109 The War between the Wars

WinchelseaThe period between 1347 and 1353 was one of low level war and violence; punctuated by more or less effective truces. But even the truces don't stop the low level local violence that saw a creeping chaos in areas of France. Meanwhile at home, Edward's parliaments of 1351-3 introduced a range of legislation and saw the Commons become a more unified coherent unit. 


109 Between the Wars


The Statute of Treason 1352

It is faintly odd that this staute should have been introduced by a man who was far more forgiving and successful at avoiding treason trials that his grandfather, father or indeed grandson. It may have been the long delayed trial of some of the murderers of Edward II that prompted Edward to bring the statute forward. The first half of the statute, concerning High Treason remains in force. The second part about Petty Treason of a man against his lord, was repealed in 1828. 

Item, whereas divers opinions have been before this time in what cases treason shall be said, and in what not; the King, at the request of the Lords and of the Commons, hath made a Declaration in the manner as hereafter followeth, that is to say:

When a man doth compass or imagine the death of our Lord the King, or of our lady his Queen or of their eldest son and heir; or if a man do violate the King’s wife or the King’s eldest daughter unmarried, or the wife of the King’s eldest son and heir; or if a man do levy war against our Lord the King in his realm, or be adherent to the King’s enemies in his realm, giving to them aid and comfort in the realm, or elsewhere, and thereof be attainted of open deed by men of their rank; and if a man counterfeit the king’s great or privy seal or his money; and if a man slay the Chancellor, Treasurer, or the King’s Justices of the one Bench or the other, Justices in Eyre, or Justices of Assize, and all other Justices assigned to hear and determine, being in their Places, doing their Offices. And it is to be understood, that in the Cases above rehearsed, anything ought to be judged Treason which extends to our Lord the King, and his Royal Majesty. An of such treason the forfeiture of the escheats belongs to our sovereign lord the king.

And moreover there is another kind of treason, that is to say when a servant slays his master, or a wife her husband, or when a secular cleric or a religious kills his prelate, to whom he owes faith and obedience; and in such kinds of treason the escheats ought to pertain to every lord of his own fee.

And as many other similar cases of treason may happen in time to come, which a man cannot think nor declare at the present time, it is agreed that if any other case, supposed treason, which is not specified above, should come before any justices, the justices shall wait, without passing sentence of treason, till the case be shown and declared before the king and his parliament, whether it ought to be judged treason or some other felony. 

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