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What Is "Time Immemorial"?

Kings throughout history have been granted considerable amounts of power, but few if any have been capable of messing with time. But England's Edward I was an exception. Edward took the throne in 1272, but his reach extended much farther back. In an attempt to create an organized legal system, Edward developed the three Statutes of Westminster, covering everything from shipwrecks to slander. The first statute contained 51 parts, including a focus on property rights, in which Edward did what most magicians can only dream of: He made time disappear. Edward decided that in order to settle disputes, all property rights could date back only to the day Richard I became king, July 6, 1189. Everything before that was considered "time immemorial"; in other words, no one's memory of anything before that date could be trusted. Obviously, the phrase today means roughly the same thing, only there's no specific date associated with it. Edward's decree stayed on the books for years, though, and it wasn't until 1832 that Richard I's rise to power no longer stopped time. William IV changed the law to reflect that property rights could date back no more than 60 years.

All about Edward I:

  • Edward I was also known as Edward Longshanks because he was tall and had long legs.

  • In 1290, Edward I infamously decreed that all Jewish people should be expelled from England because he associated them with the act of usury.

  • Three of the 12 memorial crosses Edward I had erected in honor of his late wife, Eleanor of Castile, still exist, in Hardingstone, Waltham Cross, and Geddington.

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dimchild
Post 1

British monarchs always make interesting reading.

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