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History of Massachusetts Bay Constables Association

Background: Ancient in origin, the office of Constable has been of high power and prestige in the history of the world. In feudal times, the office of Constable was one of high military rank, and eventually ex officio commander in chief of the military forces. He was the highest judge in military offenses and in questions of chivalry and honor. He was the supreme arbitrator in tilts, tournaments, and martial displays.

The term High Office of Constable appears in England shortly after the Conquest as the seventh great officer of the Crown, possessing both Civil and Criminal powers. Since the year 1521, the title of High Constable has not been granted except for a special ceremony of state.

The Constable has been a part of our American civilization since the earliest of Colonial times. In each of our original communities, the Constable was one of the first offices created and it was his important duty to keep the king's peace.

The Constable continues today as a public officer possessing extensive powers. See Hartley Vs. Inhabitants of Granville 216 Mass. 38. However the duties of Constables have been modified from time to time by custom and statute.

 

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