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27 Law & Hist. Rev. [xxi] (2009)
In This Issue

handle is hein.journals/lawhst27 and id is 503 raw text is: In This Issue

This issue of Law and History Review presents four articles and two legal
history dialogues. The articles take the reader first to St. Martin Le Grand,
a sanctuary in late medieval London, and then forward in time to examine
interracial marriages in Napoleonic and Restoration France. Crossing the
Atlantic, they examine a contested seventeenth-century will from Brain-
tree, Massachusetts, and finally move west to explore why states, such as
Oklahoma, adopted community property regimes in the 1930s and 1940s.
The subsequent dialogues demonstrate how personal, professional, and
political developments frame the historical problems, such as the role of
law in social history, that legal historians have wrestled with in the pages
of LHR since its inception more than a quarter of a century ago.
Our first article by Shannon McSheffrey provides a close examination
of St. Martin Le Grand, a privileged territory in the heart of late medieval
London. Her investigation reveals that pre-Reformation English sanctuar-
ies must be understood not only in the context of complex intertwinings
of conceptions of kingship, justice, mercy, and Christian religion, but in
the quotidian practice and observance of the sanctuary space by those
who lived in and around the sanctuary. By 1400, a number of English
religious houses had come to offer permanent sanctuary to accused crimi-
nals, political refugees, debtors, and aliens. These small territories, which
exercised varying extents of juridical and political autonomy, considerably
complicated the jurisdictional map of late medieval England. Determining
and recognizing the boundaries of the sanctuary territory was difficult: the
bounds of the precinct were marked in some places by walls and gates,
but in other places by notional, and often disputed, lines in the middle
of streets. The meaning of the sanctuary was constituted through claims,
counterclaims, and royal confirmations; through precedent and custom;
and through how particular kinds of individuals-those privileged of the
sanctuary-inhabited and used the territory. Although the royal free chapel
and sanctuary of St. Martin Le Grand, like other English sanctuaries, was
felled along with a host of ecclesiastical institutions in the dissolutions of
the English Reformation, McSheffrey contends that scholars should not
interpret its late medieval and early Tudor history through the hindsight
of its dissolution. Instead, she argues that sanctuary and the sacrality that

Law and History Review Fall 2009, Vol. 27, No. 3
© 2009 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois

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