British dating system

However, it became obvious that even this drastic action was nothing but a temporary check on their rapacity.

In later times, England exported her Coroner system all over the World: to almost everywhere coloured red in the Victorian atlas.

Where Coroners still survive, they indicate a legacy of British rule, whether it be Kenya, Hong Kong, Australia or parts of the United States.

For it was instigated almost eight hundred years ago, during the reign of Richard the Lionheart.

Though the events of King Richard's short reign were crucial in the genesis of the Coroner, the ground swell of resentment towards Royal officials, which led to their recreation, had been growing for more than twenty years.

The office of Coroner is a uniquely English institution, though perhaps 'Norman' might be more accurate in the sense in which we know it today. They remained independent of England for a long time and their system of law is more akin to that found on the Continent.



During the last decade of Henry II's reign, considerable discontent developed over the corruption and greed of the Sheriffs, who were the dominant law officers representing the Crown in each county.

In 1170, after an 'Inquisition of the Realm', which was the medieval equivalent of a modern Royal Commission, all the Sheriffs were sacked and many of them heavily fined for malpractice.

Before this, the Welsh had their own system of law dating from about the 9th century.

Ireland also acquired them, since Norman administration had been imposed there from 1170.

The first mention of the Coroner is actually pre-Norman, probably dating from the reign of Alfred the Great: certainly sometime between AD 871 and 910.

However, we have no records of that period and we do not know what the Coroners' functions were at that time.


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