• The myth of the 'five bloods': from fiction to legal custom in the English royal courts in fourteenth-century Ireland

    Author(s):
    Stephen Hewer (see profile)
    Date:
    2018
    Group(s):
    Late Medieval History, Medieval Studies
    Subject(s):
    Medieval history, Medieval Ireland, Ancient and medieval law, Medieval culture
    Item Type:
    Article
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/4mx2-ph05
    Abstract:
    This paper examines two issues: misconceptions concerning English law in high medieval Ireland; and the invention and mutation of an exceptio (objection) in court which was based on a fabrication. The plea, or defensive claim, was that the plaintiff in a court case was an unfranchised Gael (Hibernica/Hibernicus) and therefore could not sue a civil writ in the English king’s royal courts in Ireland. This pleading has led some historians to surmise that all Gaels were unfranchised in English Ireland without a personal grant of access from the crown of England. The plea also claimed that only five Gaelic families were allowed to sue in the royal courts. Each time the plea was made, it changed, and after sixty years a defendant claimed that the ancestors of the then current king (Edward III) had granted access to English law only to five Gaelic families. There are many problems with this claim.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    5 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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