1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Haro, Clameur de

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HARO, CLAMEUR DE, the ancient Norman custom of “crying for justice,” still surviving in the Channel Islands. The wronged party must on his knees and before witnesses cry: “Haro! Haro! Haro! à l'aide, mon prince, on me fait tort.”[WS1] This appeal has to be respected, and the alleged trespass or tort must cease till the matter has been thrashed out in the courts. The “cry” thus acts as an interim injunction, and no inhabitant of the Channel Islands would think of resisting it. The custom is undoubtedly very ancient, dating from times when there were no courts and no justice except such as was meted out by princes personally. The popular derivation for the name is that which explains “Haro” as an abbreviation of “Ha! Rollo,” a direct appeal to Rollo, first duke of Normandy. It is far more probable that haro is simply an exclamation to call attention (O.H.G. hera, hara, “here”!). Indeed it is clear that the “cry for justice” was in no sense an institution of Rollo, but was a method of appeal recognized in many countries. It is said to be identical with the “Legatro of the Bavarians and the Thuringians,” and the first mention of it in France is to be found in the “Grand coutumier de Normandie.” A similar custom, only observed in criminal charges, was recognized by the Saxon laws under the name of “Clamor Violentiae.” Thus there is reason to think that William the Conqueror on his arrival in England found the “cry” fully established as far as criminal matters were concerned. Later the “cry” was made applicable to civil wrongs, and, when the administration of justice became systematized, disappeared altogether in criminal cases. It naturally tended to become obsolete as the administration of justice became systematized, but it was long retained in north-western France in cases of disputed possession, and was not actually repealed until the close of the 18th century. A survival of the English form of haro is possibly to be found in the “Ara,” a cry at fairs when “settling time” arrived.


WS1. ^  Wikisource translation: "Haro! Haro! Haro! help, my prince, I am being wronged"