The view of frankpledge (visus franciplegii), or the duty of ascertaining that the law with regard to frankpledges was complied with, was in the hands of the sheriffs, who held an itinerant court called the "sheriff's tourn" for this and other purposes.
As the word frankpledge denotes, these societies were originally concerned only with freemen; but the unfree were afterwards admitted, and during the 13th century the frankpledges were composed chiefly of villains.
Maitland says "the duty of producing one's neighbour to answer accusations (the duty of the frankpledges) could well be converted into the duty of telling tales against him."
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