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Edinburgh: Printed hy Tliomas and Archibald Constahlc, 










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18 72. 











IV. THE STIPENDIUM, . . •. . . .14 

NOTE A, ....... 24 

NOTE B, ....... 29 


TABLE OF WEIGHTS, . . . . . . 3G 




OF CAPET, ....... 41 

NOTE A, . . . . . . .45 

NOTE B, ....... 46 





NOTE C, ..... 

NOTE D, ..... 













IV. THE SHIRE, ...... 











1. jLnxii j\.±i>(ijr o vvirjii, 




















:note D, . 



In the following pages I have attempted to throw some light upon 
various features of the past; and though obsolete Land Customs and 
Measurements, and Standards of Weight and Currency that have long 
ceased to be in use, possess but few attractions for the general reader, a 
certain familiarity with them may be of advantage in investigating the 
past. The use to which I have occasionally put them will appear 
further on. Some acquaintance, also, with other questions upon which 
I have touched, may be of assistance in enabling us, in the present age, 
to form a clearer conception of the differences separating us from our 
predecessors in the olden time, as well as of the similarities that unite 
us with them. Thus the community of a certain period, which is 
occasionally appealed to as a precedent, differed in many essential 
particulars from the popular conception formed of it. It could never 
be revived in its original form, whether that were free or servile, with- 
out resuscitating serfdom (or something like it) in the latter case, or 
again reverting to the tie of kindred by which it was bound together, as 
long as its members continued to be full- free and independent. The 
theory that every man is born into the world with equal rights may, or 
may not, be correct, but it is a theory that would have been repudiated 
by every member of a free community, whether Adaling or Friling, with 
contempt. The ' equal division of a landed inheritance amongst the 
heirs again, in the modern acceptation of such a division, never could 
have existed in an age in which individual right in land was compara- 
tively unknown ; for the heir who succeeded to his portion in the 
division could not have parted witli it to a man of alien blood without 


the consent of every member of his kindred who had a claim upon it 
as a joint heir. The right of the heir was not an individual right, with 
absolute " dominion," — a property in fee-simple, — but a joint-right, and 
liable to all the contingencies of a joint-right. An equal division of a 
landed inheritance between the heirs into separate properties, with 
absolute dominion, may, or may not, be right in principle, but it should 
be advocated on its own merits ; for it is little in accordance with the 
practice of the past, that would have ignored or discouraged the idea of 
a landed property in fee-simple, and entaUed, as it were, the land, as a 
sort of common and inalienable property, upon the kindred. 

In the present volume I have confined myself to " the Land ; " fur- 
ther on I hope to touch upon " the Church," with which so much of the 
early history of our islands is closely connected. The sketch thrown 
together under the heading of " Eome" is necessarily very incomplete 
and imperfect, but its present form seemed to me to be preferable to 
distributing the conclusions at which I had arrived amongst a number 
of separate notes. 

Netherseale Hall, 
AsiiBY-DE-LA-Zoucii, 25</t Oct. 1871. 


To look upon the past with the eyes of the present, to judge of its 
events and of its characters by a similar standard, awarding praise or blame 
to the men who felt and thought and acted in bygone days, as if their 
conduct had been shaped in accordance with the ideas influencing their 
remote descendants, — such has, and is, and ever will be the habit of the 
majority of living men. One age is fond of clothing another (practically 
as well as figuratively) in the dress that suits its own ideas ; and as the 
Sponsalizia presents us with Eaphael's conception of the Temple, or of 
a Jewish synagogue, so the guests at the Marriage-feast of Cana wear 
the Venetian satins familiar to Paul Veronese. Macbeth in bag-wig, 
sword, and ruffles satisfied the eighteenth century, whilst the nineteenth 
insists upon the tartan. Each age is marked by its own peculiarities, — by 
the presence or absence of certain characteristic features through which its 
productions may be often recognised. Beato Angelico peoples Hell with 
friars ; a condemnation of their practices, in the fifteenth century, which 
would have scarcely appeared upon the canvas of an orthodox Italian in 
an age inclined to conceal their iniquities. Hence the paintings of 
Angelico, even if the name of the artist were unknown, might be assigned 
with safety to the era immediately preceding the Eeformation. The 
writer is apt to reflect the peculiarities of the age in which he lives quite 
as much as the painter, and thus is influenced, insensibly, in his delinea- 
tions of the past ; whilst both labour occasionally under a similar 
difficulty, — their representations, if too truthful, are either disbelieved, 
or cease to be regarded with any interest. 

Towards the opening of the sixteenth century the history of the 
middle ages may be said to blend with the history of modern times, the 
two preceding centuries representing the true " age of chivalry," during 
which feudalism, having attained its height, decayed. It is with the 
feudalism of this later period, in which the spirit of the original system 
was dead (for it had passed away with the state of society out of which it 
first arose) — with chivalric feudalism, so to say, in which there is something 



to attract as well as to repel — that tlie present age is most familiar, and our 
impressions of earlier times are apt to be influenced accordingly. A similar 
remark is applicable to our conception of the ecclesiastical as well as the 
political system before the thirteenth century, for the " ancient customs " 
of the Church can occasionally be dated no further back than the era be- 
tween Innocent and Hildebrand. The present age, however, simply repeats 
the habit of the past. In the opinion of " a Squyer of Englande, called 
Henry Castyde, an honest man and a wyse, and coud well speke Frenche . . . 
Saint Edward, kyng of Englande, lorde of Irelande and of Acquitayn, who 
is a saynt and canonysed . . . subdued the Danes, and disconfyted them 
by batayle on the see thre tymes . . . and bare a crosse patent, golde and 
goules, with four white martinettis in the felde," a popular banner amongst 
the Irish in the reign of Eichard II., for some inscrutable reason. Such 
was the character attributed to the Confessor in the age in which Froissart 
was writing, varying not a little in its features from the portrait left of 
the saintly king by his contemporaries, and, with many another similar 
instance, warning all who wish to arrive at the truth, to view with a 
certain amount of mistrust the versions of past occurrences given by 
writers, living some two or three centuries after the events they notice 
are supposed to have happened. The difference, indeed, between the 
actual history of the past and the conception entertained, or the version 
given of it, in a later age, is occasionally very remarkable. According 
to one of the versions of the Confessor's laws, Edgar's code remained in 
abeyance for sixty-eight years, or from the death of the king to the acces- 
sion of his grandson, the Confessor. Yet this statement is directly con- 
tradicted by the entry in the Saxon Chronicle under 1018, in which 
year the laws of Edgar were confirmed by Dane and Angle at Oxford, as 
well as by the still existing laws of Ethelred and Canute, which are little 
more than repetitions of Edgar's Code. The so-called laws of the Con- 
fessor seem to have been collected into a ^vritten form in the reign of 
Henry II., about the time when Glanville composed his celebrated treatise 
on the Law ; and it would appear to have been in accordance with the 
theory of that age to represent the Danish occupation as an era of 
tyranny and oppression, from which the country was relieved by the 
Confessor, whose "cousin," after crushing the "rebellion" of Harold, 
confirmed the old laws of the realm revived by Edward. The recollec- 
tion of the earlier conquest and occupation of the country began to fade 
away in the course of the following century, the Norman grew into the 
typical oppressor instead of the Dane (though the latter still retains 
his place as the typical " enemy " in popular tradition), and, accordingly. 


a different colouring was given to the events of the eleventh century by 
the writers of the later period. 

In the writings of the annalist, and of the chronicler, we often find 
little more than a bare record of past or passing events ; but in the regu- 
lations of the code, and under the forms of the chartulary, often lie hidden 
the real causes of events. It is unnecessary to expatiate upon the influ- 
ence exercised by improvements in military arms, in organization, in 
discipline, and in the general science of war, upon the history of com- 
paratively modern times; in the enactment of the code, in the stipulation 
of the charter, such progress is often traceable from very early times ; 
yet how seldom is it noticed by the historian ! The system originated 
by Gustavus Adolphus turned the tide of victory against the imperial 
arms in Germany, and won more than one hard-fought field in England, 
when used by Fairfax and Cromwell against the ill-regulated valour 
of the supporters of King Charles. The innovations introduced by 
Frederick the Great contributed to place Prussia upon a footing with the 
greater powers of Europe, and the events that have lately passed, or are 
even now passing under our eyes, need no comment. Living men note 
these things in their own generation, but in writing the history of the 
past are apt to pay too little attention to their importance at the moment 
of their introduction. Eesults are noticed without inquiring into causes, 
and are not unfrequently attributed to any rather than the true causes. 
The dagger screwed into the muzzle of the musket first placed that 
weapon on a footing with the pike at close quarters ; the bayonet attached 
to the end of the barrel completed its efficiency without interfering with 
its use as a firearm. The firelock, and the iron ramrod, each made a 
mark, however small that mark may have been, upon some portion 
of the history of the last two centuries ; and the changes and improve- 
ments of yet earlier times were not without their influence at the date of 
their introduction, however little that influence may have been noticed. 

The supremacy of the Franks over their neighbours in early times 
may be attributed, in a great measure, to the superiority in military 
equipment that enabled them to oppose a well-armed force to men who, 
though equally brave, were far less efficient in arms and organization. 
Various enactments in the Capitularies disclose the care witli which 
Charlemagne was accustomed to provide for the necessary contingencies 
of a campaign. Each man crossed the Mark with provisions for three 
and clothing and equipment for six months. In every imperial vill a 
storehouse (camera) was established, in which were implements and 
necessaries of every description, " so that there be no need of seeking 


for or hiring them in any place whatever," and upon the close of the 
campaign they were to be returned into store. " Our carts that go to 
the war " were all to be made of the same size, so as to carry twelve 
modii of corn or of wine, and to be covered with leather, carefully sewed 
together, so as to avoid letting in the water in fording rivers. To each 
cart a lance and shield, with a bow and quiver, were permanently 
attached, as arms for the baggage-guard. But the main feature in the 
equipment of the Kaisar's army was the Brunia, or breast-defence ; the 
Brynia of the North and Byrnie of our old English laws. Every pos- 
sessor of twelve mansi was bound to provide himself with a byrnie, and 
wear it on service — carrying arms in time of peace was forbidden — he who 
failed in this particular being placed upon the same footing as the deserter 
of his comrade in battle, forfeiting both property and honour. As the legal 
value of the byrnie was assessed, about the same period, at the amount 
paid as land-tax from twelve mansi, in the regulation about the byrnie, 
which appears to have been in existence before the reign of Charlemagne 
(and may perhaps be associated with the ascendancy of the Austrasian 
House), may be traced the germs of the system of military tenure, by 
which the earlier obligation of a money-payment seems to have been 
commuted for efficiency in military equipment. As land increased in 
value the equivalent of the original twelve mansi sunk to ten, to eight, 
to six, and finally to five, four, and even three, until the amount of 
service required from the land began to be regulated by the value instead 
of by the extent of the latter. The original regulation about the byrnie 
was incumbent upon the allodial as well as upon the beneficiary pro- 
prietary, though more especially binding upon the Vassi Indominicati, 
or baronage of the age ; and it must have placed a numerous and well- 
equipped body of soldiery at the disposal of the Kaisar. As every offence 
committed " in the host " was punished by a threefold mulct, and 
drunkenness was atoned for by a diet of bread and water, the discipline, 
as well as the organization of the army, was at the highest pitch of 
excellence with which the age was acquainted. No byrnie was to be 
sold or given to a Saxon, a most convincing proof of the Kaisar's opinion 
of its value, and of the jealous care with which he strove to preserve and 
perpetuate the military supremacy of his own people. 

Just as the Western Empire may be said, in a certain sense, to have 
been founded on the Byrnie, so the " kingdom," in the modern meaning 
of the word, may be said to date its rise, both in Germany and England, 
from the era of walled towns. The ninth and tenth centuries witnessed 
the rise of permanent fortifications in Western Europe. Migratory tribes 


were always attended by a string of carts ; and long after they conformed 
to comparatively settled habits their armies were accompanied by a 
similar train. Encircled by these carts they bivouacked for the night, or 
sheltered themselves against the attack of a superior force, occasionally 
throwing up earthworks or barricades, when they occupied a position for 
a considerable length of time. The custom was as old as the days in 
which Goliath " went up out of the camp of the Philistines" to defy the 
hosts of Israel, no man " going out" to meet him from the opposite camp ; 
and after a lapse of twenty centuries it was still in force in Ireland, when 
Niel entrenched himself in Magh Femhin, and attacked the Northmen, 
on the 20th of August 917, as they were ravaging the district. " Then 
there were more slain of the Gall than of the Gael ; but the Gall issued 
out of their camp in support of their men, who were retreating ; and the 
Gael retired to their own camp as soon as Eagnal, King of the Dugall, 
reached the enemy with reinforcements. Then King Niel left his camp, 
and offered battle to the Gall, who declined to accept it in the position 
he chose. And the king remained for twenty nights in the face of the 
enemy, and sent orders to the Leinstermen to keep close in their camp, 
as he did." But the Leinstermen disobeyed him, attacked Eagnal's 
brother Sitric in his " camp" at Kinfurt, and were signally defeated, the 
victors marching into Dublin unopposed, as the place was evidently 
utterly defenceless. Thus there was nothing to resist an enemy if the 
camp was once carried by storm, or if the army was so thoroughly 
defeated as to be unable to fall back upon it for shelter. The Northmen, 
sailing up the rivers of France and England, ravaged the open country 
with impunity, whilst in central Europe " defenceless Saxony, in which 
there is neither mountain nor walled town," was a helpless prey to the 
Hun and the Magyar ; and in order to resist the ravages of these Pagan 
spoilers, the Burh, or burgh of early days, was called into existence in 
England and in Northern Germany. The open village was converted into 
a permanently entrenched camp, sheltering its defenders from sudden 
attacks, and guarding the road, or protecting the passage of the river, and 
thus securing a firm hold upon the surrounding district. 

We may look in vain for any regulations about the burgh and its 
defenders in the ancient codes supposed to have been collected by Char- 
lemagne ; but in the days of his immediate descendants the germs of the 
system of permanent fortifications begin to be traceable. " From eveiy 
hundred mansi a Hagerman, and from every thousand a cart with two 
oxen ... so that the Hagermen should cultivate and guard tlic place 
of strength he ordered to be built of wood and stone in that locality — 


(quatinus illi Haistaldi castdlum . . . excolerent et custodirent)." Such, 
for instance, is the description left in Hincmar's Annals of the proceed- 
ing of Charles the Bald in 869. Castcllum is the word used by Jerome 
in the Vulgate for a vill, or township with its ham or open village, but it 
is evidently applied by Hincmar in this passage to an enclosed village 
or walled town, with its Banlieuc, which was to be cultivated by the de- 
fenders of the Burh. The early castellum seems to have been generally 
provided with its cippus, or stocks, in which refractory slaves were con- 
fined — the village " cage;" and the word, which meant originally a stake 
that was used, amongst other purposes, as a palisade in war, gradually 
became connected with the idea of a place of strength and confinement. 
When the castellum in later times was the property of a lord, the 
" Cippus dominicus" was the place in which he immured delinquents and 
his prisoners ; and thus, in course of time, the palisaded enclosure of 
the open village grew into the " Donjon Keep'' of the feudal castle. As 
the lesser freemen, the rural soldiery, or militcs agrarii of Widukind, 
were collected from the country districts into walled towns, the burgh 
began to supplant the moot-hill as the recognised place of meeting for 
the community. Every council, and every assemblage, whether judicial 
or convivial, was to be held in a walled town, according to the ordinance 
of Henry the Fowler ; and our own old codes afford abundant evidence 
of a very similar state of affairs existing in England about the same 
period. The burgh became the centre of all the traffic of the age, occa- 
sionally the seat of a royal mint, and generally of a royal official ; whilst, 
as the lesser freeholders of the allodial period, the Minores Pagenses of 
the earlier codes, were withdrawn from the rural districts into towns, the 
country became more and more abandoned to the villeinage and to the 
beneficiary classes, the latter the predecessors of the knights and barons 
of a later era. Such are a few of the results that may be connected with 
the system of permanent fortifications, first introduced, in certain quarters, 
in order to resist the ravages of the Northman and the Magyar. So well 
were the practical results of this system appreciated in the course of 
their development, that, wherever the lesser freeholders were powerful, 
as amongst the Frisons, no wall was allowed to be raised in a rural dis- 
trict above a certain height ; and a very similar restriction will be found 
in the old Saxon code, the Sachsenspiegel. 

The Northmen may be credited with other innovations that led to 
important consequences at the time of their introduction. Harfager 
built " tall ships," covering over the fore-part of the vessel as a place of 
strength, and, filling this "forecastle" with chosen fighting men, known 


as Berserkers, he laid his ships alongside the enemy, and carried their 
vessels by boarding. Thus he founded the kingdom of Norway, and 
bequeathed his system of fighting at sea to the Norsemen. A heavy 
axe wielded with both hands, or a long sword similarly used, were the 
chosen weapons of the fighting portion of the crew, who remained under 
the shelter of the forecastle until they came into close action ; and if 
unsuccessful, or driven from their own ships, plunged into the sea and 
endeavoured to escape by swimming. Defensive armour would have 
been an uiniecessary protection in the forecastle, a worse than useless 
encumbrance in the sea; and Jarl Hacon, in his combat with tlie 
Jomsvikings, cast aside his torn Irynie as useless, as soon as he prepared 
to carry his enemy's vessel by boarding. Hence the Berserker, who 
seems to have owed his name to fighting without a Hring-serc, or shirt 
of mail, was essentially a combatant at close quarters ; and neither 
Frank nor island Saxon could withstand the onset of the Norsemen 
when they first encountered the formidable weapons that won for the 
men who wielded them Normandy and the English Danelage. The 
Northman for a time replaced the Saxon in the Capitularies, for no 
byrnie was to be given or sold to him on any pretence — an enactment 
that would have been unnecessary had not the ranks of the Northmen, 
in early days, been filled with Berserkers. The " Hache Noresche," or 
two-handed axe, became a favourite instrument of war in every quarter 
of the British isles, and, long after it had ceased to be used elsewhere, 
was still retained in the Scottish Highlands, and amongst the Irish, with 
whom the man-at-arms was long known as the Qall-oglach (Gallowglasse) 
or " foreign soldier," — a name derived apparently from the character of 
his equipment. 

Towards the middle of the eleventh century the island Saxon was 
noted for his wealth, his rich apparel, and his luxurious living, but he 
seems to have paid little attention to the art of war, and went to battle 
much in the same fashion as his ancestors in the reigns of Edward the 
Elder and liis sons. The horseman, amongst the early Celts and Teutons, 
was mounted upon an animal of small size, and used his spears (for he 
carried more than one) as missile weapons, avoiding the actual shock of 
battle, in which he would have soon been unhorsed, and dismounting 
when he fought at close quarters. Without the stirrup and the horse- 
shoe, the mounted man-at-arms of the middle ages, who used his spear 
as a lance in rest, and bore down opposition by the weight of his charge, 
could never have been called into existence ; and for the stirrup and 
the horse -shoe, the people of modern Europe are indebted neither to 


Greek nor Eoman, in whose languages the words will not be found, but 
to the Hun. Against the downward stroke of the Hache ISToresche the 
Byrnie must have proved an inefficient protection, and accordingly the 
" breast- defence" was superseded by the " neck-defence," — the Hals- 
hcrg^ Hauberc, or shirt of mail with a hood that was drawn over the 
head, thus protecting the neck and shoulders. The Hauberc was pro- 
vided with long sleeves covering the arms, and, as it reached below the 
knees, was essentially the equipment of a horseman, who, no longer 
using his spear as a missile weapon, cleared a way with it at close 
quarters, relying upon the weight and protection of his armour. As 
weight grew to be indispensable to the mounted cavalier, a lighter 
equipment, and a missile weapon that could be felt from afar, became 
necessities for the infantry ; and thus the horseman sought the melie 
instead of avoiding it, whilst the bow was given to the soldier who 
fought on foot, and archery became, in a certain sense, the artillery of 
the age. The bow, though little used apparently in England except in 
the chase, had long been familiar to the Normans as a weapon of war, 
playing an important part in the naval engagements of their ancestors, 
with whom it had always been an object to shoot the steersman of the 
enemy's vessel. Lapps and Finns were especially noted as marksmen, 
as they continue to be at the present day with the rifle ; and both de- 
scriptions of arrows were in use, the Boga-skot and Gaflok, or Pile and 
Broad arrow. But the strength of the English army still lay in its 
heavy- armed infantry, and they seem to have been fond of bringing 
matters to a crisis in the melee, in which their two-handed weapons 
must have played a formidable part. England, indeed, a wooded and 
not a champaign country, must have been ill adapted to cavalry ; and 
when Ealph, the Norman Earl of Hereford, in accordance with the 
usual system of his countrymen, mounted his English followers to 
attack the Welsh, they turned and fled " because they were on horses." 
It is difficult to look at the Bayeux tapestry, or to read the descriptions 
of Wace, without perceiving that Harold's men were behindhand in mili- 
tary equipment, and that the island Saxon had not kept pace with the 
improvements of the age. 

" Cors haubers oreut, et petis, 
E helmes de sor les vestis." 

The Gueldons, or soldiery forming the real strength of the army, wore 
a headpiece unprotected by the " neck-defence," and the short hauberc 
or haubergeon, adapted to the heavy-armed foot-soldier — an equipment 
answering to the " haubergeon et chapel de fer" required, in the reign 


of Henry the Second, for a secondary class of soldiery inferior in stand- 
ing to the fully armed man-at-arms ; whilst their favourite axe is 
stigmatized by Wace as a clumsy weapon, requiring both hands to 
wield it — thus leaving the body without protection against the lance of 
the horseman and the arrow of the bowman. " You have plenty of 
men, but a rabble of vilanaille in their everyday dress is not worth 
much in battle. I fear the Normans much, for they are all well armed, 
and on horseback, and will trample your people under foot. They have 
lance and shield, hauberc, helm, and sword, with bows and broad arrows 
that fly swifter than a bird." Such are the words that are placed in the 
mouth of Gurth by Wace ; and Harold, an able and experienced leader, 
seems to have been fully awake to the danger of encountering William's 
horsemen in the open field. Falling back upon the tactics of an earlier 
age, he entrenched his army, well knowing that his enemy, in a hostile 
country, dared not leave such a force in his rear ; and as long as the 
Norman attack was confined to attempts at carrying the barricade by 
storm, the advantage lay with its defenders, " for every Norman who 
forced his way through lost his life by axe or club." But as soon as 
Harold's men, galled by a shower of arrows to which they could make 
no return, were tempted to follow the retreating ranks of the Norman 
horsemen, they were drawn away from their barricade, and their defeat 
became a matter of certainty. Whenever brave men meet in battle, 
victory, under ordinary circumstances, is sure to incline to the side that 
is best prepared for the conflict. Such is the lesson to be learned from 
the battle of Hastings. 

The advantages that William gained by the superior equipment and 
organization of his army were secured by building castles ; for stone 
fortifications of this description seem to have been little, if at all, known 
in England before his time. Not only the surrounding country, but the 
burgh itself, was dominated by the castellan and his garrison, and from 
the introduction of the castle the burghers of northern and central 
Europe, as a body, began to lose their warlike attributes, exchanging 
their original character more and more for that of a trading class. Only 
the larger and more populous burghs, such as London, and the great 
cities of Elanders and the Empire were able to resist this influence, 
always remaining formidable from the number of their inhabitants far 
surpassing the power of any garrison to control them. Castle-building 
may be said to have been carried out by the Crown and the greater, 
feudatories during the next two or three centuries, securing England for 
the Conqueror and his successors, and confirming the hold of David and 


his house upon Scotland, whilst it was the policy recommended by 
Giraldus for completing the conquest of Ireland. It also enabled the 
armies of the time to dispense with a portion of the unarmed rabble that 
was the necessary attendant of an army before that time ; for in the 
friendly castle, towards which the march of the host was directed, were 
to be found the various stores and necessaries which would have been 
carried upon a train of carts, " requisitioned " from the villeinage in the 
days of Charlemagne. Thus a well-armed body of soldiery, fewer in 
number but far more efficient, though costly to equip and support, began 
to take the place of the half-armed multitude of earlier days, who were 
latterly known as " the rascalry." 

Henry Fitz-Empress is the first of the English kings in whose reign 
may be traced an Assize at Arms, by which a certain light is thrown 
upon the character of the free population of England at that time. It 
had been for some time incumbent upon every English freeholder of a 
certain standing, holding by military service, or fief de hauherc (per 
loricam), to provide a mounted man-at-arms in full armour for every 20 
lbs. of land. The rule was now extended to the free community at large, 
every member of which became bound to provide himself, according to 
his property, with offensive and defensive arms, to be bequeathed to 
his heir ; and the example of the English king was followed by Philip 
of France and the Count of Flanders. By this time, as may be gathered 
from the Dialogus de Scaccario, the law of Murdrum, by which the man 
found dead was paid for by the district as a Norman if not " proved 
English," had become a dead letter, on account of the difficulty of 
" proving Englishry " amongst the free classes, or distinguishing their 
nationality, so thoroughly had they become intermingled at the period 
in which the Dialogue was written. It was in consequence of this 
intermixture of the two races that the whole free population, as is shown 
by the Assize of the first Plantagenet, could be safely intrusted with 
arms. None but the actual supporters of Harold who fought at Hastings, 
or their representatives, were forfeited after the Conquest according to 
the author of the Dialogue, the remaining landowners retaining their 
properties, but without the power of bequeathing them. No grant or 
charter of an earlier date was looked upon as binding ; but upon the 
death of the actual holders, the heirs had to make their own terms with 
the king, or with one of the great Norman overlords, amongst whom the 
rest of England was divided ; and probably, like the barons of William 
Rufus, they bought back their lands at the fuU value. Henry the First 
promised to forego this custom, in the charter in which he also relieved 


all lands held in Fief cle haubcrc from the burdens entailed by the earlier 
system of Thanage ; and from the opening of the twelfth century began 
that amalgamation amongst the members of the free community through 
which the law of Murdrum had died out, for all practical purposes, in 
the reign of his grandson, when the right of inheriting and bequeathing 
property was fully acknowledged. But so thoroughly had the recollec- 
tion of the real state of the free population at this time died out in tlie 
following century, that the authorities of a later period often write as if 
the native element in the population groaned under the oppression of an 
alien race until the reign of John ; whilst the question that was a difii- 
culty in the twelfth century — tracing the descent of the free classes from 
a Norman or an English ancestor — is solved with facility by the learned 
in such matters at the present day !^ 

Eichard was always occupied with the Crusade, or with his wars with 
France ; John relied, and with reason, upon his mercenaries, and during 
the earlier portion of his son's reign, foreign influences prevailed in Eng- 
land. It is not surprising, therefore, that seventy years and upwards 
were suffered to elapse before it was again thought necessary to insist 
upon arming the community — ever heedless, apparently, upon this ^Joiut 
— and the royal order, which seems to have been regarded as a novelty 
by Paris and his contemporaries (so soon are we forgetful of much that 
has happened before our own time), was "hailed with acclamation 
throughout the land." Henceforth England, " like Italy," was to be 
powerful in her armed hosts, and the revival of the Assize at Arms was 
followed almost immediately by the Barons' War, Edward i., like his 
great-grandfather, seems to have been partial to " la grande guerre " of 
his age, occasionally known as Gallica Militia, or French tactics ; and 
his wars with the Welsh soon taught him the weak point in his own 
army. From this time he appears to have sacrificed everything to the 
" cheval convert," the Destrier, or great war-horse, covered with armour ; 
and in 1282, "on account of the serious deficiency of large and com- 
petent war-horses in our realm," he ordered that every owner of 30 lbs. 
of land should provide himself with a " cheval convert," all lesser pro- 

^ Most of the Confessor's servants appear to have remained undisturbed by William. 
Scarcely a single forester, for instance (if any), was introduced from Normandy ; for, as 
Edward was a sportsman, his keepers probably knew their business, and "his father 
held it in King Edward's time," or some similar notice, is generally apj)cndcd to their 
names in the Survey. Against one class, however, the Conqueror seems to have been 
inexorable, and some may think with reason, for Domesday may be searched in vain 
for a solitary instance of the retention in the royal household of any of King Edward's 
— cooks. 


prietors, down to the owner of 3 lbs, of land, uniting to provide a horse 
of a similar description. Accordingly, when he marched into Scotland 
in 1298, in addition to a numerous array of mounted men and infantry, he 
carried with him a body of three thousand horsemen, mounted on covered 
horses, a force that was irresistible, when operating in a country adapted 
to cavalry, against anything that could be brought against it by the 
Scots. Half a century of careful regulations about military equipment, 
and the supervision of one of the most able kings and generals of his 
time, had raised the English army to the highest standard of the age ; 
but Scotland, after seventy years of comparative peace and prosperity, 
still remained in the position held by England in the middle of the 
century, and Falkirk was but a repetition of Hastings, and of many a 
battle fought under similar circumstances. Wallace grouped his spear- 
men into four circles, that were thought impenetrable (as they were) to 
" man of blode," though they proved incapable of resisting man and 
horse of iron. Between these circles he ranged his archers, placing in re- 
serve his thousand mounted men, who soon fled, for they were far too few 
in number to be of any use. Edward's heavy cavalry, after riding down 
the archers without much difficulty, closed in upon the circles, whilst 
his infantry, of whom he seems to have made little account, shot at 
their helpless foes with arrows, and pelted them with stones. In the 
description left by Wace of the battle of Hastings, the English Gueldons 
are represented as occasionally closing with the Norman horsemen, and 
sometimes succeeding in cutting down their horses by a stroke of the 
axe. But no such feat was possible against horses covered with 
armour, and the English horsemen, after transfixing a few of the spear- 
men in the front rank with their long lances, forced their mail-clad 
chargers into the gaps thus made in the circles, and soon succeeded in 
breaking them up. The impunity with which they accomplished this 
feat of arms, which would have been impracticable for horsemen 
mounted on unprotected chargers, may be gathered from the fact that 
only two men of note fell upon the English side, the Master of the 
Temple and the Prior of Torphichen. 

By basing his opposition to the superior forces of the invaders upon 
a totally different system, Bruce succeeded in undoing all that Edward 
had accomplished. The Gallica Militia, indeed, was only adapted to a 
country fitted for the evolutions of heavy cavalry, and it was resisted 
with success, about the opening of the fourteenth century, in the 
swamps of the Low Countries, and amidst the broken ground and 
mountain passes of Switzerland and Scotland. Edward, like his con- 


temporaries, may have carried his fondness for heavy cavahy too far, 
for, as soon as he was in his grave, his system was modified. The lesser 
proprietors were released from the necessity of providing Destriers, the 
" poor knight " ceased to be summoned to the army, and a fully armed 
horseman, mounted on a covered horse, was only required from the 
great knight's-fee, or 40 lbs. of land. All the lesser proprietors were 
bound to serve as light horsemen, or as well-armed infantry, and, in the 
second year of the new king's reign, Eichard de Burgh was ordered to 
forward from Ireland 300 Hdbdcrs for service in the Scottish wars. 
This is the earliest allusion to the light horseman in the English armies 
of that period ; but though the Hobeler was first imported from Ireland, 
in consequence, apparently, of the absence of such a class in England, 
he soon became an important member of the forces raised at home. 
From the date of the French wars, and even earlier, pay was regidarly 
issued to an army in the field, and the fighting men grew more and 
more into a " soldiery," or a class following the profession of arms for 
pay. The flower of such a soldiery, however, continued to be furnished 
from amongst the landowners, great and small, serving for pay during 
the campaign ; and the composition of a " corps d'elite " in the fifteenth 
century was still described as consisting of 

" Knights, and squires, and men of higli degree, 
And yeomen bold, withouten rascalry." 

The Land ; the Church — how far does the conception entertained of 
the past, in the present day, correspond in either case with the truth ? 
Are we not apt to fix our eyes upon the free community of a certain 
stage of society, and dilate upon its supposed advantages, ignoring the 
mass of servitude that escapes our notice, and forgetting that the whole 
of the classes usually known as " the lower orders " were condemned, 
during the palmy days of the free community, to remain in hopeless 
thraldom ? The lowest free member of the Athenian democracy was 
looked upon as a poor man if he had not in his possession at the least 
six or seven slaves ; and however democratic may have been the prin- 
ciples of the republics of antiquity, or of the free communities of the 
earlier portion of the Christian era, the liberty and the equality were 
enjoyed by the privileged classes alone, never penetrating far below the 
surface or upper crust of society. Judged by the standard of the pre- 
sent day, the freest of these democracies would wear the appearance of a 
narrow oligarchy, dominating over a popidation of serfs. The exclusive 


spirit of the republican of ancient Eome is displayed in the contempt 
with which Tacitus alludes to the occasional preponderance of the 
Libertine element amongst the Germans under kingly rule ; yet in the 
possibility of a slave emerging from the condition in which he was 
born, and rising to rank and power in the State, may be traced the 
germs of the more liberal system of modern times, under which 
eminence is attainable by talent, irrespective of the privileges of birth — 
an impossibility under the system to which Tacitus gave the preference, 
or under any system in which the Mmg-horh, or tie of blood, was para- 
mount. Feudalism is represented, by a certain class of writers, as a 
system of oppression devised for the benefit of a dominant class alone, 
and imposed by force of arms upon a population in a state of compara- 
tive freedom — a system through which the owners and occupiers of the 
soil were reduced to a state of servitude, and burdened with exactions 
extorted for the advantage of their oppressors. Yet early feudalism, or 
the system of military tenure under which the grant of land was the 
feo, or reward of service, instead of the cethel, or privilege attached to 
birth alone, was the only species of free-service compatible with the 
rude age in which it first arose ; and by the admission of the principle 
of free-service, and its gradual development and extension, the condition 
of the poorer and unprivileged classes was, in course of time, materially 
alleviated. The first free-burgher, in northern and western Europe, 
was a soldier introduced from the rural districts ; and after the intro- 
duction of the principle of free-service from the country into the city, 
the occupations of civic life began to be followed by a class of freemen. 
The nearer we approach to the reality of the distant past in which the 
early system of military tenure arose, the less does that reality wear the 
favourable appearance in which it is sometimes clothed ; for the obliga- 
tions that so long remained attached to base tenure, relics, and remnants 
of a condition of absolute slavery, were in existence long before the 
introduction of feudalism. "If any one steals, kills, or sells a farm- 
bailiff, house-steward, or messenger, an artisan working in gold, in iron, 
or in wood, a vine-dresser, miller, swineherd, or any household servant, 
if they are worth 25 solidi, the fine shall be 70 solidi, in addition to the 
value of the chattel." Such is the tenor of an enactment in the older 
Salic Law, in which may be seen the ordinary condition of the popula- 
tion not included amongst the privileged Ingenui of the allodial system. 
As many of the classes, enumerated above as " chattels," were omitted 
in the revision of the earlier code set on foot by Charlemagne, some 
advance would appear to have been made in the direction of freedom 



even at that early period. The helpless and hopeless serfdom of the 
subject population, during the allodial period, has generally been passed 
over without notice ; whilst the very struggles of these unprivileged 
classes, as they won their way towards freedom, under a system founded 
upon the principle of free-service, have drawn our attention to their 

Nature appears to have implanted an instinct in animals in a wild 
state, if they are not animals of prey, to group themselves together as if 
for protection, and to appropriate certain feeding-grounds for their sup- 
port. They unite to resent intrusion upon their feeding-grounds, and 
if the flock grows too numerous for the ground, offshoots separate them- 
selves from the main body in search of other pastures, or else civil war 
breaks out between the members of the herd. A similar instinct seems 
to have been implanted in man, who, from the earliest times, will be 
found to have always been a unit in some community, however minute ; 
for man by himself would have been an outcast, or an animal of prey, 
and would have been hunted down by his fellows, and either killed if 
he offered resistance, or made a slave if he chose to submit. It is only 
in a state of society that is civilized enough to recognise the separate, 
individual, rights of each unit of which it is composed, that man, as an 
individual, is secure. Before this time arrived, he was safe only in his 
family, in his neighbourhood, and in the joint association of families and 
neighbourhoods constituting a lesser or greater community. They alone 
w^ould have supported him in life, and revenged him if wronged or slain ; 
and a man without some such support in such an age, a man who was 
not a member of some sort of community, however small, would have 
been obliged to seek support elsewhere, and obtain it by exchanging 
independence for dependence, or the condition of a freeman for that of 
a slave. 

The early community might be pastoral or agricultural, rural or 
civic ; for a community enclosed within walls might follow a pastoral 
or an agricultural life, and was not necessarily commercial until a com- 
paratively later period. In its rudest form, however, the community 
was made up of hunters, living upon everything they could find in the 
forest, or on the plain, in the river, or in the sea, and enjoying a state of 
social equality, and a community of property, in perfection. The actual 
property of the hunter, indeed, was limited to the skins in which he was 
clad, to which perhaps may be added the weapons and instruments he 
used in the chase ; a slave would have only been an extra mouth to 
provide for, as he had no domestic animals to tend, and his crops, if he 


raised any, were sown and reaped by his women, or the feeble and aged 
members of his family. Accordingly, he had no object to gain in sparing 
his enemy, and he killed him, as he killed every other animal that came 
in his way, and occasionally ate him. Eaces that remain for a lengthened 
period in such a stage of society recede before the approach of civilisation, 
and die out, or disappear in some manner, when brought into closer con- 
tact with it ; but as long as they continue to exist, they present the 
nearest approach to a state of perfect social equality, combined with 
community of property ; and if ever a civilized people were to succeed 
in retrograding into a similar condition, a similar fate would await 
them — in some way or other they would be broken up and disappear. 
No mere hunting community ever arrived at civilisation. 

Nomads, if not a mere collection of hunters, necessarily follow a 
pastoral mode of life, but a pastoral community is not necessarily 
nomadic. The corn-growing herdsman occupies an intermediate posi- 
tion between the ever-wandering nomad, and the stationary tiller of the 
ground, who is always more or less attached to the soil he cultivates, 
Flocks and herds constituted the earliest source of wealth, and out of 
wealth arose the earliest distinction between man and man, the inequality 
between rich and poor. The rich man required attendants for his flocks 
and herds, the poor man needed protection and support, and in return 
for it became a dependant, or unfree ; for the earlier stages of society 
knew of no other distinction than that between the free and the unfree. 
The unfree member of a pastoral community, however, was a dependant 
rather than a serf ; for the herdsman had only to fix a sharp point upon 
the end of his goad, or staff, and he became a spearman, a warrior, and 
a marauder, the protector of his charge against the attacks of others, and 
the willing follower of his patron in many a predatory foray. It was 
otherwise with the unfree member of an agricultural community, for 
actual tillage, or manual labour, undertaken for the support of others, is 
always more or less a work of necessity or compulsion, and the word 
applied to Cain, as " tiller of the soil," is used elsewhere in the Old 
Testament for a slave. Fix an Arab tribe upon the soil as cultivators, 
and all but the leading members must exchange the condition of 
Bedaioeen for that of Fellaheen — a class they despise and detest — and 
must give up a free and wandering existence for a life of toil. Corn, 
when it is grown in quantities, and the vineyards, olive- grounds, and 
orchards of a settled agricultural community, require a cultivating class 
of producers, and a fighting class to protect the produce ; for though the 
herdsman is naturally a man of war, ever ready for a foray, the culti- 


vator of the soil never becomes a soldier until he is taken from it and 
transformed into the still more efficient fighting-machine, the soldier by- 
profession. Hence in the contempt and detestation of the Bedaween 
for the Fellaheen may be seen a reflection of the antipathy of the 
Nomad, in early days, against the settled cultivator of the soil. 
" Neither shall ye build house, nor sow corn, nor plant vineyard, nor 
have any, but all your days ye shall dwell in tents ; " and by following 
out these directions the Eechabites preserved their liberty, in the neigh- 
bourhood of a comparatively settled race, from the days in which their 
ancestors pitched their tents in the wilderness south of Judah ; just as 
the ancestors of the Israelites lost their freedom by forsaking a wander- 
ing and pastoral life to settle in the fertile land of Goshen amongst the 
Egyptians. One of the laws of the ancient Nabatsean confederacy made 
it a capital crime to sow corn, to build a house, or plant a tree, as it 
was for such things that men were wont to sacrifice their liberty ; and, 
accordingly, the inroads of the Nomads have ever brought desolation 
and destruction in their track, — for it was a fixed and settled principle 
in the Nomad to reduce the country he invaded to the condition of a 
waste and open pasturage. In short, he looked upon such a com-se as a 
religious duty. 

The Nomad, on the other hand, was as much an object of dread and 
detestation to the member of a settled society ; the shepherd was an 
abomination to the Egyptian ; and this antagonism is clearly traceable 
in some of the most ancient systems of religion in the old world. 
Agriculture was inculcated as a sacred duty upon the follower of 
Zoroaster, and he was taught that it was incumbent upon all who 
worshipped Ahuramasda to lead a settled Life. Between the agricul- 
turist and the herdsman, Ahurasmada had selected the pious cultivator 
of the soil, who was to be blessed with riches, in which all who refused 
to till the ground, and persisted in worshipping evil spirits, were to have 
no share. Ahuramasda created the gadhas, or enclosed and cultivated 
properties, which he fenced around with stakes or palisades, and assigned 
to his worshippers as their own — as private property. Everything that 
the Nomad was enjoined to avoid was thus inculcated, as a religious 
duty, upon the followers of Zoroaster, and accordingly three distinct and 
separate classes were developed by the latter system, represented by the 
Qaetus, ox ownQV \ the Ainjama, friend, associate, ov comes (in the later 
Gathas he appears as the client) ; and the Verezena, bondman, or actual 
worker, the servile cultivator of the soil, who was to be consoled for a 
life of toil by the reflection that he was performing a religious duty, and 



offering in his labour acceptable worship to Ahiiramasda — qui laborat, 
oral. The regular gradations of a fixed and settled state of society are 
distinguishable in the Zend-Avesta. The family, the village, the larger 
community, or civitas (rendered town, or tribe, by Mr. Haag), and the 
country or province, each under the rule of its respective head, and over 
all " Zarathustra," — the Magi, or priestly order, who, in one particular 
province, that of Eagha, stood in the position of " heads of the country," 
or, in other words, they were the owners of the soil. The principles of 
Zoroaster, and of similar teachers, led to the federation of settled tribes, 
out of which arose the mighty empires of antiquity. The " fenced city," 
so often met with in the earlier portions of the Old Testament, in which 
the " suburbs" represent the " banlieue," or tract of land over which 
" the city" more immediately exercised jurisdiction, lay at the base of 
all the ancient systems of settled polity ; and the influence exercised by 
the dwellers in the fenced city over the population of the Demes — the 
" villages" of the Zend-Avesta — must be familiar to every student of 
classical antiquity.^ 

The Hunting, the Pastoral, the Agricultural — such then may be said, 
in a general way, to have been the different phases of the early commu- 
nity, the first presenting the nearest approach to that purely animal 
state of existence in which liberty and equality are combineil with 
community of property, each brute obtaining as much as he can eat of 
Nature's gifts. As soon as Nature fails the brute starves, and man, to 
avoid starvation, is obliged to work ; but as soon as the intelligent 
member of a community begins to work, the acquisition of private pro- 
perty, and the consequent foundation of the principle of wealth and 
inequality, cannot be prevented, except by compulsion, and with com- 
pulsion a state of perfect liberty ceases to exist. Inequality, founded 
upon the principle of private property and its accumulation, was first 
developed in the Pastoral Community, in which flocks and herds con- 
stituted the main — and in a purely nomadic society the sole — source of 
wealth, and the pasturage was the common property of all. The sole 
bond of union in such a state of society is the tie of kindred, as it still 
exists amongst the Arabs, with whom the " ransom of blood" falls upon 
all within the sixth degree of relationship. The tie of neighbourhood 
is unknown until the community begins to lead a settled life. The 
tribes of Koordistan, for instance, are formed of a principal family, 
tliat of the chief, and of a series of other families, more or less closely 
connected with it, each separate family constituting a hampa, or tent ; 
^ Haag's Essays on the Sacred Language, etc., of the Parsees (Bombay, 1862). 


but it matters not where tlie tent is pitclied, for the bond of union be- 
tween the families, out of which springs the privilege of sharing in the 
rights of the connnunity, is in the blood and not in the local position. 
But as soon as the soil began to be regularly tilled and planted the 
settled cultivator was required, who dwelt, whether free or servile, within 
a certain limited area, whether open or enclosed within walls. The 
inhabitants of such an area constituted a permanently settled community, 
under whatever name it may have been known, and the area itself was 
" a neighbourhood," its obligations being more or less incumbent upon all 
the members of the community within its limits, without any reference 
to their consanguinity. Thus, out of the fixed and settled life of the 
agricultural community arose the tie of " the neighbourhood," in which 
lay the germ of "nationality;" and to the same source may be traced 
the principle of private property in land. Strange as it may api^ear at 
the present time, the principle in question is first observable — at least 
in Western Europe — amongst a class that w^as distinct from and inferior 
to the representatives of the original free community. It would appear 
to have first arisen out of the development of a class connected with 
the land, free, but unprivileged ; and to each of the members of such a 
class, certain rights within a fixed and settled district were at first 
assigned, which may be described as a limited right of occupation, and 
which, in course of time, often took the shape of a fixed amount of land, 
with which all further claims upon the community ceased at once and 
for ever. A general right of occupation in the land that was not thus 
set apart long continued to be the exclusive privilege of the representa- 
tives of the original community — who were not necessarily their actual 
descendants, — until, as time passed on, this vague and general privilege 
was replaced, in their case also, by the grant of land to be permanently 
held as private property with ownership. 

The Ptoman aristocracy, representatives, and in some cases descend- 
ants, of the original community claiming to be the sole Populus Eomanus, 
long continued to remain in the position of a class of occupying land- 
holders rather than of proprietary landowners ; a remark that may be 
extended to the Plebeian of early days, as long as he continued to hold 
the position of a landholder. Two classes only can be distinguished in 
the Twelve Tables — Adsidui and Proletarii, the landholders and the 
landless, — and as fines were then estimated in cattle and sheep, jJccor« 
passing for pecunia, the Eoman Adsiduus, though belonging to a civic 
community, would appear to have followed a pastoral rather than an 
agi'icultural mode of life. Of the Villa, or landed estate of a later age. 


whether rustic or urban, he was as yet ignorant, and a tugurmm and 
hortus, or a small house built upon a little plot of ground that was used 
for garden land, vineyard, or orchard, constituted his Hceredium, the sole 
property in land that he held with ownership. But as his wealth con- 
sisted in the cattle and sheep with which he paid his mulcts when they 
were levied on him, he must have required land for the support of his 
live stock ; and, accordingly, a right of occupying the common pasturage, 
or of depasturing his animals upon it, must have been attached to the 
Hseredium of every Adsiduus. Land may be said to have been at this 
time divided into sacred, public, and tribe land, for it would be difficult 
to point out the existence of any other ; and after the system of coloni- 
zation came into use, the portion of land made over to a colony was cut 
off, as it were, and separated from the public land of the ruling com- 
munity, and the ownership was centred in the offshoot or colony, 
which has been described as a miniature Eome. The ownership of sacred 
land was vested in a deity, whose officiating ministers enjoyed the 
privilege of occupying it, but without proprietary right. Public land 
was conquered land, and its ownership was vested in the State, the privi- 
lege of occupying it, without proprietary right, being confined to the 
privileged members of the community. In the infancy of the Eoman 
Commonwealth the whole of the land in the immediate neighbourhood 
of the city was probably tribe-land, held in joint- occupation by the 
Populus Eomanus of early times ; but as the Commonwealth enlarged 
its boundaries, conquering or incorporating a number of the neighbouring 
communities, a certain portion of the land thus acquired was set apart 
for the, new but unprivileged citizens added to the Commonwealth, or for 
Koman Proletarii, who were, in this manner, converted into Adsidui, the 
remainder lapsing to the State as public land. Within the portion thus 
set apart as tribe-land, of which the ownership would have been vested 
in the tribe (just as the ownership of the land made over to a colony 
was vested in the colonial community), the plebeian Adsiduus would ap- 
pear to have enjoyed a limited right of occupation, or of depasturing his 
stock within a limited area ; a privilege resembling that of the Colonus 
of the same period, and very similar in its character to the unlimited 
right of occupying the public land originally belonging to the Patricians. 
But it was a privilege of occupation and not a right of ownership ; " in 
horto, hperedium," — the proprietary right was limited to the little plot of 
garden- ground on which the house was built, resembling the " toft and 
croft " of the mediaeval period. There is not a trace of any fixed and 
measured portion of land, resembling the hide, having been attached to 


the HEeredium, to pass, with the Jiortus, to the heir. The Hoeredium 
carried with it a privilege of occupation, and of pastoral rather than 
agricultural occupation. Tillage-farmers were not planted upon the 
public land before the Eevolution of the Gracchi, and the tribe- 
land, in early days, was probably only a reflection on a lesser scale of 
the public land, and, like the colony, governed by similar custom. The 
plebeian Adsiduus was a stock-farmer on a small scale, or a corn-growing 
herdsman, rather than a small tillage-farmer, who woiild have had 
no market for his corn. His wealth consisted in his stock, and not in 
his corn, of which he would have only raised enough for his own im- 
mediate consumjDtion, as he had no " overlord " to supply ; and accord- 
ingly most of the larger land-measurements, and standards of capacity, 
used in a later age, were borrowed by the Eomans from corn- growing 

The privilege of occupation was restricted within certain limits by 
the regulations of Licinius, but public land continued to be inalienable 
from the State until a much later period ; and it is difficult to understand 
how private property in land could have been acquired with absolute 
ownership, during the continuance of this restriction, except by purchasing 
Hseredia. The right of occupation within a limited area, that was attached 
to every Hseredium, would have passed with the land when sold ; and, by 
buying up a whole area, a property with absolute (Quiritarian) owner- 
ship would have been acquired in the district, for every right and privi- 
lege once belonging to the little group of plebeian Adsidui — " the neigh- 
bourhood," — would have been centred in the purchaser. So in England, 
during the mediaeval period, if the joint rights of the occupiers of a vill 
or township were centred in one owner, he could do what he liked 
with the land, and it would have exchanged the character of common- 
land held in joint occupation by a little community, for that of a landed 
estate held in absolute ownership by a single proprietor. It may have 
been for some such a cause that the lesser plebeian Adsidui had all but 
disappeared from the tribe-lands in the time of Tiberius Gracchus, and 
at the date of his reforms the privileged families seem to have almost 
succeeded in establishing a title to ownership in the public land from 
lengthened occupation. In consequence of the revolution brought about 
at that period, and the changes subsequently introduced, the system of 
farming the revenues of the State superseded the earlier custom of actual 
occupation, and the public land was planted with small tillage-farmers, 
the agricultural Coloni, who became the types and precursors of the rural 
fiscalini of a later period, and of the Geneats, Bauers, or Husbandmen of 


the middle ages. Thus the Italian yeoman, the lesser Adsiduus who 
fought in the ranks of the early Legion and occupied the tribe-land with 
allodial right, was replaced by the Italian husbandman, who was planted 
on the public land as the cultivator employed by the State, and was 
usually a Vectigalian, or customary tenant; for vcctigal originally answered 
to the old English woxdi feorm, or rent paid in kind, until it was more or 
less commuted for rent paid in money. The Roman magnate, no longer 
an occupant of the public land which he left to the Coloni, dwelt upon 
his urban villa or private property cultivated by slave labour, and often 
acted as a middleman between the State and the tenantry of the State, 
becoming answerable to the former for the fixed amount of rent imposed 
upon the Coloni, and extracting from the latter all that he could exact 
in addition. The public land ceased from about this period to be inalien- 
able, but as the power of the Censors over it seems to have been limited 
to the Locatio (to letting it), land that was alienated and sold would ap- 
pear to have been known for a certain time as Ager Queestorius — as if a 
sale by the officials of the Senate, and thus made under the authority of 
the Senate, was requisite to give a secure and satisfactory title to the 
purchaser. All such distinctions, however, vanished after every right 
and privilege was centred in the sole representative of the State, the 
Emperor. Thus in course of time, and during the lapse of many genera- 
tions, the members of the Eoman aristocracy gradually exchanged the 
somewhat unsettled character of a privileged occupying class, in which 
many of the features incidental to the early pastoral community are 
traceable, for that of a class of fixed and stationary landowners, and an 
intermediate class grew up in connexion with the public land, or the 
property once occupied in common by the members or representatives of 
the early community. The servant of the State was superior to the 
servant of an individual member of the State, for the cultivator upon 
a private property was a slave, whilst the cultivator on the public land 
was a freeman, though unprivileged, — originally a customary tenant-at- 
will, or with a lease, until the principle of Emphyteusis was acknowledged, 
and lengthened occupation was allowed to give him a right of hereditary 
tenancy in the land he cultivated, from which he was irremoveable 
as long as he acquitted himseK of the obligations of his tenure.'^ 

In the description of the Germans left by Tacitus, the germs of many 
of the institutions existing in a much later stage of society seem to be 
more or less traceable. Two classes alone can be distinguished in con- 

^ The autliorities for tlie deductions I liave drawn will be found further on, under 
tlie head of "E.omu." 


nexion with the land, as in most early societies of a similar character, 
-^the absolutely free and the unfree. Ignorant of the advantages to he 
derived from orchard, garden-land, or vineyard, and even of the separate 
meadow, close, or gmrs-tun, in which were kept in after times the oxen 
used in agriculture, the German freeman followed a pastoral life, and 
was essentially a corn-growing herdsman, delighting in the numbers of 
his cattle, his sole and favourite source of wealth — " solse et gratissimse 
opes." Eestless alike and indolent, when not engaged in war or hunting, 
he passed his time in idleness, and in after times, accordingly, the 
Lindisfarne Glossarist explains the Paradise of Scripture as " a place in 
which no labour is enforced." Field-work, when he had no slaves, he 
left tc the women of his family, or to the members incapacitated by age 
or infiimity from serving in war. The tie of kindred was alone acknow- 
ledged by the members of the community, for the " Hundred " warriors 
contributed from every Pagus were ranged by families and kins, and not 
by chance or arbitrary selection — " nee fortuita conglobatio . . . sed 
familise et propinquitates." The bond of neighbourhood was as yet com- 
paratively unknown, for the freemen dwelt apart from each other, " ut 
fons, ut campus, ut nemus placuit," and were not collected into villages. 
Each had his separate house, with an open space around it, wdiich 
he had not yet learned to utilize — " suam quisque domum spatio cir- 
cumdat," — just as in later days the freeholder dwelt upon his own 
" hedged off" property, and apart from the Geneats, or customary tenants 
of the village. No tax was levied on the freemen, but it was usual for 
every member of a community to offer, of his own accord (" ultro et 
viritim "), a gift of cattle and corn to his Pmicep.s,— his ealdor, or his 
cyning, — and the custom seems to have been perpetuated in the " night's 
feorm " long attached to frank-tenure, and in the feudal aid of a some- 
what later period. As the freeman's household was strictly limited to 
his own family, he had no employment for domestic servants ; and, 
accordingly, every member of the unfree class dwelt in his own liomc, 
reminding Tacitus of the Eoman husbandman (colonus), and supplying 
the corn, cattle, and clothing his lord required from him, — the Hlaford- 
feorm, or Ptefection, of later days, — thus being the representative of a 
servile agricultural class, solely employed in cultivating the soil. The 
land belonging to the community, or confederacy, resembled the Agar 
Occupatorius of early Eome in certain points ; for it was not held in 
private ownership, but possessed in common by the privileged free class, 
though not assigned among them in equal portions ; and its extent was 
so great that the whole of it was never occupied at the same time. The 


Pagus, in other words, covered so wide a surface, that the Pagenses only 
occupied a portion of it, or as much as was required, apparently, for raising 
corn for their immediate consumption, leaving the remainder waste as 
pasturage for the support of their sole and favourite source of wealth, 
their numerous flocks and herds. The arable was changed from year to 
year, — " arva per annos mutant, et superest ager ; " — for with abundance 
of space there was not the same necessity for the rotation of crop and 
fallow, and the field or ploughland set apart permanently for raising 
corn, as in the more settled system of husbandry, followed at a later 
period. A very similar rude system of cultivation seems to have sub- 
sequently prevailed in every part of England, in which land was held by 
the tenure of Cornage, or by the payment of rent in cattle, and where 
the Gafol-pcning was not levied upon the fixed and measured portion of 
arable land. The vestiges of such a system, indeed, were long traceable 
in some of the western districts, in which the " common field " of arable 
was unknown, and a separate portion of pasturage was set apart to be 
ploughed up every two years. The German stored away his corn in a 
pit or cave dug in the ground, and plastered over with a rude cement, 
and he often sought refuge in his underground storehouse from the 
severity of the cold, and occasionally from the pursuit of his foe. His 
secret hiding-place was the only "fenced city" with which he was 
acquainted, and he would not have appreciated the use of a permanent 
building like a barn, which would have at once pointed out to his enemy 
the place in which he was accustomed to store up his corn.^ 

As soon as the land in the immediate neighbourhood, or within easy 
distance, of the temporary settlement was exhausted for the time by 
tillage, it seems to have been abandoned to resume its original character 
of pasturage, a different portion of the Pagus was similarly settled, and 
thus, after the lapse of a few years, the whole of it would be occupied 
" per vices," or in turns. " Without land, or home, or care of any sort, 
wherever they come, there they find their maintenance," — such is the 
description of the Chatti left by Tacitus ; and the unsettled character of 
the German occupation of the land, their partiality to flocks and herds, 
and the little attention they paid to agriculture, the rude and fragile 
structure of their dwellings, and their custom of moving about with 
their families in carts, may have induced Strabo to compare them with 
the Nomads. Centuries passed away before " the house " was large 
enough to receive a number of comites, or contain the stores necessary 
for their support, and the magnate, accordingly, long continued to migrate 

1 Tac. Germ. 5, 8, 14, 15, 16, 25, 26. 


amongst his vills in a similar semi-nomadic manner, remaining a certain 
number of nights in each of them, and receiving feorm, or refection, until 
the means of supporting him and his followers were temporarily exhausted. 
The extent of land required for the German settlement was calculated " pro 
numero cultorum'' or in proportion to the number of the actual tillers 
of the soil, comprising the whole of the unfree cultivating class, with 
the women, the aged, and the feeble amongst the poorer freemen ; and 
out of such a custom may have arisen the measurement to which Beda 
gives the Latin name of " terra familite," or the amount of land allotted 
to the support of a family. As soon as the requisite number of " terra? 
familiae" was ascertained, the extent of land required was occupied 
" ab universis," or by the whole community alike, both free and unfree, 
and divided " inter se, secundum dignationem," or amongst the freemen, 
according to their position. " Epulse . . . pro stipendio," and the 
wealthy Princeps, who supported a numerous comitatus, must have 
necessarily required a larger amount of arable land for his servile 
cultivators, and of pasturage for his live stock, than the family of the 
lesser freeman, which was supported by the labour of its own members. 
The whole extent of country over which the community or confederacy 
could exercise a right of occupation, seems to have been often known in 
early days as the ^thcl ; for when " Farre the priest " wrote his glosses 
on the Gospels, he could only render " patria sua " by " cethcl his." The 
Fatherland in those days was literally the father's land, and nationality, 
or rather the feeling out of which it subsequently arose, was limited to 
the kindred and the district until a much later period than is generally 
supposed. Hence every member of the free community was an iEtheling, 
Adaling, or Odaller ; but his allodial right, like that of the early Eoman 
Adsiduus, was originally a privilege of occupation rather than an owner- 
ship in any portion of the land. The Folcland was the asthel of tlie 
English king ; his right of occupying it, and of letting it out in lams, 
was undisputed and without a limit ; but for a permanent appropria- 
tion, or an alienation in perpetuity of any part of it, a Boc or charter 
was necessary, requiring the consent of the leading members of the 
community. The children of the free member of the community, or 
his next of kin, were the heirs of his personality in the time of 
Tacitus, — "et nullum testamentum," — for no will was required when 
everything passed by tke custom that grew,, in course of time, to be 
known as "Land-right."^ 

1 Tac. Germ. 20, 26, .31 ; Strabo, L. 7, p. 44G (cd. Amsterdam, 1707). To inc it ap- 
pears extremely difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile the descriptions left by Tacitus 


But, even in the days of Tacitus, the German often exchanged the 
position of an Adaling for that of a Comes (Gasind or Gesith), and thus 
became a member of a Comitatus, or Gasindschaft ; and the represen- 
tatives of this class were known in after times, amongst the Angles, as 
Gesithcundmen instead of ^thelings, for the application of the latter 
name was restricted to the families in whom the ownership of the land 
was supposed to be vested. The Gasindschaft was essentially military, 
and was supported by the wealthy Adaling whom its members followed, 
who must, accordingly, have been the possessor of a numerous body of ser- 
vile cultivators, to supply the epulce that stood in the place of stipcndium ; 
and thus arose, in course of time, the two distinct and separate classes 
that subsequently characterized the Gasindschaft, the one essentially 
military and always free, the other originally servile, precursors respec- 
tively of the Ritterschaft and BauerscJiaft of a later age. The fighting 
man, in return for his military service, had a right to his E2ndce or pay, 
which in course of time assumed the shape of a Isen or benefice of land ; 
the cultivator, in return for his agricultural service, was entitled to his 
" Sedes et Penates," which, in a more settled stage of society, took the . 
form of a house, with the privilege of sharing in the common-land of the 
district or neighbourhood, with the customary obligations entailed upon 
such a holding. After the servile cultivator was enfranchised, or re- 
placed by a freeman, an intermediate class grew up in connexion with 
the land," free within the limits of the district within which they 
enjoyed the privilege of joint-occupation, and irremoveable from it, but 
bound by the customary obligations of the original servile tenure. They 
were free of the neighbourhood, but not free of the realm, and must not 
be confounded (as they are occasionally) with the representatives of the 
full-free Adalings. The original right of occupying the extent of 
common-land belonging to the community, upon which the mihtary and 
cultivating classes of the Gasindschaft were temporarily settled, was 
vested solely in the Adaling and his kindred, and the leading member 
amongst his descendants would have been known as the head of the 
lineage, the Gyning or king. Hence the right of ownership in the land, 
and the duty of distributing it in fixed but unequal portions, according 
to the number of families to be supported, a privilege and an obligation 
which the principle of the community vested in its impalpable self, the 
principle of the Gasindschaft centred in its supreme head ; but every free 

and Strabo of the GermaDS, with the theory representing them as an agricultural, and 
therefore necessarily a settled, race, living in village communities from time imme- 


member of it was as mAich entitled to his share, according to his position, 
as was the Adaling or free member of the community. It was not alto- 
gether a " legal fiction," therefore, to vest the original ownership of tlie 
soil in the sovereign, when the kingdom had been founded upon and 
grown out of a Gasindschaft. The " fiction " consisted in confounding 
the principle of the Teutonic Gasindschaft, which was simply a free 
community, with a palpable instead of an impalpable supreme head, 
with the principle of imperial Eome, " quod principi placet, legis habet 
vigorem;" thus ignoring the obligations entailed upon the Teutonic 
king, and gradually converting him into an absolute and despotic 
monarch. Some of the greater German confederacies w^ould appear to 
have been often made up of Communities and Gasindschafts, the leaders 
of the latter appearing in a double character as it were, — Principes 
(Fiirsten) and Ealdors in their relation towards the Adalings of the com- 
munity. Kings in their relation towards their own Gasindschaft.-^ 

In the case of one of the greatest of these confederacies, the Saxon, 
it may be vaguely gathered from Beda that, in his time, they were under 
the rule of Ealdermen, one of whom- was chosen in time of war to com- 
mand, as a Hcrctoga ; relinquishing his supreme authority at the close of 
the war, and returning to his original position of equality with the other 
Ealdermen. After the dissolution of the Saxon Confederacy — the Sax- 
Note that was to be abjured by every Christian convert together with 
Thor and Woden — and the incorporation of its members into the king- 
dom of the Franks, only two classes can be clearly distinguished in the 
Lex Saxomim, the Nobiles and Liti, or Adalings and Ltets (Lassen), the 
free members of the community and the unfree cultivators with whom 
Tacitus was familiar, the former reckoned at twelve times the valuation 
of the latter, or in the old proportion once existing in England between 
the Twelfhyndman and the Wealh. The Liber, or Eriling, can only be 

^ The principle, extracted from Justinian's Institutes, " quod principi placet legis liabet 
vigorem," is only hinted at in the Prologue to Glanville, but Thornton, Bracton, and 
Fleta incorporate it in the body of their works, adopting it, and trying to explain it 
away in a very singidar manner. It was popular with several of the English kings, ac- 
cording to Fortescue, who ascribes much of the misery of France in his time to the ]>re- 
valence of a Code by which a noble might be tried for his life at the will of the King, 
put in a sack by the Provost-Marshal, and droM^ned without power of appealing to " the 
judgment of his peers." After the destruction of the English Baronage in the Wars of 
the Poses, Prerogative, under its Eoman not its Feudal form, flourished under the 
Tudors and the Stuarts ; but no clear conception can be formed of the real character of 
Feudalism, or the system of military tenure and free-service, without keeping in view 
the difference between the two s])ecies of Prerogative. Those wlio are curious on the 
subject will find, by comparing the Sachscnspienel with the old Lihcr ile Btncfic'ds, that 
Laud-recht and Lchen-recht were, in the most essential points, identical. 


recognised in the " Liber homo sub tutela nobilis," or under the patron- 
age of a superior, the Hlaford-socn of the island Saxons.^ If driven 
from the country, he might offer his land to his next of kin, and, if the 
latter declined to purchase it, to his Tutor (patron), or to the superior 
placed over him by the king ; and if his lord refused the land, he might 
sell it to any purchaser. Thus he was a landholder, but an irremoveable 
and hereditary tenant of his land, rather than a proprietor ; for the 
ownership was clearly vested in his lord, or in the king who appointed 
a superior over him, his next of kin enjoying the right of succeeding 
to the hereditary tenancy, with the privilege of pre-emption if the land 
was to be sold. His valuation, however, is never alluded to in the Code 
of Saxon laws, which only treats of the obligations and privileges of the 
Adalings — for the Lsets were in a certain sense their property or 
" chattels" — and the Friling, as a free dependant under the protection 
of a superior, had no pretensions to belong to the community of which 
his superior was a member. His position in some respects resembled 
that of the free Eoman client who was provided for by his patron, and 
served in the Legion, in the early days in which the Patricians consti- 
tuted the sole Populus Eomaniis ; for the Saxon Friling was probably 
the Cnecht, or military follower of his lord, though not after the fashion 
of the later feudal times ; and he may be recognised, apparently, in the 
opening years of the tenth century, when Henry the Fowler laid the 
foundation of the Burgher class, by collecting the milites agrarii into 
walled towns.^ The Miles agrarius of Old Saxony seems to have been 
the equivalent of the Haistaldus amongst the Franks, who was occasion- 
ally moved into a walled town in a similar manner, but at rather an 
earlier period. The Haistaldus was evidently a Hager-staller, the occu- 
pant of a " hedged off," or separate property, and apparently the fore- 
runner of the Saxon Hdgerman of later days, living by Hiiger-recht, and 
not included amongst the ordinary Bauers of the Dorf, or liable to their 
customary obligations. The Hagerman was an Erhzinsman, or hereditary 
tenant-at-rent, irremoveable as long as he fulfilled the obligations of his 
hereditary tenancy, which he could part with in the same manner as the 
Friling of the Lex Saxonum, and under very similar conditions. In short, 
with due allowance for the different era in which he lived, the Saxon 
Hagerman appears to have been the true representative of the Friling. 

