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Kingship, law, and society - criminal justice in the reign of Henry V
Edward Powell
Oxford University Press
UK Publication Date

This book breaks new ground in the study of crime and law enforcement in late medieval England using the reign of Henry V as a detailed case study.Dr Powell considers the subject on three levels: legal theory - academic, governmental, and popular thinking about the nature of law; legal machinery - the framework of courts and their procedures; and legal practice - the enforcement of the law in the reign of Henry V.There exists at present no other work devoted to setting the legal system of this period in its social and political context. Rejecting the traditional view of late medieval England as chronically lawless and violent, Dr Powell emphasizes instead the structural constraints on royal power to enforce the law, and the King's dependence on the co-operation of local society for the maintenance of his peace. Public order relied less on the coercive powers of the courts than the art of politicalmanagement and the use of procedures for conciliation and arbitration at local level.

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'clarity, thoroughness and honesty of Powell's research'
Times Literary Supplement

`Edward Powell's book is the first detailed study of the motives and effectiveness of the crown's pursuit of criminal justice, placed within the framework of contemporary conceptions of kingship and the practical constraints on royal power.
It draws on an impressive range of intractable judicial records, particularly for Henry V's reign, and is written with clarity and conviction.
Some of its conclusions are important, and some do what all good pioneering books
do - suggest avenues for further investigation.'

`a book of considerable distinction, wide-ranging and lucidly written'
Legal History

'a fine institutional history ... His clear and thorough analysis, set firmly in the traditions of W.A. Morris and Bertha Putnam, will make this book an important work of reference for students and teachers.'Times Higher Education Supplement

`Edward Powell's splendid study of Henry V's strategy for keeping peace among magnate and gentry factions represents an important contribution to the history of criminal justice ... Powell has brought forth from legal records a great deal of new material on the political and social relations of the magnates and gentry of the early fifteenth century.
Moreover, Powell has shed important light on a major aspect of criminal-justice administration.'
Thomas A. Green, Speculum - A Journal of Medieval Studies Oct 92

'We are shown convincingly that the success of medieval law courts is not to be measured by conviction rates.'
A. Harding, University of Liverpool, EHR, July 1993

Keyword Index
Criminal justice, Administration of - Great Britain - History.
Country of Publication
Number of Pages

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