NAOMI D. Hurnard's The King's Pardon for Homicide before AD 1307 is significant and instructive for both legal and social historians. The author has painstakingly pieced together the available evidence from a variety of classes of mediaeval English public records to achieve a clear statement of the law of excusable homicide, i.e., non-felonious but requiring a royal pardon. She has lucidly presented the procedure which marks out the legal life story of persons deserving pardon, from the pardonable slaying to the formal proclamation of the king's peace. But she has also accomplished much more. Through careful and generally sound use of her limited body of evidence, Miss Hurnard has described societal attitudes toward the law from the differing perspectives of the non-felonious slayer, the kin of the slain and the King. Her study of pardonable homicide proves a useful vehicle for at least a preliminary assessment of mediaeval Englishmen's knowl- edge of and trust in law and legal procedure. It also sheds light on their thirst for vengeance and capacity for compassion and on the royal goverment's concern for achieving a semblance of law and order.
Green, Thomas A. Review of The King's Pardon for Homicide to A.D. 1307, by N. D. Hurnard. Speculum 47, no. 4 (1972): 774-6.