local peculiarities our specialty
While the concept of a civil servant whose job it was to uphold the peace dates back to the knights commissioned by Richard the Lionhearted in 1195, the actual title “Justice of the Peace” dates back only to 1361 with the Justices of the Peace Act during the fifty year reign of Edward III. The JPs were the administrators as separated from people who were more like cops. There’s a document tantalizingly called The Transformation of the Keepers of the Peace into the Justices of the Peace 1327-1380 but it’s just inside the public domain time window, so unavailable to me.
This document about 16th Century JPs does discuss how the JPs arose as offices that could interface with the local folks as power became more centralized and barons and gentlemen became more physically distant, stating specifically
The justice of the peace arose from this system as an office able to provide needed administrative and judicial services, the nature of which was determined by the local peculiarities of each county.
The 650th anniversary of the JP act was last year. These folks celebrated it.