Another glimpse of the state of Saxony, in an era some three cen- 
turies later than the reign of Henry the Fowler, is obtained in the Sachsen- 
spiegel, in which the Adalings are clearly traceable in the "Flirsten 

^ Lex. Sax. xvi. 2 Widukind, i. 35, 


Freyherren, and Schoppenbar Frey-leute," who continued to be nominally 
assessed at the old wergild of 1440 solidi, reckoned as 18 lbs., and at the old 
manbote of 120 solidi, or 30 shillings, the Ruoda of the Lex Saxomtm. 
Before this time a number of the more important members of the class 
had evidently been enrolled in the ranks of the feudal nobility, and their 
manbote was "reckoned in gold" — the mark of the noble by service. 
They had exchanged the position of Leudes, or members of a Community, 
for that of Antrustions, and thus become members of a Gasindschaft of 
which the supreme head was the Kaisar ; whilst the remainder, the 
Schoppenbar Frey-leute, represented the free community of the Reich, or 
realm, as judices regis supplying the jury in the highest courts held 
" under the king's ban," in which the wite was " the king's wite " of sixty 
shillings, and alone entitled to act as hereditary judges. " No man can 
have a Gcricht as a lehen except a Schoppenbar freeman, who does fealty 
with freeman's right to the king." The Bauermeister, who could only 
punish " in hair and hide," was chosen from a totally different class, and 
could take no notice of offences committed in the night, which could 
only be dealt with by the Bclchente Gograf, who was enfeoffed by the 
Graf. Halsgericht, or jurisdiction in cases of life and death, involving 
all thefts of property worth more than three shillings, belonged to the 
Schoppenbar freemen alone. Such was the sole service (Dienst) by 
which they held their lands, and the leading members of the class were 
known as Keichs-Schoppen, inheriting and bequeathing their Schoppen- 
stuhl, or hereditary court, to the eldest son or nearest heir-male, and in 
heathen times they would probably have been known amongst the 
Northmen as Godrs. If the Schoppenbar freemen died out in a district 
the Kaisar alone could replace them, in order that the court " under the 
king's ban" might be held ; but no one but a Eeich's Dienstman (king's- 
thegn) could be converted into a Schoppenbar-freeman, and he was to 
be provided with property enough to sustain his position, either vacant 
Schoppcn-eigen, or Reich' s-gute — land that was not liable to the obliga- 
tions of base-tenure.'^ 

Next in order to the Schoppenbar freemen were the Bauergiilden, 
the Pfleghaftige-leute, and all who were bound to attend the court of the 
Schuldheiss, in which the wite paid by the Bauergiilden was eight 
shillings ; or the whole of the landholding class of inferior standing, 
who, with the free Landsessen, or freemen without property in land, 
were reckoned at half the valuation of the representatives of the Adal- 
ings. The Bauergiilden appear to have been superior to the Pfleghaftige- 

» Sachsenspierjel, Bk. i. A. 5, 8, 59 ; Bk. ii. A. 13 ; Bk. iii. A. 26, 45, 54, 81. 


leute, as a considerable amount of landed property must have occasion- 
ally been in the possession of members of this class ; for if one of them 
died without heirs, his inheritance, if amounting to less than three hufen, 
lapsed to the Schuldheissdom, if to less than thirty to the Grafschaft, 
and if to more it fell to the Reich. They were Zinsmen, or only liable 
to rent without customary service, and the proprietor of an erhzinsgut, or 
hereditary property held by payment of rent, had a right to quarry, 
sink pits, fell timber, and clear land, witliin the limits of his property 
without demanding leave from his superior, privileges not belonging to 
the tenant of an ordinary zinsgut. Thus, though the ownership of the 
land they held was vested in the Kaisar, or in their immediate overlord, 
they were irremoveable as long as they performed the obligations of their 
tenure, which, as in the case of Burgess-tenure, was neither gentle, nor 
base, but free — the tenure neither of the Adaling nor of the La3t, but of 
the Friliug ; and the Bauergiilden of the Sachsenspiegel were evidently 
the true representatives of the Frilings of the Lccc Saxonum., and members 
of the same class as the Milites Agrarii removed by Henry the Fowler 
into walled towns, and the Hagermen who were only liable to the juris- 
diction of their own Hager-gerichter. The Pfleghaftige-leute seem to 
have been originally Frilings planted on land held by base tenure, free 
representatives of the Lasts, or servile cultivators of an earlier period, 
irremoveable from the land they cultivated, but bound by the obligations 
of customary tenure. Like the early English Geneats, or sharers in the 
vill, they held the common-land of the Dorf in hereditary joint-occupa- 
tion, representing the village community, or villani, of the age, and their 
rights were at this time strictly protected. " He who ploughs, digs up, 
or encloses the common arable of his Bauers, on complaint of the Bauer- 
meister shall pay three shillings, and if he carries his cause to the higher 
courts and fails, he shall pay thirty shillings, and make reparation for the 
damage done to the common arable, with hote." A similar reparation 
was demanded from a Dorfschaft, or village community, if guilty of a 
similar offence. The FroJm-botc, sometimes known as the Gericht's 
cnecht, and apparently the equivalent of the Summoner or Apparitor of 
the Welsh Laws, might be chosen by the Piichter and Schoppen from 
this class, when his inanhotc was immediately doubled ; but he was 
bound to be in the possession of at least three hufen, in order, apparently, 
to release him from the obhgations entailed upon the ordinary member 
of a Dorfschaft, and to place him above the jurisdiction of the Bauer- 
meister. Three hufen-lands represented the smallest amount of pro- 
perty entitling the holder to employ a herdsman of his own. The cattle 


of the ordinary Bauer were under the charge of the " common herdsman," 
his arable land lay in the " common field," and his holding seems to 
have been generally limited to the Dorf-hufe of two hufen, or to the 
Haker-hufe of half that amount. The free Landsessen, " who come and 
go guestwise in the land, and have no landed property," were bound to 
attend in the Gografs Court, in which the wite was a shilling ; and of 
the rights of the Lsets no mention is made, for they were probably 
entirely dependent on their lords, and it would be long before a village 
community of this description would be enfranchised from a condition 
of servitude. The actual labourers were a servile class, known as Day 
workers, the " Journeyman," whether in a town or in the rural districts, 
being still numbered amongst the unfree. His bote was a pitchfork and 
a pair of woollen gloves (the mufflas of King Henry's Laws) and his 
wergild a Bergful of wheat, so slight was the estimation in which he was 

Gentle tenure, Frank tenure, Base tenure — in general terms such 
may be said to have been the systems of land-tenure in the age in which 
the Sachsenspiegel was compiled, the holders in frank-tenure jealously 
resisting any attempt at converting them into base-tenants. A little 
before the era of the Sachsenspiegel, a number of Saxon emigrants settled 
in Transylvania, where their descendants are still existing as a distinct 
and separate people at the present day. They dwell in " Seats," or 
communities, each man possessing his own land as a small landed pro- 
prietor rather than as a mere cultivator of the soil or husbandman ; and 
the union of all the Seats forms one political body, known as " the Saxon 
Nation." The land they occupy is called " the king's land," for they 
acknowledge no superior except " the King of Hungary," and his 
appointed deputy their Graf ; some of their oldest Statutes providing 
against the settlement of any Hungarian lord within the hmits of the 

1 8.S. Bk. i. A. 54 ; Bk. ii. A. 54 ; Bk. iii. A. 45, 64, 80, 86. In many parts of West- 
phalia, whicli may be looked upon as ])eculiarly the land in which the usages of Old 
Saxony may be supposed to linger, large detached farm-hoiises will be found iu the 
place of villages. The occupiers have generally inherited their properties as eldest sons, 
and usually bequeath them to their eldest sons, providing in other ways for the rest of 
the family. They are only liable to the payment of an annual-rent, generally a tenth 
of the produce, and are apt to cling to the old custom of paying in kind. Iu every other 
respect they are owners of their properties, irremoveable fee-farmers as it were, repre- 
senting apparently the Erbzinsmen of the Sachsenspiegel, the Frilings of Old Saxony, 
living apart like the Germans in the age of Tacitus, and ranking as a class above the 
ordinary Bauers of a Dorf, representatives of the Lretic community of early days. 
Similar large detached homesteads, unconnected with any village-community, will be 
found in Norway, i)assing in general to the eldest son, whilst the rest of the family is 
provided for as in Westphalia. 


district originally occupied by, or made over to, the Saxon Nation, 
These Transylvanian Saxons probably present the nearest approach in 
tlie present time to the free community of the rural districts as it once 
existed in Germany, and as it was often in the course of the tenth cen- 
tury enclosed within walls, and converted into a free burgh — only 
acknowledging the authority of the sovereign and his deputy, whether 
Graf or Burgraf, and jealously tenacious of any attempt at intruding a 
feudal overlord within their boundaries ; a proceeding that would have led 
eventually to the conversion of the Schoppenbar-freeman, free-Zinsman, 
or free-Burgher more or less into Pfleghaftige-leute. Out of an attempt 
of this description arose the original confederation of the Waldstatten, 
or Forest Cantons of Switzerland. The area of German-speaking Swit- 
zerland once formed part of Suabia, and was occupied by a population of 
the same description as will be found in the pages of the Sachsenspiegel, 
in which it is laid down that, except in crhe and ortel, Schwabische-recht 
and Sachsische-recht were identical. The members of the Waldstatten 
— who would have been indignant at the modern theory converting them 
into the mere boors, or peasants, with whom they refused to be confounded 
— claimed to belong to the free community of Suabia, owning no superior 
except " the German king," to whom they appealed, though in vain (for 
at this time he was a nonentity), when Albert of Austria, by placing 
"overlords" amongst them, sought to convert them into Pileghaf- 
tige-leute in dependence on the House of Hapsburg. By becoming 
" Eidgenossen " the Swiss severed their connexion with Germany, 
for all who " swear together with oaths separate themselves from 
the Kaisar and the Eeich, and offend against the Empire;" but 
they continued to retain the old Germanic constitution ; for though 
the Graf disappeared with his master, every State in the early confedera- 
tion was still reckoned as a Canton, or Hundred, in which the supreme 
magistrate was the Schuldheiss. In every settled district of old Germany 
within the Altmark, in which the king's ban was held — and Suabian 
Switzerland would once have answered to this description — the Graf 
would have been found, and the Schoppen, with the Schuldheiss, or his 
equivalent, the Zentgraf. In Eranconia, and in the Ehenish Palatinate, 
the Schoppen and the Schuldheissdom seem to have been known as the 
Zent-schoppen and the Zentgrafscliaft,the Schuldheiss was replaced by the 
Zentgraf, or Zent-richter, and his jurisdiction was called his Zentgericht, 
telling of the institution of the Zent, or Hundred, amongst the Eastern 
Franks. The Zentgraf would therefore have been found apparently 
amongst the Franks, but an Adaling could only be judged by his equal 


by birth belonging to the same race, for it was an axiom of old Ger- 
manic law that " the Schoppenbar freeman can sit in judgment on any 
man, but in cases touching his life, his property, or his honour, none can 
sit in judgment on the SchopjDenbar freeman except his equal by birth." 
Hence, after the Hundred was introduced, by the authority of the King 
of the Franks, into the dependencies of his kingdom, the Graf, who 
was probably in early times a Frank by birth, could not have sat in 
judgment upon Adalings of a different race ; and accordingly, as " no 
Graf, holding a court under the king's ban, can hold it rightly without 
his Schuldheiss," and as " no man can be Schuldheiss unless he is free, 
and horn in the land in which lies his Schuldheissdom and Gericht," in 
Saxony, Suabia, and Bavaria, the native-born, hereditary Schuldheiss 
seems to have stood in the place of the Zentgraf. The distinction, how- 
ever, may have been gradually disappearing in the thirteenth century, 
for in the enumeration of " the lords of the Saxon-land" ten of the 
Eeichs-Schoppeu are credited with a Suabian descent. No allusion at 
all is made to them in the catalogue of the " lords of Thuringen," for the 
ruling community in that quarter, descendants or representatives of the 
" Angles and Werns " living by Salic Law, would have been classed 
amongst the Franks.^ 

Before the close of the century in which the Sachsenspiegel was com- 
piled the last of the great imperial families of Germany disappeared for 
ever, and the various classes, whose separate existence depended upon 
the support they were accustomed to receive from a powerful German 
king, are lost sight of in the subsequent confusion. The Schoppen dis- 
appeared from the rural districts, and their very name is often supposed to 
have been confined to the magistrates of a free burgh, the Echevins, who 
were merely Schoppen removed from the rural districts into walled towns. 
Most of the imperial property was dissipated in the lavish grants of land 
with which rival claimants to the empire bought, or requited, the services 
of the greater German princes; and thus the classes, that had once 
acknowledged the superiority of the Head of the empire alone, passed 
under the jurisdiction of its feudal chiefs, and lived by Lehen-recht, whilst 
Land-recht was only retained behind the sheltering walls of the greater 
civic communities. The Sachsenspiegel, about the same time, and other 
similar compilations of German Land-recht, were placed under papal ban, 
in consequence of certain unwelcome truths they contained on the subject 
of papal supremacy in the matter of civil rights. But the recollection of 
the old German Land-recht, that had once been the " king's law" amongst 

1 ,S'.<S'. Bk. i. A. 19, 59 ; Bk. ii. A. 1, 12 ; Bk. iii. A. 52, Gl. 



the free communities of the rural districts and the burghs, never died out 
entirely, and, in the fifteenth century, when Faust-recht, or the rule of 
lawlessness, was at its height, it was revived in the famous tribunal of 
the Vehni, in which the proceedings were necessarily secret, as they were 
held under the ban of the Church. " A Schoppenbar freeman may sit 
in judgment upon any man/' and in the ranks of the feudal nobility, in 
the fifteenth century, would have been found the descendants and the 
representatives of the Eeichs-schoppen of an earlier date, in whom the 
right of a Schoppen-stuhl, or of holding and judging in a court with 
Halsgericht, or jurisdiction over life and limb, would have been here- 
ditary.^ The citation to the tribunal of the Vehm was fixed upon the 
door or gateway, just as the Frolm-bote used, in certain cases, to mark a 
cross upon a man's door with the judgment of the Eichter and Schoppen. 
The accused was summoned by the Bodes of the Vehm to attend at " the 
king's Court," which was to be held by the Frei-graf, at the Frei-stuhl, 
of the district named in the citation ; and the Court in which the Graf, the 
Schuldheiss, and the Schoppen judged in all criminal cases was held at the 
hereditary Schoppen-stuhl " under the king's ban." If a man neglected 
to attend such a court, after having been three times summoned, he was 
put to the ban in the fourth court without further ceremony ; and the 
accused who omitted to answer before the Frei-graf of the Vehm, after 
the third citation, was condemned in his absence — hanging being the 
mode of punishing the criminal in either case when death was decreed. 
The tribunal of the Vehm met " on the red earth," or in the open air, 
and not within walls ; it was held on a mound, or moot-hill, or under a 
tree, and the very word used in the Sachsenspiegel for assembling a 
court, or Thing — " gehagen," to hedge around, or encircle, in the sense 
of our English expression, " make a ring" — seems to point to a similar 
custom of meeting in the open air. It is still customary in the Cinque 
Ports to choose certain functionaries in an open field instead of in the 
town-hall, and Magna Charta was signed upon Eunnymede, and not 
within walls or in a castle hall. Western Germany, and particularly 
Westphalia, was the seat of the Vehmic tribunals, for the law of old was 
different in the Mark and in the Gau, and the Eeich's-schoppen would 
not have been found beyond the Altmark. The very name of Vehm, 
which, according to the best authority (Grimm), means " Punishment," 

1 " Over the fourth hand in Heerschild from the king shtall no Lehen descend, in 
which there is a Gericht over hals and hand, except only the Schuldheissdom in a 
county ; for no Graf can hold a lawful court without the Schuldheiss." — S.S. Bk. iii. 
A. 52. Thus there was an especial provision for perpetuating the hereditary character 
of the judge who administered justice " under the king's ban." 


seems to point to the revival of the obsolete jurisdiction of the old 
" courts under the king's ban'' in criminal cases alone, for none others 
were ever brought before the tribunal of the Vehm. 

The nearest approach in modern Europe to the subordinate agricul- 
tural community of Laetic, or servile, cultivators as it may have existed 
in various quarters under the dominant Adalings or Gesithcundmen, is 
traceable in Russia, where, before the recent abolition of serfdom, the 
organization of the land may be described substantially as follows. A 
certain portion, usually a third, of every manor, whether it was the pro- 
perty of the Crown or of a private landowner, was set apart as the 
demesne or Inland of the lord, the remainder, corresponding with the 
Outland, belonging to the village community. For centuries the will of 
the lord alone decided upon the portions thus set apart respectively for 
the demesne and for the community, which might be exchanged on the 
occasion of a re-allotment at his pleasure ; the sole rule in force, at the 
abolition of serfdom, rendering it imperative that every peasant house- 
holder should receive at least four and a half Degatines (or twelve statute 
acres) for the maintenance of his family. The Inland was entirely cul- 
tivated by the members of the community, whose service was at will ; and 
though this service was usually given on three days in the week, and 
every day in harvest time, it might be demanded at any time when the 
lord required it, unless he chose to commute it for olroc — a money pay- 
ment or rent. The community, in short, was entirely dependent on the 
lord, who was supposed, on the other hand, to be bound to take charge 
of its members in sickness or distress, like any other live-stock on his 
estate ; but the various gradations between the full-free and the abso- 
lutely servile, wliich would have been found at a certain period in Western 
and Central Europe, might have been looked for in vain in Eussia. The 
individual possessions of the member of a village community were 
limited to a house and garden, with his stock and other personal pro- 
perty, whilst all the rest of the Outland was held in common and in 
joint occupation, subject to re-allotment, usually every nine years, on 
which occasion every new household put in a claim to a share. The 
arable was divided, as seems to have been usually the case in all similar 
communities, into narrow strips of land, varying from three to six 
fathoms in breadth, and from a hundred to five hundred fathoms in 
length (or between a dec^atine and a tenth of that amount), which were 
distributed by lot, so that no one necessarily, after a re- allotment, held 
the same portion as before. The possibility of acquiring an actual pro- 
perty in the land, arising out of lengthened occupation, would appear 


to have been thus avoided. Woods, pastures, fisheries, and every other 
species of property in the Outland, were enjoyed in common ; and 
wherever there was a superabundance of land, which was more par- 
ticularly the case upon the property of the Crown, all beyond a 
certain definite amount lay fallow as reserve-land, and was occasionally 
let out on lease. The lord would thus appear, in addition to his tliird 
of the land in occupation, to have enjoyed the privilege of availing 
himself of all the land that was not required for the actual use of the 
village community dependent upon him ; whilst the wealthier members of 
the community would have availed themselves of the same opportunity 
for increasing their personal property, by the employment of their surplus 
capital and stock. Allotments were made, either in accordance with 
the number of persons in the community, — in which case each father of a 
family received an amount of land calculated upon the numbers of his 
household, — or by Tyaglos. The Tyaglo, answering in early times to a 
certain number of persons, usually from three to five, latterly came to 
mean a married couple with children who were not grown up ; and 
when several lived together, as in the case of a father and his married 
sons, it was known as a double, threefold, or fourfold Tyaglo, according 
to the circumstances of the case. The internal affairs of the community 
were left entirely to its members, and were regulated by its elders under 
a Starosta, or senior, a decision, to be final and binding upon the com- 
munity, requiring the consent of two-thirds of all the members. The 
peasant might quit his village for a town, with the permission of his 
lord, continuing to pay obroc during his absence, in the place of his 
actual service ; and if he prospered in trade, the amount of obroc 
demanded from him was occasionally very large. As soon as he became 
a townsman he was necessarily enrolled in a Tsek, an association of 
artisans or traders, under a Starosta, though, by doing so, he was not 
obliged to follow any particular calling. It was simply the perpetuation 
of the custom of the rural districts under a civic form. A number of Tseks, 
under a supreme Starosta, constituted an Artel, which was answerable, 
up to a certain point, for each of its members, regulating the wages for 
which they worked, and dividing the profits, which seem to have repre- 
sented, as it were, the land of the village, and were similarly held in com- 
mon. During his life in a town, however, the native-right of the peasant in 
his own locality was only in abeyance ; for he might return at any moment 
to his village, and claim his share in the land at the next re-allotment.-^ 
In the Eussian peasant, therefore, before his recent emancipation, 

^ My aiitliority is Eckhardt. 


might have been seen the equivalent of the Laet amongst the Germans 
of a thousand years ago, little, if at all, in advance of the servile culti- 
vator of the days of Tacitus, who was left in the undisturbed occupation 
of his " Sedes et Penates" as long as he fulfilled the bidding of his lord 
in all that was required of him. The reason must be sought for in the 
history of Eussia in the past. Vladimir, the great-grandson of Eurik, 
and the first of his descendants who embraced Christianity, assumed the 
title of. "Veliki Knez," or Grand Prince, and dying in 1015, is supposed 
to have bequeathed his dominions between his eleven sons and a nephew. 
Before the close of the same century the supremacy had passed from the 
elder branch of the family, ruling at Novgorod, to Andrew Knez of 
Vladimir, or White Eussia, the ancestor of the Grand-Dukes of Moscow. 
The battle of Kalka was fought in 1223, and from that time forward, 
down to the close of the fifteenth century, Eussia was under the rule of 
the Tartars. In the age in which the oldest Eussian legal document 
was in force, the " Pravda Eusskaya," which is supposed to have been in 
existence in the early period of Eussian Christianity, corporal punish- 
ment is said to have been unknown ; in other words, before the inroad 
of the Tartars there would appear to have been a free class in Eussia, 
as in Western Europe, with a code ignoring a punishment confined to 
the servile classes. Two centuries and a half of Tartar thraldom must 
have obliterated the recollection of such a class, if it ever existed ; for 
when the leading Eussian Knez, the reigning Duke, was bound to find 
his way once every year to the citadel of Moscow, and in the presence 
of the Golden Horde, on foot, bareheaded, and with his cap filled to the 
brim with oats, to feed the horse of his lord the Tartar Khan, in token 
of submission, his subjects must have been in a condition of the most 
abject serfdom. Christian was but another word for slave, and the 
Tartars, a Nomad horde, ignoring every principle of settled government, 
quartered themselves at will upon their serfs, without interfering with 
the internal regulations of a class upon which they looked with contempt. 
The Tartars were driven out, towards the close of the fifteenth century, 
by Ivan iii., or the Great, who assumed the title of Czar, and reducing 
all the descendants of Eurik to the position of subjects, enrolled them 
as Princes, with the title of Knez, side by side with the Boyars of the 
duchy of Moscow, in the " Baratnaia Kniga," the famous " Velvet Book" 
of Eussian nobility. The condition of the peasantry appears to have 
remained unaltered. As serfs they had existed under the rule of the 
alien and Mahometan Tartars, and their servile condition was perpetuated 
under the rule of Christians of kindred oridn. In the course of the 


following century they are supposed to have been converted into "Kre- 
pestnoi," or fixed to the soil. The equivalent of the Vill, or Manor, 
seems to have been unknown before this period, for the Tartars ignored 
all such subdivisions of the land, and two or three generations were 
suffered to elapse after the expulsion of the Tartars before the organi- 
zation of the land, in the manner already described, appears to have 
been set on foot. Each of the separate principalities, or independent 
districts, in existence before this time, would appear to have been the 
common land, as it were, in the occupation of the servile cultivating 
class, like the German Pagus in the age of Tacitus ; subject to the gene- 
ral demands of the overlords quartered on the soil at will, whether 
native or foreign, but not subdivided permanently into settled vills, or 
set apart in private properties owned by the supreme ruler and his 
nobility. Much as a wealthy stock-owner might collect his cattle into 
separate " closes," instead of letting them wander at will over an open 
pasturage, so would the Eussian peasantry appear to have been grouped 
into villages, in each of which they continued to enjoy, though within a 
fixed and narrower area, their original rights of joint- occupation and 
self-government, on the footing of servile communities. 

In England the principle of the Gasindschaft is traceable from the 
earliest times, for the King and the Gesithcundman are found in every 
quarter occupied by the Angles. Gesithes tun, gesithes cirice, gesith- 
mannes cniht, are the renderings of villa comitis, ecclesia comitis, and 
jmer comitis in the translation of Beda's History ; and it is natural to 
suppose that a series of invasions, in which the sea was crossed, would 
have been earned out by separate military Gasindschafts rather than 
by more or less settled communities. The German confederacies with 
which the Eomans of the second and third centuries were most familiar 
seem to have often been Gasindschafts, as they would occasionally send 
back to the old country for a king, a proceeding that looks like a Gasind- 
schaft renewing the tie that bound together the confederacy ; for in a 
community of Adalings the want of an Ealdorman would have been 
supplied on the spot. The Judex preceded the Eex amongst the Goths, 
but the Gasind was on a footing with the Primus or Adaling amongst 
the Lombards, and the Bavarian Confederacy would appear to have been 
a Gasindschaft from very early times ; for instead of the Nobilis and 
Litus of the Lex Saxonum, and the Primus, Mediocris, and Minor of the 
Codes of the Burgundians and Alamanni, the Bavarians were divided 
into Agilolfings from whom the Duke was chosen, the Five Families, and 
Ingenui. In his letter to Egbert of York, in which Beda inveighs against 


the abuse of grants in alms, lie points to the two occupying classes of his 
age, when he deplores the absolute want of land for the provision of the 
" filii nobilium aut emeritorum militum." The noble in right of his 
birth, and the soldier in right of his service, were evidently entitled to 
grants of land, or Icens ; but the grant or Isen was neither inheritable 
nor bequeathable, resembling rather the portion of public land allocated 
by the Censors, and occupied by a member of the privileged class in the 
early days of Eome. The right of receiving such a grant was inherited 
by the descendant of the noble and of the soldier, but it may be seen 
from the words of Beda that the son had, as yet, no claim upon the 
actual Isen iu the occupation of his father. His claim was upon his lord 
the king, or, if he was a cniht, upon his lord the Gesithcundman, from 
whom he seems to have been entitled to receive a provision in accordance 
with his standing ; and Benedict Biscop, when he exchanged a secular 
for a religious life, resigned the benefice he had received from his kins- 
man the Northumbrian king " in accordance with his birth," — it was his 
birthright. A reflection of the custom of Beda's age might still have 
been observed in Western Europe, about the opening of the present 
century, in the district of Friesland known as the Theel-land, in w^hich the 
son, on arriving at manhood, received a separate Theel, or portion of the 
common land, as if his claim were upon the community rather than upon 
the father : and the custom known as Borough-English, Mainete, and 
under various other names — the succession of the youngest son — may 
have arisen out of this practice. The youngest son remained with the 
father, and naturally succeeded to the Theel on the supposition that the 
elder brothers were provided for ; but it was not until a later age than 
that in which Beda wi'ote, and in a more settled stage of society, that 
the son " relieved " the actual acres in the occupation of his father, and 
the barony, the vill, or the " hedged off" portion of land in the vill, 
gradually became a landed property held with absolute right of owner- 
ship, and descending to the heir. The grant of land by Boc, or charter, 
seems to have been confined in Beda's time to church lands held in pure 
alms, without the military obligations of secular service ; for, by the abuse 
of which he complains, the State lost the service that the Church did not 
gain — " Neque Deo, neque hominibus, utilia sunt loca," — and the Trinoda 
Necessitas would appear to have been imposed a little later in the cen- 
tury. But the acts of previous kings might be reversed, he adds, by 
better princes, and the writings of evil scribes could be annulled by the 
sentence of discreet bishops, — showing the little weight he attached to 
the written document in comparison with the power of the reigning 


sovereign in temporalities, and of the bishop in things ecclesiastical. 
The grant of land might be resumed by the king, and the writing of the 
evil clerk could be annulled and pronounced worthless by his ecclesias- 
tical superior, the bishop. The acts of a king were not supposed to be 
necessarily binding on his successor, and accordingly the Boc required 
confirmation or renewal, a sum of money being made over to the reigning 
king for this purpose, which, in course of time, grew into a fixed and 
settled payment attached to the tenure of Bocland.-' 

Of tlie two classes to which Beda alludes one was evidently " Gesith- 
cund and Twelfhynd," but the soldier and his son, as distinguished from 
the noble and his son, were not Gesithcund. Imma, the follower of 
Egfred's brother ^If wine, "juvenisde militia ejus," appears in the trans- 
lation as " sum geong thseses cyninges thegin ;" bvit the military follower 
who was not of gentle origin, or the Cniht, as soon as he left the Ilird, or 
immediate following of his lord, and was planted on the land, became 
the equivalent of the miles agrarius of Widukind, and was probably 
known in Northumbria as the Dreng. The Dreng will be met with in 
Vegetius and Vopiscus as the soldier, or member of the rank and file, and 
Lego-dreng is quoted by Hire in the sense of " hired soldier." The expres- 
sion, " gentle and simple," was often rendered in the North by " Danumadr 
and Drengr;" and where Simeon uses the words " quidem Dregmo," 
Ailred writes (as Mr. Eaine has pointed out) " quidem de minoris ordinis 
proceribus," or a' leading Ceorlcundman. A member of this class in 
Beda's age who was in the position of a Cniht, or fighting man, was en- 
titled to the reward of a fighting man, a Ifen of Folclaud, and was thus 
converted into a miles agrarius, and numbered " inter minoris ordinis 
proceres," bequeathing to his descendants the obligations of cniht-hood, 
entitling them to a similar reward. The Gesithcundman, like the Adal- 
ing of a community, was entitled to his Isen, or birthright, in virtue of 
descent, or by allodial right ; but the Isen of the cniht, or miles, was 

1 Ep. ad Fcf/h. ii. For the customs of the Theel-land and Mainete, v. Scotlavd under 
h'T Early Kimj-i, App. D. The money-payments were made, in early times, to others be- 
sides the king,— to any one, in short, who had a claim on the land. Thus Wilfred set 
apart a portion of his property, by his will, " ut cum muneribus Regnm etEpiscoporum 
amicitiam impetrare potuerint;" and Humbert, " princeps Tonsetorum," received a 
drinking cup, ornamented with gold, in return for resigning all the rights exercised by 
the " princijjes " in the lands of Breedon Minster. Two early charters afford a glimpse 
of an age in which the Comes joins with the Rex, — " Ego Oshere, rex Huicciorum, . . . 
consentiente comite meo Cuthberto ;" and "Ego Sueabrsed, rex Eastsaxonorum, et ego 
PiEogthath cum licentia ^delredi regis comis." In each case the Comes was probably the 
oflBcial of the Mercian King (like the Pfalz-graf of the German duchies), exercising a 
certain authority within the dominions of the Underkings. A little later a King's-Reeve 
and a King's-Ealdorman would have been found amongst the Huiccii and East-Saxons. 
— Cod. Dip. xxxvi. lii. cclxi. 


the benefice or reward of military service, to be held exclusively in 
return for, and by the tenure of, such service ; and thus arose the feudal 
tenure by military service, — always free, but not originally noble. The 
land of the Dreng was liable to aU the base services entailed upon Folc- 
land ; like the Friling of the lex Saxonum he was under a lord, or a 
superior set over him by the king; and, accordingly, lands held in 
Drengage appear in Domesday either as Berewics, or as dependencies in 
some other way upon a manor. But the Dreng himself was only bound 
to personal attendance on his lord in hunting, in war, and in riding 
on his errands ; he and his family were free from all the base services 
attached to his land, to which his dependants alone were liable.-^ 

The holding of the Dreng seems to have amounted, at the fuU extent, 
to four carucates, a small vill or hamlet, the knight's fee of a later age ; 
and thus, as a cniht, he would appear to have been the precursor of the 
Medial-thegn, the Vavassor, and the knight of after times, much as the 
king's-thegn developed into the baron. Not that he was necessarily in 
the possession of a small vill, for most of the Bishop of Durham's Drengs, 
in the thirteenth century, seem to have held a carucate of land in return 
for performing the fourth part of the service of a Dreng. By the custom 
of Berkshire, in the reign of the Confessor, a miles was found for every 
five hides, each hide contributing four shillings towards the pound that 
represented the soldier's pay for two months (a sum that appears to coin- 
cide with the ordinary scutage of the following century), and the custom 
is exemplified by the following entry : — " Hubert holds five hides ; four 
of these were of vUlein-land, and used to pay with the hides of the 
manor ; but the thegn's hide was free, though he could not go where he 
willed." It may have suited many another landholder, as well as the 
Abbot of Abingdon and the Bishop of Durham, to plant small freemen 
in their viUs, and pay them in this manner for performing the requisite 
military service ; and it was probably to the fighting men of this class 
that the words attributed to Gurtli by Wace may be supposed to have ap- 
plied, — " A rabble of vilainaille in their every-day dress does not count for 
much in a battle." The Dreng was still existing in Northumbria in the thir- 
teenth century, and was liable, as of old, to utware, or military service ; for 
he was tallaged heavily in the reign of John for permission to escape Con- 

1 Beda, //. E. iv. 22. The Dreng will be found in the Boldon Buke with all his 
liabilities, iu the Testa de Nevill, and in the Pipe and other Ilolls. Most of the pas- 
sages relating to him have been collected in " Hodgson's Northumljerland. His 
equivalent in the South-country, in early days, was ])robably the Radcnecht, Radman, 
or Riding cniht. " The bailiff holds a Radraan's-laud," and other similar entries, are 
occasionally fouud in Domesday. 


tinental service (ne transf retard). The class, however, was fast becoming 
obsolete; its leading members had long been absorbed amongst the medial- 
thegns and knights, whilst those of lesser standing seem to have often 
commuted the obligations of their tenure for rent, and were thus converted 
into fee-farmers, or hereditary tenants-at-rent, without the obligations of 
base service attached to their land, resembling the Zinsmen and Hager- 
men of Germany. From the amount of merchet, heriot, relief, and other 
fines and dues to which the Northumbrian Dreng was liable in the 
thirteenth century, it may be gatliered that the full Dreng, as the holder 
of a small vill, once belonged to the Sixhynd class. The landless Gesith- 
cundman, who only paid half the fine imposed upon his landholding 
equal by birth for " neglecting the Fp'd," and the Wealh with five hides, 
or Cniht of alien origin, appear amongst the Sixhynd class in the Laws of 
Ini ; and with the Dreng, and his equivalent as a miles agrarius in other 
parts of England, made up the Mediocres or middle-class of the age, in 
which the poorer members of the Gesithcund class were blended, as cnihts, 
with the leading Ceorlcundmen, and with the descendants of the earlier 
proprietors of the soil who were fast becoming amalgamated with the 
conquering race. About the opening of the tenth century the Sixhynd- 
man disappeared from the South-country upon the establishment of 
Thanage (Dienst) as the prevalent tenure ; all who fought for England 
began to be reckoned as English ; " Angle and Dane " will be met with 
instead of " Angle and Wealh," and every tenant in thanage, without 
reference to his origin, ranked as a Twelfhyndman. The Ceorlcundmen, 
deprived of their " Proceres," only figured as Twyhyndmen attached as 
cultivators to the soil, the fighting members of the class, whether upland 
or in-burgh, were known as thegns, knighthood gradually became an 
element of " gentle service," and three generations of military service 
as a landholder with " helm and byrnie," and the holding of a cniht, 
rendered the race Gesithcund.-^ 

Wlien Imma, the young king's- thegn, found himself in the hands of 
his enemies, he escaped immediate death by declaring himself a poor 

1 Domesday, vol. i. p. 56 b, 58 b ; Ini, 24, 51. In the Testa de Nevill, p. 389, 
the merchet, heriot, forfeiture, and relief of the Drengs are reckoned respectively at 16 
sol, or at one lb. by the standard of the old light-pound once used throughout Northern 
England. The Less-thegn paid at this time for similar mulcts, 40 sol., or two lbs. 
sterling, the tenth of his wergild. Assuming the Dreng to have been mulcted on a 
similar principle, his wergild would have amounted to ten light-pounds, or 120 ores of 
sixteen (the North-country Hundred of 8 lbs. sterling), each containing six light scillings, 
or Six Hundreds of scillings, reckoning the hundred by English tale at six-score. Hence 
he was a Sixhyndman, valued (like the Saxon Bauergulden) at half the amount of the 
Twelfhyndman. Mr. Hodgson has pointed out that the Dreng seems to have held one, 
where the Thegn held more than one vill — he was the semi-nobilis, in other words. 


man belonging to the class attached to the land, a " folclic and dearfende 
man," who had accompanied the army with his fellows of a similar class 
(heafod gemacum), to carry supplies and provisions for the king's-thegns.^ 
His looks, his hearing, and the words he used, however, soon betrayed 
he was not of " dearfende folc," but of " sethelre strynde ;" but the 
Mercian Gesith, who had kept him for a slave, as he had promised him 
life, though the death of his own brothers and kinsmen who had fallen 
in the fight remained unavenged through sparing Imma, sent him to 
London, where he was sold to a Frison. He dealt with him as his 
ancestor in the days of Tacitus would have dealt witli his equal by birth, 
who had staked his liberty at a game of chance, and lost — lie sold him 
out of the country, a proceeding so strictly forbidden in the Capitularies, 
and other contemporary codes, that the universal prevalence of the 
custom may be inferred from its universal prohibition. Besides the 
noble and military classes, therefore, there was also a Folclic class in 
Beda's age, whose claim to a grant of land is ignored by the historian, 
for they were without a " birthright" — without either the allodial right 
of the Gesithcundman, or the feudal right of the Cniht, or miles agrarius. 
Their services seem to have been limited to tilling the soil to which 
they were attached, and to supplying in war, as well as in peace, the 
wants of the fighting classes entitled to occupy the land. Military 
service, and its contingencies, were not entailed upon an ordinary 
member of the Folc, and if captured in war he became the property of 
the conqueror, to be retained or sold at the option of his owner. He 
might be slain in pure wantonness, but he was not deemed a proper 
object for avenging a blood-feud. He may be supposed to have been the 
representative, in a different state of society, of the free cultivator in 
the time of Tacitus — the man unfitted for war ; and accordingly he was 
reckoned as a Twyhyndman, or at twice the value of the Wealh, who, 
like the Slav upon the Continent, was the representative of the unfree 
cultivator, or of the Laet permitted to remain on the land to till it. The 
old Germanic principle seems to have been still in force, though in a 
more settled phase of society it was carried out differently. The Pagus 
had by this time been measured out permanently into vills and shires 
" pro numero cultorum," or in proportion to the number of the whole 
cultivating class ; but it was still divided " inter se," and occupied in 
Itens by the fighting classes " secundum dignationem," or in accordance 
with their rank and position. 

A glimpse may be obtained of a very early stage of society in the 

» Beck, //. E. iv. 22. 


Code of ^thelbert of Kent, in which the King, the Eorl, the Ceorl, and 
the Lset appear above the population in a state of actual servitude. The 
Lffits were divided into three classes, corresponding so closely with the 
Frigiven-man, his son, and the Bonder (not the Odal-Bonder) in the 
Gulathing, that they may be supposed to have answered, in a similar 
manner, to the enfranchised cultivator of the soil, his son, and the third 
in descent, the free Lset with his mmghorh complete, or his " Vier Anen" 
(his two grandfathers and two grandmothers) the necessary qualification 
for full freedom, as well as for gentle birth. A Laet of the highest class 
was valued at eighty Kentish scillings, the equivalent of the five pounds 
that still represented in Domesday, and in the reign of Edward i., the 
wergild of the Kentish Gaveller, who thus stood in the position of the 
Laet of ^thelbert's time, just as the Knight, who was the contemporary 
of the Gaveller, occupied the place of the Dreng, or miles agrarius of 
earlier days. Land in Kent used to pass by the custom of Gavelkind, 
unless proof was shown to the contrary, just as it passed elsewhere by 
the common law, unless proof of customary tenure was shown, pointing 
to the universality of the custom of Gavelkind in the old kingdom of 
Kent. When John permitted the Archbishop of Canterbury to convert 
his tenants in Gavelkind into tenants by Knight-service, the " consuetus 
redditus denariorum," or the gavel-penny exacted from every acre, was 
to be retained, and the " xenia, averagia, et opera," due of old from the 
land, were to be commuted for the payment of rent in money. ■^ Frank- 
socage is defined by Bracton as " servitium in denariis," and thus the 
Archbishop's tenants in Gavelkind were " enfranchised." By the custom 
of Kent, therefore, all the land was originally held by base- service, for 
the Gaveller was not liable to military service. He was only bound to 
attend in the manor-court of his lord, held every three weeks, to swear 
fealty to him, to pay all his rents, and to render all his services ; but he 
handled the plough in early days, not the sword, and was never a soldier 
unless he was taken from the plough. He was the representative of the 
free Lset of ^thelbert's Code, not of the Ceorl, and thus it may be seen 
that the land in Kent was left entirely in the hands of the cultivating 
class, and merely occupied by the fighting classes, represented by the 
Eorls and Ceorls, Jutes probably of the purest blood. The king's-thegn 
and the Gesithcundman re^Dlace the Eorl in Wihtred's Laws, and, in the 

1 Lamhard, p. 5.S2. The payment of Xenia — optional payments (nominally), or the 
" aids " of base service — marks the Gavelkind tenure as free, though base, the essential 
characteristics of Roturier tenure. Xenia answered to the Gersume, and the expression 
" nunquam gersumavit" will occasionally be met with, marking that certain services, 
or payments, were obligatory and not " precarious." 


course of the same century, before the establishment of the system of 
Dienst or Thanage over the whole of the South-country, Kent ceased to 
be numbered amongst independent kingdoms. Hence, whilst the custom 
of Berkshire provided a fighting man from every five hides, in accordance 
with the system of Thanage, the custom of Kent, ignoring the connexion 
of the fighting man with the soil, provided a gafol-gelding man or 
Gaveller, from every messuage with a certain amount of land attached 
to it. The fighting was left to " the lord," whether Jutish Eorl and Ceorl, 
or Thegn and Cniht in later times ; and accordingly, though the men 
of Kent fought at Hastings, the Gavellers retained their lands and 
ancient privileges after the Conquest, for, from the tenure of their 
service, they were not engaged in the battle. The Boc, or the Lseu, 
gave a grant of rights, more or less permanent, over the soil, and over 
the owners of the soil, to the thegn or the cniht ; but the soil itself, by 
the custom of Kent, was the property of the cultivating class, free 
tenants by base service, unless the land was enfranchised by commuting 
the service for rent. 

In Kent alone, however, would have been found a community of 
allodial cultivators, with proprietary rights, resembling the Emphyteutoe 
of the Empire, and corresponding in some respects with a free class in 
the position of the Eussian peasantry. A few alodiarii were scattered 
here and there in Eastern Wessex and in Surrey ; but as a class, combin- 
ing the privileges of full freedom with the obligations of base-service, 
they were nowhere to be found in the reign of the Confessor, except in 
Kent — for the Socmen of the Danelage would not have answered to a 
class of this description.-^ The Geneat or sharer in the Vill was not an 
alodiarius ; for, even where he was irremoveable from the district to 
which he was attached, he could neither dispose of his share-right nor 
quit the district and " go where he willed," as was the case with the 
Gaveller. To go where he willed, either with or without his land, to sell 
his land to any buyer, to sell it after first offering it to his lord, to sell 
his tenancy in the land, or to resign and go where he willed, — such 
were some of the privileges belonging to full freedom, and to none of 
these could the Geneat aspire. Personal enfranchisement was originally 
of a double character ; the State, whether represented in the person of 
the sovereign of a Gasindschaft, or in that of the chosen Ealdor of a com- 

^ The classes that could claim the "wites," or fines levied on their "men," by the 
Conqueror's Laws " en Merchene lahe," were " Li Erevesque, li eveske, li qucns, li barun, 
et li socheman," where the proprietor in Frank socage, levying fines on his men, figures 
in a very different character from the Gaveller in attendance on the court of his lord. 


nmnity of Adalings, being alone entitled to confer full freedom or public 
enfranchisement. It was a principle of northern law, that "he who 
gives freedom must provide the means of living;" and a man was not 
allowed to enfranchise his serf and throw him upon the general com- 
munity for support — the State alone could provide him with a leen of 
the public-land, or !Folcland. Private enfranchisement, accordingly, by 
charter, or at the altar, only represented in early times a gift of free- 
rights as far as the power of the donor extended — freedom within the 
limits of the vill, the manor, or the barony ; and out of private enfran- 
chisement arose the adscription to the district, which was in full force 
amongst the majority of the Twyhyndmen for many a generation before 
the Conquest. Accordingly, the right of the Geneat, where he had any, 
was in the blood, like that of the fighting classes in early days, and as 
the latter enjoyed a right to a lien without the privilege of ownership in 
the soil, so the inborn Geneat, or Nativus, enjoyed a right to a virgate 
or two of land in the district in which he was located, without any 
privilege of ownership attached to it.'^ His arable, his pasture, his mea- 
dow, were in the common-land in which he enjoyed the right of sharing 
with his fellows belonging to the vill, from which they acquired the 
name of Villani. Within the vill he was a freeman, wdth rights as well 
as duties ; but both rights and duties were alike bounded by the limits 
of the vill. The bailiff of the Bishop of Eochester, for instance, was 
bound to ride at his own cost on the service of his lord within the limits 
of the barony ; but if business carried him beyond the " forty hides," he 
and his horse lived at the cost of the Bishop. The villein might sell his 
stock to whom he chose within the vill, but his lord had a right of pre- 
emption over a buyer from without. He might marry his daughter 
within the vill without the permission of his lord, but if he married her 

^ " Les Naifs, ki departet de sa terre, ne deivent cartre faut naivir'ie quere, que il ne 
facent lur dreit service, qui apend a lour terre." — ( Will. Cong, xxx.) From the necessity 
of obtainiug a "charter of nativity," it seems evident that the Nativi, or Adscript! 
glebse, as a class, represented at this time the Liberti per chartam of the Continental 
codes. The class seems first traceable in the Laws of Wihtred : — (8.) " If any one give 
freedom to his man at the altar, let him be folk-free ; let the freedom-giver have his 
yi'fe, and wei'-rjild, and the mund of his family, be he over the march or wherever he 
may be." Thus the freedman had no right of property, and, as far back as four cen- 
turies before the Conquest, was in as strict dependence on his lord, whether " over the 
march," or within the manor, as the Eussian peasant before his emancipation. The form 
of conferring full freedom, the equivalent of emancipation " per denarium," is not pre- 
served in the old English codes, unless it may be supposed to have been similar to the 
rule of the Conqueror's Laws (iii. 15). In the presence of the shire and shire-gerefa, the 
master gave his serf the arms of a freeman, sword and lance, and showed him " liberas 
vias et portas," bidding him go where he willed. The gift of arms seems to mark the 
military character of the full-freeman. 


to a stranger, he paid merchet — mearc-scat, or maiden -money. Some of 
the maternal kindred were always included in the mcegborh and in the 
werborh, and the kinsmen of a married woman were, by ancient custom, 
up to a certain extent answerable for her. But the lord was answerable 
for his dependants ; and before he consented to the liability of paying 
for one of them in a strange vill, he seems to have demanded a sum of 
money for assuming the responsibihty ; the merchet remaining attached 
to base-tenure, as an obligatory payment, long after the probable reason 
for its original assessment had passed away and been forgotten. 

There was another class besides the Geneats, the Geburs, who were sup- 
plied with stock and seed when planted on the land ; and, upon the death 
of a man of this class, it was customary for the lord to " take what he left." 
His property, like the peculium of the Eoman serf, was only acquired by 
the permission of his lord ; it was the surplus, as it were, of the stock and 
seed committed to his charge ; and hence it lapsed to the lord, upon 
the death of the Gebur. As the Heriot of early military tenure repre- 
sented the return of the loan of arms, committed to the charge of the 
thegn or cniht, so the Heriot of base tenure represented the return of 
the stock committed to the charge of the base-tenant, and known as 
ferreum pecus, steclboio, and under various other names ; but as the 
tenancy became hereditary, the Heriot of gentle-tenure disappeared in 
the Relief, or sum paid as a fine upon the renewal of the benefice, whilst 
the Heriot of base- tenure became the " best beast," given in return for a 
similar renewal of the share-right of the base-tenant, the Relief and the 
Heriot becoming attached respectively to both tenures as fixed and obli- 
gatory payments. In the Laws of Ini it is laid down, that if a Gesith- 
cundman was " driven from his land," or deprived of his benefice, he was 
to be driven from the house (botl), and not from the stock, which was 
evidently his own. In other words, he was a man of property, and 
supplied the stock for the land that he held ; but, as he might only take 
with him his reeve, his smith, and his child's fosterer, the actual cultiva- 
tors of his benefice, whether bond or free, belonged to the district. In 
the Confessor's reign, however, if the Lancashire Less-thegn declined to 
relieve his father's land by paying the tenth of his wergild, he might go 
where he willed, but he left the stock upon the king's land. He was a 
full-freeman, liable to military service, and bound to attendance in tlie 
Court of the Hundred ; but his tenure resembled that of the Gebur, and 
though he might go where he willed, neither the land nor the stock was 
his own. He must originally have been a fighting man without property, 
planted with stock and seed on the land, and provided with arms to 


defend it ; and similarly, the Gebur was originally the " pauper et rusti- 
cus" of Beda, — belonging to a lower class, the " dearfende folclic man," 
who was supplied with stock and seed, and planted on the land to cul- 
tivate it for the benefit of the men who won and defended it with the 
sword. The descendant of the Gebur, if permitted to remain on the 
land, would grow into the Nativus or Geneat, and the prevalence of the 
Heriot amongst the villeinage points to the fact that the majority of the 
class were originally of this description. When Denewulf,. Bishop of 
Winchester, returned to Edward the Elder the seventy hides he had 
received at Beddington, he stated that the land, when originally made 
over to him, was entirely waste, without either " pecunia" or "pauperes" 
belonging to it. He supplied it with both, and accordingly the " pau- 
peres " he planted in it would have had neither right to the stock nor 
claim on the land, and such would have been the ordinary condition of 
the villeinage.^ 

As the Lset, therefore, was a relic of the earlier system under which 
the servile cultivator dwelt in his own home, and supplied his lord with 
all that he wanted, so the Geneat came into existence with the introduc- 
tion of free service in connexion with the cultivation of the soil, through 
which a member of the poorest class of freemen was planted as a cul- 
tivator on the land to which he had no claim, like the Adaling or Gesith- 
cundman, in right of his birth, or, like the Miles Agrarius, in right of his 
military service. The Northumbrian ^thelfrith, according to Beda, was 
remarkable above all his predecessors for the success with which he drove 
the Britons from off the land or set them to tribute, an expression ren- 
dered in the translation by " to gafolgyldum gesette" — he made them 
Gafolgeldas or Gavellers. The land he won would have been occupied 
and defended by the fighting classes, and cultivated either by the La^ts, 
who were permitted to remain as Gavellers (much as " the Eoman" was 
allowed to hold his land under the Burgundian), or, when the Britons 
were driven out, a free cultivating class would have been introduced in 

^ Inl, 6.3, 68; Domesday, vol. i. p. 269 b; Cod. Dip. mlxxxix. "Wasted by 
heathen folk " is the expression in the original charter, pointing to the normal state of 
many parts of England at the opening of the tenth century. Even assuming the exist- 
ence of a number of small allodial communities in England, before the close of the ninth 
century, they must have been more or less broken up by the wide-spread ravages of the 
Northmen. The re-settlement of the land would have been carried out in accordance 
with the principle of Dicnst, thanage, or military tenure, adopted by the House of Alfred ; 
and throughout the South-country and English Mercia, all who were not Thegns remained 
(with few exceptions), as a class on the footing of the Danish freedmen, as " Ceorls upon 
Gafol-land." The effects of the Scandinavian inroads iipon the British Isles are usually as 
much underrated, as those of the Norman Conquest upon England are overrated. It is 
" the Dane," not " the Norman," who lives in local tradition as the popular "enemy." 


tlieir place as a Gafolgelding tenantry, amongst whom the land would 
have been roped out and divided, each recipient of a share becoming a 
Gen eat, with share-right in the common land of the district. Hence 
the Wealh will be found in the earlier codes with a hide, or half a hide, 
of land, representing the Lget who had been permitted to remain on his 
land as a cultivator, whilst the Ceorl was either a Geneat, or a fighting 
man bound to attendance in the Fyrd, holding respectively by base or 
by military service. A similar course appears to have been followed 
upon the Continent. A measure of grain, forty cords, and twelve pence 
of pure silver, were annually due to the Bishop of Magdeburg, from 
every plough amongst the Wends of his diocese, whom Otho i. had 
permitted to remain in the position of Lsets or Gavellers ; but, when 
Henry Count of Eacesburg, introducing Westphalian colonists " in 
terram Poloborum , . . divisit eis terram in funiculo distributionis," 
the Wends must have .been driven out, and their lands "roped out" 
amongst Saxon immigrants.^ In the treaty between Alfred and Guth- 
rum-Athelstan of East Anglia, every Dane and Angle was reckoned 
in gold as a Twelfhyndman, " except the Ceorl that sits upon gafol- 
land, and their Leysings," who were valued as Twyhyndmen. In 
Alfred's reign, accordingly, or towards the close of it, the fighting Ceorl 
was reckoned as a Twelfhyndman, whilst the cultivating Ceorl, or Gavel- 
ler, was a Twyhyndman, and reckoned on a footing with the Freedman, 
or enfranchised serf of a Dane. As the touch of oar or sail, by Northern 
law, enfranchised the serf, every follower of the Danes landed on the 
shore of England as a freeman. A similar rule may have prevailed 
amongst the Angles, and, as they roped out the land they won from the 
Britons, they probably planted in their Liberti as a free cultivating 
class, or " Ceorls upon gafol-land," — for the Angle of pure descent was 
most assuredly " a fighting man." 

Three free classes, therefore, may be distinguished in connexion 
with the land in England, two of them full-free, Gentle and Simple, 
Eorl and Ceorl, who defended the lands they won with the sword, and 

^ Ildmold, i. 12, 14, 87, 91. The " aratrum Sclavorum " was drawn by a yoke of 
oxen, or two horses — by one, according to another earlier account. The " twelve pence 
of pure silver" represented the " solidus from every mansus" demanded in the Capitu- 
laries ; and it is worthy of remark, that the smallest holding of the Russian jjcasant 
householder (the four and a half de^atines, or twelve statute acres) corresponds very 
closely with the mansus of twelve acres from which the solidus was demanded. It 
probably rei)resents the amount of land originally assigned to every possessor of one of 
these small ploughs. The mansus, or fixed residence, was scarcely iu existence amongst 
the Wends iu the days of Otho T., and accordingly they appear to have been rated at 
the number of ploughs they kept in use. 


occupied it iu right of gentle birth or of military service. The third 
class was only partially free, cultivating the soil on which its members 
were originally planted, or suffered to remain, after the conquered land 
was divided into vills and shires ; and as Geneats, Geburs, Cotsetlas, 
Bordars, and under various other names, they were the representatives, 
and occasionally the descendants, of the class of servile cultivators 
attached, in yet earlier times, to the soil. The remaining population of 
the rural districts had not emerged from servitude. The germs of the 
system of military or feudal tenure may be traced in the Icen, or benefice, 
rewarding the services of the Cniht, or Miles, the precursor of the Eitter, 
or Knight ; and to the immediate successors of Alfred, if not to the 
great king himself, may be attributed the establishment of military 
tenure over every portion of England under the more immediate rule of 
the sovereigns of his House. From about the opening of the tenth 
century, if not from the close of the ninth, frank-tenure and gentle- 
tenure became identified with the tenure of the Thegn (or Dienstman) 
throughout English Mercia and the South-country, all who held by it 
acquiring the position of Twelfhyndmen, though they were not neces- 
sarily Gesithcund, or of gentle birth and descent. Hlaford-socn, or the 
obligation of " seeking a lord," became incumbent upon the whole free 
population, the principle of commendation binding them in dependence, 
more or less direct, upon the sovereign. " If he have Bocland, let that 
be forfeited (for a deed of outlawry) into the king's hand, be he the man 
of whatever man he may." ^ Such was the principle laid down in the 
Laws of Canute, but it was acted upon by Alfred long before the reign 
of the Danish king. When the forty hides at Alresford, granted origi- 
nally by Tunbert, Bishop of Winchester, to one of his kinsmen, were 
forfeited for the misconduct of Alfred, a descendant of the latter, the 
king not only confiscated the personal property of the delinquent, but 
made Bishop Denewulf buy back the land thus forfeited by " his thegn," 
wdth a fine of sixscore mancuses-of gold. He assumed that the land 
was chartered thegn-land, held by military service, and as such reverting 
to the crown on forfeiture ; as directly, or indirectly, the sovereign was 
the overlord of all who held their land by military tenure.^ A Isen of 

^ Gnut. S. 13. The princii)le will be found long afterwards in English law. For 
instance, " in case the tenaunt . . . have but one parceUe of lande holden of the kynge 
in capite, the kynge shall have all the hole laudes, holden of every lorde, during the 
nonage." — Fitzherbert's Surveyengc, p. 46. 

^ Cod. Dip. mlxxxvi. mxc. mclxxxix. Dci. " Omni substantia peculiali recte pri- 
vatus est, et prtefatum rus ab eo abstractum rex hujus patrise suas ditioni avidus 
deveiiire injuste optavit." From these expressions, used by the scribe of Edgar's docu- 
ment, be seems to have assumed the tenui-e of Church-lands to have been in " pure 


Folcland, however, unless specially enfranchised, was liable to the obli- 
gations of Folcland, though the holder was personally free from them ; 
for it was a legal axiom in later times that tenure in villeinage did not 
constitute a villein ; and the benefice from which the service of " a helm 
and byrnie" was required, remained more or less liable to the obligations 
of Folcland, until the charter of Henry i. freed the demesne lands of all 
who held by the hauberc [per loricam) from every service except the 
strict obligations of military tenure. 

The germs of the principle of private ownership in land may be 
traced in the Boc, or charter, first introduced, apparently, by the clergy, 
in connexion with grants of lands made to the Church, the " possessiones 
prsediorum" of Beda, rendered in the translation by " Bocland sehte." 
The protest raised by the clergy against the practice of " enslaving" the 
lands of the Church, or treating them like Folcland, seems to have led 
to a compromise about the middle of the eighth century, the original 
tenure of " pure alms" w^as practically abandoned, and Bocland was 
released from all secular services except the Trinoda Necessitas — attend- 
ance in the Fyrd for general military service, Bridge-work and Burgh- 
bote, which may be rendered in a general way as the duties of keeping 
up the king's highways and royal burghs. A certain amount of building 
was annually due from all tenants in base service, and this seems to 
have been compounded for by a fixed and settled service, or an equiva- 
lent payment entailed upon Bocland, London Bridge and the Tower 
were built by labour contributed in this manner from a wide extent of 
country round the capital. Bocland, if inherited, passed by the will of 
the first recipient of the grant, and by those of the subsequent holders, 
and, if it was so settled, could be strictly entailed in the family, which 
would seem to have been the course usually followed. Alfred, in whose 
Laws this principle will be found, adhered to it so strictly, that, by the 
provisions of his own will, every grant of land he bequeathed to " the 
spindle-side" was to be annulled, if the land was found to have been 
inherited from Egbert, whose Boclands were all entailed on " the 

alms," or allodial, when, as in the case of the allodial Gavellei's of Kent, the land would 
not have been forfeited for felony. Alfred thought otherwise, and the iirineijile he 
enforced will be found in King Henry's Laws (Ixxxviii. 14), " Nemo forisfaciat feudum 
suum legitimis heredibus suis tiisi propter felonlam, vel reddicionem spontaneam." It 
still remains in force. -(Elfric, son of the defaulting Alfred, seems to have obtained the 
lands from Edred, and they were confirmed to him in the first year of Edwy's reign, 
Odo, yElfsige of Winchester, and all the West-Saxon prelates, attesting the grant ; but 
i?ithelwold got them back for his See in Edgar's time, if an unwitnessed cliaiter may be 
trusted. In both cases the grants were " Bocs on ece yrfe," or in pcri)etual inherit- 
ance. In both cases curses were invoked on all who cancelled the charters — mere 
forms in either case. 


sword-side." Hence it was in the power of the original recipient of 
a grant of Bocland to entail it in any manner he chose, the inheritors 
holdinff it under the provisions of his will, and bequeathing it with 
additional provisions if they thought fit to do so.-^ Hence also arose the 
necessity of a w^ill ; and for the privilege of making it, as well as for the 
confirmation of its provisions, the sanction of the sovereign was required, 
the Boc by which the land was held also requiring confirmation or renewal. 
Athelstan made over sixteen hides at Pipingminster to " ^Ifheah his 
theo-n," a sum of money passing as usual upon the occasion of the grant ; 
and three years afterwards, Edmund, in the second year of his reign, 
granted the same sixteen hides to " ^Ifheah his thegn." Both the grants 
are indorsed as " Bocs on ece yrfe," or in perpetual inheritance, yet the 
perpetuity of the inheritance was evidently dependent on the will of each 
successive sovereign, who was not necessarily bound by the acts of his 
predecessor. Twenty hides at Mordun were granted to ^Ifsige " on ece 
yrfe " by Edmund, and thirteen years later the same twenty hides were 
granted " on ece yrfe" by Edmund's son Edwy to Winsige. The five 
hides at Worthig, first made over by Egbert to the Old Minster at Win- 
chester, after passing through various hands, will be found in the Book 
of Abingdon amongst the lands belonging to that monastery ; and 
amongst the charges for which ^Ifric, Ealdorman of Mercia, was out- 
lawed in the great Gemote held at Cirencester, was his violent entry into 
certain lands, some of which had been granted to his father ^Ifhere, by 
charters that are still existing.^ Out of the custom of acquiring and 
bequeathing landed property in Bocland, therefore, arose the double 
necessity of making a will and obtaining a confirmation of the original 
grant. Every early will, accordmgly, dated after the opening of the tenth 
century, commences with a petition that the king would permit it to 
hold good, always containing a bequest to the sovereign, and usually to 
his queen, in order that the petition might be granted. If the bequest 
was refused, the will was not allowed to stand, or, in other words, the 

1 Lerj. Alf. 41. The will of Alfred will be foimd in Thorpe's Diplom. p. 484. The 
document immediately preceding it, the will of Ealdorman Alfred, affords an excellent 
instance of the power of entail possessed by an owner of Bocland. Alfred bequeaths 
the bulk of his property eventually to his sole daughter and her children ; failing heirs 
of her body, to " the nearest hand of her direct paternal kin . . . whosoever it may 
suit," — to the heir-in-chief of the direct paternal line. He provides for a son who had 
no claim on the property (evidently illegitimate) with a gift of land that was to be 
made up to at least ten hides, the holding of a full thegn. Lands, he seems to have 
inherited from his mother, were to pass eventually in his " direct maternal kin." 
Finally, if " a nearer heir come forth of the male sex, and is born, then I give to him, 
after my day, all my inheritance to enjoy as may be most agreeable to him." 

^ Cod. Dip. mcxvii. mcxl. mcxlvi. mclxxxv. mcccxii. 


grant was not renewed, — an instance in point will be found amongst 
the wills collected in Thorpe's Diplomata, in one of which the widow 
appears to have been obliged to clear the character of her dead husband, 
whose will had not been allowed to stand on the ground of his defection 
to the Danes.^ The heriots, which are distinctly traceable in the wills 
of the tenth century, appear as fixed and settled payments in the Laws 
of Canute ; for the amount of the money payment, forming an important 
portion of the heriot, seems to have been left in earlier times very much 
at the option of the sovereign. A rough and summary method appears 
to have been adopted in the case of Church-lands ; for, upon the death 
of a bishop, or an abbot, the king quartered a number of his thegns upon 
the lands of the see, or minster, which were thus " enslaved" or treated 
as ordinary Folcland, until the payment of a fine secured a renewal of 
the enfranchisement. The heriots of Canute's Laws were confirmed by the 
Conqueror with two characteristic alterations. A certain number of the 
horses in the heriot were to be hunters and hacks, and the money pay- 
ment of the tenant-in-capite, no longer reckoned as a fixed and settled 
sum, was left as in earlier days at the option of the sovereign — point- 
ing to the Relief a misericorde, and confirming the account left upon 
record by the contemporary chronicler of the two blots upon the charac- 
ter of one of the ablest princes that ever ruled over England, — his over- 
fondness for the chase, and his avarice. The charter of Henry i. re- 
established the principle of " a reasonable relief," but in the Dialogus 
de Scaccario, and in tlie legal treatise of Glanville, who alludes in his 
Preface to the doctrine of the Civil Law, "quod principi placet, legis 
habet vigorem," the Eelief a misericorde again appears in connexion with 
tenants-in-capite. The first stipulation in Magna Charta provided for a 
return to "the old relief" of 100 lbs. from every full barony, in accord- 
ance with the principle laid down in the Laws of Canute, and confirmed 
by the charter of Henry i. ; but after 1297, when, for the first time in 
his reign, Edward, who was in want of money to provide for his impend- 
ing wars in France and Scotland, confirmed the Great Charter in return 
for a grant of the eighth of the chattels of his lay subjects, the relief of 
a barony, as distinguished from an earldom, was reduced to 100 marcs.^ 

^ Thorpe, DlpJom. p. 539. The heriot is not mentioned in the few wills that are 
dated before the tenth century, but in two instances the wergild is "bef]ueathed to St. 
Peter." All the earlier wills, however, are connected with the countj' of Kent, and their 
form may have been in accordance with the custom of Kent. Otherwise, the change 
is quite in keeping with the introduction of Thanage or military tenure, at this period. 

- Gnut. S. 72 ; W'dl. Conq. xx. ; Feed. i. p. 878. The meaning of the change in 
Edward's time belongs to the history of a later period, and ma}' be touched upon here- 
after. The principle of the Relief was acknowledged long before the Conquest. 


Bocland passed by will, and everything that was held by customary 
tenure passed by the custom of the tenure ; but that land, in very early 
times, was not included amongst bequeathable property may be gathered 
from the very word by which the latter seems to have been originally 
known — y?]fe. A " Boc on ece yrfe" was a charter in perpetual inherit- 
ance ; yet in the charter of the lands at Beddington, already alluded to, 
where the Latin text uses the expression " sine pecunia," the context in 
the vernacular is " iaerfaelffiss," or without yrfe. " Londe" and "yrfe" 
are occasionally distinguished in old wills, and thus the meaning of the 
word, that came in time to signify "inheritance" of every description, 
was confined originally to " pecunia," personal property or stock — the 
goods and chattels which alone represented the property that was be- 
queathable and divisible amongst the heirs, " cwice yrfe " meaning live 
stock. The "hereditas" by Ptipuarian Law was divisible amongst male 
and female heirs, but the " hereditas aviatica" passed to the males alone ; 
the same word hereditas being here used in two separate meanings, per- 
fectly intelligible a thousand years ago, but leading to confusion in the 
present age if the distinction is not carefully noticed. Wills were un- 
known to the Germans of the time of Tacitus, nor was a will required 
in customary tenure, nor indeed in any tenure in which the yrfe, or in- 
heritable property, passed by uniform and unalterable custom. In the 
case of a man who died intestate, the property, following ancient cus- 
tom, was divided amongst the heirs, " the wife and children and rela- 
tions, to every one according to the degree that belongs to him ;" the 
" lord," after deducting " his heriots," superintending the division in the 
capacity of a guardian, as it were, thus pointing to the acknowledgment 
of the principle of "wardship" at least as early as the days of Canute.^ 
When Alfred rebuilt London and gave it to his son-in-law, the Mercian 
Ealdorman, the milites agrarii introduced within the walls continued to 
live by the custom of the rural districts from which they were with- 
drawn. They counted their tythings and their hyndens in the time of 
Athelstan ; the chattels of the thief, after he was hung, were divided 
within the walls between the king and the fellowship, as in the rural 

1 Cniit. S. 71. So in tlie Conqueror's Laws (xxxiv.) — "If a man die intestate, let 
liis children divide the inheritance in equal portions," an enactment in strict accordance 
with the principle laid down in the Grand Coustinnkr (c. 26) : " Tout heritage est part- 
able." The actual fief to which " wardship " attached was indivisible, but where there 
were many fiefs they were divisible in equal portions among the heirs " by custom of 
Normandy," in the manner laid down in the chaj)ter above quoted. The earlier Norman 
custom was confined, in course of time, to the property of heiresses, and accordingly, in 
the commentary on the CouMumkr, the passage quoted above is elaborated into "tout 
heritage est partable ct impu^-table." 


districts between the king and the Hundred ; and in the reign of 
Henry in., when a " Plee de Terre" was heard in the Court of Hustiug, 
a fourth of the jury was taken from the Ward in which the Terre was 
situated, and the remainder in equal portions from the three nearest 
wards — ^just as the decanus and two men from a Frithborh or Tythiiig, 
with the decanus and two men from each of the nearest Frithborhs, 
made up the jury in the rural districts according to the directions in the 
Laws of the Confessor. The yife or inheritance of the London burgher, 
as far as it was represented by separate messuages and goods and chat- 
tels, was divided in ordinary cases into three portions ; one for the 
widow, another divisible amongst the children, whilst the third was set 
apart for discharging the debts of the deceased, the residue passing to 
the heir he may have named — occasionally to the Church. His 
" conquest," or all that he may have acquired and not inherited, was at 
his own disposal, on the principle governing Bocland, a grant of which 
was the " conquest " of the first recipient, and bequeathable by will. 
The actual burgage tenement, though it might be sold on the plea of 
poverty, with a right of pre-emption for the heir, was as indivisible 
as the Fief de Hauberc and its members, passing to the heir-in- 
chief, subject to the claims of the other heirs upon it. It was usual 
in the Gavelkind tenure, when there was only one tenement, for the 
heir-in-chief to buy off the claims of the other heirs upon the messuage 
and buildings, and a similar usage was customary in Normandy ; but 
when it could not be done, the whole of the heirs must have lived in 
the house with the heir- in-chief, for whom the hearth, witli a space of 
forty feet around it, was reserved. So, by the custom of London, the 
widow had a right of " free bench " for her life, or a claim upon certain 
rooms of the house when it was occupied in common by the heirs. A 
similar system is still widely prevalent amongst many of the Slavonic 
races of the Continent, the family, often amounting to fifty, or even a 
hundred persons, living together under the same collection of roofs under 
a Pater-familias, or Goszpadar, upon the death of the latter, the heir- in- 
chief succeeding to a similar position. The actual joint-occupation of a 
single tenement, however, only occurred in the case of the smaller pro- 
prietors ; for, wherever it was possible, a separate house with its depen- 
dencies was assigned to each of the heirs.^ 

There can be little doubt as to who was the heir-in- chief by the ordi- 
nary custom of England. " Parents are accustomed to recognise their 

1 Jud. Civ. Lond. i. iii. ; Lib. Alb. i. p. 181, 392, 393 ; Lci/. Conf. xx. ; Lib. Civ. vi. ; 
Lombard, p. 574, 575 ; Grand Count, c. 2G. 


eldest-born as the lieacl of the family {jwincipium libcrorum), and to give 
him the preference in dividing the inheritance," wrote Beda. " Let the 
eldest son succeed to the father's fee ; his purchases, and all that he may- 
have acquired (the conquest), let the father bequeath to whom he wills." 
Such was the ordinary usage in the age in which the " Laws of King 
Henry " were compiled, or about the opening of the thirteenth century, 
the very custom of Borough-English pointing to the practice of selecting 
one of the sons as heir-in- chief. In tlie usage of Beda's age may be 
traced the principle of tenure in Parage, ignored by the Common Law of 
England, but widely prevalent upon the Continent, where the expression 
Haute Parage was identical in early days with Haute Noblesse. It was 
tenure par Parage, according to the Grand Coustumier of Normandy, 
when the brothers and the cousins shared in the ancestral inheritance 
and held of the eldest born, and when the holder of a fief and he of whom 
he held it were " pers par le reson del lignage," — " peers," or equals, in 
right of kindred descent. The family ended at a certain point, at the 
fifth, the sixth, or the seventh degree, and beyond the limits of blood- 
relationship tenure in parage ceased, and tenure in homage began — the 
holder of the fief, ceasing to be the peer of the heir-in-chief, became his 
dependant or man, holding by service of some description ; in gentle- 
tenure by military or other gentle- service, in frank- tenure by servitium 
in denariis or payment of rent, and in base-tenure by base-service. 
Wherever the title descends to every member of a famiLy of which the 
heir-in-chief is the recognised head, the tenure is still in existence up to 
a certain point, clinging to the blood, as it were, even after the land and 
other property may have long ceased to pass by a similar rule.'^ 

Tenure in parage, therefore, or rather the ancient custom out of 
which it arose, may be supposed to represent the earlier usage of England, 
and the principle was widely prevalent, if not universal, amongst nearly 
every people of Celtic, as well as of German origin. The Duchy of Bavaria, 
for instance, was vested in the Agilolfings, who appear in the Lex Baiorum 
as the " pares" and '' cosequales" of the reigning Duke, who was the heir- 
in-chief. On the death of the latter his sons divided the inheritance, the 

1 Leg. Hen. I. Ixx. 21 ; Grand Const, c. 28, 30. "Terreni parentes, quern primuin 
partu fuderint, eum principium liberorum siiorum cognoscere, et ceteris in partienda sua 
hereditate pragferendum dueere soleiit," were the words of Benedict Biscop, according to 
Beda {Vit. St. Ben. ii.) Tenure in i)arage was allowed by the Common Law, according 
to Glanville (L. vii. c. iii.) in the case of heiresses, homage and "a reasonable Relief" 
commencing from the third descent. After the lapse of another generation or two, it 
ceased to be the law of the land. When the Grand Coustumier was compiled, it was the 
" custom of Normandy ; " but when the Cotitumes de Normandie were written, it was 
confined (as in England in the twelfth century) to heiresses. 


lieir-in- chief succeeding to the dukedom, subject to the approval of the 
Kaisar ; whilst the nephews, though heirs in default of sons, were only 
entitled to divide the inheritance of their respective fathers, the brothers 
of the deceased duke. A few generations of similar descents and divisions 
would have partitioned out the inheritance of Agilolf, or the sors sup- 
posed to have been allotted to him at the original division of Bavaria, 
amongst a number of descendants, yet not an acre would have been 
alienated from the blood without the consent of the heirs, and the whole 
would have been held, in some way or another, under the heir-in- chief, 
the Duke. A similar principle governed the smallest inheritance, which 
seems to have been indivisible below a certain point, as well as the 
largest, and Bocland appears to have been in ordinary cases subject to a 
similar rule, in as far as it generally became an inheritance inalienable 
from the Mgegborh, or family, though not necessarily divided in accord- 
ance with the strict rule of equality prescribed by ancient custom. The 
numerous cyns, the Bocingas, Hsestingas, Wociugas, and others, wdiose 
existence has been pointed out by Kemble, were the Adalings, or Gesith- 
cundmen, who were located in the districts still retaining their names ; 
districts that once represented the sots, cethel, or patria, allotted to their 
ancestors at the original distribution of the land ; and within the limits 
of their cethel they enjoyed a right of occupation, like the Agilolfings, as 
members of the privileged community, as long as they were full-free and 
full-born, or of pure descent, — for the son of a freeman and a woman who 
was not of free descent had no claim, by ancient custom, upon the 
inheritance of the father. If not provided for during the lifetime of the 
father, he was left at the mercy of his brothers of the pure blood, and 
was a " Dearfende folclic man," without any right of property in the an- 
cestral district. Birthright, in Beda's age, seems to have been still 
identified, as far as land was concerned, with the hereditary right of occu- 
pation ; and in the reign of Ethelred, nearly three centuries later, the 
expression " patrimonium " would appear to have been still applied in 
the higher ranks of society to a very similar right, ^thelwine, Ealdor- 
man of East Anglia, and his brothers, claimed the forty hides at Hatfield, 
on the ground that their father, Ealdorman Athelstan, had received them 
in exchange for his " patrimony " in Devonshire, a proceeding that could 
have hardly been carried out if the patrimony had been an inheritance 
in Bocland. It was the Isen rather, or benefice, to which Athelstan was 
entitled as his birthright in his native province, through his connexion 
with the king.^ The recipient of such a benefice would have held it in 
^ Hist. Earn. 3 ; Hist. Ely, i. 5. The family of Athelstan, who, as a kinsman of the 


absolute ownership for his life, free from all the claims of his blood 
relations, who, in a certain early stage of society, would have been entitled 
to a similar laen ; but as soon as the benefice began to be transmitted as 
a property, or in allod, the inheritor of such a property would have held 
it in parage, as heir-in-chief, subject to the claims of his peers in the 
Mnegborh. The principle of the benefice was transmitted in the strict 
military tenure of the English Common Law, in which the actual 
fief was possessed or inherited by one man alone, and, after the estab- 
lishment of the principle of entail by Edward i. in 1285, was entailed 
upon the eldest son.^ The allodial principle, on the other hand, was 
a relic of the early system under which the birthright, as far as land 
was concerned, was represented by a general right of occupying a 
portion of land, corresponding with the position of the recipient. As 
soon as the actual land passed to the heirs, it passed by the ordinary 
usage of the age, and tenure in parage arose. By custom, or by Boc, the 
land was entailed on the heirs of the blood, holding under the heir- 
in-chief, the enactment laid down in Alfred's Laws, on the subject of 
inherited Bocland, pointing to the recognition of the principle of entail 
before the Conquest. 

