Under medieval law a murdered man had to be proven to be English in order to avoid the Hundred Courts from being liable to paying a Murder Fine.
Introduced during the reign of Henry I, the law of Englishry distinguished between an Englishman and a Norman (and in the Marches between an Anglo-Norman and a Welshman). This law is thought to have been based on an earlier law passed by Cnut to protect his Danish followers from being murdered by hostile Englishmen. The law of Englishry was abolished in 1340.
Related term(s): None
Category: Government and Law
Contributor(s): Alan Chanter
Source information: Kenyon, J.P. The Wordsworth Dictionary of British History. Wordsworth Editions, 1998.