Attainder (Law)

  • Medieval Era
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

A process of Old English Law, ''Attainder'' (not to be confused with the Heraldic term), was used often by Royalty as a means of depriving Nobles of Title and Land (and their Families by proxy). Meaning (in a broad sense) ''corruption of blood'', a Monarch could use this Law (often without any substantial evidence), to bring Treason charges against a particularly ''troublesome'' Noble. Perhaps this Fellow would not agree to a Royal Edict, or accept a Position which involved Him to compromise His morals. A classic example of Attainder would be the Case King Henry VIII brought against Sir Thomas More, Chancellor of England.


Yet another ''King Henry'' reference was to establish a basis for Adultery (to allow Him sufficient cause to petition Divorce). Regardless IF the ''act'' was committed or not (it most often wasn't). Attainder allowed for the way to be cleared for ''removal'' (Court, Office) and eventually ''life'' altogether! Women as well were liable to Attainder Law. While not as commonly used in The Middle Ages, England under The Tudors misused Attainder Laws very commonly. The last true Attainder Law (as it was used in The Tudor Era), was in 1746. It was outlawed by Act of Parliament as a ''Blood Law'', but was later adapted into Treason Laws commonly used to declare One a ''Fugitive from Justice'' – of the highest level.


Attainder Law carried tot The American Colonies, but was never officially used. An ''unofficial'' Attainder was issued by England in 1774 against Thomas Jefferson for His radical and revolutionary writings and views. The US Constitution forbids the use of Attainder Law, which some examples were attempted in The ''Old South'' among the Aristocracy.