13. DOOMS OF CANUTE (1020-34)
11. Here now follows the secular ordinance which, by the counsel of my
witan, I wish to be obeyed throughout all England....
12. These are the rights which the king enjoys over all men in Wessex:
namely, [compensations for] breach of his personal protection
(mundbryce), housebreaking (hamsocne), assault by
ambush (forsteal), and neglect of army service (fyrdwite) —
unless he wishes to honour some one in particular [by granting him even these
14. And in Mercia he [likewise] enjoys the aforesaid rights over all
15. And in the Danelaw he enjoys the fines for fighting,
neglect of army service, breach of his personal peace (gryūbryce),
and house-breaking — unless he wishes to honour some one in
17. And no one shall appeal to the king unless he fails to obtain
justice in his hundred. Every one, under pain of fine, must attend
his hundred court whenever attendance is demanded by law.
18. And the borough court shall be held three times [a year] and the
shire court twice unless there is need to hold it oftener. And the shire bishop
and the alderman shall be present and shall there administer both
ecclesiastical and secular law.
19. And no one shall seize property [to enforce his rights] either in
the shire [court] or outside it, unless he has thrice sought justice in the
hundred. If he fails to obtain justice on the third attempt, then, the fourth
time, he shall go to the shire court, and the shire shall set him a day for his
fourth effort. And if this fails, then he shall secure leave either here or
there to go after his property [in any way he can].
20. It is our will that every freeman above the age of twelve shall be
brought within hundred and tithing, if he wishes to be law-worthy
when accused by some one, or wergeld-worthy [when slain]. Otherwise he shall
not enjoy any rights as a freeman, whether he is a householder or a member of
another's household. Every one shall be brought within a hundred and under
surety (borge), and his surety shall keep him and see that he performs
his legal obligations....
22. And every trustworthy man, who is free of accusations and has never
failed in oath or ordeal, shall be law-worthy in the hundred, [clearing
himself] through a simple oath. For an untrustworthy man
oath-helpers for the simple oath shall be chosen from three hundreds, and for
the threefold oath from [a territory] as wide as belongs to the borough —
or he must go to the ordeal. And a simple oath of exculpation shall be
introduced by a simple fore-oath [of accusation]; a threefold oath by a
24. And no one, either within a borough or in the open country, shall
buy anything worth more than 4d., whether living or not, without the
trustworthy witness of four men....
29. And if any one encounters a thief and wilfully lets him go without
making an outcry, he shall pay the thief's wergeld as compensation,
or shall clear himself by a full oath, [swearing] that he did not know him
[whom he let go] to be guilty of anything. And if any one hears the outcry and
neglects it, he shall pay the king's oferhyrnesse or clear himself by a
30. And if any man appears untrustworthy to the hundred, being
discredited by accusations, and if now three men together bring charges against
him, he shall have no recourse but to go to the threefold ordeal....
57. And if any one plots against the king or against his own lord, he
shall forfeit his life and all that he has, unless he goes to the threefold
ordeal and there clears himself....
65. If any one neglects the repair of boroughs, the repair of bridges,
or army service, he shall pay 120s. compensation to the
king [in the region] under English law, and in the Danelaw whatever is
customary [there]; or he shall clear himself with eleven oath-helpers out of
fourteen named for him [by the court]. All the people shall, according to law,
assist in the repair of churches....
70. And if any one, whether through negligence or through sudden death,
departs this life without having made a will, his lord shall take
no more of his chattels than his lawful heriot. Rather, by his direction, the
goods are to be most justly apportioned to the widow, the children, and the
near relatives — to each the share that is rightfully his.
71. And heriots shall be fixed in proportion to rank. The heriot of an
earl [shall be] what belongs thereto: namely, eight horses, four saddled and
four unsaddled; also four helmets, four shirts of mail, eight spears and as
many shields, four swords, and 200 mancuses of gold. For king's
thegns, those who live close to him, the heriot shall be four horses, two
saddled and two unsaddled; also two swords, four spears and as many shields,
helmets, and shirts of mail; and 50 mancuses of gold. And for an ordinary thegn
[the heriot shall be] his horse with its harness and his weapons, or, in
Wessex, his healsfang; in Mercia £2 and in East
Anglia £2. And among the Danes the heriot of a king's thegn who enjoys
soke is £4. And if he lives in greater intimacy with the
king, [it is] two horses, one saddled and the other unsaddled; also a sword,
two spears, two shields, and 50 mancuses of gold. And for him who is not so
well off [the heriot is] £2.
(Anglo-Saxon) Ibid., I, 308 f.
 More accurately, unlawful entry upon a person's premises,
whether a house or land; cf. Aethelberht, 5-27 (above, p. 3), and Alfred, 40
(above, p. n).
Fihtewite, having to do especially with cases
 Cf. Aethelstan, II, 3 (above, p. 14), and Edgar, III, 2
(above, p. 19).
 A re-enactment of Edgar III, 5 (above, p. 19).
 Following Miss Robertson's suggestion that the hundred and
shire courts are referred to.
 Cf. Edgar, I, 2; IV, 3 (above, pp. 18, 20). One group of
writers headed by Liebermann, has held that the tithing of this passage refers
to a group of ten men combined for the sake of mutual suretyship; another that
such a system was a police measure introduced by the Normans and that the
tithing here, as in Edgar's dooms, was territorial. For a cogent presentation
of the latter argument, see W. A. Morris, The Frankpledge System.
 And with oath-helpers chosen by himself, as appears from
the following provision.
 See the oaths under no. 14.
 That is to say, without raising hue and cry, as it was
known in the later law.
 Cf. Alfred, 4 (above, p. 10).
 See above, p. 22, n. 7.
 Dying intestate was already considered exceptional. Many
Anglo-Saxon wills have come down to us from earlier centuries.
Mancus is derived from the Arabic and was
originally used to designate an Arabic gold coin or an imitation of one. In the
dooms, however, it is a weight of gold equal to 30d. in silver.
 A term normally used to mean a tenth of the wergeld.
 Jurisdictional rights over certain persons, or profits of
justice in certain places; see below, p. 30, n. 23.