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Attainder

ATTAINDER (from the Old French ateindre, to attain, i.e. to strike, accuse, condemn; Lat. attingere, tangere, to touch; the meaning has been greatly affected by the confusion with Fr. taindre, teindre, to taint, stain, Lat. tangere, to dye), in English law, was the immediate and inseparable consequence from the Common Law upon the sentence of death. When it was clear beyond all dispute that the criminal was no longer fit to live he was called attaint, and could not, before the Evidence Act 1843, be a witness in any court. This attainder took place after judgment of death, or upon such circumstances as were equivalent to judgment of death, such as judgment of outlawry on a capital crime, pronounced for absconding from justice. Conviction without judgment was not followed by attainder.

The consequences of attainder were (1) forfeiture, (2) corruption of blood.

On attainder for treason, the criminal forfeited to the crown his lands, rights of entry on lands, and any interest he might have in lands for his own life or a term of years. For murder, the offender forfeited to the crown the profit of his freeholds during life, and in the case of lands held in fee-simple, the lands themselves for a year and a day; subject to this, the lands escheated to the lord of the fee. These forfeitures related back to the time of the offence committed. Forfeitures of goods and chattels ensued not only on attainder, but on conviction for a felony of any kind, or on flight from justice, and had no relation backwards to the time of the offence committed.

By corruption of blood, " both upwards and downwards," the attainted person could neither inherit nor transmit lands. The lands escheated to the lord of the fee, subject to the Crown's right of forfeiture.

The doctrine of attainder has, however, ceased to be of much importance. The Forfeiture Act 1870 enacted that henceforth no confession, verdict, inquest, conviction or judgment of or for any treason or felony, or felo de se, should cause any attainder or corruption of blood, or any forfeiture or escheat. Sentence of death, penal servitude or imprisonment with hard labour for more than twelve months, after conviction for treason or felony, disqualifies from holding or retaining a seat in parliament, public offices under the crown or otherwise, right to vote at elections, &c., and such disability is to remain until the punishment has been suffered or a pardon obtained. Provision was made for the due administration of convicts' estates, in the interests of themselves and their families. Forfeiture consequent on outlawry was exempted from the provisions of the act.

Bills of Attainder, in English legal procedure, were formerly a parliamentary method of exercising judicial authority. They were ordinarily initiated in the House of Lords and the proceedings were the same as on other bills, but the parties against whom they were brought might appear by counsel and produce witnesses in both Houses. In the case of an impeachment, the House of Commons was prosecutor and the House of Lords judge; but such bills being legislative in form, the consent of crown, lords and commons was necessary to pass them. Bishops, who do not exercise but who claim the right to vote in cases of impeachment, have a right to vote upon bills of attainder, but their vote is not conclusive in passing judgment upon the accused.

First passed in 1459, such bills were employed, more particularly during the reigns of the Tudor kings, as a species of extrajudicial procedure, for the direct punishment of political offences. Dispensing with the ordinary judicial forms and precedents, they took away from the accused whatever advantages he might have gained in the courts of law; such evidence only was admitted as might be necessary to secure conviction; indeed, in many cases bills of attainder were passed without any evidence being produced at all. In the reign of Henry VIII they were much used, through a subservient parliament, to punish those who had incurred the king's displeasure; many distinguished victims who could not have been charged with any offence under the existing laws being by this means disposed of.

In the 17th century, during the disputes with Charles I, the Long Parliament made effective use of the same procedure, forcing the sovereign to give his consent. After the Restoration it became less frequent, though the Jacobite movement in Scotland produced several instances of attainder, without, however, the infliction of the extreme penalty of death. The last bill of attainder passed in England was in the case of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, one of the Irish rebel leaders of 1798.

A bill for reversing attainder took a form contrary to the usual rule. It was first signed by the sovereign and presented by a peer to the House of Lords by command of the crown, then passed through the ordinary stages and on to the Commons, to whom the sovereign's assent was communicated before the first reading was taken, otherwise the whole proceedings were null and void.






