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date: 27 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Ultimately, the enforcement of the criminal law in early modern England depended upon the co-operation and involvement of a number of parochial officers: in particular the parish constables, but also churchwardens and manorial jurors. Recently social historians examining local law enforcement have rejected the earlier tendency to disparage parochial officers and have emphasized the relative efficiency of local officers, the importance of the shifting relation between central authority and local society, and the implications of social and cultural change among the bulk of the population. This paper provides an overview of these themes, and stresses the importance of the law at all social levels in early modern England.

Keywords: village communities, parish constables, churchwardens, local courts, law

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