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watch and ward

watch and ward was an attempt at a more effective policing system, which started in 1233 with a specific incident and became firmly established. After disturbances, Henry III ordered all vills (townships) to arrange guards at night and apprehend suspicious persons. The instructions were repeated in 1242, with details on numbers of men and weapons, again in 1253, and in Edward I's reign were promulgated in the statute of Winchester of 1285. Watch and ward was still being maintained in the 18th cent. and its modern echoes are the neighbourhood watches set up in many suburbs and villages in the 1980s.

J. A. Cannon

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