John Fyneux was Chief Justice of the court of King’s Bench from 1495 until his death in 1525. J. R. Baker, in his thorough manner, tells us that his name was likely pronounced as ‘phoenix’ “with the x sounded” and as support he mentions “in the plea rolls the first membrane sometimes has a phoenix drawn against his name”.
in hic modo
[TNA KB 27/1016 rot. 1f (Trinity term, 1515)]
* J. R. Baker, ed. The Reports of Sir John Spelman Vol. II, Selden Society, 94 (London: Selden Society, 1978), 358, n, 3.
G. O. Sayles (1901–1994) payed out, volume by volume, a lifetime over the king’s bench rolls at the UK Public Records Office, now The National Archives. His is the second life, consumed by those rolls, and that’s only up to Henry V. Several more will be claimed, I am sure, by the vastly more numerous records of the later kings and queens who sat, figuratively if not literaly, in propre persona.
The documents spilled out onto the table like the dusty entrails of some juridical shark. This archival immortality preserved the acts of violence and legal manipulations of a dozen noble gentry. He leaned over the ancient indictment:
…felonice interfecerunt et murdraverunt…
The thought occurred to him that one were careless enough to be caught, this was a nice way to become part of the fabric of history. But he had been very careful, and it saddened him to think of students not yet born, cursing the nameless perpetrator of some insignificant murder, unrecorded in the archives. The feeling quickly faded. (Oxford Noir: Close Roll, Open Corpse)
I hope regular readers of PBS have enjoyed, or at least tolerated, the brief take over by the ether-monkeys of WordPress with their occasional postings from Oxford Noir. I have been trapped in a different sort of Dante-esque place of confinement at The National Archives for the last week and, prior to that, the victim of some wicked ennui that made all non-essential writing a painful ordeal. I will, given time, actually write about my adventures but for now I will simply check in and deposit this fragment from the second volume in the Oxford Noir series, unfortunately titled Close Roll and Open Corpse (somehow, this one didn’t impress the literary agents either).