Right of pit and gallows

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The right of pit and gallows is the feudal law granting lords the privilege of inflicting capital punishment and imprisoning people within their own domains.[1][2]

Landed knights do not possess the right of pit and gallows, they only are allowed to punish people if they have been granted leave by their liege lord.[2]

History

After Aegon's Conquest, King Aegon I Targaryen allowed the high lords to retain this right.[3]

King Jaehaerys I Targaryen and his advisors —particularly his Hand, Septon Barth— worked on creating a Great Code of laws during his reign. Their goal was to unify Westeros under one organized judiciary system, and in the process getting rid of the mass of contradictory precedents that were set over the centuries. During their work, they found that some nobles who were not lords also held the right of pit and gallows.[4]

Rohanne Webber, as the ruling Lady of Coldmoat, sentenced a notorious sheep-stealer to death using her right of pit and gallows.[2]

Quotes

The right of the first night is an ancient one, as much a part of lordship as the right of pit and gallows.[4]

References

  1. So Spake Martin: Lords and Knights (March 2, 2002)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Sworn Sword.
  3. Fire & Blood, Three Heads Had the Dragon - Governance Under King Aegon I.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Fire & Blood, Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their Triumphs and Tragedies.