Abuse of discretion in fixing amercements
for misconduct is what these three clauses of Magna Carta sought to curb, and contemporary lawyers could easily have seen a connection between them and the principle of proportionality found within the natural law.
To Received by 1:04:11 Amercements
, Received by Copy- 14:07:06 hold Fines, The Accompt of Stock thereupon is as followeth Given in Charge Sold for l, s.
man shall have a larger amercement
imposed upon him, than his
Post, `Manorial Amercements and Peasant Poverty', Econ.
The large number of pleas involving relatively few villagers almost certainly reflects economic and social wherewithal; litigation was not something to be entered into lightly since an inquest cost money and a failure to produce law could result in an expensive amercement.(43) Thus, that Nicholas and Robert were, relatively speaking, so often involved in litigation may be explained by their social and economic status.
Laster [1970, 76] stresses that the loss of restitution and its accompanying incentives, and the potential for amercement for false accusation, meant that English citizens had to be "forced" into carrying out their policing functions.
probably no single "community" in the county will escape without amercement.
* amercements ("fines" in the modern sense of the word) imposed by the king's justices for violation of the law;
Amercements, feudal incidents, etc., and fines/oblations may be termed "incidental" income as the events which gave rise to them depended on unpredictable events.
The abbreviation po (ponit se super patriam, or `is brought to trial') is written above some culprits' names instead of the usual amercements. That they were brought to trial implies that the drinking parties were recognized as a nuisance.
However, if we look at what alewives charged and at the fines they had to pay, we realize that there is a connection between the price of a gallon and the amount of the amercement, although such a connection varied over time.
At Nottingham in 1395, for example, nineteen people were accused simultaneously as common "forestallers and gatherers of coal, selling it excessively high." It seems unreasonable to speak of monopoly profits in the coal trade when so many sellers were involved in such a small town.(70) Many of the common forestallers who were fined paltry sums had too little capital to monopolize anything; their amercements
were merely token punishments for the honour of the town.
In arguing that the help-ales of Wakefield would have excluded the poor, she seems to consider the following points to be self-evident: (a) that 'there is a connection between the price of a gallon and the amount of the amercement
' paid by commercial brewers; (b) that this same relationship must apply to amercements
levied on hosts of help-ales; (c) that she can therefore determine the prices charged at help-ales; and (d) that these prices will show both who could afford to attend help-ales and how many people attended these events.(7) Not one of these points is self-evident to me; indeed, each is quite problematic.