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From The Annals of Roger de Hoveden, Comprising the History of England and of Other Countries of Europe from A.D. 732 to A.D. 1201, Translated from the Latin with Notes and Illustrations by Henry T. Riley, Esq., Volume I, London: H.G. Bohn, 1853; pp. 552-564.
Of entertaining guests.
“If any person shall entertain a friend or a stranger, which in English is called ‘cuth other uncuth,’1 he shall be at liberty to keep him for two nights as a guest; and if he shall be guilty of an offence, the host shall not incur a penalty for the guest. But if any injury shall be committed on any person, and such person shall make a charge before a court of justice against him that by his counsel the offence was committed, then, together with two of his neighbours, lawful men, he shall clear himself by oath of either counselling or abetting the same. And if he shall not do so, he shall make good the loss and pay a penalty. But if he shall be entertained a third night, and shall commit an offence against any person, then the host is to produce him to justice, as though one of his own household, which in English is expressed by ‘Twa night gest, thrid night agen hine.’2 And if in such case he shall not be able to produce him to justice, then he shall have the space granted him of a month and a day. And if the offender shall be found, he shall make amends for the injury he has done, and shall make good the same, even with his body, if that shall be adjudged against him. But if the offender shall not be able to make good the injury he has done, then his host shall make it good, and shall pay a fine. And if the justice shall hold him suspected, then he shall clear himself according to the judgment of the court of the hundred or the shire.
What is to be done as to things found.
“If any person shall lead an animal into a vill, or shall bring any money, and shall say that he has found the same, before he takes it to his own house, or even that of any other person, he is to take it in front of the church, and in presence of the priest of the
SECOND.553 church, and of the reeve and chief men of the vill, show all that he has found, whatever it may be. The reeve of the vill is at once to send to the three or four nearest vills for their priests and reeves, who are also to bring with them three or four of the principal men of each vill, and in the presence of them all, the whole of what has been found is to be shown. After this, in the sight of these persons, the reeve, to whose jurisdiction the finder belongs, is to place the same in safe keeping until the next day. On the following day, he is to go with some of his neighbours who have seen what has been found to the bailiff of the hundred in which his vill is situate, and show him the whole thereof. And if he is the homager of the lord on whose lands the same has been found, and the lord, in whose lands it has been found, has not his customs of sac or soc, he is to deliver the whole thereof to the bailiff of the hundred, in the presence of good witnesses, if he chooses to take it. But if the lord has such customs, then justice is to be done in the lord’s court.
Of Jews established in the kingdom.
“Be it also known, that all Jews, wheresoever they are in the kingdom, are to be under the tutelage and lawful protection of the king; and no one of them can serve under any rich man without the king’s leave; for the Jews and all their property belong to the king. And if any person shall lay hands on them or their money, the king is to demand restitution thereof, if he so pleases, as of his own.
Of those who have protection by the king’s Letters.
“Those who have the king’s protection, either under his hand or by his letters, must observe their fealty to him. Therefore it is their bounden duty to observe the same inviolably towards all men, and not, having gained the shelter of his protection, to withhold rights or services from their superior lords, nor yet from their neighbours; for he is not worthy to enjoy peace who is not ready to keep it towards others. And if any person should rely too much on the protection which he enjoys, and shall be guilty of an injury to another, then he is to make good the loss, and to pay a fine of the same amount. The former the English call ‘murdre,’3 and the fine ‘astrihilthet.’4
What those are to pay the king and the dean who infringe upon the king’s protection.
“Protection given under the king’s hand, that given on the first eight days from the time of his coronation, protection on the before-named festivals, and protection by the king’s letters, have one mode of redress [for breach thereof], which is to be taken cognizance of in the highest court of justice, held in the shire in which the peace has been broken, as for example, in places subject to the Danish law,5 the eighteen hundreds pay the penalty, the amount of which is one hundred and forty-four pounds; as the Danes assessed the penalty paid by each hundred6 at eight pounds Norwegian, and eight multiplied by eighteen makes one hundred and forty-four. And this, not without a reason.7 For of these eight pounds the king had one hundred shillings, and the earl of the county, who had every third penny of fines, fifty shillings. The dean of the bishop, in whose deanery the peace had been broken, had the remaining ten, besides the king’s protection, if the protection had been originally granted under the king’s hand, or on his coronation, or on the festivals before-mentioned of the Nativity, Easter, or Pentecost.
