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Bram van Diemen




Location: Tilburg
Joined: 26 Oct 2010

Posts: 29

PostPosted: Sun 27 Mar, 2011 6:48 am    Post subject: Medieval laws concerning weapons         Reply with quote

Just got to talk with a friend the other day, and he asked me a question. How were the laws in medieval cities concerning the carrying of weapons (for civilians) in cities of medieval Burgundy? Was it an arrangment which was different for each city. I tried to find some things online, but didn't come far. The only reference about weapons and medieval cities was the in York you can shoot a Scotsman within the citie limits or some distance from them with a bow and arrow, except on sunday.

Does anyone know any reference?
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Christopher Treichel




Location: Metro D.C.
Joined: 14 Jan 2010

Posts: 268

PostPosted: Sun 27 Mar, 2011 7:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Many cities probably including ones in Burgundy had weapons restrictions for person entering the city and would hang a fake knife off a chain in a conspicuous place so everyone would know how large a knife a commoner was allowed to carry inside the gates. I have seen several of these in museums...
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Matthijs Witsenburg




Location: The Hague, Netherlands
Joined: 03 Jan 2011

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PostPosted: Sun 27 Mar, 2011 10:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Dat niemand langer messen off ander wapene by hem dregene by dege dan der stadt mate ende is hangende voert meentehuys ende den poorten op een boete van vijf pond.

"Than no-one shall carry knives or other weapons longer than the city measure that hangs in front of the city hall and at the gates, on penalty of a five pound fine" (source A. Telting: Stadtboeken van Zwolle, Zwolle 1897, p302)
The date of the quote is not mentioned, but I assume it dates from the 15th century.

City laws from Utrecht, 1st half of the 14th century, require innkeepers to store the arms and armour of their guests and notify the mayor of suspicious patrons.

There are also laws requiring citizens to own specific arms and armour, depending on their wealth and occupation.

Further reading (infortunately in dutch): Thuis in de late middeleeuwen (het nederlands burgerinterieur 1400-1535) ISBN 90 70072 66 1
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Matthijs Witsenburg




Location: The Hague, Netherlands
Joined: 03 Jan 2011

Posts: 33

PostPosted: Sun 27 Mar, 2011 10:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The full article can be seen (and read, by those of you who know dutch) here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/12636421@N05/556...otostream/ page 1
http://www.flickr.com/photos/12636421@N05/556...otostream/ page 2
http://www.flickr.com/photos/12636421@N05/556...otostream/ page 3, a table of arms and armour in civilian inventories.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/12636421@N05/556...otostream/ page 4
http://www.flickr.com/photos/12636421@N05/556...otostream/ notes
http://www.flickr.com/photos/12636421@N05/556...otostream/ An example of one a measuring knife (schreef) from Deventer. Total length 81 cm, knife 40 cm, 15th or 16th century, Museum de Waag, inv # 2732.3
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A. Elema





Joined: 09 Nov 2010

Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sun 27 Mar, 2011 4:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some day I'm going to organize all the references I've seen and write an academic article (if not a whole book) on this subject. In the meantime, here are a few examples I have handy. The general rule seems to be that rulers often issued ordinances requiring their subjects to own arms and train with them, but towns and cities with any degree of self-government often asserted their autonomy by passing ordinances to regulate or ban the carrying of weapons in their streets. I can't recall if I've seen anything from Burgundy. I'll poke around in my notes when I'm at home later.

Farther north in the French-speaking realm, I recall that Philippe de Beaumanoir says something in the Coutumes de Beauvaisis about individual lords having the right to make laws regarding weapons-carrying in their own jurisdictions. This caused complications because legal jurisdictions could be intermingled and enclaved, so parties of armed men attempting to arrest someone sometimes had to stop at a border and secure their weapons in a wagon before they could proceed.

There are also some interesting tidbits of information from elsewhere. Here are some laws and legal cases from fourteenth-century London, collected by Matt Easton.

http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/phpBB3/viewtopi...art=0&

http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/phpBB3/viewtopi...t=231&

http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/phpBB3/viewtopi...word#p5685

http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/phpBB3/viewtopi...t=450&

There's also some useful information in this article about urban armories and ordinances requiring citizens to own weapons in Germany.

http://www.deremilitari.org/resources/articles/eltis.htm
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A. Elema





Joined: 09 Nov 2010

Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sun 27 Mar, 2011 9:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's an example that's a little closer to what you're looking for.

http://www.archive.org/stream/cartulairedesco...6/mode/2up

It's an ordinance from Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy to his officials in Hainault, dating to 1432 (Hainault being part of Burgundian territory at the time). He complains that over-large noble entourages and even companies of armed commoners in matching livery are roaming the countryside of Hainault causing mayhem.

