Eyre (legal term)

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An eyre or iter was the name of a circuit traveled by an itinerant justice in medieval England (a justice in eyre), or the circuit court over which they presided,[1] or the right of the monarch (or justices acting in their name) to visit and inspect the holdings of any vassal. The eyre involved visits and inspections at irregular intervals of the houses of vassals in the kingdom. The term is derived from Old French erre, from Latin iter ("journey"), and is cognate with errand and errant.

Eyre of 1194[edit]

The eyre of 1194 was initiated under Hubert Walter's justiciarship to restore royal justice following the anarchy of Prince John's rebellion. Within two months, justices on eyre had visited every shire in England. The Articles of Eyre appointed local knights as coroners to record crown pleas to be presented to the justices. The motivation for this administrative reform was the need to raise money for King Richard I's reconquest of Normandy. The coroners were also required to account for the wealth forfeited by the rebels and list the financial resources of each shire.[2]

Eyre of 1233[edit]

The 1233 Eyre of Cornwall provoked terror in the populace causing most of the population to flee into the woods.[3]

Itinerant justices[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
  2. ^ Robert C. Stacey, ‘Walter, Hubert (d. 1205)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
  3. ^ http://www.the-orb.net/medieval_terms.html#e
  4. ^ Stenton, Doris Mary (1964). English Justice Between the Norman Conquest and the Great Charter 1066–1215. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society. p. 73.

Further reading[edit]

  • William Craddock Bolland. The General Eyre. Cambridge University Press. 1922. Internet Archive: [1] [2]. First paperback edition. 2015. Google Books
  • David Crook. Records of the General Eyre. HMSO. 1982. Google Books
  • Reginald Francis Treharne. "Appendix C2: Note on the Frequency of the General Eyre". The Baronial Plan of Reform, 1258-1263. 1932. Manchester University Press. Barnes and Noble, New York. Reprinted with additions. 1971. Page 398.
  • Blomefield, Francis, (1807) An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: volume 6, p. 244.