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Eyre

Eyre. The General Eyre, which probably dates from the reign of Henry I and is believed to derive its name from the Latin iter, was a commission issued by the king to officials of the curia regis, who travelled round the kingdom visiting the different regions every few years. The powers given to the travelling justices under the Commission of the General Eyre were extremely wide. During their visitation they took over the county court and summoned inhabitants to answer questions relating to local affairs and taxation, scrutinized the conduct of the sheriff and other local officials, and thus ensured that the king's interests were protected. The commission was ‘Ad omnia placita’—to deal with all kinds of pleas—and in addition to a general local audit, the justices heard pleas of the crown (criminal cases) and common pleas (pleas between subjects). Although not at first oppressive, the General Eyre became feared and unpopular and in the 14th cent. it faded away.

Maureen Mulholland

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Eyre

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