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frankpledge


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A system for preserving law and order in English communities from the 10th century to the 14th, when it was superseded by the appointment of Justices of the Peace. Communities were grouped into associations of ten men (a tithing) under a headman (chief pledge or tithingman) and held responsible for the good behaviour of members. Twice a year, in the “view of frankpledge”, sheriffs examined its effectiveness. Frankpledge was not applied to the aristocracy, to certain freeholders, or to vagrants, nor was it found in northern England where the alternative system of Serjeants of the Peace existed.

Subjects: History.


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