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Office of Sheriff in the Anglo-Saxon Period office of sheriff is
the one secular dignity generally known JL in English-speaking
lands which for more than nine centuries has maintained a
continuous existence and preserved its distinguishing features. Its
constitutional importance is as well recognized as the variety of
its functions, and it throws light on the question whether the
elements which combined to form the English state of the twelfth
century were in origin native or Norman. Yet no systematic attempt
has hitherto been made to trace its early development. Kemble's
account, which is based mainly on the charters, is brief and
contains a good deal of untested surmise. Stubbs made use of other
materials as well, but the needs of his work called only for an
outline of the subject, and this he borrowed largely from Kemble.
The great work of Dr. Liebermann necessarily looks first to the
laws, a class of sources which for this particular period contains
suggestion rather than definite information. Since the beginning of
the present century an entirely new view concerning the origin of
the shrievalty has been put forward. The abandonment of the mark
theory as an explanation of English institutional origins involved,
to be sure, the rejection of the older conception of an elective
sheriff ruling over a primitive community.1 But Mr. Chadwick
assails the foundation upon which rests the existence of a
scirgerefa or shire-reeve from the reign of Ine to 'that of
Athelstan: the shireman of Ine may be regarded as an alderman, but
hardly as a sheriff.2 Furthermore, the fact that, so far as record
goes, the more important type of king's reeve until about the
middle of the tenth century occurs in association with a king's tun
or a burghal district rather than a shire, destroys conf...
General Books LLC
|Country of origin:
• Reginald Lane Poole
||246 x 189 x 19mm (L x W x T)
||Paperback - Trade
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