History Of Brighton And Environs - Online Book

From The Earliest Known Period To The Present Time.

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181
or free or frankpledges (friborgs), who had no causes to bo tried there, attended as jurors or sworn assessors to the presiding officer. These free pledges were the origin of " The Society of Twelve " already spoken of in this work, and which continued in this town to the commencement of the present century. By the statute of Winchester, 18th Edward I., the Borough of Brighthelmston had a con­stable appointed for itself exclusively, an indication of its extent at that period. According to Alfred's division the Hundred to which Brighthelmston belonged con­tained, besides those of Ovingdean and Rottingdean,— called in Domesday, Welsmere, the Boroughs of Preston (Prestetune) and Patcham (Patchame),—which were originally hundreds of themselves, and were, under Edward L, united to the borough of Brighthelmston, and composed a new hundred called Wellsbcurne, since corrupted into Whalesbone (as already named, with its origin, in the early part of this book). The boroughs of Ovingdean and Rottingdean were then united to the small hundred of Falmer, under the name of Ewensmere.
The leet or law day, the view of frankpledge for this hundred was held on Easter Tuesday, when the High Constable, Headboroughs and Officers were elected; among the officers were two called respectively the ale-conner, and a searcher or sealer of leather. These offices were of great importance, until they became obsolete; the ale Conner's duty was to taste the ales at the respective inns in the town, with a view of preventing adulteration. The searcher and sealer had to examine all hides and skins flayed in the town, and calculate the number of cuts thereon, in order to obtain from the hide or skin owners the penalty of one shilling each recoverable by law,—an Act now repealed.
Since the town became incorporated in 1854, the only appointment of High Constable has been that of Mr James Martin, which took place at the Court Leet of
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