This article considers an appeal of homicide brought by the widow of a hanged Hereford man, the background to which was what R.A. Griffiths calls the ‘forcible arrangement’ by powerful men of Herefordshire and the Welsh marches of the trial and execution of those said to have been guilty of murdering Watkin Vaughan of Bredwardine. While this incident has been considered in the context of disorder perpetrated in England, Wales and the Marches by particular families and affinities, and the efficiency or otherwise of royal justice in the mid-fifteenth century, some of its legal aspects have not been explored, and, in particular, it has generally been overlooked that the case was deemed worthy of a report, so that its essentials could be preserved for the instruction of common lawyers (YB Pasch. 35 Hen. VI f. 57b). This article draws on information from this Year Book report and the records of the King’s Bench, and argues that limitations on existing legal processes should form part of historians’ consideration of criminal justice in the mid-fifteenth century.
- LAW Centre for Law and History Research
- medieval criminal law
- Welsh borders