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An area or individual enjoying a special privilege of freedom from royal jurisdictions. Liberties of all kinds abounded in the Middle Ages: a ruler could grant privileges to people or places, and these would then be enforceable for ever, cutting across other laws and customs. In England the word “liberty” was usually taken to mean a territorial area held by some lay or ecclesiastical magnate; most of these liberties dated back to Anglo‐Saxon times. The greatest liberties were the palatinate franchises of the bishops of Durham and the dukes of Lancaster.

Subjects: World History — Shakespeare Studies and Criticism.

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