Winning Wednesday: Mug

Behold the Dawn by K.M. WeilandThis week’s Winning Wednesday winner is Benjamin Farnum. In order to win Loreena McKennitt’s CD The Book of Secrets, he answered the question “In medieval times, what was the role of the bailiff?”

Bailiffs in the Middle Ages

The term bailiff originated in England, where it was used to denigrate certain of the king’s officers, particularly those who fulfilled the duties of a sheriff or mayor. Even today, the extent of an English sheriff’s jurisdiction is known as a bailiwick.

In some instances, bailiffs were more particularly the stewards of great manors, with the extension of their power being applied as an agent of the lord of the land. Bailiffs possessed a large measure of authority, and it was in their power to punish criminals as they saw fit, even going so far as to confiscate property and cut off hands. Should a bailiff chance to see a man lingering around a corpse, he could arrest and convict the man with little to no evidence that he was the murderer. Most bailiffs were of common blood, as evidenced by their clothing, which was usually of the same cut as that of the common laborer, but of much better material. The bailiff was inevitably a landowner, as opposed to a serf. In addition to his duties as a keeper of the law, he was responsible for making certain that the serfs and peasants under him fulfilled their various duties.

Congratulations, Benjamin! Your prize is in the mail! Please feel free to enter again.

This week’s prize: A Behold the Dawn mug.

This week’s question: “What was a bailey?” (Hint: Look it up in a dictionary.)

Excerpt from Behold the Dawn

In Behold the Dawn, Marcus Annan and the Lady Mairead arrive at the home of a friend, Stephen of Essex, after being separated from Annan’s indentured servant Peregrine Marek:

Mairead woke as Annan drew rein at the gate of the estate belonging to Lord Stephen of Essex. Only a rim of red marred the smoky gray morning that filled the sky. The road, which would lead them to Constantinople when came the time, passed before the Englishman’s walls and carried on, a mere flaw etched in the rippling hills.

The road lay empty. Marek, on his bay palfrey, was not to be seen. But that coin had two sides: Lord Hugh and the Templar weren’t awaiting them either. For that, Mairead was profoundly grateful.

A servant admitted them to the bailey, gave the reins of the tired courser to a groomsman, and escorted them to the Great Hall. Mairead hugged her cloak round herself and stayed close at Annan’s shoulder, almost brushing against him, as the servant inclined his head and asked them to be seated.

Annan made no motion to sit, and she stayed beside him.

Did a Scottish lad come through here yesterday?” Annan asked.

The servant shook his head, the gray hair of his brows flitting with the motion. “Your pardon, Master Knight, but I do not know. I think not.”

Annan grunted, and the servant bowed once more before leaving. “Wretch.” Mairead didn’t ask if the comment referred to the servant or to Marek. Annan had said nothing all morning; but she could sense the deep, knotting tension within him.

To enter this week’s contest, use the form at the bottom of the left-hand column to email your best guess. Deadline is Tuesday, September 15, 6:00 p.m. MST. One name will be selected from the correct entries and announced next Wednesday.

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.


  1. Okay, I suck at these. I will go try that dictionary. I obviously never listened in any history lesson 🙂

  2. I don’t know that I learned this one in history either. Research is always good for picking up these otherwise useless tidbits!

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