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time immemorial

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From 1291 a person who had no charter of authority for a franchise, e.g. the right to hold a market or fair, had his claim allowed if he could prove that he and his ancestors, or predecessors in his position, had held that right since ‘time whereof the memory of man runneth not to the contrary’. This was known for short as ‘time immemorial’, or ‘time out of mind’, and was fixed as the period before the accession of Richard I in 1189.

Subjects: History

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