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Decrees of Withred

Ðis synd Wihtrædes domas Cantwara cyninges.
Ðam mildestan cyninge Cantwara Wihtræde rixigendum þe fiftan wintra his rices, þy niguðan gebanne, sextan dæge Rugernes, in þære stowe þy hatte Berghamstyde, ðæ wæs gesamnad eadigra geþeahtendlic ymcyme. Ðær wæs Birhtwald, Bretone heahbiscop, 7 se ær næmdda cyning; eac þan Hrofesceastre bisceop (se ilca Gybmund wæs haten) andward wæs; 7 cwæð ælc had ciricean ðære mægðe anmodlice mid þy hersuman folcy.

Ðær ða eadigan fundon mid ealra gemedum ðas domas 7 Cantwara rihtum þeawum æcton, swa hit hyr efter segeþ 7 cwyþ:
  1. Cirice an freolsdome gafola;
    • §1. 7 man for cyning gebidde, 7 hine buton neadhæse heora willum weorþigen.
  2. Ciricean mundbyrd sie L. scll' swa cinges.
  3. Unrihthæmde mæn to rihtum life mid synna hreowe tofon oþþu of ciricean gemanan ascadene sien.
  4. Æltheodige mæn, gif hio hiora hæmed rihtan nyllað, of lande mid hiora æhtum 7 mid synnum gewiten;
    • §1. swæse mæn in leodum ciriclicæs gemanan ungedtrodyne þoligen.
  5. Gif þæs geweorþe gesiþcundne mannan ofer þis gemot, þæt he unriht hæmed genime ofer cyngæs bebod 7 biscopes 7 boca dom, se þæt gebete his dryhtne C. scll' an ald reht.
    • §1. Gif hit ceorlisc man sie, gebete L. scll'; 7 gehwæder þæ hæmed mid hreowe forlæte.
  6. Gif priost læfe unriht hæmed oþþe fulwihte untrumes forsitte oþþe to þon druncen sie þæt he ne mæge, sio he stille his þegnungæ oþ biscopes dóm.
  7. Gif bescoren man steorleas gange him an gestliðnesse, gefe him man ænes; 7 þæt ne geweorðe, buton he leafnesse habbe, þæt hine man læng feormige.
  8. Gif man his mæn an wiofode freols gefe, se sie folcfry; freolsgefa age his erfe æande wergeld 7 munde þare hina, sie ofer mearce ðær he wille.
  9. Gif esne ofer dryhtnes hæse þeowweorc wyrce an sunnan æfen efter hire setlgange oþ monan æfenes setlgang, LXXX. scætta se dryhtne gebete.
  10. Gif esne deþ his rade þæs dæges, VI. se wið dryhten gebete oþþe sine hyd.
  11. Gif friman þonne an ðane forbodenan timan, sio he healsfange scyldig; 7 se man se þæt arasie, he age healf þæt wite 7 ðæt weorc.
  12. Gif ceorl buton wifes wisdome deoflum gelde, he sie ealra his æhtan scyldig 7 healsfange. Gif butwu deoflum geldaþ, sion hio healsfage scyldigo 7 ealra æhtan.
  13. Gif þeuw deoflum geldaþ, VI. scll' gebete oþþe his hyd.
  14. Gif mon his heowum in fæsten flæsc gefe, frigne ge æeowne halsfange alyse.
  15. Gif þeow ete his sylfes ræde, VI. scll' oþþe his hyd.
  16. Biscopes word 7 cyninges sie unægne buton aþe.
  17. Mynstres aldor hine cænne in preostes canne.
  18. Preost hine clænsie sylfæs soþe, in his halgum hraegle ætforan wiofode ðus cweþende "Veritatem dico in Christo, non mentior." Swylce diacon hine clænsie.
  19. Gliroc feowra sum hine clænsie his heafodgemacene 7 ane his hand on wiofode; oþre ætstanden, aþ abycgan.
  20. Gest hine clænsie sylfes aþe on wiofode; swylce cyninges ðegn.
  21. Ceorlisc man hine feowra sum his heafodgemacene on weofode; 7 ðissa ealra að sie unlegnæ.
    • §1. Ðanne is cirican canne riht:
  22. Gif man biscopes esne tihte oþþe cyninges, cænne hine an gerefan hand; oþþe hine gerefa clensie oþþe selle to swinganne.
  23. Gif man gedes þeuwne esne in heora gemange tihte, his dryhten hine his ane aþe geclænsie, gif he huslgenga sie; gif he huslgenga nis, hæbbe him in aþe oðirne aewdan godne oþþe gelde oþþe selle to swinganne.
  24. Gif folcesmannes esne tihte ciricanmannes esne, oþþe ciricanmannes esne tihte folcesmannes esne, his dryhten hine ane his aþe geclensige.
  25. Gif man leud ofslea an þeofðe, licge buton wyrgelda.
  26. Gif man frigne man æt hæbbendre handa gefo, þanne wealde se cyning ðreora anes; oððe hine man cwelle oþþe ofer sæ selle oþþe hine his wergelde alese.
    • §1. Se þe hine gefo 7 gegange, healfne hine age; gif hine man cwelle, geselle heom man LXX. scll'.
  27. Gif þeuw stele 7 hine man alese, LXX. scll', swa hweder cyning wille; gif hine man acwelle, þam agende hine man healfne agelde.
  28. Gif feorran cumen man oþþe fræmde buton wege gange, 7 he þonne nawðer ne hryme ne he horn blawe, for ðeof he bið to profianne: oþþe to sleanne oþþe to alysenne.
These are the decrees of Wihtred, King of Kent.
During the sovereignty of Wihtred, the most gracious king of Kent, in the fifth year of his reign, the ninth Indiction, the sixth day of Rugern, in a place which is called Barham, there was assembled a deliberative council of the notables. There were present there Berhtwald, the chief bishop of Britain, and the above-mentioned king; the bishop of Rochester, who was called Gefmund; and every order of the Church of the province expressed itself in unanimity with the loyal laity [assembled there].

