In English law, the term headborough, head-borough, borough-head, or borrowhead, historically referred to the head of the legal, administrative or territorial unit known as a tithing (and sometimes, particularly in Kent, Surrey and Sussex, as a borgh, borow, or borough). The term was later applied to an officer subordinate to constable. In the Anglo-Saxon system of frankpledge, or frith-borh, the headborough presided over the borhsmen in his jurisdiction, who in turn presided over the local tithingmen.
The term (in the sense of a petty constable) occurs in the induction to Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew (written c.1590–92), when the Hostess of an alehouse, arguing with a drunken troublemaker, declares, "I know my remedie, I must go fetch the Headborough" (Induction. i).
- White (1895:200).
- White, Archer M. (1895). Outlines of Legal History. London: Swan Sonneschein & Co.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chambers, Ephraim, ed. (1728). "article name needed". Cyclopaedia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences (first ed.). James and John Knapton, et al.
- Bouvier's Law Dictionary. Revised 6th Ed. 1856.
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