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However, it became obvious that even this drastic action was nothing but a temporary check on their rapacity.In the fifth year after ascending the throne, Richard Coeur de Lion was desperately short of money.In fact, it is from this very time that we can trace the first taxation on movable property in England, a precedent that has stayed with us for 800 years.Richard returned to England in March 1194, but stayed only a few weeks before going back to his lands in France, never again to return. He was faced with a massive financial problem and amongst Hubert's many schemes to extort more money was the one which now concerns us - the revival of the office of Coroner.One of the hotels there today is called the "Richard Lowenherz" and the other is the ''Sensor Blondel," which is also the name of one of the local wines.This latter name, of course, commemorates the well-known, and probably apocryphal, tale of Richard's troubadour, Blondel de Neale, who wandered about Europe singing Richard's favourite ballads outside every castle. The story tells how, by Richard singing the second verse, he was able to discover where his King was hidden.In later times, England exported her Coroner system all over the World: to almost everywhere coloured red in the Victorian atlas.Where Coroners still survive, they indicate a legacy of British rule, whether it be Kenya, Hong Kong, Australia or parts of the United States.
Wales inherited the English Coroners after the Edwardian Conquest of 1282.
He is reputed to have said that he would have sold London itself, if he could have found a rich enough buyer!
On the way back from the Crusade, at the end of 1192, Richard was shipwrecked in the Adriatic and he decided to make his way back overland to Normandy.
The kingdom was ruled in his absence by Hubert Walter, now elevated to Chief Justiciar and Archbishop of Canterbury. It is hard to assess how much this was an urgent administrative problem and a reform due to the Sheriffs' stranglehold on the peasantry, and how much was just sheer fiscal opportunism for the Royal purse; but maybe the Justiciar killed two birds with one stone.
When we look into the birth of the Coroner system, we have also to look at the Sheriff.