The division of the inheritance and the choice of the heir seem to 
have been left, up to a certain point, to the discretion of the parents in 

king, seems to have been entitled to a lien in his native district, complained that Edgar 
had deprived them both of the " jjatrimony " and of the land at Hatfield received in 
exchange for it. The King may have thought that the Ealderdom of East-Anglia was 
enough for the family, and resumed the Lajn-lands. Such struggles were continually 
going on, as long as the pi-inciple of hereditary property in land was unsettled. The 
greater nobles attempted to convert their benefices into allodial holdings, and where the 
power of the king was strong, as in England, he resisted ; where it was weak, as in 
France, he succumbed. 

1 " Tenant in fee taile est per force de la Statute de West, 2, c. 1. Car devant le dit 
Statute tons enheritances faeront fee simple," Coke's Insflfutes, L. i. sec. 13. The Statute 
was passed in consequence of "divers of the realm being disinherited." The earlier 
custom, therefore, that Bocland should pass according to the will of the first reci])ient 
of the grant — the i)rinciple of entail — must have been abrogated by the Conquest. The 
property of the man who died intestate was divided, by the Conqueror's Laws, amongst 
the heirs ; the military fief, when Glanville wrote, passed to the eldest son alone. Ac- 
cording to the Dkihxjus de Scaccario, hereditary right in land was abrogated by the 
Conqueror for political reasons ; but it may be a question if he did not merely introduce 
the custom of the Scandinavian kingdoms ; for in the fifteenth century it was still a 
principle of Danish law that " jus aut consuetudinem Romanl feudi Danianon agnoscit." 
In the year before the Conquest the Anglo-Danes claimed the right of living by " the 
Laws of Canute" (Chron. Sax. 10G5), and the classes connected wdth the land in this 
quarter were represented by the King's-thegn or Liberalis, the Land-agende man or 
Homo allodium habens, and the Cyrl or Villanus. Of the two first classes the tenants 
in capite were evidently beneficiary, whilst the Land-agende men were, in a certain sense, 
ahdiarii ; and William is supposed to have wished to introduce the customs of the 
Danelage into the rest of England, from their similarity to those of Normandy. Compare 
Scotland under her Early Kings, vol. ii. pp. 324, 461. 


the time of Benedict Biscop, tliougli the preference was usually accorded 
to the eldest born. The power of choosing an heir, who was usually the 
eldest born, seems to be alluded to in the passage in which Tacitus notices 
that, amongst the Usipites, the horse and arms were bequeathed to the 
most warlike of the sons, not, as elsewhere, to the eldest. It was in 
accordance with this ancient custom that Otho i. was presented to the 
Germans assembled at Aix, as the " heres designatus " of his father 
Henry, and the usage of designating a successor continued more or less 
in force until a much later period. It is still a source of troubles in- 
numerable in Affghanistan ; whilst according to the principle of succes- 
sion in the Turkish Empire, a principle once widely prevalent in many 
other quarters, upon the death of a Sultan, the eldest living member of 
the family succeeds. When a man received a benefice from the State, or 
Sovereign, in absolute possession, he became the representative of the 
State or Sovereign, for the time being, within the limits of the property 
thus assigned to him, — he became its lord. When the London thief was 
hanged, a portion of his property was divided between the king and " the 
fellowship ;" but if the property was in Bocland, the king's portion 
passed to the owner of the Bocland, the lord, who was thus the repre- 
sentative of the king. The various privileges, conveyed by a grant of 
Bocland were carefully enumerated in many of the charters of the early 
Norman period, for they appear to have passed as a matter of course be- 
fore that time, and to have corresponded still more closely with the full 
prerogative of the sovereign. It is laid down in Edgar's Laws, for instance, 
that " if any Geneat man neglect his lord's tribute . . . and be obdurate, 
and think to resist it . . . the lord's anger will so greatly increase, that he 
will neither grant him property nor life." The lord had the power of 
life and death over the cultivating classes attached to the soil, until the 
" Pleas of the Crown " were withdrawn from the jurisdiction of the lesser 
Courts. The smallest subdivision of a rural district was represented by 
the Tything, with which the ordinary large vill of early days seems to have 
originally corresponded ; and he who was in the possession of a large vill, 
or Tything (the appanage of a Twelfhyndman in early days), would have 
been entitled to hold a court equivalent to a Tything-court, in which his 
Tungreve or bailiff would have occupied the position of the Decanus or 
Tythingman. The lord of a lesser shire, whicli would have been known 
in later days as a Barony (the appanage of an Eorl), would have been 
entitled to possess the equivalent of a Shire-court ; and after the institu- 
tion of the Hundred-court, whenever a Hundred was made over to " a 
lord," the court of the latter would have been placed on a similar footing. 


Hence, according to the " Laws of King Henry," every county was sub- 
divided into Hundreds and Gesith-socns (Sithessocna) ; the lords of the 
latter exercising the prerogatives of the State, up to a certain point, 
within the limits of their properties, and presiding, either in person or 
by deputy, in the courts which developed in course of time into the 
Court Leet, the Court Baron, and the Customary Court of the Manor. 
But as the State could only make over to its representative the privi- 
leges it actually possessed, the freeholders, if there were any within the 
Gesith-socn, would have been only liable to the overlord to the extent of 
their rent, or their free-service ; nor could the cultivating class attached 
to the soil, whether full-free or only partially free, be driven from the 
district in which they had acquired " in-born," or native, right, as long 
as they rendered the base-service due from them. The freehold properties 
were dependencies of the Gesith-socn rather than integral portions of it, 
appearing in Domesday as " Maneria," or as Berewics ; but the actual 
property of the lord was divided into Inland and Utland, the former 
answering to the Demesne of later days, and retained in the lord's own 
hands. The Utland represented the gc-sd land, or land let out and cul- 
tivated in common by the Geneats, or Villani, dwelling in the Ham, or 
village home. Each of the occupiers of one of the messuages in the 
Ham, as a Husbandman, or Hcorth-fcst (a householder), either singly or 
with his fellow shareholders in the messuage, would have possessed a 
right of depasturing a limited amount of stock upon the common waste, 
with certain other definite and limited privileges, in addition to a share 
in the common arable. All that would have belonged to the sovereign 
of the State, as long as the land remained the public property of the State, 
or Folcland, would have passed to the representative of the State, and 
would have been known in later days as " manorial rights."^ 

In the preceding pages I have endeavoured, though very imperfectly, 
to point out a few of the leading features characterizing various early 

^ Such I believe to have been the origin of the " lord of the manor " and his privi- 
leges, and he seems to have been the represeu tative of the proprietor "with his socn " of an 
earlier generation. Where the privilege of socn was not possessed the proprietor attended 
the court of a Gerefa. In the theory tracing the rise of manorial privileges to " en- 
croachments " on the village community I cannot acquiesce. The very existence of such 
a community in a state of isolated independence seems more than doubtful, and if it 
formed an \\i\\t in some great confederacy, " the State," from the very first, would have 
claimed certain rights, which would have been exercised by its representative, and 
passed in course of time, by permission of the State, to some hereditary representative. 
Even amongst the Old Saxons in the seventh century the vill was under a villicus 
(tungerefa) who in turn was under a Satrapa (Eorldorman), who took upon himself to 
put to death the whole of the " village community " (tunscii>e), and burn their tun 
(Beda, H. E. v. 10). The community thus treated were itete, surely, and not Adalings. 


stages of society in their relationship towards land, from which it may- 
be gathered, that many of the differences between the systems of the 
past and of the present arose out of the preponderance of the Mceg, or 
kin, over the individual. Individual right, in the sense in which it is 
now understood, can scarcely be said to have been recognised as long as 
the individual was merged in the kin, and the family embraced a number 
of members, whom it is no longer customary to include within its limits. 
So far, indeed, does the principle of joint-participation appear to have 
been carried, in the case of some of the communities with which the 
Romans were brought into contact, that, within a certain degree of 
relationship, wives and children were possessed in common ; and though 
a community of wives does not appear to have ever been a feature of 
the Teutonic scheme of polity, one of the most prevalent of the abuses 
to which the Christian clergy endeavoured to put a stop, amongst their 
Germanic converts, was marriage with the widow of a father or a 
brother. The desire of preventing the joint-property from passing 
beyond the limits of the Mceg, would appear to have been the induce- 
ment to marriages of this description — the principle on which tlie 
daughters of Zelophehad were married to their cousins, " so that the 
inheritance of the children of Israel should not remove from tribe to 
tribe." As long as the individual was ignored, as it were, and land was 
allotted out in districts amongst the Mmgs of a community, enfranchise- 
ment must have been all but unattainable by the servile classes, amongst 
whom v/ere originally numbered the children of the freeman and the 
bondwoman. Hence the Canon of the early English Church, " Let the 
full-born wed with the full-born — ingenuus cum ingenua." None but 
the full-born Prison, who was a native of the district, could aspire to a 
theel in the Theel-land ; and long after the earlier system had passed 
away, " the stranger" could not acquire any permanent rights in a 
district, or in a burgh, until after the lapse of a year and a day ; as any 
well-founded objection raised against him during the interval, by a 
member of the community he wished to join, would have prevented him 
from participating in its privileges. Gaps made in the ranks of a com- 
munity, in early days, by a disastrous war, may have occasionally been 
filled up by enfranchising serfs ; but during a lengthened peace, in a 
comparatively settled state of society, there would have been literally no 
room for enfranchisement. Where a district, of which the proprietary 
right was vested in a community (a Folcland), was portioned out 
amongst a number of Mccgs, the head of any one of them could not set 
a slave at liberty and provide for him at the expense of the rest; he 


could not plant his freedman on the land, or give him the right of 
sharing in the district, and thus diminish the amount of land to be 
distributed amongst the full-born freemen of the community. A similar 
difficulty beset the religious community of a certain period, as, according 
to a Canon of Isidore, it was " unlawful for an abbot or a monk to set a 
slave at liberty, as it is impious that he who has contributed nothing to 
the property of the Church should do her harm." Hence the free com- 
munity of Western Europe in its purest form — when the line drawn 
between the Adaling and the Ltet was all but impassable, and the Friling, 
if he existed, was " sub tutela domini," or a client — must have resembled, 
in many points, the Eoman Commonwealth in that early age in which 
the Patrician alone was a member of the Populus Eomanus. The free- 
dom, in either case, was confined to the privileged class alone. After 
the introduction of the principle that lay at the base of the feudal 
system — that of free service — a free military class arose in connexion 
with the land ; and, after the principle of private property in land was 
acknowledged, it became possible for the individual to enfranchise his 
slave and provide for him, or for his kinsman who was not full-born, 
who no longer necessarily sunk to the position of the Ltet. Hence 
arose the various classes which, whilst partially free, were irremoveable 
from the district in wliich they were planted, and with whose condition 
under the later feudal system we are most familiar — classes that are too 
often confounded with the Adalings of the free community, and supposed 
to have been deprived of their freedom and overwhelmed with oppres- 
sive and illegal burdens by a military aristocracy. The opj^ressions and 
the burdens undoubtedly existed, but scarcely as illegal novelties, for 
they were relics of an age in which the cultivation of the soil was 
mainly carried out by a servile class, " chattels," without rights in the 
eyes of their masters, the full-born members of the free community. 
The Adaling was in existence before the Friling, and the nobles of the 
mediaeval period, as a class distinguished from the simple freemen, rose 
out, as it were, from the ranks of the Adalings. They did not exist as a 
separate class amongst the Community, and force down the Frilings 
into servitude. 

Long after the acknowledgment of the principle of private property 
in land, the joint-participation attaching to the earlier system of the 
community remained in force ; and land, as soon as it became yrfe-land 
or bequeathable, continued to be divisible, like the rest of the yrfe or 
inheritance, amongst the full-born members of the family, which was 
still looked upon in the light of a small community, and governed 


according to its rules. Hence arose the tenure in Parage, by which the 
whole of the original property, however it may have been divided in 
course of time, continued to be held under the heir-in-chief by the mem- 
bers of the family, none of whom could part with their portion of the 
inheritance without the permission of the rest. The tenant in Gavel- 
kind, for instance, who succeeded to " the hearth and forty feet around 
it," could not have sold his portion of the house until he had bought off 
the claims of the joint-heirs upon the remainder ; when, as proprietor 
of the whole, he could have parted with it to a stranger. The introduc- 
tion of the principle of primogeniture, vesting the landed inheritance in 
the eldest son, may be traced in England to the influence of the Boc, by 
which the whole of the Bocland was entailed according to the will of the 
original proprietor ; and as it may be gathered from the words of Bene- 
dict Biscop, that a preference was usually given amongst the Angles to 
the eldest-born, it is natural to suppose that Bocland, as a rule, was 
entailed upon him. Wherever the system of Parage remained in force, 
the duties as well as the privileges of the heir-in-chief devolved upon 
him as a portion of his "birthright," and he was bound to provide for 
the members of the Maeg in such a manner that the inheritance of the 
family should not pass beyond its limits. But wherever the principles 
of Feudalism prevailed over those of AUodialism, and the influence of 
the Mseg declined, the military fief, committed to a single holder, after it 
exchanged the character of a Lsen or life-benefice for that of an inherit- 
ance, became the absolute property of the eldest son. Changes of this 
description, however, were gradual, and their growth is often traceable 
in the codes and legal treatises of different eras. They were seldom 
introduced at once, or enforced by conquest upon a reluctant and unwill- 
ing people. Nor did tliey extend below the members of a certain class, 
and whilst the lord of the vill held his land by military or by frank tenure, 
and exercised within its limits more or less of the prerogatives originally 
belonging to the State, the " custom" regulating the cultivating classes 
was seldom disturbed, and wherever they .represented a joint-occupying 
class, more or less hereditary, they continued to be governed by many of 
the usages of the community. 




The Roman and Byzantine Pounds. 

The Roman measures of capacity were based upon the same principle 
as our present standard, for as an English imperial bushel contains 
60 lbs. of average wheat, or 80 lbs. liquid measure, so a Roman amphora 
of three modii held 60 Roman lbs. of average wheat, or 80 lbs. of wine. 
kGrain measure, however, rather than liquid, wheat bound to weigh not 
less than 20 lbs. to the modius, lay at the base of the Roman system as 
it used to form the ground-work of our ownji for every weight mentioned 
in our old Statutes was founded upon the sterling penny, estimated at 32 
grains of average wheat. That this was actually the case amongst the 
Romans may be gathered from the poem ascribed to Rhemnius Fannius, 
or Priscian, in which a weight of 10 drachmse is given to the cyathus, and 
consequently 120 drachrate, or 15 oz., to the sextarius, 20 lbs. to the 
modius, and 60 lbs. to the amphora ; the allowances to be made in 
adapting dry measure to wine, oil, or honey, being briefly alluded to 
towards the end of the poem. As the Roman amphora in the reign of 
Vespasian contained 80 lbs. of wine, or a talent of Attic silver-weight, it 
is evident that the mina of Attic silver-weight and the Roman pound 
must, like liquid and dry measure, have stood in the proportion of four 
and three. Hence a Roman pound of 12 oz. would have weighed 75 
drachmae, or (75 x 675 =) 5062*5 gr. tr., and 16 Roman oz. would 
have weighed an Attic mina — a remark in the poem already quoted, " The 
Attic pound is less than the Roman, weighing 75 drachmae," showing 
that some such adaptation of the Attic to the Roman system correspond- 



ing with the " mina of 84 denarii," to which Pliny alludes, must have 
once been actually made. Shrinking with the diminution of the drachma 
this Attic pound must have fallen below the original standard, always 
remaining at 2i fourth less than a I'iil mina of 100 drachm^e.-^ 

When four Koman oz. were equal in weight to 25 Attic drachma, or 
to 28 denarii, the nubdivisions o:^ tlie Roman standard could not have 
corresponded wiih those of Attic silver-weight, and though the drachma 
and the Eoman coin were subsequently identical, neither the scruple nor 
the sesterce corresponded with the Attic obolus. But Greek and Roman 
weight were thoroughly identified, obolus and gramme, sextula and 
drachma, were each and all in relative proportion to the other, when 
Rhemnius Fannius wrote that " 100 drachmee go to the weight called by 
the Greeks mna, and by our forefathers mina. Take away /o2<r drachrafe 
and you have our pound ; deduct a fourth, and you have the Attic mna." 
In consequence of this adaptation of the Roman to the Greek, or Attic, 
standard, which may apparently be regarded as one of the results of the 
removal of the seat of government from Rome to Constantinople, the 
later Roman or Byzantine pound fell short of the earlier standard by 4 
Byzantine drachmae, or half an ounce. Hence the remark of Symmachus, 
that the standards of the city of Rome, urhana pondera, were heavier 
than those in ordinary use. Hence the notice in Priscian that " the 
great talent/' or Attic silver-weight, was equal to 83 lbs. 4 oz. ; so that 
80 lbs. of the later standard must have fallen short of 80 lbs. of the 
earlier standard by 40 oz., each pound therefore weighing 4 drachmas, or 
half an ounce, less. The weight to which Rhemnius Fannius gives the 
name of Greek mna was the true representative of the old Roman pound 
divided into 100 drachmae, of which 96 made a Byzantine pound, thus 

giving to the latter I "^^r^ or j 4860 gr. tr., and that this was the 

actual weight of the later Roman or Byzantine pound can easily be 

The Sextula of the Byzantine ounce was identical in weight with the 
Solidus aureus of Constantinople, which, as the Hyperpyrns of 72 to the 

^ Curm. de Pond. This is often attributed to Priscian, but it does not agree in all its state- 
ments with his treatise on Weights and IMeasures. According to the poem, and the chapters 
at the close of Galen's AVorks, a Roman sextarius of average wheat weighed 15 oz., of oil 18 oz., 
of wine 20 oz., and of honey 30 oz. The authorities on which I rely, when not expressly 
quoted, are the very excellent ".Dictionaries" of Antiquities and of the Bible. 

- " Urbanis ponderibus . . . id est trutinre largioris examine," are the words of Symmachus. 
The passage in Priscian (de Pond. p. 850, edit. I3asle, 1545) is as follows: —"Libra vel mina 
Attica, drachmae 80 ; libra vel mina graia, drachmae S6 ; talentum Atheniense parvum, minse 
60; magnum, minaj 83 et uncia 4 . . . et sciendum quod, secundum Livii computationera, 
100 minae Atticae, qnarum singuh-e 75 drachmas habent, fl^ciunt talentum magnum. Nam 
minas habet GO secundum Dardanum . . . Italica mina drachmas habet ... 96, quod est 
libra 12 unciarum, id est denarii 72. Hac igitur computatione 83 librae Eomanae et 4 uncise, 
quod est magnum talentum, 100 minas Atticas faciunt. " The denarius of Priscian is evidently 
the aureus denarius of his days, the Byzantine solidus of 72 to the lb. His last calculation is 
perfectly correct, for 8000 drachmas, at the Byzantine standard of 50*625 gr. tr., would give a 
talent of 405,000 grains, equal to 80 lbs. Eoman weight, or 83 lbs. 4 oz. Byzantine weight. 


pound, was, for a thousand years, an almost universal standard of gold 

weight, and even yet continues to exercise a theoretical influence in every 

mint and goldsmith's shop in Europe. " Twenty-four carats fine " is the 

expression still applied to gold of the finest quality, meaning originally 

that eveiy Keration in the twenty-four that made up the weight of the 

standard coin of Constantinople was of the purest gold, unmixed with 

alloy. The coinage of Constantinople passed, almost exclusively, for 

nearl}'^ four centuries, over the greater part of the Eastern world, which, 

after giving her standards to the West, received one back again from the 

same quarter — the names of Dinar, Dirliem, and Fels, applied to the coins 

which first began to be issued under the early Khalifs about the opening 

of the seventh century, telling of the universal prevalence of the later 

Koman currency. In Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Barbary, and Arabia, the 

Dirhem, as a standard of weight, continues at the present day to be 

divided into 16 killos, or carats, and 64 grains, giving 24 carats and 96 

grains to the mithcal, which thus represents, in theory, the aureus solidus 

of Constantinople, weighing 24 keratia. To this Byzantine keration, 

Oribasius, the contemporary of Julian, gives a weight of 4 sitaria, or 

wheat-corns, wheat averaging 20 lbs. to the modius, being evidently at 

the basis of Byzantine weight, as well as of the ordinary measures of 

capacity. Thus the sitarion of Oribasius is identified with our own 

original unit of weight — the wheat-corn of "^^y-, or "703125 gr. tr., and 

the solidus, or standard gold coin of 96 wheat-corns, must have weighed 

three sterling pence, or 67'5 gr. tr., a drachma of Attic silver-weight. 

"A bezant of pure gold, weighing not less than three pence" — such is 

the standard laid down in an old document of the ninth century, quoted 

by Ducange, for the coin of Constantinople, agreeing exactly with the 

entry in the Sachsenspiegel, "twelve gold pence, each of which shall 

weigh three penny-weights of silvers," and the coin passed into Germany 

as a gold weight under the name of the gold schilling of 80 to the pound, 

/5400 \ 
or I -Qrr= ) 67"5 gr. tr. ; for the old standard of the mint in Germany, 

Agrippaniske, or Cologne, weight, was identical with the English sterling 
standard. Thus 24 grains of wheat went to the gramme, or Byzantine 
scruple, 72 to the drachma, and 576 to the ounce, just as in the case of 
the denier, gros, and ounce of the old Paris standard, or marc de Troyes, 
which was an offshoot from the Byzantine pound, but with an ounce 
weighing seven instead of six solidi. This would give a weight of 
405 gr. tr. to the ounce, and 4860 gr. tr. to the pound of Byzantium, 
which, by the addition of half an ounce — four drachmai, or 2025 gr. tr. — 
is raised to 5062*5 gr. tr., the original weight of the true Koman pound, 
containing seventy-^ve solidi, or drachmai of Attic silver-weight, instead 
of seventy-i!?(;o. Multiply these pounds respectively by 80 and 83 J, and 
the result in each case will give 405,000 gr. tr. ; the talent of Attic silver- 
weight thus confirming the passages in Livy and Priscian, and attesting 


the singular accuracy with which the standard of Alexander, the old mint- 
weiglit of Athens, has been estimated from the coins.^ 


Talents of the Classical Era. 

When the younger Cyrus, a Persian prince, and in a Persian province, 
promised the soothsayer " three thousand Darics," and, upon the fulfil- 
ment of the prophecy, paid him with " ten talents," it is only natural to 
suppose that he carried out his engagement in Persian currency. Hence 
300 Darics were equal in value to a Persian talent of silver, 5 Darics to 
a mina, and a Daric would have passed for 20 Persian sigli. The siglos, 
according to Xenophon, was equal in value to seven and a half Attic 
oboli, or in the proportion of Jive to four to the Attic drachma, each at 
this time weighing respectively 84*375 gr. tr., and 67'5 gr. tr., at the full 
standard. Thus, a gold Daric would have been worth 20 Persian sigli, 
or 25 Attic drachmce, or four Eoraanoz., and at the proportion of 13 to 1, 
the ratio of gold to silver in the reign of Darius, according to the authority 
of Herodotus, the standard of the gold coin will be found to have been 

— -I„— or I about 129"8 Five Darics would have passed for a 

Persian mina of (5 X 1687"5 =) 84375 grains, or 20 Koman oz., giving 
a talent of 506,250 grains, or 100 lbs. ; four for an Attic mina of 
(4 X 1687*5 =) 6750 grains, or 16 oz., with a talent of 405,000 grains, 
or 80 lbs. Three Darics, or a Sicilian gold talent, before the earlier coin 
was superseded by the gold stater of the Macedonian kings, would have 
been equal in value to (3 x 1687'5 =) 5062*5 grains, or the Eoman 
pound. Thus the Koman pound, and the Attic and Persian current 
minai, would have been at this time in the proportion respectively of 
three, four, and^ye.^ 

1 Ducan.E^e, in voc. KeparLov, Byzantinus ; /Sachs enspie gel, Bk. iii. Art. 65; Ersch und 
Gruher, Pfund. The historian of Ely also uses the expressions "centum aurei," and " C. 
tripondiis auri," for the same sum of money (Hist. El. vi. vii.), evidently regarding the aureus 
as "a weight oi three," i.e., of three pence. The aureus, or gold mancus, of his days, was not 
necessarily a coin of Constantinople, but a solidus, or bit of bullion, of the same weight as the 
bezant — a tripondiwn weighing three pence of the Carlovingian, or sterling standard. 

■^ Xenoph. Aiiab. i. 5, 7 ; Ilerod. iii. 95, iv. 166. Some very erroneous conclusions have 
been drawn from overlooking the apparently self-evident fact that a sum of money promised by 
a Persian prince, in a Persian province, and in Persian currency, must have been paid in Persian, 
and not in Attic talents ; in sigli, and not in drachmcB. That a Daric, worth twenty sigli, 
should have only passed for twenty drachmae, seems as strange as a sovereign worth twenty 
shillings passing for only twenty francs ; yet are we taught to believe that such was the case, 
though Harpocration seems to be the earliest authority for the statement. He remarks that 
the Daric " was of the same value as the coin the Athenians call Chrysous, some adding that 


Aristotle identified the Chalcos of his own time, eight of which passed 
for an Attic obolus, with the Sicilian uncia, of which tiuelve, an As or 
pound of copper, passed for a silver litra, which was thus half as large 
again as the ohohis of Attic silver-weight. Of these oboli, a Koman 
pound would have contained (6x75, or) 450, and consequently 300 
litrae, so that the proportion between silver and copper in Greece and 
Sicily, about the time of the conquests of Alexander, may be reckoned 
at 300 to 1. The litra, which also figures in the Sicilian gold talent as 
the noummos of three hemioboli, or an obolus and a half Attic weight, 
was the ^ginetan obolus according to Aristotle ; so that in his days the 
JEginetan talent must have weighed half as much again as the Attic 
silver talent, 607,500 gr. tr., or 120 Koman lbs., and was thus retained 
in the Roman system of weight as the ordinary medimnus of six raodii, 
each calculated at 20 lbs. of average wheat. In other words, the Eoman 
and Sicilian systems of weight and currency were originally identical. 
Ten ^ginetan oboli made the Decalitron or Corinthian stater, giving 
it a weight of 168'75 gr. tr., or two Persian sigli, and thus identifying 
the standard silver coin of Corinth, in the days of Aristotle, with the 
stater of the Persian silver talent, ten of which passed for the Persian 

Appended to the works of Galen are certain chapters on weights and 
measures, not written by the great physician, who could never have 
quoted Oribasius, the contemporary of Julian, as an authority, but appa- 
rently collected from various sources, and added by some later hand. 

it was worth 20 draclimfe, because 5 Uarics passed for a mina." The mistake is palpable, and 
easily rectified. He has suLstituted an Attic for a Persian silver mina. Indeed, the very 
existence of a Persian silver talent seems to have been forgotten. 

^ Pollux, ix. 6, iv. 24. He confirms the identification of the ^ginetan talent with the 
medimnus of 120 lbs. by his remark that the drachma of ^gina, known as dpaxfJ-v iraxeta, 
passed for 10 Attic oboli, the talent thus containing 10,000 Attic drachma. As long as the 
^ginetan and Attic oboli were in the proportion of three and hvo, an ^ginetan drachma would 
have passed for nine, not te7i Attic oboli. But as Pollux is not in this instance quoting Aris- 
totle, ho is reckoning by the standard of his own age, the standard of Varro, Celsus, and Pliny, 
who, identifying the Attic drachma with the Eoman denarius, estimate the obolus at a tenth 
less than the obolus of Attic silver-weight or (11'25 — 1'125:=) ]0'12.5 gr. tr., which gives an 
^ginetan drachma of ten oboli, or l6l"25 grains, and a talent of 607, .500 grains, or 120 lbs. 
So Aulus Gellius, who may be looked upon as a contemporary of Julius Pollux, gives the price 
of Bucephalus, who is supposed to have cost 13 talents, at 320 sestertia (v. 2) ; estimates three 
Attic talents of the time of Aristotle at 72,000 H.S. (iii. 17) ; and renders ixvpiai dpaxfjiai. of 
the date of Demosthenes by 10,000 denarii (i. 8), in each case identifying the Attic drachma 
with the Roman denarius. Again, the Attic drachma of a later period represents a totally dif- 
ferent standard ; for when Suidas gives only six chalci to the " obolus of the Athenians," lie is 
alluding to the Byzantine obolus, three-fourths of the earlier Attic, half of the old yEginctan, 
standard, Priscian and his contemporaries using the Byzantine drachma in their calculations. 
Care must be also taken to avoid confusion between the later currency of Corinth and Sicily, 
after it was adapted to the standard of Alexander, or Attic silver-weight, .and the earlier cur- 
rency to which Varro alludes as the parent of the early Roman coinage, and which was familiar 
to Aristotle when he wrote, in his treatise upon Agrigentum, " The litra is wortli an yl'>ginotan 
obolus, and the Corinthian stater is called Decalitron, because it is wortli 10 oboli." Kor nmst 
the early currency of JEgina be confounded with the drachma of a heavier typo to which Pollux 
alludes, which must have been current at a time when the Attic talent no longer reached the 
full standard of Attic silver-weight. 


In some of these chapters the Eoman or Italian mina is estimated at 
20 oz., the Attic, also called the Egyptian mina, at 16 oz., and the Roman 
pound at 12 oz., or in the proportion oijive, fow% and three, each repre- 
senting respectively the Persian, earlier Attic, and Roman standards. The 
artaba, an old Persian corn-measure, is reckoned at Jive modii, 100 
Roman lbs., or a Persian silver talent. It was the half of a medimnus, 
which consequently would have contained 200 Roman lbs,, or a double 
Persian silver talent, of average wheat. One of the duties of the farm- 
bailiff, according to Columella, was to see to the proper condition of the 
DecemmodicB and Trimodice, measures of ten and three modii, or 200 lbs. 
and 60 lbs. respectively. The larger measure, or Decemmodia of 200 lbs., 
was thus identical with a large medimnus, or double artaba of the old 
Persian standard ; the smaller, or Trimodia, of 60 lbs., was an amphora 
or half-medimnus of the Sicilian standard, answering to the half of an 
^ginetan talent.^ 

In other chapters of the same appendix the Italian and Ptolemaic 
minse are reckoned at 18 oz., and the Egyptian artaba, or the half of a 
Ptolemaic medimnus, is elsewhere estimated at four and a half modii. 
Thus the standard of both mina3 and artaba must have either shrunk at 
some period a tenth in weight, representing Persian weight at a reduced 
standard, with a talent of 90 lbs., or they must have conformed to some 
other system represented by the Ptolemaic talent. This diminution or 
change in the standards of weight and capacity is very evident in the 
case of the artaba, which appears in the poem of Rhemnius Fannius as 
a measure of three modii and a third, or a third of a Roman decem- 
modia, having thus adapted itself in turn to the Persian, the Alexandi'ian, 
and the Roman systems ; and it still exists in Egypt under the name of 
a7'deb, having probably accommodated itself to various other standards 
since the Roman era.^ As the Hebrew seah, the third of an ephah, was 
in the days of Josephus half as large again as the Roman modius, so 
that it would have contained 30 lbs. of average wheat, the ephah would 

^ Galen (Kiilin), vol. xis. p. 751 et seq. ; Colum. xii. 18. 

^ As the artaba aJajDted itself to the standard of the Roman decemmodia, so at a somewhat 
later period the modius seems to have adapted itself to the artaba, or, to speak more correctly, 
to its equivalent, or a trimodia that was a third of the larger measure. Gregory the Great, in 
one of his ejjistles (L. i. c. 42), inveighs against the custom of making the church-tenants pay 
by the major modius, and limits the standard of the Church to a measure of eighteen sextarii, 
a ninth instead of a tenth of the original decemmodia, giving the modius a standard of 

/ 200_lbs._22 i|jg_ 2-33 oz., oA 22 lbs. of wheat instead of 20 lbs. According to Isidore 

(L. xvi. c. 25), who ■wrote about two generations later, the sextarius was a measure of 2 lbs., 
instead of 15 oz., and 22 sextarii, or 44 lbs., went to the modius, 5 modii, or 220 lbs., to the 
medimnus, which thus represente(l a decemmodia of the standard of Gregory, raised from 200 
lbs. to 220 lbs., or from 10 to 11 Eoman modii, by the adaptation of the Eoman trimodia to the 
standard given by Ehemnius Fannius to the artaba. The true Eoman modius was known to 
Isidore under a difi'erent name, for he describes the amphora as a Pes Qnadratus of wine — the 
old standard — or three Italian modii. Thus disguised as the Italian modius, and the Italian 
mina, the standards of imperial Eume had dwindled into " urban," or local measures, and were 
fast passing into oblivion. 


have answered to this talent of 90 lbs. ; and the Jews would also appear 
to have conformed to the reduced or changed standard of the East. 
Plato, in the Hqyparclms, makes Socrates inquire of his companion if a 
man gained or lost by exchanging gold for twice its weight in silver. 
" He loses largely," is the prompt reply ; "for he only gets twice instead 
of twelve times the amount of his gold." Gold, therefore, must have 
fallen in value since the establishment of the Persian standard of pro- 
portion in the days of the first Darius ; and as this reduction was 
familiarly known in Greece about the middle of the fourth century before 
the Christian era, its effects must have been felt in the East rather 
before that time, probably contributing to produce the changes in 

The Hebrew mina, according to Josephus, weighed 30 Eoman oz., 
or 720 scruples; in other words, 100 gold coins, or Darics, of the standard 
of the Eoman aureus of 40 to the lb., weighing 7"2 scruples— 50 double 
Darics, or gold tetradrachma. The Hebrew system of weight, however, 
differed from that of the Persian empire, 100 mina3 or 10,000 coins going 
to the talent, instead of 60 minfe, or 3000 Darics, according to the Persian 
custom. Hence, assuming the identity of the coin, a Hebrew mina would 
have weighed tioo Persian minas, and 30 Hebrew minaj, or 75 lbs., would 
represent the weight of a Persian gold talent at this standard. Accord- 
ing to the Persian system of reckoning ten talents of silver to a gold 
talent, a silver talent of 90 lbs., with the proportion at 12 to 1, would 

imply the existence of a gold talent of ( ^^-^ or | exactly 75 lbs., and thus 

the reduction in the earlier standards would appear to be accounted for 
by the fall in the value of gold. Alexander, in accordance with a policy 
that dictated the suppression of every reminiscence of the previous 
supremacy of the Persian kings, superseded their coinage by his own, in- 
troducing the Attic silver talent as the standard of currency throughout 
his empire ; and to this standard East and West for a considerable time 
very generally conformed, though it failed to supplant the national coin- 
age in Asia Minor and in Syria, as well as in some other quarters. But 
with the ordinary measures of capacity and commercial weight the novel 
standard would scarcely have interfered, and accordingly the earlier sys- 
tem at the reduced standard would appear to have been perpetuated, its 

^ Joseph. Ant. ix. 4. 5 ; Plato, Ilip. (Bekker, vol. iii. p. 40). Josephus reckons the seali 
at a moclius and a half, the ephah at 72 se.xtarii. ^Vhc^ever a t^old stater passed lor 10 silver 
staters, a geld talent must have been worth 10 silver talents ; hut the proportion hcttwecn the 
two metals cannot be determined without ascertaining the weight of the respective coins. 
Hence, when it is found from a comparison between two passages in Menander {Follux, ix. 6), 
that a gold talent was worth 10 silver talents, and when the liomans allowed the yHtolians to 
pay a third of their fine in gold, at the rate of a mina for 10 silver miiiaj {Fuhjh. xxii.), or an 
aureus for 10 argentei according to Livy (xxxviii. 9, 11), the proportion between gold and 
silver can no mure be ascertained from the passages in question than it can be calcuhited 
at the present time from the fact that both in France and England an aureus passes for 20 
arfjentei. Yet on the strength of the tliree passages quoted above, it has been very generally 
assumed that the proportion between gold and silver fell suddenly to 10 to 1. 


origin perhaps as much forgotten as the very existence of a Persian 
silver talent ; for it seeros to have very generally acquired the name of 
Attic — or Greek — weight in many parts of the East, perhaps from repre- 
senting the ordinary standard in the Grreek kingdoms of Egypt and 
Western Asia. In a similar manner the Hebrew mina would appear to 
have perpetuated the later standard of gold weight in the East, which 
long remained unchanged, as, from the Alexandrian 'era, silver seems to 
have rej)laced gold as the regulating standard of the currency, gold pass- 
ing in bullion quite as often, if not more frequently, than in coins.^ 

A similar influence seems to have been felt in the West, but appar- 
ently at a later period. Varro reckoned the Egyptian talent at 80 lbs., the 
Attic at 6000 denarii, for the true Eomans always appear to have re- 
garded this talent of 80 lbs. as an Eastern standard rather than as Attic 
weight — as the standard of Egypt, or, more correctly perhaps, of Alex- 
andria. When Celsus, dividing the denarius into sixths, identifies each 
sixth with the Attic obolus ; when Pliny, giving ten instead of eight 
chalci to the Attic obolus, also identifies it with the sixth of the silver 
denarius ; they are not alluding to the Attic silver-weight familiar to 
Xenophon and Aristotle, but to Varro's Attic talent of 6000 denarii, 
weighing (71 lbs. 5 oz. 1 den. or) a little under 72 lbs. Upon the final 
ratitication of peace between Antiochus and the Eomans, the king bound 
himself in a second treaty, according to Polybius, to carry out the re- 
mainder of liis engagement by twelve annual payments of 1000 talents 
of the finest Attic silver, each talent to weigh not less than 80 lbs. Livy, 
in his version of the treaty, uses the expressions : — " Attic talents of fine 
silver, the talent not to weigh less than 80 lbs.," as if more than one 
standard of Attic weight was in existence at that time ; for he invariably 
reckons the Attic, or Greek, talent of that era in denarii, a name he never 
applies to the Eoman coinage of the same period. Thus, whilst in his 
version of the treaty with Antiochus he alludes to an Attic talent of 
80 lbs. for weighing silver bullion, he invariably calculates the talent of 
coined money, or the standard of currency, in denarii, identifying it with 
the Attic talent of Varro, Celsus, and Pliny. " Two talents, or 144 lbs.," 
are the words of Plautus, quoted by Isidore, which would give a weight 
of 72 lbs., or 6048 denarii, to the talent with which Plautus seems to 
have been familiar, and which may be identified apparently with the 
Attic standard of currency about the time of the Second Punic War. 
The accuracy of this quotation from Plautus seems to be completely borne 
out by facts. Assuming the Hebrew mina to have represented the stan- 

^ Joseph. Ant. iii. 6. 7 ; xiv. 7. 1. For the various standards of Attic weight vide Note A. 
The system in force amongst the Hebrews is still very prevalent throughout the East ; for the 
Indian Lak represents 100,000 rupees, and the Persian Tomaun 10,000 dinars. The name of 
the latter is derived, says Colonel Yule, from Tiiman, meaning in the Mongol dialect "ten 
thousand." It is worthy of remark that the lesser subdivisions of the Eoman measures of 
capacity, as they have descended to us, seem to have been based upon, or conformed to, gold- 
weight, the Sextarius of 15 oz. containing 50 aurei, or a Persian gold mina, at the reduced 


dard of gold-weight in the East at the proportion of 12 to 1, 720 scruples 
of gold would have passed for 8640 scruples of silver, and the hundredth 
part of the mina, a gold stater, or Daric, would have been worth 86*4 
scruples of silver. Wherever such a coin, or a similar amount of gold, 
passed for 20 silver drachma3, each of the latter would have weighed 
/86-4 \ . _ , . . . 1 . f /4-32X6000 \ „„ ,, 
I "20" ^^] scruples, giving a talent ot I ^co orj 90 lbs.; 

wherever it passed for 25, each drachma would have weighed ( -^^ or 

o AKa 1 cf\<-n + • • + 1 ^ r /3-456x6000 i 

3"456 scruples, or 60'75 gr. tr., giving a talent of ^^^ or 

y Zoo j 

72 lbs. ; exactly a tenth less than the earlier Attic silver talent of 80 lbs., 
just as the talent of 90 lbs. was a tenth less than the earlier Persian 
standard of Darius. As the mediasval gold florin, when adapted to the 
Cologne marc, shrunk infinitesimally below the normal standard, so the 
Roman denarius, coined at 7 instead of 6*92 to the ounce, weighed about 
half a grain less than its original type (3'43 scruples, or 60268 gr. tr.), 
and to this standard the Attic drachma latterly conformed.-^ 

All these talents may be recognised in the account of an anonymous 
Alexandrian, writing apparently in the Byzantine era, after every stan- 
dard of weight had been adapted to the reduced Roman denarius, and 
when, as he says, the Italian mina was a stater, ov four drachmee, heavier 
than the Italian pound. In the " Talent of the Islands," half as large 
again as the Attic, the old ^ginetan weight may be recognised, perhaps 
under its true name. The Rhodian standard, to which that of iEgina in 
the time of this writer conformed, was a fourtli heavier than the Attic, 
or in the proportion o^ five to four, preserving the recollection of Persian 
weight at the reduced standard. In an inscription from Cibyra, dated 
in the second year of the reign of Vespasian, or about eight years before 
the death of Pliny, in whose days the correct standard of the denarius 
still remained at 84 to the lb., the half-drachma of Rhodes passed for 
10 Asses, or five-eighths of a denarius, thus identifying the Rhodian 
drachma of that period with a siglos of the reduced Persian standard, 
which would have passed for 20 Asses, a denarius and a quarter, or in the 
proportion of five to four. The cistopliorus, which passed at the same 
period for 40 Asses, or two Rhodian drachmte, is thus connected with the 
didrachmon of the same talent as Rhodian weight, representing a double- 
siglos, or silver stater of Persia at the reduced standard. Rhodes, after 
the death of Alexander, drove out the Macedonian garrison, and, assert- 
ing her liberty, seems to have retained her original coinage upon the 
later type of the Persian empire in token of independence. Tlie same 
may be said of Pergamus, and of the other cities of Asia Minor in which 

Plin. U'lst. Nat. xxi. 19, xxxiii. 15, xxxv. 40 ; Celsvs, v. 17. 1 ; Puhjh. xxii. 26 ; Livy, 
xxxviii. 38; Isicl. Orig. xvi. 24. Isidore notices three talents, " Minus i.., Medium Lxxii., 
Summum cxx." To the ktter talent Vitruvius also alludes (x. 21) when ho says that 4000 
talents weisrhed 480,000 lbs. 


the cistopliorus, struck upon the same type, attests their retention of the 
right of a local coinage, which may be generally regarded as an expres- 
sion of independence, where it is not conceded as a privilege. Trifling 
as such coincidences may appear at first sight, they are not without their 
use in estimating the accuracy of contemporary history.^ To return to 
the Alexandrian authority : he identifies Tyrian with Attic weight, as 
was the case in the days of Josephus, who gives a value of four Attic 
drachmae to the Tyrian stater of his epoch.^ The talent of Antioch, or 
Syrian talent, as in the time of Pollux, was a fourtli less than Attic 
weight, or in the proportion of three to four^ which identifies the Syrian 
mina, at its original standard of 75 Attic drachmee of full weight, with 
the Eoman pound. Under the Flavian emperors at the time already 
referred to, the tetradrachmon of Antioch passed for three denarii, so 
that the Syrian mina of that period was s. fourth less than the Attic, and 
a tenth less than the Eoman pound.'^ This was apparently the standard 
as far back as the era of Antiochus the G-reat, for the tetradrachma, 
" containing a weight of about three denarii of silver," which contributed, 
with the cistophori, to fill the Eoman treasury after the war with An- 
tiochus, were coins of Antioch rather than of Attica, giving to the 
Syrian talent, about the time of the Second Punic War, a weight of 

P J— ^ — x60, or) 54 Eoman lbs., a tenth less than a talent of 60 

Eoman lbs. Thus, like the other standards of the East, the Syrian 
talent seems to have diminished a tenth in weight before the fall of the 
Persian empire, and was adopted, apparently, at the reduced standard, by 
the Seleucidae for their national silver currency. It is curious to notice 
the gradual extension westward of the results of the fall in the value of 
gold, first felt throughout the East, reaching Greece apparently in the 
course of the third century before the Christian era, but never sufficiently 
influencing Eome so as to afiect permanently her early standard of weight.* 

^ Corp. Insc. Grcec. 4380, a. vol. Hi. p. 1167, and note. Awafiei Se [to Attikov raXavrov) 
Tov JlroXefxaiKov Kara to vofiifffia TerpawXaffiov, eirirpLTOv 5e tov ^Avtcoxov, ry de Tvpiu) 1<tov. 
.... TTjj' Al-yivaiav Kai T7]v'Fooi.av fivav rrjs IlroXe^at/ci;? eivai TrevraTrXacnov, e^aTrXaaiou 5e 
Tr]u v7]aiwTiKT]v oiiTco trposayopevofJLevqv. Sucli is the substance of the quotation in Momm- 
sen's lioman Weights, p. 3U. 

* Joseph. D.B. J. ii. 21. 2. Bockh quotes the Talmud as also identifying the standard of 
the currency in Judtea with the Tyrian. 

* " The Attic drachma, though sensibly heavier than the denarius, was yet reckoned equal 
to it ; the tetradrachmon of Antioch, weighing on an average 15 grammes of silver, was made 
equal to three Roman denarii, which only weigh about 12 grammes; the cistophorvs of Asia 
Minor was according to the value of silver above 3, according to the legal tarifi'=2|- denarii; 
the Rhodian hnU-drachma according to the value of silver=5, according to the legal tariff=f 
of a denarius, and so on." — Mommsen's Eoman History (Dickson), vol. iv. p. 554, note. If 
the Professor is correct, it must have been a profitable speculation to buy up these local coins, 
and sell them again as bullion, and they would have soon disappeared from circulation. But 
in his first remark he is at issue with every Roman authority of the time, and he seems in con- 
sequence to have over-estimated the weight of all the other coins. The Attic drachma and the 
Eoman denarius had long been identical, and the legal tariff gives the correct value of the 

* Livy, xxxiv. 52. " Signati argenti, 84,000 fuere ; Atticorum tetradrachma vacant; t.ium 


Lowest upon the list, but not the least interesting, stands the weight 
to which the Alexandrian authority gives the name of the " Ptolemaic" 
talent, weighing o. fourth of the Attic standard — the " Egyptian" talent 
of Pollux, and of the Book of Cleopatra, which had an obolus for the 
drachma. This obolus, at its original standard, would have weighed a 
fourth of the drachma of Attic silver-weight ; in other words, it was the 
Litra, and thus the smallest of the Egy^itian talents represented origin- 
ally the full talent of Sicilian gold-weight, the standard of the earliest 
silver coinage known to the Eomans. 


The Koman Currency. 

For upwards of fifty years after the death of Aristotle, the Eoman 
currency continued to be struck in copper alone, until, shortly after the 
defeat of Pyrrhus, silver is said to have been coined about five years 
before the First Punic War. By subsequently reducing the weight of tli© 
As to 2 oz., the Komans are supposed to have cleared off the liabilities) 
incurred during their earliest contest with Carthage, though hardly to- 
the extent sometimes imagined. An Attic obolus which, in the time of 
Aristotle, passed for 8 oz. of copper, was worth 2 oz. when Polybius was 
writing ; and as a Ptoman pound of silver passed for 5Q> lbs. of copper 
when the As was reduced to half an ounce, the actual rise in the 
value of copper in Italy during the whole of the intervening period 

I ^ .^ or about 5'4| was, in reality, not as great as its apparent rise 

on this occasion. Before the close of the same century, the weight of 
the As was again reduced, and for a similar reason, during the Second 
Punic War ; and at the standard of an ounce it appears to have long 

The silver coins of this period, generally known as Quadrigati and 
Bigati, seem to have followed the Italian type, and, to judge from 
the weight of some of the heavier specimens, which reach as high as 
112"5 gr. tr., the Decalitron would appear to have been superseded by a 

fere denariorum in singulis argenti est pondus." Commentators have found a stumbling-block 
in trium, but does not the mistake lie rather in Atticoritmf Livy, using the present tense, — 
" they are called," " there is a weight," — seems to be describing a coin of his own time. Tho 
Attic tetradiachmon was a coin of the past, but the tetradrachnion of Antioch was still current 
for three denarii when he was writing. Multitudes of these Syrian coins must have found their 
way into the Itoman treasury at the time of the wars with Antiochus, and with the Asiatic 
Gauls, and may have been vaguely known as Attic, or Greek, tetradrachma. 
1 Pliu. JI. N. xxxix. 13. 


Decoholus of the Attic type, a piece of 10 Attic oboli instead of 10 litree.^ 
A coin of this description, according to Polkix, the -^ginetan drachma 
passing for 10 Attic oboli, was familiar to the Athenians as a Spaxfj-rj 
Traxeta, a name Avhich, according to Hesychius, was given to every drachma 
passing for more than six Attic oboli ; and the " nummus Qiiadrigatus " 
of the time of the Second Punic War seems to have belonged to the 
heavier type. Polybius, writing about sixty years later, gives to the 
Attic obolus a value of 2 Asses, so that the iEginetan drachma, or the 
Decoholus, would have passed in his days for 20 Asses ; for ten, or as 
a denarius, before the reduction in the weight of the As at the com- 
mencement of the Second Punic War ; after which time, a Pentobolus, 
or piece of 5 Attic oboli, would have represented the denarius. As the 
Attic drachma at this time weighed 3*456 scruples, a Decoholus would 

have weighed ( ^ or j 5*76, a Pentobolus 2"88, thus represent- 
ing respectively the hundredth part, or drachma, of a large Sicilian mina 
and of the Koman pound, 400 sesterces in each case being coined out of 
the mina, or pound, of silver. The ransom agreed upon between Han- 
nibal and Fabius Maximus is reckoned by Polybius at 2J Eoman lbs., by 
Plutarch at 250 drachmte, thus giving 100 Pentoboli to the lb.; and 
when Pliny calculates that, by passing the gold Scripula for 20 sesterces, 
a profit of 900 sesterces was gained, he must have based his calculation 
upon a denarius of this standard. He evidently assumes that a pound of 
gold which, at 12 to 1, the ordinary proportion of the age, was worth 
12 lbs. of silver, was made to pass in the proportion of 14"25 to 1, thus 
giving a profit of 2'25 lbs., which would have been coined into 900 ses- 
terces of the standard of 400 to the Ib.^ 

As long as the triumphs of the Eoman generals were celebrated over 

^ "There is reason to believe that the denarius weighed at first about 112 gr. tr. " (Trans. 
i?. S. Lit. iii. 367, quoted in Num. Hel. p. 141.) Only one coin mentioned by Mommsen, from 
Mionnet, exceeds this weight, reaching 7"41 grammes, or 114"36 gr. tr. 

^ Folyh. ii. 15, vi. 19, xxii. 23 ; Plut. Fab. Max. Vn. The expressions of Pliny (xxxix. 13), 
" Quod effecit in libris, ratione sesterti qui tunc erat, sestertios dcccc," imply a difference 
between the sesterce of the time when the gold scripula was first issued, and the sesterce of his 
own age. When the scruple passed for 20 sesterces, the pound of gold would have been worth 
6760, or, as the As then weighed an ounce, (2*5X5760=) 1200 lbs. of copper. With silver 

and copper at 84 to 1, this would give the proportion between gold and silver as ( —q-.~ or ) 

about 14'25 to 1, so that a pound of gold was made to pass for 14'25 lbs. instead of 12 lbs. of 
silver. As at this time 10 Asses were worth 5 Attic oboli, or 2"88 scruples of silver, the sesterce 
would have been worth '72, 400 would have been coined out of a pound, 900 out of 2 lbs. 3 oz. 
My reasons for concluding that the denarius continued to pass for 10 Asses, for some time after 
the dictatorship of Fabius Maximus, I have given in Note B. Pliny and other authorities often 
seem to be writing as if their readers were familiar with many things about which they are 
now in comparative ignorance. When the Attic drachma passed for 12 Asses, or 1 lb. of 

copper, the exact proportion between the two metals was ( or j 83^ to 1 ; according to 

which standard 10 Asses would pass for a silver coin weighing (■ — ^^— or') 50'625 gr. tr., 
or a Pentobolus. 


the Carthagiaians, and the people of Italy and Western Europe, the trea- 
sury was filled with Quadrigati, Bigati, and the Spanish coinage of 
" Osca," the soldiery receiving their donatives in money of the copper 
standard. Tetradrachma of Antioch, Cistophori of Pergamus, gold 
Philips of Macedonia, and the pure silver coinage of Attica, flowed into 
the treasury after the wars with Philip and Antiochus, Denarii and 
Victoriati from Illyria a little later, — thus familiarizing the Koman people 
with the currency of Eastern Europe, and of the Greek kingdoms of 
Western Asia. Livy now calculates the donative of the Legionary in 
denarii, for the use of silver was becoming common ; but the type' 
of the coinage seems to have still remained unaltered. A character in 
one of the comedies of Plautus sneers at " the miserables who are ready 
to take a drachma, when, for his part, he would never stir under a 
nummus" apparently a "nummus Quadrigatus,"or Decobolus of the larger 
type ; for the man who would refuse to move for a drachma would 
hardly rise for a Pentobolus, and would most assuredly never get up for 
a sesterce. The obolus, the drachma, the mina, and the talent, familiar 
to the audiences of Plautus, who was probably writing during the Second 
Punic War, and one of whose plays was exhibited as late as B.C. 191, 
or about seven or eight years before the date assigned to his death by 
Cicero, appear in the six comedies of Terence, whose brief caieer was 
terminated by his early death in B.C. 159. Money at this time was 
still calculated by the mina, the pound and the ounce never appearing 
except with the addition of ])ondo; and the nummus, as in the days of 
Plautus, seems to have been a larger coin than the drachma. A thousand 
silver drachmae were equivalent to ten minas ; but a thousand nummi 
seem to have passed for a larger sum. In the days of Polybius, who on 
his first arrival at Rome may have witnessed the representation of the 
earliest comedy exhibited by Terence, the Attic drachma passed for twelve 
Asses, the obolus for two, the denarius not as yet conforming to the Attic 
type ; but the time was fast approaching when Eome waxs about to step 
into the position occupied in turn by Persia and by Greece, and assert her 
right to give the standard to the world.-^ 

Two-and-twenty years after the surrender of Perseus in B.C. 1G8, the 
same year witnessed the final destruction of Carthage and the temporary 
fall of Corinth ; Greece ceased to be independent, Macedonia was already 
a Roman province, and the pre-eminence that had passed away from 
Persia upon the rise of the Macedonian empire was gradually transferred 
to Rome. Her currency must have now begun to sup[)ly, at any rate, 
the Western world, and, abandoning the earlier standard of her coinage, 
she began to issue her denarii upon the Attic type of 84 to the lb. 
Polybius brought down his history to the year in which Carthage and 
Corinth fell, and when he wrote he still calculated the soldiers' pay in 
Attic drachma3 and oboli ; valuing each coin respectively at 12 and 2 
Asses. Fifteen years afterwards, Papirius Carbo was Tribune of the 
^ riaut. Pseud, iii. 2. 19 ; Ter. Ueuut. iii. 3. 4U, 45 ; iv. 4. 2. 


Plebs, in B.C. 131, and about this date may be placed the Papirian law 
that reduced the weight of the As to half an ounce. It would be diffi- 
cult to fix the exact time at which the Roman denarius was first assimi- 
lated to the Attic type, though it was probably about this period ; for 
the era of the change is unmistakably connected with the well-known 
regulation about the soldiers' pay, which could hardly have been in exist- 
ence when Polybius was writing his account of the pay and allowances 
of the Roman legionary. The stipendium of the legionary, reckoned at 
four Asses a day over a period of 120 days, must have amounted at the 
time when Polybius was writing to 480 Asses, or 40 drachmae; but as soon 
as the denarius passing for 16 Asses was assimilated to the drachma which 
had once passed for 12, the pay would have fallen by the new arrange- 
ment to ( -^jr or I 30 denarii. Hence it was agreed that the soldier's 

pay should be calculated at 48 denarii, each passing, as of old, for 10 
Asses ; so that the stipendium, though nominally remaining at the same 
amount of four Asses a day, or 480 Asses, was practically raised from 

I j^ or) 40 drachmae to (^^ or) 48 denarii. But so intimately is the 

stipendium of the Roman soldier connected with the change in the coin- 
age, that it cannot be passed over without a brief notice. 


The Stipendium. 

The Roman Legion was originally composed of the Adsidui, or 
Freeholders, who served at their own cost ; but the soldier was not a 
" continuous-service man/' being only liable, during twenty years of his 
life, to bo called out annually to serve a certain number of days under 
arms. The necessity of continuing under arms beyond the limits of the 
original term of service naturally became burdensome upon the yeoman 
freeholder who wished "to get back to his farm ;" and, accordingly, he 
was compensated iiy pay, the first issue of the Sti'pendium being generally 
associated with the lengthened siege of Veii. The amount of the 
stipendium in the reign of Domitian was three aurei, 75 denarii, or 1200 
Asses, which, as the pay of the legionary was at that time 10 Asses a day, 
gives 120 days, or four months of 30 days, as the annual length of service 
to which the freeholder was originally liable. It is easy to understand 
the manner in which such a system would have gradually adapted itself 
to the lengthened wars of the later Republic, in which the legionary, 


being paid by the campaign, would receive his pay, not by the year, but 
by the stipendium, or according to the number of " four months " during 
which he continued " facere stipendium," or to carry arms in face of the 
enemy. After continuous service was exacted from the Koman soldier 
the same system remained in force, and he continued to be paid by the 
stipendium, receiving three in the course of the year, until Domitian raised 
his pay to four. 

The war with Pyrrhus, the epoch in which a silver coinage was first 
issued, and in which the erection of a sun-dial in the Forum familiarized 
the Romans with the Eastern divisions of time, also marked the com- 
mencement of important changes in the military system of Rome. It 
was no longer property, but length of service, that qualified the soldier to 
take his place amongst the chosen band, known henceforth as veterani. 
Men were wanted, and the proletarii, freemen, but not freeholders, were 
enrolled in the legions. A fleet was needed, and the poorest of the 
proletarian class, with all the freedmen, were inscribed upon the roll of 
sailors, much against their will, for galley-service was naturally unpopular. 
Even the slave-market is said to have been ransacked for recruits to fill 
the ranks, shattered by the victories of the great Carthaginian ; and, at 
the close of the Second Punic War, allotments were assigned to Scipio's 
veterans, Binajugera, the normal amount of the old Roman hwredium, 
being given for every year of service beyond the frontiers of Italy, in 
Spain, or Africa ; probably as a reward or pension for foreign service. 
Thus, in the course of about seventy years, the whole military system had 
been gradually remodelled. The legionary who received an allotment at 
the close of twenty years of service, at home and abroad, must have been 
the representative of a totally different class from that of the small 
freeholder, whose presence was as necessary at the farm as in the field, 
and whose service could not have been rendered without inconvenience 
until the vintage and the harvest had been secured. No ties bound the 
other either to family or farm ; his home was in the camp : for though a 
freeman in arms, he was not a freeholder until he received, upon his dis- 
charge, a hereditary allotment, and, accordingly, the germs of the military 
colony, and of continuous service, the one in close connexion with the 
other, may be traced to the period in question. 

The earliest notice of the pay of the legionary is to be met with in 
one of the comedies of Plautus, in which an allusion is made to the man 
" who risks the chance of fifteen spears in his body in the assault for 
three nummi." To be an enfant perdu in the forlorn hope told off to 
carry a walled town by storm " sub falas," under the wooden defences 
put together for the protection of the storming party, was evidently 
regarded as one of the most hazardous services of the time. Calculated 
at 3 Asses a day, the stipendium must have amounted at this time to 
360 Asses, or 30 Attic drachmae, so that pay must have risen in the days 
of Polybius, when the legionary received 2 Attic oboli, or 4 Asses a day, 
which would have raised the stipendium to 480 Asses, or 40 Attic drachma}. 


His rations consisted of a monthly allowance of " as nearly as possible 
two-thirds of an Attic medimnus of wheat," apparently the four and a 
half modii, Koman measure, or about nine imperial gallons, which Cato 
reckoned as the monthly allowance for a man at full work during the 
six summer months. The centurion received double pay, the Eques three 
times as much as the legionary, 12 Asses or an Attic drachma a day, with 
a monthly allowance of two Attic medimni of wheat, and seven of barley, 
or rations for three men, and forage for tivo, if not more, horses ; the cost 
of rations, forage, and equipment, being, in each case, deducted from the 
pay. Thus the State found the soldier with every necessary he required, 
deducting the price from the stipendium. Rations and forage were also 
issued to the allies whilst on service, free of all deductions, the infantry 
receiving the same allowance as the Roman legionary, but only a medim- 
nus and a third of wheat, and five medimni of barley, were served out to 
the horseman, or rations for tioo men, and forage in proportion. The 
Roman Eques had, from the earliest times, been mounted at the cost of 
the State, ibrage for his horse having been provided, before the institution 
of the stipendium, by an annual tax levied upon the widows of Rome, 
perhaps in lieu of the personal service which they could not render in the 
field ; and, under the name of uEs Equestre and uEs Hordearium, or the 
cost and keep of the charger, certain legal claims seem to have beer, 
asserted upon the military treasury by the Equestrian order, long after 
they had ceased to supply the State with cavalry.^ 

As the soldiers' pay was always calculated by the nummus of the copper 
standard, the alteration through which sixteen Asses passed for a denarius, 
which, when assimilated to the Attic drachma, ought to have only passed 
for twelve, would have considerably reduced its amount, but for the 
arrangement that, in reckoning the stipendium, the denarius should con- 
tinue to pass at its original standard — a regulation which has been 
connected by Pliny with the reduction in the weight of the As during the 

1 Plaut. Most. ii. 1, 10 ; Pohih. vi. 39 ; Cato, Ivi. ; Livy, i. 43. The five Attic medimni, or 
35 modii of barley supplied to the Allies, would give a daily allowance of rather under 14 lbs., 
English weight — too much for a single horse to eat. The English charger consumes daily 
10 lbs. of oats, but the lighter horse, of Arab race, that supplies his place in India, is contented 
with about 8 lbs. of gram, or less when he can get green forage — with " three feeds " a day. 
A comparison between a Roman horse of the modern type and the bronze charger of Marcus 
Aurelius will show that the Roman Eques was mounted on a much smaller horse than the 
English dragoon, and the five medimni of barley supplied to the Allies probably represent forage 
hr two chargers, to mount the two men to whom rations were also supplied — an Eques and his 
rear-rank man. The extra ration and two medimni — a smaller amount of barley — supplied to 
the Roman, imply the presence of a third man and horse, probably a supernumerary and a bag- 
gage animal. There were many slaves in attendance on the Roman array, and in the case o 
the Eques his slave would be mounted. "Ad equos emendos dena millia a;ris ex publico 
dato ; et quibus equos alerent, vidufe attributae, quie hlna millia ccris in annos singulos pende- 
rent." Some very ingenious calculations have been grounded upon the assumption that the 
dena millia represented the price of each horse, the biiia millia the pay of each Eques. If a 
horse was worth 10,000 Asses, when a proprietor of 100,000 — or ten horses — was enrolled 
amongst the richest class in Rome, the horse must have been a very valuable animal, and the 
Equites were a very costly troop. The sums mentioned by Livy mounted the whole body, and 
kept aU their horses. 


Second Panic war ; but as no allusion to it will be found in Polybius, the 
change must be dated after the era in which the earlier and more accurate 
writer conclnded his history. It must have raised the pay of the legion- 
ary from (' or] the 40 Attic drachmae of the days of Polybius to 

I yjy- or I 48 silver denarii, which continued to represent the amount of 

the stipendium till it was nominally doubled by Julius Ctesar, through 
whose arrangements the soldier received his rations from the State with- 
out deduction, with a slave from amongst the captives to carry his 
baggage. Thus Cassar's legionary only carried his arms and military 
necessaries ; and not a little of the success of the great Roman captain 
may probably be attributed to the increased celerity of movement which 
he thus secured. The exceptional regulation about the soldiers' pay 
must now have terminated, for it would have raised the stipendium, at 

8 Asses a day, to ( ^ or J 96 denarii, a sum far above the three aurei, 

or 75 denarii, at which it stood in the reign of Domitian ; but, by 
doubling the daily pay, and abolishing the exceptional standard, Cresar 

practically raised the amount of the stipendium to ( ^ ^ or I 60 denarii. 

Augustus, who assigned additional sources of taxation for the military 
treasury, and passed various regulations about the soldier's privileges and 
pay, seems to have raised the latter to 10 Asses a day, the amount at which 
it stood at the time of the Emperor's death, as may be gathered from the 
grievances of the legionary at that period, which have been handed down 
in the pages of Tacitus, as follows : — " He was often kept on service, fre- 
quently with a body seamed with wounds, over thirty or forty campaigns ; 
and even when dismissed he was still retained under the eagle, to perform 
the same service under another name. If he survived, he was dragged 
all over the world to get a bit of mountain or marsh that was called a 
farm ; and he endured all this, and risked body and soul for ten Asses 
a day, out of which he had to find himself in clothes, arms, a tent, and 
to satisfy the exactions of the centurions. All this was well worth at 
least a denarius a day. The Praetorians received twice that amount, and 
left the service after sixteen years. Let the service of the legionary end 
after sixteen years, and let him be paid on his discharge in money, and 
in the camp." It is curious to observe how persistently the policy of 
Augustus excluded the legionary from proximity to the capital, for, 
whilst on service, he was never quartered within a certain distance of 
Rome, and on his discharge he received, in strict conformity with the 
principle of Scipio's age, an allotment in some distant province, which 
lie would have willingly exchanged for " money paid in the camp," with 
permission to spend it in Rome. The charge of the imperial city, and 
the duty of guarding the Emperor's person, were committed to the 
Praetorians alone, who, with the triple pay, seem to have occupied, in a 



certain sense, the position of the earlier Eqnites. The complaints of the 
soldiery extorted a double donative from Tiberius, with a promise that 
their service should not be prolonged beyond the original limit of twenty 
years, but the pay was not increased before the reign of Domitian, who 
augmented it, not by raising its daily amount, but by the addition of a 
fourth stipendium, thus increasing its yearly amount from nine to twelve 
aurei, or 300 denarii.^ 


Early Byzantine Currency. 

It may be gathered from Herodotus that gold was the standard of 
the Persian currency as early as the reign of Darius, but, as the tribute 
in the precious metals due from all the provinces was, with the solitary 
exception of India, paid in silver, the estabUshment of a gold standard 
could scarcely have preceded the extension of their authority by some of 
the Great Kings over the distant province, from which a permanent 
supply of the metal could be relied upon. In Greece, the supply of gold 
was principally derived from the mines of the Pangeian range, which 
were still worked by the neighbouring Thracian tribes when Herodotus 
was writing, and from the possession of these mines by Philip of Macedon 
dates the first issue of a Macedonian coinage in gold. The successors of 
Alexander failed to extend their authority over the farther East, and 
accordingly, though gold coins were issued in Syria, in Egypt, and in 
Asia Minor, the currency in those quarters seems to have been regulated 
on a silver standard, the stater of the Macedonian kings, who, froui 
the possession of gold mines, could count upon a supply of the metal, 
replacing the Daric as the ordinary standard of the gold coins of the 
age. The acquisition of Spain placed the rich silver mines of that 
country in the power of Kome, and, from the neighbourhood of Cartha- 
gena alone, upwards of 1500 talents of silver are said, at one time, to 
have been paid annually into the treasury ; but no gold mines of any 
consequence ever fell into the possession of the Eomans of the Kepublic. 
In the time of Poly bins, indeed, gold seems to have been discovered in 
such plenty amongst the Taurisci of Noricum, that it fell a third in 
value throughout Italy for the brief period during which the mines were 
worked by Italians ; but the fall was only temporary, producing no per- 
manent effect upon the Roman system, for the Taurisci, driving away 
the Italian miners, retained the mines exclusively in their own posses- 

^ Suet. Jul. 26, Oct. 49, Domit. 7 ; Tac. AnA. 17, 36. The expression put in the mouth 
of the military grumbler by Tacitus, " Only ten Asses for risking body and soul, which is well 
worth a denarius" renders it impossible that the regulation should have been still in force, 
by which the denarius was counted at ten Asses in paying the legionary. 


sion. The scripula, current above its actual value, was evidently a local, 
and probably a temporary coin, for gold continued to pass by weight, 
and to be stored in the treasury in bars — the Komans of this period, to 
the surprise of Pliny, who records the fact, invariably mulcting their 
vanquished opponents in silver. As the ordinary standard of the cur- 
rency of the West, silver could be re-issued with a profit in the form 
of coins, whilst, as long as gold passed by weight at its market value, a 
loss would have been entailed by coining it. The permanent extension 
of their power beyond the limits of Europe seems to have impressed the 
Bomans with the advantages of a coinage in gold, and, before the middle 
of the first century before the Christian era, aurei upon the Eastern type 
began to be circulated. Ceesar's conquest of Gaul placed at his disposal 
the mines of that country, which were, at this period, renowned for 
the purity of their gold, and from this time forward silver ceased to be 
the regulating standard of the Eoman currency. The invariable result 
of such a change in such an age soon became apparent, the denarius 
dwindling away from its original standard, until it disappeared entirely 
from circulation. 

