In 1221, six years after Magna Carta, and some forty-five years after the granting of the town’s Market Charter, the record of cases tried in the equivalent of the assizes gives a picture of some aspects of life in Chipping Campden. The original Latin text is full of abbreviations and legal language, however the following extracts may help to give the flavour of the original. The English version is a free translation with explanatory comments.
Villata de Campdene (The Town of Campden)
Case 21 Reginaldus Rug latro occidit quendam alium latronem in campo de Campedene; Reginaldus fugit, et postea per aliud factum suspensus fuit; Englescheria non est presentata; Judicium – murdrum.
Trans: Reginald Rug (or Reg the Tough), a robber, killed another robber in the open-field of Campden; Reginald fled, and afterwards was hanged for a different crime; Englishry was not proven. Judgement – murder.
Englescheria – ‘Englishry’ – is an interesting aspect of the law at the time; a person was assumed to be Norman or subject to Norman law unless English descent could be proven. The decision made a difference to the punishment or the fines due – and who was responsible for paying them.
Case 22 Willelmus Pigot suspendit se ipsum nullus malecreditur. Catalla ejus 1Os. unde villata respondat; loquendum.
Trans: William Pigot hanged himself and no foul play was suspected. His goods were worth 1Os. and the town was answerable for this amount – the matter must be further discussed.
Since the lord of the manor had lost the services of one of the townsfolk in certain circumstances his property might be forfeit in compensation. This was no doubt the question that needed further consideration.
Case 23 Radulphus Walensis occidit Hugonem Pondevske; et fugit; et nullius alius malecreditur; Judicium – exigatur et utlagetur; nulla catalla habuit; postea testatum est quod Radulphus obiit.
Trans: Randolph of Wales killed Hugo Pondeveske; and fled; and no other person was suspected; Judgement – banished and outlawed; he had no possessions; later evidence was given that Randolph had died.
Case 24 Henricus de Grete et Robertus clericus vendiderunt vina contra assisum et ideo in misericordia.
Trans: Henry of Grete and Robert the Clerk (or cleric) sold wine contrary to the regulations and they were fined.
Even in those days sales were strictly regulated it seems.
Case 25 Assisa de latitudine pannorum non est servata in Campedene et ideo in misericordia: loquendum.
Trans: The regulations relating to the size of pieces of cloth are not carried out in Campden and they should be fined; the matter must be further discussed.
Case 26 Ad judicium de juratoribus qui concelaverunt mortem Walteri de Aspertone qui obiit de quadam plaga in domo Aldithe vidue; Alditha mortua est, in misericordia.
Trans: In the matter of the judgement of the jurors who concealed the death of Walter of Aspertone [probably Ashperton] who died of plague (or of a wound?) in the house of Widow Aldithe; Aldithe is dead, fine imposed.
Concealing a death was a serious matter and whether by plague or a wound – plaga can mean either – the death of Walter had to be investigated. One is tempted to assume plague was the cause as Aldithe is also dead by the time of the hearing.
Ad judicium de eisdem juratoribus qui concelaverunt quoddam appellum quod Wimarc uxor Nicholai le Macum fecit versus Gaufridum Wud de pace domini Regis etc. ; in misericordia.
Trans: For judgement about the same [presumably those in Case 26] jurors who concealed an appeal which Wimarc the wife of Nicholas le Macum made against Geoffrey Wud. Regarding the king’s peace etc; in compassion.