Thomas Weyland

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Sir Thomas Weyland (about 1230 – January 1298) was an English lawyer, administrator and landowner from Suffolk who rose to be Chief Justice of the Common Pleas under King Edward I but was removed for malpractice and exiled.

Suffolk County of England

Suffolk is an East Anglian county of historic origin in England. It has borders with Norfolk to the north, Cambridgeshire to the west and Essex to the south. The North Sea lies to the east. The county town is Ipswich; other important towns include Lowestoft, Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket and Felixstowe, one of the largest container ports in Europe.

Chief Justice of the Common Pleas

The Chief Justice of the Common Pleas was the head of the Court of Common Pleas, also known as the Common Bench or Common Place, which was the second-highest common law court in the English legal system until 1875, when it, along with the other two common law courts and the equity and probate courts, became part of the High Court of Justice. As such, the Chief Justice of the Common Pleas was one of the highest judicial officials in England, behind only the Lord High Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice of England, who headed the Queen's Bench.

Edward I of England 13th and 14th-century King of England and Duke of Aquitaine

Edward I, also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, was King of England from 1272 to 1307. Before his accession to the throne, he was commonly referred to as The Lord Edward. The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved early in the political intrigues of his father's reign, which included an outright rebellion by the English barons. In 1259, he briefly sided with a baronial reform movement, supporting the Provisions of Oxford. After reconciliation with his father, however, he remained loyal throughout the subsequent armed conflict, known as the Second Barons' War. After the Battle of Lewes, Edward was hostage to the rebellious barons, but escaped after a few months and joined the fight against Simon de Montfort. Montfort was defeated at the Battle of Evesham in 1265, and within two years the rebellion was extinguished. With England pacified, Edward joined the Ninth Crusade to the Holy Land. The crusade accomplished little, and Edward was on his way home in 1272 when he was informed that his father had died. Making a slow return, he reached England in 1274 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 19 August.


Early life

Born about 1230, he was the third son of Herbert Weyland and his wife Beatrice, one of six daughters of Stephen Witnesham, a minor landowner from the village of that name. His three brothers, John, Richard and William, also pursued administrative and judicial careers. [1] He first appears in official records in 1251 as an attorney for his brother John for the making of a final concord. In 1258 he paid 100 marks for the manor of Chillesford and purchased a second manor in 1258 at Blaxhall for 300 marks. It is not certain how he obtained such money, but it was probably from legal work in which he acquired the knowledge needed for his later progress. Although he had become a subdeacon to allow a career in the church, he reverted to lay status and was knighted in 1270.

Witnesham village in the United Kingdom

Witnesham is a village situated roughly 4 miles (6 km) to the north of Ipswich, Suffolk. The main road from Ipswich that links the village to the town is the B1077, Westerfield Road.

Chillesford village in the United Kingdom

Chillesford is a village and a civil parish in the Suffolk Coastal District, in the English county of Suffolk. It is located on the B1084 road which runs east to west. Chillesford is 3 miles northwest of the small town of Orford. It is 5 miles southwest of Aldeburgh and 6 miles south of Saxmundham. Population of around 120 and 60 houses. At the 2011 Census the population is included in the civil parish of Butley

Blaxhall village in the United Kingdom

Blaxhall is a village and civil parish in the Suffolk Coastal district of the English county of Suffolk. Located around 8 miles (13 km) south-west of Leiston and Aldeburgh, in 2007 its population was estimated to be 220, measured at 194 in the 2011 Census.

Judicial career

In 1274 he was made a justice of the Common Bench after the death of his older brother William, who had previously held such a position. He served as a junior justice for four years, and was appointed Chief Justice in 1278 after the retirement of Roger Seaton, holding office for 11 years until his removal in 1289. This period is the first for which substantial law reports survive, presenting a mixed view. While they show he had a clear and sharp legal mind, often deciding litigation cases on his own or with one colleague, he was also involved in several instances of corruption and misconduct, including editing his plea roll in a land case involving one of his relatives, for which he was rewarded with an interest in the property in question. [2] Many of these suspect cases were only turned up after his removal from office and, although some allegations were shown to be false, many were not. During this time he made large acquisitions of property, including seven manors in Suffolk, three in Essex and several others elsewhere. He spent an average of £150 a year on property while in office, and though much of the money may have come from the profits of his and his wife's landholdings or from private legal work, his relative lack of scruples makes it possible some came from corruption.