When Pliny wrote, "Alii a pondere svhtraJmnt, cum sit justum, 
Ixxxiv. e libris signari," he was surely using the present tense ; and as 
the standard of the silver denarius remained unaltered after the aureus 
had been reduced in weight from 40 to 45 in the lb., or from 7"2 scruples 

to 6'4, gold must have risen in value | -^^ = 13 "4 i, though the silver coin, 

curtailed in weight, or mixed with alloy, no longer reached the correct 
standard of value. It has been conjectured, indeed, that to meet the 
depreciation of the aureus in the reign of Nero, the standard of the silver 
denarius was lowered from 7 to 8 in the oz. ; but Pliny, writing some 
time after the death of Nero, was unaware of any such change, nor can 
any contemporary authority be cited in support of this opinion. It was 
the Byzantine and not the Eoman ounce that was divided into 8 drachma3, 
and the Byzantine drachma, as a weight, was never coined. Probably, 
like our own shilling, as the coined denarius shrunk in size, it ceased to be 
regarded as a weight ; for Josephus and Pollux calculated, not in silver 
denarii, but in Attic drachmas, the standard of weight, apparently, in their 
time, though the recollection of the denarius at its full standard may 
have been retained under the name of the Holce — the weight. Fifty aurei 
are said to have been coined out of a pound of gold in the tlays of Cara- 
calla, sixty during the reign of Diocletian, who restored the denarius to the 
silver currency, for it had ceased to be coined from the time of Caracalla ; 
but its resuscitation under its original name was only temporary, and the 
coin of Diocletian seems to have passed into the Byzantine system as the 

* Another passage in Pliny, " Quaternis denariis scripula ejus permutata quondam, 7(t auri, 
reperio," appears to conlirm the rise iu the value of gold iu his days, which seems to have 


When Constantine instituted his reform in the Eoman coinage, he 
would appear to have decreed that 7 aurei, each weighing 4 Byzantine 
scruples, or grammes, should be coined out of the ounce of gold, each 
aureus accordingly coutaining 3 "43 scruples of fine gold to '57 of alloy. 
Hence 84 aurei were coined out of 288 Byzantine scruples of gold, and 
thus a heavier standard was established, weighing fourteen ordinary 
ounces, but divided as usual into twelve, each ounce containing seven solidi 
instead of six, and weighing 28 scruples instead of 24 — 472'5 gr. tr. 
instead of 405 gr. tr. As it was decided by the Emperor that all pay- 
ments into the treasury in fine gold — aurum coctum — should be made 
in this heavier pound, the profit must have been considerable ; but about 
forty years later, in the reign of the elder Valentinian, this enactment 
was set aside, and it was ordered that all payments in bullion — massa 
auri — should be made in the pound of 72 solidi ; the solidus itself being 
henceforth coined auri ohryzi, or of the finest gold. Thus, it would 
appear, were laid the foundations of a double system of weight ; the 
ordinary standard, often known as the Libra Occidua, or the pound of 
72 solidi, and the heavier pound of 84 solidi, based upon the number of 
aurei coined by Constantine out of the pound of gold, which was used 
subsequently for weighing balluca, gold ore, or unrefined gold. To this 
heavier pound may be traced Troyes-io eight. The Merovingians, adopt- 
ing the Byzantine system for the standard of their currency, and the 
wheat-corn for their unit of weight, gave 24 grains to the denier, and 
576 to the ounce, or 16"875 gr. tr., and 405 gr. tr. respectively; but 
in the Paris Poid-de-Marc, after it was assimilated to the standard of 
Troyes-weight, the ounce weighed 472-25 gr. tr., or 672 wheat-corns, 
exactly 96 grains of corn, three sterling pence, or a bezant of 67"5 gr. 
tr. more than the lighter ounce, which was thus raised from six to seven 

steadily continued. The Argenteus Antoninianus of 60 to the lb., or 4*8 scruples, replaced the 
denarius under Caracalla; and if 100 passed for six aurei of 50 to the lb., or 5"76 scruples of 

gold, the proportion between the two metals would have stood at this time at f or\ about 

13*9 to 1. When it can next be ascertained, it stood at (- — or ) 14"4 to 1. An excellent 

account of the coinage of this period will be found in Mr. Finlay's Greece, vol. i. App. ii., " On 
Roman and Byzantine Money." The Bj^zantine authorities identify the okK-q with the drachma 
of their own time; but it seems allowable to conjecture that the name grew into use to dis- 
tinguish the standard of weight from the diminished coin. So, as the sterling penny shrunk 
from its original size in the course of the fourteenth century, the standard of weight began to 
be known as the Troy poimd, to distinguish it from the standard of the currency, the sterling 

^ Cod. TJieod., Lib. xii. tit. vii. 1, ad an. 325; tit. vi. 13, and Lib. x. tit. xix. 4, ad 
an. 367 ; Lib. vii. tit. xxiv. 1, ad an. 397. The enactments of the two later years were 
repeated and confirmed by Justinian {Cod. Lib. x. tit. Ixx. 5; Lib. xi. tit. x. 3) who ordered 
that all coins of his predecessors, if of the proper weight, should pass at their current value. 
The old Paris grain and the average wheat-corn stand in the exact proportion of seven and six, 
or of the heavier and lighter Byzantine pounds. A medallion of Priscus Attalus, weighing 
1203 gr. tr., is looked upon as abnormal, for three Eoman oz. would give 1265 grains. But 
three Byzantine oz. would only weigh 1215 gr. tr., and a difference of 12 grains is more 


When Constantine fixed the weight of the aureus at the standard 
which it so long retained, he also instituted a change in the silver coinage, 
tlie Milliarensis and the Keration usurping the position once held by the 
earlier denarius and quinarius. The milliarensis is supposed to have re- 
ceived its name from 1000 passing for a pound of gold when it was 
originally coined, or, to speak more correctly, 1008, twelve being given in 
exchange for each of the new aurei of 84 to the lb. Of the specimens of 
these coins mentioned by Pinkerton, two are worthy of especial notice, a 
milliarensis of Constantine, weighing 695 gr. tr., and another of Prisons 
Attains, weighing 81'25 gr. tr., or exactly in the proportion of six and 
seven. Assuming that the proportion between gold and silver stood at 
the later imperial standard of 20 scruples of gold to 288 of silver, or 
14'4 to 1, 3'43 scruples of fine gold would have passed for 49-392 

/49"3'^2 \ 
scruples of silver, giving {— -.o— o^J 4116 scruples, or about 695 gr. tr. 

to the milliarensis, calculating by the Byzantine scruple, the exact weight 
of the coin of Constantine; whilst 4 scruples of fine gold w^ould have 

passed for 67'6 scruples of silver, giving i^^^ or j 4'8 scruples, or 81 

gr. tr., to the larger coin, answering to the milliarensis of Attains. 
The lesser coin then would appear to have been the true and original 

milliarensis, or " thousandth," of Constantine I — Tfui^ — = 69*5 1 adapted 

to his alloyed aureus containing 3"43 Byzantine scruples, or 57*9 gr. 

tr. of fine gold [ ^ ' jl =69 -5 J; whilst the larger may be identified 

with the major- nummus of 60 to the lb. (60x81=4860), a milliarensis 
only in name, though twelve would have passed for an aureus containing 

67-5 gr. tr. of fine gold [^^^^^^^=8l] when a pound of silver was 

worth five solidi. The keration, from its name, was evidently the half 
of the milliarensis, representing the amount of silver passing for the sixth 
part of a scruple of gold, twenty-four keratia being thus exchanged for a 
solidus. The denarius still continued to be coined, but not under its 
original name. Upon its revival by Diocletian, if gold had stood in the 
proportion of 14*4 to 1, and if twenty-five denarii passed, as usual, for 
an aureus of 60 to the lb, (or 48 scruples of gold, lioman weight), each 

denarius would have contained (^^^o-f^ ^^) ^^^ ^^" *^' ^^ ^^^^^^' 
and would have passed under the new system as a coin of tioenty in- 

easily accounted for. Mr. Finlay alludes to coins tliat oui^lit to have weighed 400 grains, cal- 
culating by the Roman pound, adding that no specimens have been ever found above 384 
grains. But 384 : 400 : : 24 : 25, or in the exact proportion of the Byzantine and Bonian pounds. 
The denarius of Diocletian, weighing 48*6 gr. tr., was not the hundredth of tlie Roman pound, 
but it was exactly the hundredth of the Byzantine pound of 48G0 grains. For these and many 
similar reasons, it is, I think, allowable to conclude that the Byzantine, or later Roman, system 
dates from the reign of Constantine. 


^tead of twenty-five to the aureus containing 67"5 gr. tr. of fine gold 

I — rJTT — =67'5 |. Sucli would appear to have been the case, but as the 

denarius revived by Diocletian exactly answered to the hundredth part of 
the Byzantine pound, weighing 4860 gr. tr., it seems to have acquired 
the name of Centenionalis, under which it figures in the edicts of the 
fourth and fifth centuries.^ 

From this time forward, the name of denarius ceasing to be applied to 
a silver coin, was transferred to a piece of copper money, 6000 usually 
passing for a solidus, which would give the copper denarius an average 
weight a little under the Byzantine scruple, — the third of a centenionalis 
rather than the third of a drachma. When a solidus passed for 20 lbs. 

of copper, the denarius would have weighed (?.tw^ or) '96 of a scruple, 

and 300 would have been coined out of a pound; when 25 lbs. were given 

for a solidus, the denarius would have reached (tyjaa or) 1"2 scruples, or 

240 to the lb., thus giving a difference of about 4 gr. tr. in the weight of 
the coin, according to the value of copper at the period in which it was 
struck.'^ Shortly before the middle of the fifth century, the third Valen- 
tinian issued a decree, enacting, under heavy penalties, that a solidus 
" bought of the Collectarius for 7200 nummi," or a coin of full weight, 
should never pass for less than 7000, thus fixing its current value at the 
latter sum ; but as Cassiodorus, writing in the name of Theodoric to 
Boethius, about seventy years later, assigns various abstruse and philo- 
sophical reasons why "the ancients decided that the solidus should always 

^ Cod. Theod., Lib. ix. tit. xxiii. 2, ad an. 395 ; Lib. xiii. tit. ii. 6, ad an. 397 ; Lib. xv. 
tit. ix. 1, ad an. 384. It may be iuferred, I tbink, from tbe milliarensis differing in tbe exact 
proi^ortion of the aurei containing 57'9 gr. tr. and 67o respectively of fine gold, that 
upon the repeal of the enactment of Constantine abont the pound of gold, a coinage in fine gold 
was resumed. The earliest mention of the coin by name will be found, I believe, in Epipha- 
nius, who held the see of Constantia, in Cyprus, from 367 to 402, and who writes, " The Romans 
call the argenteus Miliarision.'^ Tbe coin of the larger type of 60 to tbe lb. seems to have 
become the standard, for it adapts itself exactly to the fluctuations in the value of gold. Thus 

(14'4X67*5 \ 
or) twelve milliarenses passed for a solidus, when it rose 

to 18 ( — — j orj fifteen, and when it again declined to 16*8 ( -^^ or) fourteen of 

the silver passed for one of the gold coins. The coin of the lighter type, 14 of which would 
have passed for 12 of the heavier milliarenses, must have disappeared from the circulation 
when gold ceased to be in the proportion of 14'4 to 1, which would appear to have been the 
standard in the time of Diocletian and Constantine. It is curious to notice the return to the 
old standard of the East, — five gold coins to a silver mina, — in the five aurei passing for 100 
centenionales, a poimd or mina of silver. 

- Mr. Finlay [Greece, i. p. 536) looks upon these as separate coins, which he calls the num- 
mus and the denarius, but I doubt if, as a name, "nummus" was ever applied exclusively to 
any one particular coin. It belonged rather to tbe coin, whether silver, copper, or gold, in 
which accounts were kept ; and in this sense our shilling and penny are nummi, but not the 
florin, half-crown, or fourpenny jiiece. The dilfcrcnce in the weight of the various copper 
denarii is, I think, fully accounted for by the fluctuation in the proportion of gold and silver 
between 18 and 14 4 to 1. 


pass for 6000 denarii," it may be inferred that the enactment of Valen- 
tinian was regarded in the sixth century as an exception to the general 
rule, due probably to some fluctuation in the value of the metal. Jus- 
tinian, re-establishing or confirming the proportion between gold and 
silver at 14"4 to 1, decreed that the solidus should pass for 180 oboli, 
instead of 210, thus reducing its current value a seventh, and making it 
pass for 6000 instead of 7000 denarii. As the Emperor also fixed the 
value of copper at 20 lbs. to the solidus, this obolus would have been 

equal in value to I -j^ or j 32 scruples of copper ; and at the relative 

proportion between silver and copper during the reign of Justinian, of 

/288 \ 
100 to 1, 1 ~ or I 900 oboli would have been coined out of the pound of 

silver. The obolus to which Procopius alludes was, therefore, evidently 
the oholus hractcalis, or silver foUis, twenty-five being coined out of 8 

scruples of silver, thus giving about I ^ orj 5 4 to each 

silver follis. The copper denarius, answering as a weight to the gramme, 
or Byzantine scruple of 6 keratia or 24 grains of corn, passed into 
Western Europe as the prototype of the Merovingian denarius, or silver 
denier, the precursor of the Carlovingian or sterling penny, whilst the 
silver follis, weighing 8 grains of corn, became the original of the Heller 
or halfpenny of the old Cologne marc, and of the Braciealis of the 
North and West, its equivalent appearing amongst the Irish as the Pin- 
ginn, or third of their silver SgreabaU 

^ Novell. Tlieod. xxv. ad an. 440 ; Cassid. Var. Lib. i. Ep. 10 ; Cod. Just. Lib. x. tit. 
Ixxvi. ; Cod. Tlieod. Lib. xi. tit. xxi. 2, ad an. 396 ; Procop. Hist. Arc. 25 ; Do. traduit 
par M. Isamhert, p. 860 (quoted by Mr. Finlay). The 200 nummi above its current vahie of 
7000 represented the price of the solidus. Fortunate indeed woukl be the purchaser who coukl 
" buy money" for nothing. Assuming that the proportion between silver and copper remained 
stationary at 100 to 1, when the solidus passed for 6000 denarii, each weighing 16'2 gr. tr. of 
cojjper, the gold coin was worth 972 gr. tr., or the Jifth of a pound of silver, and the proportion 
between gold and silver was at the normal standard of 14*4 to 1. When the solidus passed for 
6000 denarii, each weighing 2025 gr. tr., it was worth 1215 gr. tr., or the fotirth of a pound of 
silver, — the medallion of Attains, — and the proportion was as high as 18 to 1. The enact- 
ment of 422 {Cod. Tlieod. Lib. viii. tit. iv. 27), permitting the Primipilares to pay into the 
treasury, as sportula, foiir aurci for a pound of silver, fixes the proportion at that epoch at 
18 to 1. Justinian, re-establishing the standard of l)iocletian and Constantine, jiassed the 
solidus for 180 instead of 210 oboli, or silver folles, — for 972 gr. tr. of silver, instead of 1134 

gr. tr. — thus reducing the proportion from (p^r- or) 16'8 to 14-4 to 1. Hence it seems 

evident that the decree of Valentinian in. in 440, fixing the current value of the solidus at 

7000 copper denarii of the lighter type, or ( — r^r =j 1134 gr. tr. in silver, was a first 

attempt at bringing down gold from the high price to which it had risen during the confusion 
following the fall of the Western Empire. When a solidus passed for 1134 gr. tr. of silver, 
five would have been worth 5670 gr. tr., or Constantino's heavy pound, and tioentij of these 

pounds would have been coined into ( ^ — =1G2 or) 7000 copper denarii, each weighing 

16"2 gr. tr. ; so that it would seem as if, between a.d. 440 and the era of Justinian, the heavier 
pound of Constantino must have replaced the Libra Occidua as the monetary standard. It was 

24 NOTES. 


The Eoman measures of capacity have descended to us with siifficient accuracy, for 
though they are reckoned in the poem of Ehemnins Fannius by the Byzantine stan- 
dard, they were then still identical in principle with the system in use under Vespasian, 
and the difference is easily calculated. In the Attic measures, however, we have not been 
equally fortunate, for with the statement of Pliny that 10 Attic drachmae, of the type 
of his time, went to the Cyathus, it is impossible to suppose that they were originally 
adapted to the drachma of Constantinople ; whilst the identification of the Attic me- 
dimnus with the measure of six modii in ordinary use amongst the Eomans, is exceed- 
ingly doubtful. Cicero, in his oration against Verres, the scene of whose misdeeds was 
in Sicily, alludes several times to the medimnus as a well-known measure of six modii 
in that quarter, without ever hinting that it was the Attic medimnus ; for it appears 
to have been the measure in ordinary use amongst the Romans, who derived their sys- 
tem of weight, their earlier currency, and apparently their measures of capacity, from 
Sicily rather than from Attica. Nepos, the contemporary of Cicero, in his account of 
Atticus, says that the latter gave to every Athenian citizen " seven modii of wheat, 
which is the amount of the measure that is called a medimnus at Athens," — " scpkm 
modii tritici, qui modus mensuraj medimnus Athenis appellatur" — an explanation that 
would appear to be utterly micalled for, if the measure in use at Athens in his days 
had been the ordinary medimnus of six modii. Polybius, who calculates by the 
Sicilian as well as by the Attic medimnus, gives " as nearly as possible — fj-aXia-Ta 
TTCJs— two-thirds of an Attic medimnus of wheat," as the monthly rations of the Eoman 
legionary on service. Cato allowed four and a /i«// modii of wheat to a slave for each 
of the six summer months during which he was at full work, and a rather larger 
amount of bread and wine to a labourer hired by the day, in return apparently for 
more work : so that if the Attic medimnus of the days of Polybius is reckoned at only 
six modii, the monthly allowance of a Eoman legionary on service was less than that of 
one of Cato's slaves at full work.^ 

The Issaron, or Omer, the tenth of an Ephah or of a Bath, was equal to seven Attic 
Cotylte according to Josephus, which serves to identify the Hebrew measure of his 
days with the Heftacoiylon mentioned by Aristophanes. This Attic Cotyla must not 
be confounded with the measure that appears in Pollux as the third of a Chcenix, still 
less with the Cotyla, or quarter-Choenix, of the Byzantine standard. As the tenth of 
an Ephah of 90 Eoman lbs., an Issaron of wheat would have weighed 9 lbs., its seventh 
part, or an Attic Cotyla, about 15'54 oz. — (15-36 oz.=) 50 Danes, or a little over a 
Sextarius — and as the Bath, or Ephah, contained 72 Sextarii, the Attic Cotyla and the 
Sextarius would have been in the proportion of 7'2 and 7. As the Sextarius was the 
sixth of a Chous, the Cotyla the seventh of a Heptacotylon, any two systems in which 
the Chous and the Heptacotylon occupied a similar position would have diilered in 
the proportion of 6 and 7"2 — that is to say, as an ordinary medimnus of which the 
Chous was the sixteenth, contained 120 lbs. of wheat, a medimnus of which the Hep- 
tacotylon was the sixteenth, would have held 144 lbs., a double talent of the lighter 
Attic standard, or rather over seven modii. When Pliny gives 15 Attic drachmaj to 

during this epoch that the Merovingian kingdom first arose, — the heart of it, Champagne ; 
wliicli, perhaps, may account for the standard of Constantine becoming the peculiar standard 
of weight in that quarter. 

1 Cic. in Ver. ; Cor. Nep. Aft. 2 ; Poh/h. vi. 39 ; Cato, Ivi. It would be difficult to point 
out the authority by whom the Attic medimnus was first identified with the measure of six 
modii, but I cannot trace the assertion furtlier back tlian one of the chapters appended to 
Galen. Herodotus distinguisLes the Attic measure from the medimnus in which he calcuhates, 
which was apparently the measure in ordinary use, that passed from Greece, through Sicily, 
to the Komans. 

NOTES. '' 25 

the quarter-Hemina, he implies the existence of a Hemina of 60, a Sextarius of 120, 
and a Medimnus of 5760 Attic drachmse, or 138"6 lbs., about a sextarius short of stvcn 
modii. These trivial differences had probably been done away with long before his 
time, though the earlier measure seems to have been adapted to the full standard of 
the talent, to judge from the passage in Herodotus, in which he says : — " The Arta,ba is 
a Persian measure containing 3 Attic chcenixes more than an Attic medimnus." As- 
suming that the Attic medimnus was made up of the usual number of 48 choenixes, 
the two measures would have been in the proportion of 48 and 51, thus giving 

( — j 153 lbs. or 6000 Darics to the Persian measure, which evidently corre- 
sponded with a double-talent of the gold-weight of that age. Thus from the era in which 
Herodotus was writing, until the date at which the Attic drachma was adapted to the 
later Roman ounce, the local medimnus in use at Athens seems to have been a measure 
answering to seven Roman modii.^ 

Josephus, however, when he gives Un Attic medimni to the Cor, identifies the former 
measure with the ephah of 90 Roman lbs., in which he is borne out by Hesychius and 
Suidas, who describe the artaba as " a Median corn-measure identical with the Attic 
medimnus," evidently meaning the artaba at the intermediate standard of four and a 
half modii. In the poem of Rhemnius Fannius also, the Attic amphora is described 
as half as large again as the Roman, or as a measure of four and a half modii, thus 
identifying the Attic measures of capacity there described with the system familiar to 
Josephus ; for as it is in a subsequent passage that the writer gives the rules for liquid 
measure, his previous remarks must have reference to dry measure. Hence the medim- 
nus of seven modii, which may be regarded as the true and original Attic standard of 
the West, must be distinguished from the lesser measure, which may be looked upon 
as the Attic standard of the East. The name of " Attic " seems to have been applied, 
at a certain period, throughout the East, to everything that was Greek or Western, 
much as the name of " Frank" has been used indiscriminately in the same quarter for 
everything that is European, and may have come in this manner to mean the standards 
in ordinary use throughout the Greek kingdoms of the East. "The Attic mina must 
be used for weight and currency, for it is identical with the Italian mina which has 
25 staters (the Roman pound), the Italian litra has 24 ;" thus the Alexandrian autho- 
rity already quoted, from which it may be seen how the Attic standard accommodated 
itself to successive eras.^ 

Attic silver-weight, gradually forgotten under that name in the West after the rise 
of the Macedonian empire, seems to have been more familiarly known as the standard 
of Alexandria, and occasionally as the Egyptian talent. In the time of Epiphanius an 
Alexandrian sextarius of oil weighed 2 lbs., or a third, more than the Roman sextarius 

1 Joseph. Antici. iii. 6. 6 ; Pollux^ x. 19, iv. 23 ; PJin. H.N. xxi. sec. 109 ; Herod. \. 192. 
The word used by Josephus is daaapiov, the Greek form of the " nummus assariun" of the 
Eomans, which was the tenth of a decalitron or denarius. " Apud Ronianos talentum est sep- 
tuaginta librse, sicut Plautus oslendit in Mustellaria, qui ait duo talenta esse centum quadra- 
ginta libras " (Serv. in 2Ev. v. 112). The talent is often used by Polybius as a measure of 
capacity, " talents of wbeat " being frequently stipuhitcd for in the conventions which he re- 
cords ; 80 that the difference between Servius and Isidore may be reconciled by supposing the 
standard of 72 lbs. to have represented the talent of GOOO denarii, that of 70 lbs. the medimnus 
of 7 modii. The intimate connection between Attic-weight and gold-weight is worthy of 
notice, 48 staters of Attic silver-weight and 50 Darics being equal in weight, the two talents 
standing, like the Roman and Byzantine pounds, in the proportion of 25 and 24. If the 
Eoman pound, which was a mina subdivided on the duodecimal principle, represents the 
original system of the West, Attic silver-weight was once apparently identical with the Persian 
current gold-talent, the Sicilian gold-talent of tliree staters (3 X IG = 48 staters = 50 Darics) 
representing a niiiuite portion of it. At a later period 48 aurei weighed a lighter Attic mina 
of 100 drachma', or 50 staters. 

* Joseph. Antiq. xv. 9. 2. From the passage in the Alexandrian writer it will be seen that, 
under the name of the Italian mina, the old Roman pound continued to be used after the 
establishment of the Byzantine standard 

26 NOTES. 

of oil, or 18 oz. ; so that the standard of weight at Alexandria about the opening of the 
fifth century stood in the proportion oifoiir to three towards the Roman standard, thus 
representing Attic silver-weight. The talents of 90 lbs. and 20 lbs., both of which 
occasionally appear under the name of " the Ptolemaic talent," are also met with as 
Egyptian standards of weight ; but the true Alexandrian mina of 16 oz. seems to have 
represented the scientific standard of the East, for it is quoted in one of the chapters 
appended to Galen's works as " the physician's mina," a description applied by Pliny 
to the mina of 100 lighter drachmae, or denarii, which was evidently regarded in his 
days as the scientific standard of the West.i 

At Jerusalem, and at Tyre, the Attic system, as it was known in the East, seems to 
have obliterated all recollection of any pre-existing standards. In the well-known 
passage of Ezekiel (xlv. 10-14) the Septuagint renders Ephah and Bath by Chcenix and 
Cotyla, using Mdron indiscriminately for both measures. Elsewhere, " the Omcr is the 
tenth of an Ephah" is rendered " the Gomer is the tenth of the Trimodia — tuv rpiuv 
juerpwj'," thus making the Scah the metron or modius ; whilst Cotyla stands for the Log 
in Leviticus, and both Omer and Homer are always rendered by the same word, Gomer. 
Josephus, a trustworthy authority for his own days, can scarcely be said to throw more 
light than the Seventy translators upon the time before the Captivity. He weighs gold 
by the Daric, a coin not to be found in the Pentateuch, in which the shekel of gold is 
always the shekel of the sanctuary, to which Josephus gives a weight of four Attic 
drachma?, identifying it with the Tyrian coin of his own days, and thus giving the 
talent of the Pentateuch a weight of 12,000 denarii, or a double talent of the later 
Attic standard. Not that he commits himself to such a statement, for whilst he gives 
100 minse to the Hebrew talent, specifying the weight of the mina of his own time, in 
his calculations he always uses the Daric or the shekel, cautiously avoiding all allusion 
to the talent of the Pentateuch. The Darhmon is never alluded to by any of the writers 
of the Old Testament before the Captivity ; the mina only occurs once, in the I'irst Book 
of Kings. The talent of the Pentateuch seems to have been based upon a difi'erent sys- 
tem from the standard familiar to Josephus ; and from the reticence and vagueness of 
the Alexandrian translators and Josephus upon such points, it may be gathered that 
the Jews of their time retained little, if any, recollection of the standards in use before 
the date of the Captivity.^ 

The information afforded on the same subject by Epiphanius, who held the see of 
Constantia in Cyprus from 367 to 402, is probably only a reflection of the Christian 
tradition of his age, but it is orthodox rather than convincing. With a denarius of 8 
to the oz., a talent of 12,000 denarii would weigh 125 Eoman lbs., and the Hebrew 
talent is naturally estimated at this amount by the bishop. The obolus, according to 
the same authority, was once a small silver coin of 80 to the oz., " because 20 oboli 
went to the didrachTuon in Leviticus." The denarius "brought into Canaan by 
Abraham" affords a basis of calculation, the sicilicus supplies a shekel, the stater a 
shekel of the sanctuary, and so 2000 shekels, the talent of the Pentateuch, weigh 1500 
oz., or 125 lbs. From the apparent similarity between Syrian and Eoman weight, the 
original Hebrew talent may have approached very closely to the same standard, but in 
following up any researches into the subject, Epiphanius is scarcely a guide to be 
implicitly relied upon. The light of tradition, which seems to have glimmered faintly, 
if at all, upon the Alexandrian translators, shone with a steady glare, as usual, some 
twelve or thirteen centuries afterwards, upon the Eabbins. The nominal unit of weight 
under the Caliphs and Egyptian Sultans was the habbas, or barley-corn, and in these 

^ Plin. H. N. xxi. 19 ; Galen (Kiihn), vol. xix. etc. c. 14 ; Epiph, de Pond. xxiv. 

^ To the names which have an Eastern origin, such as mina, sicilicus, and nummas assarivs, 
may apparently be added drachma. It has been sometimes supposed to have meant originally 
" a handful," but Homer and Hesiod, ignorant of that happy, but problematical, era in which 
money passed by the handful, never allude to such a coin. Had they been aware of its existence, 
they would have written darchma and didarchmon, in accordance with the rules of the dialect 
they used. The appearance of the darlcmon in the writings of the Jews after the Captivity 
seems to mark an epoch of change. 

NOTES. 27 

grains Maimonides estimates the shekel of the sanctuary. Six eggs displaced the 
amount of water contained in the Log, and the whole system of early Hebrew weii^ht 
was rebuUt upon the basis supplied by this traditionary measurement. Amongst 
Cliristians, as well as Jews, the weights and measures of the Old Testament had 
acquired a sanctity and mysterious signification unknown apparently to the Jews of an 
earlier age, who seem to have contented themselves with reckoning their sacred shekel 
as a tetradrachmon of the ordinary currency of the time.^ 

Into the mysteries of the earlier talents I have not ventured to penetrate, leaTincr 
such questions in far abler hands. When Alexander substituted the Greek for the 
Persian standard of currency, he seems to have followed an Asiatic precedent, for 
Eastern conquerors obliterated, as far as in them lay, every vestige of the ascendancy 
of their predecessors. Defaced cartouches, and charred fragments of inscriptions, 
everywhere attest their policy in this respect ; and when Darius regulated the Persian 
currency it may be doubted if he merely perpetuated the fixed and immutable standards 
of pre-existing empires. During his reign the silver tribute was weighed by the Baby- 
lonian, the gold from India by the Euboic talent, to be melted into bullion, and ao-ain 
issued in the form of coins ; but it is more than doubtful if the coins, whether of gold 
or silver, which were thus issued, were a<:lapted respectively to either of the above 
standards of weight. When Petits Royaiu: were coined in France in 1305, at 70 to the 
marc, it was ordered that 64 should pass for a " marc d'or fin de Paris ; " so that, by 
weighing a Paris coined marc of fine gold of that date, we should obtain (64X54, or) 
3456 gr. tr., the marc Tournois, not the marc de Troyes, the standard of currency, and 
not the standard of weight. Assuming that the Siglos of the age of Xenophon corre- 
sponded exactly with the silver coin of Darius, the mina of 20 oz., and the talent of 
100 lbs., represent the standard of the silver coinage issued by that king, without 
however afi'ording any certain clue to the talent by which the silver tribute was 

Various minor difficulties beset the path of the inquirer into the distant past. It 
is curious to find amongst the ancients the peculiarity, sometimes supposed to have been 
confined to the nations of Northern Europe, of counting by " the fifth half," for instance 
or " the seventh half," meaning respectively four and a half or six and a half. Priscian 
in alluding to this custom, asserts that the Eomans learnt it from the Greeks, but Varro 
merely calls it " a custom of our forefathers," and it was probably a relic of very ancient 
times, derived originally from the East. The "long hundred" of 120, or six score 
known amongst our ancestors, at the time of the Norman conquest, as "the English 
hundred," is also traceable ; for the Scholiast on the first Phili^jpic of Demosthenes in 
describing the talent, says, " The drachma has 6 oboli, so are there in the talent 6000 
drachnife, and th7-ce myriads of oboli — rpicrfivpiovs 6;3oXoi's." Thus the Myriad seems 
originally, like the Hebrew Kilkar, to have represented a round number, fluctuating 
between the decimal and duodecimal systems until it settled finally into " ten thousand." 
The duodecimal system was in favour with the Babylonians ; the talent of the Penta- 
teuch evidently followed the decimal : starting from the same basis, the ^ginetan 
obolus, the former system develops the " talent of the Islands," the latter, the Persian 
silver talent ^ 

^ Epiph. de Pond. xxiv. The Eabbinical experiment has been duly tested in modern times, 
but 108 Egyptian dirhems of 61 barley-corns, according to Maimonides, also coincided iii 
weight witli the amount of water disphiced by the six eggs. Consequently the scientific 
German's calculation gives barley of about 10 lbs, to the modius, a result that would liave 
astonished Pliny, who gives 15 lbs. as the highest average, and would gladden llic heart of a 
practical agriculturist, if the grain would grow beyond the fostering atmosphere of the study. 

^Ilerod.iW. 89, 96; Le. Plane (edit. 1G92), p. 180. Some very able authorities on such 
subjects calculate as if lluctuations in the value of the precious metals, and variations in the 
standards of currency, commenced at the epoch in which they are first traceable, and were 
unknown in the great Eastern empires of antiquity. 

■■* " Multiplica 100 vicies 126, in 15120 summa concressit," wrote the venerable Ecda ; and, 
on another occasion, " in 100 autem quatuordccies 7 uumcrantur." " Quindccies quadragcni', 

28 NOTES. 

A more serious difficulty is presented by the Hrope. " Let the commercial mina 
weigh 138 Stephanephoran drachma) according to the standard of the mint, and have a 
Hrope of 12 drachma) ; and let all buy and sell by this mina, except where there is 
an express agreement to buy and sell by monetary weight (irpos dpyvpLov, or silver- 
weight), setting the beam of the balance on a level, carrying the 150 Stephanephoran 
drachmae. The Pentamnoun to have for Hrope a commercial mina, the commercial 
talent to have five commercial minse." Such is the substance of a portion of a Greek 
inscription in which this Hrope {poTryj) plays a part for which it is difficult to assign a 
satisfactory explanation. Apply the test to Attic silver-weight, and 138 drachma) give 
a mina of 9315 gr. tr., raised, by the addition of a Hrope of 12 drachma?, or 810 gr. tr., 
to 10,125 grains, or a mina of the iEginetan talent. To a mina of 100 denarii add a 
Hrojye of 12, and it will weigh (6026-8-|-723-216, or) 6750 gr. tr., a mina of Attic silver- 
weight. No rule can be laid down upon the subject of the Hropte without some further 
knowledge of the system with which it was connected ; but as all the earlier weights 
with which we are practically acquainted are considerably heavier than the standards 
reached from existing coins, it may be conjectured that, in early days, and with an 
unalloyed coinage, the difi'erence between the standards of weight and currency was in 
some manner regulated by this contrivance.^ 

The Euboic talent must have been a familiar standard amongst the Eomans when 
they used it for all their conventions with the Carthaginians and Western Greeks ; so 
familiar, indeed, that no Roman authority has thought it necessary to enter into any 
explanation on the subject. By reckoning the Babylonian talent at 7000 Attic 
drachmae, Pollux seems to have tacitly assumed that the familiar Attic talent of 6000 
represented Euboic weight, and the calculation of Appian, by identifying it with the 
Alexandrian standard, seems to point to a very similar conclusion. Rightly or wrongly, 
they appear to have identified Euboic weight with the talent in ordinary use amongst 
the Romans. In the fragments of Festus, preserved by Paulus Diaconus and others, 
there seems to be too much confusion to arrive at any certainty ; but if the Attic mina 
of iElian may be supposed to represent the mina of Rhemnius Fannius, or Roman 
pound, his calculation that 72 of these minse went to the Babylonian talent would 
identify the Babylonian standard with that of the lighter Attic weight, and consequently 
the Euboic mina with the Roman pound.^ 

sexcenti ; quindecies octoni, centies," such is his calculation in the rule he gives for finding the 
indiction. Some of the early English Statutes lay down a rule for using the hundreds of five 
and of six score respectively, but without some such clue arithmetical problems are occasionally 
involved in considerable mystery. Beda evidently calculated by both ; but by what long- 
forgotten " custom " was he guided ? A notable instance of a similar difficulty occurs in the 
Servian census, by which the first class was assessed, according to Livy, at 100,000 Asses, but 
according to Pliny and Festus at 120,000. The lowest assessment mentioned by Polybius 
was 400 draclimre, or 4800 Asses, which seems to favour the reckoning of Pliny and Festus, 
and to show that the early Eomans calculated by "the long hundred." 

1 Bockh, Poltt. Econ., p. 193, Note A. The heavier of the two standards brought from 
Athens by Mr. Buri^on, weighing 9980 gr. tr., approaches very closely to this commercial or 
Jj^ginetan mina, which, without the Hro2>e of 12 drachmae, reduced to 9315 grains, also 
approaches very closely to the standard generally ascribed to the earlier ^Eginetan coinage. 
Assuming 60'75 gr. tr. as the weight of the Stephanephoran drachma, 138 drachmre give a 
commercial mina of 8383*5 gr. tr., approaching very closely to the Persian silver mina, and the 
early standard of Corinth, which is raised by a Hrope of 12 drachma;, or 729 gr. tr., to 9112"5, 
a double Syrian mina. corresponding with (10125 — 1012*5 = 9112*5, or) an ^ginetan mina 
reduced a tenth in weight. Where Pollux (ix. 6) says that the stater in gold weight M'as 
equivalent to the mina in silver weight, he is evidently alluding to the Hrope. 

" Pollux, ix. 6 ; Appian, v. 2 ; Julian, i. 22 ; Festus (Midler, 1839), p. 359, and Notes. To 
the talents of Rhodes and Asia Minor — Cistophorum — Festus is supposed to give 4500 denarii, 
or 4000 cistiophori and 7500 denarii ; to the Euboic talent 7500 cistophori " in Greek money, 
which in ours is 4000 denarii." It is easy to point out the oonfusion, 7500 denarii being the 
proper standard of the talents of Khodes and Asia Minor, whilst a talent of 4000 cistophori, 
each of which was worth 2.^ denarii, would have been equal to 10,000 denarii, the early .^gine- 

NOTES. 29 

The Romans of the later EepulDlic and earlier Empire seem to have been familiar 
with two standards, a larger talent, weighing 120 lbs. or 10,000 Attic drachmpc, and a 
lesser, weighing 72 lbs. or 6000 drachmaj, to which they always seem to have given the 
name of Attic weight. To the heavier standard, corresponding with the iEginetan, 
Sicilian, or Island talent, they give no name, Vitruvius merely remarking that 4000 
talents weighed 480,000 lbs. ;^ but it was probably the "magnum talentuni" so often 
met with in the earlier writers, — for it may be gathered from the Assyrian weights 
brought from Nineveh, that a system of double-weight was in use of old, and the Roman 
pound seems to have been a lesser mina, or Hcmina, of the standard adopted from the 
Sicilian Greeks. This was the talent that formed the groundwork of the Roman 
measures of capacity, and most of the Greek, and to which the original copper coinage 
conformed, whether uncia or chalcos, as well as the silver currency of the type of the 
SpaxfJ-v iraxeia. In short, it was the talent in ordinary use amongst the Romans, in 
common with many other people of Western Europe, before they adapted their denarius 
to the later Attic type. Sixtij larger minee of average wheat would have been contained 
in an ordinary medimnus of six modii, seventy of these minte in an Attic medimnus of 
seven modii, the Roman and Athenian measures answering in this respect to the Euboic 
and Babylonian talents in the well-known passage of Herodotus. It would be not a 
little singular if, in their conventions and treaties, the Romans were accustomed to use 
a different talent from either of the two with which they were most familiar ; equally 
singular, if not more so, that this talent in particular should have escaped the notice of 
all their writers on the subject. But in the very ftimiliarity of the standard lay the 
chance of its being forgotten. No explanation about the "magnum talentum" was 
required by the audiences of Plautus, or of Terence, nor did the Romans of the later 
Republic experience any difficulty about the talent that appeared in the majority of 
their treaties. Pollux and the writers of his age, by which time the earlier standard, 
adapted from the Sicilian Greeks, lay hidden and forgotten at the base of the Roman 
measures of capacity, naturally identified the talent in ordinary use with the Attic 
weight with which they were most familiar. In later days Epiphanius and Priscian 
wrote as if the denarius and Attic drachma had conformed from time immemorial to the 
Byzantine standard of eight to the oz. As it is hazardous on such a subject to venture 
beyond a conjecture, I will only add that there seems a strong probability tliat the 
Euboic talent was only another name for the ^ginetan, Sicilian, or Island standard, 
which may be traced apparently as far as Syria, and may be regarded perhaps as the 
earliest standard of weight and currency in use amongst the Greeks.^ 


If the denarius is supposed to have passed for 16 Asses as early as the dictatorship 
of Fabius Maximus, the difficulty of understanding the Roman coinage becomes very 
great. Assuming that a denarius passed for 16 Asses when Polybius was writing, it 
must have been worth 8 Attic oboli, or a third more than the drachma, to which he 
gives a value of 12 Asses. Hence, when the scripula was first coined in gold, and passed 

tan standard. But the passages thus "emended " can scarcely be used as the basis for any 
very satisfactory conclusion. 

1 Vitruv. X. 21. 

^ " The only gold coin of Eubcca known to ns has the extraordinary weight of 49"4 gr. tr." 
So writes one of the best authorities on such subjects, Mr. Pooh-, and the weight approaches 
very closely to 50*025 grains, a Pentobolus or drachma of the Ilonian pound. Aristotle 
describes the Maris as a measure of G cotyl.-io, so that the Ileptacotylon of Aristoplianes and 
the Maris were in the same proportion as the Babylonian and Pjuboic talents of the time of 
Herodotus. With the difference of the " heaped " and " stricken " bushel, so often alluded to 
in our old Statutes, both Greek and Roman seem to have been thoroughly familiar, the Kopvcrros 
/JLodio? and the xJ/tjktos /j-odios being duly noticed in the Greek inscriptions. 

30 . NOTES. 

for 20 sesterces, or 5 of these denarii, it would have been worth at least 40 oboli, or 
(•576 X 40 = ) 23'04 scruples of silver, and the proportion between the two metals must 
have stood at 23 to 1. Give the Attic obolus its full standard, and the proportion rises 
(to "64 X 40 = 25'6, or) beyond 25 to 1. Rome at this period was neither so isolated as 
to possess an exceptional currency, nor of sufficient importance to enforce such a 
currency upon the rest of the world. The Philip, or gold stater of Macedon, was 
perhaps more familiarly known to the audiences of Plautus than their newly coined 
scripula, which seems only traceable in one comedy — the liudcns ;^ yet must the 
scripula be supposed to have been current for 40 oboli, side by side with the Philip, of 
full seven times its intrinsic value, which has only passing at the highest estimate for 
(25 X 6, or) 150 oboli ! Silver coins were struck by the Romans weighing more than a 
quarter of a Roman oz., and if these heavier coins are supposed to have been at that 
time in circulation as denarii, the proportion would have been infinitely higher, the 
improbability even more glaring. 

Fortunately Pliny has contradicted himself, for in no way can the end of the follow- 
ing passage be reconciled with the beginning : — " Q. Fabio Maxumo dictatore asses 
unciales facti, placuitque denarium sedecem assibus permutari, quinarium octonis, 
sestertium quaternis ; ita resjniblica dimidium luarda est." If 16 oz. of copper instead 
of 20 oz. passed for a denarius, it is difficult to see how the State was a gainer of 50 
per cent., but his inference is perfectly correct, if the denarius, after the reduction in 
the weight of the As to an oz. still continued to be exchanged as before for 10 Asses ; 
and as his calculation about the profit gained by passing the gold scripula for 20 sesterces 
is based upon a sesterce of 400 to the lb., requiring for the denarius a pentobolus, which 
would have passed for 1 Asses, he really seems to have antedated the ctange in ques- 
tion by a slip of the pen. Plutarch, writiug of the censorship of Cato, renders the 
15,000 Asses of Livy by 1500 drachmae, evidently supposing that the denarius was still 
passing for 10 Asses some thirty years after the dictatorship of Fabius Maximus ; and 
when Polybius wrote that, in his time, all who were assessed under 400 drachma? were 
enrolled in the fleet, he was scarcely familiar with a denarius passing for 16 Asses, for 
6400 Asses seems an unlikely amount to figure in the census, which was reckoned by 
the copper standard.^ 

It would be easy to make the change in question coincide with the Papirian law that 
reduced the weight of the As to half an ounce, but for a coin in the Numismata Hcllcnica 
which seems to forbid the supposition. Marked with an X, and Boma, it weighs 80 
gr. tr., or eigJit Attic oboli, and would have passe'd for 16 Asses when the Attic drachma 
was worth 12 ; so that the denarius would appear to have passed for 16 Asses before it 
was assimilated to the Attic type. As long as a denarius that was exchanged for 16 oz., 
or 8 oz. of copper, was also worth 8 Attic oboli, no change was necessary in the regula- 
tion about the military pay, for the stipendium reckoned at 4 Asses a day would have 

^ Plant. i?Mc?. V. 2, 26 — "Nummi octingenti aurei in marsupio infuerunt, prjeterea ceutum 
denaria Pbilippea in pasceolo seorsus." The small gold coins were evidently scripulce. 

^ Liv. xxxix. 44; Plut. Cato, viii. ; Poh/b. vi. 19. If Mommsen's view is correct, it is diffi- 
cult to see in what manner the Roman State profited by the changes in the coinage. Assuming 
the standard of the original denarius to have been 72 to the lb., or 4 scruples of silver passing 
for 20 oz. of copper, he supposes that it was reduced during the dictatorship of Fabius to 84 to 
the lb., or 3"43 scruples of silver passing for 16 oz. of copper, which would have been rather less 
than before (17"] 5 : 343 : : 20 : 4). To me the financial policy of the Romans seems to have 
been of a much more simple character. By passing an nyicia of copper, instead of a dupondius, 
for an As, and a Pentoholus instead of a Decoholits for a denarius, they " paid ten shillings in the 
poand," as we should do by passing a halfpenny for a penny, a sixpence for a shilling. "Ita 
respublica dimidium lucrata est." In the conclusions drawn by the very able historian whom 
I have quoted above, about the westward circulation of the Roman currency, and the sup- 
pression of local mints, I entirely concur ; with the proviso, that the Roman coinage at that 
time conformed to the standard represented by the Uecobolus, or 5paxp-y) Trctxeta, which was 
already familiar in the AVestern Europe of the period in question. The Romans did not, at 
first, introduce a novel currency, but only reserved to themselves the privilege of issuing the 
familiar bigati and quadrigati, by supplying or regulating the local mints. 

NOTES. 31 

amounted to 240 oboli, whether they were counted as (^' -orj 30 denarii or ( -7- or) 

40 drachmfe. It was only when the denarius was adapted to the Attic type, and made 
to pass for 16 instead of 12 Asses, when to six oboli was given the value of eight, that 
it became necessary to introduce the regulation by which the stipendium was calculated 
by an exceptional standard.^ 

It is sometimes assumed, from a comparison of certain passages in Livy and Poly- 
bius, that the quadrigatus and the denarius of 84 to the lb. were identical. The depu- 
tation from the Roman soldiery who surrendered after Cannae, declared, according to 
Polybius, that the terms fixed by Hannibal for their ransom were three mince for each 
Roman. According to Livy, the Carthaginian general originally demanded 300 quadri- 
gati for every Roman, 200 for every ally, and 100 for every slave, subsequently raising 
the amount through the deputies to 500 for an eques and 300 for a legionary. It seems 
rather doubtful whether any certain conclusion can be arrived at from a comparison 
between these passages, which are very far from identifying the quadrigatus with the 
Attic drachma of this date ; for the " three minte " of Polybius were hardly Attic mina?, 
as not a single instance can be brought forward in which the Attic talent was used in 
any of the transactions between the Carthaginians and the Romans. If it is to be 
assumed that the "three minaj" represent 300 quadrigati, if the mina was of the 
Sicilian standard, the coin would have been a decobolus ; if the mina was the Roman 
pound — the mina of 84 denarii to which Pliny alludes — the coin would have been a 
pentobolus ; but perhaps it may be doubted whether the conqueror would have fallen in 
so readily with the reduction in the Roman coinage in the previous year. Livy writes of 
" nummi denarii " in early times as coins of the copper standard, but he never calls the 
"nummus quadrigatus" a denarius, nor indeed does he ever apply that name to a sUver 
coin before he makes the calculation about the Roman captives in Achasa. Denarii began 
to flow into the Roman treasury about the same time as the lUyrian Victoriatus first 
appears upon the records, and Livy seems to have always understood an Attic, or Greek, 
drachma, or a coin of a similar type, after he begins to apply the name to a silver coin.^ 

The old Roman pound, though apjiarently forgotten, may have lingered on in 
Western Europe as a moneyer's weight. Towards the close of the thirteenth century, the 
earlier standard coin of Byzantium was replaced in Western Europe by the gold florin 
of Florence, the original of all the ducats and gold crowns of comparatively recent 
times. A hundred of these florins would have been coined out of the sterling pound, 
for when Edward iii. issued a gold coinage of 50 to the lb. in 1343, each coin was to 
weigh " two petits florins de Florence of full weight," thus giving to the standard coin 

a weight oi ( - or) 54 gr, tr. The same florin was the type of the original petit 

royal of France, coined " as of old," or at the customary standard, at 70 to the marc, 
in 1305, and identified in 1313 with the florin de Florence, reckoned at 70 to the marc, 

thus confirming the weight assigned to it above of (—^ — = ) 54 gr. tr, ; though in 

Germany, from adapting the ducat to the standard of the mint, and coining 67 instead 
of 66;:| out of the Cologne marc, the amount of fine gold in the standard coin was 
infinitesimally diminished. About the middle of the fourteenth century, 50 florins of 
Florence were worth 52 florms of Dauphind, thus giving to the latter a weight of 

( -^- or) 51'92308 gr. tr. ; and as 65 florins of Dauphin^, or 64 Pontifical florins, 

^ Leake, Num. Hel. p. 141. "The weights," says the same authority (p. 142), in refcronco 
to the copper coinage, "will not agree with any of the three reductions mentioned by Pliny; 
it seems evident, therefore, that besides those he has mentiored, tliere were several intermcdiato 
reductions," a remark that might also be extended to the silver coinage. As at Athens, there 
were Dioboli, Trioboli, and other subdivisions of the drachma, so amongst the older liomaii 
coins will be found lesser multiples of the obolus than the decobolus. 

* Pohjh. vi. 58 ; Livy, xxii. 52, 58 ; viii. 11 ; xxxiv. 50. 



" twenty-four carats fine," went to the Marca Romance Gurce, the standard marc of the 
Papal Court must have then weighed (65X51-92308 or) 3375 gr. t"r., eight ounces of a 
pound of 50625 gr. tr. — the old Roman pound, exactly in the quarter in which some 
traces of it might be expected to linger.^ 



Talent of l'>0 lbs - ^ ^'^'^'•^'^^ ^r- tr. 
lalent ol l.u ids. _ ^ 39353.75 grammes. 

Mina of 2 Iba. = 10,125 gr. tr. 

Drachma of 576 scr.=: 10125 „ 
Obolus of '96 ser. = 16-875 „ 


Talent of 72 lbs. = 

Mina of 14-4 oz. = 
Drachma of 3 456 scr.:= 
Obolus of '576 scr. =: 

364,500 gr. tr. 
23618-25 grammes. 
6075 gr. tr. 

60-75 „ 

10-125 „ 

Talent of 100 lbs. 

Mina of 20 oz. 
Siglos of 4-8 scr. 
Obolus of '96 scr. = 


_ \ 506,250 gr. tr. 
~~ ( 32803-125 grammes. 
= 8437-5 gr. tr. 
= 84-375 „ 
16-875 „ 

Talent of 90 lbs. = 

Mina of 18 oz. = 

Drachma of 4*32 scr. = 
Obolus of -864 scr. = 


oA^A-n • r,^Q„ ( 388,800 gr, tr. 

3000 Danes = 76-8 lbs. or j 251^2-8 |rammes, 

50 „ = 15.36 oz. or 6480 gr. tr. 
1 „ = 7-3728 scr. or 129-6 gr. tr. 


Talent of 80 lbs. = 

Mina of 16 oz. = 

Drachma of 3-84 scr. = 
Obolus of -64 scr. = 

405,000 gr, tr. 
26242-25 grammes.^ 
6750 gr. tr. 

67-5 „ 

11-25 „ 

455,625 gr. tr. 
29522-75 grammes. 
7593-75 gr. tr. 

75-9375 „ 

15-1875 „ 


Talent of 54 lbs. = 

Mina of 10-8 oz. = 

Drachma of 2-592 scr.:= 

273-375 gr. tr. 
17713-675 grammes. 
4550-25 gr, tr. 
45-5625 „ 


Talent of 250 lbs. = \ iS*^^^ ^'- ^'- 
( 82008 grammes. 

Mina of 2 lbs. 6 oz. = 12,656-25 gr. tr. 

3000 Aurei = 75 lbs. or 379,687-5 gr. tr. 

50 „ = 15 oz. or 6328-125 ,, 

Aureus = 7-2 scr. or 126-5625 „ 

^ Ending, vol. ii. pp, 89, 160 ; Le Blanc (edit, 1692), pp. 180, 194 ; Ducange 3Iarca, Flor- 
enus. The ounce of gold contained 8. florins of Florence, the marc 64, the pound 96, each 
representing respectively the ounce, marc, and pound of the Tournois standard (432 gr. tr., 
3456 gr. tr,, and 5184 gr. tr.), and as the florin of Florence was coined at 100 to the sterling 
pound, so the florin of Dauphine may have been coined at 100 to the Tournois pound, or its 
equivalent, the gold-weight of Florence. This would give the florin of Dauphine a weight of 
51-84 gr. tr., the Roman marc a weight of (65X51-84=) 3370 gr. tr. and 5055 gr. tr, to the 
Roman pound. The result is close enough after the lapse of so many centuries. In the reign 
of Edward i. a pound of EasterHng money was bound to contain, "as of old," 12 oz. of Guthrum's 
Lane silver, 11 oz. 5 dwt. 1 ferling fine to 17 dwt. 3 ferliugs of alloy, or 5000 gr, tr, of fine 

silver to 400 of alloy, thus giving (~ — or") 208 J gr. tr. of fine silver to each sterling penny. 

\ 240 / 
Every "pound of account," however, was bound to weigh 20 oz. 3 dwt., thus adding 62-5 gr. 
tr. of fine silver, and raising the total amount to 5062-5 gr. tr., or a Roman pound. Fifteen- 

(5400X15 \ 
-^ — =) 5062-5 gr. tr,, or a 

Roman pound of fine silver, were distributed over the 243 dwts, or a sterling pound of account; 

and if the Tournois pound is similarly divided f — -~^ — = 486o") the Byzantine pound 

appears. Is the coincidence entirely accidental ? 




Pound of Constan 

' ( 3br39o grammes. 

Talent of 20 lbs. 

_ { 101,250 gr. tr. 
' 6560-625 grammes. 

]\lHrc, . 

= 3780 gr. tr. 
= 472-5 „ 

Mina of 4 oz. 

= 1687-5 gr. tr. 

Litra of -94 scr. 

= 16-875 ,, 

I'jisantine Pound, 

_ r 4860 gr. tr. 

\ 314-91 grammes, 

8 Litrae, or fiold Stater, = 135 gr. tr. 

.AJarc of 4608 gr 

ain.s =r 3240 gr. tr. 

24 „ or Gold Talent, = 405 ,, 

Ounce of 576 

,, = 405 

Solidus of 96 

,, = 67-5 

Drachma of 72 

,. = 50-625 ,, 

(iramme of 24 

.. = 16-875 „ 

jRoman round, . 

\ 5062-5 gr. tr. 

■~ 1 328-031 grammes. 
= 421-875 gr. tr. 

Obolus of 12 
Keration of 4 

., — 8-4375 „ 
„ = 2-8125 ,, 

Denarius, . 

= 60-268 

/ 69-5 gr. tr. 

~ 181- 

Scripulum, . 

= 17-578125 „ 



= 48-6 „ 

Decalitron, . 

= 168-75 gr. tr. 


= 40-5 „ 

Uecobolus, . 


~ 1 101-25 ,, 
= 50-625 ,. 

Denarius, . 

= 5-4 „ 
_ /16-2 „ 
~~ 1.20-25 „ 


The Talent of the Islands, the Sicilian, early ^ginctan, and appar- 
ently early Syrian standard — perhaps the Enboic also. In measures of 
capacity it represented the ordinary medimnus of six modii, in use 
amongst the Eoiuans, often known as the Sicilian medimnus, and pro- 
bably in general use amongst the Greeks in early days. The iEginetan 
coinage of the era of the Spay/i?; Traxeto, conformed to this standard, as 
well as the copper coinage in general use, apparently, throughout Greece, 
Italy, and Sicily in the days of Aristotle, when the uncia and the chalcos 
were identical. The Roman pound was a lesser mina, or heynina, of this 
talent, divided upon the duodecimal instead of the decimal principle ; 
the uncia, stater, sicilicus, and scripula, representing the tetradrachmon, 
didrachmon, siglos, and obolus or litra, slightly raised in weight in the 
proportion of 25 to 24. 


The standard of the Persian silver coiiiage in the days of Xenophon, 
to which in the time of Aristotle the silver currency of Corinth con- 
formed, when 20 sigli — 10 staters or decalitra — would have passed for 
a gold Daric. The early silver currency of Sicily, the first with which 
the Romans were acquainted, also conformed to this standard, which 
seems to have been the commercial weight in general in the days of 
the Persian empire. It lay at the base of the Italian measures of capa- 
city, and was adapted to the Roman system as the decenuuodia, or 
measure of ten modii, representing a large or double talent. It seems 
traceable in some of the old copper coins occasionally found in Asia 
Minor and elsewhere — as mi<i,ht be expected, for a local coinage in 

copper was often allowed, after the right of issuing a currency in 




and silver had been withdrawn, or only retained in the case of silver 
under restrictions. Both these talents seem to have been based upon a 
common origin, one representing the duodecimal, the other the decimal, 
system of calculation. 


A Persian gold talent in the days of Xenophon, when the proportion 
between gold and silver in the Persian empire seems to have still re- 
mained at 13 to 1, the standard assigned by Herodotus to the reign of 


Attic silver-weight, the monetary talent of Athens in the time of 
Xenophon and Aristotle, and the general standard of the currency 
under the Macedonian empire, when it became the local standard of 
Alexandria, apparently, and hence, perhaps, was known to Varro and 
others as an Egyptian talent. It stood in the proportion of 25 to 24 to 
the Persian gold talent, with which it seems to have been very closely 
connected. A Daric would have passed for 25 drachmaa. This was the 
scientific standard of the East. 


The lighter talent, weighing a tenth less than silver-weight, which 
was familiar to the Romans of the republic and early empire as Attic- 
weight, and known occasionally as the Roman talent. It appears to 
have been the scientific standard of the West, and the basis of the earlier 
measures of capacity known as Attic. It was the monetary standard of 
Tyre and Juda3a in the days of Josephus, and probably of all the pro- 
vinces which, without a coinage upon a local standard, used that of 
Rome, and calculated by the mina and talent instead of the pound. 
The drachma, coined as the denarius at 84 instead of 83|^ to the pound, 
shrunk infinitesimally in weight, 25 passing for an aureus, until the 
silver coin dwindled away, and disappeared from the circulation. 


Often called the Ptolemaic talent, a tenth less than the standard of 
the Persian silver currency. It was the standard of the local coinage of 
Rhodes, Pergamus, and many other parts of Asia Minor, as late as the 
reign of Vespasian, when a Rhodian drachma passed for a denarius and 
a quarter, or 4"32 scruples of silver, a cistophorus for twice that amount, 
each coin representing respectively the drachma and didrachmon of this 
talent, 20 of tlie former, 10 of the latter passing for an aureus. The 
Hebrew measures of capacity, in the time of Josephus, were based upon 
this standard, which he calls Attic, probably because it seems to have 
replaced the earlier Persian talent as the general commercial weight of 
the East under the Macedonian — Greek or Attic — empire. The later 
Attic measures conformed to it. 



The standard of the local coinage of Syria under the Flavian em- 
perois, when a tetradrachmon of Antioch passed for 3 denarii, givinii; 
to the drachma a standard of 2*592 scruples. The mina was thus a tenth 
less than the Roman pound, apparently connecting the early Syrian talent 
with the standard of ^. 


The Hebrew talent of the time of Josephns, representing 100 mina?, 
or 10,000 coins of the standard of the original aureus. A mina cal- 
culated on the Persian system, or 50 aurei, was a hemina of this stan- 


Known occasionally as the Egyptian, sometimes as the lesser Ptole- 
maic, talent, in which the obokis, or litra, represented the drachma. 
It was evidently the standard to which the early Sicilian coinage con- 
formed, the gold talent representing the sixteenth portion of a mina of 
48 staters, or 50 Darics. 

As the hyperpyrus was of the purest gold, 24 carats fine, its value at 
the present time, reckoning the Troy grain of fine gold at 2-12385 den., 
would be 11 sol. 11*36 den., or for all practical purposes, 12 shillings. 
This would give a value of £1, 4s. to the gold stater of the full standard 
of 135 gr. tr. ; £1, 3s. to the Persian Daric ; £1, 2s. 6d. to the original 
aureus ; and £1 to the aureus of 45 to the Roman lb., always assuming 
that the coin in each case reached the full standard, antl was struck in 
the finest gold. In the same way, the standard gold florin of Florence, 
24 carats fine, weighing 54 gr. tr., that replaced the hyperpyrus towards 
the close of the thirteenth century, may be reckoned at 9s. 6d. It 
is more difficult to give the present value of old silver coins in English 
money. Before 1816, when the shilling was coined at 62 to the lb., 
and standard silver was reckoned at 5s. 2d. per oz., the coin of full 
weight corresponded with its actual value, containing 85*935 gr. tr. of 
fine silver, and thus giving 7*16125 gr. tr. of fine silver to the penny% 
or 240th part of a pound. Since that date, 66 shillings have been coined 
out of the lb., but they are not " a legal tender" for £3, 6.s., ior the coin 
passes above its intrinsic value; a sovereign is worth at least 21 shillings, 
and 80*727 gr. tr. do not represent the true value of 12 ])ence, or the 
sovereign would bo only worth 23*28 francs. Every valuation, accord- 
ingly, that is based upon the value given in England to the amount of 
fine silver contained in the shilling is slightly in error. Professor 
Hussey, for instance, reckoning the amount of fine silver in the Attic 
drachma at 65*4 gr. tr., values the coin at 9*72 den., or above the franc 



containing 69"4 gr. tr., or four grains more of fine silver. Silver coins, 
therefore, should be valued either by the old standard, giving 712385 
gr. tr. of fine silver to the penny, or in French centimes. The old Attic 
coinage was famous for its purity, containing only eV of alloy, which 
would give to the drachma (67'5 - 1 125, or) 66*375 gr. tr. of fine silver, 
worth (95"64, or) about 96 centimes, or a little over 9 "25 den., reckoning 
the value of the centime at '694 gr. tr. of fine silver. A talent of Attic 
silver, weighing not less than 80 Roman lbs., as stipulated in the treaty 
between the Romans and Antiochus, would thus be worth at the present 
time (5728'40, say) 5760 francs, or about £230. The Attic obolus may 
be reckoned at (15 "94, or) 16 centimes, the litra at (23-91, or) 24 ; and 
as Xenophon estimates the value of the Persian siglos in Attic oboli, 
whilst the litra was, according to Aristotle, worth half as much again as 
the obolus, a fair approximation can be attained to the value of the other 
standards. The Roman denarius, if coined at the same standard as the 
Attic drachma, would have been worth about 86 centimes, or a little over 
825 den., giving 72 francs, or about £2, 18s., to the Roman pound of 
coined silver. 

Table of Weights. 

Troy Pound, 


5760 gr. tr. 

or 373-233 grammes 

Tower Pound, 




Sterling Dwt., 




Marc de Troyes, 




Marc Tournois, 




Tournois Pound-weight, 




Marc de la Rochelle, 




P^ench Sterling Pound, 




Esterlin de Poix, 


222212 ,, 


Marc of Castille, . 


3550 ,, 


Cologne Marc, 




Vienna Marc, 




Augsburg Marc, 




Copenhagen Mint-weight (double i 

narc), = 



Veitszlo Pound (silver-weight), 




Swedish Mint Ore, 




Norwegian Ore, 




Paris Gramme, 

15-433 gr. tr. 

Paris Grain, 


•8198 „ 

Grain Troy, 


'0647974 grammes. 



I. — Early Substitutes for a Coinage. 

It was a settled principle under the later emperors to guard with 
jealous care the secrets of certain State rDonopolies. In the imperial 
Gynceceia alone were woven the costly vestments distributed by the 
Emperor, in token of official dignity, to clergy as well as laity ; for he 
who held office under the State, or inherited the capacity of doing so by 
birth, could alone aspire to stand out from the plebeian and servile orders 
as a Decurion. No private person was allowed to make paragatcdce, the 
official fringe of gold, or of twisted silk and gold, or to use unmixed the 
cruor conchyli, the dye of the murex, or purple-fish, that communicated 
its deep red hue to the imperial porphyry. Within the walls of these 
Gynseceia none found employment who were not Fiscal serfs, to whom 
intermarriage beyond the limits of their class was strictly forbidden ; 
all transgressors of this law, if free, being reduced with their children to 
the condition of Fiscal serft, to be employed henceforth in the service of 
the Emperor, lest the secrets of the State monopoly should permeate into 
the outer world. The mint was as jealously guarded as the factory, and 
the Monetarius was a Fiscal serf, bound by the same restrictions as the 
Gyncpceiarius and the Murilegulus} 

Released from the obligations of the imperial code, after the fall of 
the Western Empire and the irruption of the Northern tribes, a class of 
this description must have soon ceased to exist as a special caste under 
the rule of their new masters, and accordingly the Monetarius seems for 
some time to have generally been a prominent citizen in some city, 
licensed by the king or other authority to coin money. " An honourable 
man of the name of Abbo, an a]:)proved goldsmith, . . . filled the office 
of Fiscal moneyer in the city of Limoges," — such is the description of a 
monetarius under the early Merovingians given by Gregory of Tours. 

^ The various rules and regulations to which I refer will he found in the Cod. Theod. 
The Decurio, and tilius Decurionis, the Plebeius, and the Servus of the law of Constantino 
(ad an. 319, 1. ix. t. xxi. c. 1), answer exactly to the Noble, Free, and Servile orders of the 
Germanic codes. After the adoption of Christianity as the religion of the empire, service in 
the Church was in course of time supposed to confer the same nobility as service to tiie State. 
The seven orders of the priest, by Anglo-Saxon law, gave him tltegn-rifjht, and members 
of the priesthood were authorized by the head of the State to assnux" vestments in accordance 
with the rank and dignity of the offices they filled. 



In imitation, apparently, of the system of the Eastern Emperors, 
Charlemagne revived the monopoly of the coinage, and no denarii were 
allowed to be coined " except in our palace;" — a restriction relaxed by 
liis successors in favour of a few leading cities, and notably of Quentavic 
on La Canche, the leading port of communication with England, which 
claimed the {)rivilege of a mint " of ancient custom ; " — an incidental 
testimony to the great intercourse between Gaul and Britain from very 
early times. The privilege of coining money, so lavishly conceded in a 
later age to the leading magnates, lay and ecclesiastical, as well as to 
the greater cities, marks the decay of the imperial or royal power, whilst, 
on the other hand, the extent and progress of the king's authority over 
Saxon England may be traced in the localities of the royal mints before 
the Conquest, 

Skilful armourers were still unknown amongst the Franks in the 
middle of the sixth century, because they were not wanted, and, for a 
similar reason, some time must have elapsed before the monetarius, as a 
skilful craftsman, penetrated beyond the boundaries of the old Koman 
provinces. Various substitutes, however, existed for a metallic currenc}', 
or rather coinage. Cattle passed from very early times at a fixed value 
as money, feoh, or pecunia ; hence the high valuations of the eye, the 
horn, and the tail, in Ini's laws, for " the best beast," was always insisted 
upon, and a mutilated animal was " bad money," the malicious injurer 
of his neighbour's means of paying " rent and taxes" being apparently 
amerced in the estimated amount of the depreciation. A very ancient 
and wide-spread custom was that of reckoning the ox as a vo/^6o-/xa, or 
measure of currency. " Let him pay ten oxen," say the laws of Draco, 
quoted by Pollux ; and in the well-known lines of Homer, the golden 
armour of Glaucus, and the brazen armour of Diomed, are valued not in 
money, but in oxen. When a man was bribed to silence, the Greeks 
used to say, " He has an ox on his tongue;" and though the learned 
choose to explain the proverb as if it referred to " a coin with the impress 
of an ox," the beast passed as money long before his image was stamped 
upon a bit of metal. This cattle-tribute, known in England as Noiot- 
geld, or Cornage, affords a very ftiir criterion of the state of the society 
in which it prevailed. Thus the Continental Saxons, in the days of 
Charlemagne, evidently paid the greater part of their tribute in cattle 
and produce lather than in coined money, and the value of the animal 
according to his age and condition, with the amount of grain or honey 
passing for a solidus, was carefully laid down in their laws. The beast 
remained stationary in value between autumn and spring, thriving little 
apparently as a " winter-steal" upon had hay ; but the valuations in 
Ini's laws are not repeated in any of the later English codes, and the 
custom of estimating payments in cattle would appear to have died out 
in the South-country at a comparatively early period, its cessation dating 
at any rate from the establishment of a royal moneyer in the most im- 
portant burghs, if not before. In the Welsh and Scottish laws, however. 


of a much later date, assessments were still reckoned by " the cow," as 
well as by the penny, the ox, and the shilling, and nowtgeld long con- 
tinued to be the " custom of the country" in the north of England ; for, 
at the date of the Conquest, there was but one mint in existence — at 
York — throughout the whole of the great Northumbrian provinces and 
St. Cuthbert's territory, whilst, in the wild western districts, gradually 
known as the counties of Cumberland and Westmoreland, cornage con- 
tinued to be nearly the only tenure for several generations after the 
Norman Conquest. 

The collar and the armlet, the Celtic torque, the Teutonic heag, were 
at one time familiar, in a certain sense, as " a currency" throughout the 
North. The beag was originally the ornament of the Godr, or member 
of the sacred race, whenever he officiated at a sacrifice ; and to swear 
upon the " holy beag" was the most solemn oath known to the heathen 
Northmen when they invaded England. It was probably amongst the 
earliest marks of nobility, and is still traceable as such under the form 
of the nobleman's coronet, though the "circlet of gold" is now supposed 
to be worn upon the head instead of as an armlet or collar. Kings, the 
" ring-givers" of the scop or bard, bestowed such ornaments upon their 
followers as marks of royal favour, to be resumed apparently in case of 
misconduct ; for the earliest name for a fine seems to have been Bang, 
and in the laws of ^thelbert the regius hannus, or fine of fifty scillings 
due to the king for killing a Kentish Lend, is called the Drihten-6eaA, 
or " lord's-ring." From a passage in the Scop's Tale, a fixed and legal 
value would appear to have been set upon the beag, according to its 
intrinsic worth, from an early date, and it would seem to have been as 
much a recognised ty}ie of value in its way as the ore or pound. '' He 
gave me a collar, on which were scored six hundred sceats of beaten gold 
reckoned in scillings, which I to Eadgils gave, my patron lord, . . . 
because he had given me land, my paternal heritage." The beag thus 
presented to the bard seems to have represented a certain amount of 
solidi aurei, or golden scillings — mancuses or bezants — beaten out into a 
collar or armlet ; and the use to which he put it in " relieving" his 
paternal heritage finds a parallel amongst the Anglo-Saxons of the tenth 
and eleventh centuiies in the Heriot, in which the beag, reckoned accord- 
ing to its value in mancuses of gold, plays a conspicuous part. A relic of 
this period may have also survived, perhaps, in the name of Bafz, or 
Batzen, applied to a coin once current in Southern Germany and Switzer- 
land, meaning, in its original sense, a link or pendant of a chain. ^ 

Both before and after the issue of a coinage, uncoined bullion, passing 
by weight, continued to be used as an ordinary medium of exchange. In 

^ Scopes Tale (Thorpe), l.,180. Notliing shows more clearly the manner in which gold 
passed by weight in Northern Europe than the wording ot two cliartcrs, in which the 
" pateram, centum auri siglis appendentem " of the first is riMiderod in the second by " datis 
centum viginti auri mancusis." — Thorpe, IJijJlom , pp. 1G4, 2aS. The use of ce.vtnm in tiie 
earlier charter for six score is also wortliy of reniaik. 


a hoard discovered at Ciierdale were found ingots of silver, many of them 
stamped with a cross, and generally averaging about eight ounces of the 
Tower standard in weiglit, evidently representing the marc of silver in its 
true and original form ; whilst there were also numerous fragments of 
ingots, and portions of silver ornaments and rings — Beags — which would 
have passed, according to their weight, as scUUngs and ores.^ Cattle, 
produce, and bullion in any shape, must have been always acceptable 
from possessing a certain intrinsic value ; but the coin which, even in its 
purest form, is worth less than bullion, necessarily implies in the issuer 
the power of enforcing its circulation. The penalties in the Capitularies 
and other early laws, for refusing coins of pure metal and full weight, 
disclose the reluctance with which denarii were originally received in the 
place of solidi, and it may be safely assumed that they were never issued 
until after the establishment of the royal authority. Beyond the limits, 
therefore, of the old Roman provinces, the king, or the king's authority, 
preceded the coin which, on its first appearance, was probably of a rude 
and simple description. Log-sil/r, or the legal currency, according to the 
Icelandic code of the thirteenth century, was bound to " stand cutting," 
in other words, the silver and alloy were to be properly amalgamated, so 
as to avoid such accidents as befell a follower of Harald Hardrada, who 
tossed his pay into the air, says the Saga, and all the silver fell off I'rom 
the base metal ; a story that tells little for the capacity of the Norwegian 
moneyers in the middle of the eleventh century. Hence, in the absence 
of the skilled monetarius, the earliest fonn of the coin was probably the 
" beaten sceat," or bi-acteate — the ore or scilling was beaten fiat and cut 
into sceats, or hits of metal, which were rudely stamped upon one side. 
An alloyed coinage, in which the coin retained its proper weight, whilst 
diminishing in value, was the work of a more experienced class of 

Cloth, to use the word in its widest sense of clothing, passed as a sort 
of currency that lingered longest in the north of Europe under the name 
of the ynarc-Wadmal, and amongst the Frisons as the Hreil-merh o{ 
four Weden ; Rail and Weed would have conveyed the idea of clothing 
to our own ancestors. Amongst the Norwegians, six Ells went to the 
ore of Wadmal, twelve in Sweden ; and Wadmal su])plied the place of 
Log-silfr, the ordinary or legal currency, before the existence of an 
alloyed coinage. The ell was subsequently coined as a penny of 4 shil- 
lings, just as the Wede, or ore of the Hreil-merk, became a skilling of 
12 pence, instead of the twelve measures of cloth which it probably once 
represented. The Frison Leinmerk may also be supposed to have 
originally been a measure of linen or flax ; but it is not in Northern 

' liingarJ, Ang.-Sax. Church, vol. ii. p. 441. He writes, "eight ounces aiul a quarter," 
evidently meaning Avoirdupois ounces, for 8'25 X 437*5 gives 3609'375gr. tr., tlie weight of 
the Cologne marc (^ 3608 gr. tr.) In all such calculations, the standard of weight should be 
given, and the Troy lb. should be used, if possible, for it is in close connexion with all the older 
standards, which is not the case with the present standard of Avoirdupois. 


