939-946 A.D.

One of the extant legal documents from Anglo-Saxon England. This contains some old english, which is explained in the glossary.

King Edmund assembled a great synod at London, during the holy Easter tide, as well of ecclesiastical as of secular degree. There was Oda archbishop, and Wulfstan archbishop, and many other bishops, meditating concerning the condition of their souls, and of those who were subject to them.

Of the chastity of ecclesiastics.

1. This is the first: that those holy orders who have to teach God's people by their life's example, hold their chastity according to their degree, whichsoever it may be. If they do not so, then are they worthy of that which in the canon is ordained; that is, that they forfeit their worldly possessions and a consecrated burial-place, unless they make bot.

Of tithes and churchscots.

2. A tithe we enjoin to every Christian man by his Christendom and churchscot, and Rome-feoh, and plough-alms. And if any one will not do so, let him be excommunicated.

Of homicide.

3. If any one shed a Christian man's blood, let him not come into the king's presence, ere he go to penance, as the bishop may teach him, and his confessor direct him.

Of nun's fornication and of adultery.

4. He who commits fornication with a nun, let him not be worthy of a consecrated burial place (unless he make bot), any more than a manslayer. We have ordained the same respecting adultery.

Of the repairing of churches.

5. We have also ordained: that every bishop repair the house of God in his own district, and also remind the king that all God's churches be well conditioned as is very needful for us.

Of perjurers and lyblacs.

6. Those who swear falsely and work lyblac, let them be forever cast out of all commission with God, unless they turn to right repentence.

see the glossary, or
more Anglo-Saxon Laws and Customs

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