The Anglo-Saxon Dooms
The Laws of King Wihtræd, 690-725 A.D.
These are the Dooms of Wihtræd, King of the Kentish-Men.
In the reign of the most clement king of the Kentish-men, Wihtræd, in the fifth year of his reign, the ninth indiction, the sixth day of Rugern, in the place which is called Berghamstyde, where was assembled a deliberative convention of the great men, there was Birhtwald, archbishop of Britain, and the forenamed king; also the bishop of Rochester, the same was called Gybmund, was present; and every degree of the church of that province spoke in unison with the obedient people. There the great men decreed, with the suffrages of all, these dooms, and added them to the lawful customs of the Kentishmen, as it hereafter said and declared. . . .
16. Let the word of a bishop and of the king be, without an oath, incontrovertible.
17. Let the aldor of a minster clear himself with a priest's canne.
18. Let a priest clear himself by his own sooth, in his holy garment before the altar, thus saying: "Veritatem dico in Christo, non mentior." In like manner, let a deacon clear himself.
19. Let a clerk clear himself with four of his fellows, and he alone with his hand on the altar, let the others stand by, make the oath.
20. Let a stranger (clear himself) with his own oath at the altar; in like manner, a king's thane.
21. Let a ceorlish man clear himself with four of his fellows at the altar; and let the oath of all these be incontrovertible; then is the church canne right.