Europe alone that Cloth-marcs, or their equivalents, are traceable. The 
literal meaning of the word Vellon, from which Billon is derived, is luool, 
and the Vellon coinage of Spain would thus appear to have been 
originally a currency in wool, a sort of cloth-marc, before the introduction 
of the alloyed coinage, or Log-silfr, which has perpetuated the name of 
Billon ; whilst, in the local pounds of Arragon and Catalonia, the weight 
answering to the Adarmeis, known as Ariense, or "young ram," telling 
of an era in which the sheep, or its fleece, passed for money ; for the 
Ariense was once a coin, answering apparently to the Sterling penny. 
Sheep took the place of cattle to the southward of the Pyrenees, where 
the flock, rather than the herd, constituted the wealth of the Ricos 
Ombres in early days. 


Currency of the Early Franks and the House of Capet. 

Gold continued to be the standard of the currency in the old Eoman 
provinces after the fall of the Western Empire, the solidus and tremissis 
alone appearing in the Burgundian Laws, compiled about the opening of 
the sixth century ; for they contain no allusion to a denarius, or to a silver 
currency. The gold coin, however, must have fallen below the original 
standard of value, for an edict of Majorian, dated in 458, prohibited the 
circulation of the Grallic solidus within the Empire on account of the 
inferiority of the gold, four difierent gold coins being subsequently, some 
fifty or sixty years later, refused currency in Gaul itself, within the 
frontiers of the Burgundian kingdom. Silver denarii were current 
amongst the Western Franks by this time, forty passing for a solidus ; 
and as the Merovingian denarius, at its full standard, seems to have been 
identical with the Byzantine scruple, or gramme, an aureus of full weight 
would have passed for (40 x 1G875, or) 675 gr. tr. of fine silver, or in 
the proportion of ten to one. By the edict of Pistoia, dated in 8G4, the 
finest gold passed in Italy in the proportion of tivelve to one ; the pro- 
portion of inferior gold towards silver being fixed at ten to one. Gallic 
gold, once famous for its purity, had deteriorated in quality before (he 
time of Clovis, and the depreciation in the value of the Gallic solidus may 
account for its passing for only forty scruples of silver, or in the propor- 
tion of ten to one.* 

The solidus continued to be coined in gold under the Merovingians, 

' Major. Novell, vii. 14, de Curialilns ; Leg. Burg. (Pertz) c. vii. 6; Edict. Fist. c. 24 
(Pertz, Leg. vol. i. p. 494). The Merovingian deiiiers, according to Le Blanc, contain ^'~ 
of fine silver, and weigh a little under 21 gr. Paris, or a Byzantine gramme (=: '20"57 gr. 
Paris). For the pmpoition between gold and silver ride Note B. 


ojenerally, if not always, in the provinces to the southward of the Loire. 
It was probably superseded in course of time for general use by the 
Mancus, a weight of forty scruples, or thirty Sterling pence ; and this 
epoch in the Merovingian system of currency would appear to be reflected 
in the Scilling and Sceat of the Kentish Laws, the former a half-mancus, 
the latter a scruple, or Merovingian denier. The mancus of thirty pence 
was a familiar standard of reckoning amongst the Anglo-Saxons in the 
days of Alfred, and it will be found in the so-called Laws of Henry i., 
where it is occasionally confounded with the marc. It appears in a 
diploma of the Emperor Henry ii. ; and in Europe, to the northward of 
the Alps and of the Pyrenees, the name seems to have generally been 
applied to the silver- weight, or solidus of thirty Sterling pence ; for when 
a gold coin is meant' — an aureus siclus, gold schilling, or bezant — 
the expression generally used is " gold mancus," or " mancus of gold." 
Beyond the limits of " Roman France," the Sextula of the Byzantine 
])0und, or monetary standard of the Western Franks, seems to have been 
struck in silver, and used very generally as a solidus, long remembered 
in England as the Thrums, or Tremissis, the third part of the Loth, or 
light-ounce of the half-marc. It was better known amongst the North- 
men as the Silfn7\ and it seems to have been current in Germany, and 
apparently in many parts of England, as the original Scilling or Schilling. 
Little can be said upon the subject of the later Merovingian coinage 
beyond its evident depreciation. The Old Saxons and the Frisons, before 
they were familiarized with the Nova 3Ioneta, continued to be assessed 
in certain cases by the solidus of forty deniers, the earlier standard of the 
Western Franks; and, as it may be gathered from the valuation of the 
Liber in the Frison Wergilds, that 160 new pence, or a marc of Sterlings, 
])assed for (jQ oz. of "old money," the deterioration in the earlier coinage 
must have been considerable.^ 

The Austrasians would appear to have adopted from the first a differ- 
ent system from their Western kindred, and their standard of weight is 
often called in old authorities " the Gallic pound." " From every mansus 
a solidus, that is twelve pence ;" so runs a decree of Carloman, the son 
of Charles Martel, dated in 743, and when the Ripuarian code assumed 
a written form, a solidus of twelve, and a tremissis oi four pence were in 
use in this quarter, " sicut antiquitus constitutum." The earliest known 
attempt at rectifying the currency was made in 756, by Pepin, who 
ordered that " no more than twenty -two solidi shall be cut from the 
Libra pensans" or standard of weight ; and a decree of his son Charles, 
})romulgated about twenty-five \ears afterwards, enacted that " on and 

1 Alf. and Guth. 3.; Muratori, Ant. Ital. torn. ii. p. 798. In the Frison Wergilds (Scot- 
land under her Early Kings, A\). E), the Liber "between Fie and Sincfal " is reckoned at 
50 sol., and in Addit. iii. 58, at 53 sol. 1 den., or 160 pence, thus identifying his assessment 
with the other Wergilds. As the tine for a cladolg, a claw WDund or scratch with the nail that 
drew no blood, is reckoned at 30 Frison pence, the " old pence " were evidently of little value, 
passing apparently in the proportion of 8 to 1. 


after the month of August 781, the new pence that bear our name, and 
are of full weight, shall be current." Ee-establishing a coinage of full 
weight and pure metal, Charles adopted, or confirmed, a silver standard, 
the solidus ceased to be struck in gold, and the Eastern Emperors and 
Khalifs long continued to supply the sole gold coinage current in Western 
Europe. From this time forward the Libra denariorum., or pound of 
coined money, began to take the place of the solidus as the standard of 
calculation; bits of uncoined bullion, always readily received, ceased to 
be issued from the moneyer's hand, and the solidus itself sunk by degrees 
into " a money of account," ^ 

The descendants of the Austrasian Pepin introduced the penny of the 
Austrasian pound; changes of this description, from time immemorial, 
often accompanying the establishment of a new dynasty. The Western 
Franks, however, seem to have retained the use of their earlier standard 
of currency, for it will be often found that, in this quarter, eighteen pence 
were given to the ounce, eighteen solidi to the pound, or hcelve to the 
marc ; in other words, they adapted the nova moneia to the Byzantine 
])Ound. The imperial currency continued to be regulated by the enact- 
ment of 781 until after the division of the Empire in the middle of the 
ninth century, when Charles the Bald, as the sovereign of the Western 
Franks, seems to have reverted to one of their earlier standards. His 

average 32 gr. Paris, or I -^^= ) eighteen pence to the ounce of 

the old Livre de Troyes, or the heavy pound of Constantine, which he 
thus appears to have adopted as the standard of the currency of " the 
Western kingdom." From the accession of the House of Capet may be 
dated the introduction of the Livre Tournois, at any rate as the standard 
of Southern France, and the denier under the third race gradually 
shrunk into the old Merovingian type, averaging about 20 gr. Paris.- 

* Pertz, Leg. vol. i. pp. 18, 31, 41, 72 ; Lex Rip. tit. xxiii., xxxvi. The solitary denier of 
Pepin from which a judgment can be formed weighs " 23 grains trebuchans " (turning the 
bcale), but those of his son Carloman, which must represent with the greatest accuracy the 
standard between 756 and 781, weigh 24 grains trebuchans, or a denier of the Troyes standard, 
24 to the oz., about 19'675 gr. tr., approaching very closely in weight to the coins struck in 
England a little later. The deniers of Charlemagne average between 27 and 28 gr. Paris, and 
as 27'5 gr. Paris = 22"5 gr. tr., or a sterling penny of 32 wheat-corns, the Fundus CaroU Magni 
must have approached very closely to the standard of the Tower pound and the Cologne marc. 
My authority is Le Blanc (edit. 1692.) 

'^ According to Le IManc, some of the earlier deniers of the third race average 24 gr. Paris;, 

giving (-|— or) 192 to the marc de Troyes, or the full amount of 288 to the pound. Others 

average 22 srr. Paris, giving { "" or) 192 to the marc Tournois. Hence I imply the of 

both standards under the House of Capet. The influence of the Marc de Troyes is traceable 
in the Frison little pound of 7 schillings, or half-marc de Troyes ; in the Tremissa of the 
Bavarian lb. weighing 7 pence, or a third of the oz. de Troyes ; and in the addition at some 
remote period of a penny to every oz. of the Cologne marc, raising it i'rom 13 sol. 4 den. to 14 
sol. Tlie return to the Caroline standard marks the separation of the l^asteilings from the 
Western Franks in " Roman France," and the rise of the kingdom of the Four Deutschlands. 



French money continued to be coined from silver ff fine until the 
opening of the twelfth century, when in 1103, towards the close of the 
reign of Philip i., " great tribulation arose," according to the Chronicle of 
Maillezai, on account of the depreciation of the currency, a third of copper 
being mixed with the silver, so that the current pound only contained 
a marc of fine silver. From this reign the French calculated by the marc 
as the standard of weight, using the pound henceforth only as a measure 
of the currency. A further deterioration is placed by the Chronicle of 
Meleac under the year 1120, when the money of Compiegne was allowed 
to remain at " half alloy ;" and as the marc of fine silver passed in 1144 
for 40 sol., or two pounds, the current pound only contained at this time 
4 oz. of fine silver, and had thus shrunk into the half-marc. A few years 
later, in 1158, a marc of English sterling pence passed for 53 sol. 4 den., 
or four marcs Tonrnois, so that the Livre Tournois only contained at 
that time 3 oz. of fine silver ; and as throughout the reign of St. Louis, 
and until the great depreciation of the currency in the time of Philip le 
Bel, the Esterlin continued to pass for foitr deniers Tournois, this may be 
regarded as the correct standard of the Tournois currency for about a cen- 
tury and a half, being referred to in later times as " the standard of St. 
Louis." The Angevin pound, the ordinary standard of the currency in the 
continental possessions of the early Plantagenets, seems to have corre- 
sponded at this time with the Livre Tournois, for/o^w Angevin pence passed 
for an Esterlin in 1190, and 500 marcs of silver were repaid, in 1202, in 
three instalments, each of 400 Angevin lbs., with an additional 50 marcs 
of silver. Hence 1200 Angevin lbs. passed for (500 — 50, or) 450 marcs, 
or 300 lbs. of sterling silver, thus identifying the Angevin standard with 
the Tournois.-^ 

The Paris currency, however, retained its original standard, for in the 
will of Philip Augustus, dated in 1222, the Paris marc still passed for 
40 sol., or two current lbs., so that the Livre Parisis was still identical 
with the half-marc. Thus during the greater part of the twelfth and 
thirteenth centuries there were tivo standards of the royal currency in 
France, the Livre Parisis containing four oz., or a half-marc, of fine 
silver, evidently the standard of the North, long remembered in the Low 
Countries as the " little pound " of seven shillings, and the Livre Tournois, 
or standard of the South, only containing tJu^ee oz. or a quarter of a lb. of 
fine silver. As the Livre Tournois, at the standard of 3 oz.„ would only 
have weighed 20 Gros deniers, the latter, when coined in silver ff- fine, 

1 Le Blanc, pp. 146, 148, 152, 153, 172 ; Ben. Ah. (Stubbs), vol. ii. p. 132 ; Bot. Pat. 
(Hardy), vol. i. pt. i. p. 4. At 3 oz. or 1296 gr. tr. of fine silver to tbe Livre Tournois, the 

Jenier of St. Louis would bave contained ( or) 5*4 gr. tr. of pure metal. According to 

Le Blanc it was coined at 220 to tbe marc (de Trojes), and contained 3'75 parts of fine silver to 

■ <. /^777*(^ \ / 17*171 V^'7^ \ 

8"25 of alloy, thus weighing y otJ about 17*171 gr. tr., and containing ( or j 

about 5'366 gr. tr. of pure metal. When results so similar are obtained from different calcu- 
lations, they may be assumed to be tolerably correct. 


passing for 12 deniers, took the place of the solidus, and was known, 
sometimes as the G^^ossus, sometimes as the Argenteiis — white money — 
the denier being the Parvus or Niger Turonensis, " the black penny," 
remembered in the fourteenth century as the old Petit Tournois. The 
reason for this double standard in France will probably be found in the 
great depreciation in the silver coinage in many parts of Southern Europe, 
fifteen " black pence " of Provence only passing for tioo and a half " alba 
moneta," or in the proportion of 6 to 1, as early as 1138, so that the 
Provengal current pound, even at that time, contained only 2 oz. of fine 
silver. A double currency was established in 1295, " manifold evils 
resulting in consequence," say the annals of St. Victoire, the Paris and 
Touruois deniers being from this date coined in the proportion of 5 to 4. 
The value of the Florenus Censualis, or florin of Florence, is reckoned 
by Cabraspino in 1356 at " 10 sol. old petits Tournois," and, says Villani, 
" it used to be worth 10 sol. Parisis in the old good money, but in 1338 
its value was 24 sol., in 1340 it reached to 30 sol., and a fourth more in 
Tournois currency," thus identifying the correct standard of the Paris 
currency in the first half of the fourteenth century with the old Touruois 
currency of the standard of St. Louis. The reason of this proportion 
between the denier Parisis and denier Tournois, which does not seem to 
have existed previously, may be probably traced to the introduction of a 
gold standard. Down to this date, throughout the different kingdoms of 
Western Europe, a certain recognised proportion seems to have regulated 
the various standards of the silver currency, which henceforth fluctuated 
and varied in apparently inextricable confusion.^ 


Four marcs were recognised by the French mint in the fourteenth century, according 
to the old Reg. Cam. Comp. of Paris, quoted by Ducange : — (1.) The " marc de Troyes 
qui est de Parisis," or standard weight of 170 esterlins de poix ; (2.) the "marc de 
deniers Tournois," or current marc of 155-5 esterlins de poix ; (3.) the marc de Limoges, 
heavier by two esterlins ; and (4.) the "marc de la Rochelle, dit d'Angleterre," weigh- 
ing 160 esterlins de poix, by which " money of every description is alloyed, and all the 
money in the world is regulated, and its value raised or lowered." Taking the Paris 
marc at (244-772 grammesX 15-433=) 3777-6 gr. tr., the marc de la Eochelle weighed 
/ 3777-6X16 \ , , 

V^ yj =3555'4,orJ a little under 3556 gr. tr., the pound (5332-6, or) about 5333, and the esterlin de poix 22-2212 gr. tr. The marc Tournois was 100 grains 
lighter, giving 3456 gr. tr. to the marc, and 5184 gr. tr. to the livre by weiglit. The 
marc de Limoges weighed about 3500 gr. tr. Thus the French esterlin de poix Avas 
infinitesimally lighter than the English, and the marc de la Rochelle weighed tiuo, the 
pound three, pence less than the standards of England and Germany, ncncc the Paris 
lialf-marc of 7 sol. 1 den. French sterling weight, which was identical witii the Frison 
"little pound," was long known in the Low Countries as the "pound of seven schil- 

^ Ducange, in voc. Gigliati; Muratori, Ant. Ilal. torn. ii. p. 783 ; Villani, lAh, xi. c. 71. 

46 NOTES. 

lings," which shows that the Paris marc only weighed 14 sol. by the sterling-weight of 
England and Germany, instead of 14 sol. 2 den. by the standard of La Rochelle. The 
marc of Castille, which for about 400 years has been the standard of the Spanish mint, 
weighs 3550 gr. tr., or a few grains short of French sterling-weight.^ 


The relative proportion between gold and silver appears, at a certain period, to have 

differed widely upon the opposite sides of the Alps and Pyrenees. The standard of 

Darius, or the early proportion of 13 to 1, alluded to by Herodotus, fell in course of 

time to 12 to 1, — or the standard of Alexander, as it may be loosely termed, — at which 

it appears to have been stationary for a considerable length of time, until the rise of 

gold under the Roman Emperors becomes dimly traceable, till it reached 14"4 to 1 

during the reigns of Diocletian and Constantine. The fall of the Western Empire 

seems to have sent up gold to IS to 1, the proportion falling again under the third Valen- 

tinian to 16'8 to 1, and it was again fixed by Justinian at 14'4 to 1, or the standard of 

Constantine. If Al-Makrizi is correct in saying that the early Khalifs issued their 

gold and silver coins in the proportion of ten and seven, — 10 silver dirhems weighing 7 

gold dinars, — at 20 dirhems passing for a dinar, the standard of the East at the open- 

/20X7 \ 
ing of the eighth century was ( ,^ or ) 14 to 1. Before this time the value of the 

Merovingian solidus had been fixed at 40 scruples of silver, or in the proportion of 10 
to 1, if the solidus was of full weight ; but the quality of the Gallic gold was at this 
time notoriously defective, and with the advent of the Austrasian family to the throne 
gold ceased to be coined to the northward of the Alps. By the edict of Pistoia, dated 
in 864, the proportion of fine and inferior gold to silver was fixed respectively at 12 and 
10 to 1, but at this very period, or very soon afterwards, the finest gold was passing in 
the north of Europe at 8 to 1, or even less. In the agreement between Alfred and 
Guthrum, the wergild of Dane and Angle was fixed at eifjht half-marcs of the finest 
gold, which was evidently regarded as the equivalent of 1200 Anglian scillings, or 20 
lbs. of silver, the old valuation of a Twelfhyndman in East Anglia. Reckoning the 

marc by the Tower standard, the proportion would only reach ( — ^— = \ 7'5 to 1, but 
if gold-weight was represented by the Libra Occidua, a marc of 48 aurei, or 144 dwts., 
would raise it to ( = \ S\ to 1. For the greater part of the two following cen- 
turies 50 mancuses of gold passed for 5 lbs. of silver in England, giving a value of 24 
pence. Tower-weight, to the luancus, or in the exact proportion of 8 to 1, and perhaps 
during this period the marc of gold may have been reckoned at 50 mancuses " by tale." 
Four centuries after the time of Alfred, or towards the close of the thirteenth century, 
the relative value of gold and silver remained unaltered in the extreme north of Europe, 
for an ore of fine gold is reckoned in the Gragas at a marc of fine silver, and the old 
proportion of 8 to 1 seems to have held its ground in England until the beginning of 
the twelfth century.'' 

^ Ducange, in voc. Marca; Bichthofen Diet, in voc. Fund. The French commercial gramme 
weighs 15'434 gi'. tr., but the correct standard of Paris, according to Kelly, only reaches 
15-433 gr. tr, 

- Marsdeii, Iiitrod.; Pertz, Xcr/. vol. i. p. 479; Alf.avd Gutli. 2 (compare Gutalag, in Scotland 
under her Earhj Kings, Ap. E) ; Gragas, sec. 7, c. 83, 85. As the Medial-thegns in Mercia and 
East Anglia were assessed on the same footing in Canute's law regulating the lieriot, the wergild 
in East Anglia was evidently reckoned, as in ]Mercia, at 20 lbs. The Tower pound was a silver 
standard, for in the reign of Edward iii. gold was weighed by "the touch of Paris," or the 
Tournois standard, to which the gold florin of Florence conformed. Before this florin replaced 

NOTES. 47 

A marc of fine gold passed for six lbs., or nine marcs of silver, in the reigns of 
Stephen and Henry ii. ; Benet the Jew was fined by Richard a marc of gold oboli of 
Murcia, or ten marcs of silver ; and in John's reign 21 sol. 8 den. of fine gold were 
purchased for 10 lbs. — about 9"25 oz. of silver for an oz. of gold — so that from the close 
of the reign of Henry i. to the accession of Henry iii., the proportion in England seems 
to have tiuctuated between 9 and 10 to 1. Yet as late as 12 Ed. i., the value of a 
" talent of rent" — or a bezant— was reckoned at 24 pence, or in the old proportion of 
8 to 1. Such assessments, however, do not represent the actual, but the imst value of 
the coin — its value at the time when the donation was originally made, or the rent 
fixed. Thus a bezant was valued by a French Parlenient in 1282 at 20 sol. ; whilst 
by a similar authority, and in the same year, the annual donation of a bezant made to 
the Church by the Counts of Soissons was assessed at 8 sol., or in the old proportion of 
8 to 1 ; for the sol. Tournois was at that time worth three sterling pence. The grant 
was evidently of old standing, telling of an epoch in which the relative value of gold 
and silver stood in France at 8 to i ; and as the aureus paid to the Pope from the 
Abbey of Kelso was compounded for by a payment of " two solidi of sterlings," accord- 
ing to the Liber Censuum compiled m 1192, the old proportion was in force in Scot- 
land at least as late as the reign of David, the founder of the abbey ; and it may be 
assumed that it held its ground in England until the opening of the twelfth century.' 

In France the relative value of gold and silver would seem to have long remained 
at 10 to 1. The ransom at first demanded for St. Louis was fixed, according to Join- 
ville, at " a million of bezants, which are well worth half a million livres," thus giving 
the bezant, in the middle of the thirteenth century, a value of 10 sol. Tournois — there 
was no Paris currency in the days of St. Louis — 30 sterling pence, or in the proportion 
of 10 to 1. From the monastery of St. Florentine, in the diocese of Anjou, the Pope 
received 3 aiirei, which were compounded for, in 1192, at 10 sol. Tournois for each ; 
whilst, according to the French translator of William of Tyre, " une perpre (a bezant) 

(1 QQU'Q y 7 \ 
= j 661 gr. tr., very much in the same 

proportion. Gilbert de Nogent, however, who died in 1124, at the age of seventy-one, 
values the Hyperpyrus at 15 sol., in which he is followed by, or follows, two contem- 
porary authorities ; but as the marc of silver passed for three instead of four livres in 

the days in which he wrote, his Hyperpyrus would have been worth ( — ; — , or j 

20 sols, in the days of Joinville, and was apparently a double-bezant. Thus the pro- 
portion in France remained at 10 to 1 during the greater part of the twelfth and thir- 
teenth centuries. But the daily revenue of the " Soldan of Egypt" is calculated by 
Vincent of Beauvais at " 400 mille Iperperi, id est, 57 mille marcae argenti," or 

( = J 7 bezants to the marc of silver, which, assuming the marc to be the French 

standard weight of " Troy es de Parisis," would give ( — '-^ — = j 539'66 gr. tr., or 24 

sterling pence, to the bezant, in the old proportion of 8 to 1, the standard of tiie age 

the bezant as the standard gold coin, gold-weight was probably represented by the Libra Occidiia, 
or pound of Constantinople. It is remarkable that in all the wills relating to East Anglia in 
Thorpe's Diplomata, the marc of gold is used instead of the niancns ; as if in that province, 
from the time when Alfred assessed the wergild in half-marcs of gold, the marc of gold was 
taken for 50 mancuses of gold, or 5 lbs. of silver. 

* Madox, Hist. Exch. o. ix. ; liudivg, vol. ii.; Le Blanc, ]\ 158 ; Menage, in voc. Bezant ; 
Lib. Cens. Bom. Ecc. (Muratori, Avt. Ital. vol. v.) p. 893. According to a charter of John 
(quoted in Ellis, Introd. vol. i. p. 1G5) a marc of gold was worth 10 marcs of silver, as in his 
brother Richard's time; so that the proportion of the currency -was jirobably 10 to 1, as in 
France. The proportion was the same in Germany at the date of the compilation of the b'acli- 
senspiegel, for twelve gold pence, each weighing three silver pennyweights — a bezant — passed 
for thirty shillings of silver, giving thirty pence, or a manciis of silver, to each gold penny 
(Bk. iii. art. 45). 

48 XOTES. 

in which the original donation of the Counts of Soissons was made. It seems allowable 
to assume, therefore, that the relative value of gold and silver remained at 8 to 1, in 
France as well as in England, until about the opening of the twelfth century, or as 
long as silver of the standard of |^} was coined in France, and until the influence of 
the newly issued coinage of the Morabetin Khalifs, whose authority in Spain dates 
from after 1056, began to be felt beyond the Pyrenees.* 

A similar difference in the proportion between gold and silver is observable in 
Eastern Asia and India during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the Tangah, or 
gold dinar of India, usually passing for ten silver dinars of similar weight ; whilst in 
certain remote localities gold only passed for eight times in value in silver. It is not 
to be supposed that the lesser relative value of gold in the north of Europe arose from 
its greater abundance in that quarter. On the contrary, the more precious metal was 
so little used, except in the shape of rings and ornaments, that it passed at a nominal 
value, and by weight, or as bullion rather than as coin — as a luxury rather than as a 
necessity. But as soon as a coinage in gold was attempted in France and England, 
and gold in consequence became a necessity, its intrinsic value asserted itself, and was 
recognised at once. The horse may be quoted as an instance in point. He was valued 
in the time of Athelstan at half a pound, worth .six cows, and four-and-twenty sheep ; 
he had doubled in value in the Conqueror's reign, and was reckoned at a pound, and 
in the laws of King Henry is estimated at forty sheep ; but in the Gragas he is only 
rated at " a good cow." In Iceland he was only a luxury ; elsewhere he had become a 
necessity, and, gold amongst the animals, rose to his proper value of many sheep and 
cows. So when Henry in., in 1257, attempted to establish a coinage in gold, he 
struck a gold penny, weighing trvo, and current for ticenti/, sterling pence ; but in a 
very few years his coin rose to twenty-/oi(r pence, or from 10 to 12 to 1, and the inno- 
vation was so unpopular that the king desisted from his attempt. The bezant, at the 
date of the capture of St. Louis, was worth 10 sol. Tournois ; but no sooner did the 
French king issue his Denier cVor a VAirjnel, a coin of a similar type weighing about 
64 gr. tr., than it passed for 12 sol. 6 den., or (64-8 X 12-5=) 810 gr. tr. — for 150 in- 
stead of 120 deniers, or in the proportion of fire to four — gold thus rismg in France 
from 10 to 12'5 to 1. Hence the florin of Florence, first coined in 1252, according to 
Malaspina and Villani, and weighing 54 gr. tr., or four-fifths of the bezant, took the 
place of the latter coin, passing for 10 sol. Tournois ; and this is the reason why many 
old authorities identify the florin, or ducat, with the bezant, their calculations, in 
consequence, being often erroneous. Hence, also, the cause of the numerous valuations 

* Lib. Cciis. p. 882 ; Ducange, Diss, cle Inf. CEv. Num. cap. xc. ; Gcsta Dei per Francos, 
p. 501. The epithet Hyperpyrus— "T7re/37ri'/3pos — referred to the purity of the metal, and pro- 
bably became attached to the standard coin of fine gold after the introduction of an alloyed 
coinage of inferior value. As o/3d, or 72 Ilypcrpyri, went to the pound, the ordinary Hyper- 
pyrus was evidently the Constantinople solidus, or bezant, weighing 67'5 gr. tr. ; but the 
name would have been applicable to any coin of the finest gold, and would have thus included 
the double bezant. From the time of Louis le Jeune an offering of 13 bezants d'or was made 
to the Church at the consecration of the kings of France, the Byzantines thus ofl'ered by 
Henry ii. weighing a double-ducat {Le Diane, p. 157), which seems to identify the original 
coins with tlie large or double-bezant. As the florin of Florence, the type of the petit 
royal of 70 to the Paris marc, was the equivalent of the bezant at its original value, so the 
?ros royal, and the first gold coin struck by Edward iii., weighing two florins, represented 
the double-bezant. As Hyperpyrus denoted a coin of pure " red " gold, so the name of 
Asper, or " white money," was originally attached to the coin of fine silver, the eqinvalent of 
the Silfur, Weispfenning, Blanc, Argenteus, and Albus, in other quarters. It was at one time 
" well worth two sterlings," and mnst have then represented the drachma of Constantinople — 
the coin not the weight — the original of the Eastern dirhem. "When Pegolotti wrote, 202 
aspers were coined out of a Sommo of silver, 11 oz. 17 den. fine; so that, as the Sommo 
weighed about 8'25 oz. of the Genoese pound — the Byzantine apparently — the aspcr nuist 
have shrunk in the fourteenth century into the gramme. It still exists in the East as a money 
of account. — Ducange, as above ; Yule's Cathay (Hakluvt Soc.) vol. ii. pp. 205, 298. 


of the older standard, fast becoming obsolete, towards the close of the thirteenth cen- 
tury — as well as the reason, apparently, of a double currency in the proportion of five 
to four, the Livre Parisis corresponding with the earlier, the Livre Toumois with the 
later, standard of gold.^ 


Eakly Germanic and Frison Currency. 

" Unce ainan scillinga selisi, unciam unam aureos sex . . . Stuhi, 
halb scriptolus, silikhi tri," — thus wrote an old German glossarist, quoted 
by Adalung, displaying bis familiarity with the Byzantine standard. The 
eicruple, however, was as often divided into three parts, corresponding 
with the subdivision of the Byzantine gramme into three /oZ/es. In this 
case the equivalent of the Stilck or Styca of 12 grains of corn only 
weighed 8 grains, and was probably a bracteate, answering to the Heller 
of the early Cologne standard, the Irish Pinginn, and the original of the 
Spanish Follaz, a small coin still existing when Ducange was writing, 
deriving its name from the Arabic Fels, and representing the third part 
of a denier.- 

Both the standards of the eastern empire in use amongst the Western 
Franks as well as the Gallic or Caroline pound, are traceable amongst 
the Frisons. The identity of the London and Cologne standards known 
indiscriminately as English, Agrippaniske, and Cologne weight, is 
shown in the regulation that " these merks are to be reckoned at 4 pence 
and 13 skillings of English pence, so as to weigh the Cologne merk;" 
but many of their older mulcts and dues were payable in " the pund of 
seven skillings," often known as " the little pund," sometimes as the 
Frison pund. " Three pund the frana, that is, 21 skillings the Koning's 
ban," so runs more than one old Frison law ; and every i'reeman with 
" 30 pund eerwis," or inheritance, was bound to attend the Landwehr 
with horse and arms, all who had 12 punds coming on foot with spear 
and shield. Thus the Little pund in which the freeholder was rated at 
the old Frank assessment of 30 lbs., or 600 solidi, and fined 3 lbs. or GO 
solidi, for the king's ban, was the Livre Parisis, or half-marc de Troves, 
weighing four ounces, or a third of the heavier Byzantine standard. He 
was assessed in the old currency of northern France, and as he was not 
a nobleman, he paid or received " by tale" and not " in gold." The 
Wed-merh of fourteen skillings answered to the full ]\Iarc de Troyes ; 
the Lein-merh of twelve skillings to the ordinary marc, or eight ounces 
of the Libra Occidua ; and the existence of the ordinary half-nuuc of 

* Cathay, vol. i. p. ccxivii.-ccl. ; Le Blanc, cap. i. ; Budui//, vol. ii. p. 70; Villani, lib. vi. 
c. .53 ; 31alaspina, cap. 152, in Muiatori, Ant, Ilal. ii. p. 817. 
- Adelung, in voc. Sc/iillliu/. 



four ounces is also traceable, particularly in the provinces of Groningen 
and East Frieslancl, or ancient Friesland, " between Laubach and Weser." 
" The Fresca Skeld is tbirty grate from Staweren to Groningen, and the 
Groningen Skeld is nine grate. The great Coloi2;ne pound is four Skeld, 
and tbirty Flamsken go to the old Skeld." The Skeld, or Ecu, was 
reckoned as the quarter of a pound, and as the FlamsJce, or Frison groat, 
was worth tivo sterling pence, the Groningen Skeld was worth eighteen, 
or an ounce of the ordinary Byzantine standard, representing tbe quarter 
of a " pund of six skillings," or a half-marc of four ounces. The exist- 
ence of this obsolete pund of six skillings is further shown by the Hreil- 
merc, the Groningen-merc, and the West Friesland Liod-merc, each 
valued at four skillings, or two-thirds of a pound of six, which would 
have once answered to a Groningen-pund} 

Three different solidi are alluded to in the old Frison Laws, a solidus 
of three pence current in central Friesland, a solidus oi jive oboli in the 
province bordering upon Flanders, and a solidus of two pence current 
" between Laubacn and Weser," or in the provinces of Groningen and 
East Friesland. There were also, according to Pertz, three dialects 
amongst the Frisons, corresponding with this difference in their solidi. 
The dialect in East Friesland resembled " old English" — Anglo-Saxon — 
and in this quarter was the solidus of two pence, corresponding with the 
Flamske, or Groningen grate, and connected with the " ore of sixteen." 
The speech of Central Friesland resembled the dialect found in old West- 
phalian documents, and here was the solidus of three pence, corresponding 
with the Thryms or Silfur, half as large again as the Flamske and con- 
nected with the " ore of twenty-four." The dialect of the other Frisons 
resembled the language spoken in Brabant in the thirteenth century, and 
here was the solidus oi five oboli, or half of a scilling of five pence, con- 
nected with the " ore of twenty," or the ounce in uf-e amongst the Franks 
at that time. Nearest and most akin to the Franks in dialect and cur- 
rency lay the Flemings ; beyond them the central and western Frisons, 
ancestors of the Dutch, resembling the Westphalian Saxons in speech 
and customs : whilst further towards the north-east lay the eastern 
Prisons, in their dialect and solidus connected with the men of Engern 
and Ostphalia.^ 

Fiirst, Freyherr and Schoppenbar freeman, were assessed in the Sach 

senspiegel at 18 lbs. for their wergild, or 4320 pence, answering to I —^ 

' Eichthofen, Die. Fris. in voc. Frana, Pund, Merk, Grate, Skeld, etc. The penny of 
Charles the Bald, weighing 32 gr. Paris, is exactly adapted to the standard of the Little pund, 
pointing to the era in which Troyes-weight supplanted the earlier standards in northern France. 

* Pertz, Leg. vol. iii. p. 639, and Lex Fris. addit. 73, 78. He identifies the Frison with the 
Caruliiie solidus, which would give the Frisons in the eighth and ninth centuries a coined penny 
weighing four sterling pence. The existence in the ninth centurj' of a silver coin, half as large 
again as the Gros Denier of St. Louis, is, I helieve, unknown to numismatists. The expression 
used in the Frison Laws is always " denarii novce monetce^^ — minted or coined money — and 
the Capitularies are silent about the existence of any mint in Friesland. 


1440 solidi — thrymsas or silfurs — the wergild of the Saxon NohiHs,or Adel- 
ine. Their bot was also identical, but, in the case of the two first classes, 
paid in gold, and reckoned at 12 gold pence wortli 30 shillings of silver, 
answering to the 120 solidi jiaid as Ruoda by the old Saxon laws ; whilst 
the bot of the Schop[)enbar Frei was 30 shillings paid in Wendisli p.-nce, 
" of which 20 shillings weigh a rcarc," Twelve oz. or a lb. of Wendish 
pence, therefore, would have weighed eight oz., or a marc of sterling 
pence, the solidus and penny would have been in a similar proportion, 
and whenever the Thryms of tliree sterling pence was reckoned as the 
solidus, the Elamske of tvjo sterling, or ^/«-ee Wendish pence, would have 
answered to the solidus of a currency upon the Wendish principle. 
Before the introduction of the Nova Moneta, the AVestphalians used a 
solidus of three, the Ostphalians and men of Engern a solidus of two 
tremisses, or exactly in this proportion ; in other words, the latter divided 
the marc into 12 oz. on the principle of the Wendish cnri ency, reckoning- 
it as a pound — just as the Attung in Sweden was divided by the Groths 
into twelve, and by the Sviar into eigltt portions — an oz. of the lighter 
standard containing 24 pence would have only weighed 16 of the heavier 
type, and a wergild of 18 lbs., reckoned in " ores of sixteen," would have 
only weighed 18 marcs or 12 lbs. of the heavier currency.^ 

The custom of dividing the marc like the pound seems to date from 
an early period, and is observable in many quarters, particularly in 
northern Europe, the Austrasian Franks following it, a[)parently, for the 
original standard of Cologne was divided in this manner. The esch, as 
elsewhere, was a grain of wheat, 8 went to the Heller, IG t* the Pfennig, 
which were thus respectively two-thirds of the Stiick or Halb-scriptolus of 
12, and the Denier or gramme of 24 grains ; whilst the Quent of 64 grains 
or two sterling pence, answering to the Frison Flamske, and the Batz of 
two pence amongst the southern Germans, was a solidus weighing two- 
thirds of the Thiyms or Siltur. The Loth was a light " ore of sixteen" 
pfennige ; the ore weighed 16 sterling pence, and eight of these ores made 
a light marc of 10 sol, 8 den., or 4096 giains, twelv^e a light pound of 
of 16 sol. or 6144 grains, answering to the Full-merk or Liod-merk in 
ordinary use amongst the Frisons, weighing 16 skillings, or eight " ores 
of twenty-four" sterling pence. The mint-marc of Vienna, weighing 9 
oz. troy-weight, 4320 gr. tr., or 6144 grains of corn, answers to this 
heavier standard, or full-mavc, weighing 16 sol. ; and as it is divided like 

the Cologne marc, the divt. represents the denier of ( ^y..- = 1 24 grains, 

' Sachnensinerjel, Bk. iii. Art. 45; Lex Sax., tit. xix. ; Grimm,, p. 533. The 
theory of coining 240 pence out of the marc was retained in the Livre '1 ournois coined out of 
the Marc de Troyes. The wergild of 18 lbs. of Wendish pence seems traceable in the "18 
marcs Log-aura, reckoned in gold," of the Norwegian Odelsmand, and the " 12 punds ecrwis" 
of one class of freeholders in Friesland — perhaps also in the 240 sol., or 12 lbs., constituting the 
wergild of the " Primus Alamannus," for, " except in inheritance and ovtd, Suhwabischc Kcclit 
is the same as Sachsische," says the Sachsenspiegel, Bk. i. Art. Hi. A wergild of 12 lbs. 
represents 1440 solidi, reckoning by the Flamske. For Wergilds vide Scotland, etc., Ap. E. 


half as lai'ge again as the pfennig. As the Caroline pence weighed two 
pfennige or oboli, so the Viennese pence weighed two deniers or tJi7'€e 
oboli, exactly in the proportion of the solidi of two and three ttemisses, and 
were known as " Broad pence of Vienna" — the " lati denarii Viennenses, 
quorum quilibet denarius valet tres obolos esterlingorum" of Matthew 
Paris. Thus the Vienna marc represents the Full-marc of eight heavy 
oz., which, when reckoned as a pound, gave the lighter oz. of the old 
Colojine standard, fifteen of which went to the " Great Pound of Cologne," 
and to the old standard of London weight.^ 

According to an authority of the twelfth century, quoted by Pertz, 
whilst Frank and Alaman, Saxon, Thuringian, and Lombard, united in 
using the solidus of 12 pence, giving 3 to the Saiga (or Thryms) and 4 
to the Tremissis (or Anglian scilling), the Bavarians continued to divide 
the pound, like the marc, into eight solidi of 30 pence. Their solidus, or 
heavy oz., Avas thus the mancus " of forty deniers," their semi-solidus of 
15 pence the half-mancus or Kentish scilling " of twenty sceats ;" their 
saiga of 5 pence answered to the scilling of Wessex, and their scotus, or 
scatt, was a double-denier, like the broad penny of Vienna, weighing 
three sterling oboli. The recollection of this old pound, superseded as a 
moneyer's weight by the Cologne marc, seems to have been retained in 
the Kegensburg pound, divided into eight schillings of 30 pence, the 
Pfenning -'pfmid in which the Grund-zins, or land-tax, of Bavaria used to 
be levied." 


Norwegian and Irish Currency. 

In the opinion of the best authorities of the North, no coins were 
struck in Norway before the middle or close of the tenth century. 
Bullion must have passed before this time, and the earliest substitute for 
a coinage was Wadmal. Hence the Northman was assessed by the 
Hundrada, which still retains its oiiginal meaning of six score ells in 
Haldorson's Dictionary, though the ell is no longer cloth but a coin. 
According to the Gragas, or the Icelandic code of laws, compiled towards 
the close of the thirteenth century, some fifty years after the Sachsen- 

^ Ethelred iv. 9 ; Mat. Par. (Ed. 1C40), vol. ii. p. 730. In another passage Paris says the 
Jmperialis corresponded very closely with the sterling penny, with which it might be considered 
identical. In his days, therefore, the penny in Germany, as in England, still conformed to the 
regulations of 781. This was the penny of the Sachsenspiegel. 

^ Pertz, Leg. iii. p. 132, note 24. The distinction once existing in England between the 
scillings oi four and five pence, current on opposite sides of the Thames, is long traceable in 
the German currency. Ihus the imperial kreutzer of GO to the gulden, 90 to the thaler, was 
woxVafour light pence ; whilst the hea\ier kreutzer current in Ikmburg and Wurtzburg, 48 to 
the gulden, 72 to the thaler, was worth jiwfi piMice ; and the guter-groschen wa« worth \\ kaisar- 
groBchen, in a similar proportion oi' five to/our. 


Spiegel, silver was current in Iceland about the opening of the eleventh 
century, " white silver, which was mostly silver, and would stand cutting," 
equivalent apparently to " Guthrun's-Lane silver," or silver plate. " It 
was coined so that Ix. penings (some read xx) went to the ore-vegin, and 
weight and tale were identical. At that time c. silfurs passed for four 
hundreds and xx. ells-wadmal, and a half-marc of wadmal was worth an 
ore of silver." Silver therefore stood in the proportion of 4 to 1 to wad- 
mal, and as six ells-wadnial went to the Norwegian ore, an ore of 
silver passed for 24 ells, and the silfur or solidus of six to the ounce was, 
at this time, worth four ells, each thus representing a denier or scruple. 
The ell, when coined in a later age, was divided into four skillings, cor- 
responding probably with its original subdivisions ; and thus the marc- 
wadmal literally represented the raarc-vegin in cloth, the ell halved and 
quartered answering to the silfur of four scruples, and representing the 
solidus of the marc-wadmal, six score ells or silfurs being contained in 
either case in twenty ores or five half-marcs.^ 

Three descriptions of silver are alluded to in the Gragas, Burnt silver. 
Blue or Grey silver, and Law silver. A marc of burnt or fine silver was 
known as the marc-vegin, or marc by weight, and occasionally as the 
marc of silfurs. The marc of law-silver, or a current marc, was known 
as the marc-log-aura, or the marc of legal ores, and occasionally as the 
marc of penings. Grey-silver was double the value of law-silver, and 
both were reckoned by the marc-talin, talder-rnarc, or marc by tale. An 
ore of burnt silver passed for a marc-lug-aura, or in the proportion of 8 to 
1, and thus grey silver, standinii; in the proportion of 1 to 4, represented the 
earlier standard of wadmal. At the close of the chapter upon Baugatal, 
it is laid down that " the silver used for sacgikU, whether for bang, thai-, 
or thiveiti, shall be of the standard of the log-silfur of the time in which 
^e?i penings went to the ore ;" and in the chapter on Manumission it is 
said, " In a Jarl's jorp he pays half-rett, in a king's the whole. A 
pening shall he give to the goda who brings him into the law, that shall 
be the tenth part of an ore." Thus the " silver used for sacgildt" was of 
a different standard from the later law-silver, and as grey silver was of the 
same standard as wadmal when it was used for " sacgildt," passing current 
for twice the value of the later law-silver, it may be identified with the 
older standard alluded to in these laws. At tioo ores of fine silver to the 
maro, or three to the pound, tliis earlier currency corresponded with the 
Livre Tournois at the standard of St. Louis, and thus the Northmen 
were long as>essed in the usual currency of the period, In Sweden, 
where the marc-wadmal was at one time worth tioo marcs of penings, 
twelve ells went to the ore — " Six marcs of penings, or three marcs- 
wadmal, twelve ells to the ore," writes Ihre, quoting from an old East 
Gothland code. Thus in Sweden the marc-wadmal would have been 

* Oro/jas, sec. 7, cap. 3. 8t. In another cliaiitor tlie legal value of tlu! oro is fixcnl at six 
ells of new anil unworn wadmal. The ore of wadmal is here meant, and not the ore of silver, 
as has been sometimes erroneously supposed. 


worth a marc of grey-silver, corresponding, as of old, with " the silver 
used for sacgildt ;" but as three Swedish would have passed for six Nor- 
wegian marcs-wadmal, the cloth itself must have lost its former value, 
for the ell would have passed at half its former standard, thus corre- 
sponding with the later law-silver.^ 

The pening of ten to the ore seems to he alluded to by Snorro in the 
passage where he says that every bonder in Iceland recompensed Eyvind 
the Scald with " a scatt-pening of pure white silver, worth three penings- 
vegin ;" for it is laid down in the later Gulathing that " thirty penings 
shall be in every ore, whether by weight or tale." The marc was thus 
divided into 80 scatt- penings and 240 penings, on the principle of the 
Wendish currency, f)r there are 80 silfurs and 240 pence in the Caroline 
pound. In the earlier coinage alluded to in the Grragas, the half-marc 
was similarly divided, for a coinage of xx. or Ix. to the ore gives either 
80 small solidi or 240 small penings to the half-marc ; and the earliest 
asse-!sments of the Danes in England are invariably reckoned in half- 
marcs. As long as the Northmen were only familiar with bullion and 
wadnial, the marc-wadmal seems to have followed the sub-divisions of the 
marc-vegin, or the Byzantine standard, giving 6 ells to the ore, and 48 
to the marc, the ell thus answering to the sextnla, silfur, or original 
scilling ; but as soon as a coinage was issued, it was adapted, on the 
principle of the Wendish currency, to the Caroline pound, thus pointing 
to the comparatively late era in which a coinage first appealed. " A pen- 
ing, ten of which went to the ell-wadmal," such was the tax levied upon 
the Icelanders by Olaf the Saint, according to Snorro ; and if he is cor- 
rect, 40 penings would have passed for a silfur, and 240 for an ore, or in 
the proportion of the earlier law-silver, corresponding with wadmal, of 
which a half-marc passed for an ore of silver, for the earliest coinage 
alluded to in the Gragas was evidently based upon the half-marc.'- 

The Northmen are occasionally credited with the introduction of a 
knowledge of coined money into Ireland ; but they were still in the age of 
bullion and wadmal when they were ravaging the English and Irish coasts 
in the eighth and ninth centuries. The relics of a very early system are 
traceable in Ireland, where the Tinde and the Hinge, the bar or ingot and 
the ounce, were the weights in ordinary use, the Pinginn and Leth-pin- 
ginn, or penny and halfpenny, bracteates apparently, representing the coin- 
age. The ScrepaU, known also as the Pwicne and Oiffing, appears as the 
Sigel, Iri>h siclus or ordinary unit of calculation, a small solidus rather 
than a coin, divided into three pinginns and six leth-pinginns. The 
screpnll, at its full weight of 24 grains of corn, was identical, as its name 
shows, with the Merovingian denier of full weight, or the gramme of the 
Byzantine standard, the pinginn of 8 grains answering to the Follis or 
Heller, the leth-pinginn to the half-follis or keration. There was also a 
lighter screpall weighing 21 grains of corn, the bracteates that have been 

' Gragas, nee. 7, cap. 3. 84; sec. 8, cap. 114 ; sec. 6, cap. 43. Ihre in voc. Wadmal. 
' Ileiiiisk. Ilurf. Saga, cap. 18 ; St. Olafs Saga, c. 14G. 


found usually corresponding with this lighter type. The uinge of 24 
screpalls of full weight would have answered to the Byzantine ounce 
wei.fjhing 576 grains, but the lighter screpall would have given an uinge 
of 504 grains. When 240 pence were coined out of the marc, an ounce 
weighing 24 pence would, in reality, be " an ore of sixteen," each penny 

weighing two-thirds of the full weight, or I -^-X 2=^ 1 21 grains of corn. 

Thus the lighter uinge and screpall seem to tell of the influence of the 
Saxon ore of sixteen. 

The early Irish were not familiar with the pound weight in connexion 
with the precious metals, nor were they singular in ignoring it. Ulphilas 
renders a pound of spikenard by " pund balsamis," but he translates ten 
talents — pounds in the Anglo-S^ixon version, bezaimts in Wicliflf — by 
" taihun dailos" and " taihun skattans," ten deals or portions, reckoning 
money by tale and not by weight. The pound appears in Ini's Laws as 
the " pund-vega," tlie Libra-pondo of Plautus and Terence, the Libra- 
pensans of Pepin, for the solidus was the ordinary standard of reckoning 
before the establishment of the Libra denariorum. The highest metal- 
weight in use amongst the Irish was the Tinde, a hundred-weight of six 
score uinges apparently, varying according to the weight of the uinge. 
Seven score uinges of 576 grains, at which it is sometimes reckoned, would 
give a weight of 10 lbs, of the heavier standard of Constantine, or six 
score ounces of the marc de Troyes. The tinde, writes Petrie, should 
have weighed, " according to the table," 69,120 grains of corn. 10 lbs. of 
the ordinary standard, or six score uinges of 576 grains. When it is 
reckoned at " sixty thou.^ands and four hundreds of wheat-corns," it 
represents six score uinges of 504 grains, calculating the hundreds at six 
score. Two sorts of gold were also known, " base gold of which dishes 
are made," and the better description used in torques and rings; but gold 
coins seem to have been as scarce among the Irish as in the north of 



In Spain, in southern Italy, and Sicily, and even in parts of France 
bordering upon the Mediterranean, Saracen influences are plainly visible. 
Tlie commercial pound of Arragon corresponds with the old Tower 
standard, for it weighs 5398 gr. tr. The Libra Jaquesa, Jaca pound, or 
Stan lard of the old provincial currency of the kingdom of Arragon, 

1 Petrie's BoHnd Towers, pp. 209-219; Ulpli. John xii. 3; Luhe xix, 13. 16. Tlie 
lighter type of uinge and screpall was prolialjly of a later date than tin; heavier, corrcspondin<j 
with the Austrasian rather than with the Merovingian era. 


contains 20 sneldos, each divided into 8 quartos and 16 dineros. answer- 
ing to the "ore of sixteen," containing 8 quents of ^?yo-pence, or Flamsken. 
The Arragonese marc is divided nominally into 128 arienses and 4096 
grains, or into "eight ores of sixteen ;" for the Ariense of 32 grains was 
once a coin, familiar apparently in England as the Jaca penny, and 
evidently corresponding with the sterling penny. The pound and marc 
of Barcelona are considerably heavier, and the marc is divided into 192 
arienses, representing originally " eight ores of twenty-four." Thus ster- 
ling weight, and the heavier and lighter standards in use elsewhere, were 
once also familiar to the Spaniards, who, beyond the Ebro, and under the 
shelter of the Pyrenees, seem to have retained the standards of their 
Christian forefathers. In the greater part of Spain, however, the Arabic 
Arroba is found, and the Adarme, or dirhem, replaces the Ariense as a 
weight ; whilst the still existing Maravedi recalls the time in which the 
Spanish coinage was principally supplied by the khalifs of the Morabetin 

The name of Morahetin would appear to have been applied, strictly 
speaking, to the general coinage of the Al-3Ioravid or Morahetin 
khalifs who ruled in Spain from 1056 to 1146. Silver dirhems and 
oboli of base metal, or billon, known asfels—foUes — had alone been issued 
from the mints of their predecessors, the Ommiad khalifs, but the Mora- 
betin dynasty were the first amongst the princes of western Europe to 
put into circulation a coinage of gold from a native mint. Hence, 
though the name was applied in the Peninsula to silver as well as gold 
coins of the Mooiish type, it was usually limited elsewhere to gold coins 
alone ; and as a coin of the full standard seems to have been generally 
implied under the epithet of aureus, so the obolus, or coin of a smaller 
type, was often distinguished by the name of Marabotinus. The Pope, 
for instance, received from the monastery of Nantes a payment of ten 
sol., in lieu of two marahotins, thus giving to the marabotin the value of 
only half an aureus, or bezant. Not that the coins of the Morabetin 
dynasty woro necessarily oboli, but the mints of Spain and Portugal seem 
to have been the first to familiarize western Christendom, beyond the 
Alps and Pyrenees, with gold coins of a smaller type than the bezant, or 
gold mancus, of the normal standard; and as at this period all gold coins, 
beyond the limits of the realm in which they were struck, passed in 
northern and western Europe by their weight and intrinsic value, a cer- 
tain vagueness in the names by which they were distinguished was com- 
paratively immaterial. From the description of the Morabetin dinars 
given by Marsden, their standard, varying from 6175 gr. tr. to 57 gr. tr., 
seems to have been below that of the earlier khalifs, in this agreeing very 
well with a remark of the liistorian of Eavenna, quoted by Muratori, 
that a marabotin of the proper standard in 1076 weighed 7 to the oz. 

' KeWy's^Oamhist. Tlie jaku nipiitioneil in Jiiidivrj, ii. 72, was evident!)' a coin of Jaca. 
The old Cataloiiian current pound contained 2U sneldos ami 240 dineros. 


In 1216, sixty marabotins of Portugal weighed a marc of gold, giving 
7"5 to the oz., and thus the coin would appear to have dwindled down till 
it assumed the type of the dirhem rather than of the dinar.^ 

Cabraspino, the Papal nuncio in Hungary and Poland, has left a table 
of the value of different coins in 1356, which throws much light upon 
the currency of his age. As 8 florins went to the oz. of gold " in gold," 
and 8 florins were worth a lb. of pure silver, the relative proportion be- 
tween the two metals in his calculations was evidently taken at 12 to 1. 
He reckons in " Floreni Censuales," valuing each at 10 sol. 1 den. 
" Turpitiorum antiquorum," evidently the amplification by some co[)yist 
of Tur. pt. antiq., his contraction for "old Petits Tournois." As 10 sol. 
Tournois, at the old standard, would have contained (120 X 54, or) 648 
gr. tr. of tine silver, and the florin of Florence, weighing 54 gr. tr., would 
have passed, at 12 to 1, for 648 gr. tr. of fine silver, the florenus cen- 
sualis may be safely identified with the standard gold coin of the age, 
which was worth, according to Villani, 10 sol. Parisis (or 648 gr. tr. of fine 
silver at the correct standard of his age), and a little more than the 
Pontifical florin, to which Cabraspino alludes under the name of Florenus 
Komanas Curias. In silver he calculates by the grosso, giving it a value 

of 12 deniers, or a gros-tournois about I — ~ — = j 51*84 gr. tr. of fine 

silver, according to the proper standard at that time of 4.32 gr. tr. to the 
denier. As he estimates the lb. of silver from Spain, Tuscany, and various 
other quarters at 75 florins, and the oz. at 7*5 grossi, the latter coin, like 
the florin J was the eighth of an ounce, and approaches so closely to the eighth 
of a Roman oz. (52"73 gr. tr.), that I think it may be identified with it. 
As the bezant and the florin were in the proportion oifive and/owr, the 
value of the former in fine silver would have amounted, at this time, to 

I — j-^ , or) 810 gr. tr., or, including the denier, to | -. — '- , or) 818 

gr. tr. ; and as the bezant is reckoned at 15*5 grossi, or, calculating the 

grosso as the eighth of a Eoman oz. j -^^^ ;— = j, 817 gr. tr. of fine 

silver, the identification may be regarded as tolerably correct.^ 

1 Muratori, Ant. It. v. p. 883, ii. p. 785 ; Le Blanc, p. 1G5. The latter gives to the Por- 
tuguese coin a weight of 7G gr. Paris, or 62-3 gr. tr., assuming the marc of gold to have been 
Paris-Troyes weight. But when Philip le Bel in 1305 coined petits royaux, "as before," at 
70 to the marc, or at the Florentine standard of 54 gr. tr., it is added, " et doivent donner les 
dits Compagnons au marc cVorfin de Furls G4 des royaux dessus dits," thus ideutiiying the 
marc d'or fin de Paris, or marc of currency, with (54X64 = 3456 gr. tr., or) the marc Tournois, 
the standard of the currency. 

^ Muratori, Ant. It. toni. ii. p. 783. Quite in accordance with the calculations of the 
Nuncio is a passage quoted by Ducange [Jaccences Floreni), reckoning the gold liorin of Flor- 
ence at 16 solidi of Barcelona, and the grosso and gros tournois at 15 I3arcelonese pence, thus 

giving to the gold coin in Catalonia in 1348 a value of (-^- or) 12"8 gros tournois in the 

currency of Barcelona. As 12 .Jaca pence passed at this time for 14 pence of Barcelona, llie 

,-. j than a denier Tournois. 


Turning to the coinage of Castile and Leon, it appears that the Mara- 
botin passing for 24 marabotins of silver was worth 12 den. tournois less 
than a florin, or 11 sol, 6 den. tournois, about (4'32xl38 = ) 596 gr. tr. 

of fine silver, which would give it [-—- or) about 49*5 gr. tr. of fine 

gold, — a dirhem of gold according to the existing standard of Constan- 
tinople. The silver roarabotin, or Maravedi, to use the more familiar 
name, of which 24 passed for the gold coin, would have thus contained 
about 24'75 gr. tr. of fine silver. Tlie Dobia Castellano, passing also for 
24 maravedis, is thus identified with the gold marabotin ; and, as the 
marabotin passed for 15 pepions, according to a charter of Alfonso the 
Wise, dated in 1258, and the same amount is given in the Lihei' Censuum 
as the value of tivo alfonsins, the latter coin may be identified with the 
original castellano. The Castellano, once a coin, now a weight, seems to 
have acquired its name from bearing the impress of a castle, the arms of 
Castillo, — " tengan un Castillo encima, y una C al pie," says the Recopi- 
lation of Philip ii., — ^just as the gold coin of Philip de Yalois was called 
" denier d'or a I'Escu," from the shield with the arms of France, borne 
in token of Philip's claim to the throne. The earlier name of Alfon.sin, 
given to the Spanish coin, may be traced to the numerous kings of the 
name of Alfonso who ruled over Castillo, and issued the gold piece on the 
type of a Morabetin obolus.^ 

The Double Maroqnita and the Vetus Sciliata, names evidently derived 
from Saracen coins with the mint- marks of Marakash and SikiHah, 
passed respectively for 25 and 22 maravedis ; the Massamutin, of which 
100 went to the marc of Montpellier, according to the Liber Censuum, is 
reckoned at two-thirds of a florin, — about 36 gr. tr., — and may be set 
down as an obolus aureus of the dynasty met with under the name of 
Massemudini in some of the old chronicles. It seems to be still traceable 
under the name of the Mahmudi in some of the Eastern systems of coin- 
age. The Malachin, valued at 8 grossi, a little less than the massamutin, 
a little more than half a bezant, was also apparently an obolus of one of 

' Muratori, Ant. It. vol. v. (Lib. Cen. Bom. Ecc), p. 898 ; DucariEje in voc. Pepio. When 
the vahie of the escudo de oro was fixed in 1566 at 400 maravedis, raising the dncado of " the 
Catholic kings" to 429 mvds., the dobla castellano passed for 365 mvds. The ducado of 
Ferdinand and Isabella 65^ to the marc of Castille, and 23.75 carats fine, giving about 53"8 
gr. tr. of fine gold, may be identified with the standard florin, or ducat, which would make the 
dobla castellano, as in the time of Cabraspino, a coin of a smaller type. Covarruvia, identify- 
ing the maravedi de oro of Alfonso the Wise with the bezant, gives to both coins a conjectural 
value of 480 mvds., 485 according to other authorities, who also identify the coin of Alfonso 
with the dobla castellano of the 14th century, giving a similar value to the latter, with the 
weight of a castellano of the present Castillian gold marc, or 71 gr. tr. The table of values left 
by the Papal Nuncio overturns all these conjectural theories, which are grounded upon the 
error of identif\'ing the comparatively modern tvei(/ht with the ancient coin, ignoring the exist- 
ence of an earlier Moorish standard. {Die. del Leng. Cast, in voc. Ducado, Castellano.) In 
the Liber Censuum a payment from the " Ecclesia St. Cerni" is entered at p. 889, as " x. sol. 
pip. vel. 2 Anfusini ;" and at p. 898, as " xv. sol. pip. vel. 2 Alfonsini." One of these entries, 
apparently the first, must be the error of a copyist, through which the Anfusinus has been 
sometimes supposed to have been a difTerent coin from the Alfonsinus. 


the numerous dinars. It was also worth 12 pepions, which would iden- 
tify the weight of the two coins, at the existing proportion of 12 to 1, 
giving to the pepion in the 14tli century a value of about two-thirds of 
a grosso, or 8 den. tournois. The Pepion (pigeon), once a coin of fine 
gold, is said by the Spanish authorities of the 16th century to have been 
replaced in the currency by the Burgales, a coin of inferior quality ; but 
the " old burgales" was " bona moneta" in 1290, for " 26,000 marabotini 
de bona moneta, vid. veterura Burgalensium" were at that time worth 
7160 livres tournois, giving the burgales a value of about 6 sol. tournois, 
or 7 sol. 6 den. in the time of Cabraspino, a little less than the malaquin 
or pepion in gold.-^ Both pepion and burgales, like the alfonsin, were 
evidently oboli aurei, all the earlier coins that issued from the mints of 
the Christian princes of Spain being apparently of this smaller type. 
Highest upon the list of Cali)raspino stands the " Dnpla, magna, lata 
Saracenorum," valued at 30 Duplae, or double maravedis, and evidently a 
double dinar, approaching very closely to the standard of the English 
gold-noble of the same period."'^ 

The silver marabotin or Maravedi was supposed to be worth 10 
dineros, and was evidently a maille d'argenf, representing in silver the 
obolus aureus of 10 dirhems, just as the Dupla was the silver representa- 

^ Le Blanc, p. 168. The pepion could have hardly been a gold coin when the Liher Cen- 
suum was compiled at the close of the 12th century, a,\\i\ fifteen passed for tivo Alfonsins. 

* This large Saracen coin, containing about 125 gr. tr. of fine gold, was probably a double 
dinar of Egypt. Pegolotti gives to the " bezant of Egypt" a value of a sixth more than the 

(54X7 \ 
— ^— or) 63 gr. tr. of fine gold. He also estimates the weight of the 

Florentine oz. of 8 florins at 6 bezants of 24 carats and 16'75 carats, evidently a very exact 

calculation. The Florentine lb. of 96 florins, lighter by 4 florins than the Tower standard of 

100, or in the proportion of 24 to 25, was thus the Tournois pound-weight of 51 84 gr. tr., giving 

/432X-4 \ 
to the bezant here alluded to a weight of ( i^o.-f. o"") 64*5 gr. tr., with a carat of 2"6875 gr. 

tr. As a bezant, according to Frescobaldi, was worth, about the year 1384, a fourth more than 
the Venetian sequin, or about 67 '5 gr. tr. of fine gold, if his estimate is correct, and it tallies 
exactly with the calculations of Cabraspino, the Byzantine hyperpyrus must have remained at 
the full standard when Pegolotti was writing in the middle of the century, and the bezant of 
his calculation must have been the dinar of Egypt, a florin and a sixth probably representing 
its ordinary value in Europe {Cathay, vol. ii. note A). The dinar of the early khaliis seems to 
have been generally a little lighter than the Byzantine solidus, for three hahhas, according to 
Al-Makrizi (quoted by Marsden) were deducted from the original standard at a very early 
period, and Maimonides, writing in the 12th century, gives 61 habbas to the dirhem of Egypt. 
The present standard of the dirhem, as a weight, throughout Turkey, Syria, Egypt, and Bar- 
bary, and the Mocha coffola in Arabia, is invariably 16 killos, or carats, and 64 grains, giving 
24 carats and 96 grains to the mithcal, which thus represents theoretically the old standard of 
the solidus of Constantinople. Assuming the habba to have represented the f/rain, or unit of 
weight, rather than an actual barley-corn, and that the dirhem of Egypt in tlie 1211) century 
weighed f^ grains of the Byzantine standard, 15"25 Byzantine keratia would give a dirhem of 
43 gr. tr., with a carat of 2*6875 gr. tr., and a dinar of 64"5 gr. tr. In this case tlie standard 
of Egypt in the 12th century corresponds with the calculations of Pegolotti in the fourteenth. 
The reduction in the standard of the khalifs may be traced, probably, to the custom, from time 
immemorial in the East, of calculating by the " hundred coins," or mina; for 96 solidi, or an 
equivalent weight of gold — two marcs, or a pound of 16 oz. — divided in this manner, would 

give ( ' =) 100 dinars of 64'S gr. tr., or 50 to the marc. 


tive of the aureus marabotinus, or dinar of 20 dirliems. According to 
Frescobaldi, the diremo was woi'th a Venetian grosso, of which 24 
passed for a sequin ; and as the Ducato di Zeccha and the bezant were 
in the proportion oifour andj'ive, according to the same authority writ- 
ing about 1384, thus identifying the standards of the sequin and florin of 
his days, the Venetian grosso was evidently a maille or obolus, and both 
dirhem and maravedi had shrunk in the fourteenth century into this 
smaller type, corresponding with an old sterling penny.^ The maravedi 
de oro is said to have passed in the reign of Alfonso the Wise for sz'j; 
old raaravedis, and as in the time of Cabraspino the dobla castellano 
was worth 12 dupte, the castellano or alfonsin would have passed for 
six, and the duplas may thus be identified with the maravedi viejo, the 
argenteus marabotinus, or type of the silver dirhem of the old Mora- 
betin standard, in the thirteenth century. The actual coin in circula- 
tion in 1356 was the Coronatus, or Cornado^ first coined, on account of 
the depreciation of the dinero, by Alfonso xi. in 1331, each cornado con- 
taining 5 oboli, or malles, and 6 cornados passing for a maravedi. 
Three cornados subsequently went to the Uanco, which was thus origin- 
ally an obolus of the maravedi, probably deriving both name and origin 
from the era in which the latter coin became the maravedi prieto — 
black money. The bianco was next coined at 3 to the maravedi, and 
before the close of the century had shrank into a cornado. When the 
Keal, which was not in existence in the time of Cabraspino, was first 
coined, it was the ochave, or eighth of an oz., thus corresponding with 
the gold florin and the silver grosso, or Koman giidio, and marking, 
as it were, the ahaudonraent of the old Moorish standard for another sys- 
tem of coinage, into which the maravedi was fitted as the third of a real 
— a scruple. It was probably about this time that the Castilian marc 
was adapted to the marc de la Rochelle, or French sterling-weight, 
which from this time forward became the monetary standard of the 
Spanish mint. 


Early English Currency and Standards. 

The influence of the mint of Quentavic seems traceable in the old 
Kentish currency. It may be gathered from a comparison between the 

' Cathaji, vol. ii., note A. The standard of the coined dirhem probably varied and fluctu- 
ated in different quarters, and at different periods, like that of the dinar. For instance, 25 
dirhems of Egypt passed for a dinar in the time of Ibn Batuta, whose contemporary, Pegulotti, 
gives the value of the gold coin at from 23 to 25 dirhems. But in the following century 30 
dirhems, according to Uzzano, passed for a dinar, the value of the gold coin varying from a 
florin to an eiyldli, and even a third more, whilst in weight it was only 125 carats heavier. 
When a Florentine oz. of gold contained about 7-5 dinars instead of G"G7, and j)assed for about 
225 dirhems instead of for about IGG, both dinar and dirhem must have diminished in size and 


Kentish laws and the later codes, that 50 Kentish scillin^s, the Driliien- 
beah, or kin^'s-wite, and the Mund-hyrd of the archhishop in Kent, 
were reckoned in Alfred's reign at 3 lbs. of mcerra, or unalloyed, pence — 
the regius bannus amongst the Franks — or half as much again as the 
mund-byrd of an eaklerman or a bishop ; and the eame fine may be also 
traced in the 150 Wessex scillings of fivepence, paid for drawing a 
weapon in the presence of the archbishop, half as much again as the fine 
of 100 scillings paid to a bishop for a similar offence. The Kentish 
scilling was, therefore, a solidus weighing 20 Merovingian, or 15 Caroline 
pence, an " ore of twenty" containing five thrymsas or silfurs instead of 
six, or a " solidus of forty deniers," when the " Stuhi halb Scriptolus " of 
the old Glossary was reckoned as the nummus or sceat ; and it may be 
supposed to have been identical with the Loth or Semuncia of the pound 
that seems to have been perpetuated in Bavaria under the name of the 
Regensburg pound, or Pfennig-pfund, divided as a marc into 8 oz., or 
schilhngs of 30 pence, each answering to the Mancus of 40 deniers ; the 
Semisolidus of 15, and the Saiga of 5 pence, corresponding exactly with 
the respective scillings of Kent and Wessex. In the ore of 20 pence, 
as well as in the larger acre, the early influence of Kent over the whole 
of the south-country is distinctly traceable, and in the Laws of Alfred 
the fines and valuations are reckoned by the scilling of 5 pence, repre- 
senting the quarter of an oz. of twenty, and corresponding with the 
Bavarian saiga and the solidus of 5 oboli — or pfennige — in use amongst 
the Frisons bordering upon the Franks, of which it was the double ; for 
the substitution of the Caroline penny for the Merovingian denier must 
have raised the scilling of 20 sceats to the standard oz. of the Tower 

Northward of the Thames a different standard is traceable in the 
pound of 16 sol., corresponding with the Vienna marc divided into 12 
" ores of sixteen," each subdivided into 4 scillings, and containing ori- 
ginally 24 light pence. Hence the north-country standard was a f/th 
lighter than that of the south, and all fines and valuations were less in a 
similar proportion from being reckoned by the ore of sixteen, and the 
scilling of fourpence — known at the date of the Norman conquest as the 
" Sol Engleis que est apele quaer denier " — instead of by the ore of 
twenty, and the scilling of fivepence. The wergild of the thegn, for 
example, was reckoned at 1200 scillings, or 25 lbs., which, calculated by 
the north-country lb. of 16 sol., were only equal to 20 lbs. of the south- 
country standard ; whilst the mulct of a tenth of the wergild, or six 

' Leg. JSthelb. 8; Wild. 2; Alf. 3, 15; Ethelred. vii. 6, 8, 11, 12; Cnut. Ecc. ?,. A 
certain affinity seems to be traceable between the Kentish men, Central Frisons, and West- 
phalians. By the custom of Engern and Ostphalia, for instance, the widow retained her dowry 
without any claim upon the personality of her husband ; whilst amongst the Westphalians the 
dowry went at once to the sons, and half the personality was made over to the widow. " If 
she bear a live child, and the husband dies first, let her have half the sceat — or personality " — 
gay the Kentisli codes ; for the feoh went to the child, to be held in ward by the father's kin 
until be camo of age. Leg. Sax, tit. viii. ix ; Lrr/. yEthel. 78 ; //. and E., 6. 


score scillings, so often met with In the old codes, and amounting to 
50 sol. in the south, fell to 40 sol. amongst the Angles beyond the 
Thames, and is perpetuated in our familiar fine of " forty shillings," re- 
presenting the ordinary Mng's luite amongst the Angles, the highest 
penalty that could be levied in any of the lesser courts. From the 
original practice, however, of giving 24 light pence to the ore of 
sixteen, each penny was necessarily a third lighter than a penny of ordi- 
nary weight, which, in the case of the denier of 24 grains, and the 
pfennig of 16, was easily carried out. Not so, however, with the Caro- 
line penny of 32 grains, for, as the wheat-corn is indivisible, the light 

/32x2 \ 

penny only weighed 1-^^^^ — =21 J I 21 grains, and the ore of sixteen, 

weighing in current pence only (24x21 = ) 504 grains, fell 8 grains 
short of the correct standard of 512. Hence the marc and pound of 
current pence weighed respectively tioo and three dwts. less than the 
standard of weight, or 10 sol. 6 den. and 15 sol. 9 den., instead of 10 
sol. 8 den. and 16 sol. The ore of current pence penetrated into Ireland, 
where it may be recognised in the uinge of 504 wheat-corns ; and it is 
easily traceable in the Galanas, or wergild, paid amongst the Welch, 
with whom the Boneddig, for example, was valued at 63 cows, each 
reckoned at 60 pence, giving a wergild of 15 lbs. 15 sol., or 20 lbs. of 
16 sols., each weighing in current pence only 15 sol. 9 den. With the 
almost universal prevalence of the Caroline penny, the lighter pence 
must have disappeared from circulation, but they left their mark for a 
time upon every mint in Western Europe. Tico pence continued to be 
added to the marc, three to the lb. of current pence, long after the 
original reason for doing so had ceased to exist, and by the regulations 
of Edward i., when the lb. of 16 sol. had ceased to be acknowledged as 
a moneyer's standard in England for at least three centuries, the lb. 
of account of Easterling money was still bound to iceigh 20 sol. 3 dwt., 
the difference between the sterling weight of France and Spain, and that 
of Germany and England, evidently arising out of the omission or reten- 
tion of these pence. The Marc de la Kochelle, for instance, the standard 
of sterling w^eight in the old French mint, weighed tivo dwts. less than 
the Tower marc, whilst the marc of Augsburg weighed tiuo dwts. more, 
and the standard of the Copenhagen mint is three pence over a lb. of 
16 Tower oz. In all these cases the additional pence belonging to the 
pound of account have been either added to, or subtracted from, the 
standard of weight, retained in its original accuracy at London and 
Cologne ; and the custom of so many mints seems to point to a period in 
which the lighter ore was widely prevalent.^ 

^ Scotland under her Early Kings, Ap. E. Welch Gicerth ; Stat. 31, Ed. I. Kelly is my 
authority for standards of weight. The lighter marc of 10 sol. 8 den. weighed 2880 gr. tr., 
and the addition of 2 oz., or 720 gr. tr. raised it to the Tower standard of 3600 gr. Ir. The 
marc of current pence weighed (2880 — 45 =) 2835 gr. tr., and the additional two oz. would 
have raised it to 3555 gr. tr., the standard of the marc de la Rochelle. Such, I imagine, was 
the origin of the difference between the two standards. A lb. of pence, weighed by the latter, 


Of the three types of the early English coinage which are recognised 
by numismatists under the names of Sceatta., Sfyca, and Penny, the 
sceatta may be supposed to represent the earliest coinage in pure, the 
styca in base metal. The average weight of about seventy sceattas is 
given at " about 17 grains (Troy), some weighing as much as 20 grains, 
others not more than 12 or 13," or in the proportion of 2 to 3, of the 
pfennig to the denier, of the light to the ordinary penny. From a coin 
of the Northumbrian ^thelred, who died in 848, a sceatta in fine silver, 
but " in all other respects like his usual stycas," it may be inferred that 
the pure and alloyed coins, differing only in value, were identical in type 
and weight, resembling in this respect the log-pening and pening-vegin 
of Norway. In an age in which all money was more or less measured 
by weight, when an ore of pure silver passed for four or eight ores of 
adulterated metal, such a course was necessary to avoid confusion. The 
sceatta and the styca then may be supposed to represent respectively the 
pure and adulterated coinage struck upon the type of the denarii of the 
Merovingian period, but upon the accession of the Austrasian House, or 
soon afterwards, the mint at Quentavic ceased to issue coins of this 
description, and accordingly no trace of either sceatta or styca will be 
found in Southumbrian England after the middle of the eighth century. 
They continued to be coined beyond the Humber for another century, 
until the invasion of the Danes, and the Northumbrian kings may have 
retained the distinctive type of their coinage as a sort of protest against 
the ascendancy of the South. ^ 

Offa, or perhaps ^thelbald, seems to have been the earliest sovereign 

to introduce the penny of the Austrasian type into England. According 

to the authority already quoted, an average of forty of Ofifa's coins, which 

/4320 \ 
were weighed, amounted to 18 gr. tr., which would give (-^ro-= ) 240 

to the lb. ; and, as the coins of his contemporary, Jaenbert, Archbisho]) 
of Canterbury, are of the same weight, it may be supposed that the 
Mercian king, following the example of the great Kaisar, adopted a 
current pound of 240 pence. If the " Mercian wergilds" may be trusted, 

would have only been equal to 237 esterlins of the correct type, or s!x pence short of the pound 
of account ; and the custom of adding six pence to every lb. in payments made ad scalam in 
the twelfth century may, perhaps, be traced to this cause— that is to say, a lb. of Esterling 
pence, at the Rochelle standard, represented a lb. of current pence upon the old princijjle, 
3 dwts. short of the full weight ; whilst a lb. of Esterling pence at the standard of London and 
Cologne represented full weight, and 243 esterlings represented the lb. of account, full weight. 
Thus it would be necessary to add six dwts. to the lb. of current pence, to raise it to the full 
lb. of account. 

