Geographical Origin of Cases from County Marginations: Common Pleas

The county marginations for each enrollment assist in determining the geographical "origins" of cases. For real actions marginations are normally accurate. For debt actions by the latter half of the fourteenth century the margination was supposed to be the place where the debt was contracted and thus might not correspond to the residence of either party. By the late sixteenth century attorneys for debt actions were beginning to specify London for the margination to move the case along faster. By the late sixteenth century, that practice qualifies the utility of marginations.

The primary conclusion is that from the beginning and through into the seventeenth century the common law was a truly national law, capable of serving as a unifying core for England. Note that the specification of parish of residence for defendants would indicate that from the later fifteenth century an increasing number of Welsh defendants appear at common law, a possibility enabled by fictitious assignment of marginations. Those cases would constitute a small part of the London and thus the southeast figures.

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