Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-558cb97cc8-24rpz Total loading time: 0.421 Render date: 2022-10-06T21:11:53.952Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": true, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

4 - Order and law

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Simon Walker
Affiliation:
University of Sheffield
Rosemary Horrox
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
W. Mark Ormrod
Affiliation:
University of York
Get access

Summary

Notions of order and law were inseparably allied in later medieval England. Order, both the public order of civil society and the domestic order of the household, depended upon the maintenance of hierarchy through the conscientious discharge of their obligations by every rank of society. The nature of these obligations was clearly set out by John Stafford, archbishop of Canterbury, in his address to the parliament of 1433. The magnates of the realm must work to maintain unity and concord within the kingdom; the knights and middling men (mediocres) should administer justice with equity; it was the people's part to obey the king's will and his laws. Disobedience of whatever kind, whether of servants towards their masters or of wives towards their husbands, was a kind of treason, the first step down the road towards general insurrection. Law was the means by which this authoritarian ideal of social harmony was regulated and enforced, acting like the sinews of the physical body as it turned ‘a group of men … into a people’. In talking of law, theorists distinguished between divine, natural and positive law, but in the case of each, the purpose of the law was agreed to be declarative: it disclosed an existing state of justice. Actions and decisions that were against justice and universal right (commun droit) could not, therefore, be considered legal.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2006

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

  • Order and law
  • Edited by Rosemary Horrox, University of Cambridge, W. Mark Ormrod, University of York
  • Book: A Social History of England, 1200–1500
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139167154.005
Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • Order and law
  • Edited by Rosemary Horrox, University of Cambridge, W. Mark Ormrod, University of York
  • Book: A Social History of England, 1200–1500
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139167154.005
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Order and law
  • Edited by Rosemary Horrox, University of Cambridge, W. Mark Ormrod, University of York
  • Book: A Social History of England, 1200–1500
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139167154.005
Available formats
×