1. DOOMS OF AETHELBERHT (601-04)
These are the dooms that King Aethelberht established in the days of
1. [One who steals] the property of God and the church
[shall pay] twelvefold compensation; the property of a bishop,
elevenfold; the property of a priest, ninefold; the property of a deacon,
sixfold; the property of a [lesser] clergyman, threefold. [He who breaks] the
peace (frip) of the church [shall pay] double compensation; the peace of
a public assembly (maethl), double compensation.
2. If the king summons his people to him, and if any one
there does them wrong, he shall pay double compensation [to the injured person]
and 50s. to the king.
3. If the king is drinking in a man's house, and if any one commits any
kind of misdeed there, he shall pay double compensation [to the
4. If a freeman steals from the king, he shall pay ninefold
5. If a man slays another in a villa of the king, he shall
pay 50s. compensation [to the king]....
8. The king's mundbyrd is 50s.
9. If a freeman steals from a freeman, he shall pay threefold
compensation [to the latter], and the king shall have the fine (wite)
and all the goods [of the thief]....
13. If a man slays another in a villa of a nobleman (eorl), he
shall pay 12s. compensation [to the nobleman]....
15. The mundbyrd of a ceorl is
17. If a man leads the way in breaking into some one's villa, he shall
pay 6s. compensation; the one who next breaks in 3s.; and every
one after that 1s....
21. If a man slays another, he shall pay as compensation [to the
kindred] the ordinary wergeld (leodgeld) of 100s....
24. If any one binds a freeman, he shall pay [him] 20s.
27. If a freeman commits hedge-breaking, he shall pay
28. If the man takes any property from inside, he shall pay threefold
(Anglo-Saxon) Liebermann, Gesetze, I, 3 f.
 The famous Roman missionary and archbishop of Canterbury,
who secured the conversion of Aethelberht, king of Kent, and presumably
inspired him to have the following dooms written down.
Feoh, which originally meant cattle, but eventually
came to be used for movable property in general.
 Such compensation as is prescribed in these dooms was
normally paid to the injured person or his kindred, in contrast to the fine,
wite, paid to the king or his agent. The Kentish shilling, like the gold
solidus of the Merovingians, was reckoned at twenty times the worth of a
silver penny, denarius or sceatt.
Leode, a quite general word, which could refer to
any of the king's subjects.
Tun, from which is derived our word town, was the
ordinary term for an agricultural village during the later Anglo-Saxon period.
Here, as in articles 13 and 17 below, it evidently refers to a house or an
 Literally, right of protection; hence the payment for
 The ordinary freeman, often contrasted with the
eorl, or nobleman.
 That is to say, forcibly enters a man's property surrounded
by a hedge. Cf. Alfred, 40 (below, p. 11), and the later hamsocn (below,
p. 22, n. 1).
 Here follows in the doom an elaborate schedule of
compensations for minor injuries: e.g., an ear, 12s.; an eye,
50s.; the chin-bone, 20s.; a front tooth, 6s.; a thumb,
20s.; a forefinger, 9s.; a fingernail, 1s.; a big toe,