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From England to FranceFelony and Exile in the High Middle Ages$
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William Chester Jordan

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691164953

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691164953.001.0001

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Abjuring the Realm

Abjuring the Realm

(p.7) Chapter 1 Abjuring the Realm
From England to France

William Chester Jordan

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers the factors that justified kings' and administrators' resort to the exile of large numbers of the criminal population. The relationship between the medieval English law of exile and the laws addressing felons and felonies is a complicated and, by modern reckoning, an unusual one. This is especially the case because two groups of people suspected of, or implicated in, felonies in the High Middle Ages regularly avoided the punishments which would have been meted out to them if they had been convicted in a court of law. One group was composed of men and women who, though not convicted of the crimes of which they were suspected, were in such bad repute that they were obliged to abjure (foreswear) the realm. The other comprised felons who confessed their crimes in sanctuary (on which, more shortly) or in other special circumstances, who also were obliged to abjure.

Keywords:   exile, abjuration, England, France, criminals, English law, Middle Ages, punishment

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