Northampton, Assize of

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Northampton, Assize of, 1176. The Assize of Northampton was an important stage in the development and enforcement of English law in the reign of Henry II. In the form of instructions to royal justices, it tightened up the provisions of the Assize of Clarendon ten years earlier and has been seen as the response to a crime wave. The offences of arson and forgery were added to those into which the justices were to inquire and severe punishments included the loss of the right hand. Trial was still ordeal by water.

J. A. Cannon