Statute of Winchester (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: The statute of Winchester defines the rights and obligations of kings and subjects in military affairs and establishes a national police force.
Summary of Event
During his busy reign, Edward I, the so-called English Justinian, legislated a number of significant matters. The Statutes of Gloucester (1278), addressed land law. Westminster I (1275) changed a number of procedures, many of which were designed to relieve oppression of subjects. Westminster II (1285) and Westminster III (1290) reorganized feudalism in England, while the Statute of Mortmain (1279) attempted to limit the power of the Church to acquire land and deny feudal obligations to the king and nobles. Of great significance for future English fortunes was the Statute of Winchester (1285).
Apart from providing for various contingencies, such as the supervision of strangers, clearing highroads, and guarding city gates and walls, this law called for the maintenance of a national militia, the origins of which were in the ancient Anglo-Saxon concept of the universal military obligation of freemen. Certain modifications had been made in implementing this custom even before the Norman Conquest; the land unit for providing one fighting man had been increased from one hide to five or more as the equipment of the fighting knight became increasingly more expensive than that of the old Saxon thegn (or thane). Often, too, military...
(The entire section is 1341 words.)
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