Conference: Heraldry and Piracy in an Age of Chivalry, 4-5 June 2015

April 2015

Heraldry and Piracy in an Age of Chivalry: The Jurisdiction of the Constable and Marshal(s) and of the Admiralty in Later Medieval England and France

Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter, 4-5 June 2015

cinque portsUnder the presidency of the Constable and Marshal of England, the Court of Chivalry heard cases that arose out of acts of war, including disputes over rights in prisoners and their ransoms as well as about rights to particular coats of arms. It also took cognisance of appeals of treason, in which battle was offered by the appellant. As with the Admiralty, its jurisdiction took clearer form in the second quarter of the fourteenth century. The wars waged by the English in France led to the need for a tribunal that could deal with disputes that arose on land or sea, beyond the reach of the common law—resulting in tribunals that operated in accordance with the Continental civil law. The developing European cult of chivalry gave greater prominence to the Prince’s position as head of an apparatus that would resolve disputes between members of the noble and knightly ranks, and comparable jurisdictions accordingly also developed in France, under the Constable and Marshals of the kingdom and certain of its duchies as well as under the Admiral.

Thurs 4 June.

  • REGISTRATION (from 1.30pm)
  • 2.00 Welcome and Introduction: Anthony Musson
  • 2.15: Richard Barber, ‘Knights, Heralds and Gentlemen: the Court of Chivalry and the Emergence of the Office of Arms’
  • 3.00: Ralph Moffat, ‘John Hill’s Manual for Combatants in the Court of Chivalry’
  • TEA
  • 4.00: Philip Morgan, ‘Scrope v. Grosvenor: The Cheshire Deponents’
  • 4.30: Julian Luxford, ‘Material Culture in the Court of Chivalry Cases’
  • 5.00: Andrew Ayton, ‘From Brittany to the Black Sea: Nicholas Sabraham and English Military Experience in the Fourteenth Century’
  • 5.30: Discussion
  • 6.15: RECEPTION
  • 7.30: DINNER at St Olave’s Restaurant


Friday 5 June

  • 9.00: Thomas K. Heebøll-Holm, ‘The Origins and Jurisdiction of the English Court of Admiralty, in the Fourteenth Century’
  • 9.30: Anne Sutton, ‘Richard, Duke of Gloucester, as Admiral and Constable of England, 1469-83’
  • 10.00: John Ford, ‘Some Dubious Beliefs about Medieval Prize Law’
  • 11.00: Lorenzo Tanzini, ‘The Consulate of the Sea and its Fortunes in Late Medieval Mediterranean Countries’
  • 11.30: Bertrand Schnerb, ‘The Jurisdiction of the Connétable and the Maréchaussées in France’
  • 12.00: Laurent Hablot, ‘French Armorial Disputes and Controls’
  • 12.30: Discussion


The conference has been organised by Prof. Anthony Musson ( ) and Dr Nigel Ramsay (, School of Law, University of Exeter.

To register, please e-mail or write to him at Dept of History, University College London, Gower Street, London W1G 6NB, in either case sending a cheque payable to Bracton Centre for Legal History Research, to cover both a registration fee, £65 for the two days (includes tea and reception on June 4th and coffee and lunch on June 5th), and also £40 if you would like to join the conference dinner. (Payment by credit/debit cards is not possible.)

Exeter is a popular holiday destination, and early booking of accommodation is advised. The organisers have secured a special rate for delegates of £72 (single) and £82 (standard) for bed & breakfast, plus £10 for an extra person, at the Rougemont Thistle Hotel (tel. Exeter (01392) 254982, or 0871 376 9018; e-mail, citing the code UNIV020315 CHIVALRY). Alternatives include: The Bendene (singles from £42; tel. Exeter (01392) 213526;; Clock Tower Hotel (singles from £60 for delegates; tel. Exeter (01392) 424545;; and Raffles Hotel (singles from £48; tel. Exeter (01392) 270200;


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