1 Hawkins' Silver Coinage, pp. 18, 42. — The weight of yl^thelred's coin is 18 gr. tr., or 

( — - =) 240 to the light lb., so that the Northumbrians would appear to have adapted the 

subdivisions of the Caroline lb. to their own lighter standard. A solitary sceatta of the East 
Anglian Beonna, a contemporary of Offa, weighing 15'5 gr. tr., jjoirits to the existence in 
that quarter of a coinage of the lighter type, before the introduction of the penny into that 
part of England — the result of Mercian ascendancy. 


30,000 sceattas were equal to 120 lbs. of 20 sol., or 150 lbs. of 16 sol., 
which would give 200 pence to the latter ; and the heavier coins of Offa's 
successors, generally reaching 21 gr. tr., seems to point to the existence 
of such a practice. Under Egbert and his son, the weight of the 
Saxon penny rose to the Caroline standard, their coins averaging 22 
gr. tr., and from this time forward the variations in the weight of the 
current pence may generally be attributed to the circumstances of the 
kingdom, though they often seem to correspond with fluctuations in the 
standard of the currency upon the opposite side of the Channel. In the 
troubled times of Egbert's grandsons, the penny deteriorated in purity 
and shrunk in weight, the heavier coins of Alfred's later years telling of 
a return to a more prosperous era, whilst the moerra prcninga, insisted 
upon in his laws, seem to point to a previous era of debasement ; and it 
may have been in consequence of this deterioration, that, in his agree- 
ment with Guthrum, Dane and Twelfhyndman are reckoned " in gold," 
— a sure sign of a debased currency. As most of the pence of Charles 
the Bald reach to nearly 32 gr. Paris, or about 26 gr. tr., the influence 
of the imperial mint seems traceable in Alfred's heavier pence.^ 

In the mulct and in the mint, the progress of the royal authority is 
traceable over England. The tine of a Hundred in the Danelage, of six 
score ores of sixteen pence, or 8 lbs., is divided in the so-called Laws of 
the Confessor into the king's share of 5 lbs., and the ealderman's or 
sheriS"s share of 2 lbs. 10 sol, the West Saxon hing's-hot of Alfred's 
Laws, and the ordinary West Saxon king's-ivite of 120 scillings, telling 
of the authority of Alfred's race over the North country; whilst the share 
of the Decanus, or head of the Tenmantale, assessed at 10 sol. or 30 
Anglian scillings, the lesser tuite, or ordinary fine of the Hundred-court, 
points out the fact that, though the " relationship to the king " alluded 
to in Canute's laws, affected all who were connected with the royal court 
as king's-thegns — whose tenure was by reich-dienst — the community 
remained uninfluenced by the change, and the lesser courts continued 
to be regulated by earlier custom. So in the " commoda ad valentiam 
quinqne solidorum ad minus," and the " pa3na sexaginta soliclorum" of 
Glanville, may be traced the half-mansus of the Jus Benificii and the 
king's-wite at the Frank standard of 60 sol., which is first seen in the 
king's-hot of 6 lbs. in the Conqueror's Laws ; whilst in the court of the 
Count 40 sol., and in the court of the Hundred, and of " tons icous ki 
curt unt en Engleterre, xxx solz en solz Engleis," continued to be paid 
according to earlier custom. Uniformity in the coinage was first insisted 
upon in the laws of Athelstan, in whose reign the pence of a south 
country king appear for the first time with the mint-mark of York. 
Both the Kentish prelates, and the Abbot of St. Augustine's, possessed 
at this time the right of coinage, but in no other quarter of Southern 

^ Hawkins, p. 24, 50 ; Le Blanc, p. 124. The lighter standard was evidently retained 
throughout the North country until the extinction of the Anglian kingdoms, in conicquence of 
the invasion of the Danes. 


England was a subject alloived to exercise a privilege which the West 
ISaxon line of kings seem to have long retainea as peculiarly a royal 
prerogative. " Let no man have a moneyer except the king," are tbe 
words of Ethelred's agreement with the Anglo-Danes of the Five Burghs 
ofMercia; and though Chichester possessed three "cunei"inthe reign 
of John, two belonging to the king, one to the bishop, only two moneyers 
were apportioned to the same city by the regulations of Athelstan, both 
belonging to the king. The privilege, however, of a bishop's moneyer, 
which is assigned in the Domesday Survey to Hereford and Norwich, as 
well as the coins struck by the Archbishops of York, seem to point to a 
right of coinage belonging to certain leading ecclesiastics in the king- 
doms of Mercia, East Anglia, and Northumbria, as well as in Kent.^ 

The coins of Canute, though of pure metal, are often light, some 
weighing but little over 12 gr. tr. ; but as the Scandinavian pening of 
30 to the ore would have only reached about 135 gr. tr., these coins may 
represent the pening-vegin of the north rather than the old English 
penny of the lighter type, especially as they do not seem to have been 
issued by Canute's sons, whose rule was confined to England. By this 
time the House of Capet reigned over the Western Franks, and their 
deniers, averaging at first from 23 to 24 gr. Paris, or between 188 and 
19"6 gr. tr., were fast shrinking into the old Merovingian type. The 
coins of the Confessor vary very much in weight, but the value of the 
I)Ound by tale, towards the close of his reign, may be estimated from an 
entry in Domesday, in which the King's manor of Bosham is rated at 
" 40 lbs., and it is worth the same amount now, but it pays 50 lbs. by 
weight and assay, which are wortli 65 lbs.," thus giving the value of 

f FTj — I 312 current pence to the lb. by weight and assay, or at 

the rate of 218*4 to the Paris marc de Troyes, corresponding with the 
standard of Philip i. The mints upon the opposite side of the Channel 
seem to have still exercised an influence upon the English coinage. 
Numbers of the Confessor's coins of his earlier types have been found in 
the Scandinavian kingdoms, few, if any, of the later, which may be 
ascribed to the abolition of the Danegeld in 1052, when the Litsmcn 
were disbanded — the foreign force that guarded the realm of England for 
the Danish kings— who were evidently accustomed to carry off their pay 
to the north. The marc supplanted the pound as the standard of weight 
in France during the reign of Philip i., and the currency began to be 
depreciated, an example not followed in England, for any length of time, 
before the introduction of a gold coinage in the reign of Edward iii. It 
would appear as if, from the era of this depreciation in the French cur- 
rency, the English coinage ceased to be influenced by the French minis. 

1 Leg. Conf. xxvii. ; Lp.cj. Will. xlii. xlvii. ; Leg. Alh. 84; Etkclrcd, iii. 8; Ellis, 
Introd. i. p. 176; Glaus. VI., John, m. 1. So anionj^st the Old Saxons, tliu iiilioduction 
of the imperial authority raised the Jlochste-gewettc to tlio Frank standard ol' GO bol., whilst for 
all causes tried by the courts of the duchy {infra patriam), the highest gewctte remained at 
43 sol., or four times the amount of the ordinary fine of 12 sol., as amongst the ibLmd Saxous. 



The coins of the Norman kings, though of pure silver, are of light weight. 
Stephen's reign was an era of confusion, and when Henry ii. issued his 
Nova Moneta towards the clo^e of his reign, 215 of his new pence were 
worth the old pound by tale. From this time forward the weight and 
currency of England were both founded upon the ]ienny of 32 wheat- 
corns, which acquired the name of Esterling, or German penny, from 
representing the penny of the Pondus Caroli Magni, the monetary 
standard of the Empire.^ 

The standard of London was confirmed rather than established by the 
regulations in the Institutes of Ethelred, enacting that " every pound 
shall be marked to the weight of the pound by which our pecunia is 
taken, so ihoX fifteen ores go to the pound."'^ London weight was again 
confirmed by Magna Charta, and it may be seen from the Statutes of 
Henry iii. and Edward i. that it was based upon the Sterling penny of 
32 wheat-corns, 12 dwts. going to the shilling, 20 dwts. to the oz. ; " and 
every thousand contains x. c, and every hundred vi. xx.," continues the 
Statute of Edward, in reference to certain articles of commerce, so that 
the hundred was still sometimes reckoned at six score, whilst the gross of 
twelve dozen retains the recollection of the great hundred. The pound 
of pence contained 20 sol., but for ordinary commercial purposes it was 
raised to 25, and divided either into 12 oz. of 25 pence, or 15 oz. of 20 ; 
and this heavier pound, to which Fleta gives the name of Libra Blerca- 
toria, was in ordinary use in 1419, when the Liber Alhus was compiled ; 
for no " avoir du poys" was to be sold " sinoun par Balaunce de I'Estand- 
arde," which, by the custom of London, was " the lb. of 15 oz." The 
Merchant's pound appears in the Scottish Statutes of the Guild under the 
name of " King David's pound," and may have been introduced by the 
king as the standard of southern Scotland, destined to supersede " Caith- 
ness weight," probably the Yeitzslo lb., or silver-weight, of the Northmen, 
which was apparently the standard of the north. After the middle of the 
fourteenth century, the pounil sterling ceased to be the standard of weight. 
From 1351 to 1411 it only contained 16 sol. of fine silver, shrinking 
between the latter date and 1464 to 8 oz., or a marc, and then still further 
to 10 sol. 8 den. (the old light marc of 8 oz. of sixteen pence), or little 
more than 6 oz. In a Statute of Henry vii., at the close of the fifteenth 
century, it was enacted that the bushel was to weigh 8 gallons of wheat, 
the gallon 8 lbs. Troy, each pound containing 12 oz. of Troy weight, each 
ounce 20 sterlings, each sterling 32 wheat-corns, " according to the old 
laws of the land ;" an Irish Act, dated in 1483, also alluding to " the 
pound of Troy-weight of London, to be used in this land." Thus, as the 
sterling pound shrunk into a money of account, the standard of weight 
kept at the Tower seems to have gradually acquired the name of " Troy- 

1 Le Blmic, p. 146-150; Ellis, Introd. j. p. 164. The " pund be getale" is distinguished 
from the " puud be gewihte " in some Anglo-Saxon wills as early as the reign of Ethelred. 
Thorpe, Diplom., p. 558, 572, 577. 

2 Ethelred, vi. y. 


weight of London," or " London Troys," to distinguish it from the current 
pound ; probably because the standard of weight in France, the Paris 
Poid de Marc, was known as " the Pound Troy of Paris," or " Paris Troys," 
to distinguish it from the Livre Parisis and the Livre Tournois. London 
weight, or the Troy pound, was raised by Henry viii. to its present 
standard in 1526, and thus the true Sterling standard, or Tower pound, 
latterly known as London Troys, became a thing of the past, just about 
the time when Charles v. confirmed its equivalent at Cologne, as the 
monetary standard of Germany.^ 

By introducing " French Troys" into Scotland, James vi. assimilated 
the Scottish stanclard to the English ; for the old " Commercial pound " 
of 7600 gr. tr. — Dutch Troys rather than French — was long in use upon 
either side of the Tweed ; and after the earlier standard of the mint was 
replaced by the modern Troy pound, the commercial standard of France 
and Holland seems to have been substituted for the old weight used for 
lighter goods, or Avoirs du Pois, the "merchant's pound" of 15 oz., 
whilst the "Winchester bushel" supplanted the Loudon measure. 
Beckoning the imperial bushel at 80 lbs. liquid measure, or 60 lbs. of 
wheat, the imperial gallon contains 7 lbs. 8 oz. of wheat, or 8 lbs. of 
15 oz. ; and, by a similar calculation, the Winchester bushel gives a 
pound of 6742 gr. tr. ; the bushel of Elizabeth a pound of 6726 gr. tr. 
Hence it is evident that, by the substitution of the Winchester for the 
London standard, the pound of 15 oz. of 20 dwts., or the old weight for 
Avoirs du Pois (= 6750 gr. tr.), was established as the basis of reckoning 
in the place of London Troys, or the Tower pound of 12 oz, of 20 dwts. 
(= 5400 gr. tr.) — in other words, the South-country pound of 15 "ores 
of twenty" supplanted the Anglian pound of 15 " ores of sixteen," — a 
fact which must be always borne in mind in calculating the lighter 
weights and measures which were in existence before the sixteenth 
century. The Avoirdupois pound was raised from 15 to 16 oz. at some 
uncertain period, probably during the reign of Elizabeth, when it was 
first established as an authorized standard weight, though the ounce is 
12'5 gr. tr. short of the original weight of the old London standard.- 


Old Scottish weight, like old Scottish burgh law, retains the impress of a Northum- 
brian origin. The old Newcastle Kcd of coals contained 8 chaldrons by Newcastle, 
about 15^ by London weight, the north-country standard being evidently, in theory, 
double the weight of that of London. The Scottish Firlot, or quarter-boll, answered 
to the English bushel, and, as the Scottish chalder contained 64 firlots, whilst the 

1 Stat. 51 Jlen. III., 31 Ed. I., 12 Ilcn. VII. ; Lib. Alb. i. p. 588 ; Act. Pari Scot. i. p. 5, 
309. Compare Ruding aiul Hawkins. 

2 This is further shown from the fact that a cwt. of 112 lbs. avilp. = 144 lbs. Tower, or a 
great bundred— a gross of lbs.— by the old London standard. The standard of weight in the 


English chaldron contains 32 bushels, the Scottish measure evidently represents the old 
Northumbrian standard. Northward of the Forth the boll was considerably heavier 
than the standard of southern Scotland, owinif, perhaps, to the influence of Caithness 
weight, which was probably akin to the Scandinavian silver weight, or Veitszlo pound 
of If) nz. As the earliest known pound-weight in Scotland seems to have been the 
Caithness standard, the Scots, like the Irish and Norsemen of early days, may have 
ignored the pound-weight, and used some equivalent of the Irish tinde, or the " hundred 
ores " — the cwt. of ounces — before they adopted the standard with which the Norsemen 
replaced their original lighter weight. Tron weight simply represented the public 
standard for weighing heavier goods. It may be gathered from the Liber Albus that all 
goods weighing less than two London stones, or 25 lbs., paid fcsagc, and were weighed 
by the pound for avoirs du j^ois. Beyond that weight they paid tronage, and were 
weighed by the king's Tron, which was brought to the seller's door, under the charge 
of the Pondcrarius, or Poyndcr, at the cost of the purchaser. From the reign of 
Ethelred, perhaps earlier, Trons were marked to the king's weight, and seem to have 
been supplied to the English burghs when required ; but the innumerable variations 
in the Tron weight of Scotland point to the want of a commercial capital to supply a 
common standard, each burgh apparently adopting its own. 


Most of the names which were in use amongst our ancestors for measures of a 
certain fixed capacity, the Amber or amphora, the Sester or sextarius, the Mitta — Muid, 
Mud, or Modius — the Mina and the Statera, tell of a Roman origin ; whilst a certain 
vagueness seems to have attached originally to the Scam, the Keel, the Wey, the 
Fother, the Eskippa, and other names which appear to have been derived from a 
Teutonic source. The Amber, which survives apparently in the German Ohm, the 
Scandinavian Alim, was a measure of 4 bushels in the thirteenth century, by the London 
standard, -whilst from a passage in a Kentish will of the ninth century — " xxx. ambers 
of good Welsh ale, which are equal to xv. mittas " ^ — the Mitta contained two Ambers, 

hands of the seller has a natural tendency to diminish, and as 112 lbs., merchant's weight, are 
only equal to 140 lbs. Tower, by reckoning them as a great hundred of 144 lbs,, the oz. shrunk 
from 450 gr. tr. to 437'5 gr. tr. (450 : 437'5 : : 144 : 140). When avoirdupois from a customary 
became a statutory standard, sixteen of these lighter ounces seem to have been given to the 
standard of ordinary weight, thus raising the cwt. to its original amount, answering to 144 lbs. 
Tower, or tiie old Sterling and London Troy standard. 

^ Thorpe, Diplom. p. 460. This represents the allowance given to the monks of Canterbury 
on the anniversary of the death of the original donor, a mitta of honey and two of wine being 
also provided for the same occasion. An ox, 4 sheep, 2 flitches, 5 geese, 10 fowls, and 10 lbs. 
of cheese, or, if the anniversary fell on a fast-day, a wey of cheese and "fish, butter, and eggs, 
what can be got," represent the solid portion of the entertainment. Unless the measures were 
smaller than in the thirteenth century, the proportion of liquid seems considerable, whether the 
mitta is reckoned at 64 gallons or 80; giving at the lower standard 600 imperial gallons of ale, 
750 at the higher, with a chance of 80 or 100 gallons of wine in addition. A monk's ordinary 
daily allowance at Abingdon was a gallon of ale, or 5 imperial pints, and the same allowance 
was given to many of the fishermen and other servants of the See of Eochester, some getting 
more, others less. A wider margin, however, must be given for festivals, to judge from the rule 
laid down in Theodore's Penitential, that if a priest or monk got exceedingly drunk " pro gaudio 
in Natale Domini, aut iu Pascha, aut pro alicujus Sanctorum commemoratione, et tunc plus non 
accepitquam decretum est a senioribus, non nocet," "or if the hishop ordered it,'' the rule goes 
on to say, " non nocet, unless the bishop gets drunk as well." A bishop with a seasoned head 
must have been popular in his diocese ('fheod. Pcen. xxvi. 9). The Custumal also alludes to 
" a monk's loaf," and a "man-at-arms' loaf" — panis monnchi and panis armigeri — though it 
does not say which was the largest. 


jinswering by the London standard to a quarter, or the fourth of a chaldron. Kelham, 
however, gives 10 bushels to the Mitta, which, if he is correct, would answer to the 
south-country standard, which seems still traceable in the Wey of five quarters, 10 
combs and 40 bushels, London or the old standard measure being represented by the 
chaldron of four quarters, 8 combs and 32 bushels. In Kent, according to the 
Rochester Custumal, 5 Eskippas went to the mina, 2 to the quarter, and 8 to the 
seam, 3 Seams making a comb ; but there is no clue to the size of the Eskippa, though 
the name seems akin to the French chopine, or 8cho2)pen. 'In liquid measure, 2 Pots 
made a gallon, 2 Gallons a boll in the same quarter. The Sester of London was a 
measure of four gallons, according to Fleta, and 52 sesters of pure wine went to the 
cask. The Fother was a cart-load, the Seam was apparently the load of a pack-horse, 
and, according to the Statute of Edward i., a sack of wool and a seam of wheat ought 
both to weigh 28 stones, or about 3 lbs. over 19 stone by the present standard. When 
the gallon of wine weighed 8 lbs., and the pint was a lb. of the Tower standard, measures 
were much smaller and lighter than at the present time. The pint, for instance, in 
liquid measure answered to about 12'3 oz. avdp. instead of 20 oz., and the gallon would 
have held about 98 oz. 8 dr., instead of IGO oz., or a little under 5 imperial pints, at 
which it may be reckoned for all practical purposes ; whilst the London bushel of G4 lbs. 

Tower-weight, contained t — ^ = 49-5 or) as nearly as possible 50 lb. avdp. of 

wheat, or five-sixths of the present standard. Customary weight and measure often differed 
from the King's standard, and were generally below it. The Sester " majoris mensuriX'" 
is occasionally distinguished in Domesday from the Sester " of the burgh," and the 
Guildhall foot was shorter than the standard of the King's yard. The privilege of using 
a customary or private standard seems to have been occasionally an object of desire, 
for the Bishop of Worcester is represented as purchasing Ceolmund's haya in London, 
with the liberty of having "medium et pondera et mensuram, sicut in portu meo est," 
for 60 scilUngs, or a pound, the price paid originally by Ceolmund, with a yearly rent 
of 12 pence to the King. The charter is marked by Kemble as of doubtful authenticity, 
which only tells stUl more strongly for the supposed advantages of the privilege.^ 

The existence of another system seems also traceable in the Church-mitta mentioned 
in one of the charters of Edward the Elder. When Gregory the Great limited the size 
of the modius in use upon the Church-lands to 18 sextarii, he probably inaugurated the 
system of measurement which seems to have become the ecclesiastical standard, par- 
ticularly in those countries in which ecclesiastics and their dependants so long continued 
to live by Roman law, and the great body of the laity by Teutonic custom. The size 
of the authorized Ancing is carefully laid down in the Capitularies, 40 perches by 4, 
measured by a pole of 10 feet, evidently the Roman dcecmpcda ; the same measurement 
appearing in the Bavarian laws as the standard of the Church-lands in that quarter, 
and indeed as a general standard, for the Bavarian ruthe, or measuring-pole, was 10 feet 
in length. The Ancing was a corvee or measure of work, as well as a surface-measure, 
defining the amount of labour to be performed by the dependants of the Church, just 
as the modius of 18 sextarii, or 22 lbs., was the measure by which they paid their corn- 
rent and other similar dues. The mention of a ChurcJi-mitta seems to point to the in- 
troduction of this ecclesiastical standard into England, and tlic Rochester Custumal 
appeals to " the Archbishop's pound " as a recognised standard of weight ; but the liigh 
sense of prerogative exhibited by the House of Egbert, and by none seemingly more 
than by the great Alfred, appears to have soon placed the standard of the Church upon 
a level with other "customary" weights and measures. "By the Confessor's direction, 
and by his own measure, it is justly fitting that the thralls work for their hlafords over 
aU the district in which he shrives. And it is right that there be not any nioasuring- 
rod longer than another, but all regulated by the Confessor's measure ; and lot every 
measure m his shrift-district, and every weight be, by his direction, very riglitly regulated ; 

1 Ellis, Introd. vol. i. pp. 133, 134 ; Cust. lioff] pp. 32-35 ; Lib. f'list. fMiid. vol. 1. p. 117 ; 
Cod. Dip. 280. 



and if there be any dispute, let the bishop arbitrate. And let every burg-raeasure, and 
every balance for weighing, be, by his (the bishop's) direction and furthering, very 
exact." Thus the Church was the protector of the tlarall, but the measure was the Gyrd 
of the King, and the weight " the pound in which our pecunia is received." ^ 


28 rS'''^ins= 2 oboli := 1 denier. 

96 \ 

112 J 

288 \ 

336 J 

576 1 





5376 J 

6912 i 

8064 j 

= 24 
= 48 
= 192 
= 384 
= 576 

= . 4 =r 1 tremissis. 

= 12 = 3 = 1 semuncia. 

= 24 = 6 = 2 = 1 oz. 

= 96 = 24= 8= 4=1 half-marc of 

= 192 = 48 = 16 = 8 = 2=1 marc of 

6 sol. 

7 sol. 
12 sol. 
14 sol. 

, = 288 = 72 = 24 = 12 = 3 = U = 1 pound of | ^j 

18 sol. 


16 grains 

64 „ 

192 ,, = 24 

384 „ = 48 

1536 ,. = 192 

3072 „ = 384 

4608 ,, =57G 

2 hellers ^ 

8 ,. = 

1 pfennig. 
4 = 1 flamske. 

12 = 3 = 1 loth (sol. of 2 trem.) 
24 = 6 = 2 =: 1 ore (Austrasian sol.) 
96 = 24 = 8 = 4=1 half-marc of 4 sol. 
192 = 48 = 16 = 8 = 2 = 1 marc of 8 sol. 
288 = 72 = 24 = 12 = 3 = H = 1 pound of 12 sol. 

^Greg. Epist. L. 1, c. 42 ; Pertz, Leg. vol. i. p. 216; Leg. Eaio. tit. i. 13; Lnst. Pol. 
vii. ; Tliorpe, Diplom. p. 144. Neither the modius of Isidore, nor its subdivisions, correspond 
with the old Roman standard, which, however, was still in existence when he wrote, under the 
name of the Italian modius, three of which, as of old, went to the Amphora or Pes Quadratus 
of wine. The measures which seem to have been in ordinary use in his time bear a close 
resemblance to the standard of Gregory, tlie medimnus of 220 lbs., and the modius of 44 lbs., 
corresponding exactly with the modius of 22 lbs., which would have been an ordinary or minor 
modius, the tenth of the decemmodia, or large medimnus. Isidore recognises two systems, 
giving the original standard of 10 drachmae to the cyathus, defining the cotyla as a hemina 
of 6 cyathi or 60 drachmfe, and then describing the hemina as a pound, the sextarius as two 
pounds, the lesser measures following the older, the larger corresponding with the later system. 
Thus Isidore starts afresh, as it were, from the hemina of a pound-weight as the basis for the 
measures of capacity in ordinary use. Our own statute pint has always been a pound of 12 oz. 
from the time when it first appears. Cotgrave reckons the quart at 32 oz., giving a pound of 
16 to the pint of his days ; Whiston calculates in " pints or pounds," and the imperial pint of 
wheat still represents a pound of 15 oz. Thus before the days of Isidore a system seems to 
lia\e grown up in tlie old Roman provinces which was based upon the pound-weight of wheat, 
supplanting the older standard, which, to judge from the name of Hemina, must have once 
been based upon a Minn of " six score " or 120 coins, and this novel system appears to have 
been closely connected with the sfandanl of Gregory, representing apparently the standard of 
ecclesiastical Rome. 

64 grains ^ 8 hellers =: 4 

pfennig = 

256 „ = 32 

„ = 16 

,, = 

512 „ = 64 

„ = 32 

,, = 

4096 „ =512 

„ =256 

,, = 

6144 „ = 768 

„ = 384 

,, = 

7680 „ = 960 

„ =480 

= 1 

32 grains 

=■ 1 penny. 

9600 grains 

= 25 sol. 



1 quent. 
4 = 1 loth. 
8=2=1 ore. 

64 = 16 = 8=1 marc of 10 sol. 8 den. 
96 = 24 = 12 = 1 pound of 16 sol. 
= 120 = 30 = 15 = 1 pound Tower. 
384 grains =: 1 solidus. 
15 oz. = Libra Mercatoria. 


96 grains = 8 hellers = 4 pfennig =: 1 quent. 
384 „ = 32 „ = 16 „ =4=1 loth. 

oo'± ,, Oi 3, 1<J ,, '± 1 HHir. 

768 „ = 64 ,, = 32 „ =8= 2 = 1 ore of 2 sol. 

8072 „ = 256 „ =128 „ = 32 = 8 = 4 = 1 half-marc of 8 sol. 

^1AA CIO oc/^ nA ir^oo f Marc of Vienna. 

6144 ,, =512 ,, =256 ,, = 64 =: 16 = 8 =:2 = < tt. • r n 

" " " ( i nson full-mere. 

4ft crrnins ^^ 1 hrnarl nprmv. .^7fi crmins = 1 Rnlirliia. 

32 grains 

^ 1 denarius. 

48 „ 

= 1 2 =: 1 scat. 

96 „ 

= 3 = 2 = 1 double 

160 „ 

= 5 = 3i= li = 1 

480 „ 

= 15 = 10 = 5 = 3 

960 „ 

= 30 = 20 = 10 =6 

3840 „ 

= 120 = 80 =40 =24 

7680 „ 

= 240 =160 =80 =48 

48 grains = I broad penny. 576 grains =: 1 solidus. 


21 grains = 1 light penny. 
84 „ = 4^1 scilling. 
504 ,, ^ 24 = 6 = 1 ore of sixteen. 
4032 ,, =192 = 48= 8 = 1 marc of 10 sol. 6 den. 
6048 „ = 288 = 72 = 12 = li = 1 pound of 15 sol. 9 den. 
16 ores of sixteen =: the lb. de Troyes. 


1 saiga (scilling of Wessex). 
3= 1 scmi-solidus (scilling of Kent)- 
2 := 1 solidus (mancus). 
: 8 = 4 = half-niarc of 10 sol. 
16 =: 8 =: marc of 20 sol. 
7 denarii =: 1 tremissa (of the oz. de Troyes). 
5760 grains = 180 pence =12 semi-solidi = 1 pound of 15 sol. 
11520 „ =360 ,, =12 solidi = 1 pound of 30 sol. 


80 grains = 5 hellers =•. 2h pfennig =: 1 Eegensburg penny. 

240 „ = 15 „ = 7^~ „ = 3=1 groschen. 

960 „ = 60 „ = 30 „ = 12=4=1 schilling. 

7680 „ = 480 ,, = 240 ,, = 96 = 32 = 8 = 1 pfenning-pfund. 
38400 \ _ ( 2400 \ _ j 1200 \ _ f 480 \ _ ^60 > _ ( 40 \ pfund of 

960/" ~X 60/" ~\ 30 / " ~\ 12/~| 4\~\ 1 / black pence. 


1 penings, or 2 feet = 1 ell of Wadmal . 
40 ,, 8 „ = 4= 1 silfur. 

60 ,, 12 „ = 0= 1J= 1 ore of Wadmal. 

240 „ 48 ,, = 24= 6 = 4 = 1 lialf-marc. 

2 marcs 96 „ = 48 = 12 = 8 = 2=1 marc. 
5 ,, 240 „ =120 = 30 = 120 = 5 = 2i = ahundrada. 

12 ells = 1 Swedish ore. 96 ells = 1 Swedish man;. 
48 pence = 4 wede = 1 Prison hreiimerc. 



8 log. pen. ^ 4 grey pen = 1 pening-vegin. 

24 „ =12 ,, =3= 1 skatt-pening. 

240 „ =120 „ = 30= 3 = 1 ore-vegin. 

4 marcs = 2 marcs =: 120 = 40 = 4 = 1 balf-marc-vegin. 

8 ,, =4 „ =240 = 80 = 8 = 2 = 1 marc-vegin. 

120 skatt penings =: 12 ores. 

240 ,, =3 marcs. 

480 ,, = 6 „ 

1440 ,, =18 „ 


4 grains = 1 leth-pinginn. 
3 „ = 2=1 pinginn. 

V-A „ = G = 3 = 1 screpall. 

f^\ j „ = 144 = 72 = 24 = 1 uinge. 

10 lbs. of 15 sol. 9 den. ) _. ,20 1 

10 lbs. Byzantine / I ^= ^ tinde. 

10 lbs. de Troyes = 140 ) 


The ordinary Byzantine lb., or Libra Occidua, apparently the mint- 
weight of the Merovingians, and the heavier lb, de Troyes, probably the 
standard of weight. The half-marc of the lighter lb. was long the 
standard of the Northmen, and the semuncia represents a solidus of 
three tremisses and tivelve pence. The influence of the marc de Troyes 
upon the mint seems first traceable under the later Carlovingians, and 
the half-marc, which was identical with the Frison little pund of 7 sol., 
was long the standard of the currency of Northern France as the Livre 


The Byzantine marc, or eight oz. of the Libra Occidua, each weighing 
24 deniers, divided upon the Wendish principle into a lb, of twelve oz., 
each weighing 24 pfennige — " ores of sixteen" deniers. The ore is the 
Austrasian solidus, the loth a solidus of tiuo tremisses, with the equi- 
valent of the flamske, or Frison groat of tivo sterling pence, representing 
the treraissis. This was probably the original of the lighter scilling, 
and before the "twelve punds eerwis," amongst the Frisons, were reckoned 
by the little pund, it represented a wergild of 1440 solidi, reckoned by 

(2880 \ 

1440 X 2 =-047: = 12 lbs. 1. The half- 
marc of 4 sol. is traceable in many of the small Frison merks. This 
standard is conjectural. 


The light marc of eight, and light pound of twelve, ores of sixteen, 
the original standard cf the Cologne marc, and of the north of England, 


find probably of Northern Germany. Fifteen ores raised the pound to 
the weight of the Pondus Caroli Magni, or Great Pound of Cologne, the 
standard of southern England from the reign of Egbert, the Tower pound 
of twelve oz. of twenty pence. Fifteen of these heavier oz. made the 
Libra Mercatoria, the commercial standard in England for "Avoir du 
poys," until the reign of Henry viir., and known in Scotland as " King 
David's pound." The addition of a penny to every ore — the ore of the 
Cologne marc is supposed to weigh 544 instead of 512 each — raised the 
weight of the Great pound of Cologne to the Troyes standard. If it was 
added to the lb. of 12 oz., the latter weighed 21 sol. ; if to the lb. of 15 
oz. it weighed 21 sol. 3 dwts. the familiar lb. of account. The Easter- 
lings probably rejected the standard and the allegiance of the later Car- 
lovingians at the same time. 

^ D. 

The marc of Vienna and Frison full-marc, or marc of eight full 
ores of 24 pence, weighing 16 sol., or half as much again as the light 
marc of 10 sol. 8 den., in the proportion of three tremisses to two. The 
ore and marc of B appear as the loth and half-marc in D. 


The ore, marc, and lb. of current pence, at one time apparently in 
general circulation throughout England and northern Germany, and sub- 
sequently known as Wendish pence. From the use of this currency 
originated the custom of adding two dwts. to the marc, three to the lb,, 
to raise their weight to the full standard. 


The standard of Bavaria, in the twelfth century, retained traditionally 
by the permission of Charlemagne, representing the lb of 20 sol., divided 
as a marc, with the mancus or Merovingian " solidus of forty deniers" 
for the oz. Before the introduction of the Nova Moneta amongst the 
Saxons and Frisons, the use of this solidus was continued in their inter- 
course with the Franks, and the custom seems to have been left unaltered 
in the case of the Bavarians. The Scotus is the broad-penny ; the 
Double-scat, the thryms, or silfur — known apparently as the Saiga m 
many parts of Germany at this time. The Bavarian saiga, the equi- 
valent of the West-Saxon scilling, represents the tremissis of the semi- 
solidus, weighing 480 grains, the equivalent of the Kentish scilling, which 
would have been the oz. in a lb. of 15 sol., weighing 5700 grains. In 
both our standards, Tower and Troy, the oz. is supposed to weigh 480, 
and the lb. 5760 grains, and a pound of this actual weight, half the full 
standard of 30 sol., with a marc of 10 sol., the half-marc of the full-marc, 
may have been the original standard of southein England. In the tre- 
n:iiHsa of 7 den. may be recognised the influence of Troyes weight, under 


the later Carlovingians, upon the Bavarian as well as upon the Khine- 
land standard. 


The Eegensburg pound, representing the old Bavarian standard at a 
later period, when it had evidently dwindled into a lb. of adulterated 
pence, the equivalent of the marc of penings amongst the Northmen. 
The addition of six pence to each current lb. of account gave 41 schillings, 
instead of (5 x 8 =) 40, to the pound of black money. 


The Norwegian marc-wadmal, the ell of four to the silfur answering 
to a denier. The Frison hreilmerc, when the penny was an ell, was 
identical with the Norwegian marc-wadraal ; the Swedish, worth tivo 
marcs of penings at a later period, was a full-marc, double the size of the 
Norwegian standard. The penings represent the coinage alluded to by 
Snorro, ten to the ell, forty to the silfur, and a marc to the ore-vegin — 
the standard of the later Log-penings. 


The Norwegian marc-vegin, or standard of silver-weight ; the marc 
of grey-silver, and the marc-logaura or legal currency. Grey-silver, of 
the same value as wadmal, was probably its earliest substitute, represent- 
ing " the silver used for sacirild" of the Grai<;as. As soon as the North- 
men emerged from the era of bullion and wadmal they adapted their 
coinage to the light-penny of the ore of sixteen, 30 to the oz., the skatt- 
pening answering to the flamske ; though, as their ore weighed 18 
instead of 20 Caroline pence, both pening and skatt-pening were of a 
rather lighter type. The marc-logaura, or marc of penings, stood in the 
same proportion to the marc-vegin as silver to gold, 1 to 8, in the twelfth 
century, when the code of the Grafras was compiled ; in other words, it 
was of much the same value as the Frison " old money," of which 8 marcs 
2 oz. passed for a marc of Caroline pence in the Carlovingian era. As 
the marc of Caroline pence weighed 10 light oz., in the proportion of 8 
to 1, it would have passed for 80 light ores of sixteen, and the custom of 
adding six pence to the pondiis ad scalam would have added a half- 
penny to each ore, 40 pence, or hoo oz. ; so that the lb. of silver at the 
close of the Merovingian era passed for eight " lbs. of account." The 
introduction of a coinage brought about a change in the method of 
reckoning the Norwegian wergilds, which were originally calculated in 
wadmal, a system still traceable at a certain period in the English 
Danelage. In the Northumbrian Priests' Law, whilst the Lah-slit of the 
Ceorl is reckoned at 12 ores, and of the Land-agende man, or Bonder, at 
six half-marcs — the Bcmg of the Icelandic Leysing and Freeholder in the 
Gragas — the Lah-slit of the Libcralis, or king's-thegn, remained at ten 


lialf-marcs, or " two Hundrada-wadmal," the original valuation of the 
Norwegian Odaller of the allodial period. The Northman seems to have 
generally adapted himself to the institutions of the country in which he 
settled. Guthrum, for instance, adopted the wergild and major emendatio 
of East Anglia ; Anlaf Tryggveson, in his agreement with Ethelred, 
valued his followers at 30 lbs., the wergild of the Frank ; and the Norman 
followers of William were assessed in his Laws at the same valuation, or 
45 marcs. And so, when the Northmen abandoned their standard of 
wadmal, and their valuation by the Hundrada, they adapted their coinage 
to the currency of Northern Germany, and reckoned their wergilds on the 
North-German principle. The wergild of the Saxon Adding, 18 lbs. or 
1440 solidi, reckoned by the lesser solidus, becomes in Norwegian currency, 
1440 skatt-pennings, or 18 marcs, the Odalsmand's man-bote. 


The Irish Uinge and Tinde, or cwt. of oz. The heavier Screpall and 
Uinge belong to the currency of the Merovingian type, the lighter to a 
later date, the Uinge representing the current ore of sixteen, the Screpall 
the light-penny. The heavier Tinde points to the influence of the Troyes 


Throughout the East, the civil year began in autumn, the months 
heing originally lunar, and corresponding amongst the Greeks and 
Syrians, when Josephus wrote, to the Jewish months. But Kome, though 
she assimilated her silver currency to that of Athens after conquering 
Greece, and exchanged her silver standard, as she extended her power over 
the East, for that of gold, which had been current in that quarter from 
the time of the Assyrians to the age of Alexander, refused to adopt the 
lunar year. Accordingly, the months of the civil year throughout the 
East, except in Egypt, were made to correspond with those of the Julian 
year, but it was a work of time, each month commencing originally with 
a.d. VIII. Kalendas before the ordinary Eoman usage was finally adopted. 
Eusebius appears to have been familiar with either custom, for in his 
Ecclesiastical History he fixes the commencement of the persecution of 
Diocletian " in the days of the Paschal festival in the month Dystrus, 
called by the Eomans March," elsewhere describing the same date as 
" the days of the Paschal festival in Xanthicus, called by the Eomans 
April," evidently regarding the latter days of March as if they were con- 
tained in either month. Before the close of the same century, however, 
the Eoman usage seems to have generally prevailed, for Epiphanius, in 
his calculations, dates the commencement ot the various months to which 
he alludes from the Kalends.^ 

It was customary amongst ecclesiastical writers, in the early period of 
the Christian era, to use a year commencing in spring, corresponding 
very closely with the sacred year of the Jews, from whom the usage was 
derived. The Christians of the East began this year with the month of 
Xanthicus, dating its commencement originally upon the 25th of March, 
HyperberetfBUs beginning upon the 24tli of September, representing in 
that age the first month of the civil year ; and it is this latter year that 
Eusebius uses in his Chronicle. In the Apostolic Constitutions, which 
were put together in an age familiar with the anniversary of Christmas- 
day, the Nativity was placed on the 25th of the ninth month, the 
Epiphany on the Gth of the tenth, the Equinox (in accordance with the 
calculations of Anatolius) on the 22d of the tioelfth month, called 
Dystrus, and the Passion in the first month, called Xanthicus. The 
whole of March was thus included in Dystrus, or the twelfth month, the 
ecclesiastical year commencing upon the 1st of April, the civil year upon 
the 1st of October ; the recollection of the former year being still per- 

1 Epiph. adv. Alor/. xxiv. ; EuReb. //. JS. viii. 2 ; de Mart. Pal, The passages from 
Eusebius will be fo'.iml in Clinton's Fasti, a.d. 303. The months ot the ecclesiastical year 
may have b"en assimilateJ to the Rnmnii usngo before those of ihi' cinl year. 


petiiated in the Greek Church, in which, though it is customary to 
begin the ecclesiastical year on tlie 21st of March, the commencement is 
postponed in some quarters to the 1st of April, evidently representing the 
first day of Xanthicus. After the Eastern months were assimilated to 
those of old Home, beginning upon the Kalends, it became customary at 
Constantinople to date the civil year from the 1st of September, Gorpeius 
supplanting Hyperberetasus as tlie first month ; and as the Syrians of the 
Greek and Maronite Churches continue to use this year, whilst the 
Nestorians and Jacobites adhere to the older custom of beginning the 
year upon the 1st of October, this change may be supposed to have been 
subsequent to tlie separation of the Monophysite Christians from tlie 
Orthodox, in consequence of the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Eastern 
schismatics were accustomed to allude to their orthodox brethren as 
" Greeks and lleUchites," including, under the name of Melichitcs or Im- 
perialists, all the Christians of native race who conformed to the religion 
of the State ; and the retention or rejection of the novel commencement 
of the civil year, as ordered by the Emperor, or " Melik of Koum," may 
have grown into a test of orthodoxy.^ 

The Christians of the West, less familiar than their Eastern brethren 
with the usage of the Jews, seem to have originally commenced their 
ecclesiastical year on or about the 1st of March, identifying it with the 
year so long in use at Rome ; for Ireuaius was obliged to protest against 
the charge of celebrating Pascha in the tivel/th instead of in the_^?'s^ month, 
and there were Christians in the age of Epiphanius who continued to 
hold the festival in the lunar period before the 25th of March. Dystrus 
was evidently reckoned as the first month of the year, as was certainly 
the case in Gaul, where the ordinary Roman usage would naturally be 
reflected. The first month amongst the Latins, according to Victorius, 
fell between the 5th of March and the 3d of April, whilst Gregoiy of 
Tours sometimes begins the year with January, at others with March, 
representing the years that were familiar in his age in the Gallic pro- 
vinces, where it was subsequently arranged that the first of the two 
annual synods should be held in the first month " quod est Kal. Mart." 
The hal)it of using these years seems to have died away after the revival 
of the "Western empire under the Caroline House, Relics, as it were, of 
old Rome, and the original empire of the West, they were comparatively 
unfamiliar to the later converts of Teutonic race, though they were 
retained in Roman France, under the Merovingian sovereigns, after they 
had been supplanted in Italy and at Rome by the ecclesiastical year of 
the Passion, and in official documents, for a time, by the civil year of the 
Eastern em})ire. 

The Creation, according to the theory of the Eastern world, dated 

1 Const. Apost. V. 12, 13, 16 ; L'Art de ver. les dates, Diss. Prem. The Disscrtntion and 
Clinton's Fasii are my autliorities, iinlesa wlien specially mentioned. As late as llie Council 
of Florence in 1440, the Monopliysitcs rol'u.scd to acknowledge the eras of the (in^ck and Western 
Churches, calculating hy the era of Alexandria, and the era of tho IMarfyrs, dating the latter 
from the reign of Diocletian, a.d. 284, both commencing upon the '2yLh of August, or tho first 
day of Tkotli, the lirst month of the Egyptian year. 


from the autumnal equinox, their year commencing accordingly ; but in 
the opinion of the Christians of the West the epoch of the Creation corre- 
sponded with the vernal equinox, and they antedated the commencement 
of the year six months. It was a favourite theory amongst the early 
Christians — put forward, according to the tradition of Beda's age, in a 
letter written by Theophilus, Bishop of Cfesarea, upon the subject of the 
Paschal dispute with the Asian Churches — that man was redeemed upon 
the anniversary of his creation ; and the beginning of the year com- 
mencing about the vernal equinox thus became connected with the epoch 
of the Passion. The Paschal cycles were framed upon this year ; 
Victorius, for instance, beginning his canon from the Passion, dating it 
" peractis annis ab ortu Mundi 5228, . . . inchoante xxix. anno," the 
year 5229 thus commencing some six months before the year of Eusebius. 
It was in use apparently in the age of Jerome, who seems to have 
reckoned July as the fourth month after, not the second month hefore 
the new year ; and it was still familiar to the Italian Church in the age 
of Beda, when it was customary at Rome to inscribe the date of the 
current year, calculated from the Passion, upon waxen tablets, which were 
then suspended in the churches. The actual commencement of the year 
in question seems to have varied within certain narrow limits. Before 
the compilation by Hippolytus of the first Paschal cycle, dating from 
222, the annual commemoration of the Passion seems to have been often 
celebrated on different days, and it was still regarded in many quarters, 
and notably in the Cappadocian Church — and amongst the Gauls, ac- 
cording to some accounts — as a fixed anniversary when Epiphanius was 
writing. The Crucifixion, according to Tertullian, quoting the Acts of 
Pilate, fell upon the 25th of March, a day that seems to have been often 
looked upon, in early times, as the anniversary of the Passion, especially 
amongst the Christians of Africa and the West. Clemens of Alexandria 
fixed it as late as the 20th of May, but many other dates were assigned 
to it, generally varying between the 18th and 25th of March ; and the 
recollection of a year commencing about the vernal equinox, upon the 
anniversary of the Passion, as a fixed date, seems to have been perpetuated 
in various quarters in the year beginning upon different days between the 
18th and 25th of March. After the introduction of Paschal cycles, the 
habit of regarding the Passion as a fixed date must have grown into 
disuse, and may have been discouraged ; the supposed anniversary of the 
Crucifixion was dedicated, in course of time, to the festival of the Annun- 
ciation ; and the commencement of the year of the Passion seems to have 
varied, under ordinary circumstances, with the Paschal festival. Until 
about the close of the reign of Charles ix., it was the legal year in 
mediaeval France, opening with the lighting of a wax taper at midnight 
upon Easter-eve.^ 

1 Beda, Prima ^t.; H. E. v. 21 ; De Nat. Rerum xlviii. ; Epipli. adv. Quartodec. i., adv. 
Alog. xxvi. The otlier dates assigned to the Passion will he foimd in Clinton's Fasti liomani, 
A.D. 29. Victorius dates the first y(!ar of his canon " a.m. 5229, Leap-year, Kal. Jan., on 
a Thursday, Easter-Sunday on the 28th of March, and in tlie first indiction," agreeing exactly 
with A.I). 28, the year hefore the consulate of the Gemini, according to the usual calculation. 


Four commencements of the year were known in England when Gervais 
of Canterbury was writing — the Circumcision, the Annunciation, the Pas- 
sion, and the Nativity. Beda alludes to the latter two in the following 
passage: — 

" Anni ab incarnatione Domini mutantur viii. Kal. Jan. Annus com- 
munis, et embolismus, etcyclus decennovenalis, incipit a prima luna primi 
mensis, id est, ab ipsa quae terminum paschalem demonstrat, eo anno quo 
luna prima est x. Kal. Aprilis." The second of these years, the common 
year commencing about the vernal equinox, has been already noticed ; 
the first answers to the original year of the Incarnation, or of " the Advent 
of the Lord in the flesh," beginning upon Christmas-day, some nine months 
after the year of the Passion, and fiom three to four after the civil year 
of the East, The selection of the 25th of December for the commemora- 
tion of the Nativity dates from a later age than the second century, in 
which the Acts of Pilate appeared. Certain Christians, when Clemens of 
Alexandria was writing, were accustomed to commemorate the Baptism 
on the 6th of January, others placed it on the 11th of the month, and, 
perhaps in consequence of rendering the passage in St. Luke's Gospel as 
if exactly thirty years had elapsed between the two events, tlie anniversary 
of the Nativity was often celebrated on the same day. The Churcli of 
Jerusalem in particular, holding to the tradition, supposed to have been 
transmitted from "St. James, the brother of the Lord," persisted in 
celebrating the Nativity upon the 6th of January, a day that was also 
held in high honour at Eome for some time, as " the second Nativity of 
the Lord." About the middle of the fourth century, however, during the 
pontificate of Julius, and about the time that Athanasius was at Rome, 
documents were asserted to be existing in the Roman archives fixing the 
correct date of " the census of Cyrenius ;" the office of High Priest was 
supposed to have been filled by Zacharias, and certain calculations, 
assuming that the angel appeared to him when ofiiciating on the day of 
the Atonement on the 10th day of the Seventh month, fixed the birth of 
the Baptist nine months after the 25th of September, the Nativity being 
dated accordingly exactly six months later, upon the 25th of December. 
Such is the explanation given by Chrysostom in his homily preached upon 
Christmas-day a.d. 386, at Autioch, where the novel anniversary had 
been known for barely ten years ; and as the date assigned in the second 
century to the Crucifixion corresponded with the original commencement 
of Xanthicus, the first month of the ecclesiastical year, so the date assigned 
to the Nativity in the fourth century corresponded with the original 
commencement of Audon£eus, answering to January, or the first month 
of the Julian year. Dionysius, in order to replace the Alexandrian cycle 
of Cyril, concluding in 531, framed a novel canon upon the basis of the 
Alexandrian calculations, using, like his predecessors, the common year 
of the Passion, or ecclesiastical year. The universal adoption of his 
Paschal cycle, as the ecclesiastical standard of the West, led to the custom 
of using " the year of the Incarnation according to Dionysius," for his- 


torical and clironoloi^ical purposes ; chronicles began to be framed upon 
the Dionysian cycle, and amongst the later converts to Christianity, com- 
paratively little conversant with the era of the Passion, or with the various 
years and eras of the East, the actual year, as well as the chronological 
system, began to be dated from " the Advent of the Lord in the flesh." ^ 

The use of the Indiction for distinguishing the year in official docu- 
ments, in which it is supposed to have replaced the Olympiad, is attributed 
to Constantine, the first indiction corresponding with the year of Eusebius, 
2328, commencing with Hyperberetceus, or upon the 24th of September 
A.D. 312; but with the alteration in the method of reckoning the com- 
mencement of the civil year, the indiction naturally corresponded, both 
beginning from that time forward, upon the 1st of September. In after 
times, the earlier was known as the Ctesarian, the later as the Civil 
Indiction, or as the Indiction of Constantinople, which for all practical 
l>urposes may be regarded as the recognised official system of the Eastern 
empire. The C^sarian Indiction is supposed to have been used in his 
Paschal Canon by Victorius, who seems to have been wrongly accused 
of misplacing it ; and from Victorius, or some similar source, Beda must 
have become familiar with the obsolete method of calculating the indic- 
tion from the 24th of September, or the old commencement of the year.^ 

If the Indiction was ever acknowledged officially in the Western empire, 
it would have corresponded with the original commencement of the civil 
year. With the extension of the imperial power over Italy during the 
sixth century, however, the Indiction of Constantinople was unques- 
tionably introduced, finding its way in this manner to Eome, where it 
was in use for at least five centuries. The first epistle of Gregory i. was 
dated " in the year of ordination, the month of September, and the 
nintli indiction," which must have commenced before his consecration on 
the 3d of September 590. " Throughout the month of September in this 
iwesent eleventh indiction," wrote Vitalian, dating his epistle on the 27th 
of January " in the eleventh indiction," or in 668 ; alluding also to the 
19th of December "in this preseiit eleventh indiction," in another epistle 
dated on the 27th of August " in the eleventh indiction ; " whilst Hadrian 
II. in 869 despatched three letters dated on the 5th of September " in the 

^ Chrjs. Horn, in diem Nat. In the old Roman calendar given by Bucher {de Doct. Temp. 
p. 275), who dates it about a.d. 354, the 25th of December ia marked as Natalis Invicti, or 
iete-day of Constantine. Not a single sacred anniversary is entered in the Calendar iu 

^ The indiction is also entered in the Paschal Chronicle, according to Clinton, a year behind 
the true dale, but he seems to have overlooked the diiFerent methods of reckoning the com- 
mencement of the year. When the Romans wrote up the date of 668 years from the Passion 
upon Christmas-day a.d. 700, indie. 14, the actual anniversary of the Passion must have 
fallen in the thirteenth indiction ; and thus the year commencing upon the anniversary was 
correctly associated with the indiction of the current civil year, beginning with the previous 
September. The error lies in confounding the ecclesiastical year used in the Chronicle, com- 
mencing from the vernal equinox, with the civil year beginning with the corresponding indiction, 
some five or six months later, in September. An event happening on Saturday the 13th of 
September a.d. 458, is placed by Evagrius in the 11th instead of in the 12th indiction. He 
either reckoned by the old year, or copied the notice from some chronicle compiled before the 
change. — Fasti Eomani (Indictions) ii. p. 213. 


third indiction," following them up in 870 with six others dated on the 
27th of June " in the third indiction ; " both Popes, in accordance with 
the official custom of Constantino])le, calculatino; the indiction from the 
1st day of September. The usage of the Papal Court remained unaltered 
throughout the tenth century, as may be gathered from the " Privilegium 
scriptum per manum Stephani, Nolani episc. et scrinarii S.R.E. iv. Kal. 
Dec. anno 1 Pontificatus Benedicti vr., indie, ii. ;" for as Benedict was 
raised to the papal chair on the 20th of December 972, and strangled in 
March 974, the 28th of November in his first year must have fallen in 
973, after the commencement of the second indiction in September. 
Again, after the lapse of nearly another century, a Bull of Leo ix., issued 
in the second year of his Pontificate — he succeeded in 1048, — was dated 
on the 7th of September, " in the fourth indiction," which must have com- 
menced upon the first day of the month in 1050 ; so that in the latter half 
of the eleventh century the Indiction of Constantinople was still current 
at Rome.^ 

Beyond the Al[>s the Teutonic Christians ignored the various eras of 
the South and East, and Einhard and Prudentius, Hincmar and Lambert, 
the annalists of Laurisheim, Hildesheim, and Fulda, as well as Beda and 
the chroniclers in " Saxony beyond the sea," dated by the year of the 
Incarnation, reckoned fiom the Nativity, beginning their historical year 
upon Christmas-day. The Indiction, however, was not in use amongst 
the Franks in early times, for it was in some sort a badge of dependence 
upon the Eastern empire, and the day, the year, and the date of the 
king's reign appear at the most in the Diplomata of the Merovingians, 
and in the Formularies of Marculf. Charlemagne seems to have brought 
with him from Italy the usage of the Eastern empire, but before the 
middle of the ninth century the Indiction appears to liave been adapted 
to the year commencing upon Christmas-day. Thus the coronation of 
Charles the Bald at Metz, on the 9th of September 869, is placed in the 
second indiction, four days after Hadrian ii. had dated the letters he sent 
from Rome in the same year on the 5th of September in the third indic- 
tion ; and the meeting between Charles the Simple and Henry the Fowler, 
on the 7th of November 921, is placed in the ninth indiction, when the 
tenth had already commenced in September, according to tlic system 
then current at Rome and Constantinople. From the opening of the 
eleventh century to the year 1107, Lambert and the Annals of Hildesheim 
prefix the indiction to the year of the Incarnation — Michaelnias-day, for 
instance, in 1015 is placed in the thirteenth indiction, and in 1021 in the 
fifth, after ihe fourteenth and the sixth liad respectively commenced, if 

* Greg. i. Ep. 1 ; Vital. Ep. 1, 2 ; Had. Ep. 20 to 28; Labhe (.MaoM;, toin. xyii. p. 7S0. 
UArt, etc., Chron. des Papes. Mansi, Norisins, and all the leading foreign autboritieH, admit 
that the Popes before Gregory vii. calculated by the ordinary indiction current at Constan- 
tinople ; but Clinton alone of English writers who havH touched upon the subject has avoided 
the error of attributing a spe<^ial " Pontifical Indiction " tn Rome before the accession of Hilde- 
brand to the papal chair. 



dated from the beginning of the month — whilst the Chronicle of St. 
Benedict, written in the south of Italy, places the death of Landulf, 
which occurred in November 1077, in the first instead of the fifleentlt, 
indiction, still reckoning its commencement from the first day of Septem- 
ber. In short, whilst the usage of Constantinople was followed at Rome 
and in Italy until the last quarter of the eleventh century — except in a 
few rare instances where Germanic influences prevailed, as in the March 
of Verona — it appears to have been customary beyond the Alps to calcu- 
late by an indiction corresponding with the year beginning on Christmas- 
day, which might be distinguished as the Historical Indiction, to avoid 
contbunding it with the true Pontifical Indiction, introduced by Gre- 
gory vii.-^ 

Like the rest of their northern kindred, the Anglo-Saxons began the 
year at midwinter, and, at the date of the Council of Cloveshoo, in Octo- 
ber 803, which is placed in the eleventh indiction, unquestionably calcu- 
lated their Ge-han or Tacencircole from the same epoch. Several 
important donations to the See of Winchester, which were made by 
Egbert in August 825, " in the tliird indiction," were confirmed on the 
following St, Stephen's day, " in the year 826 and the fourth indiction," 
both year and indiction at this time evidently dating from Christmas- 
day. iEthelbert's freols to Sherborne, again, " was written in the year 
agone from the birth of Christ, eight hundred and sixty-four winters, 
and in the twelfth year of the Tacencircole. The day was septimo kal. 
Januarii . . , Then after this it happened in the some year . . . 
on Friday two nights before Easter, etc.," the 26th of December again 
appearing as the second day of the new year and indiction. Beda, how- 
ever, certainly used the Ca3sarian Indiction. He not only says so, but 
he places the Council held under Pope Martin between the 5th and the 
31st of October 649, in the eighth indiction, and the death of the Emperor 
Constans towards the close of September 668 in the twelfth, corresponding 
respectively with the years 650 and 669 according to the later English 
usage. He dates his letter to Egbert " on the nones of November in the 
third indiction," or nearly six months after his own death, if he used the 
indiction beginning on Christmas-day, for he died in May 735 ; so that 
he must have reckoned the third indiction from September 734. That 
he used the Ceesarian Indiction is proved hy his placing the Council of 
Haethfield, held on the 17th of September 680, in the eighth indiction, 
when, according to the system then in use at Eome and Constantinople, 
the ninth had already commenced on the first day of the month. Nor was 

* Lahhe (Mansi), torn. xvii. p. 197. All the annalists and chroniclers alluded to will be 
found in Pertz; the Uiplomata of the Merovingians and Carlovingians in Bouquet, vols. 4, 5, 
6, 7, 8. Out of 135 Merovingian Diploniata only three have tlie indiction, which, in each case, 
is either given incorrectly or added in a later hand. Dq). Lud. P. 8, 10, 57, 96, 101, 110, and 
many others, dated early in September, point to the use originally of the Indiction of Constan- 
tinople ; but after 834, and in the Diploniata of Lothaire and Charles the Bald, the Historical 
Indiction — if it may bo so distinguished — is the rule, and the usage of Coustantinople the 


this system of reckoning the iodiction from September peculiar to Beda, 
for the Moot at Berghamstede is dated in the fifth year of Wihtred and 
the ninth gebanne ; and as the King came to the throne towards the 
close of 690, his fifth year would have expired before Christmas 695, and 
the ninth indiction, which would have corresponded under the later 
system to 696, must have been reckoned at that time, in Kent as well as 
in Northumbria, from the previous September. Between the death of 
Beda, therefore, and the opening of the ninth century, the earlier system 
must have been superseded by the custom of calculating the indiction 
from Christmas-day.^ 

The age of Hildebraud was fruitful of innovations, and amongst the 
novelties traceable to that period may be reckoned the adoption of a 
separate Pontifical year and Indiction. Similar changes seems not un- 
frequently to have marked the accession of a new dynasty, or an inter- 
ruption in the existing state of affairs. Thus the Olympiad gave way to 
the Indiction under Constantine, and the Julian year of Pagan Kome 
was replaced, in official documents, by the civil year of Christian Con- 
stantinople. The adoption of the year and era of the Incarnation 
amongst the Franks closely corresponded with the substitution of the 
Caroline for the Merovingian House, and the subsequent revival of the 
Western Empire ; whilst the year of the Passion, dating its commencement 
from Easter-day, first appears as the legal year in France after the acces- 
sion of the Third Pvace to the throne. With the declining years of the 
eleventh century every vestige of the authority once exercised over Italy 
and Sicily by the Emperors of the East, was swept away for ever by tlie 
Normans; but the use of the Indiction uf Constantinople in official 
documents must have still reminded the Papal Court of the former resi- 
dence of an Exarch at Ravenna, and the severance of the Papacy from 
every memento of her former dependency upon either Kaiser, may have 
been as much shadowed forth in the adoption of a Pontifical legal year 
and Indiction, as by the addition of a circlet to the tiara, and other 
similar changes full of meaning. 

It may be doubted if the original " year of the Incarnation, accord- 
ing to Dionysius," commencing with the last week of December — a year 
of which Dionysius was probably ignorant — was ever recognised at Rome, 

' Cod. Dip. clxxxiii. clxxxiv. nixxiv. inxxxiii. to mxxxviii. ; Thorpe, Liplom. p. 125, Anc. 
Laws, vol. i. p. 37 ; Beda, Sex. jEt. ( Op. Min. p. 197, I)e nat. Rerum, cap. xlviii. _ The very dis- 
tinction between the Gehati ol'the seventh century and the Taceiicircole of the ninth, seems In 
mark a difference between the Imperial Edict and the mere cyde-tuken. Kemble has fallen 
into the curious error of dating the indiction nine months after instead of three months before 
Christmas- day. The rule given by Beda for finding the indiction— add 3, clivide by 15, tlie 
remainder = the indiction — is perfectly correct ,_if the distinction between the different years witji 
which each indiction corresponded is borne in mind. In the example given his calculation is 
curious — " quindecios quadrageni, sexcenti; quindecies oclon\, centies" — eight lilteens make 
a hundred, i.e., reckoned at six score. The sole example of a charter dated by the historical 
indiction in the seventh century {Cod. Dip. xii.) is of very questionable autlientieily, lor it is 
attested by Leutliaire and Headda as bishops. The diocese of Dorchester was undivided during 
the episcopate of Leuthaire, ami Headda was not consecrated until after the death of his pre- 
decessor [Rist. Ecc iii. 7, iv. 12). 


— its use, indeed, except amono;st chroniclers, being generally confined to 
the later converts to Christianity. Together with the Indiction of Con- 
stantinople, the Popes probably acknowledged the civil year of New or 
Christian Rome, during the supremacy of the Exarch, without foregoing 
the use of the Julian year, or of that older year of Pagan Rome which, 
slightly altered, was perpetuated in the year of the Passion, and in the 
common year in general use for ecclesiastical purposes. Discarding the 
usage of Constantinople, Gregory vii. attached the indiction to this latter 
year, and identifying the Incarnation with the Conception, adapted the 
novel pontifical year to the " era of the Incarnation according to Diony- 
sius," dating the commencement from the festival of the Annunciation 
falling in the third month of the current Julian year. Thus the year 
commencing upon the anniversary so generally assigned throughout the 
West, in early days, to the Crucifixion, was revived and perpetuated, 
under the auspices of Gregory vii., as the year of the Incarnation, placing 
the Conception in a.d. 1, or three months after the Nativity upon the 
25th of December B.C. 1. The earlier and more correct custom of dating 
the year nine months in advance of the original year of the Incarnation 
was known, after this pontificate, as " the usage of Pisa," but only 
retained amongst the Latin races, familiar from of old with the year and 
era of the Passion ; whilst the novel system introduced by Hildebrand, 
and distinguished subsequently as "the usage of Florence," was much 
more generally adopted. Under the sanction of the Roman See, the 
novel year of the Incarnation found its way into England, where it 
remained in force as the legal year until the introduction of the New 
Style, subsequently continuing in use as the financial year, beginning 
upon " old Lady-day." After the Incarnation was assumed authori- 
tatively to refer to the Conception, the old year, dating from " the 
Advent of the Lord in the flesh," exchanging its earlier name for the 
title of the year of the Nativity, was gradually adapted to the Julian year; 
and with one or the other of these years the Pontifical Indiction was 
invariably associated. Like other innovations of the period, the Ponti- 
fical Indiction giadually acquired the prescription of a remote antiquity, 
and, as the recollection of its comparatively recent origin died away, 
many an error arose from attributing to the Popes the use of a distinct 
and separate indiction, corresponding with the later Roman usage, from 
the earliest time. The following instance of such a blunder is too 
remarkable to be passed over. 

In the course of the eighth century, Willibald, a follower of Boniface, 
by whom he was consecrated to the See of Eichstadt, wrote a life of his 
patron, in which he mentions that the saint was ordained to the episco- 
pate at Rome on St. Andrew's day by Gregory ii., receiving the papal 
blessing and a book of the canons. After the lapse of some centuries, 
the style of Willibald had become so antiquated that the monks of Fulda 
were no longer able to understand him — such is the account of Othlon, 
who adds that the Bishop of Eichstadt, through the density of his intel- 


led, had overlooked many of the Saint's epistles, as well as many of his 
virtues ; for Boniface had not only converted the heathen, but he also 
put down false Cliristians and evil priests, a race, continues Othlon, that 
is not yet'cxtinct. To remedy these omissions, Egbert, abbot of Fulda, 
at the in^'^tigation of the holy Pope Leo — Leo ix., for Egbert died in 1058 
— sent certain books to Eome ; but the scribe employed upon them died 
without accomplishing his task, and the books remained for many years 
unnoticed at Rome, and apparently unmissed at Fulda, until they 
attracted the attention of Othlon: such is his own account. It was from 
these books that he proposed to supply the deficiencies in the narratiye 
of Willibald ; and accordingly, after copying the account of the conse- 
cration of Boniface at Rome, on St. Andrew's day — he places it in 723 — 
from the pages of the contemporary writer, he appends an oath of fealty 
and obedience to the See of Rome, which he supposes to have been sworn 
on that occasion — an oath entirely overlooked in the narrative of the 
bishop of Eichstadf. This oath is dated by Othlon " in the seventh year 
of Leo, in the fourth of Constantine, and in the sixth indiction." Amongst 
the genuine epistles of Gregory ii., the ninth is dated ^^ Frid. Non. Dec. 
Leo 8, Constaniin. 5, Indict, viii.," and the fourteenth '^10 Kal. Dec. 
Leo 10, Const. 7, Indict, decima" corresponding with the 4th of Decem- 
ber 724 in the eighth indiction, and the 22d of November 726 in the 
tenth indiction. Hence St. Andrew's day " in the seventh of Leo and the 
fourth of Constantine," or in 723, would have fallen in the seventh indic- 
tion ; and St. Andrew's day in the sixth indiction would have fallen " ia 
the sixth of Leo and the third of Constantine," answering to 722. The 
same blunder is extended to six letters, supposed to have been written 
by the Pope on the same occasion, which Oihlon has dated "on the 30th 
of November, in the seventh of Leo, the fourth of Constantine, and in 
the sixth indiction ;" whilst he has addressed a letter from the Pope, 
supposed to have been written "in the third year of Leo and the eleventh 
indiction," — the error of a copyist, perhaps, for Indict, ii. — to Boniface 
the priest, when it is well known that the saint did not assume the name 
of Boniface until his elevation to the episcopate. All the other early 
epistles are addressed to him as Winfred, the name in which he invari- 
ably wrote before his consecration on St. Andrew's day at Rome. Some 
three-and-twenty years before that event the brethren of Yarrow had 
noticed the custom in the Roman Church of dating the year from the 
Passion, but neither they nor Beda were aware of the existence at that 
time of any distinct and separate Pontifical Indiction ; and if Clu-istmas 
day A.p. 668, corresponding with the 25th of December a.d. 700, fell in 
the fourteenth indiction, St. Andrew's day a.p. 691, corresj)()n(ling with 
the 30th of November a.d. 723, would have fallen in the seventh. Yet 
so late was the era in which the oath was fabricated that the innovations 
introduced by Gregory vii. had assumed by that time the character of a 
remote antiquity. Such is the history of the oath of fealty and obedience 
binding the Metropolitan of Germany in vassalage to the See of Rome. 


