Lydia Stamato

Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2007

Capstone Advisor

Samantha Khan Herrick

Honors Reader

Chris R. Kyle

Capstone Major


Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

European History | History | Other History


The development of the common law in medievalEnglandwas one of the most important forces driving the unification of the kingdom. Law was not always applied uniformly, however. In 1313 a panel of royal justices was sent to thecountyofKentto record crimes, collect fines, and see that justice had been served. The justices informed the people ofKentthat they would be allowed to keep their unique customs. One custom the people claimed was that they did not present the English ancestry of slain individuals, a practice which had a complex history and relationship with the murder fine. To validate this claim, the people ofKentmade an appeal to the past, to the Norman Conquest. Detailed analysis of the records from the eyre ofKent, and those of several other eyres throughout the kingdom, shows how presentment of Englishry evolved over time and space. Royal charters, legal treatises and other sources show how presentment of Englishry was defined and how it related to homicide. Ultimately, the appeal to the past was overridden in favor of recent documentation which proved to the justices that Englishry had been presented inKentat the last eyre and thus should be in the current eyre of 1313. This marks an important transition—the recent past gained the authority that the distant past once commanded.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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