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Reign

Upon returning home, Edward immediately embarked on the administrative business of the nation, and his major concern was restoring order and re-establishing royal authority after the disastrous reign of his father.[62] To accomplish this, he immediately ordered an extensive change of administrative personnel. The most important of these was the appointment of Robert Burnell as chancellor, a man who would remain in the post until 1292 as one of the king's closest associates.[63] Edward then replaced most local officials, such as the escheators and sheriffs.[64] This last measure was done in preparation for an extensive inquest covering all of England, that would hear complaints about abuse of power by royal officers. The inquest produced the set of so-called Hundred Rolls, from the administrative subdivision of the hundred.[65] The second purpose of the inquest was to establish what land and rights the crown had lost during the reign of Henry III.[66] The Hundred Rolls formed the basis for the later legal inquiries called the Quo warranto proceedings. The purpose of these inquiries was to establish by what warrant (Latin: Quo warranto) various liberties were held.[67] If the defendant could not produce a royal licence to prove the grant of the liberty, then it was the crown's opinion based on the writings of the influential thirteenth-century legal scholar Bracton that the liberty should revert to the king. By enacting the Statute of Gloucester in 1278 the king challenged baronial rights through a revival of the system of general eyres (royal justices to go on tour throughout the land) and through a significant increase in the number of pleas of quo warranto to be heard by such eyre

. This caused great consternation among the aristocracy, who insisted that long use in itself constituted license.[68] A compromise was eventually reached in 1290, whereby a liberty was considered legitimate as long as it could be shown to have been exercised since the coronation of King Richard I, in 1189.[69] Royal gains from the Quo warranto proceedings were insignificant; few liberties were returned to the king.[70] Edward had nevertheless won a significant victory, in clearly establishing the principle that all liberties essentially emanated from the crown.[71] The 1290 statute of Quo warranto was only one part of a wider legislative effort, which was one of the most important contributions of Edward I's reign.[3] This era of legislative action had started already at the time of the baronial reform movement; the Statute of Marlborough (1267) contained elements both of the Provisions of Oxford and the Dictum of Kenilworth.[72] The compilation of the Hundred Rolls was followed shortly after by the issue of Westminster I (1275), which asserted the royal prerogative and outlined restrictions on liberties.[73] In the Mortmain (1279), the issue was grants of land to the church.[74] The first clause of Westminster II (1285), known as De donis conditionalibus, dealt with family settlement of land, and entails.[75] Merchants (1285) established firm rules for the recovery of debts,[76] while Winchester (1285) dealt with peacekeeping on a local level.[77] Quia emptores (1290) issued along with Quo warranto set out to remedy land ownership disputes resulting from alienation of land by subinfeudation.[78] The age of the great statutes largely ended with the death of Robert Burnell in 1292.