Tag Archives: Herefordshire

Curtesy and crying

A Year Book note on curtesy, and the requirements which a man must meet in order to claim to hold by the curtesy of England (proof of a live birth to his wife – specifically a baby’s cry being heard) YB Trin. 20 Edw I pl 39; Seipp 1292.88 refers to the case of Richard Danyel v Richard de la Bere (Herefordshire Eyre 1292) JUST 1/303 m. 6.  Richard Danyel, claiming the land formerly held by his mother, argued that Richard had not had qualifying issue with Cecily. De la Bere claimed that Cecily had given birth to his (qualifyingly noisy) child at Bishopston. A jury was summoned (the Year Book has some comments on the appropriate place from which to draw a jury when the alleged birth was in one place and the land in another). The jury told a sad tale of a very sick baby and an emergency baptism at home, then a brief visit to the church, after which it died, without having qualified, in auditory terms, as the right kind of offspring to give the father a right to curtesy. The crying test for curtesy is being taken seriously – and, as this case shows, could be used to exclude severely unwell children, even if they appear to have been viewed alive by at least a priest. Richard Danyel did not pursue the case, and should have been amerced for this failure, but was forgiven because he was a minor. Exactly what his role was in this story is unclear, but it does not suggest a happy family.

Herefordshire trespass/alibi case

 

YB Trin 20 Edw I pl. 84; Seipp 1292.133rs is John Lovet v. Walter de la Barre and others (1292), JUST I/303 m. 30d; JUST 1/302 m. 40d, a trespass case brought by John Lovet against Walter de la Barre and 27 other men, alleging that, on a specific day in the fourteenth year of Edward II, at Hereford, the Ds had assaulted and imprisoned P (keeping him for 18 days)  and taken £20 worth of his goods (to his damage, with force and arms contrary to the peace of the lord king). P claimed the damages to him amounted to £40. Two of the defendants pleaded alibis – John Lyghtefot claimed to have been in London on the day named, and William Hamelyn said he had been in Bristol. The matter was sent to the jury. The Yearbook tells us that the remaining defendants made other pleas – suggesting that this was a lawful arrest, and also self defence (when John, who had been involved in a crime, fled and attempted to resist arrest with a sword) rather than an unlawful attack. It adds further pleading points and information about the powers of bailiffs.