thieves; and a gallows was set up in Tenterden (which
has still its gallows green) and in all the principal hundreds. In the
thirteenth century the powers of these local jurisdictions were
materially curtailed; and judges were sent into each county, who held
assizes for Kent at Canterbury and Rochester, and occasionally at
A brief notice taken from the earliest Plea Rolls, of some
of the proceedings at these courts, during the thirteenth and early part
of the fourteenth centuries, including the reigns of Henry III, Edward
I, and Edward II, will shew how justice in matters affecting Tenterden
was administered at that time, and will, I think, be of interest.
Tenterden had now gradually emerged from a dene and a borough, and had
become a ville or town.
From the Plea Rolls I find it was adjudged that every
holder of a tenement in Tenterden was bound to do suit and service at
the Hundred Court, every three weeks, when summoned by the borsholder.
Then the hundred was gildable, and subject to scot and lot,
which was a customary contribution laid on all the
inhabitants according to their ability. This burden
appears to have been levied on all the inhabitants of the seven hundreds
now brought under "Hundred Law," but I have not met with it in
the more ancient hundreds of Kent. The justice of such a payment is
obvious, as portions of the district still remained unreclaimed. The
hundred was relieved from this burden in the reign of Henry VI, when
Tenterden was united to the Cinque Ports.
The fair at Tenterden was then held on the eve and day of
the Feast of St. Mildred; it had been hitherto exempt from tolls, but
the King's bailiff had recently exacted them and was to answer for it.
The bailiffs of the hundred of Tenterden and of the
liberties of the archbishop and the prior of Christ Church, Canterbury,
were accused of amercing offenders, for breaking the assize of bread and
ale, instead of punishing the delinquents by pillory and tumbril. Henry
III had passed a statute that, if the offence was grievous, the baker
should go to the pillory, and the brewer to the tumbril.