Of the supervision of those who disregarded these laws.
“As it happened that some foolish and dishonest people, without reason, and too frequently, did injuries to their neighbours, the wiser persons began to take cognizance of the matter, and appointed justices over every ten frithborgs, whom we may call ‘deciners.’ These, in English, were called ‘tienheofod,’ that is, ‘heads of ten.’ They took cognizance of matters between the vills and their neighbours, exacted fines for offences committed, and made parties come to terms, about such things as pasturage, meadows, harvests, disputes between neighbours, and innumerable questions of that nature, which harass human frailty, and are everlastingly attacking it. When, however, greater matters of dispute arose, they referred them to their superior judges, whom the wise men before-mentioned had appointed over them, that is to say, over the ten deciners, and
SECOND.555 whom we may call ‘centurions’ or ‘centeners,’ because they exercised jurisdiction over a hundred frithborgs.
Of Wapentage, and how those acted who accepted Wapentage.
“Warwickshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, and Northamptonshire, as far as Watling Street extends and eight miles beyond, are under the law of the English. And what the English call a ‘Hundred,’ the counties above-named call a ‘Wapentake.’ And not without a reason; for when a person received the headship of a wapentake, on a day named, at the place where they were accustomed to meet, all the elders went forth to meet him, and, on his dismounting from his horse, they all closed around him; on which, raising his spear erect, in the usual manner, he received the assurance of all. Then all, as many as had come, with their lances touched his spear, and thus by touching arms gave assurance, publicly granting him their protection. Now, in the English language, arms are called ‘wæpnu,’ and ‘taccare’ means ‘to assure,’ and the phrase, as it were, means ‘the assurance of arms;’ or, if we may more explicitly explain the word ‘wapentake,’ in the English language it means, ‘the touching of arms,’ for ‘wæpnu’ means ‘arms,’ and ‘tac’ is ‘touch.’ Therefore, we may conclude that for this reason all such assemblage was called a wapentake; it being the fact that by touching arms they were leagued together.
What the difference is between a Wapentake, a Trihing, and a Hundred.
“There were also other jurisdictions, above the wapentake, which were called ‘Trihingas,’ because they consisted of the third part of a county. Those who ruled the trihings were called ‘Trihingerefas;’ and before them were brought the causes of the trihing which could not be settled in the wapentakes, and thus, what the English called by the name of hundreds; they called ‘wapentakes;’ and what the people of England called, ‘three’ or ‘four hundreds,’ these people called ‘trihinga.’ In some counties, in the English language, what they called ‘trihinga,’ was called ‘lethe.’8 Causes that could not be settled in the trihing were taken to the shire.
What is the meaning of the name ‘Greve,’ and what are his duties; and what is the meaning of the name Ealdorman, which literally signifies an elder of the people; and into how many meanings the name “Greve’ has been expanded.
“Greve9 also is a name that signifies power, and cannot be better expressed in Latin than by the word ‘præfectura,’ for the word is employed with such multiplied meanings, that there is the ‘greve’ of the shire, of wapentakes, hundreds (also of the ‘lethe’), boroughs, and of vills even; in all of which it seems to have the same meaning, and to signify the same as ‘dominus’ [chief]. Some, also, are of opinion that the word ‘greve’ is a name compounded of the English ‘grith’ and the Latin ‘væ.’ For ‘grith’ is a word denoting peace, whereas ‘væ’10 indicates misery: as the Lord testifies when He says, ‘Væ11 unto thee, Chorazin.’ Consequently the greve is so called, because by law he ought to ensure to the country ‘grith,’ or peace, against those who would bring upon it ‘væ,’ that is, evil or misery. The Germans, and Frisians, and Flemings, are in the habit of calling their earls by the name of ‘margrave,’ as though meaning ‘higher lords,’ or ‘good peacemakers.’ And those who are called ‘greves’ at the present day, having jurisdiction over others among the English, were anciently called ‘ealdormen,’ as though elders, not by reason of old age, inasmuch as some were young men, but on account of their wisdom.
For what reason king William abolished the laws of the English and retained those of the Danes.
