Thursday, 5 April 2012

A-Z Challenge: E is for Englishry

Aha! you say - there is no such word.  In genealogy: oh, yes there is.  We're talking 1066 to the mid fourteenth century, here, and the subject is: murder.

The penalty for killing a Norman was quite severe; the penalty for killing an Englishman, not so severe.  So, instead of just finding out 'whodunnit', genealogy came into play to find out whether the deceased was Norman or English by descent.  (If nobody could decide, then they considered the victim to be Norman).

Then, the spotlight would fall on the person accused of the murder.  If he could successfully plead 'Englishry' (ie that the deceased was English and not Norman), he would not receive the more severe penalties, which included a fine on the hundred (place) in which the murder was committed.


  1. How fascinating. I didn't know that at all, but it makes sense. In the north, the Normans were outstandingly unpopular and clamped down hard. I can imagine that claiming Englishry would have been quite a high priority in our part of the world.

    Reciprocal A-Z visit and very happy to be here.

  2. Very interesting. I love words. I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge Blogs this month.

  3. That's amazing! It's the first I've heard of a murder defence consisting of something other than "I didn't do it".

    Jamie Gibbs
    Fellow A-Z buddy
    Mithril Wisdom

  4. I'm always interested in history but prefer someone else do all the research and work - your blog's perfect for me! I'll be back to see more of your a - z.

  5. Very interesting! It's always good to stumble across a blog that can teach its readers something!



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