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its main principle, but most hopelessly confusing if attention is paid to its terminology alone.1
Our account of this subject would be incomplete without a reference to the Norman forests. 2 These great stretches of silence are still the chief glory of Normandy; and when we recollect that the hand of man has been more or less fitfully engaged upon their destruction since the establishment of the great abbeys of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, it is not difficult to realise how important a part they took in mediæval administration. No strict boundaries were needed when the huge forest of Gouffern separated Argentan from Falaise, or the vast woodlands of the Seine valley cut off the river from the uplands of Caux. Until the end of the fourteenth century no special department controlled the forests, 3 though at times, as in 1180, several of them were entrusted to the charge of a single officer. They were farmed, and administered independently, sometimes by the local bailiff, who also held inquiries into encroachments and accounted for the proceeds of the ‘reguard' or forest pleas. In this respect the Norman forests were managed like the English forests, except that the farm 'was replaced in England by a more
1. For the new bailiwick of the Oximin, see Stapleton, Observations, I, clxvii; II, cvii; and Rot. Scacc., i, 240, 246, where the title is given, and ii, pp. 409–414. Stapleton makes his description needlessly confusing by referring to the bailiwick of Falaise as the bailiwick of the Oximin (I, clxxii). The new bailiwick excluded the district known as Cinglais, which was part of the bailiwick of Falaise (I, cxxviii, clxiii).
2. Delisle, Etudes sur la condition de la classe agricole et de l'état de l'agriculture en Normandie, pp. 344–417. Prévost, Etude sur le Forêt de Roumare (Rouen, 1904); Maury, Les Forêts de la France, in Mémoires présentés a l'académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres (1860), second series, vol. iv, pp. 118–132. M. Maury's mémoire is especially useful for its remarks upon the effect of monastic settlements upon the forests.
3. Delisle, p. 336.
4. See the accounts of William de Mara in 1180 (Rot. Scacc., i, 99,
fluctuating 'census.'1 The value of the forests to the Norman dukes is evident on nearly every page of the exchequer rolls. Some of them were in private hands, 2 but for the most part they were in the demesne. Occasionally new settlements were established within them, which provided new sources of revenue. Thus, in the forest which encircles Lillebonne new vills had grown up in Henry II's time which brought in 292 li, in one year to the exchequer. They are still traceable by their names. 8
The administration of justice alone remains to be considered,
In the middle of the twelfth century, and even later, the Frankish county was still referred to in legal speech as the centre off public justice.'* As a rule, however, the bailiwick,
1. A detailed comparison of the English and Norman forests in the twelfth century is worth making. For the 'census, see Dialogus de Scaccario, Bk. i, c. 5, and Bk. ii, c. 11 (Oxford ed., pp. 80, 81, 141) and the Pipe Rolls.
2. Compare this entry : “Nigellus de Moubraio reddit compotum de xxv. li. de m. quercubus quas Willelmus filius Johannis emit ad edificia Regis de Buro (Rot. Scacc., i, 30).
3. Rot. Scacc., i, 89, and Stapleton's Observations in same volume,
4. For the phrase publica justitia, seo a charter of the abbot of Fécamp (1028—1079) quoted by Haskins (American Historical Review, xiv, 462), where the abbot retains it. Here it obviously refers to the ducal consuetudines i.e., to the rights of ducal justice granted to the abbey. Compare the references to the fora patrie in the custumal (Tardif, I, i, p. 32). In an assize at Caen, early in Henry II's reign, "diffinitum est in plenaria curia regis utpote in assisa, ubi erant barones quatuor comitatum Baiocassini, Constantini, Oximini, Abrincatini.” (See the “Appendix ad Scaccarium Normanniae," attached by M. Lechaudé d'Anisy to his edition of the Norman rolls, in Mém. de la Soc. des Antiquaries de Normandie, xv, 197 ; Robert of Torigni, ii, 251.) Rot. Chart., ed. Hardy, 59b. "quamdiu fuerit justiciarius itinerans in ballia de Costentino et Baiocassino."
