Advocatus Miggeley
                                                      [Lawyer Midgley]

We have probably heard of the "Devil's Advocate" [Diablo Advocatus] or the cardinal who holds out against the other cardinals on Church matters. Well, recently I came across a legal reference to Sir William de Miggeley during the 1300's in the reign of Edward I & II, referred to as a Lawyer [Avocat de l'une des parties]. He is described as one of the King's lawyer's in Edward II's reign.  The text has been loosely translated from French as you will see below. At this time all court proceedings were held in the French language.

Thus the known as community thinks that, if it likes our lord the king, the two charters, of freedoms and the forest, from now on will be observed entirely in all their details.  Likes that expressly the king. And that the capacity of the dispensers of justice charged to make apply the charters in the counties will be defined by the consulting of the prelates, counts, and barons.  That likes tacitly.

Source:  Statutes of the Realm, I, 124-125, 138ss..
(1303)  Report of a conference of merchants [the king made convene a conference -- to note the term -- of a hundred merchants coming from 46 cities and boroughs of the kingdom to require an exceptional financing of them.  It follows that:].... they all appeared on June 25 before the consulting of the lord king in York following the convocations of known as in short and they declared of a unanimous agreement and a will, at the same time for themselves and for this tax or with the others in question in the known as one in short and granted to the lord king by foreign merchants, if it is not with those which had coutumirement for a long time.
[Note: By 1304 Stirling Castle had been captured and Edward returned to York. It was felt that the danger from Scotland was over and as a result the Courts of the King's Bench and the Exchequer were removed from the city of York where they had been held for seven years and taken to the city of  London. see: Edward 1]

Source:  Parliamentary writs, I, 134.
(1311)  Extract of judgement
Stanton J in Miggeley 21  - Where did you see a tutor guaranteeing a brief of douaire?
Miggeley - Sir, with the last session of the Trinity, and of that I guaranteed the recording.
Stanton J -  If you find it, I will give you my hood.

Source: Y.B.  4 ED II, Selden Society, VI, 168.
21Avocat de l'une des parties

Original French text:
   Ainsi la dite communauté est d'avis que, s'il plaît à notre seigneur le roi, les deux chartes, de libertés et de la forêt, seront désormais observées entièrement dans tous leurs détails. Cela plaît expressément au roi.
 Et que le pouvoir des justiciers chargés de faire appliquer les chartes dans les comtés sera défini par le conseil des prélats, comtes, et barons. Cela plaît tacitement.

 Source : Statutes of the Realm, I, 124-125, 138ss.
 (1303) Compte-rendu d'un colloque de marchands  [Le roi a fait convoquer un colloque -- noter le terme -- d'une centaine de marchands venant de 46 villes et bourgs du royaume pour leur demander un financement exceptionnel. Il s'ensuit que :]  ... ils comparurent tous le 25 juin devant le conseil du seigneur roi à York suite aux convocations du dit bref et ils déclarèrent d'un accord et d'une volonté unanimes, à la fois pour eux-mêmes et pour les
cet impôt ou aux autres dont il est question dans le dit bref et accordés au seigneur roi par des marchands étrangers, si ce n'est à ceux dûs coutumièrement depuis longtemps.
Source : Parliamentary writs, I, 134.
 (1311) Extrait de jugement
 Stanton J. à Miggeley21 - Où avez-vous vu un tuteur garantir un bref de douaire ?
 Miggeley- Sir, à la dernière session de la Trinité, et de cela je garantis l'enregistrement.
 Stanton J. - Si vous le trouvez, je vous donnerai mon chaperon.
 Source :   Y.B. 4 Ed. II, Selden Society, vi, 168
21 Avocat de l'une des parties.