There the notables, with the consent of all, drew up these decrees, and added them to the legal usages of the people of Kent, as is hereafter stated and declared:
  1. The Church shall enjoy immunity from taxation.
    • §1. The king shall be prayed for, and they shall honour him freely and without compulsion.
  2. The mundbyrd of the Church shall be 50 shillings like the king's.
  3. Men living in illicit unions shall turn to a righteous life repenting of their sins, or they shall be excluded from the communion of the Church.
  4. Foreigners, if they will not regularise their unions, shall depart from the land with their possessions and with their sins.
    • §1. Men of our own country also shall be excluded from the communion of the Church, without being subject to forfeiture of their goods.
  5. If after this meeting, a nobleman presumes to enter into an illicit union, despite the command of the king and the bishop, and the written law, he shall pay 100 shillings compensetion to his lord, in accordance with established custom.
    • §1. If a commoner does so, he shall pay 50 shillings compensation; and [in] either [case the offender] shall desist from the union, with repentance.
  6. If a priest consents to an illicit union, or if he neglects the baptism of a sick man, or is too drunk to discharge this duty, he shall abstain from his ministrations, pending a decision fnom the bishop.
  7. If a tonsured man, [who is] not under ecclesiastical discipline, wanders about looking for hospitality, once [only] shall it be granted to him, and unless he has permission, he shall not be entertained further.
  8. If anyone grants one of his men freedom on the altar, his freedom shall be publicly reeognised; [but] the emaneipator shall have his heritage and his wergeld, and the guardianship of his household, wherever he [the freed man] may be, [even if it be] beyond the border.
  9. If a servant, contrary to his lord's command, does servile work between sunset on Saturday evening and sunset on Sunday evening, he shall pay 80 sceattas to his lord.
  10. If a servant makes a journey of his own [on horseback] on that day, he shall pay 6 shillings compensation to his lord or undergo the lash.
  11. If a freeman works during the forbidden time, he shall forfeit his healsfang, and the man who informs against him shall have half the fine, and [the profits arising from] the labour.
  12. If a husband, without his wife's knowledge, makes offerings to devils, he shall forfeit all his goods or his healsfang. If both [of them] make offerings to devils they shall forfeit their healsfangs or all their goods.
  13. If a slave makes offerings to devils, he shall pay 6 shillings compensation or undergo the lash.
  14. If a man gives meat to his household during a fast, he shall redeem [each of them], both bond and free, by payment of his [own] healsfang.
  15. If a slave eats of his own free will, he shall pay 6 shillings compensation or undergo the lash.
  16. A bishop's or a king's wood, [even] though unsupported by an oath, shall be incontrovertible.
  17. The head of a monastery shall clear himself by the formula used by a priest.
  18. A priest shall clear himself by his own asseveration,[standing] in his holy garments before the altar and declaring as follows "Veritatem dico in Christo, non mentior." A deacon shall clear himself in a similar way.
  19. A clerk shall clear himself with [the support of] three of his own class, he alone [having] his hand on the altar. The others shall attend for the purpose of validating the oath.
  20. A stranger shall clear himself by his own oath, at the altar. A king's thegn [shall clear himself] in the same way.
  21. A commoner may clear himself at the altar, with three of his own class; and the oath of all these [collectively] shall be incontrovertible.
    • §1. The Church has further prerogatives with regard to expurgation, [which arc] as follows:
  22. If a servant of a bishop or of the king is accused, he shall clear himself by the hand of the reeve. The reeve shall either exculpate him or deliver him up to he scourged.
  23. If anyone brings an accusation against a bond servant of a company in presence of the company, his lord shall clear him hy his own oath if he (the lord) is a communicant. If he is not a communicent he shall get a second good witness [to support him] in the oath, or pay [the fine] or deliver him up to he scourged.
  24. If a layman's servant accuse the servant of an ecclesiastic, or if an ecclesiastic's servant accuse the servant of a laymen, his lord shall clear him by his own oath.
  25. If anyone slays a man in the act of thieving, no wergeld shall be paid for him.
  26. If anyone catches a freeman in the act of stealing, the king shall decide which of the following three courses shall he adopted--whether he shall he put to death, or sold beyond the sea, or held to ransom for his wergeld.
    • §1. He who catches and secures him, shall have half his value. If he is put to death, 70 shillings shall be paid to him.
  27. If a slave steals, and is released, 70 shillings [shall be paid]--whichever the king wishes. If he is put to death, half his value shall be paid to the man who has him in his power.
  28. If a man from afar, or a stranger, quits the road, and neither shouts, nor blows a horn, he shall be assumed to he a thief, [and as such] may be either slain or put to ransom.

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