Ancient Assize Records

  • 26 Oct 2020
  • Crime and Legal
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The earliest documents of Assize in the London Records Offices are those of Worcestershire. They date back to 1221. Assizes a word meaning sitting or session, is but a variant of a term which has been applied to judicial systems in Scotland and a number of European countries. There were Assizes of civil jurisdiction for the settlement of land disputes as early as 1176 in Northampton. There were Assizes of a military jurisdiction compelling every man to provide himself with armour suitable to his rank and health by a law passed in 1181. They were composed of Knights and substantial men, with a bailiff or justice to direct them. The purely judicial Assize as we know them came soon afterwards, in the reign of Edward l.