5 S 2014 15th Century Life in England


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Life in the fifteenth century

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  • A proctor knew that the facts of the case had not been fully revealed. He believed that his client could make them known. Therefore, he asked the court to order the party, his client, to appear in person to clear the matter up." In these cases, the duty to the interests of justice came ahead of the proctor's responsibility to his patron's wishes.
  • Statute 11 Henry VII C[h]ap. 12. A mean to help and speed poor persons in their suits. A.D. 1494 [2 Ruff 76]Pray on the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, That where the King our sovereign lord, of his most gracious disposition, willeth and intendeth indifferent justice to be had and ministered according to his Common laws, to all his true subjects, as well to the poor as rich, which poor subjects be not of ability ne power to sue according to the laws of this land for the redress of injuries and wrongs to then done daily, as well concerning their persons and their inheritance, as other causes; For remedy whereof, in the behalf of the poor persons of this land, not able to sue for their remedy, after the course of the common law; be it ordained and enacted your highness and by the lords spiritual and temporal, and the Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by authority of the same, That every poor person or persons, which have, or hereafter shall have cause of action or actions against any person or persons within this realm, shall have by the discretion of the Chancellor of this realm for the time being, writ or writs original and writs of subpoena, according to the nature of their causes, therefore nothing paying to your highness for the seals of the same, nor to any person for the writing of the same writ and writs to be hereafter sued; and that the said chancellor for the time being shall assign such of the clerks which shall do and use the making and writing of the same writs, to write the same ready to be sealed, and also learned Counsel and Attornies for the same, without any reward taken therefore: And after the said writ or writs be returned, if it be afore the King in his Bench, the Justices there shall assign to the same poor person or persons, counsel learned, by their discretions, which shall give their Counsels, nothing taking for the same: And likewise the Justices shall appoint Attorney and Attornies for the same poor person or persons, and all other officers requisite and necessary to be had for the speed of the said suits to be had and made, which shall do their duties without any reward for their counsels, help, and business in the same: And the same law and order shall be observed and kept of all such suits to be made afore the King's Justices of his Common place, and barons of his exchequer, and all other Justices in the Courts of record where any such suit shall be.In 1494 it enacted‘ “a mean to help and speed poorpeople in their suits,” which stated as its cause theKing’s desire that indifierent justice should be had andministered to all his true subjects, as well to the poor asrich. But seeing that the poor subjects “be not ofability, ne power to sue, according to the laws of thisland, for the redress of injuries and wrongs to themdaily done,” it was ordained that such poor folk shouldhave writs without payment of fees; and the judgeswere to “assign to the samevpoor person or personscounsel learned by their discretions which shall givetheir counsel nothing taking for the same; and the‘justices shall likewise appoint attorney and attorneysfor the same poor person or persons, and all otherofficers requisite and necessary to be had for the speed_of the said suits to be had and made, which shall dotheir duties without any reward for their counsels, help,and business in the same.” The origin of pauper suitsis, therefore, remote; and more ancient even than theage of Hemy VII., if, as is supposed, this statute ismerely declaratory of the common law.
  • 5 S 2014 15th Century Life in England

    1. 1. Life in the 15th Century
    2. 2. Henry V and English • Until 1417 Correspondence in French and Latin • After 1417 in English – Letters to London officals – Letters to his brother and to Privy Council
    3. 3. News & Propaganda • Proclamation through sheriffs • Criers – Cities, markets • Posting – Churches, guildhalls
    4. 4. Daily Life in the 15th Century Dr. Jennifer Paston
    5. 5. Lawyers And counters on the bench that stand by the bar, They will beguile you in your hand unless you beware. He will take 40 pence to take down his hood, And speak for you a word or two and do you little good, I warrant. Attorneys in country, they get silver for naught; They make men begin what they never had thought; And when they come to the ring, they hop if they can. All they can get that way, they think all is won for them With skill. No man should trust them, so false they are in the bile. Poem on the Evil Times of Edward II
    6. 6. Attorneys Before the end of the 12th century parties must attend court in person Courts become fixed in one place Limited rights to be represented 1235 First statutory reference to right to have an attorney 1318, 1383 Right of those abroad to be represented by attorneys
    7. 7. Split • Serjeants at Law presented the case and responded to any argument that arose – Focused on appearing in court – Later called Utter-barrister • Attorneys appeared on behalf of a claimant and spoke for him. – Handled the managerial, preparatory side
    8. 8. Church Courts • Proctors • Provision for fees • Rebuke for failure to file for a client • Need only serve the client to the extent he thought the cause was just
    9. 9. 1275 Statute of Westminster I • Address official misconduct • Excess litigation • Bribes
    10. 10. 14th Century London • 1292 ~140 lawyers – Attempt to apply limits • 1400 ~2000 lawyers
    11. 11. 1402 Commons Petition • “falsifications, deceits, and nullifications . . . for some time . . . still being made day to day . . . more than were ever made in the past, by a large number of attorneys.” • “several have learned little or nothing of the law;” some were “of very tender age;” “negligence and ignorance” prevented accurate record keeping. Rose, Jonathan. "Medieval Attitudes Toward the Legal Profession: The Past as Prologue." Stetson L. Rev. 28 (1998): 345
    12. 12. Statute 4 Henry IV (1402) Justices to examine all attorneys. Enroll only those who were ‘good and virtuous and of good fame…’ Clients of those not enrolled advised to seek new attorneys • 1455 Similar statute applied to Norfolk and Suffolk and the city of Norwich
    13. 13. 1455 Petition of Commons Attorneys [come] to every Fair, Market, and other Places, where is any Assembly of People, exhorting, procuring, moving, and inciting the People to attempt untrue [and] foreign Suits, for small Trespasses, little Offences, and small Sums of Debt, whose Actions be triable and determinable in Court Barons; whereby proceed many Suits, more of evil Will and Malice, than of the Truth of the Thing . . .
    14. 14. 1494 Paupers • Right to a court appointed attorney
    15. 15. The Chaucer Family • Tavern keepers • John Chaucer, wine merchant, customs agent • Geoffrey – Page to countess of Ulster – Diplomatic missions – Marriage to Philippa Roelt, later sister-in-law to John of Gaunt
    16. 16. Chaucer and Descendants Geoffrey(1340-1400) Thomas Chaucer (1367- 1434) • Married Maud of Ewelme • Manager for Cardinal Henry Beaufort • Speaker of the House
    17. 17. Alice Chaucer (1404-1475) • Married John Phelip (1414−15) – Inherits land • Married Thomas Montagu (1421−28), earl of Salisbury – Inherits wealth • Married William de la Pole ( ~1432-50), earl and later duke of Suffolk • Enmity with the Pastons
    18. 18. John de la Pole (1442−92) • His father impeached, exiled, murdered but not attainted • Married (1450) to Margaret Beaufort (1443−1509) – Marriage set aside by Henry VI • Married (1458) to Elizabeth (1440-~1503) , daughter of Richard, duke of York
    19. 19. Pastons and the Fastolf Estate • Executor for Fastolf – Claim of oral will • Objective to establish a college of monks at Caister Castle • Opposition from dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk (widow, Alice) and the Bishop of
    20. 20. Plan of Caister Castle
    21. 21. Caister Castle, Home of Sir John Fastolf
    22. 22. Magdalen College, Beneficiary of the estate of Sir John