Also in
Traditio: Studies in Ancient and Medieval History, Thought and Religion Vol XIX, 1963 Page 13
KINGS, COURTS, CURES, AND SINECURES The Statute of Provisions and the Common Law by Frederick Cheyette

Miggeley: Sir, since the pleading must turn on the advowson under the writ we are using, and you claim nothing in the advowson, and cannot deny that you received the chancellorship of Lichfield - we will aver it if you want to deny it - we think that we are entitled to a writ to the bishop, and that afterwards our presentee will make his suit in court Christian based upon a voidance by you. Denham: No, that would be putting the cart before the horse. The patron cannot have a right of action before there is a voidance, and the voidance cannot be declared except in court Christian; when the church is declared void by a suit in court Christian, then a right to present accrues to the patron . . . . But you are in no such position . . . . The church does not become void by cession. From what he has said, non vacaf. Eo iure pri- vabilis esf? Non! But he is deprivable and therefore he is deprived. [That is his plea !]
First get the church void and then if you find a disturber,bring your Quare impedif.40

Had Miggeley's wishes been followed,(they were not) the king could have won his presentation. There might still have been no assurance that his presentee would ever occupy the benefice. The clerk would still have to undertake the dilatory and expensive business of voiding it in court Christian. But he would have had an advantage, for the writ which would issue to the bishop would surely have contained the non obstante clause,notwithstanding the opposition of 41 in this case the incumbent, who might thus be simply ordered out of his benefice (and, perhaps, given another to soothe his feelings).In any case the bishop, if he did not act, would have to answer the king on Quare non admisit; and this, within a few decades, became a very unpleasant affair.A battle is not a war. The king's lawyers kept at it.

40 Y.B. 7 Ed. II (S.S. 39) 66-7.

41 Bracton, De legibus et consuetudinibus Angliae

fol. 24813 (ed. G. Woodbine, New Haven 19401 III 233); Y.B. 5 Ed. II (S.S. 33) 173.

Justice Harvey Stanton [Hervey de Staunton of Staunton in the Vale, Notts.] was a canon of York and Wells, and  Edward II's chancellor of the exchequer [1316]. In 1302 he was a justice itinerant and by 1306 was a judge of the Common Pleas. In 1323 he was appointed Justice of the King's bench when he led the king's judicial courts at Wigan after the fall of the Contrariants or Lancastrian rebels. St. Michaels Chapel in Trinity Street, Cambridge, 'The House of Scholars of St Michael' or  Michaelhouse was founded by Harvey in 1324 which preceeds that of Clare College by one year. Edward II founded King's Hall, Cambridge in the early 1300's, the studies here concentrated on Civil & Roman Law which aroused the suspicion of the Common Lawyers trained at the Inns of Court in London.2 Unlike some others, Stanton survived  the deposition of Edward II in 1326 by fleeing to the refuge of a supporter in Yorkshire [possibly Henry Le Scrope who was also on the King's Bench] but died shortly after in 1327.

"Lawyer Midgley" A lawyer of the 1500's in Halifax
Often referred to as "Lawyer Midgley", also Doctor Midgley or Attourney Midgley of Halifax. He transferred much property to those who prospered and took possession of land sold under Henry VIII following the "Dissolution of the Monasteries". Specifically to those families rejecting Papism at the time and who possesed capital to invest. Many of the Midgley family manors and farms near Halifax, Bradford and Breary were established at this time and along with other recipients had "Lawyer Midgley" carry out the transactions for them. It was at this time that many of the Yorkshire "lords of the manor" were established. The pedigrees which were to this time held under the Monastic System were transferred to the King's College of Arms. "Visitations" were then arranged by the College of Arms to verify or deny the claims to Arms by various "gentry" of the landed class.
"William Midgly father to Dr. and Attourney Midgly ["Lawyer Midgley" in other sources-T.M.] was  buryed at Luddenden Aug 21 1595, aged 81, Mr Sunderland preacht"
"1590 Mr. J. Midgly Attourny in Halifax buryed there May  20. aged 50". [Pre-deceaced his father-T.M.].

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2. Johnson, Paul, The Life and Times of Edward III, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1973
3. Statutes of the Realm, I, pp124-125, 138ss.[1303]
4. Parliamentary writs, I, 134.[1311]
5. Stanton, J., Y.B. 4 Ed II, Selden Society Vi, p168 [1312-1313]

Copyright © Tim Midgley, 2001 links revised Juuly 2023.
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