Apropos of Nothing
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Categories: Medieval

Apropos of Nothing

Early in the pandemic, British History Online was free to access. And I remember reading an Anglo-Norman proclamation from Edward II or Edward III forbidding anyone whatsoever from bringing any daggers, swords, hatchets, bows and arrows, long knives, aketons, plates, steel caps, or other offensive or defensive arms into sight of the palace at Westminister to disturb the proceedings of Parliament. I wish I could find that again but it was not helpful for the specific topic I was researching.

Edit: see Mart Shearer’s comment below with an English translation of one of these proclamations

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2 thoughts on “Apropos of Nothing

  1. Mart Shearer says:


    Royal proclamation as to the wearing of arms in the City, and at Westminster; and as to playing at games in the Palace at Westminster.
    25 Edward III. A.D. 1351. Letter-Book F. fol. ccviii. (Norman French.)

    “Forasmuch as heretofore at the Parliaments and Councils of our Lord the King, broils, riots, and disputes, have arisen and been moved, for that people have gone to the places where such Parliaments and Councils have been summoned and assembled, armed with haketons, with plates, with swords, and with long daggers, and with other manner of arms; by reason whereof the business of our Lord the King and of his realm has both been impeded, and the great people and others who have come there, by command of the King, have been alarmed thereat;—our Lord the King, desiring to provide a remedy against such evils, doth forbid that any one, on pain of forfeiture of so much as unto the King he may forfeit, of whatsoever estate or condition he be, shall go armed with haketon, or with plate, or with habergeon [or with sword], (fn. 9) or with long dagger, or with any other manner of arms suspected, within the City of London, or within the suburbs, or in any other places between the said city and the Palace of Westminster, or anywhere in the Palace, by land or by water, on the pain aforesaid; save only the people of our Lord the King, whom he shall see fit to depute to such place as by his command they shall be deputed to, for keeping his peace at the said places; and also, except the officers of the King, according to the form of the Statute made at Norhamptone. And it is not the intention of our Lord the King, that any Earl [or] Baron shall not have his sword carried with him, elsewhere than in the presence of the King, or from the place of Council.

    1. Sean Manning says:

      Thanks! The ancient Romans had laws against bearing arms inside the pomerium (sacred boundary of a city), and the Athenians had stories about people who got a gang of spearmen and started grabbing dissidents out of crowds and disapearing them, but those English proclamations came to mind right now.

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