“The law of the Danes and Norwegians prevailed in Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire. Now as to payment of penalties [by hundreds] for offences committed, where these counties had eighteen hundreds, the former ones12 had only ten and a half, which arose from their being in the vicinity of the Saxons,13 the whole sum of contribution in cases of the largest penalty among the Saxons in those times being eighty-four pounds. But in all other matter for trial and penalties they had the same law with the [Danes and] Norwegians above-named.
SECOND.557 14 [When king William heard of this, together with the other laws of his kingdom, he greatly approved thereof, and gave orders that it should be observed throughout all his kingdom. For he stated that his ancestors, and those of nearly all the barons of Normandy, had been Norwegians, and had formerly come from Norway. And for this reason he asserted that he ought to follow and observe their laws before the other laws of his kingdom, as being more profound and more consistent with what was right: whereas the laws of other nations, Britons, Angles, Picts, and Scots, were prevailing in every quarter. On hearing of this, the whole of the people of this country who had promulgated these laws, being touched with sorrow, entreated him with one accord that he would allow them to retain their own laws and ancient customs, under which their fathers had lived, and they themselves were born and brought up, as it would be very hard for them to receive laws of which they knew nothing, and judge on matters of which they were ignorant. The king, however, still remaining obdurate, they at last plied him with entreaties, for the sake of the soul of king Edward, who had granted him the crown and kingdom in succession to himself, and by whom and no strangers the said laws were founded, not to compel them to observe other than the laws of their fathers. After taking this under due consideration, at the earnest request of his barons, he at length acceded to their entreaties. From that day, therefore, their authority being recognized, the laws of Saint Edward the king were respected throughout all the kingdom, and were confirmed and observed before all other laws of the country, having been first established and enacted in the days of king Edgar, his grandfather; but, after his death, they had been set aside for sixty-eight years. For Edward, his son and heir by his lawful wife, reigned four years, less sixteen weeks; after whose death, in his innocence, by the treachery of his stepmother, on account of his innocent life, so chaste and so full of alms-deeds, and his undeserved end, they honored him as a Martyr, and held him to be a Saint. After him, his brother Aldred15 received the kingdom, and ruled, amid many adversities and perils, eight-and-thirty years. After Aldred, his son Edmund Ironside reigned nearly nine months, during which
1180.558 he valiantly fought five battles against Canute, the king of the Danes. After the last battle, they came to terms, and divided the kingdom in halves; and one moiety of England fell to Canute, the other to Edmund, on condition that whoever should survive the other should have the whole of the kingdom, and that neither should in the meanwhile be crowned. Matters, therefore, being thus settled, and all the chief men of England giving their assent to the arrangement thus made between them, within one month after, Edward was, alas! removed from this world; on which Canute received the kingdom of the whole of England, and ruled nearly eighteen years. After his decease, Harold Harefoot, supposed by nearly all to be falsely considered as the son of Canute and Elfgiva, succeeded to the throne, and reigned five years; after whom Hardicanute, son of Canute and Emma, the sister of Robert, duke of Normandy, and mother of the last king, Saint Edward, reigned two years, less twelve weeks. And thus passed sixty-eight years, during which the said laws were neglected. But after king Edward came to the throne, by the advice of the barons of England, he raised the code of laws that had slept for sixty-eight years, and remodelled it thus raised, beautified it thus remodelled, and confirmed it thus beautified. When thus confirmed, it was called ‘the law of king Edward,’16 not because he had been the first to frame it, but because it had been neglected and almost left in oblivion from the days of his grandfather, Edgar, who had reigned seventeen years, and who had been the first founder thereof, until his own times, being nearly, as said above, sixty-eight years. For Edward, because it was a just and good code of laws, raised it from the deep abyss, and matured it and ordered it to be observed as though his own.
