Yorkshire Sessions of the Peace, 1361–1364
The period 1361–4, when these five court rolls from Yorkshire were compiled, was an important era in medieval English jurisprudence, as the older system of keepers of the peace was transformed into that of justices of the peace, who were given full powers to judge cases of felony as well as to enforce the labour laws. Yet in 1364 this system was suddenly abandoned and the powers of the justices diminished. Published in 1939 for the Yorkshire Archaeological Society, the original Latin texts of the five rolls are prefaced here with an extensive introduction by the noted historian of medieval jurisprudence Bertha Haven Putnam (1872–1960), who provides historical and legal context and analyses the content of the rolls, tabulating the various types of offences that were committed, including homicide, larceny and trespass. Putnam also includes, as appendices, selections from the rolls of the exchequer and the king's bench.