…The King’s peace dies with the King. The custom then is that all laws are outlaw, and men do what they will until the new King is chosen.
“I will amend that,” said the King hotly. “I will have it so that though King, son, and grand-son were all slain in one day, still the King’s peace should hold over all England ! What is a man that his mere death must upheave a people ? We must have the Law.”…
This is from “The Tree of Justice” in Rewards and Fairies.
After a hunt, in which there had been bad feeling between Saxon peasants and Norman knights, King Henry I is talking by the fireside. It is less than a generation since the Norman conquest, and royal authority is always in danger from ambitious barons, seeking to extend their lands in England and in Normandy. Henry is in no doubt that that authority must be upheld.