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and forfeit to the king his were for the violence. Eight days afterwards they met again at Northampton all the country having assembled, they exposed the same cause again before all and it was determined in the same manner in which it had been adjudged at London. Every one then with oath on the cross returned to the bishop the lands which had been violently torn from him.

Thus far the narration gives no account of the two and the five hides about which the controversy began. But it is immediately afterwards mentioned, that soon after Lefsius died. On his death, the bishop and the ealderman and the primates of Northamptonshire, and the proceres of East Anglia, had a placitum at Walmesford in eight hundreds. It was there determined, among other things, that the widow of Lefsius and his heirs ought to compensate for the above-mentioned violence, as he ought to have done if he had lived; and they appreciated the injury which the bishop had sustained at one hundred pounds. The aforesaid matron, supported with the good wishes of all the optimates, humbly requested the bishop to have mercy on her, and that she might commute her were, and that of her sons, for one hundred shillings, which the bishop was about to give her for the two hides at Dunham. The bishop was more benevolent to her than she expected; for he not only remitted to her the money in which she had been condemned, but paid her the hundred shillings which she had proposed to relinquish. He also gave her seven pounds for the crop on the land at Dunham (1).

A piece of water was leased at a rent of two thousand eels. The tenants unjustly possessed themselves of some land of the monastery, without the adjudication or legal permission of the citizens and the hundred. The ealderman came to Ely, and Begmund and others were called for this cause, and summoned to the placitum of the citizens and of the hundred several times, but never came. The abbot did not therefore desist, but renewed his claim at the placita within the city and without, and oftentimes made his complaint. At length the ealderman held at Cambridge a great placitum of the citizens and hundreds, before twenty-four judges, under Thorningefeld, near Maideneburge. The abbot related how Begmund and others had unjustly seized the land, and though often summoned to the placitum, would never come. Then they all adjudged that the abbot should have his land, pool, and fishery, and that Begmund and the others should pay their fish to the abbot for six years, and should give their forfeiture to the king. They also decreed that if this was not performed willingly, they should be justified in the seizure of the offender's property. The ealderman also commanded that Oschetel, Oswy, of Becce, and Godere of Ely, should go round the land, lead the abbot over it, and do all this, which was performed accordingly (2).

In another dispute on the non-performance of an agreement for the sale of land, the ealderman commanded the defendant to be summoned, and, going to Dittune, began there to narrate the causes and complaints, the agreements and their violation, by the testimony of many legal men. The defendant denied the whole. They ordered him to purge himself by the requisite oath; but as neither he nor they, who ought to have sworn with him, could do this, the cause was adjudged against him, and this judgment was afterwards confirmed at Cambridge (3).

(1) Hist. Eli. 3 Gale, 468, 469.

(2) Ibid. p. 478.

(3) Ibid. p. 484.

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As many curious particulars of their legal customs appear in these narrations, we will add another.

Wlstan forfeited some land, which the king had purchased and sold to a bishop. About this time a great gemot was appointed at Witlesford, of the ealderman and his brothers, and the bishop, and the widow of Wlstan, and all the better counsellors of the county of Cambridge. When they all had sat down, Wensius arose and claimed the land, and said that he and his relations had been unjustly deprived of the land, as he had received for it no consideration, neither in land or money. Having heard this plea, the ealderman asked, if there were any one present who knew how Wlstan had acquired that land. Alfric of Wicham answered, that Wlstan had bought that land of Wensius for eight pounds, and he appealed to the eight hundreds on the south side of Cambridge as witnesses. He said Wlstan gave Wensius the eight pounds in two payments, the last of which he had sent by Leofwin, son of Adulf, who gave it to him in a purse, before the eight hundreds where the land lay. Having heard these things, they adjudged the land to the bishop, and they directed Wensius, or his relations, to look to the heirs of Wlstan if he wanted more money for his land (1).


Their Denominations of Land.

In the charters we find various names for the quantities of land conveyed. These are, hidæ, cassati, mansa, manentes, aratrum, sulunga.

The cassati, mansæ, the manentes, the aratrum, and the sulunga, appear to have expressed the same meaning which the word hide signified.

That the cassati and the manse were the same, appears from several grants; thus, ten mansas are in another part of the same grants called ten cassatos (2); and thirty mansas, thirty cassatos (3). So ten cassatos, when mentioned again, are styled ten mansos or mansas (4).

In other grants, hides are stated as synonymous with cassatos. Thus, ten cassatos are, in the same grant, called ten hides (5), and twenty cassatos, twenty hides (6). In other grants, the land, which, in the first part of the document, is enumerated as hides, is afterwards termed cassatos. Thus, fifty hides, fifty cassatos (7); seven hides, seven cassatos (8); five hides, five cassatos (9).

