Medieval Courts Demonstrated

By Kathyrn de Wrytar
Features Reporter

Oyez! Oyez! Give attention to all those who enters the King’s court!
Did you ever wonder what really happened when a young lady killed her newborn, a knight killed a man when not in battle, or a child killed his friend? Was there such a thing as self-defense in the 15th century? Pao Hu Tso, a member of Silverhorde, Kingdom of Atlantia, has researched and documented the proceedings, function, and outcomes of actual court cases from the 14th and 15th centuries As Royal Judge of the proceedings, Tau led an audience on Friday through the court process, the conviction, and of course the sentencing of four actual persons of the time.
William of Three Towers, a boy of age 12, was charged with beating his play friend to death. Ramona II (playing Joan), was charged with murdering her infant son with a knife. Lady Tso Wen Chi (Emma), faced the court to claim that knights of the kingdom not only stole from her but also killed her husband. To defend himself, John hit another with a ‘baculum’, whence he died. Lord Mungu Chinua (John), and his counterparts creatively prepared personas with motives and backstories, to give more realistic understanding of their lives.
The audience was able to join in the fun and be part of the jury. As it happens they discovered that William’s family tried to bribe the coroner to hush up the boy’s death. Emma was paid her husband’s life’s wages for his death. Joan was sentenced with traveling the town with wax and a knife to show everyone her crime and how she committed it. And, self-defense was alive and well in the 15th century as John was promptly pardoned.
Mundanely John Summerville is a law professor and retired Army. His interest in medieval law and courts has been a part of his studies for a very long time. He uses the cases you will hear in the courses he teaches to graduate students.
Looking to future Wars, Tso would like to teach the class again, with a continued development of authenticity and audience participation.