Durrant, William and Thomas Ross, eds., "Notices of Hastings and its Municipal Rights: Custumal." (Sussex Archaeological Collections 14, pp. 72-80) Read this source online
Number of pages of primary source text: 9
Dates: 1356 - 1356
Archival Reference: Manuscript is lost.
- Translated into English.
County/Region: Hastings; Rye; East Sussex
- Law - Local Ordinances
- Law - Secular
- Law - Crime
- Family / Children
- Economy - Trade
- Towns / Cities
- Women / Gender
Borough custumals recorded the local, or ‘customary,’ laws of a town. They were compiled for a practical purpose: to guide, and even educate, successive generations of civic officials tasked with keeping law and order within their boroughs. Custumals may have been modified to reflect the changing needs of the community, but they also may have been copies of local laws from neighboring towns, and can shed light on social and economic practices in a medieval town. The custumal of Rye is divided into 48 clauses and share many of the legal concerns found in other Cinque Port custumals: procedures and pleading in the borough courts; imprisonment, arrests, and executions; inheritance and femme sole status; bloodshed, theft, and other crimes; the duties of the bailiff and coroner; and assizes, weights, and measures to be used at market.
On pages 71-2, the editor of this volume on the antiquities of Hastings gives his reasons for producing a translation of the Anglo-Norman French custumal of Rye. He believed the Rye custumal was similar to the one at Hastings, which is now lost.