“Edmund Ironside before-named had a son, Edward, by name, who, shortly after the death of his father, through fear of king Canute, fled to the king of the Rugi, which we more properly call Russia; and the king of that country, Malesclotus by name, when he understood who he was, gave him an honorable reception. He there married a wife of noble birth, by whom he had Edgar Atheling, Margaret, afterwards queen of Scotland, and Christiana, her sister, to which Christiana king Edward gave the lands afterwards held by Ralph de Limisey. Now, the said Christiana was sister of Edgar Atheling, who was sent
SECOND.559 for by his uncle king Edward, who caused him to come to his court; on arriving at which he did not long survive, and in a very short space of time his wife died. King Edward, however, kept his son Edgar with him, and brought him up as his own son. And because he intended to make him his heir he gave him the name of ‘Atheling,’ the same as we say ‘domicellus,’ or ‘damisell,’ meaning ‘young lord;’ but we say it indifferently of many, inasmuch as we17 call the sons of barons, ‘damisells,’ whereas the English called none but the sons of kings by that name. And if we would express this still more clearly, in one part of Saxony an image is known by the name of ‘ling;’ and ‘athel,’ in the English, signifies noble; therefore, the two being joined together, the word ‘Atheling’ would signify the ‘image of nobility.’ Hence it is that the West-Saxons, that is, the people of Exeter, have an expression signifying supreme contempt — ‘hinderling,’ meaning ‘an image cast down from or forsaking all propriety.’ King Edward, however, as he was aware of the wickedness of his nation, and especially the vanity of the sons of Godwin, namely, Harold (who afterwards seized the kingdom), Gurth, Leofwin, and the rest of his brothers, thinking that that could not possibly be lasting or durable which he had purposed respecting Edgar Atheling, adopted William, duke of the Normans, as his successor in the kingdom, William the Bastard, that is to say, the bastard son of Robert, his mother’s brother and his own uncle, a valiant, brave, and warlike man, who afterwards, by the will of God, having conquered the above-named Harold, the son of Godwin, victoriously gained possession of the kingdom of the English.]
Of robbers slain for robbery.
“If, after judgment given, any one shall make a charge before the justiciary that a person has been unrighteously slain, and that unjustly he lies buried among robbers, and shall say that he is willing to make proof thereof, he is to give a pledge and find sureties; upon which, the space of one month and a day shall be given him, and then he is to take relatives of the person slain, on both sides, namely, his father’s and his mother’s side, twelve on his father’s side and six on his mother’s. And if those are willing to make proof with him who first made the charge, and who has given the pledge, each of them
1180.560 is to give his pledge with his sword; and, after that, he is to find sureties, such as can pay his fine, that is to say, his ‘were,’ in cause they cannot make proof of what they say. Then the slayer is to give his pledge and find sureties that the person was rightfully slain, and deservedly lies buried among robbers,18 and according to law, as being a robber. And then, he is first, to show for what robbery and for what reason he was slain. And if he shall acknowledge that he was taken alive, he is to name a court, and judges, and lawful witnesses of the number of his neighbours. And if these persons shall undertake to prove that justice was rightfully done upon the person as his theft deserved, then his slayer shall be acquitted. In such case they who have made the charge shall forfeit their securities, the same to be paid over to the judges and witnesses. And if it shall be proved that he was unjustly slain, then the slayer shall give pledge to the justice of the bishop, and sureties that he will make redress. After this, the justice of the bishop shall cause a procession to be formed, with the priest clad in alb, maniple, and stole, and the clerks in their surplices with holy water and cross, with candlesticks going before, and thurible, fire, and incense. And then, his friends are to bring him forth, and place the dead man on a bier and carry him to the church; where the mass having been performed for the dead and the other offices performed, they shall inter him as becomes a Christian. Between that day and sixteen days therefrom, the slayer is to pay three fines to the bishop: one, because he has slain a lawful man as a robber; another, because he has buried his brother as a robber; which the English call ‘his emne-Christen;’19 and the third because he has given security that he would make proof and has not been able so to do.
“King Edward also forbade usurers to remain in his kingdom; and if any person was convicted of exacting usurious interest, he was to lose all, his substance, and be thenceforth considered out of the pale of the law. For this king used to assert, that he had heard it remarked, at the court of the king of the Franks, while he was staying there, that usury is the root of all vices.
