A friend of mine used to say “What part of ‘no’ didn’t you understand, the ‘n’ or the ‘o’?” :-)
The ‘K’ and the ‘W’.
I don’t see why the Norman Conquest would be expected to change the laws significantly; England and Normandy both had common sense laws at the time, right? It was merely a change of government.
The Norman conquest introduced one huge change into the English legal system. Before the conquest, when a father died his land was divided up evenly between his sons and when a mother died her land was divided up evenly between her daughters. The Normans introduced primogeniture, the practice of giving all of the land to the eldest son regardless of the presence of any other children in the family. This change upended the entire English law of real property. Thus starting a chain reaction of changes as the courts and Parliament struggled to adjust to this change over several centuries. Back then the law of real property was what lawyer and judges spent most of their time and effort on because land is the principle form of wealth in an agrarian society. For an in depth study of these issues read A Concise History of The Common Law by Theodore Pluncket.
OK, that’s one change, and it isn’t anything to do with criminal law, which is what the strip said.
It’s unexpected because, aside from the laws themselves, the Normans changed almost the entire legal -system-. That’s why so many of our legal terms are of French origin. Surprising that the laws remained intact when we got all this other stuff.
There were actually at least one set of codefied laws in early Ireland, the Brehon laws, the biggest fragment of which we still have is the Senchas Már. The problem is most of the original text was lost over time, so what we now have is often fragmented and passed down second-hand through the works of earlier historians. Still an absolutely fascinating read (and actually part of what led me to this comic via an internet rabbit hole!)
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