A Medieval Lord Defends His Subject From A Bad Judge

November 7, 2019

On the “perron” the lord of the castle sometimes administered justice, and its fine platform was then regarded as a continuation of the great hall which was at once the symbol and the home of seigneurial justice. It was no unusual thing to hold on the steps of one of those courts, in which the vassals were solemnly judged by their peers; but in summer the baron was pleased to seat himself on the top of the steps, and arrange any little disputes which may have arisen amongst the inmates of the castle. These steps have even been the scene of more severe and important decisions than these, and one day an officer having maladministered justice to a vilein, the baron from the top of the perron admonished him severely, deprived him of his charge, and expelled him from his fief. The man died of shame.

León Gautier, Chivalry, trans. Henry Frith (London: George Routledge and Sons, Ltd., 1891), 387–8.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 699


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