“By the same law it was also forbidden, that any person should buy a live animal or worn garment without sureties and good witnesses. If it was a work of gold or silver, concerning which the buyer might be in doubt, he was not to buy it without the aid of goldsmiths or moneyers. If these, on seeing it, said that it came out of a church or treasury, he was not to buy it without finding sureties; and if the seller could not find sureties, then he was to be detained with the property until his lord should come, or some one else who could give good security for him; and if any man bought on any other terms, because he had purchased foolishly, he was at once to lose what he had bought and pay a fine. After this, inquisition was to be made by legal men,20 and the chief men of the borough, or vill, or hundred where the buyer lived, as to what was his mode of life, and if they had ever heard of his being charged with acting unlawfully: and if witness was borne by them, that he was of good life and lawful character, he was to prove before the court of the county that he did not know that the seller was acting unlawfully in the sale thereof, or was guilty of any unlawful offence, and if he should know who the seller was or where he was, he was to say so; on which the justiciary was to make search for him, in order to bring him to justice, and if he could not be found he was to be outlawed.
Of buyers and provision dealers.
“But when it was stated that no man was to buy a live animal without sureties, the provision-sellers in the cities and boroughs, whom the English call ‘fleshmongers,’ made an outcry, that every day they were obliged to buy, kill, and sell live animals, as their livelihood was got by killing such animals. In addition to which, the citizens, burgesses, and populace cried out for their customs, because they had about the feast of Saint Martin been in the habit of buying animals at market without any surety, for the purpose of killing them against the Nativity of our Lord. There was also a great murmuring among the multitude about this enactment. Wherefore I am of opinion, that if enquiry had been made whether that decree pleased or not, as is the case in some assemblages, an answer would with universal assent have been given by multitudes, ‘it does not so please us.’ There, also, you might have
1180.562 heard had you been present, different whispers muttered aside in the ear, and the clamours and murmurs of a tumultuous populace. It was to the king’s praise, however, that he would not do away with customs that were just and wisely framed; but he only required in the king’s market, on the sale of their wares, that there should be witnesses and some knowledge of the parties selling.”
The Genealogy of the Dukes of Normandy.
Rollo, the first duke of Normandy, who at his baptism was also named Robert, reigned thirty years; his son William, twenty-five, Richard the Elder, fifty-three, Richard the Second, thirty, Richard the Third, one year, Robert, his brother, eight years; William the Bastard reigned as duke thirty years, and after he was king of the English, twenty years. Now Richard the Elder had a daughter named Emma, who was married to Adelred,21 king of the English, and by whom that king became the father of Edward and Alfred. In the time of Richard the Second, king Adelred caused the Danes throughout England to be slain, in consequence of which Sweyn, king of the Danes, invaded England and subdued it; on which, Adelred, with his wife and sons, fled to Normandy, to the court of Richard the Second, the brother of his wife, and duke of Normandy. Shortly after this, Sweyn died, and was carried to Denmark to be buried there.
In the meantime, Adelred, with his wife, returned to his kingdom, leaving his sons in the charge of their uncle. After Sweyn was buried, his son Canute, with a great fleet, bringing with him Lachiman, the king of the Swedes, and Olaf, the king of the Norwegians, who was afterwards baptized at Rouen, entered the Thames, and besieged king Adelred in London; who, while thus besieged, was suddenly attacked by a malady, and died. Canute, on gaining possession of the kingdom, took the before-named queen Emma to wife, and by her became the father of Hardicanute, who was afterwards king of the Danes, and of a daughter named Gunhilda, who became the wife of Henry, emperor of the Romans. In the meantime, on the decease of Richard the Second, his son Richard succeeded him for a single year; after whose death his son22 Robert succeeded him. He, being wishful to replace Edward on the throne of the English, gave him a fleet, but being forced to return in consequence of contrary winds, after having been detained a long
MANDY.563 time at the isle of Gerneswic,23 returned to Normandy. After this, setting out for Jerusalem, he left his son William, then a little child, his heir; and having fulfilled his vow, in returning to his country, died at the city of Nicæa.
At the time of William succeeding to the dukedom of Normandy, Canute, king of the English, departed this life, and was succeeded by Harold Harefoot, his son by his concubine Elgiva. Edward, feeling indignant at this, setting sail with forty ships, landed at Hampton,24 where the English showing resistance, after taking considerable booty, he returned to Normandy. In the meantime, however, his brother Alfred, who, with a large body of troops, had made an attempt upon another part, being received by earl Godwin with an appearance of hospitality, was by stratagem taken by him at night together with his followers; and being placed in chains and brought before king Harold, together with his companions, was deprived of his eyes, the rest being put to death.
