British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

A calendar of the traditional customs, practices & rituals of the British Isles.

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878                                   MICHAELMAS DAY.                    [SEPT. 29,
The manor of Eoscarrock, the Boscaret of Domesday, situated near Endellion, was held in the time of Edward the Confessor by Alvin, and at the time of the Domesday survey by Nigel under the Earl of Moriton. A substantial house has been constructed on the site of the old mansion. Roscarrock pays a modus of £9 in lieu of tithes; this modus was anciently paid, according to established custom, in the church porch before sunrise on the morning of Michaelmas Day.—Parochial History of County of Cornwall, 1867, vol. i. p. 333.
The Lawless Court is kept, says Morant {History of Essex 1768, vol. i. p. 272), at King's-hill, about half a mile north­east of Eochford Church, in the yard of a house once be­longing to .... Crips, Gent., and afterwards to Robert Hackshaw, of London, merchant, and to Mr. John Buckle. Here the tenants kneel, and do their homage. The time is the Wednesday morning next after Michaelmas Day, upon the first cock-crowing, without any kind of light but such as the heavens will afford. The steward of the Court calleth all such as are bound to appear with as low a voice as possible, giving no notice, when he that gives not an answer is deeply amerced. They are all to whisper to each other ; nor have they any pen and ink, but supply that office with a coal; and he that owes suit and service thereto, and appears not, forfeits to the lord double his rent every hour he is absent. A tenant of this manor forfeited not long ago his land for non-attendance, but was restored to it, the lord only taking a fine. The Court is called Lawless because held at an unlawful or lawless hour, or quia dicta sine lege: the title of it runs in the Court rolls to this day according to the form below:—
King's Hill in Kochford.
Curia de Domino Rege
Dicta sine Lege,
Tenta est ibidem
Per ejusdem consuetudinem.
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