Widukind, and other early authorities, write of the Archbiishop of May- 
ence as " summiis pontifex ;" and as the inference that might be drawn 
from such a style of expression must have clashed with the later preten- 
tions of the See of Rome, a counteracting influence was required, and — 
the oath appeared. How far have the manipulations of Othlon, and 
such as Othlon, extended ? In one of his remarks there is truth : the 
race of false Christians and evil priests was not extinct when Othlon 
wrote. ^ 


As the early chronology of the Christian era was entirely based upon the third 
chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke, the date of the Nativity was fixed by placing it 
fifteen years before the accession of Tiberius. The reign of Augustus, however, was 
mulcted of its proper length by all the early Christian writers, some calculating it at 
fifty-six, others at fiftj^-seven years, the Nativity falling, according to the former, in the 
forty-first, according to the latter, in the forty-second year of his reign, and in the 
twenty-eighth after Actium. Thus the real difference was in the duration assigned to 
the reign of Augustus, all agreeing in placing the Nativity thirty years before the fif- 
teenth of Tiberius, reckoning the years inclusively, according to the custom of the age. 
" Fifteen years of Augustus, and fifteen of Tiberius, complete the thirty years to the 
Passion," wrote Clemens of Alexandria, agreeing with TertuUian, except in the number 
of years assigned to the reign of Augustus. Both, limiting the Ministration to one 
year, place the Passion in the Consulate of the Gemini, which was often looked upon 
as the chronological epoch of the Passion, long after the Ministration ceased to be 
limited to one year. Eusebius, though agreeing with Hippolytus and others in assign- 
ing upwards of three years to the Ministration, seems to have followed the usual cal- 
culations of his predecessors in fixing the epoch of the Nativity. The death of Com- 
modus, for instance, in a.d. 192, is supposed by Clemens to have occurred 194 years 
after the Nativity ; and as Eusebius assumes a lapse of 305 years between the same 
epoch and the Persecution of Diocletian in a.d. 30)3, both would have agreed in dating 
the Nativity two years before the common era. Hence, after it became customary to 
ilate from the era of the Incarnation, a difference of two years arose between the fol- 
lowers of Dionysius and the chroniclers who adapted the system of Eusebius, Jerome, 
and Prosper of Aquitaine, to the common ei'a, dating by the Venis Annus, as it is occa- 
sionally called by the authorities of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The Paschal 

* Othlon, Vit. Bonif. lih. i. r. Ifi to 21. Certain commentators have tried to mend matters 
by altering the seventh of Leo to the sixth in the date of the oath, without observing that the 
error nms through all the letters supposed to have been written on the same day. In the 
month of November the .fixth of Leo would Iiavo answered to the <ftirJof Constantine, requiring 
additional "emendations." The f'ramer of one of the numerous forgeries palmed upon the 
reign of Edgar, has dated the document in que.stion (Cod. Dip. dxix.) on Wednesday the 28th 
of December 964, wliereas tlie 28th of December 963, wliich in Edgar's reign would have been 
reckoned as the fourth day of 964, fell on a Monday. The charter, which ascribes a conquest 
of Dublin and the greater part of Ireland to Edgar, probably saw the light in support of the 
grant of that island to Henry ii., made by Hadrian iv. in virtiie of the Papal claim to all the 
islands, conferred by the Donation of Constantine. The adaptation of the era dating from the 
Incarnation to one of the authorized Roman years had, by this time, assumed a respectable 
antiquity, and the original commencement of the year on Christmas-day was overlooked or for- 
gotten. In two other charters (Dccc.rxiv. Dcccxzv.), dated "on the 28th of December 1066, 
indie, tertia," the Westminster forger has made Innocents'-day in 1065 the fourth day of 1066, 
quite correctly, but he has retained the indiction for 1065, misled, like Othlon, by the orthodox 
Pontifical Indiction, which would not have changed before the commencement of one of the 
authorized Eoman years. 

NOTE. 87 

Chronicle, for instance, is in accordance with the system of Eusebius and his followers, 
placing the Passion, for example, in the fourth indiction, or in the year equivalent to 
A.D. 31, whilst the followers of Cassiodorus would have antedated it to a.d. 29, or four 
years before the common era. 

In course of time these differences must have become a fruitful source of confusion ; 
and Beda, in his notices of past events, affords frequent instances in point ; dating the 
era of Diocletian, for example, in his Chronology, from (a.d. 552 — 248=) a.d. 284, and 
in his History from a.d. 286, whilst he evidently hesitates between placing the arrival 
of the Saxons in a.d. 447 and a.d. 449. Again, he dates the capture of Eome in his 
History in a.d. 409, a.u.c. 1164, when, according to his Chronology, a.d. 409 would 
have corresponded with a.u.c. 1160 ; but his Avell-known error about Gregory the Great 
may probably be attributed to his ignorance of the Indiction of Constantinople. For 
the date of the Pope's consecration he was probably indebted to some Roman docu- 
ment, in which it would have been placed on the 3d of September in the ninth indic- 
tion, and as he would have calculated the commencement of the indiction from the 
tiventy-fou7ih of the month, he has wrongly placed the consecration in a.d. 591, and the 
Pope's death in consequence in a.d. 605, singularly enough adding " in the second year 
of Phocas," having in the previous chapter placed the battle of Degsastan a.d. 603, 
quite correctly, " in the first year of Phocas." The influence of the Vems A-mius is trace- 
able in the Saxon chronicles at least as early as the death of Gebmund, Bishop of 
Eochester, which is antedated to 693, though he assisted at the Moot of Berghamstede 
in the autumn of 695. The use of the ecclesiastical, or common year, may have occa- 
sionally given rise to a mistake. Calendars of the moveable feasts for many years were 
apparently numerous, for Nechtan seems to have informed Ceolfrid that he had plenty 
of them ; and as the ecclesiastical year would have been used in these calendars, com- 
mencing with Pascha, an entry made in any of them towards the close of the year, 
between Christmas and Easter, would be transferred to a chronicle computed upon the 
year of the Incarnation a year — sometimes three — behind the true date. 


I. — The Acre. 

64 feet . . = 1 acre's breadth. 

640 „ . . = 1 acre's length, or furlong. 

7,680 ,, , . = 12 furlongs = 1 leuga. 

40,960 square feet . = 1 Anglian acre. 

61,440 ,, . = 1 langenekre. 

43,560 ,, . = 1 statute acre. 

1,440 Anglian ) , , 

960 Langen | ""'■''■' = ^ 'l^'^'"^ ^^"^a- 

I^f a primitive state of .society measures are simple enough : the 
thumb, the palm, the ell, or cubit, and the foot, shod or bare, lie at the 
base of every system, the oldest measures being generally the smallest. 
"Three thumbs make an inch, three inches make a, palm, three palms 
make a foot, four feet make a Bcrjau" or short-yoke. So measured the 
Gymri in the days of old, and the equivalent of their short-yoke of 36 
inches, known to the Bretons as giualen — a word traceable in the 
French gaule and the Scottish fall — has passed into our system as the 
yard of three feet, to the exclusion of the two-foot ell, or earlier gyrd, 
peculiar to the Teuton'^'. " Let the ditch be 5 feet wide by 7 in length, 
one foot shod, the other bare." Such are the directions in an old Bruns- 
wick document, and there was accordingly a slight difference between the 
fuss and the scJmh. The ell, or cubit, was measured from the point of 
the elbow to the wrist; the thumb-ell reached the end of the thumb; 
whilst the longest measure stretched to the point of the middle finger, 
three distinct measures being thus known under the name of ell. The 
gyrd, or measuring-rod, of the priest, was the standard of his parish by 
old English law ; and in Iceland, according to the Gragas, the measure 
was marked off on the church wall, after its length had been calculated 
l)y measuring three men -the tallest and shortest in the parish, with a 
third of average size. Such was the origin of *' customary " measurement ; 
but before the reign of Athelstan, it may be gathered from his laws that 
the barley-corn had supplanted the thumb as a legal standard — the 
substitution of 36 grains of barley for the length of a man's foot, and 
some similar innovation amongst the Franks, raising the standard on 
either side of the Channel considerably beyond the original rough mea- 
surement. Hence the Paris foot of 12-789, the Rheinland of 12-35, and 


our own foot of 12 inches, are longer than the usual measures, whether 
fuss or schuh of Gerniany and the North. ^ 

As in the case of the ell, or cubit, there was often a wide difference 
in measurements known under the same name. A "day's work" was 
sometimes the equivalent of an acre, at others of half an acre ; varying 
again according as the work to be done was reaping or mowing, plough- 
ing or hoeing. The morgen was generally half an acker, especially in 
Low Germany ; the Joch or Juchart had reference to a yoke of oxen, or 
pair of horses; the caruca, so often met with in Domesday, meant a 
team of eight oxen, supposed to be required for the tillage of a " plough- 
land," which was subdivided accordingly into eight "oxgangs." In 
measures of distance, the Gauls, according to Isidore, gave the name of 
candehim — hundred — to a measure of 100 feet in civic localities, but 
reaching 150 in rural districts, a custom that naturally lengthened their 
measure of distance, based upon the Koman standard, to 1500 paces ; 
and accordingly the old Gallic leuga w as half as long again as the Eoman 
mile. " The Romans count in miles," wrote Jerome, " the Gauls in 
leagues, the Persians in parasangs, and all Germany in rasts." The 
rast, originally of no definite length, merely meant the " resting-place" on 
the march — Jornandes uses mansio in this sense — and at sea was 
apparently familiar in the north as the loiko-sio, which, though not a 
measured distance, was probably thoroughly understood by the rowers. 
The rast is vaguely calculated in an old West Gothland code as "the 
distance within which a man can take an empty cart, fill it as his 
morning's w^ork, and return with it loaded, between day-break and mid- 
day at Christmas-time ;" but as soon as it was established as a recognised 
standard of measurement, it was reckoned at double the Gallic leuga. 
" Eight stadia make a milliarium ; mille passus, or a miliarium and a 
half, make a leuva — some write it leuca — of 1500 paces. Two leuva, or 
three miliaria, make a resta." Such is the substance of a })assage attri- 
buted to Beda, and it is important to mark the difference between the 
miliarium and mille passus — the mile and the league, or " thusend 
stapa." The leuga, or long mile, would appear to have been the ordinary 
standard of distance amongst the Anglo-Saxons, reckoned at the time of 
the Conquest at twelve quarentincs, or furlongs, measuring forty poles — 
for the " length of the furrow " was a recognised measurement in the days 
of Athelstan — or a little under a mile and a half, according to the standard 
of the present time.^ 

* Liutprand's foot was the standard of Lombardy, and is supposed to have been of extra- 
ordinary length, measuring a cubit. His perch was 12 feet, "the measure of his extended 
arms!" Our own yard-measure is occasionally taken to represent the IcnLcth of Henry ii. 'a 
arm. Both kings probably established a standard without any reference to their own stature, 
and it is possible that the yard may have superseded the old two-foot ell in the reign of Henry n. 
Hardrada, to whom Harold offered " seven feet of earth," was five ells in height according to 
the Saga, probably about six feet four inches, English measure ; and if Goliath is measured by 
the old standard, his " six cubits and a span " will shrink considerably. 

^ laid. XV. 15 ; Ducange, in voc. Leuga, Rasta; Hire and Adelung, in voc. Rasta; Beda, de 
Mens. ed. Colon., t. i. p. 126. According to an authority quoted by Ducange, of a date 
somewhat later than the Agrimensor, there were two leagues in use amongst the Franks, the 

90 • THE ACRE. 

Two of the land-measures of Germany are deserving of particular 
notice, the Bremen morgcn^ and the larger hcidscheffd, or heath- 
measure, in the Geestland in the duchy of Sleswig. At the base of each, 
as in nearly all these measures, lies the square ruthe, the ruthe repre- 
senting a rod, or pole, of 8 ells, or 16 feet, in length. In the Bremen 
measure 20 square ruthen make a hund, 6 hunden a morgen of 30,720 
square feet, which, as in Low Germany the morgen was half an acker, 
would give to the Bremen acker 61,440 square feet. The acker in 
question was not peculiar to Bremen, for the morgen, or half-acker of 
Hanover, containing 120 hunden, was identical in theory with the 
Bremen morgen, though practically the measuring-pole used in Hanover 
and Lubeck was an inch longer than the Bremen ruthe. The Geestland 
heidscheffel was also identical with the Bremen acker, containing 61,440 
square feet in 6 schipkmds, each exactly doubling the Bremen hund. 
There was also another land-measure that is often alluded to in old 
Saxon documents as far back as the thirteenth century — the Jfund-lancles, 
generally a plot of ground 20 ruthen in length by 4 in breadth, or 80 
square ruthen, a lesser morgen, in other words, of 20,480 square feet, 
giving an acker of 160 square ruthen or 40,960 square feet, each measure 
respectively containing two-thirds of the amount of the larger morgen 
and acker. Here then are two acres, once in very general use through- 
out Old Saxony and Sleswig, the larger containing 61,440 square feet, 
the lesser, 40,960 square feet, or exactly in the same proportion as the 
solidi of three and two tremisses, the " ore of twenty-four," and the "ore 
of sixteen," which were in use amongst the Saxons at the era of their 
submission to Charlemagne.^ 

" The English leuga measures twelve quarantines, the quarantine 
forty perches, the perch sixteen feet. The acre is forty perches in length 
by four in breadth ; if twenty perches in length, it is eight in breadth, and 
always in similar proportion." Such are the measurements in the 
Chronicle of Battle Abbey, which would give 160 square perches, and 
40,9(j0 square feet, to the legal acre of that period, thus identifying it 
with the lesser measure in use amongst the continental Saxons. An 
ancient deed belonging to Herbaldowne Hospital records the grant of 
" unam acram et dimidiam terr^e, soil. Langenckrc" testifying to the 
existence of a "customary" measure, half as large again as the legal 
acre, and containing 61,440 square feet, thus being identical in theory 
with the Bremen acker and Geestland heidscheffel. Angle and Saxon 
would thus appear to have brought with them into their island home the 
systems of measurement with which they were respectively familiar in 

legal measure of 3000 paces, 5000 virgse, or 15,000 feet, and a customary league of about four 
Roman miles, apparently a rast. A commentator on the Sachsenspiegel (Lib. iii. Art. 66) 
gives 60 gewende — furlongs — each measuring 60 ruthen of 8 half-ells to the legal mile ; or rather 
more than five English miles and a half, reckoning the half-ell as the Rhineland foot. This 
measurement approaches very closely to the German " Long mile," reckoned by Willich at 
10,126 yards, or rather under five English miles and three-quarters. 

' Adelung, in voc. Morgen, Heidscheffel, I 1 ami. The Austrian jocli measures 1*43 acres, or 
02,290 square feet, corresponding with the larger acre. 


earlier days. Every neatman, or customary tenant, in the manor of 
Darent, was bound, as usual, to plough a certain quantity of the demesne ; 
and according to the old Rochester Custumal, an acre of ploughing was 
due from everjjugum, or yoke-land; three virgates from the thirty acres of 
Oxmanne-land ; two virgates from the tenant of half a yoke-land, and a 
virgate, or sixteen feet, from the ten acres of Christian 's-land. Four feet 
more, or twenty feet of ploughing, were allotted to the twelve acres of 
Awine's-land, whilst the tenant of less than the quarter of a yoke-land 
of ten acres was bound to turn up seven furrows, or a lesser number, 
according to the size of his holding. Thus it may be gathered that 
ploughing a virgate consisted in driving eight furrows, each measuring 
an old Teutonic ell, or two feet, in width ; in other words, the breadth 
of a ruthe, virga, or measuring-pole of sixteen feet. The length of the 
furrow, and the breadth of the acre, appear as standards of measurement 
in the laws of Athelstan, the acre's breadth evidently measuring 4 poles, 
32 furrows, or 64 feet ; whilst if the plough was driven a furrow of 60 
poles, or a German ivcndc, the result was an acre of (960x64, or) 61,440 
square feet, the Langenekre that was once the standard of the South- 
country ; if it stopped short at the quarantine of 40 poles, the result was 
an acre of (640x64, or) 40,960 square feet, the Midland and North- 
country measure that gradually became the legal acre. The substitution 
of the three-foot yard for the two-foot ell, by adding six inches to the 
measuring-pole, increased the acre's breadth by two teet, and lengthened 
the furlong by twenty; thus raising the acre to (GGOxGG, or) 43,560 
square feet, its present amount. In England, the English name has 
supplanted the Saxon, and the English measure has superseded the 
Saxon Langenekre ; whilst on the Continent the name and the measure- 
ment of the Eugle must be sought for in chartulary and chronicle : the 
Saxon alone survives, and the larger morgen has effaced all recollection 
of the hund-landes.^ 

At a certain period of English history, every innovation was probably 
looked upon as Norman, and even at the present day the statute 
measure is often called the Norman acre. It is not a little singular, 

1 Chron. de Hello, p. 11 ; Somji. Gavelk. p. 38 ; Cud. Roff. p. 7. The" length and breadth 
of the acre were everywhere acknowledged measurements, for by Bavarian law, for instance, it 
was strictly forbidden to plough up another man's arable or meadow land, " usque ad tres in 
longo jugere sulcos vel in transverso sex." — Lex Baio. xiii. 6. The wende, in Low Germany, 
was the equivalent of the furlong, and, in land measurement, of the virgate or rood. It repro 
sented Uie distance of 60 ruthen, at which the plough turned, the furlong of the Ijangenekre 
measuring 960 feet — or 480 if the ruthe measured only 8 half-ells ; whilst in square measure it 
has the half morgen of (60x256, or) 15,.360 sq. ft., answering to a rood or virgate. The 
Sleswig schipland contained 10,2-10 sq. ft., or an old Anglian rood ; so that in that quarter the 
quarantine was in use, six instead of four roods being given to the acre. A leuga of twelve 
long furlongs would give a length of il,.520 feet, or a little under 2| statute miles, a distance 
familiar to those who have walked in Switzerland, as the Stund. It was probably a "custom- 
ary " measurement in many parts of ("iermany. — Adelung, in voc. Wende. The long and short 
miles of tJermany, measuring respectively 10,126 and 6859 yards, according to Willich, corre- 
spond very closely with four English leugfn (= 10,240 yds.), and four shorter miles (=6820 
yds. 2 ft.) Tliey resemble raMx, differing from each other in the same proportion as the Icuga 
of twelve, and lesser mile of eight quarantines. 


however, that the accuracy of an opinion, tacitly acquiesced in from 
generation to generation, should never have been tested by comparing 
the so-called Norman acre with the actual measure of Normandy, the 
vergee, which is still in use in the Channel Islands, and vaguely estimated 
at "a little less than a rood and a half," in Gruernsey, and "about three 
roods" in Jersey, one measure being evidently double the size of the 
other. The old Norman vergee, according to Landais, contained 385 
toises carrees, which, reckoning the toise at 76*736 English inches, would 
give 15,746'5 square feet, or about 58 square perches, statute measure, to 
the vergee, answering very closely to the Guernsey measure of a little 
less than 60 square perches. This would give a full acre, or four vergees, 
of 62,986 square feet, corresponding very closely with the Langenekre, 
as well as with the old Norwegian dceg-slat, or " ounce of land," literally 
"a day's work," averaging, according to Haldorson, 8100 square ells, or 
32,400 square feet. 

Of the length of the old Norwegian foot I am ignorant ; but if it 
was a little shorter than the English foot, like every other old Northern 
measure — the Swedish foot of 11 '69 English inches would give a dteg-slat 
of 31,563 square feet — the Norman vergee may be supposed to have been 
half a Norwegian dteg-slat, which would have answered to the Jersey 

II.— The Hide. 

The ordinary mansus invariably implied the existence of a messuage, 
or dwelling-house, for the mansuarius or casatus, the hus-bond or huend 
with a hits, to which a variable amount of land was attached. Twelve 
jugera or hunnarice would appear from Papias and Hincmar to have 
belonged to the smallest mansus amongst the Franks, or from ten to 
fifteen statute acres, according to the size of the arpent. By the enact- 
ments of the Capitularies, every priest with a church was to receive his 
manse, or a house with this amount of land, together with two slaves, a 
male and female, from his free parishioners. The mansus amongst the 
Franks was usually classed as ingenuilis, litalis, or servilis, according as 
it had been originally allotted to the full-freeman, the leet or Jiospes, or 
to the serf, the obligations attached to the latter holdings always remain- 
ing in force until commuted in course of time for quit-rents. As a 
general rule, the free mansus seems to have been twice the size of the 
servile holding, for in the Capitularies, wherever the former is assessed 
at four, the latter is rated at two pence. Hence, when Aventinus 
describes two kinds of mansi in Bavaria, the Jiof, or curtis, requiring a 
team oi'four horses, the Jmhe, or ordinary mansus, requiring only tivo, he 
is evidently alluding to the classes rated as above. Occasionally the 
mansus ingenuilis was of large extent, every holding of this description 


in the Ardennes, where such mansi were known as kuenishoben, or hovse 
regales, amounting to 160 j'urnales} 

The Jiit/e, or huha, was once a measure of land varying in different 
parts of G-ermany from 12, 15, 18, and 24 to 30, and, in some instances, 
to 42 morgen, though thirty was by far the most ordinary number. 
This seems to have been the normal amount in the middle ages, " una 
hoba quod est xxx jugera terree araturas," and it was supposed to give 
emplo3''ment to a yoke of oxen, being known as hufe, huba, or mansus. 
It was a very ancient principle that assigned a .yoke to the lowest order 
of proprietary freemen, for the third of Solon's classes was the Zeugitce, 
or yoke-men, after whom came the Thetes, proletarii or freemen without 
property. There were at one time four descriptions of hufen in Low 
Germany, of which the smallest was known as the haker-hufe of fifteen 
morgen, an amount not enough in theory to employ a yoke of oxen or 
pair of horses, but supposed to be cultivated by manual labour ; hacked 
or hoed up. It seems to have been the equivalent of the priest's manse 
amongst the Franks, which was managed by one male serf, and may be 
regarded as a type of the original servile holding. Next in size was the 
land-hufe, or dorf-hufe, of thirty morgen, the yoke-land or usual holding 
of the Bauer, or ordinary tenant of the vill, the Torp-carl of the North- 
men. As the Bavarian hof, or four-horse holding, contained from fifty 
to sixty Jucharts, the hube, or two-horse holding, must have averaged 
from twenty-five to thirty, and was evidently the equivalent of the Saxon 
dorf-hufe. Both may be regarded as the ordinary holding assigned at 
that time in Saxony and Bavaria to the representative of the colonus, 
hospes, or husbandman of early days, and answering to the majisus litalis. 
The Tripel-hufe of forty-five, and the Hager-hufe — hedged-off, or separate 
hufe, — of sixty morgen, completed the four classes of hufen. The Saxon 
Hagerman was of a superior class to the ordinary bauer. He owed a 
certain stated service, and paid a fixed rent, or crhzins, to the Hagerherr 
or Hagerjunker — the lord of the fee — thus holding, as it were, in fee-farm. 
A new hagerman had to obtain the consent of, and be enfeoffed by, the 
lord of the fee, — belehnung ansuchen, — and to buy out or compensate the 
heir of the former holder ; whilst all hager-gute, or i)roj)erty held by this 
tenure, was under a separate hagergerichte, who held his own court, or 
hager-recht. The privileged Saxon hagerman, with his hufe of sixty 
morgen, doubling in size the dorf-hufe of the ordinary bauer, would have 

^ Ducange, in voc. Mansus, etc. The French arpent of arable land generally contained a 
hundred square perches, and was in ordinary cases measured by the greater, medium, or lesser 
perch of 22, 20, and 18 feet respectively, which would give 48,400, 40,000, or 32,400 square 
fieet (French measure) according to the length of the perch. Giving 76'736 English inches to 
the toise of six French feet, these arpents may be reckoned, for all ordinary jjurposes, at five, 
four, and three and a half roods, statute measure. There were many other measuring-poles 
and land-measures in France, but these arpents may be looked upon as, in some sort, the legal 
or standard measures of arable land. Iha jiiger is occasionally reckoned at two arpents ; but 
the French acre varied in siz(;, according to Ijandais, generally averaging about an arpent and 
a half, or 60 perches. The Bonniere was still a measure of land in the time of Cofgrave, wlio 
describcB it as " about an arpent." Landais calls it a Belgian land measure. 


found his counterpart, in a certain sense, amongst his English kindred 
in the privileged villein, or villein-socman, generally a tenant on the 
crown lands, and the representative of the less-thegn who held his caru- 
cate or half carucate of land before the Conquest " pro uno manerio," 
doubling in size the ordinary husbandland. He dwelt apart and sepa- 
rate from the Geneats, or ordinary " sharers" in the vill, with a right of 
hereditary tenancy on fulfilling the obligations of his holding, but with- 
out the proprietary right of the alodiarius, of the tenant in pure socage, 
or of the Kentish gaveller. If he paid his relief, and performed his 
obligations, he was irremovable from his father's land, whilst he could 
throw up his tenancy if he chose, and "go where he willed;" but he 
could not "go where he willed luith his land."^ 

Upon our own side of the Channel, the measures of the Kentishmen 
were of large extent. They reckoned in sulings and juga, or in plough- 
lands and yoke-lands ; for the jugum was evidently the " gioc tertbes- 
londes," or the amount allotted in early days to the yoke of oxen, — the 
quarter-ploughland. In a charter dated in 812, negotiating an exchange 
of land between Cfenulf of Mercia and Wulfred Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, the suling is identified with '' terra duarum manentium," or tivo 
Mercian hides, and the jugum or ioclet, with half a mansus, or a halt- 
hide by Mercian reckoning. The number of acres in the jugum is easily 
ascertained ; for as, according to the Eochester Custumal, a virgate of 
ploughing was due from ten acres, three virgates from thirty acres, and 
a full acre from the jugum, the latter evidently contained forty acres, 
giving a hundred and sixty to the suling ; which exactly agrees with the 

entry in Domesday, "four hundred acres and a half, which make two 

Bolins and a half," — for ^ =160. The acres in question were Lan- 

genekres at the time of the Conquest, and for some time afterwards, as 
can easily be shown. A rent, or gavel of a penny seems to have been 
exacted from the Kentish gavel-land, where the rent was higher the 
firma and opera being less. Thus seven acres paid 7 den., eight and a 
half acres, 8 den. 1 ob., thirty acres were rated at 30 den., and a jugum 
at 40 den. Occasionally the holdings were rated at a penny more, or a 
penny less, than the acreage, — the Waldenses, or woodmen of Darent, 
for instance, holding a jugum for 39 den., whilst two juga are elsewhere 
assessed at 81 den. At a comparatively later period the men of Thanet 
held certain lands of the See of Canterbury by fealty, relief, and a rent 
and service called " peny-gavel," paying annually for each suling 19 sol. 

1 Adelung, in voc Hufe, Hager-hufe, etc. The Bavarian jucJiart contained 400 square 
ruthen, the ruthe measuring 10 Bavarian feet, or 9'7225 feet, statute measure, and answering 
apparently to the Decempeda by which the ecclesiastical ancing was bound to be measured, 
according to the Capitularies. The juchart would thus contain 38,088 square feet, or 27 
square feet less than three and a half roods, statute measure, answering to the smallest French 
arpent. The hof would thus have averaged from 44 to 52 acres, the hube from 22 to 26. 
Beckoning the old Saxon morgen at half a langenekre, or a little under three roods, the Saxon 
hufen would have averaged respectively about 42, 31^-, 21, and 10^ acres, statute measure. 


8 den., and for every quarter of a suling 4 sol. 11 den., or 59 den. for a 
jugum, evidently a penny less than the full amount. Sixty acres were 
therefore reckoned to the jugum at this time instead oi forty, and the 
lesser acre had superseded the langenekre, which exactly tallies with the 
annotation in the old Leiger-book, quoted by Sir H. Ellis, "a solin, 
according to the old computation, contained cc acres," which, reckoning 
by the old computation, or " English tale," six score to the hundred, 
would amount to 240. The Kentish suling was, therefore, a measure of 
160 langenekres, or 240 lesser acres, doubling the Mercian hide, and 
answering apparently to the large king's-hufe in the Ardennes, contain- 
ing 160 jurnales. In later times the jugum seems to have usurped the 
place of both suling and hide throughout the South-country ; for as every 
caruca, or full team in the manor of Darent, was bound to plough an 
acre of demesne, and the same quantity was exacted from every jugum, 
the yoke-land evidently employed a full team. Hence Diceto, Paris, and 
other authorities, are correct in identifying it in their own time with 
the hide, for it will be found to have been identical in extent with the 
Wessex hide.-' 

The larger measurement does not appear to have been confined to 
Kent, for it is traceable in the neighbouring county of Sussex. The 
Leuga or Banlieue of Battle Abbey, called in Domesday the Rape, was 
reckoned at six hides ; and as, according to the Abbey chronicle, " eight 
virgates make a hide, four make a wista," and the leuga measured twelve 
quarentines, 1440 acres, or 960 langenekres, would have been contained 
in the square league, giving respectively 240 or 160 to the hide, 120 or 
80 to the wista, and 30 or 20 to the virgate. Some entries in the Survey 
go far to corroborate this identilication of the large Sussex hide with the 
suling. " Archbishop Lanfranc holds a manor in Mailing. It is in the 
Rape of Pevensey, and in the days of King Edward was assessed at 
twenty hides ; but the Archbishop has only seventy-five, for the Earl of 
Moreton has five beyond the bounds of the hundred." In his tiventy 
hides, therefore, the Archbishop ought to have had eighty, which is 
inexjjlicable, unless the existence of a larger and a lesser hide is admitted; 
and in tiveniy sulings there would have been eighty juga, or lesser hides. 
"Of this manor Walter holds two parts of half a hide, and he has two 
ploughs in demes^ne, and a villein and a bordar with a })lough." Two 
parts of half a Wessex liide of 60 lesser acres, or 20 acres, very little more 
than the gyrdland of a Gebur, would scarcely afford employment fur three 
ploughs ; so the half hide must have been half a suling, or a wista of 120 
acres, which would give the much more probable amount of 80 acres for 
the three ploughs." 

From the Exeter Domesday it may be gathered, as Kenible has shown, 

* Cod. Dip. cxcix. ; Cast. Eoff. pp. 5-10 ; Somn. GaveUc. pp. 26, 188 ; Ellis, Introd. vol. 
i. p. 153. 

^ Chron. de Bello, pp. 11, 17; Domesday, torn, i, fol. 16a. In the measurements of a later 
time the chronicle identifies the wista with the virgate. 


that the Wessex hide contained forty acres at the date of the Conquest, 
and was divided into four virgates, or gyrdlands, and sixteen ferlings, or 
ferlingates, — quarter virgates, — a measurement confined to this part of 
England, according to Agard, and therefore only introducing confusion 
when applied to the Midland or North-country ploughland. It was 
therefore a half-ploiighland, and identical with the Kentish jugum, as 
may he seen from the following entty : — "In the Hundred of Ailestehba 
are 73 hides and 8 carucates. . . . The Barons have 16 in demesne, the 
Bishop of Winchester has 10, Nigel the doctor, 4|, and Hervey of 
Wilton, 1|. From 37 the King receives 11 Ih. 2 sol, and from 20 hides 
of Harold's land, in the hands of villeins, the King has no gavel." So 
that, as 16 + 10+41 + 11 + 37+20, or 89 hides, were equal to 73 hides 
and 8 carucates, 16 of the former were equal to 8 of the latter, and the 
Wessex hide was half a carucate, just as the carucate or standard plough- 
land was half a suling. It occasionally appears in the South-country as 
the Hiwisc, a name that seems to have been generally applied to a half- 
holding, much as the Bavarian hube seems to have been half the size of 
the hot". " From every Hiwisc at harvest-time /or^^ pence," — such was 
the foremost obligation upon the Ceorls attached to the ten hides at 
Stoke by Hysseburn, as may be gathered from a charter dated in the 
year 900 ; and as, according to the " Gebures-gerihte," every tenant of a 
gyrdland, or quarter-holding of ten acres, was bound to pay ten gafol- 
pence on Michaelmas-day, it is evident that penny-gavel, — the tax, or 
hidage, of a penny from every acre, — the langenekre, and the hiwisc, or 
lesser hide, were familiar throughout the South-country at the date of 
Alfred's death.i 

Northward of the Thames, in Essex, in English Mercia, and as far as 
the Welland, and the borders of the old East Anglian kingdom, the 
hide was identical with the Wessex carucate, doubling in extent the 
Wessex hide, or hiwisc, and thus containing 120 lesser acres. Ely was 
rated at ten hides, five in demesne, whilst forty villeins held each 15 
acres, so that 600 acres made up five hides, giving 120 to the hide. 
Stonteneia was rated at a hide and a half, a liide in demesne, whilst six 
villeins held each 10 acres, giving 60 acres to the half hide. Heilla was 
rated at two hides, a hide, a virgate, and 10 acres in demesne, whilst ten 
villeins held each 8 acres ; so that a virgate and 90 acres made up a 
hide, giving 30 acres to the virgate. Many another similar example 
might be quoted trom the Ely Inquest, to show that, in the counties of 

* Saxons, vol. i. Ap. B. p. 490 ; Exon. Dom. p. 13 ; Cod. Dip. mlxxvii. ; Eect. Sing. Pars. 
{Ancient Laws), p. 434. "Of his gavel-land he shall plough, and sow from his own barn, 
three acres, . . . and to stock the land shall be given two oxen, a cow, six sheep, and seven 
acres sown of his gyrdland." From this passage, as well as the payment oi ten gavel-pence at 
Michaelmas, it is clear that the Gebur's allotment consisted of ten large acres, and that he 
supplied a yoke of oxen, or a quarter of the full team. So in the will of Abba, the Kentish 
Reeve, to an half swulnnf/ " let bo given with the land iv oxen and ii cows and 1 sheep and 
one lioise " (Thorpe, Diplom. p. 470). In 835 the jucjuin seems to have been still reckoned 
in Kent as merely a yokeland, and only half a plough-team was required from the half-suling, 
but the proportion of sheep was much larger. 


Huntingdon, Cambridge, Hertford, and Essex, to which that inquiry 
principally refers, the normal amount of the hide was 120 acres, or half 
a Kentish suling, as the charter of Ceenulf, already quoted, shows to have 
been the case throughout Mercia in the opening of the ninth century. 
There are also traces of the larger land-measure in this quarter, the 
equivalent of the Kentish suling, and the greater Sussex hide ; for 
Agard, writing in the reign of Elizabeth, and quoting an old " Book of 
Peterborough," estimates the yardland, or virgate, at sixty acres, as well 
as at thirty and thirty-two, and the historian of Ely frequently alludes 
to a hide of " twelve times twenty acres/'' " Be it known that the great 
knight's-fee contains four hides, each hide four virgates, each virgate four 
ferlingates, each ferlingate ten acres." Thus Agard, quoting an entry 
in the Eed Book of the Exchequer, which goes on to say that the caru- 
cate was half a hide, thus giving 160 acres to the latter, and identifying 
it with the greater hide, or suling ; for the mention of the ferlingate 
marks the original measurement as South-country, and the acres as lan- 
genekres. " It is to be noted," so proceeds the entry, "that when forty 
shillings are given as scutage from the great knight's-fee, each virgate 
pays thirty pence, each half-virgate fifteen, each ferlingate sevenpence 
halfpenny, and /ro?n an acre a halfpenny." The original measurement 
was by South-country reckouing, but like the Kentish penny-gavel, the 
actual assessment was made upon the later standard ; for there are 
fifteen halfpence in sevenpence-halfpenny, and fifteen lesser acres in a 
ferlingate of ten langenekres. Scutage was levied upon the fief and its 
subdivisions, but as a very variable number of acres were contained in 
the knight's-fee after it was assessed in lbs., instead of by measurement, 
all amounts below the lowest subdivision, or the ferlingate, were calcu- 
lated by the legal acre ; or the scutage would have been levied at the 
rate of only^ii'c pence for the ferlingate. Three different measurements 
are traceable, therefore, in Anglo-Saxon England, a greater, lesser, and 
medium hide, the latter being identical with the ordinary ploughland, or 
carucate of 120 lesser acres.^ 

Northv/ard of the Welland, throughout the old kingdom of East 
Anglia, and beyond the boundaries of English Mercia, the hide is never 
met with in the Survey as a measure of land, its place being supplied by 
the ploughland divided into eight oxgangs, known respectively in Latin 
documents as the carucata and hovata. The bovata is usually calculated 
at 15 acres, thus answering to the Gebur's gyrdland, or large ferlingate 
of 10 langenekres, and giving 120 to the carucate as elsewhere ; but as 
in the oldest examples of customary tenure in the Boldon Buke, the 
oxgang is always reckoned at 30 acres, the larger measurement seems to 
have been originally used in the north. Whenever the bide is mentioned 

* Inq. Eli pp. 50G-7 ; Eeg. Eon. liicli. The cjreat kiiiglit's-fco answ(!red to 40 lbs. of land, 
under which amount of property no one was called upon to perform knifjht-servicc after the 
openinc; of the fourteenth century. Before that time scutage of forty shillings was levied on 
the original knight's-feo of 20 lbs, — the fief-de-bauberc or poor-knight's fee, — at the uoiuiDal 
rate of a penny an acre. 



in this quarter in the Survey it seems to have represented a much larger 
amount of land than in southern England. In " Criste's Croft," or the 
portion of modern Lancashire included between the Mersey and the 
Eibble, six carucates went to the hide at the date of the Conquest, 
twenty-four to the knight's-fee in the thirteenth century when the Testa 
de Nevill was compiled. Twice under Leicestershire occurs the entry 
" two parts of a hide, that is, twelve carucates,'' giving eighteen to the 
full hide ; whilst in the manor of Melton, in the same county, there were 
seven hides, each containing fourteen and a lialf carucates. All over 
this part of England fourteen men were counted for twelve, evidently 
from an ancient custom of reckoning 12 X 12 to the hundred, " Let xiv 
be named, and let him choose xi," is the regulation in Canute's Laws. 
'* Serment nume, ceo est a saveir par xiiii humes leals . . . sei duzime 
main . . . Par vii humes numez, sei siste main . . . Treis duble 
serment, ceo est a saveir par xlii leals humes numez, sei trente siste main" 
— such are tlie regulations in the Conqueror's Laws ; and as the Ten- 
mantale, like the knight's-fee, had become a measurement of land when 
the Honor of Eichmond was surveyed in 30 Hen, II., and was estimated 
for assessment at fourteen carucates, the hide of fourteen and a half, 
approaching still more closely to the tenth of a hundred reckoned at 
12 X 12, may be supposed to have represented a Tenmantale.^ 

Tlie Domesday Survey stopped upon the frontiers of St. Cuthbert's 
territory, and Anglo-Saxon Northumberland, where a different measure- 
ment is traceable. " Haifa carucate of land, that is, fifty-two acres and 
a half," says the Black Book of Hexham, under the head of Whalton, 
and the Northumbrian bovate averages from 12 to 13 acres in the same 
register. Oswi, before encountering Penda, vowed to the service of God 
" duodecim possessiones prtediorum ad construenda monasteria . . . 
singulis vero possessiones decern erant familiarum, id est, simul omnes 
centum viginti ;" and Hilda, two years afterwards, "comparata posses- 
sione decem familiarum," founded the minster at Whitby. Each of these 
" ten hides" Beda describes as a possessiunculus, rendered in the Saxon 
version by Bocland-ccht, representing the amount of land conferred upon 
an ordinary minster, often known in the South-country as " the twelve 
hide«," and corresponding with the Banleuga, Rape, or square league of 
1440 acres, allotted by the Conqueror to Battle Abbey. Thus the " terra 
familias" of Beda, or hide, as it is rendered by the Saxon translator, con- 
tained originally 144 acres ; but from the custom of counting fourteen 

1 Dom. t. 1, pp. 235 b, 236, 237, 269, b. ; JReg. Hon. Rich. p. 22 ; Test, de Nev. p. 408 ; 
Cnut. Sec. 66 ; Wil. I. xiv. xv. The villeins of Boldon, and all who are simply entered as 
holding, paying, and working '' as the villeins of Boldon," seem to represent the original cus- 
tomary tenants of the Palatinate, paying the old land-gavel and church-shot, which are not 
traceable in the other holdings. The great extent of the hide in the Danelage is evident from 
the passage quoted by Agard (Beg. Hon. Eich. Ap. p. 9) from the Book of Dunstable, giving 
nine shires and 80,800 hides to West-Sexlaw, eight shires and 11,800 hides to Merchlaw, and 
eighteen shires with only 3200 hides to Danelaio. Reckoning by the carucate, the number of 
hides in Wessex would be reduced to 40,400, but tlie size of the hide seems to have varied so 
much in the Danelage that no approximation to accuracy can be attained. 


men to the Teuraantale the carucate seems to have dwindled in this 
quarter, before the coviipilation of the Black Book of Hexham, into a 
little over 100 acres. The influence of the Northumbrian measurement is 
traceable beyond the Tweed in the Scottish ploughland of 104 acres. The 
oxgang, according to Spelman, quoting Skene, " was always a measure of 
thirteen acres ;" two oxgangs, or a quatrain of acres, went to the Scottish 
Hushandland, a name generally given throughout Northumberland to 
the virgate or ordinary farm-holding of two oxgangs, though the " terrse 
husbandorum" are occasionally known as " bondagia" or huendages. The 
Bond or Bondman, so often met with in the North-country, must not be 
confounded with the Bond-slave or serf. He was the Buend, or Hus- 
bandman — the Buend with a hus — the equivalent of the Scandinavian 
Bonder, but not of the Odal-Bonder ; and a relic of the olden time still 
lingers in the North-country under the name of the " bondage-system," 
entailing, not serfdom, but the necessity of finding extra labour in field 

Many an old custom may have lingered in East Anglia, a separate 
though a subordinate kingdom at the time of its occupation by the 
Danes, who seem to have interfered but little with the institutions they 
found there ; for, according to the Laws of the Confessor, they continued 
to pay the " major emendatio Saxonum" in this quarter " through affi- 
nity to the Saxons." The size of the carucate, however, is not easily 
traceable from the Survey. " St. Benet of Kamsay held in the time of 
King Edward 8 carucates, with soke, for a manor ... A leuga long 
by half a leuga in breadth," giving an area of 720 lesser acres to eight 
carucates. " The bishop holds Hoxanam for a manor, 9 carucates of 
arable land. In this manor is a church, the seat of the bishopric in 
Suffolk in the time of King Edward, The manor is a leuga in length 
and eight quarentines in breadth," giving an area of 960 lesser acres to 
nine carucates ; so that the carucate is evidently used as a measure of the 
arable land in the manors — a measure of assessment and not of extent. 
The Survey was set on foot for the purpose of taxation, and not of super- 
ficial measurement, numerous entries showing that some properties were 
lightly taxed while others were rack-rented. Wmesford, for instance, is 
rated at 3| hides, with arable land for 60 ploughs ; Criciie at 10^ hides, 
with arable land for 8 ploughs ; so that Winesford contained nearly eigltt 
times as much taxable land as Criche, which was rated at three times the 
amount of the larger manor. Ambersley, again, "fait numerata pro 15 
hidis, inter silvam et planam," or between woodland and open, an expres- 
sion of frequent occurrence, clearly including both descriptions of land in 

* BecLa, II. E., iii. 24. Tlie Scottisli acre represents <at present the Englisli measured by the 
Fall, "jine inetwandc, rod, or raip of six ells long." The old Scottish'ell lueasiires 37-0598 
inches in length, and the acre thus contains 54760 square feet, or a little overlive roods statute 
measurement— the large French arpent. The Scottish ploughland of 104 acres, measuring 
upwards of 130 statute, and nearly 140 lesser acres, a]iproaches very closely to the old Nor- 
thumbrian hide. The Irish acre is also the English, measured by a perch seven yards in 
length, thus containiug 70,560 square feet, or a little less than six roods and a half. The 
Scottish and Irish miles represent the English mile measured by these longer perches. 

100 THE HIDE. 

the hide; and though Kemble, coraparino; the early hidage with the 
present acreage of a number of South-country districts, has arrived at 
certain general conchisions which he appHes to the whole of England, 
sucli calculations must always be of doubtful accuracy.^ 

In the Boldon Buke and the Black Book of Hexham, compiled 
respectively in the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries, the oxgang by 
no means appears invariably as a measure of fifteen acres, but varies 
in extent between seven and a half and thirty-six — the eighth of a 
large hide of 288 acres — though thirty and fifteen are the ordinary 
amounts in the Palatinate, and twelve in Northumberland, the farm- 
holding, as of old, usually consisting of two bovates. This wide variation 
may be partly attributed to the description of land to which the 
measuring-pole was applied, for the heath, the marsh, and the wood 
were all measured by different rufhen in the land from which the Saxon 
and the Angle came. The long marshland perch is traceable in the 
measurements of the Croyland charters, and the size of the old customary 
acre of Stafibrdshire tells how much of the arable land of that county was 
won from the forest of " the Nieder Wude." But there was another 
cause for the variation in question, especially after the Conquest. Rent 
was represented in early days hy feorm, or rent in kind, and by stated 
obligatory services attached to the land, the husbandman providing the 
customary feorm, and performing the customary services required of him. 
As land rose in value the custom was not augmented, but the holding 
diminished in size, shrinking from the large standard of a pastoral age 
and cornage into a quarter of its original amount, or even less ; and the 
agricultural system in force for many ages rendered such an arrangement 
comparatively easy. It may be gathered from the survey of the Hexham 
property at the era of the dissolution of the monasteries, when the agri- 
cultural system of earlier days was fast fading away in England, that the 
old husbandland — in the parish of Sandhow for instance — was still repre- 
sented by a " tenement" with farm buildings, a small close, four acres of 
meadow in the inges, and twenty-four acres of arable in the toivn-fields, 
with a right of pasture upon moors and commons. To eighteen acres of 
arable in the fields, three acres of meadow were allotted in the inges ; to a 
smaller amount of arable, two acres or less of meadow, but always in a 
certain proportion ; and thus the husbandman, the representative of the 
Last, the Geneat, the Bondman, the Villein, and the Ceorl upon gafol- 
land, differed essentially in the character of his holding from the yeoman 
freeholder with his separate homestead or manerium, who answered to the 
tenant-farmer of modern times. The house, farm-buildings, and close, 
the sole erhe, heredium, or separate inheritance of the husbandman, 

^ Beda's calculations by the terra familice, rendered JdJe in the Saxon version, are very 
vague. He gives 600 to the Isle of Thanet, containing about 26,000 statute acres, and 1200 
to the Isle of Wight, containing about 105,000, or four times as much. Ho also calculates the 
measurement of the latter at "about" 30 mille passus — Roman miles — by 12, giving " about" 
360 square miles of surface to the island. Singularly enough the Roman square mile contains 
576 h^sser acres, or four hides of 144, so that 300 square miles would contain " terram 1200 
familiarum." He may have calculated roughly by this measurement. 

THE HIDE. 101 

formed a portion of the village, the ham or hoiile' bi the agf/eultural 
population, and appear in Ini's Laws as the '- friim-stol- and'-weorthig," 
the " toft and croft" of Scotland and Old BaxoL'v." " Si' quis' a-idcs a villa 
transportaverit, et aream illam coluerit, tunc pos'tea" hahtr dicitui' (^cliitiv- 
able laud) non vero tofft vel area." Such was the law laid down in Ger- 
many, so that the right to the plot of ground in the village was contingent 
upon its occupation as a residence. The virgate or oxgang of arable lay- 
in " the outland " in the common field or "gedal-land ;" the portion of 
meadow in the common inge or " gedal-mo3du," often lying along the 
river side ; and " the fields," and " the pastures," and *' the meadows," 
are still familiar names in the parishes of England, though it is generally 
the refuse of the land that has alone perjjetuated the name of " common." 
In the field and in the inge, in the forest and on the heath, the right of 
the husbandman was a share-right, his name was Geneat or "sharer" in 
the vill, and thus as land rose in value the " share" allotted to each farm 
holding could be easily diminished.^ 

The hide appears to have been reckoned after the Conquest at five 
score acres, or an ordinary hundred, for assessing the tallages of the early 
Plantagenet kings, an amount it still nominally retains, though the yard- 
land of thirty acres still recalls the earlier practice of counting by the 
hundred of six score. A different method of assessment grew into use 
after scutage began to take the place of actual service in the field, and 
Castle-guard was commuted in a similar manner for Ward, payments of 
this description and the other feudal aids incidental to tenure by military 
service being calculated by the knight's-fee. In Glanville's time the 
legal amount of the ordinary knight's-fee, or fief de hauberc, was four 
carucates, or 20 lbs. of land, but the actual size of the fee varied accord- 
ing to the value of the land. " The bovate can only be let for a shilling," 
is the purport of more than one entry in the Testa de Nevill under York- 
shire, and accordingly in such localities the carucate is only reckoned at 
eight shillings. " In the manor of Osprenge are 374 acres of arable, each 
of which can be let for two pence, or for £15, lis. 8d. The herbage of 
the manor is worth a marc, and if the king will put in two cows, it will 
be worth 24 shillings. There is pasture for 200 sheep, which can be let 
for two and a half marcs ; but if the king will put in the sheep it would 
be worth 100 shillings. The king can put in 50 pigs, which would 

' The customary amount of meadow and pasture allotted to each farm-lioldin.ij according to 
its extent was thoroughly familiar to the compilers of the Survey. In Enfield, for instance, 
there was "arable land for 24 ploughs, and meadow for 24 ploughs, et 25 sol. plus;" the 
meaning of the latter clause being explained by the entry under Eva, " pratum viii Car. et de 
fcno 4 sol." All the meadow land beyond the amount required for the plough-team was valued 
as hay land. The entry " pastura ad pecuniam vilht;," means enough pasturage for the otlnn- 
live-stock of the vill; "pastura ad pecuniam et xx den. plus," implies that there was more 
than enough. Some of the entries arc very minute, enumerating amongst the stock in ouo 
instance "217 sheep, 17 pigs, and one lame marey A passage in Fleta occasionally gives 
rise to confusion. In laying down the duties of the seneschallus, or farm-baililf, he says that 
the "carucata" should consist of three fields of 60 acres or of two fields of 80 acres. Tho 
carucate in this case is not a measure of extent; not " a ploughland," but "the land under 

102 THE HIDE. 

returil nve marts/ l3iit lie can get nothing unless he puts in the pigs." 
Such is'th'e descri'ptioti "of k Kentish manor in which the acre was worth 
about three "Gin:tes' as rriuch a? in the north, when the riches lay as yet 
unknbwh b^ineath the' sUrfftce". Hence, in the fertile lands of Hereford- 
shire, three, two and a half, and sometimes only two hides were held for 
a fee, when in a different part of the very same county six hides and a 
half were only counted as a quarter of a fee. The normal amount of the 
knight's-fee in Lancashire was twenty-fonr carucates, whilst it varied in 
Yorkshire from eight to twenty, and in Lincolnshire, according to the 
Eegister of the Honor of Kichraond, generally averaged either twelve or 
eighteen. For the purpose of assessment, however, every fee was 
reckoned at four hides, paying by the hide, the virgate, and the ferlingate, 
the actual number of acres only being reckoned when the amount of the 
property to be taxed fell short of a ferlingate ; trifling variations which 
v^^ill occasionally be found in the amount of suras paid, apparently from 
the same number of fees, being probably traceable to this cause. A few 
pence more or less would be collected from a number of very small pro- 
perties assessed at their actual acreage. About the opening of the four- 
teenth century the older fief de hauberc ceased to be the standard of 
assessment, and its obligations were transferred to the Magnum Feudum 
Militis, or great knight's-fee of 40 Ibs.^ 


The Land- Gavel. 

" Two carucates, or half a knight's fee," are the expressions of Glan- 
ville, giving to the fief de hauberc, in his days, four hides, or land of the 
value of 20 lbs. The legal value of the ordinary hide, or carucate of six 
score acres, would have been reckoned, therefore, in Glanville's time, at 
5 lbs., or at ten pence an acre, which was the standard also in the reign 
of Edgar. " See what a wretched bargain ! The aiibot gave that woman 
9 lbs. and got nothing but a hide and twenty-four acres of arable land, 
absque calumnia, with six and a half tofts (prasdia) bare and waste. As 
the hide was worth five pounds, and the twenty-four acres were worth 
twenty shillings, the tofts, which no one in his senses would value at 
more than a pound, cost three ! " Thus wrote the historian of Ely, 
though land, according to the same autliority, was occasionally purchased 
at a higher or lower rate than its legal value. Four hides, for instance, 
were bought tvith the stock for 30 lbs., ten hides for 40 lbs., " but Wul- 
noth kept all his stock, live and dead." Five hides, again, cost only 
15 lbs., but " all the stock in the land was purchased in addition." 
1 Glanv. L. 2, c. 2 ; Testa de Nev. pp. 62, CD, 218, S77, 408. 


From many other passages, however, in the same work and elsewhere, it 
may be gathered that the ordinary carucate, or ploughland, absque 
calumnia, or without any claim upon it, such as a king would grant to 
his thegns, was valued at 5 lbs., or at ten pence an acre ; and as Hincnmr 
and Papias give twelve acres to the mansus, and it may be gathered from 
the regulations for military service which were in force during the reign 
of Charlemagne, that the mansus was valued at ten solidi, the legal value 
of ihe acre amongst the Franks must have been also reckoned at that 
time at ten pence. The valuation of the acre at ten Caroline pence may 
be supposed, therefore, to represent the ordinary standard of assessment 
under the Austrasian House.^ 

In enumerating the results of kingly government, Samuel warns the 
people of Israel that their king " will take the tenth of your seeds, and 
of your vineyards, and of j'our sheep;" whilst a similar mulct was levied 
by the Persians and Carthaginians, and a tenth was associated in Greece, 
after Oriental precedent, with the tyranny, and often with the hegemony. 
The tenth sheaf was also exacted by the Komans, with a fifth of the 
produce in wine and oil, from the occupiers of the State domains ; and a 
tenth of the agricultural produce of Sicily and Sardinia, together with 
certain taxes upon imports and exports, was accepted in lieu of military 
service. From time immemorial, therefore, a certain portion of produce, 
generally a tenth, seems to have been exacted from the occupants of the 
land as a tax or prerogative of the state or king, payments in kind being 
in course of time commuted for payments in money. Hence the " tri- 
butum vel censum" of the Vulgate is rendered by the Lindisfarne Grlos- 
sarist " gasfel vel penning-s\xt," appearing in Ulphilas under the form 
of skaff, a name retained in the C'mc-sceat, or church-shot, the earliest 
ecclesiastical prerogative traceable in tlie old English codes, and in the 
scat-penny and scat-chalder of the Boldon Buke. The same passage is 
rendered in the Pushworth Gospels as "gtefel vel hernisse," the penning- 
slast, penny-gavel, or scat-penny, being thus identified with the overhyrnes, 
or prerogative of the overlord. The system seems to have been in full 
force amongst the Franks in very early times. " Agraria, pascuaria, vel 
decimas porcorum, ecclesice concedimus, ita ut actor vel decimator in 
rebus ecclesias nuUus accedat." Thus Clotaire in 560, and as his edict 
goes on to say, " ecclesise vel clericis nullam requirant agentes public! 
functionem, qui avi, vel genitoris, aut germani nostri, immunitatem 
meruerunt," the king was apparently confirming the privilege of exemp- 
tion from secular service conceded to the Church, or to members of the 
Church, by his predecessors. From the time when Clovis embraced 
Christianity no decimator seems to have been allowed to levy the royal 
tentli upon her lands, or to exact secular service from her members, where 
a royal privilege of exemption could be shown. A similar liability to 
the exactions of the royal decimator — the comes, gerefa, or graf, and his 
deputies — is traceable amongst the Spanish Visigoths, in the necessity of 

* Hist. El. Lib. i. c. xiv. vii. xxxvi. xlvi. ; Pertz, Leg. i. p. 149 ; Cane, Lih. de Ben. 37. 


paying " los tribudos que deven ser fechos de la eredat," incumbent upon 
every recipient of a royal grant — " donationis regalis nmnificientiae;" 
whilst it is evident that, when Olaf the Saint despatched Gellir the Ice- 
lander to his native land, and bade him tell his countrymen to pay, " as 
in Norway, fhegn-gilkU from the land, and nef-gilldi {nose, or poll-tax), 
a penny of which ten went to the ell-wadmal," pening-slajt, or pency- 
gavel, was a familiar institution amongst the Scandinavian thegns} 

The Kentish penny-gavel, traceable long after the Conquest, the ten 
gafol-pence payable from the Gebur's gyrdland of ten acres, and the 
forty pence given from every hiwisc of forty acres occupied by the Ceorls 
of Stoke by Hysseburne, tell of the exaction of the tenth penny from the 
land throughout southern England ; and the impost is equally traceable 
in the North country at the date of the Domesday Survey. "And, in 
addition, he has a penny from each, that is the land-gavel — de unaquaque 
unum denariura, id est, landgable ; " such, for instance, is an entry under 
Lincoln, and in every case the land-gavel appears to have been the pre- 
rogative of the immediate overlord. Beyond the limits included in the 
Survey, it continued to be attached to certain holdings in the northern 
Palatinate in the twelfth century, and under the name of scat-penyng 
was paid by the villeins of Boldon, and all who were similarly assessed, 
at the rate of 15 pence from the oxgang, or a penny from every acre in 
the ordinary carucate of 120 acres. " Unusquisque tenet ij bovatas de 
XXX acris, et reddit 2 sol. 6 den. de scatpenynges, et dimidiam scatchel- 
dram de avena, et 16 den. de averpenys," etc. Such is the substance of 
the passage in the Boldon Buke, in which land-gavel is traceable in the 
scat-penyng, and church-shot in the half scat-chalder of oats ; and as a 
number of the bishop's vills are dismissed with the simple notice, " unus- 
quisque tenet, reddit, et operatur sicut illi de Boldono," both obligations 
were evidently still incumbent upon the tenure by " the old villeinage." 
It may be assumed, therefore, that the valuation of the acre at ten pence, 
and the land-gavel of the tenth penny levied as the overhyrnes, or prero- 
gative of the overlord, were as familiar to the Angles from a very early 
period as to the Franks, though the scat-pening was not necessarily of 
the Caroline standard originally. In the Palatinate, for example, where 
thirty pence were paid for sixty acres, the land must have been originally 
assessed in oboli, or Ffennige, when the equivalent coin of the period 
in the South country was the denier. A tax of l(iO deniers, levied at the 
rate of a scat-penny from every acre in the suling, or large South-country 
ploughland, would be exactly equal to 240 oboli, or 120 Caroline pence ; 
and it is allowable to assume, that the valuation of the land, and the 
amount of the gavel exacted from it, were based upon a similar principle 
throughout England from a very early period.- 

1 Pertz, Im-(i. vol. i. p. 3; Leg. Vis. {Cane), Lib. v. tit. 2, 1. 1 ; St. Olaf's Saga, c. 146. 
The tenths of tlie agricultural produce from the 3Tiri or Crown lands held by ta2}oo — a title- 
defd conferring a perpetual usufruct (fee-farm) on condition of cultivation once in three years 
on pain of forfeiture — still form the main source of the revenue of the Turkish empire. 

-Domesday, vol. i. p. 33Ga. ; Somn. Gavelldnd, pp. 20, 188; Cod. Dip. mlxxvii. ; 

THE Lxi XD - GA VEL. 1 5 

The earliest obligation entailed upon the land in favour of the Church, 
after the introduction of Christianity into England, was Church- sJiof, 
which is thus described in Domesday : — " The church at Pershore has a 
right to church-shot from all the tlu'ee hundred hides, that is, from every 
hide where a freeman has his dwelling a seam of produce — ubi francus 
homo manet unam sumam annonse — at St. Martin's day, and if he has 

more hides they are free The Abbot of Evesham has similar 

rights over his own lands, and all the others the same over their lands." In 
Buckinghamshire, again, " in the Eight-hundreds lying around Ayles- 
bury, every socman with a hide of land, or more, pays a seam of produce 
to the church of Aylesbury." Thus the custom was identical in difierent 
parts of England, the socman of the Danelage, and his equivalent else- 
where, the francus homo, freeing his land from the obligation by paying 
for one hide : or, in other words, he was " free for a hide." It may be 
gathered from some of the charters that, towards the latter part of the 
eighth century, land was held by the tenure of an annual " night's- 
feorm," or the payment of 30 scillings, six ores of silver, or 120 Caroline 
pence. Thus ten honde-lands were made over to an ealderman Cuthbeit 
by Beonna, who was abbot of Peterborough towards the close of Offa's 
reign, for 50 lbs., or 5 lbs. for each, with tne stipulation of " a night's- 
feorm, or thirty scillings, to me and my successors every year;" whilst 
his contemporary, Pilheard, has left upon record that, in the opening 
years of Coenulf's reign, he " freed his land for two hundred solidi, and 
for tliirty every year afterwards." A night's-feorm, reckoned at 120 
pence, answers exactly to the land-gavel annually due from a hide, at 
the rate of a scat-penny from every acre ; and as both charters refer to 
properties of considerable extent, ten hides and thirty hides, the obliga- 
tion of an annual night's-feorm, or of an equivalent payment of 10 sol., 

Beet. Sing. Pers. [Ancient Laivs), p. 434. Tie land-gavel must not be confounded with llie 
regium geldura. The former rejiresented the fixed tenth in produce or money annually levied 
as the overhyrnes or prerogative due to the State, or King, from the occupants of allotted land, 
and not payable from crown, pure allodial, or unallotted lands. It was more or less made over 
to the freeholder, and may be supposed to represent the original principle of taxation — the 
right of the State to s. fixed portion of the produce of the land. The regium gelduni was an 
arbitrary impost or tallage levied at the will of the King in Council, to meet (theoretically) the 
necessities of the State. This is the principle of modern taxation, though in England the 
right to levy the impost has long been transferred from the king in Council to the representa- 
tives of the great body of tax-payers. When the Austrasian Carloman restored the lands 
alienated from the Cluu-ch, after presiding at the great Synod of 742, he put in a claim to levy 
from year to year, at the option of the Prince, a solidus from every niansus, not as a fixed and 
obligatory tax, but as an aid towards the expenses of the army (Pertz, Leg. vol. i. p. 18) ; and 
the continued exercise of this prerogative amongst the Franks is traceable in the fn^quent 
enactments of the Capitularies regulating the amount payable from different mansi to buy ofV 
the Northmen. The old name for a tallage in England was TJanerjcld, a word used in this 
sense by chroniclers in the twelfth century ; and it seems highly probable that the right to 
levy an arbitrary tax was first claimed by, or conceded to, the King in Council, in order to buy 
oft" the Danes. It ceased to be ^jfn'(/ to the Thingmen in the Confessor's reign, but it continued 
to be levied, for the valuation of King Edward represents " the old assessment" in Domesday. 
It was numbered amongst the royal prerogatives, and continued to be attached to thegn-land 
alter land held jier loricam was relieved from it by the charter of Henry i., and the attcinpt to 
tallage land held in kiiight's-fee was amongst the prominent causes that led to Magna Charta. 


in other words, of receiving the overlord once in the year, or of paying 
the hmd-gavel for one hide, would appear to have remained incumbent 
upon all property held by this tenure, as the overhyrnes, or prerogative 
of the overlord, in acknowledgment of his superiority. The tenure was 
still in existence, three hundred years after the reign of OfFa, when Urso, 
at the date of the Survey, held a hide of land, which his ancestor, Godric, 
King Eilward's thegn, bought of St. Mary of Pershore for the lives of 
three heirs, "et dabat in anno monachis i firmam 2^'>'o recognitione ;" 
whilst Azor, for a hide and a half, ''^ pro recognitione dabat in anno 
monachis unam firmam aut xx sol. ;" both recognising or acknowledging 
the superiority of the Abbey of Pershore by the annual night' s-feorm, or 
by a payment that had risen from ] to 20 sol. The principle of Church- 
shot would thus appear to have been merely the reflection of the ordinary 
land-tenure of the period in which it was first imposed, by which the 
annual tender of a stipulated portion of the obligations incumbent upon 
the lands, either in actual /eorm or in money, freed the remainder of the 
property from all further requisitions. In other words, this was the 
frank-tenure of Eefection, long familiar to the Northmen under the 
name of the Veitszlo tenure, the obligation of the annual night's-feorm, 
or of its equivalent, the land-gavel annually due from a hide, remaining 
attached to the property as a rent-charge, to use the lanij^uage of a later 
age, in acknowledgment of the superiority of the overlord.^ 

When upon the death of Charles the Bald, Guy and. Beranger agreed 
to divide between them Italy and " Koman France," the former set out 
for the kingdom he had chosen, and, on approaching Metz, " urbem qua9 
potentissima in regno Lotharii claret," sent forward his seneschal, 
" according to royal usage," to see alter the preparation of his dinner. 
Whilst the Bishop of Metz was arranging, " according to the custom of 
the Franks," the materials of a profuse repast, the seneschal offered, for 
the gift of a horse, to manage that his master should be contented with 
the third part of such a banquet — " faciam ut tercia obsonii hujus parte 
sit Piex Wido contentus." " Never shall a king reign over us," replied the 
Bishop, " who would be satisfied with a vulgar dinner at fen dragma: — 
qui decern dragmis vile sibi obsnnium prasparat." Thus, at the time 
when Alfred was reigning over Southumbrian England, the Bishop of 
the leading city in " the kingdom of Lothaire," the ca))ital of the old 
Austrasian dominions, still held his lands by the annual tender of " a 
night's-feorm," or the equivalent payment of thirty drachra^e — Liut- 
prand, a southern writer, connected the name of solidus with the gold 
coin — the tenure of the land, as well as its valuation, and the gavel ex- 
acted from it, being based upon identical principles in France and in 
England.'-^ The system is equally traceable in Wales, where, twice in 

* iJomesday, vol. i. p. 175b, 144a, 175a ; Cod. Dip. clxv. cxvi. ; Chron. Sax. E. 111. 

- Liut. Antuj). i. 16. Cburcli-lands were held at this time amongst the Franks by Ora- 
tiones, or in pure alms ; by Bona, and by Bona et Milidce. Tlie banquet for 30 draclim» 
was evidently a donum, of which the equivalent in ignoble tenure was the Ben-feorm or firma 


every year, in summer and in winter, the king was accustomed to 
make a Cylch Maior with his court, or a grand circuit amongst 
his people, the freeholders heing only liable to furnish supplies for the 
winter progress, or " one night's-feorm;" and the amount clue from each 
free Maenawl is entered as minutely in the Welsh code, as the equivalent 
foster from every " Ten-hides" is specified in Ini's Laws. Gwcsdfa was 
the Welsh name for the night's-feorm, and it was commuted for a pay- 
ment of 20 sol., known as the PimtEiung, from every free Maenawl ; the 
Breyr, or Mabuchelwr, either supplying the king and his attendants, like 
the Bishop of Metz, with the materials for a night's entertainment for 
themselves and their horses, thirty-six in number, or paying the sum 
that freed the lands of Urso and Azor at the date of the Survey. It was 
in force in Scotland at least as late as the reign of David i., who, in con- 
firming the grant of Ednam and Nesbit, made by Earl Cospatric Wal- 
deve's son to the Priory of Coldingham, reserved " the thirty shillings 
which the monks shall pay every year at Martinmas to the son of Cos- 
patric, and his heirs after him, for the king's corrody" — pro conredio 
regis, or in commutation of the king's annual night's-feorm. The recol- 
lection of the night's-feorm as an incident of frank-tenure was preserved 
in Scotland, long after the reign of David, in " the Chamber of Deese," 
the best room in the farm-house of a certain class of tenant, which was 
set apart for the reception of the landlord ; and the occupant of such a 
house would, in early times, have ranked above the bondman, or ordi- 
nary member of the villeinage, for he was the equivalent of the francus 
homo, who is invariably entered in the Survey as the occupant of a 
manerium, or separate dwelling.^ 

The circumstances under which the night's-feorm generally appears 
in the Survey seem to throw some additional light upon the nature of 

1 Wootoh, L. i. c. 8 ; L. ii. c. 12, 23, 29 ; Charters of Coldingham, xxi. (in Eaine's North 
Durham), Ini, 70. Compare Cod. JJip. cclxvii. To judge from a comparison of the feorm 
with the (jwesdfa, the West-Saxon vill, or ten-hiJes, was a wealthier benefice than the Welsh 
maenawl. Mead, or honey to make it with, stands out prominently in both cases, explaining 
the reason of the heavy tribute in honey demanded from the Saxons by Charlemagne, and paid 
from many of the counties to the king in the Domesday Survey. Welsh, or thick ale (apparently 
flavoured with some medicament), and clear ale, figure in large quantities, with fish — from the 
ten-hides, salmon and eels. The Welsh code (or codes), like other similar compilations, 
contains the laws and customs of different ages, and occasionally reflects the bygone usages 
of the neighbouring kingdom. The assessment of the Galanas by the standard of the current 
ore of sixteen, and the division of the Court-followers into three bands, each receiving "leave 
of absence" in turn, may be quoted as examples ; the latter regulation resembling the three- 
fold division of Alfred's Hirdmen, described by Asser. The signature of Howel the Eich may 
be frequently traced in the charters of Alfred's grandsons, with whose court, and its regulations, 
he was probably familiar. The 24 pence paid to the royal officials by the lessei- Irecholder, 
" whose rank did not free him from the charge," when the f/icesdfa was commuted for the jJ2/?i( 
dw7ig, seems to be refiected in the charge from which William the Lion freed the Church ol Cold- 
ingham, and the prior, and monks, and all their men of Coldinghamshirc, "do dnabxa solidis 
qtios servientes mei de Berwic ab illis exigere solebant" {Chart. Cold, xxxv.) 'J ho origin of 
such charges may be traced in the penny paid to the ofiicial by every Welsh villein " to spare 
his barn and provisions." The actual ]>ayer of the tax was originally of alien, or conquered, 
race, and the exactor in his rounds probably spared neither barn nor piovibiuub — in other 
words, lived with his followers at free quarters. 


this tenure. In Wessex, more particularly in the western provinces, lay 
the original crown property of the House of Egbert, and it is always 
entered in the following oi' some similar manner : — " Always a royal 
manor, never divided into hides, nor ever paying geld ;" each of the 
manors thus described being liable, with its appendages, to one night's- 
feorm, in addition to the customary obligations of "firma et opera," due 
from the villeinage. To divide a district into hides was equivalent to as- 
certaining the amount of arable land, before allotting it amongst individual 
freeholders, by which the extent of their respective obligations would be 
ascertained ; and if any of those royal manors had been thus made over 
to one or more recipients, he or they would have retained the customary 
obligations of " firma et opera," tendering, in a certain stage of society, the 
annual night's-feorm, or its equivalent in money, as the royal overhyrnes 
attached to frank-tenure. Except in the case of the counties of Oxford 
and Northampton, which were liable, for some cause, to " a feorm of three 
nights," commuted respectively for 150 lbs. and 30 lbs., none of the 
tenants-in-chief of the Crown seem to have held their lands by the old 
tenure in the Confessor's reign; the royal manors and some of the burghs 
immediately dependent on the king in the western provinces alone being 
liable to it, whilst they were free from the obligation of paying the 
regium geldum. All the burghs in Dorsetshire, for instance, paid " pro 
omni servitio regis," a certain tixed sum, " ad opus huscarliorum" — half 
a marc of silver if the burgh was " defended for five hides," a. marc if for 
ten, the sum rising in proportion with the rating — the additional obliga- 
tion of a night's-feorm, with its incidents, being entailed upon each 
burgh. Exeter, again, which was " defended for five hides," and repre- 
sented the model to which all the other burghs in Devonshire conformed, 
paid the geld whenever the three leading burghs of Wessex, Mercia, and 
the Danelage, or Winchester, London, and York, were similarly taxed, 
contributing on such occasions half a marc of silver " ad opus militura," 
and sending a man to the royal army whenever it was assembled ; but 
neither Exeter nor any of the Devonshire burghs were liable to the 
night's-feorm. Half a marc of silver, or 80 pence, represents the penny- 
gavel levied upon a South-country carucate of 80 langenekres, and thus 
the burghs seem to have been " free for a hide," performing the obliga- 
tions incident to one hide in every five for which they were "defended." 
A similar proportion is often to be traced in other quarters, as in the 
manor of Ambersley, " which was numbered for fifteen hides in the time 
of King Edward, though it was originally free for three, as the charters 
of the Church testify," or rated at one in every five hides ; whilst the 
manor of Kipon, measuring six leugas in length by six in breadth, and 
thus containing 432 carucates, paid tor 43, or for one in every ten hides. 
Again, in the Cornisb manor known as the Church of St. Germanus, 
once the seat of a bishopric, there were twenty-four carucates, or two 
leugas, the leuga of the Canons being free from all payments, whilst the 


other twelve carucates, or the leuga of the Bishop, was free for two hides, 
or in the proportion of one for each six hides.-^ 

The difference here observable may be attributed, apparently, to the 
gradual rise in the valuation of land, and in the amount of feorm, gavel, 
and other obligations attached to it, which is equally traceable in the 
numerous "old"and "new" valuations of later times. The manor of Eipon, 
for instance, which was known as St. Wilfred's Leuga, probably became the 
property of the abbey during the reign of the Northumbrian Ecgfrid in 
the seventh century ; the burghs were scarcely in existence, as burghs, 
much before the opening of the tenth. The rise in question may be 
noticed from a very early date. In a charter, relating to property in 
Kent, for instance, dated in 863, tiuo days' feorm were commuted for 
thirty scillings — duarum dierum refectio, vel xxx siclos, hoc est semicurn 
libra — thus giving fifteen scillings, or sixty pence, as the equivalent of 
a days' feorm in that part of England. The custom of demanding two 
days' feorm was not confined to Kent, for in the agreement between 
Heathored, Bishop of Worcester, and Offa, dated in 781, the king re- 
leased the diocese from the obligation of " three years' refection, or six 
entertainments — trium annorum, id est vi convivia" — the 
obligation in either case evidently extending to two refections in the 
year, the summer and winter Gicesdfa of the Welsh code. As sixty pence 
correspond with eighty Kentish sceats, or Merovingian deniers, the penny- 
gavel would appear to have been originally levied in Kent at the rate of 
a half-sceat from every acre in the suling of 160 langenekres, and the 
lesser sceat, or half-denier, was probably used as the standard of reckon- 
ing in that quarter when the land-gavel was originally imposed. Thus 
the impost rose from a half-sceat till it reached a Caroline penny, which 
was eventually levied upon the statute or lesser acre, raising the amount 
of the land-tax obtained from the large ploughland from Jive to twenty 
shillings, whilst the holding shrunk in size until the hide was repre- 
sented by the locld instead of the Suling — the yokeland of 40 instead of 
the ploughland of 160 langenekres.''^ 

1 Domesday, vol. i. p. 75, 100, 120b, 154, 175b, 219, 303b. The amount of bides (br 
which the burghs were "defended," seems to have had no reference to the amount of land 
they possessed. Exeter, for example, "defended for five hides," possessed twelve carucates, 
or a leuga. 

