In medieval England there were two types of bailiff:
  1. A bailiff of the hundred court, who was appointed by the sheriff. The responsibilities of these bailiffs included assisting judges at assizes, acting as process servers and executors of writs, assembling juries, and collecting fines in court. This type of bailiff evolved into the court officials we're familiar with in the U.K. and U.S. today.

  2. A bailiff of the manor, who was selected by the lord of the manor. These bailiffs would oversee the lands and buildings of the manor, collecting fines and rents and acting as accountants. The bailiff was the lord's representative, and was usually an outsider, that is, not from the village.
In medieval France, the bailiff's counterparts, known as bailli, had considerably more authority, acting as the principal agents of the king from the 13th to the 15th century. They served as administrators, military organizers, financial agents and court officials. Over time the office lost many of its duties and most of its privileges, until the bailli became little more than a figurehead.

Also Known As: bailli

Alternate Spellings: bailie

Common Misspellings: bailif, baillif, bailliff

Examples: After plague devastated the village, the bailiff had difficulty gathering fees and overseeing the transfer of property.