In English criminal law, attainder or attinctura was the metaphorical "stain" or "corruption of blood" which arose from being condemned for a serious capital crime. It entailed losing not only one's life and hereditary titles, but also the right to pass them on to one's heirs. Both men and women condemned of capital crimes could be attainted. Attainder by confession resulted from a guilty plea at the bar before judges or before the coroner in sanctuary. Attainder by verdict resulted from conviction by jury. Attainder by process resulted from a legislative act outlawing a fugitive; the last form is obsolete in England, the other forms have been abolished. Medieval and Renaissance English monarchs used acts of attainder to deprive nobles of their lands and their lives. Once attainted, the descendants of the noble could no longer inherit his income. Attainder amounted to the legal death of the attainted's family. Monarchs used attainders against political enemies and those who posed potential threats to the king's position and security.
The attainder eliminated any advantage. In many cases of attainder, the king could coerce the parliament into approving the attainder and there would be a lower or non-existent burden of proof than there would be in court. Prior to the Tudors, most rulers reversed their attainders in return for promises of loyalty. For example, Henry VI reversed all 21 attainders, Edward IV 86 of 120, Richard III 99 of 100. However, this changed with Henry VII. Regnants who used attainder include: Margaret of Anjou: her attainder of Richard of York compelled him to invade England and attempt to seize the throne after the Battle of Northampton, which led to the penultimate phases of the War of the Roses. Edward IV of England: used attainder after killing his brother, George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence for high treason; this allowed Richard III of England to seize the throne when he claimed that Edward IV's sons were illegitimate. Henry VII: attainted men after he ascended the throne, he used the threat of attainder as a means to keep the few nobles who survived the War of the Roses in line.
However, he would penalize them with exorbitant fees and fines, or force them to have bonds which would be forfeit unless they exhibited good behaviour Henry VII attainted 138 men, of whom he reversed only 46 attainders, some of these were conditional. Henry VIII: compelled parliament to attaint many nobles during his lifetime, including magnates with major land holdings, any magnates whom he came to mistrust. Examples include: Anne Boleyn: Before her execution, she was stripped of her title, her marriage was annulled. Catherine Howard: Henry VIII had an Act of Attainder passed against Catherine Howard, which made it treason for a woman with an unchaste reputation to marry the king. Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, one of the wealthiest magnates in England, whom Henry had executed on flimsy charges in 1521. Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury: One of the last surviving noble Plantagenets of senior line. Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey: The poet son of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk. Charles I: subsequent to the failed impeachment of his former Lord Deputy of Ireland, Sir Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, was attainted during the political crisis of 1640 -1641.
The Bill of Attainder, having passed the depleted House of Commons and House of Lords, was enacted by Charles I as a concession to his political opponents. During his reign, the Long Parliament of 1641 passed an Act of Attainder against William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, beheaded in 1645. Charles II: Although deceased by the time of the Restoration, the regicides John Bradshaw, Oliver Cromwell, Henry Ireton and Thomas Pride were served with a Bill of Attainder on 15 May 1660 backdated to 1 January 1649. William III: James, III and VIII, the Old Pretender, 1702 George II of Great Britain, following the Jacobite rising of 1745: Attainder of Earl of Kellie and others Act 1746Once attainted, nobles were considered commoners, as such, could be subjected to the same treatments, including torture and methods of execution. For example, commoners could be burned at the stake. Nobles would refer to the act of being attainted as the person's "destruction". In the Westminster system, a bill of attainder is a bill passed by Parliament to attaint persons who are accused of high treason, or, in rare cases, a lesser crime.
A person attainted need not have been convicted of treason in a court of law. A rumour circulated that a bill of attainder against Thomas Jefferson occurred in 1774 because of his authorship of A Summary View of the Rights of British America. A bill of attainder was last passed in Britain against Lord Edward FitzGerald. Attainders by confession and process were abolished in the United Kingdom by the Forfeiture Act 1870. Section 9 of Article One of the United States Constitution provides that no bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed by Congress; the following section forbids states from passing them. Corruption of blood is one of the consequences of attainder; the descendants of an attainted person could not inherit either from the attainted person or from their other relatives through him. For example, if a person is executed for a crime leaving innocent children, the
Baron Holland, of Holland in the County of Lincoln, Baron Holland of Foxley, of Foxley in the County of Wiltshire, were two titles in the Peerage of Great Britain. The first barony was created on 7 March 1762 for Lady Caroline Fox, the daughter of Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond and the eldest of the famous Lennox sisters; the second barony was created on 17 April 1763 for her husband, the prominent Whig politician Henry Fox. Lord and Lady Holland were both succeeded by the second Baron, he had represented Salisbury in Parliament. On his early death in 1774 the titles passed to the third Baron, he was an influential Whig politician and notably served as Lord Privy Seal from 1806 to 1806 in the Ministry of All the Talents. He was succeeded by the fourth Baron, he sat as Member of Parliament for Horsham. He had four daughters but no sons and on his death in 1859 the titles became extinct; the politician Charles James Fox was the second son of first Baron. Charles Richard Fox, illegitimate son of the third Baron by his mistress and future wife, Lady Webster.
The first Baron Holland of Foxley was the second and youngest son from the second marriage of the politician Sir Stephen Fox, the younger brother of Stephen Fox-Strangways, 1st Earl of Ilchester. The latter title was created with remainder to the heirs male of his body. Georgiana Caroline Fox, 1st Baroness Holland Stephen Fox, 2nd Baron Holland Henry Richard Vassall-Fox, 3rd Baron Holland Henry Edward Fox, 4th Baron Holland Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland Stephen Fox, 2nd Baron Holland Henry Richard Vassall-Fox, 3rd Baron Holland Henry Edward Fox, 4th Baron Holland Baron Holand Earl of Holland Earl of Ilchester Duke of Richmond Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages