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Archaeologia Cantiana - Vol. 127   2007 page 66

The Kent Hundred Rolls: Local Government and Corruption
in the Thirteenth Century.
By Jennifer Ward

regulation in the Statute of Marlborough of 1267 and the legislation of Edward I. Thomas Andrew, at one time bailiff of Scray, took 4s. from the tithing of Ewell to remit a distraint made because of a summons to Greenwich, probably to attend a session of the royal justices. When William de Lodeneford came to the county court with Twyford hundred, Henry de Malemains, then sheriff, arrested him because of a dispute in his house. He paid a fine of 10s. He had found pledges for payment and later Henry seized Richard de Henhurst’s horse for the money. At the present time, the sheriff was distraining William for the 10s. The activities of seigniorial bailiffs were also reported. Elias son of Emma, bailiff of the prior of Christ Church, Canterbury, maliciously distrained Thomas le Becke and Robert de Rygge who lost £5 and £2 respectively.30
   The sheriff collected the king’s debts, the ‘summons of the green wax’, which were listed and sent to the county by the Exchequer. Problems arose when the money was allegedly collected and not paid to the Exchequer. Walter de Berksted was said to have taken £2 from Bleangate hundred for the chattels of the felon, Andrew de Blengat’, but the hundred had to pay the money again since it did not receive its quittance (receipt) from Walter. The sheriff, Henry Malemains, took two marks from the tenants of Chilham for a respite in paying their eyre amercements at the Exchequer until they paid his account; he then immediately issued a royal summons against them.31
   Sheriffs and bailiffs were not the only officials said to oppress the county. Coroners were established in 1194 when three knights and one clerk were to be chosen in the county as keepers of the pleas of the Crown until they should be determined at the next eyre. In contrast to the sheriff who was a royal appointee, coroners were always chosen locally. In thirteenth-century Kent, it is likely that they were responsible for a particular area. The coroner, William de Crioill, was said to be unwilling to come to the hundreds of Newchurch, Ham, Worth and Aloesbridge and to Langport half hundred, so people who had been killed could not be buried. In 1313-14, the coroner was usually responsible for a lathe.32 The coroner held inquests into sudden deaths; he also went to sanctuaries to hear the abjuration, the oath to leave England for ever, and to assign the abjuror a port of embarkation. Coroners were accused of taking money to carry out their duties. Robert de Borminge took half a mark from Brenchley hundred so that Adam But could be buried. John de St Clare, a coroner in Henry III’s reign, took 4s. from the men of Grain before he was willing to deliver two felons from Grain Church who had fled there after the death of Adam de Stretende.33
   At the time of the Hundred Rolls, there were only two escheators in England, one north and one south of the River Trent. Master Richard de Clifford who figures largely in the Kent Hundred Rolls held office south of the Trent between 1270 and 1274. The escheator was responsible for land

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