1. In the first place, he wishes above all else the one God to be venerated throughout his entire kingdom; the one Christian faith always to be kept inviolate; peace and security to be maintained between Englishmen and Normans.

2. We have also ordained that by covenant and oath every freeman shall promise within and without England to be faithful to King William, with him and before him to keep and defend his lands and his honour with all fealty against his foes.

3. It is also my will that all men whom I have brought with me, or who have come after me, shall be under my peace and protection. And if any one of them is slain, his lord[2] shall take the slayer within five days if he can; if, however, he cannot, he shall make a beginning of paying to me 46m.[3] of silver [and shall continue with his payment] as long as the property of that lord shall last. When, moreover, the property of that lord fails, the entire hundred in which the homicide was committed shall bear the common responsibility of paying what remains [of the debt].

4. And every Frenchman who was in England during the time of King Edward, my kinsman, [and was there] sharing the customs of Englishmen — what they call being in scot and lot — shall be paid for according to the law of the English.[4] This decree was enacted at Gloucester.

5. We also forbid that any livestock be bought or sold anywhere except within cities,[5] and this before three trustworthy witnesses; nor shall any used thing [be bought or sold] without a surety and a warrantor. And if any one does otherwise, let him pay double the value [of the goods] and afterwards a forfeiture [to us]....

7. This likewise I wish and enjoin: that in [cases affecting] lands, as in all other matters, all shall keep and hold the law of King Edward, with the addition of those [amendments] which I have made for the benefit of the English people.

8. Every one who wishes to be considered a freeman shall be in pledge, so that his pledge shall hold and keep him for justice should he commit any offence.[6] And should any such [offender] escape, his pledges shall see to the payment of simple compensation toward the claim and shall clear themselves [by oath] of having been cognizant of any fraud in that escape. The hundred and county[7] [courts] shall be attended in accordance with the decrees of our predecessors. And let those who rightly owe attendance, but who refuse to attend, be summoned once. And if they refuse to attend on the second summons, let one ox be taken [as a fine] and let them be summoned a third time. And if they do not attend on the third summons, let a second ox be taken. If, however, they do not attend on the fourth summons, let the amount claimed [in the suit against them] — what is called ceapgeld[8] — be given [to the claimant], and to the king his forfeiture in addition.

9. I forbid, on pain of my full forfeiture, that any one shall sell a man outside his native land.

10. I also forbid that any one be slain or hanged for any offence, but let him be blinded or castrated. And this decree shall not be violated, on pain of my full forfeiture.

(Latin) Ibid., I, 486 f.

[1] This unofficial compilation apparently summarizes various authentic decrees of the Conqueror that have not come down to us. In some cases the provisions are confirmed by other sources. The parts omitted, for example, are approximate repetitions of no. 16.

[2 ]In the text as it stands the eius seems to refer to the slain man; but it is more likely that William put the responsibility on the slayer's lord, who would almost certainly be an Englishman. This document is our oldest source for the murder fine (murdrum), which is frequently heard of in later records; see particularly no. 26, art. 91.

[3] The Norman mark was two-thirds of a pound; see above, p. 21, n. 3.

[4] Such a Frenchman was to be regarded as a naturalized Englishman, for whom compensation had to be paid according to the customary law in force before the Conquest.

[5] The civitas of this passage is apparently a mere translation of port or burh, the official trading centre specified in the dooms since the days of Edward the Elder.

[6] Under the Norman system of frankpledge the lesser freemen throughout the countryside were organized into groups of ten, within which the members were mutually responsible for each other's misdeeds; see the references above, p. 23, n. 6, and no. 26, art. 8. Frankpledge appears prominently in the documents of the next two centuries.

[7] "County" is by derivation a French synonym for the English "shire."

[8] The simple compensation, or angild, referred to a few sentences earlier; see above, p 8, n. 12.