Constable


Constable
/kun"steuh beuhl, kon"-/, n.
John, 1776-1837, English painter.

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▪ government official
      officer of state in western European countries from medieval times and also of certain executive legal officials in Great Britain and the United States. The title comes stabuli is found in the Roman and particularly in the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, Empire from the 5th century AD as that of the head of the stables at the imperial court. The Franks borrowed the title, and under the Merovingian and Carolingian kings of western Europe the comes stabuli was in charge of the royal stud, with the marshal (marescallus) as his subordinate officer. In the 11th century the constable (connétable) of France became one of the five great officers of state, with limited powers of jurisdiction and with command of the cavalry. The constable's military duties and judicial powers increased until, by the mid-14th century, he held supreme military command of the army. After the treason of the constable Charles de Bourbon (1523), however, the kings distrusted the power of the office, and for many years in the 16th century it was allowed to remain vacant. It was eliminated in 1627, after the death of François de Bonne, Duke de Lesdiguières, but was revived by Napoleon I, who appointed his brother Louis Bonaparte grand constable. It was finally abolished upon the restoration of the Bourbons.

      In England the office of constable, which was similar to that of the pre-Conquest staller, was in existence during Henry I's reign (1100–35). The principal duty of the constable and marshal was the command of the army. The Court of the Constable and Marshal, also known as the Court of Chivalry, came into existence at least as early as the reign of Edward I (1272–1307). Lord high constables are now appointed only for coronations.

      Officers with important military commands and in control of garrisons and castles were also known as constables—e.g., the constables of Windsor, Dover, Caernarvon (Caernarfon), Conway, Harlech, and Flint castles and of the Tower of London. Sometimes the appointment was coupled with that of conservator (later justice) of the peace, who assisted the sheriff in enforcing the law. This gave rise to constables' exercising civil jurisdiction. Under the Statute of Winchester (1285), the civil and military organizations were linked.

      A chief or high constable in every local area (hundred or franchise) was responsible for suppressing riots and violent crimes and for arming the militia to enable him to do so. Under him were petty constables in each tithing, or village. The high and petty, or parish, constables remained the executive legal officers in counties until the County Police Acts of 1839 and 1840 allowed certain justices to establish a paid police force. In Scotland bodies of high constables, formed to carry out such municipal duties as curbing riots, still exist at Edinburgh, Leith, Perth, and Holyroodhouse, the last named being prominent on state occasions. In the rural districts of the United States the constable had the same status as in England before the act of 1842 but during the 20th century gradually lost most of his power in criminal matters to the uniformed police, being thereafter chiefly concerned with the issuing of writs, processes, and election notices.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • CONSTABLE (J.) — Peintre des vallées fraîches et fertiles du Suffolk, des ciels chargés de la Manche et de quelques monuments vénérables comme la cathédrale de Salisbury, Constable donne à voir une Angleterre paisible et apparemment somnolente. Profondément… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • constable — [ kɔ̃stabl ] n. m. • 1765; mot angl., de l a. fr. conestable → connétable ♦ Dans les pays anglo saxons, Officier de police; sergent de ville. ● constable nom masculin (anglais constable, de l ancien français conestable, connétable) En Grande… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Constable — Con sta*ble (k[o^]n st[.a]*b l or k[u^]n st[.a]*b l), n. [OE. conestable, constable, a constable (in sense 1), OF. conestable, F. conn[ e]table, LL. conestabulus, constabularius, comes stabuli, orig., count of the stable, master of the horse,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • constable — con·sta·ble / kän stə bəl, kən / n [Old French conestable military commander, chief of the royal household, from Late Latin comes stabuli, literally, officer of the stable]: a public officer usu. of a town or township responsible for keeping the… …   Law dictionary

  • Constable — steht für: Konstabler, einen Titel Constable ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Emma Constable (* 1975), englische Badmintonspielerin John Constable (1776–1837), englischer Maler Mark Constable (* 1976), englischer Badmintonspieler Henry… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • constable — (del lat. «constabĭlis»; ant.) adj. Constante. * * * constable. (Del lat. constabĭlis). adj. ant. Que tiene constancia1 …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • constable — c.1200, chief household officer, justice of the peace, from O.Fr. conestable (12c., Mod.Fr. connétable), steward, governor, principal officer of the Frankish king s household, from L.L. comes stabuli, lit. count of the stable (established by… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Constable — (spr. Konstäbl), Buchhändler in Edinburg, einer der größten in Großbritannien, Verleger W. Scotts u. vieler anderer ausgezeichneter Schriftsteller, zog durch seinen Fall 1826 (2,800,000 Thlr. Masse) den W. Scotts nach sich; st. einige Jahre… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Constable [1] — Constable (engl., spr. kónnstēbl, ursprünglich verwandt mit dem franz. connétable), Name öffentlicher Sicherheitsbeamten in England. Der Lord High C., einer der obersten Kron und Reichsbeamten des alten England, war dem Connetable von Frankreich… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Constable [2] — Constable (spr. kónnstĕbl), John, engl. Maler, geb. 11. Juni 1776 zu East Bergholt in Suffolk, gest. 30. Mai 1837 in London, trat 1800 als Schüler in die Londoner Akademie ein, wo er besonders den Unterricht von Reinagle genoß. Seit 1820 lebte er …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Constable — (engl., spr. kónnstäbbl), Polizist, ursprünglich eine vom franz. Konnetabel (s.d.) entlehnte Benennung hoher Beamten in England. Der Lord High C. hatte den Vorsitz bei Angelegenheiten der Ritterschaft; seine Würde erlosch 1521 unter Heinrich VIII …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon


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