Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Historical Notes on Clause 14: The Goods and Chattels of Felons on Church Lands

Cap. xiv. Catalla eorum qui sunt in forisfacto regis non detineat ecclesia vel coemiterium contra justitiam regis, quia ipsius regis sunt, sive in ecclesiis sive extra fuerint inventa. 

Clause 14: Chattels which have been forfeited to the king are not to be held in churches or cemeteries against the king's justice, because they belong to the king whether they be found inside churches or outside. 
[10 Hen II. Constitutions of Clarendon (1164) c.14]

Any man who had committed a felony was generally declared to be an outlaw. Those seeking sanctuary were generally fugitives from justice and therefore felons for not attending their hearing was a felony, and they automatically became outlaws. The  goods and chattels of outlaws were forfeit to the Crown.

This is about the ability to confiscate the goods and chattels of a felon, which might have found their  way onto church lands. The Church was not to give those goods and chattels any kind of sanctuary, as they technically now belonged to the king, and his agents and bailiffs should be allowed freely to be able to seize them.

In those times a felon was a traitor. His goods and chattels were, upon conviction, forfeit to the king.

This clause was not a controversial one.

The oath of abjuration to leave the realm as a condition of release from sanctuary was abolished along with sanctuary in 1624.


The right of sanctuary in England p. 318

George Lord Lyttelton (1767). The History of the Life of King Henry the Second Sandby. pp. 202–.

Francis Bacon (1753). The Works of Francis Bacon, Baron of Verulam, Viscount St. Alban, and Lord High Chancellor of England. D. Midwinter, W. Innys, D. Browne, C. Davis, J. and R. Tonson, A. Millar and J. Ward. pp. 141–3.

Frederick Pollock (Sir)); Frederic William Maitland (1966). The History of English Law. CUP Archive. p. 477.

Travers Twiss. The History of English Law Before the Time of Edward i. CUP Archive. pp. 466–. 

Edward Wood; John Salthouse (1770). A Compleat Body of Conveyancing: In Theory and Practice ... Forfeiture: His Majesty's law-printers. pp. 78–115. 

"The Seisin of Chattels"The Collected Papers of Frederic William Maitland. Cambridge University Press. pp. 329–. ISBN 978-1-107-64294-2.

The Disseisin of Chattels
Harvard Law Review
Vol. 3, No. 1, Apr. 15, 1889

Formerly, if an individual stood mute and refused to plead guilty or not guilty for a felony, he would be tortured until he enter a plea; if he died in the course of the torture, his lands would not be seized to the Crown, and his heirs would be allowed to succeed to them. In cases of high treason, however, an individual could not save his lands by refusing to enter a plea; instead, a refusal would be punished by immediate forfeiture of all estates. This distinction between treasons and felonies ended in 1772, when the court was permitted to enter a plea on a defendant's behalf.

C L'Estrange Ewen (17 June 2013). Witch Hunting and Witch Trials (RLE Witchcraft): The Indictments for Witchcraft from the Records of the 1373 Assizes Held from the Home Court 1559-1736 AD. Routledge. pp. 25–. ISBN 978-1-136-74004-6.

Novel Disseisin

Novel disseisin and its possible origin in Islamic law  
Is English law related to Muslim law?
North Carolina Law Review, June 1999, v77, i5, pp. 1635-1739
The Islamic Origins of the Common Law
By John A. Makdisi

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