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Medieval Lesson 105 – Jurat – Origin and Meaning of Word in Middle Ages

Medieval Lesson 105 – Jurat

Thy herte wilcumes thee back to the University of Camelot (U of C ).   My precious students come sit down upon thy wooden seat,  to satisfy thy thirst for this mead called knowledge. The more we do understand, the less we fear.   Let us now seek out the origin of the word “Jurat”.

Jurat is short for the Latin ‘juratum’  meaning  ‘it has been sworn’.   It is derived from the Medieval Latin word ‘iūrātus’  meaning being under oath, or having given one’s word, or pledged.

Across the leagues in olden times, the word, jurat, was used.   In French it was ‘jurate’.   The vernacularly ‘juré’  meant a juryman.    In Italian it is from ‘giurato’ and in Spanish Portuguese ‘jurado’.

To your humble Professor, a Jurat is someone who has sworn to do something or carry out a duty or oath.

Meaning “sworn man”,  the term was applied to burgesses,   who were freemen or citizens of an English Borough.    These men took an oath to assist and counsel the borough executive or town councillors.    Jurats were officers selected by and from the ranks of citizens.     They were known by the number of the members in the council – usually “the 12”, or “the 24”.   In some towns the jurats were knows as the “portmen” or “wardmen”.   At the close of the Middle Ages,  they were given the title “aldermen”.

The present day English word ‘jurat’ is derived from the Anglo-Norman word ‘jurat’.

In English and American law,  the word ‘jurat’  is applied to that part of an affidavit which contains the names of the parties swearing the affidavit,  the actual statement that an oath or affirmation has been made,  the person before whom it was sworn, the date, place and other necessary particulars.   The jurat is usually located on the bottom of a document.

An affidavit is a formal sworn statement of fact,  signed by the author,  who is called the affiant or deponent, and witnessed as to the authenticity of the affiant’s signature by a taker of oaths,  such as a notary public or commissioner of oaths.  The name is Medieval Latin ‘for he has declared upon oath’.

The Latin phrase  “Juratum…die…coram”, which was used in olden times meant in English “Sworn this…day of…before me”.

The earliest known usage of jurat in French dates from the 15th century. Under the ancien régime in France, in several towns, of the south-west, the jurats were members of the municipal body.    The title was also borne by officials, corresponding to aldermen, in the Cinque Ports.

We doth close this window of knowledge for today, dear students. Let us now walk among the trees to see the beauty of truth.

With Great Respect for Thee,

Merlin, Magister of U of C
Camelot and The Knights of the Pain Table

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6 Responses to “Medieval Lesson 105 – Jurat – Origin and Meaning of Word in Middle Ages”

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