The grants also identify the expressions mansæ and mansi with hide. A charter of 947 conveys twenty mansæ, 66 quod anglice dicitur twenty hides (10)." In another, seven hides are also called seven mansæ (11). One mansa is one hide (12), and five mansæ, five hides (13).

In one grant, the expressions fourteen mansiunculæ, and forty jugeribus, are identified with fourteen hides and forty acres (14).

(1) Hist. Eli. 3 Gale, p. 484.

(3) Ibid. p. 119.195.

(5) Ibid. c. 9.

(7) Ibid. p. 118.

(9) Ibid. p. 130.

(11) Ibid. MS. Claud. c. 9. p. 130. (13) Ibid. p. 143. 182, 183.

(2) Cotton MS. Claud. c. 9. p. 195.

(4) Ibid. p. 131, 132.

(6) Ibid. p. 102. 194.

(8) Ibid. p. 121.

(10) Ibid. Claud. b. 6. p. 37.
(12) Heming. Chart. p. 150.
(14) MS. Claud. b. 6. p. 75.

All these authorities prove, that the hide, the cassatus, and the mansa, were similar designations of land.

In an ancient MS. there is a note in the margin, in the same hand-writing with the body, thus "No. qd. hide cassati et manse idem sunt (1).” Other grants identify the sulunga with the preceding. Thus, one conveys sex mansas quod Cantigenæ dicunt sex sulunga (2). Another mentions the land of three aratrorum as three sulong (3). Another says twelve mansas "quod Cantigenæ dicunt twelf sulunga (4)." Two cassati are also called two sulunga (5).


The hide seems to have contained one hundred and twenty acres. In one historical narration of ancient grants, an hide is so defined; unam hydam per sexies viginti acras (6); " two hides are afterwards mentioned as twelve times twenty arable acres (7).

In Domesday-book we find hides and carucatæ mentioned (8). Carucata implies so much land as a single plough could work during a year (9). This ancient survey also contains acres, leucæ, and quarantenæ, among its terms for expressing the quantities of land.

The following measures of land occur in the Anglo-Saxon laws; 3 mila, 3 furlong, 3 æcera bræde, 9 fota, 9 scefta munda, 9 bere corna (10), express the extent to which the king's peace was to reach.

(1) MS. Claud. c. 9. p. 113.

(3) Ibid. No. 7.

(5) MS. Chart. Aug. 2. p. 68. (6) 3 (8) The word is usually abbreviated. full length.

(9) See Du Cange, Gloss. Med. Lat. 1. p. 859.

(2) MS. Chart. of the late Mr. Astle, No. 23. (4) Ibid. No. 24. and Thorpe, Reg. Roff. 189. Gale, Script. p. 472. (7) Ibid. p. 475. 481. In p. 77, and some other places, it occurs at

(10) Wilkins, Leges Sax. p. 63.

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It will assist us in forming more correct ideas of the state of the peasantry of the Anglo-Saxons, if we consider that portion of the agricultural population in the Roman empire, when the Gothic nations overran it, who were termed the Coloni. It is probable that this order of peasants was established in Britain while the Romans occupied it, as in the other parts of their dominions; and that the Anglo-Saxons found them there when they invaded it.

Mr. Savigny has given one of the latest and best accounts of this class of the Roman husbandmen in his Memoir to the Acad. Roy. at Berlin, in 1822; and as they seem to come nearer to the Anglo-Saxon ceorls than any others of the rustic class of the lower empire, we will subjoin some of the information which he has industriously collected.

"The Coloni were by their birth attached to the soil, not as day-labourers, but as farmers, cultivating, on their own account, a certain extent of soil, and obliged to pay for their enjoyment of it an annual canon or a rent, usually in kind, but sometimes in money. They do not seem to have been subjected to any personal services for the proprietor of the lands they occupied, who was often called the Patronus. They had no actual right in the land; yet as they could not be separated from it, nor their rent be arbitrarily increased, their tenure was as secure as if they had been proprietors.

"The land could not be alienated without the coloni, nor the coloni without the land. They were subjected to a personal contribution to the state, which was entered on the rolls after the land tax on the property.

"The owner paid both these assessments to the government, and collected them from these tenants; with whom the personal tax was so closely connected, that when the law suppressed it in some provinces, it added a declaration that this should not change the condition of the coloni.

"They differed from slaves in being freemen: capable of contracting marriage, and of possessing property of their own, which their patronus could not take, though they could not alienate it without his leave. But they got released from this restriction, if they became one of the three classes into which the free citizens of the empire were divided: Cives; Latini; Peregrini. Their obligatory attachment to the soil occasioned them to be sometimes called Servi terræ; and from their taxation they were also named adscriptitii; tributarii; censiti; a more rare appellation was inquilini. The largest part of them were in this state from birth; some by prescription; and some, less frequently, by contract." Ferrussac's Bull. Univ. 1827. No. 3. Hist. pp. 200—202.


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