      Excerpted from:

      Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th Ed. Vol II.
      Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1910. 879.




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Piers Gaveston
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Hundred Years' War (1337-1453)

Edward III
The Battle of Crécy, 1346
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Catherine of Valois
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Charles VII, King of France
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Henry VI
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Margaret Beaufort
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Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham
Humphrey Stafford, E. of Devon
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Sir William Stanley
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Henry Bourchier, Earl of Essex
John Mowbray, 3. Duke of Norfolk
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John Howard, Duke of Norfolk
Henry Percy, 2. E. Northumberland
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William, Lord Hastings
Henry Holland, Duke of Exeter
William Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel
William Herbert, 1. Earl of Pembroke
John de Vere, 12th Earl of Oxford
John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford
Thomas de Clifford, 8. Baron Clifford
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John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester
Thomas Grey, 1. Marquis Dorset
Sir Andrew Trollop
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Edward Plantagenet, E. of Warwick
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James Touchet, 7th Baron Audley
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Robert Hungerford, Lord Moleyns
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Francis Lovell, Viscount Lovell
Sir Richard Ratcliffe
William Catesby
Ralph, 4th Lord Cromwell
Jack Cade's Rebellion, 1450


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King Henry VII
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Lambert Simnel
Perkin Warbeck
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Mary Tudor, Queen of France
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Field of the Cloth of Gold, 1520
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The Siege of Boulogne, 1544

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George Talbot, 4. E. Shrewsbury
Francis Talbot, 5. E. Shrewsbury
Henry Algernon Percy,
     5th Earl of Northumberland
Henry Algernon Percy,
     6th Earl of Northumberland
Ralph Neville, 4. E. Westmorland
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William Paulet, Marquis of Winchester
Sir Francis Bryan
Sir Nicholas Carew
John de Vere, 15th Earl of Oxford
John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford
Thomas Seymour, Lord Admiral
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Henry Pole, Lord Montague
Sir Geoffrey Pole
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Henry Bourchier, 2. Earl of Essex
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Henry Courtenay, Marquis of Exeter
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Sir Thomas Wriothesley
Sir William Kingston
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Sir Richard Southwell
Thomas Fiennes, 9th Lord Dacre
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Henry Norris
Lady Jane Grey
Sir Thomas Arundel
Sir Richard Sackville
Sir William Petre
Sir John Cheke
Walter Haddon, L.L.D
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Sir John Mason
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John Taylor
Sir Thomas Wyatt, the Younger

Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio
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Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester
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Thomas Linacre
William Grocyn
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Richard Fox, Bishop of Winchester
Edward Fox, Bishop of Hereford

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Pico della Mirandola
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Martin Bucer
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Christopher Saint-German
Thomas Tallis
Elizabeth Barton, the Nun of Kent
Hans Holbein, the Younger
The Sweating Sickness

Dissolution of the Monasteries
Pilgrimage of Grace, 1536
Robert Aske
Anne Askew
Lord Thomas Darcy
Sir Robert Constable

Oath of Supremacy
The Act of Supremacy, 1534
The First Act of Succession, 1534
The Third Act of Succession, 1544
The Ten Articles, 1536
The Six Articles, 1539
The Second Statute of Repeal, 1555
The Act of Supremacy, 1559
Articles Touching Preachers, 1583

Queen Elizabeth I
William Cecil, Lord Burghley
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury
Sir Francis Walsingham
Sir Nicholas Bacon
Sir Thomas Bromley

Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester
Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick
Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon
Sir Thomas Egerton, Viscount Brackley
Sir Francis Knollys
Katherine "Kat" Ashley
Lettice Knollys, Countess of Leicester
George Talbot, 6. E. of Shrewsbury
Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury
Gilbert Talbot, 7. E. of Shrewsbury
Sir Henry Sidney
Sir Robert Sidney
Archbishop Matthew Parker
Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex
Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex
Penelope Devereux, Lady Rich
Sir Christopher Hatton
Edward Courtenay, E. Devonshire
Edward Manners, 3rd Earl of Rutland
Thomas Radcliffe, 3. Earl of Sussex
Henry Radcliffe, 4. Earl of Sussex
Robert Radcliffe, 5. Earl of Sussex
William Parr, Marquis of Northampton
Henry Wriothesley, 2. Southampton
Henry Wriothesley, 3. Southampton
Charles Neville, 6. E. Westmorland
Thomas Percy, 7. E. Northumberland
Henry Percy, 8. E. Northumberland
Henry Percy, 9. E. Nothumberland
William Herbert, 1. Earl of Pembroke
Charles, Lord Howard of Effingham
Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk
Henry Howard, 1. Earl of Northampton
Thomas Howard, 1. Earl of Suffolk
Henry Hastings, 3. E. of Huntingdon
Edward Manners, 3rd Earl of Rutland
Roger Manners, 5th Earl of Rutland
Francis Manners, 6th Earl of Rutland
Henry FitzAlan, 12. Earl of Arundel
Thomas, Earl Arundell of Wardour
Edward Somerset, E. of Worcester
William Davison
Sir Walter Mildmay
Sir Ralph Sadler
Sir Amyas Paulet
Gilbert Gifford
Anthony Browne, Viscount Montague
François, Duke of Alençon & Anjou

Mary, Queen of Scots
Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell
Anthony Babington and the Babington Plot
John Knox

Philip II of Spain
The Spanish Armada, 1588
Sir Francis Drake
Sir John Hawkins

William Camden
Archbishop Whitgift
Martin Marprelate Controversy
John Penry (Martin Marprelate)
Richard Bancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury
John Dee, Alchemist

Philip Henslowe
Edward Alleyn
The Blackfriars Theatre
The Fortune Theatre
The Rose Theatre
The Swan Theatre
Children's Companies
The Admiral's Men
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Citizen Comedy
The Isle of Dogs, 1597

Common Law
Court of Common Pleas
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Council of the North
Fleet Prison
Assize
Attainder
First Fruits & Tenths
Livery and Maintenance
Oyer and terminer
Praemunire


The Stuarts

King James I of England
Anne of Denmark
Henry, Prince of Wales
The Gunpowder Plot, 1605
George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham
Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset
Arabella Stuart, Lady Lennox

William Alabaster
Bishop Hall
Bishop Thomas Morton
Archbishop William Laud
John Selden
Lucy Harington, Countess of Bedford
Henry Lawes

King Charles I
Queen Henrietta Maria

Long Parliament
Rump Parliament
Kentish Petition, 1642

Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford
John Digby, Earl of Bristol
George Digby, 2nd Earl of Bristol
Thomas Fairfax, 3rd Lord Fairfax
Robert Devereux, 3rd E. of Essex
Robert Sidney, 2. E. of Leicester
Algernon Percy, E. of Northumberland
Henry Montagu, Earl of Manchester
Edward Montagu, 2. Earl of Manchester

The Restoration

King Charles II
King James II
Test Acts

Greenwich Palace
Hatfield House
Richmond Palace
Windsor Palace
Woodstock Manor

The Cinque Ports
Mermaid Tavern
Malmsey Wine
Great Fire of London, 1666
Merchant Taylors' School
Westminster School
The Sanctuary at Westminster
"Sanctuary"


Images:

Chart of the English Succession from William I through Henry VII

Medieval English Drama

London c1480, MS Royal 16
London, 1510, the earliest view in print
Map of England from Saxton's Descriptio Angliae, 1579
Location Map of Elizabethan London
Plan of the Bankside, Southwark, in Shakespeare's time
Detail of Norden's Map of the Bankside, 1593
Bull and Bear Baiting Rings from the Agas Map (1569-1590, pub. 1631)
Sketch of the Swan Theatre, c. 1596
Westminster in the Seventeenth Century, by Hollar
Visscher's Panoramic View of London, 1616. COLOR
c. 1690. View of London Churches, after the Great Fire
The Yard of the Tabard Inn from Thornbury, Old and New London




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