Not long after this, Harold Harefoot also died, and Hardicanute, returning from Denmark, succeeded him, being the son of Emma, the mother of Edward. On this, Hardicanute sent for his elder brother Edward from Normandy, and made him live with him, and on his death, two years after, Edward succeeded him as his heir. The good king Edward reigned twenty-two years, but having no issue, sent to his kinsman, William, duke of the Normans, Robert the archbishop of Canterbury, and made him the heir to his kingdom: after him he also sent earl Harold, who swore fealty to William at Rouen. But, after the death of Edward, Harold treacherously and rebelliously took possession of the kingdom and reigned nine months, and together with his powerful accomplices, seducers, and associates, unjustly, iniquitously, and seditiously deprived the lawful heir of the good king Edward of the crown of the whole of the said kingdom;25 on hearing of which, William setting sail with a powerful fleet, landed at Pevensey, and after building a fortress there, erected another at Hastings. Harold, meeting him with the English, fought a battle at about the third hour of the day on the second day before the Ides of October, in which Harold was slain at the first onset; the fight, however, having been prolonged until nightfall. William being victorious, was, on the following feast of the Nativity of our Lord,
1180.564 in the year of the Incarnation of our Lord, one thousand six hundred and sixty-six, crowned at London, king of the English.
He reigned over England twenty-two years, and after his death his son William reigned thirteen years, in the ninth year of whose reign a pilgrimage26 of the nations to Jerusalem against the Saracens took place. In the fourth year of this expedition, Jerusalem was taken by the Franks, and Godfrey, duke of Lorraine, reigned over it, though for one year only; and was succeeded by his brother Baldwin, who reigned eighteen years. King William was slain with an arrow while hunting in England, in the thirteenth year of his reign; on which he was succeeded by his brother Henry, who reigned thirty-six years. He was a feeder of wild beasts,27 and a guardian of the forests, and has been styled by Merlinus Ambrosius,28 in his “History of the Kings,” “the lion of justice;” for he exercised justice and judgment in the land.
He was succeeded by Stephen, his nephew, who reigned nineteen years; after whose death Henry, the son of Geoffrey, earl of Anjou and of Matilda, the former empress of the Romans, and daughter of the before-named king Henry the First, took the helm of the kingdom of England, and reigned thirty-five years. He dying, and being buried at the abbey of the nuns at Fontevraud, his son Richard succeeded him in the government of the kingdom, and after having reigned nine years, seven months, and twenty days, being struck by an arrow at the siege of the castle of Chaluz, departed this life on the eighth day before the ides of April. His entrails were interred at Chinon, his heart at Rouen, and his body at Fontevraud. After his decease his brother John succeeded to the throne, and reigned over the kingdom of England.29
1 “Kith or unkith;” “acquainted or unacquainted.”
2 Meaning “Two knights your guest, the third night one of your household.”
3 The Saxon name for “concealment,” perhaps it was so called from the offender having sheltered himself under the king’s protection.
4 Compensation to the master of a house.
6 On this contribution to the penalty by sections of eighteen hundreds, where subject to Danelege, see pp. See page 546 and 557.
7 The text does not seem to disclose it.
8 Now known as “lathe.”
9 The Saxon “gerefa,” more generally spoken of as the “reeve,” or “reve.”
10 ”Woe!” An idea more fanciful than well-founded. See St. Matt. x. 21.
11 Probably those named in p. 555.
12 Probably the kingdom of Wessex.
13 The text of Hoveden says eighty-four, and is probably correct; that of Wilkins says forty-four.
14 This appears to be a gloss or interpolation.
15 Before called by Hoveden “Egelred,” and more generally “Ethelred.”
16 See the note in page 545.
17 Meaning the Normans. The text of Wilkins is still followed here.
18 Being buried probably in unconsecrated ground.
19 His brother in Christ.
21 Called before Egelred.
22 The son of Richard the Second.
25 Several lines are here given from Wilkins, which are clearly by inadvertence omitted in the text of Hoveden.
26 The first Crusade.
27 Alluding to his maintenance of the Forest laws in all their strictness.
28 A Latinized form of the British name of Merlin, or Merdhin Emrys, the magician and prophet. It is pretty generally supposed that there was no such person. His pretended prophecies are still in existence.
29 He now resumes the thread of his Annals.
In p. 382, note 28, add, “A quotation from Horace.”