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SUMMONERS. Petty officers who cite men to appear in any court.

References in periodicals archive ?
After the Wife completes her tale, which despite its remote setting 'In th'olde dayes of the Kyng Arthour' (85 7), is still able to find room for a sly allusion to the lechery of friars (874-81), the Friar tells a tale about a summoner who is dragged off to Hell by a devil he has foolishly befriended.
The Friar's Tale ends with the corrupt Summoner dragged into hell by the devil with whom he had earlier sworn an oath of brotherhood.
18) As we can see from The Summoner's Tale, the friars' assertions that their life was based on the Gospels was parodied and subverted by their critics: far from being apostles, the friars, according to this view, were Pharisees: false apostles who were in the service not of God, but of the Devil, in whose arse (as the Summoner colourfully contends in his prologue) they were destined to suffer for all eternity.
Moreover, even in such a carefully targeted assault on the friars, the Summoner himself does not escape censure.
5) For example, since the summoner's intent is set so purely upon accumulating wealth, and he and the demon-bailiff have pledged their mutual allegiance, the summoner is unfazed when the demon reveals his identity, but he is equally shocked when the demon takes him to hell.
In fact, "intent" shifts connotatively along three axes throughout the tale--first as an economic imperative, then as a legal concept, and finally as a theological precept--and this story of a corrupt summoner carried to hell by the power of his own word progresses through three scenes of oath making.
The first is the rather rigid religious hierarchy of bishop-archdeacon-summoner, and the second is that of the more flexible, individualistic mode of relation of the summoner to his spies and victims.
Yet, while the religious hierarchy operates through the fixed text, the summoner, the court's agent, need not depend on a written document for his authority, for "Withouten mandement a lewed man / He koude somne" (1346-47) to court or extort for profit.