chapter  2
18 Pages

Outlawry as an Instrument of Justice in the Thirteenth Century

BySusan Stewart

This chapter examines the use of outlawry as a penalty for felony during the thirteenth century. It outlines the structure of the justice system as established in the later twelfth century. The foundations and structure of the administration of justice in the thirteenth century were firmly laid by the great reforms of Henry II during the years 1154-89. The majority of outlaws arising from an eyre were those named by juries or witnesses as suspected of crime and who had fled rather than risking instant hanging by coming before the justices. The interface between women and outlawry was very different from that experienced by men. The passion of Norman and Angevin kings for hunting the deer and for maintaining exclusive hunting rights in vast areas of designated forest carried with it a set of laws regarding the use of the forest which greatly oppressed the many that owned land, or lived and worked, within the forest.