The ordinance forbids anyone to carry big knives with crosses and nails, which sound like the equivalent of German messers. Also forbidden are clubs with spikes and clubs that are somehow reinforced with lead.
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Kel Rekuta




Location: Toronto, Canada
Joined: 10 Feb 2004
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PostPosted: Mon 28 Mar, 2011 6:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A. Elema wrote:
Here's an example that's a little closer to what you're looking for.

http://www.archive.org/stream/cartulairedesco...6/mode/2up

The ordinance forbids anyone to carry big knives with crosses and nails, which sound like the equivalent of German messers. Also forbidden are clubs with spikes and clubs that are somehow reinforced with lead.


Godendag. Such a Low Countries tradition. Cool

And yes - you should be writing a book on this topic - once you finish your dissertation!! Laughing Out Loud
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Karl Knisley




PostPosted: Mon 28 Mar, 2011 10:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christopher Treichel wrote:
Many cities probably including ones in Burgundy had weapons restrictions for person entering the city and would hang a fake knife off a chain in a conspicuous place so everyone would know how large a knife a commoner was allowed to carry inside the gates. I have seen several of these in museums...



Hello
About how long in inchs or CM, were these fake knives?In other words how long on the average was the legal limit?

Thanks
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 2,098

PostPosted: Mon 28 Mar, 2011 1:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A. Elema Said

Quote:
Some day I'm going to organize all the references I've seen and write an academic article (if not a whole book) on this subject. In the meantime, here are a few examples I have handy.


If you would like to incorporate English laws I have some from several large towns and cities. I did my PhD on the military organisation of Southampton 1300-1500 and have studied York, London, Norwich and a handful of other towns as well.

Bram,

Many of the ones linked seem to be directly about a specific event and the subsequent punishment more than general laws over arms management in general. Keep in mind control of arms was and is still employed often in times of unrest and threat. Just something to keep in mind. Some fun sources though.

I readily acknowledge I am not familiar with laws in Burgundy at the time but it seems in England the laws limit weapons all inside the walls but the Mayor and Aldermen as well as knightly/noble class were except. At times foreigners could not have any weapon at all on their person including knives, though there are clauses allowing persons who have a sponsor to be free of this limitation. This is also used during periods of civic disunity, who ever in power limits weapon bearing to his political supporters.

In war of other danger these regulations were not applied as it was expected one to be ready with such equipment.

The evidence often seems to indicate that in these English towns they did not enforce them unless you were causing problems. One account from Southampton has the mayor assaulted by a man with a sword in a public gathering. He was not stopped previous to the attack for simply having the sword but as soon as he drew the blade he was subsequently taken down (and the sword sold to another townsman!).


RPM
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Bram van Diemen




Location: Tilburg
Joined: 26 Oct 2010

Posts: 29

PostPosted: Tue 29 Mar, 2011 11:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some really great info. Thanks all.
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 2,098

PostPosted: Tue 29 Mar, 2011 1:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is one from Southampton

In 1457 the town ordered ‘No strangers should to bear no weapons and to take their lodgings not in.’
Steward's Book of Southampton 1456-1457, p.19.

London Letter Books-

Proclamation made for the safe-keeping of the City.

8 Edward III. A.D. 1334. Letter-Book E. fol. 2*. (fn. 19) (Norman French.)

In the time of Reynald de Conduit, Mayor of London.—This proclamation was made on the Wednesday next after the Feast of St. Lucy the Virgin [13 December], in the 8th year of the reign of King Edward, after the Conquest the Third.—

"Forasmuch as our Lord the King, whom may God save and preserve, is now engaged in his war against his enemies in Scotland, and every man ought to be most tender of keeping and maintaining his peace;—it is ordained and granted by the Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonalty, of the City of London, for maintaining the peace between all manner of folks in the said city, that no person, denizen or stranger, other than officers of the City, and those who have to keep the peace, shall go armed, or shall carry arms, by night or by day, within the franchise of the said city, on pain of imprisonment, and of losing the arms.

Also, it is agreed that whosoever shall draw sword, or knife, or other arm, in affray of the people, shall be forthwith attached, and shall have imprisonment, without being left to find surety, according to the discretion of the Mayor and of the Aldermen of the City.

"Also, we do forbid, on behalf of our Lord the King, and on behalf of the Mayor, the Aldermen, and the Commonalty of the City of London, that for any offence that shall or may be committed in time to come, as between any and singular persons, the people of the trades to which such offenders belong, shall make alliance or understanding as among them, to support or to embolden such offenders; or that any man of the said trades shall seek vengeance against another, under colour of such offence. But if they shall be able to make good accord between the parties, let them make it; and if not, let them bring the parties before the officers of the City; and before them let them have their recovery, according as law and right demand.

