Importantly, the county was described as a palatinate from the 1290s and was promoted to be a principality in 1397, following the support its men gave King Richard II. No other English county has been honoured in this way or was accorded such unusually wide privileges. These included its own “borderland” laws and taxes, and a considerable measure of independence from national government, which persisted into the sixteenth century. These privileges attracted many who “arrived as fugitives from justice and this seems to have become the principal motivation [for escaping to Cheshire from the Kings laws] as the Middle Ages wore on”. Once safely across the border into palatine Cheshire’s jurisdiction, these transgressors could grin cheekily at any pursuing King’s Sheriffs, and “disappear” into the countryside. Certainly, dictionaries show the word “caitiff” derived from Old French or Anglo-Norman in terms such as “cowardly or base villain” or “mean despicable fellow”, and with its diminutive “cat” meaning “a ‘sharp’ fellow” , as in the beat generation idiom.