of iron for he has elected to bear the iron.
8 The jurors of Oflow hundred say that the bailiffs of Tamworth have
unjustly taken toll from the knights of Staffordshire, to wit, for their oxen
and other beasts. And the men of Lichfield complain that likewise they have
taken toll from them, more especially in Staffordshire. And the bailiffs deny
that they take anything from the knights in Staffordshire. And for that they
cannot [be heard to] contradict the jurors, the bailiffs are in mercy. As to
the men of Lichfield, [the Tamworth bailiffs] say that they ought to have, and
in King Henry's time had, toll of them, more especially of the merchants, as
well in Staffordshire as in Warwickshire. And the burgesses of Lichfield offer
the king a half-mark for an inquest by the county. And the county records that
in King Henry's time the men of Lichfield did not pay toll in Staffordshire.
Therefore the bailiffs are in mercy.
This text was taken from:
Maitland, F. W., ed. Select Pleas of the Crown: Volume 1--A.D.
1200-1225. London: Bernard Quaritch, 1888.