Full text: Grenzen und Grenzregionen

Coldinghamshire was a survival from pre-feudal times - as, in their way, were the 
perhaps rather superficially feudalized lordships of Lauderdale, Liddesdale, 
Eskdale and Annandale33. In both England and Scotland royal government 
established a system of shrieval control, with sheriffs of Bamburgh, Newcastle and 
Carlisle appearing early in the twelfth century south of the border34, and sheriffs of 
Berwick and Roxburgh about a generation later35. The fact that in at least the 
cases of Bamburgh and Roxburgh the royal sheriff or vicecomes seems to have 
simply evolved from the older pre-feudal scir-gerefa or officer in charge of a 
multiple estate only serves to emphasize the conservatism and continuity of 
Northumbria whether English or Scots36. No doubt from the beginning the sheriffs 
convened and presided over courts of county or sheriffdom which maintained 
discipline over, and dispensed justice to, the communities of feudal barons and the 
ministerial lesser nobility of thanes and drengs which formed the topmost layer of 
freemen in both countries. Only with higher judicial administration do we see any 
significant differentiation by the second half of the twelfth century. In Scotland the 
officer intermediate between king and sheriff was the justiciar37. From the 1160s, 
if not before, the office was territorialised. The justiciar of Lothian was responsible 
for the general oversight of royal government, including the holding of courts 
superior to the sheriff courts, throughout Scotland south of Forth and Clyde. The 
maintenance of law and order along the frontier with England was primarily the 
responsibility of the justiciar of Lothian, although he would normally be assisted 
by the sheriffs of Berwick, Roxburgh and Dumfries38. In England the sheriffs of 
Cumberland and Northumberland - together with the officers who administered 
Norhamshire and Islandshire on behalf of the bishops of Durham - undertook the 
day-to-day duties of government39. From the later 1160s higher royal justice was 
administered by teams (normally pairs) of itinerant judges, the well known 'justices 
in eyre', restored by Henry II in place of territorial justiciars retained in the more 
33 Barrow, Kingdom of the Scots, 31-2; Barrow, G.W.S., "The pattern of lordship and feudal settlement in 
Cumbria", in: Journal of Medieval History 1 (1975), 117-38, especially 130-2. 
34 Ibid., 132; for sherifls of Newcastle and Carlisle see Johnson, C. and Cronne, H.A. (ed.), Regesta 
Regum Anglo-Normannorum, ll (Oxford, 1956), passim. 
35 Dickinson, W.C., The Sheriff Court Book of Fife (Edinburgh, Scottish History Society, 1928), 349. 
Bartlett and Mackay, Medieval Frontier Societies, 15. 
37 Barrow, Kingdom of the Scots, 83-138. 
38 Ibid., 117-8; The Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, ed. Stuart, J. and Burnett, G. (Edinburgh, 1878), 9-10, 
16-17, 21-3,27-30,35-6,43-6; Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland, ed. Bain, J., I (1881), no. 
39 E.g., Stones, E.L.G., Anglo-Scottish Relations, 1174-1328; some selected documents (Oxford, 1970), 
no. 8. The activity of northern English sheriffs is well illustrated in Bain, Calendar of Documents I and 
II (1884), passim, and in the series of Pipe Rolls, for details of which see Mullins, E.L.C., Texts and 
Calendars: An Analytical Guide to Serial Publications (Royal Historical Society, 1958), 7, 10, 232-8; 
idem, Texts and Calendars II: an analytical guide to serial publications (Roy. Hist Soc., 1983), 83-7. 

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