Problem of Legal Inheritance of English Medieval Borough: Borough Customs about Debt Obligations
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Problem of Legal Inheritance of English Medieval Borough: Borough Customs about Debt Obligations
Publication type
Marina Vinokurova 
Institute of World History RAS
State Academic University for the Humanities
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow

This article is devoted to the problem of legal inheritance of the medieval English boroughs in the field of debt obligations (their regulation by borough customs). Usually this legal regulation was linked with the process of attachment, distress and further confiscation of property in case of default of a debtor. Borough customs organized everyday life of boroughs in due way and brought to life an element of “civilized approach” in the sphere of law. They minimized behavioral anarchy when collecting debt. In spite of the fact that in some boroughs the right of collecting belonged to a creditor, who could distress his debtor right in the street, nevertheless the process of distress wasn’t marked by a total legal arbitrariness. In many cases distress was prohibited inside the house in order not to brake its private space, and a debtor usually received a summon to appear in court (sometimes it was sent thrice). Attachment and subsequent trail provided a special legal procedure and its proper order in the actions of both plaintiffs and defendants, including their behavior before the Jury. Besides, after the sale of property on the account of debt, a defendant could (and often was obliged) initiate so-called replevin, that is return to himself a part of property (or its monetary expression) which had not been sold after cash coverage of debt. He had to initiate so called affidation (appeal to bailiffs through the court). At the service of the persons connected with debt obligations was also a custom of withernam, which provided a collective responsibility of borough community for financial “costs” of its members.

medieval England, customs, urban space, debt obligations
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