Page:English Historical Review Volume 37.djvu/329

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NO. CXLVII.—JULY 1922[1]

Scutage under Edward I

One of the most difficult of 'the many problems associated with the institution of scutage is that of its relation to the fines pro passagio or ne transfretet, which made their first appearance in the Pipe Rolls of Richard I, and continued with occasional intervals and some modifications in form, not only throughout the history of the scutage, but until the final disappearance of the feudal levy. Were the scutage and the fine simply alternative methods of commutation for the military service owed by the tenant in chief to the Crown; or did they differ one from the other in principle and effect as well as in form? A tentative answer to this question was supplied nearly twenty years ago by the late Professor Maitland, who held that the tenant in chief's service could not be discharged by scutage.

So soon as our records become abundant, it seems plain that the tenant in chief has no option between providing his proper contingent of armed men, and paying a scutage. The only choice that is left him is that between obeying the king's call and bearing whatever fine the barons of the exchequer may inflict upon him for his disobedience. … We may think that the rate of scutage will only determine the amount that can be extracted from the under-tenants by lords who have done their service or paid their fines. But this is not so.[2]

The Crown still takes an interest in a levy of scutage. Maitland acknowledges that, in theory, when a baron has produced the requisite number of knights or compounded for his breach of contract, it is he and not the king who ought to receive the scutage of his under-tenants; but hazards the suggestion that

... in the thirteenth century the king, while he is exacting military service or fines from his tenants in chief, will also collect scutage from their
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  2. Maitland in Pollock and Maitland, Hist. of English Law, 2nd ed., i. 269.