9. DOOMS OF EDMUND (942-46)

II. 1. Henceforth, if any man slays another, [we order] that he by himself shall incur the blood-feud,[1] unless he, with the help of his friends, buys it off by paying the full wergeld [of the slain man] within twelve months, no matter of what rank the latter may be. If, however, his kinsmen abandon him, refusing to pay anything in his behalf, then it is my will that the whole kindred, with the sole exception of the actual slayer, be free of the blood-feud so long as they give him neither food nor protection. If, on the other hand, one of his kinsmen later gives him such assistance, the former shall forfeit to the king all that he has, and he shall incur the blood-feud [along with the slayer] because the latter has already been disowned by the kindred. And if any one of the other kindred[2] takes vengeance on any men besides the true slayer, he shall incur the enmity of the king and all of the king's friends, and he shall forfeit all that he has.

III. This is the decree that King Edmund and his bishops, together with his witan, formulated at Colyton for the [maintenance of] peace and the swearing of an oath.[3]

1. In the first place [he commands] that all, in the name of God before whom this holy thing is holy, shall swear fealty to King Edmund, as a man should be faithful to his lord, without dissension or betrayal, both in public and in secret, loving what he loves and shunning what he shuns; and from the day on which this oath is sworn that no one shall conceal [the breach of] this [obligation] on the part of a brother or a relative any more than on the part of a stranger.

2. He also wills that, when a man is definitely known to be a thief, [both] twelve-hundred men and two-hundred men[4] shall join in taking him dead or alive, in whichever way they can. And whoever prosecutes a blood-feud against any one who has taken part in this search shall incur the enmity of the king and of all his friends. And if anybody refuses to present himself and give assistance, he shall pay a fine of 120s. to the king and of 30s. to the hundred [court] ,[5] unless he can prove that he had no knowledge of the affair by an oath of equal value.[6] ...

7. And every man shall be responsible for his own men and for all who are under his protection and on his land. And all persons of bad repute, or those frequently accused of crime, shall be placed under surety. And reeve or thegn, eorl or ceorl, who refuses to carry out these orders, or neglects them, shall pay a fine of 120s. and suffer other penalties as stated above.

(Anglo-Saxon and Latin) Ibid., I, 186 f.

[1] Cf. Alfred, 42 (above, p. 12).

[2] That of the slain man.

[3] Cf. no. 14A.

[4] Cf. Alfred, 39 (above, p. 11).

[5] This is the first mention of the hundred in the dooms. To what extent the name was new is a matter of controversy, but it was certainly connected with assessment of districts for military purposes in hundreds of hides, and much of this assessment system was the product of the Danish wars. So far as the institution was concerned, it is evident that many of the provisions henceforth applied to the hundred court were repetitions of those already applied to the folcgemot: See especially the analysis of the sources and literature in Liebermann, Gesetse, II, 516 f.; also Helen M. Cam, in the English Historical Review, XLVII 370 f. On the payment to the hundred, cf. Edgar, I, 1-2 (below, p. 18). Since it is hardly credible that the hundred had a common chest, we must believe that the suitors to the court somehow shared the profits of justice.

[6] I.e., 120s.