Court of Common Pleas (England) common law court in the English legal system

The Court of Common Pleas, or Common Bench, was a common law court in the English legal system that covered "common pleas"; actions between subject and subject, which did not concern the king. Created in the late 12th to early 13th century after splitting from the Exchequer of Pleas, the Common Pleas served as one of the central English courts for around 600 years. Authorised by Magna Carta to sit in a fixed location, the Common Pleas sat in Westminster Hall for its entire existence, joined by the Exchequer of Pleas and Court of King's Bench.

Roger of Seaton (1230–1280) was a British justice. He studied canon law at Oxford University, and by 1258 he was a qualified magister, a rarity for British justices of the time; of the sixty or so justices who had served under Richard I only three held such a title, with ninety and eight respectively for those who had served under John of England. By 1260 he was using his knowledge of Canon law as the commissary-general for Walter of Kirkham, the Bishop of Durham, as well as his immediate successor, Robert Stitchill, serving as one of his chancellors and also his executor.

Essex County of England

Essex is a county in the south-east of England, north-east of London. One of the home counties, it borders Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent across the estuary of the River Thames to the south, and London to the south-west. The county town is Chelmsford, the only city in the county. For government statistical purposes Essex is placed in the East of England region.

Downfall and exile

His removal from office in 1289 was not, however, as a result of judicial misconduct. On 20 July 1289 two of his servants committed a murder at a village fair, killing William Carwel, an Irish servant of the Earl of Norfolk. The killing may have been as a result of a drunken brawl, but it is probable it was part of bitter factional fighting between followers of the earl, of whom Weyland was one of the leading councillors. After the servants returned to his house at Monewden he failed to have them arrested, despite knowing of the murder, thereby becoming an accessory. Due to the earl's desire to have the matter dealt with, a warrant was issued for a court of enquiry on 4 September and the two men were executed on 14 September. The jurors in the matter also indicted the Chief Justice for harbouring the killers, and orders were given for his arrest. A clerk of the sheriff of Suffolk was sent to capture him, but soon after his arrest he escaped under cover of darkness. He made his way to the Greyfriars house at Babwell on the outskirts of Bury St Edmunds, where he took the habit of the Franciscan order and received sanctuary. After his location became known, King Edward sent orders to his fellow justice Robert Malet to starve him out. Thomas surrendered early in 1290, most likely in return for safe travel to the Tower of London, where he was offered a choice between standing trial, perpetual imprisonment, and exile, of which he chose exile. On 20 February he took an oath not to return to any English territory, including Ireland, and was given nine days to reach Dover, his port of departure. By 1292 he had settled in Paris, but was pardoned by the king in 1297 and allowed to return home, where he died in 1298.

Roger Bigod, 5th Earl of Norfolk English peer

Roger Bigod was 5th Earl of Norfolk.

Monewden village in the United Kingdom

Monewden is a small village and a civil parish in the hundred of Loss, in the Suffolk Coastal District, in the English county of Suffolk. The population of the civil parish as of the 2011 census was 120. The village is located around 12 miles (19 km) north of Ipswich and 4 miles (6.4 km) west of Wickham Market.

Bury St Edmunds market town and civil parish in the county of Suffolk, England

Bury St Edmunds, commonly referred to locally as Bury, is a historic market town and civil parish in the St Edmundsbury district, in the county of Suffolk, England. Bury St Edmunds Abbey is near the town centre. Bury is the seat of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich of the Church of England, with the episcopal see at St Edmundsbury Cathedral.


In about 1266 he married Anna, daughter of Richard Colville, and they had a son John. Inheriting his father's lands, he too was knighted and married Mary, daughter of a major Suffolk landowner, Sir Richard Braose.

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Legal offices
Preceded by
Roger of Seaton
Chief Justice of the Common Pleas
Succeeded by
Ralph Sandwich