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Letters of Absolution, and was thus, through his disability as an excommunicate, wrongfully delayed in respect of his action in the King's Court. He therefore sued an attachment on Prohibit'on in the King's Bench against the Official of the Court of Arches. It was contended on behalf of the Official that Abel was under several sentences of excommunication, and that, although he was absolved in respect of one, he was not by the canon law entitled to Letters of Absolution until he had been absolved in respect of them all. For Abel it was answered that he had made satisfaction and was absolved in respect of all sentences passed against him. The point in dispute could not be determined in the King's Court, and a writ was directed to the Archbishop of Canterbury to certify the facts to the Court of King's Bench. According to his return they were in accordance with the allegations of the Official, and consequently Prohibition did not lie. It does not, however, appear to have been doubted by the Court that it had the power of Prohibition if the facts were as stated by Abel, though the jurisdiction was questioned by counsel. The refusal of the Letters of Absolution appears to be in some respects analogous to the refusal of a copy of the libel which was good ground for a Prohibition1 after and, as it seems, before the Act 2 Henry V. c. 3.
The case No. 47 in Easter Term is remarkable (apart Coercion of from the use of the expression "enfeoff" in relation to * ^shop^n rent) for the sentence with which it concludes on the pleading, roll. The parson of All Saints, Oldwincle, after defending an action and joining issue, suddenly confesses the action. It is then put upon record that when he came and pleaded as he did at first, it was through the
1 Hardr., 364. Kino v. Lake; 1 Rolle Rep., 337, Vigliton v. Hoke (with reference to 2 II. 5.
u. 3., as declaratory); 2 Salk., 553,
coercion of the Bishop of Lincoln. This is a curious instance of episcopal interference, and it is unfortunate that there is nothing to show how the fact was ascertained. It is, however, not set forth as a mere statement of one of the parties, but as a matter of which the Court had knowledge, for the sentence in which it appears begins with the words "Et sciendum."
Observance Among matters illustrating the habits of our forefathers of Sunday: may fa mentioned the observance or non-observance
on that of Sunday. According to the record 1 of the case No.
30 in Easter term the plaintiffs in Replevin alleged that the distress was on a Sunday, and, as the taking was avowed, there is no reason to doubt that the fact was as stated. In the record of another case also in the same Term2 (No. 22), a distress on a Sunday is alleged in one of the pleadings, and it seems to be a reasonable inference that in this respect there was no difference between Sunday and any other day.
Deeds ex- There is also a remarkable illustration of the trans
Heads of action of important business on Sunday in the record H^sefTon of 08,86 m ^"^ty Term. After issue had been
Sunday, joined, but before verdict, the Bishop of St. Alban's who, as vouchee, had revouched the tenant in a writ of Entry, produced a deed executed pendente lite by which the demandant (the Prior of Bushmead) released to the Abbot and his House all claim to the manor in demand. This deed, which was acknowledged by the Prior, was dated at Bushmead " in capitulo nostro, die dominica proxima "post festum Sancti Dionysii."8 It is thus clear that ecclesiastics of high position did not object, when the
3 Placita de Banco, Trinity, 14 Ed. III., R°. 217.
1 Placita de Banco, Easter,
interests of their Houses were affected, to the transfer of land on the Lord's day, and, as no exception was taken, there seems no reason to doubt that a deed executed on that day was good in law.
It is, indeed, said by Sir Edward Coke1 that "in the Sir Edward "Common Law there be dies juridici and dies non statement "juridici. Dies non juridici sunt dies dominici, the Q0*^od "Lord's days throughout the whole year, . . . and this Law as to "was the ancient law of England, and extended not only SundaJ . "to legal proceedings but to contracts, &c." He fortifies this statement by a reference to the " Leges Edw. Regis, "anno Dom., 924." The law or doom to which he refers may be identified with that which occurs among the "laws of Edward and Guthrum "2: —" If any one engage '' in Sunday marketing (cyping) let him forfeit the "chattel and 12 ores among the Danes, and 30 shillings "among the English." There are many other passages in the Ancient Laws and Institutes of England which are to the same effect. Among the "Laws of King "Ethelred," 8 for instance, appears the following:—" Let "Sunday's festival be rightly kept, as is thereto be"coming; and let marketings (cypinga) and folk-motes "be carefully abstained from on that holy day."
