The other purpose this move served was that it worked as a solution to the problem of the Sheriffs' control on the peasants, and this made it look like a reform-oriented action. The sheriff was the officer designated by the King to oversee law and order in every county. In his being the legal authority of a county, the office of the sheriff allowed him all the scope to manipulate law for his own benefit. The notoriety of the sheriffs for extortion and misappropriation of funds at the King's expense, as well as the scope of the abuse of power which their office permitted, is what Hubert was aware of, and that is what prompted him to set up a network of law officers that were under the supervision of neither the sheriff, nor the Justices of the Peace. Thus came to being the office of the coroner. The Article 20 of the "Articles of Eyre", from the Eyre of September held in the County of Kent in 1194, is the decree that formally established the Coroners. The article stated that: "In every county of the King's realm shall be elected three knights and one clerk, to keep the pleas of the Crown"
To each county, thus, were assigned three coroners and a clerk who carried the "Coroner's Rolls", although the clerk's office too was later to be replaced by another, a fourth coroner. ...Show more