The Northern Way

The Anglo-Saxon Dooms

The Laws of King Edgar, 959-975 A.D.

This is the Ordinance how the Hundred shall be held.

1. That they meet always within four weeks: and that every man do justice to another.

2. That a thief shall be pursued.......... If there be present need, let it be known to the hundred-man, and let him [make it known] to the tithing-men; and let all go forth to where God may direct them to go: let them do justice on the thief, as it was formerly the enactment of Edmund. And let the ceapgeld be paid to him who owns the cattle, and the rest be divided into two; half to the hundred, half to the lord, excepting men; and let the lord take possession of the men.

3. And the man who neglects this, and denies the doom of the hundred, and the same be afterwards proved against him; let him pay to the hundred thirty pence, and for the second time sixty pence; half to the hundred, half to the lord. If he do so a third time, let him pay half a pound: for the fourth time, let him forfeit all that he owns, and be an outlaw, unless the king allow him to remain in the country.

4. And we have ordained concerning unknown cattle; that no one should possess it without the testimonies of the men of the hundred, or of the tithing-man; and that he be a well trusty man: and, unless he have either of these, let no vouching to warranty be allowed him.

5. We have also ordained: if the hundred pursue a track into another hundred, that notice be given to the hundred-man, and that he then go with them. If he neglect this, let him pay thirty shillings to the king.

6. If any one flinch from justice and escape, let him who held him to answer for the offense pay the anylde. And if any one accuse him of having sent him away, let him clear himself, as it is established in the country.

7. In the hundred, as in any other gemot, we ordain: that folkright be pronounced in every suit, and that a term be fixed when it shall be fulfilled. And he who shall break that term, unless it be by his lord's decree, let him make bot with thirty shillings, and, on the day fixed, fulfil that which he ought to have done before.

8. An ox's bell, and a dog's collar, and a blast-horn, either of these three shall be worth a shilling, and each is reckoned an informer.

9. Let the iron that is for the threefold ordeal weigh three pounds; and for the single, one pound.

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