1. Bodleian Library, MS. Rawlinson, C. 641, fol. 19.
2. British Library, MS. Royal 14, C. II, fol. 275.
1. Hovedon, Roger. Chronica Magistri Rogeri de Houedene, edited by William Stubbs. Vol. 2. The Chronicles and Memorials of Great Britain and Ireland during the Middle Ages 51. London: Longman and Company, 1869. (cii-cv; 248-252)
2. Peterborough, Benedict. The Chronicle of the Reigns of Henry II and Richard I A.D. 1169-1192, edited by William Stubs. 2 Vols. London: Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer, 1857. (Vol. I: 108-111; Vol. II: cxlix-liv)
3. Stubbs, William, ed. Select Charters and Other Illustrations of English Constitutional History: From the Earliest Times to the Reign of Edward the First, 8 ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1895. (140-146)
4. Adams, George B. and H. Stephens. Select Documents of English Constitutional History. New York; London: The Macmillan Company, 1901. (14-18)
5. *Douglas, David C. and George W. Greenaway. English Historical Documents, 1042-1189. New York: Oxford University Press, 1953. (407-410)
6. Stephenson, Carl and Frederick G. Marchman, ed. Sources of English Constitutional History: A Selection of Documents from A.D. 600 to the Present. New York; Evanston; London: Harper & Row Publishers, 1937. (76-80)
The word assize comes from the Old French word assize meaning to sit. The authority of an assize came from those sitting, or present. Therefore in early 1166 Henry II and his barons gave authority to the Assize of Clarendon by virtue of their presence. The assize had twenty-two articles written as instructions for the King’s justices. The core of the assize was in the first nineteen articles, in them it was prescribed how to form a jury of presentment, how sheriffs were to assist in the apprehension of suspected criminals, and how royal authority superseded any liberties in the case of serious crimes. The twentieth article concerned prospective member of religious houses and colleges, and the twenty-first article stipulated that those found guilty of heresy at the earlier council of Oxford were to be treated as outlaws. The last article asserted that the Assize of Clarendon is to be in affect as long as the king willed it.
Importance for the Angevin Empire:
The Assize of Clarendon was not motivated by anti-clericalism but rather Henry II’s desire for a competent implementation of the law; which was hindered by ecclesiastical liberties. It is important to view the Assize as fitting a part of larger legal reforms. For example, the assize did not supplanted customary law but supplemented it. The 1166 Assize of Clarendon incorporated the private jurisdictions of local communities into the larger framework of royal justice. This is because only after the local community had given names of those suspected of committing a serious crime would royal justice take affect. One of the enduring medieval legal traditions from the Assize was the jury of presentment, which was formed by twelve men from a hundred and four from a borough. They gathered at the shire court and provided names of individuals suspected of committing a crime.
1. Hurnard, Naomi D. “The Jury of Presentment and the Assize of Clarendon.” The English Historical Review 56, no. 223 (1941): 374-410.
2. Pollock, Frederick and Frederic Maitland. The History of English Law: Before the Time of Edward I. Vol. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1898.
3. Stubbs, William. The Constitutional History of England: In Its Origin and Development. Vol. I. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1891.
4. Warren, W.L. Henry II. Berkeley; Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1973.
5. ----.The Governance of Norman and Angevin England 1086-1272. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Athenaeum Press, 1994.