In medieval law. The name given to a very high functionary under the French and English kings, the dignity and importance of whose office was only second to that of the monarch. He was in general the leader of the royal armies, and had cognizance of all matters pertaining to war and arms, exercising both civil and military jurisdiction. He was also charged with the conservation of the peace of the nation. Thus there was a "Constable of France" and a "Lord High Constable of England." In English law. A public civil officer, whose proper and general duty is to keep the peace within his district, though he is frequently charged with additional duties. 1 Bl. Comm. 356. High constables, in England, are officers appointed in every hundred or franchise, whose proper duty seems to be to keep the king's peace within their respective hundreds. 1 Bl. Comm. 356; 3 Steph. Comm. 47. Petty constables are inferior officers in every town and parish, subordinate to the high constable of the hundred, whose principal duty is the preservation of the peace, though they also have other particular duties assigned to them by act of parliament, particularly the service of the summonses and the execution of the warrants of justices of the peace. 1 Bl. Comm. 356; 3 Steph. Comm. 47. 4S. Special constables are persons appointed (with or without their consent) by the magistrates to execute warrants on particular occasions, as in the case of riots, etc.
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