The Anglo-Saxon Dooms
Of Mercian Law
A ceorl's wergeld is by the Mercian law 200 shillings. A thane's wergeld is six times as much, that is, twelve hundred shillings. Then is a king's simple wergeld six thanes' wer by Mercian law, that is, thirty thousand sceatts, and that is altogether 120 pounds. So much is the wergeld in the people's folkright by Mercian law. And for the cynedom there is due another such sum as bot for cynegild. The wer belongs to kindred, and the cynebot to the people.
Of people's ranks and law.
1. It is whilom, in the laws of the English, that people and law went by ranks, and then were the counsellors of the nation of worship worthy, each according to his condition, eorl and ceorl, thegn and theoden.
2. And if a ceorl thrived, so that he had fully five hides of his own land, church and kitchen, bell-house and burhgate-seat, and special duty in the king's hall, then was he thenceforth of thane-right worthy.
3. And if a thane thrived, so that he served the king, and on his summons, rode among his household; if he then had a thane who him followed, who to the king's utware, five hides had, and in the king's hall served his lord, and thrice with his errand went to the king; he might thenceforth, with his fore-oath, his lord represent, at various needs, and his plaint lawfully conduct, wheresover he ought.
4. And he who so prosperous a vice-gerent had not, swore to himself according to his right, or it forfeited.
5. And if a thane thrived, so that he became an eorl, then was he thenceforth of eorl-right worthy.
6. And if a merchant thrived, so that he fared thrice over the wide sea by his own means, then was he thenceforth of thane-right worthy.
7. And if there a scholar were, who through learning thrived, so that he had holy orders, and served Christ; then was he thenceforth of rank and power so much worthy, as then to those orders rightfully belonged, if he himself conducted as he should; unless he should misdo, so that he those orders' ministry might not minister.
8. And if it happened, that any one a man in orders, or a stranger, anywhere injured, by word or work; then pertained it to king and to the bishop, that they that should make good, as they soon might.