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Archaeologia Cantiana - Vol. 126   2006 page 416 - Book Reviews - continued

bailiff of William de Say, took goods from his lord’s men in Burham and Birling and fined them heavily. Great lords, such as Archbishop Boniface of Savoy and Richard de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, used their power to seize land and judicial privileges. The Kentish knight, Walter de St John, suffered at the hands of Roger de Leybourne and alleged that he could not get justice at the king’s court because Roger had the backing of the king’s half-brother, William de Valence.
   As well as these abuses, the roll contains cases of disseisin, robbery, marriage, dower and wardship. Unique to Kent are the references to gavelkind. Details of gavelkind tenure were mostly unwritten at this date and therefore could be manipulated by officials eager to make money. The jurors of the hundred of Milton Regis were forthright in their statements. On the death of a gavelkind tenant, if the heir was a minor, the mother or the heir’s nearest relative on the mother’s side was to be the guardian of the heir and his land, answering to the heir for the profits when he came of age. A ‘reasonable relief’ was levied when the heir took over the land but no fine should be demanded. Yet the bailiffs of the hundred, since the time of William le Breton as sheriff, insisted on a heavy fine (£33 6s. 8d. in one case). The matter was referred to the king. There was plenty to do when Hugh Bigod conducted his eyre in Kent, and Dr Hershey sees him as a competent justiciar. Historians interested in the thirteenth century are indebted to Dr Hershey for editing this eyre roll and setting it in its national and local context.


Assembly places and practices in medieval Europe. Edited by Aliki Pantos and Sarah Semple. 252 pp., 55 b/w illustrations. Four Courts Press, 2004. Hardback, £50.00. ISBN 1 85182 665 3.

This collection of essays on early medieval assembly places and practices in the British Isles, Scandinavia and Francia will be of particular interest to archaeologists, but should also appeal to cultural historians. Using evidence from archaeological excavations and surveys, place-names and literary sources, the various contributors cover a widely diverse range of topics, including the history and uses of royal burial mounds in Ireland; the Old English vocabulary of assembly; and the workings of the early Frankish mallus. The latter was a local judicial assembly in the sixth and seventh centuries, where cases involving matters such as theft, arson, some instances of murder, transfers of property, and the betrothal of widows were heard. As a means of exploring the development of such assembly places in north-west Europe, most contributors adopt a case study approach. This may involve a reassessment of the research of earlier scholars: Thomas Charles-Edwards’ examination of the work of

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