Harvard Law School Library

Bracton Online -- English

Previous   Volume 2, Page 437  Next    

Go to Volume:      Page:    

[001] the person of the king and his crown,1 and therefore the coroners ought to enroll
[002] the said plaint or appeal, the year and the day and place and all the words of
[003] the appeal in order, and all the circumstances, (as above [in the portion] on
[004] appeals)2 pending the coming of the justices. If only the sheriff's peace is invoked,
[005] there will there be no loss of life or members by those convicted but a
[006] pecuniary penalty follows.3 The sheriff may [also] hold4 pleas not by virtue of his
[007] office as sheriff but in the king's place, because of necessity, not as sheriff but as
[008] the king's justice,5 where it is specially required of him that he take a jury and
[009] make inquests, extents and partitions, though in some instances he cannot render
[010] judgment. When he receives instructions to justice someone his authority issues
[011] from the special command of the king, not from his office as sheriff, and there it
[012] is evident that he ought to have the full authority of a justice, without which the said
[013] plea cannot be determined. It is also as a justice and not by virtue of his office
[014] as sheriff that he has cognisance of beasts taken and detained against gage and
[015] pledges, a plea that belongs to the crown and is of necessity granted to him to
[016] determine for a reason to be explained below.6 He also has cognisance of the
[017] assises established and sworn throughout the realm, as the assises of bread and
[018] beer and false measures, which are the concern of the crown,7 in order to ascertain
[019] whether they have been kept or not, as to which he and the coroners may make
[020] attachments until the coming of the justices. The view of frankpledge also belongs
[021] to the sheriff, to be made in his two turns each year through the hundreds and
[022] wapentakes. We therefore must see how the turns ought to be made.8

Of minor and less serious crimes sued civilly.

[024] We have spoken above of the major crimes and of appeals which are sued criminally
[025] and sometimes lead to the supreme penalty, sometimes to the loss of members,
[026] sometimes to exile, permanent or temporary.9 Now we must speak of the
[027] minor and less serious crimes which are sued civilly,10 as the personal actiones
[028] iniuriarum, which belong to the crown11 since they are [sometimes] committed
[029] against the peace of the lord king. We must therefore see what an injuria is. It is
[030] anything done wrongfully.12 Hence, [as] briefly explained above,13 if one is slain we
[031] must see whether he is wrongfully slain. [He is slain wrongfully] who is slain without
[032] right.14


1. Supra 411

2. Supra 394

3. Supra 411

4. ‘tenere,’ as V, but ‘facere,’ OA, LA, Y

5. Supra 300, 332, 411, infra 439

6. Infra 439

7. Supra 166, 340

8. Not dealt with in the treatise

9. Supra 290

10. Supra 411

11. Infra iii, 13

12. Inst. 4.4. pr; supra 140, 289; infra iv, 184

13. Supra 340

14. Inst. 4.3.2: ‘Iniuria est interfectus qui nullo iure occiditur’; om: ‘vel sit talis’

Contact: specialc@law.harvard.edu
Page last reviewed April 2003.
© 2003 The President and Fellows of Harvard College