Ariella Elema wrote:Now here's an interesting picture of a fourteenth-century seal.*
The words say S[CEAU] HENRI CHAILLAU L[']ESCREMISSEEUR DE CHAALONS. Seal of Henri Chaillau, the Fencer of Châlons.
The book claims that it belonged to an executioner. I don't know if that's a mistake or whether the seal is perhaps attached to a document that sheds some more light on it. It looks like I'm going to have to do some more research. I'm not even sure which Châlons it comes from.
A tonsure or short haircut makes it harder to grab the other persons hair (speaking of which, I wonder if womens heads were shaved when females fought?) same for the clothing, and also prevents hiding things. This all helps keep the fight even.
In these earlier specific judicial combats described above, is there information available as to what the outcome was, and what was the aftermath? I'm trying to understand if the duel was more simply to determine guilt (like a trial by ordeal or a baphrobe) or if it was also part of the punishment for the guilty. I gather this varied from place to place, but in records you have seen, was the winner allowed to dispatch his or her opponent or simply to fight until one person won the match after which further punishment would be meted out to the defeated party?
And finally, my understanding is that judicial combats were normally a way to resolve accusations by one person against another. Are there other circumstances? Someone here a while back (I think it was Roland?) described some records of a convicted felon travelling around England fighting other criminals on behalf of the crown, I assume this would also fit the accuser fighting the accused model. I'm interested in what the other parameters were.
Ariella Elema wrote: Criminal trials usually resulted in the hanging of one of the parties, but "civil" cases were fought by champions and usually did not. The losing champion "lost his law," as they would say at the time. He was not allowed to champion anyone else or testify in court ever again, and he was subject to a number of other legal disabilities.
Trial by battle required an accuser to step forward and challenge the defendant. For a while the English royal courts experimented with a system of approvers. An approver was a convicted felon who agreed to accuse his accomplices, and fight them if necessary, in return for being allowed to leave the kingdom. Awhile back I found a reference to an approver who was fighting battles all over England against people he probably didn't know and basically acting like an early crown attorney. That might be the post you're thinking about.
Most of the time, battles that were pledged were never fought. The process worked much the same way a strike works in modern labour law. It was an incentive to negotiate. The idea was to reach a private settlement out of court before the final showdown.
We are working on the restoration of the ornamental stonework on the pinnacles of the North Quire Transept which contains the St. William's window. There are 3 double grotesques to carve and if I'm lucky
enough to get one I know what my two figures will be!
bigdummy wrote:Were "civil" cases always fought by champions and never by the litigants? Can you elaborate a bit more on the champion and their punishment for defeat? I wonder if that then was the occupation of our Châlons fencer
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