"Also, it is ordained and assented to, that no person shall be so daring, on pain of imprisonment, as to go wandering about the City, after the hour of curfew rung out at St. Martin's le Grand; unless it be some man of the City of good repute, or his servant; and that, for reasonable cause, and with light.

"And whereas misdoers, going about by night, commonly have their resort more in taverns than elsewhere, and there seek refuge and watch their time for evil-doing; it is forbidden that any taverner or brewer shall keep the door of his tavern open after the hour of curfew aforesaid, on the pain as to the same ordained; that is to say, the first time, on pain of being amerced in 40 pence; the second time, half a mark; the third time, 10 shillings; the fourth time, 20 shillings; and the fifth time, he is to forswear the trade.

" Also, we do forbid, on the same pain of imprisonment, that any man shall go about at this Feast of Christmas with companions disguised with false faces, (fn. 20) or in any other manner, to the houses of the good folks of the City, for playing at dice there; but let each one keep himself quiet and at his ease within his own house."

And a bit later

Proclamation for keeping the peace within the City.

27 Edward III. A.D. 1353. Letter-Book G. fol. x. (Norman French.)

This proclamation was made on Thursday, the Feast of St. Peter's Chains [1 August], in the 27th year of the reign of King Edward the Third etc.—

"It is ordered that every hosteler and herbergeour, within the franchise of the City, shall cause his guests to be warned that they must leave their arms and armour in their hostels where they are lodging, in the keeping there of their hosts; and if such hosts do not give such warning, and any one shall be found bearing arms or in armour, for default of such warning, the host of such person shall be punished by imprisonment and other penalty, at the discretion of the Mayor and Aldermen.

"Also,—that no alien shall go in armour, or shall carry sword, knife with point, or other arms, in the City, or in the suburb thereof; on pain of imprisonment, and of losing such arms and armour.

"Also,—that every person of the peace shall come in aid of the officers of the City, if need be, to arrest felons and other misdoers, and such as shall be found contravening the cry aforesaid. And in the absence of the officers, every man of the peace shall have power to arrest such persons, and to bring them to the houses of the Sheriffs, that so due punishment may be inflicted upon them.

"Also,—that no one shall give maintenance, succour, prayer, or aid, to any person who is of bad covin or alliance, or accused of evil, on pain of forfeiting as much as he may forfeit, unto our Lord the King, and to the City.

"Also,—that no one shall hold an assemblage, within the City or without, for making covin, confederacy, or alliance; nor yet shall make any collection of money in boxes, or in other manner, for the maintenance of his quarrels, or for exciting evil riots, on pain of imprisonment and of forfeiture, as before stated.

"Also,—that no one, on pain of imprisonment, shall be so daring as to go wandering about the City, or the suburb thereof, after the hour of curfew rung out at St. Martin's le Grand; unless he be a man of the City of good repute, or the servant of such, for some real cause, and that, with light.

"Also,—that no taverner or brewer shall keep the door of his tavern open after curfew rung out at St. Martin's le Grand aforesaid, under the penalty thereon of old ordained."

The thing that is key it not to remove it from context. Yes it was illegal but what we see often is the real issue is once they have used it. As well most often it is either tied to one specific event in time or increased crime, typically at night.

RPM
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James Millard





Joined: 03 May 2007

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Wed 30 Mar, 2011 11:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:

If you would like to incorporate English laws I have some from several large towns and cities. I did my PhD on the military organisation of Southampton 1300-1500 and have studied York, London, Norwich and a handful of other towns as well.


If I may ask, is your thesis available online?
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

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PostPosted: Wed 30 Mar, 2011 12:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sadly no.

My year was the first to go digital at my University and some students decided to contest the ability of the School to make a change at the end of the program. A year and a half and still not sure of if it will happen.

That said my section on weapons and armour is going to be published with in the year. http://www.boydellandbrewer.com/store/viewite...duct=13706

I am looking into making my own website though for my PhD Thesis and simply hosting it myself along with what I am working on and random finds etc.

RPM
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James Millard





Joined: 03 May 2007

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Thu 31 Mar, 2011 12:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's a shame! Well, at least you're getting published. Happy
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 2,098

PostPosted: Fri 01 Apr, 2011 5:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My other work in on Spies, Scouts and Southampton 1300-1500. Not sure if it comes out April or September.

If I do get it online I will put a post up here about it. I plan on getting something up on some projects on the burners so people can give me input and such.

RPM
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