This assize, passed at a council held at Northampton in January 1176, was issued as a set of instructions to the ‘six committees of the judges who were to visit the circuits’. It reiterated the decisions taken at Clarendon ten years earlier, but with some alterations, including the introduction of more severe penalties for offences and an increase in the powers of justices at the expense of the sheriffs. The assize of Northampton is, furthermore, the first official document to contain information about the practice and use of mort d'ancestor and novel disseisin. The text of the assize was recorded by the chronicler Roger of Howden (fl. 1170-1201) in his Gesta Regis Henrici Secundi and Chronica.

Digital edition

Edited by Nicholas Vincent