There is, perhaps, some difficulty in giving a precise definition to the Common Law of England when it is found that laws or dooms of Pre-Norman Kings of England are at variance with the usages which prevailed subsequently to the time of Richard I., or, in other words, from time immemorial. It is unnecessary to discuss that point at length, but the facts are clear enough. * There was no such common restriction with regard to the observance of Sunday for several reigns after that of Richard I. as is to be traced in the " dooms " made before
1 2 Inst., 264-5.
3 No. 7. Ancient Laws and Institutes of England, p. 73. ■ No. 13. Ancient Laws and
Institutes of England, p. 131. See
the Conquest. Most of the restrictions as to the transaction of business on Sunday, so far as the period of legal memory is concerned, have been imposed by Statute.
The hold- The first enactment of this kind appears to have been faB °a d t'ie ^ ^en' °- ^' ^ penalty was therein provided markets on in case fairs or markets should be kept upon Good Friday, firstdreT Corpus Chnsti Day, Ascension Day, All Saints Day, strained by the Day of the Assumption, Whit Sunday, Trinity i^1"*? inof Sunday, or other Sunday (the four Sundays in Harvest Henry VI. excepted). If there could be a doubt that fairs and markets were commonly held on Sunday before this Statute, it would be removed, not only by the preamble, but also by the subsequent words of the Act, which provides a remedy for persons who previously had no power to hold fair or market except on the days specified, by allowing them to hold it within three days before or after those particular days.
After the Reformation Statutes relating to the observance of Sunday or the Lord's Day increased and multiplied, but there seems every reason to believe that from the reign of Richard I. to the reign of Henry VI. the distinction between Sunday and other days was but little recognised even by the Church, and of course not more by laymen than by the clergy.
The Calen- A curious point was raised in one case (No. 56 in takes*'"8- East61- Term) with regard to the day of the week- on fixing a which a particular day fell. There are several accounts day ofythee of the matter differing in detail, but all directed to the week. objection that, whereas an obligation was produced in evidence which purported to be dated on a particular day of a particular month, the plaintiff mentioned in his count a day of the week which did not agree. Of. the tln ee accounts one appears in the record, and two respec
tively in two different reports. But what is mostjremarkable is that no one of the three accounts appears to agree with the facts of the Calendar.
According to the record, which in the last resort must Errors both be considered the highest authority, the date of the deed ^n,^0"* was the fourth of February 8 Edward IIl., and in the record, count it is alleged to have been the Saturday next after the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the same year. It was objected that in that year the fourth of February was not a Saturday but a Sunday.
According to one of the reports which occurs in two MSS., the date of the deed was not in February at all, but in April. As to the year and the particular day in April the two MSS. differ. In one the reading is iiij. Idus Aprilis (i.e. the tenth of April) anno decimo, in the other iij. Idus Aprilis (i.e. the eleventh of April) anno nono. In both, however, the objection is made that iiij. Id. Ap. (the tenth of April) mentioned in the count was a Wednesday.
According to the other report, the date of the deed was the fourth of April, and the day of the week mentioned in the count Thursday, whereas in fact the fourth of April was a Saturday.
Had the month been April and the date fixed by the Ides, the eighth year of the reign mentioned in the record could be brought into harmony with the rest of the facts alleged for the defence, because the tenth of April (iiij. Id. Apr.) did in that year fall on Sunday. But it is impossible to believe that a mistake has been made in the month in the record, because February is mentioned again and again, and the mention of the Feast of the Purification places the matter beyond all possibility of doubt.
It must, however, be remembered that the record is Counsel
a record of the pleadings. The mistakes were probably
the mistakes of counsel. The fourth of February in takes in
u 50018. e