or as the custumal calls it, the viscounty, was the unit in the reigns of Henry II and his sons. 1 The bailiff or viscount of this period had lost the right to hold pleas of the sword unless he sat with the itinerant justices of assize, but his jurisdiction in petty cases linked him with the great officials of the past, who, as we have seen, had often taken their titles from the county. There was therefore an unbroken tradition in the administration of public justice. For example, although the earl of Chester, who inherited the right to farm the old viscounty of the Bessin, had no official duties in the Bessin, these were still sustained, in 1180, by the important bailiff, Hamo the Cupbearer.3
This continuity of public or ducal justice has been disputed by one recent writer in his reaction against the erroneous views of Brussel that the duke of the Normans preserved from the first the monopoly of all but strictly feudal justice. In the view of this writer the great franchises held their rights in virtue of the Norman settlement; Rollo and his immediate successors made no grant of jurisdiction. The dukes of Normandy only secured the control of important pleas—the pleas of the sword—very slowly and never universally. 4 In other words, the early dukes were not sovereigns within their regnum, 5 but only feudal lords. In the previous pages I have urged that the dukes secured
1. Statuta et consuetudines, c. iv (Tardif, p. 44). 2. Above p. 50.
3. Rot. Scacc., p. 1. Hamo styled himself “Pincerna Regis Anglie et Senescallus Baiocarum” (Stapleton, Observations, I, lix). As Henry II's charters show, senescallus was frequently used in this general sense. In this case, it means that Hamo, as bailiff, had his seat at Bayeux. Stapleton identifies senescallus with prepositus, but whether this be right or not, Hamo did not farm the prepositura.
4, Valin, Le Duc de Normandie et sa Cour, p. 182. For a similar view, see Pissard, La Clameur de Haro (Caen, 1911).
5. In a charter of Dreux, count of the Vexin, confirmed by Philip I. of France, the words appear : Constat hec facta donatio tempore Roberti regis Francorum Ricardo comite viriliter regnum gubernante Normannorum. (Prou, Recueil des Actes de Philippe 1, p. 406, no. 163.)
their control by means of their peculiar insistence upon feudal rights, rather than upon their judicial authority, and to this extent I have expressed agreement with the view here described. We saw how by the regulation of services and the control of castles, and by the high farming of the demesne, the dukes built up a power which the great lay and ecclesiastical lords, in spite of their extensive franchises, were powerless to resist. 1 But, although I believe this to be the true interpretation of early Norman history, it seems to me impossible to believe that the dukes were able to achieve all this simply in virtue of their feudal lordship. Their position implied an element of sovereignty. Probably in no case is it possible to separate the popular from the feudal position of the lord in any early state which possessed stability; certainly it is impossible in the case of Normandy, where a band of alien warriors evolved order out of the chaos they had made. Now sovereignty implies that the sovereign is ultimately the source of justice; and the scanty evidence goes to show that, in spite of the extensive exceptions to the judicial authority of the duke throughout Normandy, the duke was from the first the source of justice, and regarded these great exceptions or franchises as the result of ducal grant, whether explicit, or, as in the case of original settlements, implied.
The direct evidence that the duke was the source of justice and stood in the place of the Frankish rulers is, it must be confessed, scanty, until the middle of the eleventh century. But this conclusion seems to follow from the facts that the viscounts so often took the titles of the old counties, that they collected a tax from other lands than the ducal demesne, and appear in the reign of the Conqueror not simply as the judges in the local courts, but
1. Above p. 52.
2. The graveria, or as it is called in the twelfth century, the auxilium vicecomitis, seems to have been a tax of this nature.
also as the judicial official to whom appeals can be made in certain cases against the inaction of local lords. The whole tenor of the early history of Normandy implies that the ducal officials were expected to keep the peace, and were not rigidly limited to judicial functions on the ducal estates. In the same way, when documents begin to be available, the duke's court appears as a compulsory court of justice in cases of disputes between tenants in chief. 2 On the other hand, the local courts lacked the continuity and popular character of the shire and hundred courts in England. The continuity of public justice in Normandy, if it really existed, must be sought in the maintenance by the duke of his authority in special cases, or pleas of the sword. In a country so full of franchises, the reservation of these pleas was necessary to the duke's judicial supremacy, and it is only by an examination of their history that we can discover whether they constituted 'public justice’ from the outset, or were the result of other forces.
It is significant that the counts, who had a plenitude of justice if any vassals of the duke had, were for some time removable officials, and members of the ducal family. This would hardly have been the case if the chief Norman settlers had been regarded as judicially independent from the time of settlement. Again, many of the Norman monasteries were of Frankish origin, and we find that the Norman dukes, in re-establishing them, renewed their
1. e.g., in the statutes of Lillebonne (see Appendix A) the judicial functions of the early viscounts are very important. See Haskins, American Historical Reriew, xiv, 469. An excellent instance later is the right to abjure a feudal court an award of boundaries cannot be obtained (Tardif, I, i, 89; cf. Glanvill lib., 9, c. 14). In 1207 the Norman exchequer instituted an inquiry “utrum comes Robertus (of Alençon) est vicecomes de terra sua, et utrum vicecomes unquam fecit divisam in curia nisi prius curia (comitis) fuerit fors jurata.” (Delisle, Jugements, no. 25.)
2. American Historical Review, xiv, 473. By agreement, reference could be made to the ducal court early in the dispute.