^ Cod. Di'j). cclxxxviii. cxhii. In Ireland the night's-feorm, or night's-coinm/ie, seems to 
have been demanded as often as four times in the year — more frequently, of course, from the 
unfree classes — a custom stigmatized by the Synod of Cashel, in 1172, as detestable when 
applied to Church lands. A document in the Book of Kells records how the quarterly coigny, 
demanded by the king of the Clan Leogaire from the minster of Ard Breacain, was com- 
muted for three uinges of gold, worth twenty-four of silver, at the proportion of 8 to 1 ; so that 
the value (jf the night's-feorm was reckoned at nix uinges oi' silver, or sol. sterling, rather less 
than the sum annually paid in commutation four hundred years before in England. Money 
would appear to have been a scarce commodity in Ireland, as may be seen irom the notice in 
the Tribes of lly Many (p. 15), " the portion proportional to five uinges of silver, that is, a 
quarter and a half." As the quarter in Gonnaught contained 120 acres, and there were 72 

pinginns in the uinge, the acre was valued at only ( J tioo pinginns, a sterling penny, or 

rather less, for the lighter pinginn seems to have been generally used. The valuation of the 


Long before tlie reign of the Confessor the liability to the night's- 
feorm seems to have passed away from the ordinary grant of bocland, 
and indications of a change of this description seem to be tiaceable in 
the reign of Egbert. From a comparison of some of his charters with 
the scanty records of his wars with the JFealas, that have been preserved 
in the Saxon Chronicle, it may be gathered that the efforts of the West- 
Saxon king were first directed to the subjugation of the remaining 
British element upon his Avestern marches. In this he was successful, 
for he often dates his charters from the year of his Ducatus, and his 
grandson Alfred alludes in his will to " all my lands amongst the Welsh 
cyn, except in Tnconshire." Tre-corn, or the territory of the Wealas of 
Cernw, first became a shire, or a division of the West-Saxon kingdom 
under the rule of a Gerefa and his officials, from the time when Egbert 
established his Ducatus over the whole of western England, south of 
Thames and Avon, in the tenth year of his reign. Fourteen years after- 
wards he defeated Beornwulf at EUendune, and " then he sent from his 
army his son ^thelwulf, and Ealhstan his bishop, and Wulfheard his 
ealdorman, into Kent with a large force, and they drove Baldred, the 
king, northwards over the Thames. And the men of Kent, and of Surrey, 
and the South-Saxons, and the East-Saxons, submitted to him ; . . . and 
the same year the king of the East- Angles sought the alliance and ])ro- 
tection of King Egbert for dread of the Mercians, . . . and slew Beorn- 
wulf, king of the Mercians." Upon the death of Ludeca, who was killed 
■with the ealdormen of the five provinces of Mercia, Wiglaf succeeded to 
that kingdom, and then, ** in the year in which the moon was eclipsed on 
the mass-night of mid-winter — on Christmas-diy 828, or the first day of 
829 — King Egbert conquered the kingdom of the Mercians, and all that 
was south of the Humber ; and he was the eighth king who was Bret- 
walda." After his supremacy over Southumbrian England was acknow- 
ledged by the Northumbrians, he soon reinstated Wiglaf in the Mercian 
kingdom, the Northern Wealas submitting to his superiority in the same 
year. Content, apparently, with this univ^ersal acquiescence in his supe- 
riority, or, in other words, with the leading position amongst " the kings 
of the Western Christians" ascribed by Charlemagne to Ofifa, Egbert 
seems to have devoted the remainder of his reign to the consolidation of 
his immediate dominions, and the course he appears to have pursued 
throughout the South-country may be traced in his dealings with the 

In the year in which he " moved against the Britons," and defeated 
Beornwulf at EUendune, Egbert freed a grant of five hides to the min- 
ster at AVinchester, " pro amore Dei fidelique servitio monasterii ; " and 

acre is quite in keeping with the sum paid for the freedom of Ard Breacain, and unless it may 
be supposed that the two pinginns represented the annual value (rent, or tenth) of the acre, 
and the six uinges the annual commutation of the night's-feorm, land in England, in the daj-s 
of Offa and Charlemagne, was rath.'r more than ten times as valuable as land in Ireland in the 
middle of the twelfth century. — [KdVs Chart, vi. /. A. Miscell. p. 143.) 
1 Chron. Sax. 813, 823, 825, 827, 828 ; Cod. Dip. mxxx. to mxxxix. 


ia 828, or after he had thoroughly established his supremacy over Kent, 
he confirmed the freedom of all the lands belonging to the diocese of 
Kochester, "pro humili ohedientia episcopi." The sum of monej^ so 
frequently paid according to many of the earlier charters for a franchise 
of this description, is replaced in both cases by Fealty and Service ; the 
Jiumilis ohedientia^ and fidele servitium, which will be often subsequently 
met with in the grants of bocland made to the king's thegns during the 
ninth century. At the close of his reign, in a great synod held at King- 
ston in 838, the grant of a barony — or of forty hides — at IScealdan-flete, 
in the Isle of Wight, was made to the bishop of Winchester, and the 
lands of Mailing were restored to the church of Canterbury in free alms 
at the request of Archbishop Ceolnoth. Mailing had been given to the 
previous Metroi)olitan by Baldred, probably to secure his support, for the 
gift seems to have been declared invalid on the ground that it was made 
when Baldred was a fugitive. Both the grants were made in the joint 
names of Egbert and ^Ethelwulf, though the younger king alone seems 
to have been present at the synod, and the same conditions were attached 
to each. " We and our heirs are to have the patronage and protection 
of the see, and the faithful friendship of the archbishop (or bishop) and 
his congregation," and " of all the free monasteries who have chosen me 
and my father. King Egbert, as protectors and lords — " qui me meumque 
patrem Egbertum regem ... in protectionem et dominium eligerunt." 
Thus the whole hierarchy of the South-country bound themselves to 
choose " their father and their lord " from the House of Egbert, and in 
the grants of lands, or of franchi'^es, ratifying the obligation, fealty seems 
for the time to have been substituted for the money payment.^ 

Fealty and service must have been always more or less included 
amongst the obligations by which the king's-thegn held his land, but 
the service grew by degrees more exclusively military, until Henry i. 
freed the demesne lands of all " qui per loricas terras suas deserviunt," 
or who held by the Hauberc, from payments and service of every descrip- 
tion, except military, in return for increased efficiency in arms and equip- 
ment. " Et sicut tam magno gravamine allevati sunt, ita equis et armis 
se bene instruent," are the words of the royal charter ; and in one of the 
regulations laid down by Charlemagne for attendance in the host, it seems 
possible to detect a very early step in the same direction. Every holder 
of ttvelve mansi was bound to attend the host in a brunia — a Broigne or 
Byrnie — on penalty of forfeiture if he omitted to appear in it ; and as 
the legal value of " a good byrnie " was at this time reckoned at tivelve 

1 Cod. Dip. mxxxiii. ccxxiii. ccxl. mxHv. The charter confirming the liberties of flic rlio- 
cese of Rochester in 828 is the solitary existing document in which Egbert assumes the title 
of iJex Anfjlorum, the cause, or consequence, of his struggle with the^Mercian kings. After 
the final overthrow of Wiglaf, anJ his subsequent restoration, Egbert, content with the ^ub- 
stance, resigned the shadow, and continued to stylo himself " King of the "West-Saxons." Had 
Egbert possessed the advantage of a biographer, his fame would have been transmitted to the 
present time as one of the greatest warriors and statesmen of his epoch, and tlio fruits of his 
policy towards the Church (which will be more fully discusred further on) are still apparent. 
The patronage of all the bishop's sees is vested in the sovereign. 


solidi, or at the amount of the laad-gavel due from twelve mansi, the 
freeholder may be supposed to have been excused from the obHgations 
of the earlier tenure, or, in other words, from paying his tenths in kind or 
in penny-gavel, in return for performing his military service in a byrnie. 
According to the laws of Wales, where the earlier system was in force, no 
sanctuary could protect the defaulter who failed to provide the equivalent 
of the night's-feorm for the royal circuit, or Cylch Mawr ; and as in the 
earlier tenure, or Veitszlo, the night's-feorm was the leading feature, so 
in the later, whether introduced or only perpetuated by the Great Kaisar, 
the Byrnie held a similar position. In each case the tenure is marked 
by the forfeiture entailed upon default in the special service ; and as the 
land forfeited through ftiilure in providing the night's-feorm was held by 
the special tenure of Refection, or an equivalent payment, so the land 
forfeited by failing to attend the host in a byrnie was held by the special 
tenure of serving in the host in a byrnie. Thus the germs of the Fief 
de hcmherc, or hereditary benefice held by the military service of a horse- 
man in complete armour, may be traced in the regulations about the 
byrnie ; and the night's-feorm, or equivalent payment, seems to have been 
gradually commuted for a more perfect equipment in arms. Helm and 
byrnie played a conspicuous part in the equipment of the English thegn, 
and in his Heriot ; " from every eight hides a helm and byi'nie " were re- 
quired by the regulations of the year 1008 ; and the gradual discontinu- 
ance of tenure by the night's-feorm may probably be attributed to the 
necessity of appearing in the royal host, equipped in helm and byrnie. 
Some such change seems to have been in progress throughout the 
South-country from about the commencement of the ninth century.^ 


The Shire. 

Amongst the Teutonic tribes the distribution into tens, hundreds, 
and thousands, seems to have been 'in familar use for military purposes 
long before it attached in any other w^ay to the land ; and the same 
remark may be applied to the Celts, for the title of Prtefectus cohortis 
Geonis is given by Adamnan to one of Columba's early converts amongst 
the Northern Picts in the sixth century. In this sense the Centuria is 
traceable for at least five hundred years before the Cejitena, and the 

* Leg. Hen. I. ii. ; Pertz, Let/, vol. i. p. 133, ad. an. 805 ; Le.v. Bip. tit. xxxvi. 11 ; Chron. 
Sax. 1008 ; Werfjilds, 9, 10 ; Cnut. Sec. 72 ; Will. Conq. xx. The money payment reappears 
in the cliarters of Alfred and liis descendants, but grounded Tipon a difterent principle, until it 
settled into a certain regulated payment in the Heriot, in addition to the actual restoration of 
the Mere-geate, or military equipment — helm and byrnie with arms of offence and charger. 

THE ^H I RE. 113 

Centenaritis, or Hundred's Ealdor, ranked as a Centurion, or leader of 
men in battle, long before he became a civil magistrate with a court, 
and without any exclusively military functions attached to his ofiice. 
The Centuria was in existence amongst the Germans in the days of 
Tacitus, when a hundred Comites attended the leading judge in his 
circuit, and M^gs, or claus, gloried in contributing more than the 
necessary number of a " hundred men" to the hosting. The Semnones 
amongst the Suevi boasted of their hundred ^W(//, each contributing 
a thousand men, but "the men" wei-e distributed over a shifting portion 
of the tribe lands— they were not permanently attached to any settled 
and measured district — and the Centena, united by the tie of blood, 
retained its organization amidst all the wanderings of the confederacy, 
recruiting itself, when decimated by war or any other cause, by adoption 
or manumission, in order to maintain its proper standing. A Gtjn that 
could not muster its hundred men would have soon shrunk into a posi- 
tion of dependence upon some more powerful clan ; and a connnunity 
that failed to contribute its hundreds would have exercised but little in- 
fluence upon the confederacy. 

In the regulations for the army amongst the Visigoths, the military 
character of the Centena is clearly traceable. The command over the 
whole was vested in the Praepositus hostis, or Heretuga, appointed by the 
King. A similar character amongst the Old-Saxons was elected, in the 
age of Beda, by the leading members of the confederacy for the duration 
of the war. Under the Praspositus were the Thiufadi, Quingentenarii, 
Centenarii, and Decani, whilst the army was summoned for service by 
servi Dominici, known as " compulsores exercitus," messengers, or Bodes, 
of the King. The Thiufadus was in command of a thousand men, known 
as a Thiufada, or small legion collected under a Tufa, or horse-tail 
standard ; whilst the names of the other officers sufficiently explain their 
rank and command. Jf the Centenarius failed in any of his minor 
duties, he paid a fine to the Comes civitatis in whose district he was 
appointed ; but if he deserted, he only escaped witli life by flying to 
sanctuary and paying 300 solidi — evidently his wergild, — but the Count 
reported him to the King, and he never more served as Centenarius, 
remaining from that time forward " sicut unus ex Decanis," thus ibrfeit- 
ing his thegn-right, to use the language of the old English laws. If the 
Thiufadus failed in any of his minor duties he also paid a hue to the 
Count ; but his desertion, or that of the Praepositus, is never alluded to, 
for they were only answerable " in Palatio Regis," and not in the court 
of the Count. Amongst the duties of the latter was numbered that of 
provisioning the army. " Per singidas civitates vel castelhi, (juicunque 
erogator annonre fuerit constitutus, conies civitatis vel annoij;e dis[)en- 
sator," was bound to attend to the commissariat, and if he tailed in his 
duties plaint was made to the " Comes exercitus," and the Pncpositus 
hostis reported the delinquent to the King. Thus the official duties of 
Count and Tax-gatherer were distinctly separated from the military 


lU THE mi RE. 

functions of Thiufadus and Centenarius, and the sole divisions of the 
land that are traceable, except for military purposes, are the civitas and 
the casiellum, or the County and the Vill.^ 

In the greater military officials of the Visigothic monarchy in Spain 
may be recognised the types and forerunners of the greater landed 
nobility of a later age. Thus the Prtepositus hostis represents the Duke, 
the Thiufadus the greater Comes, whether Landgrave or Margrave, the 
Thiufada itself answering to the Fahn-lehen of a certain period of the 
Empire. The Comites of the Carlovingian era were reckoned as Greater 
and Lesser, and the Quingentenarius seems to correspond with the Lesser 
Comes, or ordinary Graf, who could not aspire to carry the Tufa. The 
Viscount and the Baron, taking their rise in a later age, were as yet 
unknown. Germany still ignores the former title, and, as the Centurion is 
rendered in an old Frank version of the Gospels by Sculdheiz,'^ the place 
of the Viscount as Missus Comitis, or Schuldheiss, was long filled in 
Germany by the equivalent of the Centenarius. The Decanus became 
the familiar Borh's Ealdor or Tythingman, in England, whose place was 
filled in Gesith-socns, and in royal demesnes, by the Tungreve, or pre- 
positus villa? ; whilst the Bode, or summoner of the army, is traceable in 
the Frohn-bote, or summoner of the court. As the Servus Dominicus, 
who filled the former office, was reckoned on a footing with the free 
Decanus, so the Frohn-bote, chosen from amongst the Bauers of inferior 
standing, ranked by his office amongst the Schoppenbar-freemen. Maer 
and Righill amongst the Welsh, Mair and Toshaclidoreth amongst the 
Scots, respectively the highest and the lowest officials in the courts of the 
freeholders, re|)resent the Schuldheiss and Frohn-bote of the Gei manic 
community. Each and all vanished with the advance of Feudalism, or 
survived, like the parish constable and the beadle, representatives of the 
Borh's Ealdor, and the Bode, or messenger of the Court, as shadows of a 
once existing reality. 

The institution of the Centena, as a civil district, amongst the Franks 
dates from the latter part of the sixth century, when it was established 
for the better preservation of the peace, and the Centenarius took his 
place amongst judicial officers. According to a law of Chlovis, "If a 
man is found dead in the road between two neighbouring or adjoining 
vills, and his slayer does not come forward, let the judge, that is the 

• Lex. Vrng. lib. ix. tit. ii. The place of the Conies exercitus was filled in the feudal 
array by the Prfepositus Mareschalli, or Provost-marshal. But there was a class originally 
marching in the van, the di.smounted Cossacks of an army, performing the duties of scouts and 
skirmishers, and known as Ribaldi, who did not fall under the jurisdiction of the feudal Mare- 
schall and his deputy. When the earlier duties of the Ribalds were performed by light-armed 
soldiery, they relinqtiished the van for the rear, and became camp followers, the Provost 
appointing one of their number to keep order during the campaign, under the name of Rex 
Ribaldorum- — the reality of wliich the familiar Roi des Ribands of Parisian vagabondism was 
the shadow. From the column of Trajan it may be seen that the Germans were once the 
Ribalds of the Roman army, and the earlier condition of the class has supplied our language 
with the word rabble; the later with that oi ribaldry. 

3 Cane. vol. iv. p. 220. 


Comes vel Graphic — the Gasind or the Graf — go to the spot and sound 
his horn," a proceeding that stamps the Frank Comes in the reign of 
Chlovis as a personage of comparatively small importance. There is no 
allusion to any deputy, for the Comes was bound to go in person and 
sound his horn ; nor could the district have been wide, in which he 
evidently could be found with the greatest ease immediately upon the 
discovery of the body. The ordinary shire over which the Frank Comes 
presided in early times, whether as Gasind or Graf, was comparatively of 
.small extent before the institution of the Centena, which, as a subordinate 
district of the later county, must have raised it to a much greater size.^ 

From the Franks the Centena passed into Italy and Germany, where 
it is traceable in the Huntari^ a subdivision of the Gau, and the Cente- 
narius is easily to be recognised in both quarters as a subordinate official 
under the Count, ranking in Italy next to the Vicarius, apparently the 
precursor of the Viscount.- The Hserredsthing, or Hundred-court, was 
also a familiar institution amongst the Scandinavians, but it was intro- 
duced at a comparatively late period, for the Norwegians who fled from 
the power of Harald Harfager into Iceland, towards the close of the ninth 
century, though well acquainted with the Hterred, had no knowledge of 
any court attached to the district. " The Herred, or Hundred in Ice- 
land, is stated to have contained three Godords. . . . Each Godords- 
man chose or elected twelve Doomsmen, and . . . this court was called 
the Varthing, or Spring Court. . . . Each quarter of the island con- 
tained nine ancient Godords, and in the Fierding, or Quarter, court, each 
Godordsman was attended by one Doomsman of his nomination. . . . 
In the Fierding court were decided all causes which had not been settled 
in the court below, or when appeal was made from its authority. The 
Quarter, or Fierding, courts were subordinate in due course to the Fim- 
tardom, composed of nine Doomsmen from every Fierding, or thirty-six 
for the whole land." Thus wrote Sir Francis Palgrave, quoting Arnesens's 
Islandske Retergang, and exactly describing the subdivision of a district 
answering to the Thiufada amongst the Norwegians. Three Godords or 
Temple-districts were included in the Hundred, each under the super- 
intendence of a Godr or Godordsman, priest and judge, the twelve 
Doomsmen answering to the Scabini or Schoppen, chosen from the 
Adalings or Odallers, Three Hundreds were assigned to the next dis- 
trict to which a court was attached, the Fierding or Quarter, and twelve 
went to the whole province, the Thiufada or Gau, representing a Great 

' Pertz, Zer/. vol, i. p. 11 ; vol. ii. p. 4. Whenever Beda hkcs tlie word comes liis Iraiislator 
always renders it by Gesith; wliilst the comitatus in the 13;ivarian Lawa i.s explained by some 
old glossarist as Kisindscaf (Pcrix, Leg. iii. ; Leg. Baio. ii. 5). The Graf of a certain standing 
was always a Conies, but at a certain period tlie Comes was not necessarily a Graf; and the 
same remark applies to the Earl and Jarl of England and Scandinavia. Tiio titles of Actor, 
Exactor, Deciraator, and Erogator annonre seem to have been oflen given to tlie early Graphio, 
before his work was done by a deputy. He is traceable in the Stermclda of tlu' Kentish Laws, 
and as Stcor was the word used for tribute amongst the early Franks, the Exactor was pro- 
bably known under some similar name in Eraucia. 

^ Grimm, D. B. A. (edit. Gutt. 1828), p. 532 ; Leg. Lang. Leg. Alain. Leg. Baio. passim. 


thousand of 1440 men, or twelve hundreds each of six score. Thus every 
Godord was a small Shire, or Gericlit, with its court and judge, and 
schoppen or jury, and with the right of appeal to the superior courts; 
whilst in an ecclesiastical sense it was a Parish, with its priest and temple, 
the whole under the supremacy of a single Godr, or Godordsman, better 
known in later times under the more familiar title of Jarl The greater 
courts simply represented the union of a number of Godordsmen and 
Doomsmen, or of Doomsmen alone, nor is there any trace of a larger 
district than the Godord under the superintendence of a single priest 
and judge. The men united for military purposes in Hserreds, each 
under a Haarredshofding, but the authority of the latter, who subsequently 
appears in the larger communities of Scandinavia as a civil officer, was 
only exercised originally in time of war. Each little community was 
complete under its Godordsman, or Jarl ; each represented an unit, a 
small division, or shire, in the greater confederacy.^ 

The existence of a similar system at some early period is easily trace- 
able both in France and England. In the year 779 a sort of " rate in 
aid" was levied upon all the principal landholders amongst the Franks, 
and the proportion assigned to each class gives a clue to the extent of 
their respective holdings. A pound of silver was required from all the 
leading ecclesiastics and greater comites, half a pound from those of the 
next class, and from vassals enfeoffed with 200 casati, whilst a quarter of 
a pound was levied upon lesser abbots and vassals enfeoffed with 100 
casati, and an ounce of silver from vassals with 50 and 30 casati. As 
the casatus was valued at 10 sol., the benefice of a vassal of the highest 
class was reckoned at 100 lbs. of land or 20 hides, which continued to be 
the legal amount of the ordinary feudal barony during the twelfth and 
thirteenth centuries. " To six barons whom he shall choose, each 100 
lbs. of land" — such, for instance, was a portion of the agreement made 
between Henry of Anjou, when Duke of Normandy, and Kandolph le 
Meschines, Earl of Chester. The benefice allotted to a vassal of the next 
class was 50 lbs. of land, or ten hides ; land of the value of 25 lbs. and 
15 lbs,, or five and three hides, represented the holdings of the lowest 
claPs, whilst all the greater nobles, ecclesiastical as well as lay, were 
reckoned at 200 lbs. of land, or forty hides.^ A similar distribution of 

^ Palgrave's CommonwealiJi, vol. ii. p. cxcv. 

2 Pertz, Le(j. i. pp. 39, 40 ; Foedera, vol. i. p. 16. Some idea of the extent of the Frank 
kingdoms may he gathered from notices in Hincmar's Annals, When Charles the Bald 
bought off the Northmen in 866, he levied a Danegeld " de unoquoque manso ingenuili sex 
denarios, et de servili tres, et de accola unus, et de duobus hospitiis unus, et decima de omnibus 
qute negotiatores videbantur habere, sed et a presbyteris secundum quod unusquisque habuit 
vectigai exigitur, et heribanni de omnibus Francis accipiuntur." The result amounted to 4000 
lbs. of silver by weight. Again, in 877, he levied a tribute from Lothariugia and Burgundy, 
" Scilicet ut de mansis indominicatis solidus unus, de unoquoque manso ingenuili quatuor 
denarii de censu dominico et quatuor de facultate mansuarii, de manso vero servili duo denarii 
de censu dominico et duo de facultate mansuarii, et unusquisque episcopus de presbyteris suae 
parochia3 secundum quod unicuique possibile erat, a quo plurimum quinque solidos, a quo 
minimum ([uatuor denarios." The amount collected reached 5000 lbs. The tax evidently 
represented the tenth penny, levied in the case of the farming classes (fee-farmers and 


the land will be found to have been in force upon our own side of the 
Channel in Southumbrian England, where the Forty-hides was the bene- 
fice of an Eorl, still retaining its place in our system of land measurement 
as the Barony ; whilst the Ten-hides answered to the ordinary holding 
of the King's-thegn, and Five to the benefice of the Medial-thegn, the 
precursor of the feudal knight. So it was incumbent upon every feu- 
datory of the Empire in Germany, during the twelfth century, to attend 
the host w^ith a Halsherg and two Esquires from every ten mansi held by 
homage, whilst from amongst the vassals of the Church every Jive mansi 
were to furnish a Byriiie and one Esquire, a regulation pointing to the 
wide diffusion of this system of apportioning Lam-lands^ or benefices, 
over central and western Europe.^ Four times as many helms and 
byrnies were demanded as a heriot from an Eorl as from a King's-thegn, 
with 200 mancuses of gold, or 20 lbs. of silver from the former, and 50 
mancuses, or 5 lbs., from the latter ; each sura representing a gersume, or 
fine of a year's tax or land-gavel, the feriths respectively of 200 lbs. and 
50 lbs. of lands, or of Forty-hides and Ten-hides. Three Baronies or 
Forty-hides went to the Hundred of six score hides, each rejiresenting a 
Godord under a Godordsman, sometimes represented by an Eorl, but 
more generally replaced in France and England by the King's Graphio, 
or Gerefa, who exercised the royal prerogatives within the district, which 
was known as his shire, or division. The possession of the entire district 
as a benefice would alone confer upon the holder the prerogatives once 
enjoyed by the Godordsman, and subsequently exercised in the King's 
name by the royal Gerefa, such as the rigiit of holding a court with sac 
and soc, toll and theam, and other privileges enumerated in the charters 
of the Anglo-Xorman era. Vassals and King's-thegns, whose benefices 
only amounted to the half or the quarter of a shire, could only aspire to 
the privileges of a greater, or shire court, by " thriving to Eorl-right."- 

geneats) upon the rent and the profit, the untaxed third representing the expenses of the hold- 
ing. The richest priest was taxed like the possessor of five mansi indominicati, the equivalent 
of the half-cai ucate, or South-country hide, the ordinary glebe-land in southern England; the 
poorest was on a footing with the mansuarius servilis, attached to the land,. A penny-gavel 
amounting to 5000 lbs. represents 10,000 hides, and allowing for the farming classes, free and 
servile, the clergy, and the untaxed royal demesnes, a comparatively small portion remains for 
the leading ecclesiastics and nobility of Lotharingia and Burgundy. They were not a very 
numerous class at this period. The amount of the sums levied upon the English as Uanegeld 
in the follovving century speaks volumes for the wealth of southern England. 

^ Pertz, Leg. vol. ii.; Pars Alt. p. 3. The document in which the regulation occurs, purporting 
to be an enactment of Charlemagne, is spurious, but it would have be<;n useless if it had not 
been in accordance with the ideas of the century in which it appeared. The object of the 
forgery was evidently to restrict the amount of service in Italy, required from tenants by 
homage, to "the old amount." Four, instead o^ five, hides, or the equivalent, represented the ■ 
ordinary fief de hauberc in France and England at this time. 

2 Cnid, Sec, 72. The passage in the History of Ely (lib. 2, cap. 40) " quoniam ille quad- 
raginta llidarum terrte Dominium minime obtineret, licet nobilis esset, inter proceres tunc 
numerari non potuit," evidently refers to the privileges only enjoyed by the Eorl indominicat'us 
■with a great barony. A great extent of country was often placed in the soot of a shire, or 
barony, held by a leading noble, or an ecclesiastical community. iEthelwold, for instance, 
bought the Isle of Ely from Edgar, "that is to say 20 hides the king had in the island, et 
dignitatem et socani vii. hundredoram et dimidii," with 20 hides beyond the island, in all a 


The Southumbrian shire was divided into four large Vills, each sub- 
divided into two lesser Yills, which may be distinguished as Tuns or 
Townships, though the Tun and the Vill, strictly speaking, were identical. 
The normal size of the Vill was ten hides, of the Township five, and the 
quantity of feorm due from the ten hides, or ordinary Vill, is appended 
to the Laws of Ini. So also, in the grant made in 780 by Offa to the 
foundation of his grandfather Eanulf, the Minster at Breedon, the King 
made over thirty-five hides in four Vills, " that is, Teottingtun of five 
manentes, with the adjoining Vill a3t-Wasanburnan of ten cassati ; a 
third Vill fBt-Codeswellan, also of ten manentes, and the fourth, that is 
Northtun, of ten manentes." But perhaps one of the most perfect 
instances of the symmetrical arrangement, which will occasionally be 
found in such districts, is afforded in the manor of Leominster. At the 
time of the Conquest it belonged to a Nun-Minster, which had been 
made over to the widow of the Confessor ; and under the peaceful rule 
of the Canonesses it seems to have remained very much in the same con- 
dition as it was when first handed over to the religious community. The 
sixteen membra of the manor were rated at eighty hides, each niembrum 
therefore representing a township of five hides. There were eight pi-e- 
positi and eight bedelli, or a Tungreve and his Bode, the summoner of 
his petty court, in every large vill. There were eight Kadchenists, or 
Eadmen, to do the military service of the manor, one from every large 
vill ; and the 238 villeins, 157 serfs, and 230 ploughs, were in a propor- 
tion almost equally accurate — 30 villeins, 20 serfs, and 30 ploughs to 
every vill. The Conqueror took away twenty hides and added six 
priests, one to each of the six remaining larger vills, which had evidently 
been, before his time, dependent upon the clergy of the Minster, and were 
now provided for as separate chapelries or vicarages. Every county was 
at this time divided into Hundreds and Gesith-socns ; and every vill that 
was not included in a Gesith-socn, or manor in which a Tungreve was 
appointed by the overlord, represented a Tything, or Tenraantale, of the 
Hundred, in which a Decanus, annually chosen in the Hundred-court, 
presided in the petty court in the place of the Tungreve. As none could 
aspire to be a freeholder without the possession of at least half a carncate 
of land pro manerio — or a holding with a separate homestead, apart from 
the ham of the vill — so none could pretend to the privileges of full thegn- 
riglit without the possession of at least a township, the benefice of the 
Medial-thegn, or semi-nobilis, who stood in the same relationship to the 
King's-thegn as the Vassus enfeoffed with 20 hides stood to the Eorl with 
his large barony or shire. The oath of a thegn, by Mercian law, was 
equivalent to the oaths of six ceorls, or the half of a Tenmantale of twelve 
men. By Wihtred's laws, the thegn, or the priest, in Kent, cleared 
himself by his oath, when the ceorl, or the deacon, cleared himself with 

barony, giving to the king GO hides, 100 lbs., and a gfild cross of beautiful workmanship, " reli- 
quiisque referta." — Hist. El. 1. 1, c. 94. The cross, with 100 lbs. and 20 hides, or a second 
large baron}', represent the value given for the " dignitas et soca vii. hundredoruni et diniidii." 


the joint oaths of four of his fellows, representing together the half of a 
Tenmantale of ten men. So, in King Henry's laws, the Baro-regis, or 
his Dapifer, cleared the whole of his demesne, or else each vill sent the 
Tungreve and four of its " best men," or half a Tenmantale, with the 
priest ; and in Kent the Bors-ealdor and four men long continued to 
appear before the Justices in Eyre from every Boroiue or Tything held 
by Gavelkind tenure. The princii)le was applied to the land, and in the 
.state of society prevalent throughout Southumbrian England, none could 
stand alone, and unenrolled in a Borh, unless he was in the possession of 
at least a township.^ 

Above the shire of. the Gerefa was the shire of the Ealderraan, its 
court the Folc-moot assembled twice in the year, over which the 
Ealderman presided, with the Bishop and the King's Reeve. The title 
of Ealderman is as vague as that of Gerefa. ^thelred, the son-in-law 
of Alfred, for instance, grants and attests charters with the three Ealder- 
men who presided over the provinces of his great Ealderdom, each alike 
without distinction affixing his cross to the same title of Dux or Ealder- 
man.^ The same remark applies to the district over which the Ealderman 
presided, which often answered to a duchy rather than to a county in 
the later sense of the word. It was occasionally, and especially in early 
times, a principality, or small kingdom, reduced to the level of a shire, or 
division of a greater kingdom ; and of this description were the provinces 
of the Hwiccas, the MagasfBttas, and Lindisse, three of the five Ealder- 
doms of Mercia. Again, in the course of the tenth century, the Ealderdom 
became a great duchy, embracing a number of dependent provinces ; but 
in the ordinary acceptation of the word, as the division of a kingdom, the 
shire of the Ealderman seems to have been looked upon as half of a 
Thiufada or Gau, and to have been reckoned as six Hundreds. Its 
equivalent amongst the Norwegians was the Fylki, over which a Jarl 
was placed from the days of Hai-ald Harfager, with a right to the tertim 
denarius of his district, and bound to furnish sixty men at his own cost 
to the royal host. A Fylki, according to Ihre, was the half of a Hiisr, and 
was divided by Hacon the Good into Scipreidor, twelve in number, 
according to the same authority, each bound to furnish a ship with sixty 
or seventy men— the half of a hundred reckoned at 120 or 144. That 
this was the ordinary number of men cairied by a large ship of the period 
may be seen from the will of ^Ifric, Archbishop of Canterbury, in which 
he bequeaths to the King, as a heriot, his best ship, with sixty helms and 
sixty byrnies, or the defensive equipment of the crew. Thus the Nor- 
wegian Fylki would appear to have answered to half a Thiufada, the 
following of a Quingentenarius, or six Hterreds, each divided, for naval 
purposes, into two Scipreidor.^ Amongst the engagements contracted by 

1 Jnl, 70; Cod. Dip. cxl. ; Domesday, vol. i. p. 180 ; Leg. Hen. /., vi. 1, vii. 7, 8; Leg. 
Conf. xxviii. xxix. ; l/mibard's Peramhulaliovs, p. 5G7. 

' Cod. JJlp. nilxxiii. mlxxv. 

^ Humid II arf. Haga, c. 6.; TTarnn Godci Saga, c. 21 ; Hut, in voc. Fijiki. 'J'lie will of 
.iElfric will be found in Thorjic's D'qulornuta. 


Henry i., wlien he ascended the throne of England, was numbered a 
promise to be satisfied with a reasonable relief, and not to force his 
barons to buv back their lands, as in the days of his brother. Accord- 
ingly, when Kobert de Belesme paid 3000 lbs. for succeeding to his 
brother's earldom of Shrewsbury, it may be assumed that he " bought it 
back " at its full value from Eufus ; for 300 lbs. were paid during several 
reigns, by the citizens of London, as the annual rent, or tenths, of the 
. county of Middlesex. Thus the rent and value of a county, at the time 
of the Conquest, were reckoned respectively at the land-gavel and value 
of 72,000 acres, or 600 hides of land, and the greater shire, like the 
Norwegian Fylki, originally corresponded with six Hundreds. In the 
twofold division of the kingdom of Kent, in the two Ealdermen of Sussex 
slain by Cead walla, and in the two Fylkis of East Anglia, the modern 
counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, may be traced the early custom of 
dividing the little kingdom, as in Iceland, like the Thiufada, and placing 
each half, or shire, under the charge of an Ealderman, or petty king ; 
whilst most of the more modern counties, such as Leicestershire, Lan- 
cashire, and Nottinghamshire, for instance, which represent sheriffdoms 
rather than early provinces or principalities, retain to this day the dis- 
tribution into six Hundreds.^ 

In its earlier, and apparently original, form the lesser shire is best 
traceable in northern England and Scotland, where it was not obliterated 
by the introduction of the Hundred-court in the tenth century. Here 
the Ward, or Quarter, still represents the highest subdivision of the 
county, the Hundred is ignored, and the population is supposed to be 
grouped in parishes and townships. Amongst the privileges enjoyed by 
the Palatini and their immediate families, an Act of Constantine in 319 
relieved them from the superintendence of the " Turmarii quos Capitu- 
laries vocant," officials who are supposed to have been responsible for the 
enrolment of Tirones, or recruits for the army. Augustine alludes to a 
Turma near Hippo, and the name seems to have been applied to a 
minute subdivision of the land, over which the Turmarius presided, re- 
cognisable in the French Turbe, the German Dorf, and the Thorp and 
Torf of England and Scandinavia, which are only other names for the 
Vill. Its original extent in England was equivalent to twelve carucates, 
or a square leuga~the largest Koman measure of land, the Saltus, was 

^ Leg. Hen. /. i. 1 ; Cart. Civ. Lond. ; Orderic (odit. Provost) lib. x. cap. 7. " Robertus 
Belesmensis . . . (ruillelmuiii Rufuiu requisivit, eique pro couiitatu fratris iii. mille librarum 
sterilensiuni exbibuit." Such is the substance of the passage in Orderin. " In the county 
itself (Worcestersliirc) tliere are twelve Hundreds," says an entry in Domesday (vol. i. p. 172). 
It evidently represented a prnvinee or petty kingdom redueed to the footing of a shire. The 
Isle of ]\lan was divided like a shire into six /Sheddings, a word evidently derived from Cead, 
a humhed. In the "pound oath within the Three Hundreds " {Leg. LtJiel. I. i.), a glimpse 
is obtained of the district between the Hundred and the greater Shire — the Fierdingor Quarter. 
According to the Ijaws of the Confessor (xxxi.), " what the English call Three Hundreds or 
Four Hundreds, the Danes call Trithing ; " but as no courts were attached to these districts, 
they have long faded out uf recollection, except in the great shire of York with its three 


a square mile — the ordinary Banlieue and Banmeil of France and Ger- 
many, though the name was often applied to a district of much wider 
extent. In England, and probably elsewhere, it also answered to the 
amount of land, usually bestowed in free-alms, upon a Minster of the 
ordinary, or medium, size. Such was the leuga of Battle Abbey, 
stretching over the six large hides, or twelve carucates, immediately 
around the Abbey ; whilst the twenty-four carucates, known as the 
Manor of St. Germains in Cornwall, represented respectively the leuga 
of the Canons, held in free-alms, and the leuga of the Bishop. It 
occasionally appears as the Twelve-hides, for though the district subse- 
quently known under the name of the Twelve-hides of Glastonbury 
included a wide tract of country, representing one of the Hundreds of 
the shire, only the twelve carucates around the Abbey appear in the 
Survey, with the addition " they never paid geld."^ 

The Twelve-hides, or Square Leuga, also seems to have answered to 
the original appanage of the Twelfhyndman. As the land-gavel appears 
to have been assessed throughout the South- country in deniers, before 
the introduction of the Caroline penny, the value of 800 Langenekres, or 
Ten-hides, paying 800 sceats in penny-gavel, would have amounted to 
8000 deniers, or 1200 South-country scillings, representing respectively 
the appanage and the wergild of the King's-thegn. But wherever, as 
amongst the Continental Saxons and the Northmen, the wergild was 
reckoned in hundreds of six score, or by old English tale, twelve hundreds 
or 1440 scillings would have amounted to 9600 deniers, representing 
the value of 960 Langenekres, or Twelve-hides, which would thus 
appear to have been the original appanage of the Twelfhyndman. A 
similar result is obtainable from a comparison of the wergild of the North- 
country Twelfhyndman with the valuation of the Lancashire hide. Two 
ores of sixteen pence were paid from every carucate, or twelve from the 
hide, giving to the latter a value of six score ores of sixteen, or ten light 
pounds, and twice that amount to the square leuga of twelve carucates. 
Each ore of the lb. of 16 sol., however, being in reality an ore of twenty- 
four light pence, contained six light scillings, giving 1440 to 20 lbs. ; 
and thus, in the north country as well as in the south, the wergild of the 
Twelfhyndman corresponded with the valuation of his appanage, or 
Twelve-hides. As a comparison between the Galanas and the appanage 
of the Welsh Breyr, or Mabuchelwr, gives a similar result, the connec- 
tion existing between the two in a certain stage of society seems to be 
confirmed; for the value of the Maenawl of 1024 Welsh acres, calculated 

' Cod. Theocl. lib. vi. tit. xxxv. 3; Chron. de Bello ; Domesday, vol. i. p. 90, 120b; 
Warner's Glastonbury, p. xxxvii. Wlien Cbarlos tlie Bald issued bis rcgulatitnis in coiiiiec- 
tioii witb St. Martin's ot Tours in 84!), be decided tbat " cc. tantum in nuuiero Fratriin), 
vicenos singulis niansis." Bouquet, vol. viii. p. 500. Ten mansi tiieretbre formed tlie usual 
appanage assigned in free-alms to a Minster in Gaul, and in tbe case of St. Martin's, tlie 
whole of tbe property was evidently included in the " 'J'en-hides," or, in other words, held in 
free-alms. The Koman Saltus is a srinare mile, measured by the Greek, or, in other words, the 
Sicilian foot. 


by the early standard of the south country, or at 10,240 deniers, gives 
forty light pounds, the Galanas, or wergild, reckoned in current pence 
by tale. 

The Twelve-hides appears to have been usually regarded as a small 
vi'snet, or neighbourhood, and divided into three Townships of four hides, 
each equivalent to the fief de hauberc of later days, thus giving twelve 
townships, and eight-and-forty carucates, or four square leugas, to the 
shire. Three kinds of Minster are alluded to in the old English laws ; 
and as the ordinary Minster of medium size may be classed upon a foot- 
ing with the King's-thegn, with a grant in free-alms of Twelve-hides, so 
the greater Minster, ranking with the Eorl, was similarly endowed with a 
shire, and its accompanying privileges, whilst the smallest Minster re- 
ceived a township of four hides. The traces of this system, which once 
extended over the whole of England, were not entirely obliterated in the 
South-country at the time of the Conquest, but they will be found more 
particularly in Kent, St. Martin's Minster at Dover, for instance, pos- 
sessed in free-alms twenty-four sulings, or four square leugas, and "in 
the common land of St. Martin there are cccc. acres and a half, which 
make two solins and a half, and never rendered custom or geld, for the 
twenty-foirr solins acquit it all." The four square leugas represented 
the shire or barony, originally allotted to the Minster in freo-alms, and a 
similar donation is evidently alluded to in the old legend in connection 
with the foundation of St. Mildred's Nun-minster. Domneva is supposed 
to have " begged of the King so much ground to build an Abbey upon as 
a tame deere that she nourished would run over at a breath. . . . The 
hynde was put foorth, and it ran the space Qi fourtle and eight plough- 
landes before it ceased." In Somersetshire, again, St. Peter's church at 
Michelney held four carucates in free-alms at the date of the Survey, and 
in the Township, the Twelve-hides, and the Shire, or Barony, allotted 
respectively to the lesser, medium, and greater Minsters in free-alms, 
may be traced the original extension of the earlier system over the 
whole of England, before the introduction of the Ten-hides and the Five- 
hides. The later grants to the church were made upon the later system, 
and only the earlier foundations could point to their leuga in free-alms.^ 

Beyond the Humber, the Wapentake of Sadberg, in the possession 
of the Bishop of Durham, was reckoned of old as a comitatus, or shire, 
the bishop occasionally figuring as Comes de Sadberg ; and within its 
boundaries were held the Sheriff's Tourn and Assizes, whilst it pcssessed 
a vice-comes, a coroner, and justices in eyre of the bishop. Eleven con- 
stabularies or townships (two witli appendages) are stated to have owed 
suit and service to the Court of Sadberg, twelve townships in all, or the 
number allotted to a lesser shire; and as Richard i. made over the manor 
and wapentake of Sadberg, with the knight's-fees within its boundaries, 

* Ethel, ix. 5 ; Cnut. Ecc. 3 ; Domesdaii, vol. i. p. lb, 6, 91 ; Lamhard, p. 100; Dug. Mon. 
i. p. 447. In the old laws there is nothing between a Minster and a field-church, or chapel, 
und in following np defaulters in tithes, the mass-priest of the Minster alone interferes. 


in exchange for six knight's-fees of the bishop in Lincolnshire, Sadberg 
would appear to have been exchanged for an amount of land answering 
to forty-eight carucates ; for the knight's-fee must here be reckoned at 
the standard of the great fee of four large hides. ^ In the earlier grants 
to St. Cuthbert's, alluded to by Sinaeon, the shire is distinctly visible. 
All the lands along the Bowmont, with twelve townships, were allotted 
to the endowment of Melrose ; South VVearmouth was granted by 
Athelstan, with its eleven appendages, twelve in all, to the church of 
Durham ; Staindrop with its eleven appendages, twelve in all, was simi- 
larly conferred by Canute ; and when Alfred, the son of Birihtulfinc, 
sought the protection of the Bishop from the Danes he received a Isen of 
twelve townships. " To these three, Ethred Eorle, Northman Eorle, and 
Eorl Uhtred," the Bishop and Chapter made over twenty-four townships, 
"and may he who deprives St. Cuthbert of any of these lands perish in 
the day of judgment" — a devout aspiration that marks the grant of the 
two shires to the Earls as a lasn in return for their protection. '• To our 
lord the King pray the people of South Tynedale, namely, of the town- 
ships under mentioned," twelve in all, which made up the Liberty of 
Tynedale, the shire, or barony, so long in the possession of the kings of 
Scotland ; and in the barony of Beanley, held by Earl Patrick as 
" Inborwe et Utborwe inter Angliam et Scotiam," there were also twelve 
townships, of which the brethren of St. Lazarus held Harrop in free-alms. 
The extensive parish of Norham is still divided into twelve townships, 
answering collectively to the old shire ; and in Islandshire, the Dean and 
Chapter of Durham possessed of old the tithes of ten, and the rent and 
tithes of two townships, twelve in all. When William de Carileph 
replaced the Secular Canons, or Culdees, of Durham with Benedictines, 
he conferred, amongst other gifts, upon the new Dean and Chapter two 
churches, the ecclesia de Eland, once the original seat of the bishopric, 
with the adjacent township of Fenham, and the ecclesia de Northam 
cum sua villa, or the township of Shoresworth ; and, according to a later 
writer, " the townshippe of Shoreswoode is glebe to the personage of 
Norham, and the townshippe of Eenham is glebe to the personage of 
Holy Island." Thus the grant of the ecclesia de Eland, or parish 
church, carried with it ecclesiastical rights over every township in the 
shire — or parish, — with the actual possession of the township of Fenham 
as " glebe to the personage " — the kirktoivn ; and similar rights passed 
with the grant of the church of Norham. Upon the island itself, the 
original seat of St. Cuthbert's brotherhood, latterly represented by a cell 
of monks, there was a small free burgh of the bishop, electing its own 
officers, and with a market regidating all the weights and measures of 
the shires of Norham and Holy Island ; in other words, it was the seat 
of the official head of the shire, once represented by the Reeve or Gerefa. 
In Norhamshire, the township of Shoresworth represented the kirktown, 

' Surtees's Durham, vol. i. p. cxxxvii. ; vol. iii. p. 265, 201'. If ihn knip:lit's-fce is reckoiicil 
at the fief de hauberc of four carucates the result is too biimll. 


Norham itself having always been the head of the shire, and once the 
residence of the Reeve, whose prerogatives may be traced in the offices 
centred in his representative in later times, the Captain of Norham 
Castle, who was Sheriff and Escheater, Coroner and Seneschal, within 
the dominion and liberty of Norham, or the old shire. As the temporal 
jurisdiction of the Godordsman over the old Temple district was vested 
in the Reeve, so the ecclesiastical jurisdiction was centred in the little 
Minster, with its township, or kirktown, in free-alms as glebe. The 
possession of the Minster generally passed, in course of time, into the 
hands of a Persona, either a bishop, an ecclesiastical community, or a 
layman — or laymen, — and though it occasionally remained in the posi- 
tion of a subordinate Cell of some great community, it was usually 
allowed to go to ruin, and the charge of the church was committed to a 
vicar, with a carucate or half-carucate of glebe, and a certain portion of 
the ecclesiastical dues. Thus the Minster died away, and the church 
and its priest alone renaained as the parish church and parish priest of 
the district, which was often shorn of its original limits by the erection 
of other churches upon private properties or boclcmds. Field-churches, 
or chapelries, originally — five seems to have been the full number 
allowed to a shire — and dependent upon the Minster of the district, 
whether large or small, the addition of a burial-ground, raised them to 
the position of small parish churches, which, in course of tirae, gradually 
ceased to be dependent upon the representative of the old Minster.^ 

A glimpse is afforded of the two leading officials of the shire, eccle- 
siastical and secular, in the annals of Hexham. After the original seat 
of that bishopric became the property of the See of Durham, a 'prepositus 
was appointed over the shire, and a presbyter over the church. The 
Provost, or Reeve, appears to have been generally a connection of the 
Bishop, and he was removeable at the accession of every new prelate, 
though he seems to have been usually allowed to continue in office. The 
last to whom allusion is made by name was Uhtred, Ulf kill's son, who 
was the father of Cospatrick, vicecomes or reeve of Teviotdale. The 
church was made over originally to Eylaf the Sacristan of Durham, who 
was succeeded as Persona by his son, Eylaf the treasurer, both providing for 
the church by placing it under the charge of a vicar. The younger 
Eylaf, who was the father of Ailred the hibtorian, was one of the Secular 

* Hist. St. Cuth. Twysden, p. 67 et seq. ; Hodgson's Northumherland, pt. ii. vol. iii. p. 21 ; 
Testa de Nevlll, p. 385 ; Kaine's JS^urth Durham, pp. 20, 26, 27, 73, 83. In addition to the 
barony of Beanley, Earl Patrick held the three Middletons in thanage, paying 30 sol. to the 
sherift', and receiving from his sub-tenant, or Socager, the same sum " et uno annuali con- 
vivio," the old tenure of the night's-feorm. The name of parochia seems to have been 
somewhat indefinitely applied — my remarks are limited to our own islands — to the district 
over which a bishop, or a religious community, large or small, exercised spiritual jurisdiction, 
and levied church-shot and other ecclesiastical dues. In short, it was an ecclesiastical shire 
of indefinite extent, and the name was as vague as that of shire. It might contain many 
shrift-districts — cures of souls — or be limited to one, until by degrees, out of the identification 
and union of the parish and the shiift-district, arose the fixed ecclesiastical subdivision to which 
the name has been latterly confined. 


Canons of Durham who refused to conform to the Benedictine rule, 
retiring to his church at Hexham, where he held " the cure of the parish 
with the principal part of the appointments, a carucate of land with 
some manses in the vill of Hexham, and six bovates of land in Alnwick, 
" scilicet dotem ipsius ecclesia?," or the glebe of the chapelry of Alnwick. 
Thus he sank from a persona into a vicar, but, had the state of society- 
allowed it, the Eylafs and their descendants would have grown into 
hereditary parsons of Hexham, much after the same fashion as the Deans 
of Whalley. Known originally as "Alba ecclesia subter Legh," or 
Whitchurch under Legh, the church of St. Mary of Whalley was the 
parish church, and once the minster, of " Blackburnshire and all Bolland," 
an immense extent of forest and moor. Vestiges of the lesser shire 
abound in the once secluded district known as Christ's Croft, or the Six 
Hundreds between Mersey and Eibble, one of which derived its name 
from the old shire of Blackburn. King Edward, for instance, held the 
manor of West Derby with six Berewicks. There were four hides, giving 
four carucates to each Berewick, and aforesta, or preserve, two leugas by 
one, or twenty-four carucates — forty-eight in all, haif covered with wood. 
Uhtred, again, held six manors, in which were two hides which, with 
silvce, or woods that were not preserved, covered an extent of four square 
leugas, or forty-eight carucates, two-thii'ds of which were under wood. 
The church of Whalley had no patron, for the surrounding country was 
barely rescued from the wilderness, and only occupied by petty free- 
holders, or Less-thegns, holding of the King. It was in the possession of 
married men, inheriting it from father to son, who were instituted by 
the Bishop of Lichfield, and known as Decani, or Deans of Whalley. 
They were evidently Minster-hlafords, appointing themselves, and the 
last survivors of a community that had disappeared, the possessions and 
rights of the defunct community being vested in the hereditary represen- 
tatives of the original Decani, or leading members of the society.^ 

Northward of the Tweed, the shire is even still more distinctly trace- 
able in its earlier and original aspect. When Edgar made over the shire 
of Coldingham to the monks of Durham he bestowed upon them the 
township of Coldingham, with ten other townships, and, at the dedication 
of the church of St. Mary, completed his gi-ant by ofiferiijg upon the altar 
the township of Swinton, as Liulf had held it, or twelve townships in 
all. Alexander ii., in the thirteenth year of his reign, released the 
monks of Coldingham from the aid and utware — auxilium et exercitum 
— which had originally been due from " the tivelftli township of the shire 
of Coldingham, that is, the town in which the church stands," thus in- 
cidentally confirming the fact that the shire was, as usual, made up of 
twelve lesser vills. Swinton was subsequently conferred by David upon 
Arnulf, " his knight," to hold of the King and St. Cuthbert of Durham, 

^ Priorij of Ile.rham (Surtces Soc), vol. i. p. f)4, Ap. vii. ; Domesday, vol. i. p. 2G9b ; 
Dug. 3Ion. vol. v. p. 642. In the Testa de Nevill the Hundreds of Lancashire appear as 
shires — Derbyshire, LeylandsAtVe, BlackburnsAira. 


with all the rights and customs enjoyed by Liulf and his son, Odoard 
the vicecomes, paying annually to the brotherhood 40 sol., in lieu of all 
service, the tenure by which Odoard had held it. Thus Swinton repre- 
sented tlie township allotted to the Reeve of the shire, Coldingham was 
the kirktown ; a grant of the former conveyed the rights attaching to the 
Gerefa, a grant of the latter those belonging to the kirktown, whilst a 
donation of both centred the ecclesiastical and temporal rights over the 
whole shire in the same person or community. Instances of similar 
privileges attaching to certain manors abound in the Survey, even in 
southern England. To the manor of Pireton, for example, belonged the 
" tertius denarius de tota scira de Dorset ;" to the manor of Wallop the 
tertius denarius of the Six Hundreds, with pasturage and pannage in all 
the woods of the Six Hundreds, some forgotten shire in the county, or 
province, of South Hampton. Pireton, with its appendages, though only 
lated at half a hide, returned a rent of 73 lbs., and had arable land for 
fifteen ploughs. Its value therefore was far above its extent, and, as 
sixteen ploughs would have at that time represented sixteen Juga, or four 
Sulings, it may be supposed to have been once a township of four large 
hides, the seat of a Gerefa who exercised jurisdiction over a shire of 
" fourtie and eight." ^ 

In the grants of David, and other kings, to the Priory of St. Andrews, 
the shire is continually alluded to, and the Scottish Gerefa was known 
as the Thane or Mair, his district often as a Thanage. The church of 
St. Mary of Haddington was given to the Priory, with all the chapels, 
lands, rights, and customs belonging to it within the shire of Haddington, 
free from the king, the thane, and all who held of the king, or the free- 
holders of the shire. Clerchetun, with the toft in the township of Had- 
dington adjoining the church, was added to the grant, and similarly 
released from king, from thane, and from freeholder, together with the 
gift of all the tithes of the shire, which were thus attached to the kirk- 
town, and not to the church of St. Mary, The chapelries, with certain 
rights over the lauds attached to them, and the ecclesiastical dues, with 
a carucate or half-carucate of glebe, belonged to the parish church ; but 
the tithes went with the kirktown, and might be alienated altogether 
from the church by the Persona who held it. Kinninmond, with the 
whole shire and a toft in Kinrimont, the church of Forgrund, with the 
tithes, rights, and customs belonging to it in the shire of Forgrund, and 
a toft for the priest's house, with the half carucate of laud with which 
the church was endowed — the kirktown was evidently in the possession 
of a Persona — place upon record the existence of other shires ; whilst the 
parish church of the Holy Trinity, with the land of Kindargog with 
which it is endowed, and all the cliapelries in the shire of Kilrimont, 
with the toft in the burgh on which " the houses are built," represent the 
original church and ku'ktown of the Culdee community, with the rights 
attaching to both throughout the shire of Kilrimont, the leading shire, 

1 Coldingham Charters, 2, 3, 4, 12, 13, 66 ; Domesday, vol. i. pp. 75, 38b. 


or thanage, ia the bishopric of St. Andrews. In the Registers of Dun- 
fermline, Scone, Arbroath, and other monasteries, frequent reference is 
made to the shire over all that part of Scotland which may be described 
as stretching from the Tweed to Inverness, and it is easily identified with 
the thanage. In the Register of Aberdeen, for example, it is recorded 
how David i. made over or confirmed to the See " the whole vill of Old 
Aberdeen, and the church of the Kirktown, with the shire of Clat, the 
shire of Tulinestyn, the shire of Rayn, and the shire of Daviot, with their 
pertinents and churches, and the tithes of the rents of the thanages and 
escheats within the Sheriffdoms of Aberdeen and Banff;" all these shires 
appearing in other parts of the same Register as thanages. First amongst 
the donations of William the Lion to the foundation he raised to the 
memory of Thomas a Becket was " Aberbrothoc with the whole shire ; " 
and a grant of this description, in which the ecclesiastical and tempoial 
prerogatives over the district were alike vested in an abbot, seems to 
have been often known in early days as an AhtJianage ; whilst the 
donation of " the church of Ecclcsgirg, with the land of the Abbey, and 
all its pertinents," and other grants similarly worded, may be supposed 
to have conveyed the lands, and lesser prerogatives, of a Minster of a 
lower class. Traces of the original extent of the thanage seem to have 
lingered longest, as in England, in the north, for the lordship of Strath - 
bolgie was once divided into forty-eight davochs — a large pastoral 
measure at one time answering to the plough-gate, though in, actual 
extent four times as large, or in the proportion of the suling and the 
jugum. The Lordship thus represented the Forty-hides, or Barony of 
the Eorl, the shire or thanage made over to a lay magnate ; and 
in " the Aucht and Foity Dauch" of Huntly, still remembered in the 
north, and once a favourite toast in that part of Scotland, may be also 
seen the equivalent of the " fourtie and eight ploughlandes," which com- 
pleted the course of the Kentish matron's legendary deer.^ 

A glimpse of the ordinary Scottish shire of the twelfth and thirteenth 
centuries is obtained from certain grants and sales connected with the 
thanage of Kintore, which was made over in 1375 " saving the pertinen- 
cies and our kanes/' by Robeit ir. to John de Dunbar, Earl of Moray. 
The forest of Kintore, within the thanedom, and the lands of Thayiis- 
town and Foulartoun, with the dues from Kinkell and Dyce, had befoie 
this time been granted, respectively, to Sir Robert Keith and William 
Chalmer. The name of Thaynstoun speaks for itself " The Mairship 
of the east quarter of Fife, with the land called the 31airtoiin, which 
William Mair resigned. . . . The office of Mair of fee of the barony of 
Crailj with the land of 31artoun" — these and similar passages [)oint to 

1 JRef/. Prior. St. And. pp. 122, 138, 180, 181, 213. My authority for the lordships of 
Strathbolgie and Huntly is Mr. Innes. Amongst the enfranchisements in the Book of Deer, 
one alludes to " the proportion affecting /bitr davochs of land of such burdens as would fall on 
all chief monasteries . . . and chief churches " (p. xcvii.) These four davochs seem to repre- 
sent the original Kirktown, before it dwindled into the half-davoch that was its ordinary 
amount in this quarter in later times. 


the vill or township set apart for the ]\Iair, the leading official, or Keeve, 
placed over the temporalities of the district ; whilst in Foulartoun, or 
the Fowler's town, the recollection of the royal deputy in charge of the 
Foresta is probably preserved. In Kinkell, or " the ciiief church," may 
be recognised the original Kirktown, upon which the chapelries of 
Kintore, Kiunellar, Monkeigie, Drumblait, and Dyce were once de- 
pendent, " all of which of old, as well as Kinkell itself, were severally 
provided of a priest, who officiated as chaplain, or vicar, for the parson 
of Kinkell himself; who being a principal person in the Chapter, had 
his residence at the Cathedral, in the Chanonry." Thus the ecclesiasti- 
cal prerogatives over the district had been made over to the Chapter of 
Aberdeen, and assigned to one of the members as Persona ; but in 
earlier times, when Thaynstoun and Foulartoun were the official resi- 
dencies of the Mair and Fowler, appointed as royal deputies over the 
thanedom and forest of Kintore, Kinkell was the kirktown in which 
the little Minster stood, and its church was the mother church, or parish 
church, of the shire. In 1467 the lands of Thaynstoun were sold " with 
the pertinents and the annual rent . . . from Kinkell, and with the vill 
of Foulartoune adjoining the aforesaid land of Thaynstoun . . . and all 
the kanes of barley and cheese, and all the money due ratione ferchani 
from the lands of Kinkell and Dyss, within the aforesaid thanedom (of 
Kintore) ;" and in 1535 there was another sale of " the eighth part of 
the lands of Thaynstoun and Foulartoun lying adjacent to it, with the 
yearly I'ent . . . de terris villarum ecclesiarum (the Kirktowns) of 
Kinkell and Dyce, . . . and all the kanes . . . and money ratione 
ferchani belonging to the lands Kinkell and Dyce." Just as the Minster 
claimed ecclesiastical prerogatives over the Mairtown, so the Mair was in 
the enjoyment of temporal privileges over the Kirktow^n, a name which in 
the sixteenth century, and probably long before, was no longer attached 
exclusively to the township originally assigned to the Minster, but was 
evidently given to the carucate, or half-carucate, of land made over as 
glebe to the vicarage.^ 

Such was the Scottish thanage, such the early English shire ; a dis- 
trict reckoned at twelve townships, and eight-and-forty ploughlands, or 
davochs, and either placed under the superintendence of a royal deputy, 
or else made over to a leading magnate ; whilst in things ecclesiastical, 
it was under the superintendence of a greater or lesser Minster. It 
must not be supposed, however, that the institution, whether it is known 
as a thanage or a shire, was peculiarly confined to this side of the 
Channel, for it is traceable, even in its minutest points, upon the Con- 
tinent, and particularly in France, as may be gathered from the following 
examples, a few amongst many : — In a charter given to Abbeville by a 
Count of Ponthieu, it is laid down that, if a question about chattels should 
arise between members of the guild (Jures), or between a member and a 

* Antiq. Aberdeen (Spalding Club), vol. i, pp. 250, 251, 571, 575, 576, 577 ; Robertson's 
Index, p. 121, 127. 


stranger {non-jure), appeal should be made " ad vicecomitem meum vel 
ad dominum vicecomitatus illius " — to the reeve or the lord of the shire, 
or barony — and thus the county of Ponthieu must have been sub- 
divided into vicecomitatus, or shires, either placed under a deputy of the 
Count, or made over to a baron or lord in dependence upon the Count 
or King. When Guy and Ivo, joint Counts of Amiens towards the 
close of the eleventh century, laid down various regulations against the 
exactions and violence of Viscounts and their officials, they concluded 
with an injunction that none should venture to deprive the church of 
St. Mary and St. Firmin at Amiens of " our portion in the shires of 
Dureville and St. Maurice which we have made over to them — nostras 
partes vicecomitatus de villa Diiri et Sancti Mauricii;" evidently in 
allusion to a grant of all their prerogatives over the viscounties in ques- 
tion, " saving the rights of the freeholders," through which the church of 
Amiens became " dominus vicecomitatus," About twenty years before 
this time, or in 1069, Eaoul Count of Amiens, with all the " milites 
totius Conteiensis honoris," resigned at the instigation of the bishop 
" ex multis que possidebam . . . potestatem quam vicecomites in terris 
predictorum fratrum exercebant ; " so that in the ecclesiastical posses- 
sions of the brethren of St. Firmin within the boundaries of the Honor of 
the Chateau de Conty, the vicecornes and the miles, or reeve and free- 
holder — for the freeholder within an Honor was invariably a miles, or 
military tenant — had certain rights which wei-e waived or abrogated by this 
charter, just as the property of the Priory of St. Andrews, within the shire 
of Haddington, was similarly relieved from the interference of thane or 
freeholder by the charter of David. On either side of the Channel, 
therefore, the leading principles of the system were identical or very 
similar, and the shire could be made over to the equivalent of an Eorl, 
or retained under the superintendence of a Reeve or Mair. In either 
case the rights of the freeholders were inalienable, unless by special com- 
pact ; whilst the unprivileged inhabitants of the district, representatives 
of a population originally servile, or of alien race, rendered their services 
and made their payments to the pei-son, whether an official or an absolute 
proprietor, who was appointed to receive them by the supreme overlord.^ 

1 Monumens de I'llistolre die Tiers Etat, vol. i. pp. Ill, 23, 40. The various rights ot 
Overlord, Deputy, and Proprietor, are well illustrated by certain resignations contained in the 
Chartulaiy of Redon. Alan Count of Bretague, in 1040, waived alfclaim to Gualoer m the 
lands of the Abbacy of St. Saviour, " illam scilicet partem quo . . . priucipibus solvi consue- 
verat," forbidding his officials to enter the lands of the Abbacy to exact it. Eudo the Vice- 
comes, m 101)2, " condonavit waloria totius sui honoris," or all the part belonging to hi.s 
ofiSce, his sons consenting to the resignation. The Gualoer was the Droit d'aubaine, the Dana 
ar/ of the North, or the right to the property of a deceased alien ; and fifty years elapsed before 
the resignati(;n of the Deputy completed the freedom from the impost begun by the resignation 
of the Overlord.^ A certain llatfred, in 1041, made over his property, " cum tota decima, 
sepuHura, gualoir," as he had received it I'roni Count Alan to the same Ablicy. In his case 
the right was vested in the proprietor {Cart, llcdon, rcxci.x. ccc. cccxxii.) Instances abound 
in the Book of Peer of similar resignations of the i iglits of king, niormair and toshach, but in 
the France of the eleventh century, the power of the king was too weak to claim his " sharo " 
I'rom the Counts of Urclagno and similar magnates. 


The introduction of the Hundred-court, in England, as upon the 
Continent, must have gradually obliterated, as far as it penetrated, all 
recollection of the lesser shire. The smaller court amongst the free- 
holders was swallowed up, as it were, by the greater, surviving only in 
the court-baron of the Gesith-socn. Much in the same way the old 
county-court or Folc-moot, in which the Ealderman and the Bishop 
presided tioice in the year, vanishes in some indistinct manner between 
the court of the royal justiciaries and the later county -court of the Vice- 
comes or Sheriff, which arises in its place, and was held three times a 
year as a Burh-gemote in the leading burgh of the district. After the 
reign of Athelstan, or about the middle of the tenth century, the King's 
reeves were no longer enjoined to hold their courts twelve times in the 
year, nor were they any longer bidden to assist in the hue and cry with 
their Blannung. Their duties and their courts were alike transferred to 
the Hundred's-ealdor, a different character from the military leader, 
known under a similar title in an earlier stage of society. He was 
elected, indeed, by the freeholders instead of being appointed by the 
sovereign, differing from the earlier Scir-gerefa as the Decanus from the 
Timgreve, but he was chosen from the same class ; for every freeholder 
belonging to the community was by this time either a thegn in direct 
dependence upon the sole sovereign in Mercia and the South-country, or 
holding of him in socage in the Danelage. In the regulations of the 
Hundred, however, the remembrance of the lesser shire seems to have 
been still perpetuated in the rule laid down that every Tything was 
bound to clear itself by the oaths of its Decanus and two true men, and 
of the Decanus and two true men from the three neighbouring Tythings, 
the jury of twelve thus jointly representing the united oaths of four 
Tythings or a lesser shire, the twelve Doomsmen of the Godord. Such 
is the latest glimpse afforded amongst the community of England of the 
once Pagan subdivision of the Godord, though it survived for some centu- 
ries later amongst a similar class in Scotland as the thanage. Wherever 
the Hundred-court has failed to penetrate, and the county still represents 
the original province, Gau or Thiuftida, divided as of old into Wards or 
Quarters, the lesser shire may still be occasionally distinguished in the 
next very variable subdivision, though only under its ecclesiastical name 
of Parish ; whilst in its later phase of Eorty-hides it yet retains a nominal 
place in the land-measurement of England as the Barony.^ 

* Leg. Oonf. xx. ; compare Scotland under her Early Kings, vol. ii. ap. f, p. 335. In 
the foliowino; passage from Hincmar's Annals {ad. an., 869) there seems an allusion to the 
Turbe and Centena : — " De centum mansis unum haietaldum, et de mille mansis unum carrum 
cum duobis bobis. . . . quatenus ipsi haistaldi castellum, quod ibidem ex ligno et lapide fieri 
prsecepit, excolerent et custodirent." A hundred mansi would have been the equivalent of 
Ten-hides, a thousand of a Hundred-hides. The Haistaldus was the liber mansuarius, or Haga- 
stallr, the Hagerman of Low Saxony, and Miles agrarius of Widukind. The policy of the 
Frank king foreshadows, as usual, the policy subsequently carried out in England by Alfred, 
and in Germany by Henry the Fowler. 



Bishop "^ 

Able* 1 Fortiorea f ^ ^^' ^'^'^^ ^^^ '^^^^^^ ~ ^"^^ ^^^' ~ '^^ ^'^^^^ ~ ^°^'^'^ barony. 

ot 1 

3SS f- 
It J 

Abbot "I 
Abbess V Medic 
Count ) 

Vassus Dominicatus 

■ 6 oz. from 200 casati = 100 lbs. = 20 hides = Lesser barony. 

Abbot ) ^. 1 

Abbess \ ^^^inoies i 5 sol. from 100 casati = 50 lbs. = 10 hides = King's-thegn. 

Vassus Dominicatus 3 

,r . , . I 50 ) ,. (25 lbs. I (5 hides ) J Medial-thegn. 

Vassi . 1 oz. from j g^ j casati = j ^^ jj^^ | = | 3 ^.^^^ J = j ^^^^^^^ g^^ ^^^ j^^^l^^^.^^ 

1 square leuga = 1 turbo or tything. 

4 ,, =4=1 shire or barony. 

12 ,, = 12= 3= 1 hundred. 

36 „ = 36 = 9 = 3 = 1 quarter. 

72 „ = 72 = 18 = 6 = 2 = 1 shire or fylki. 

144 „ = 144 = 36 = 12 = 4 = 2 = 1 thiufada. 


120 scillings = 1 carucate = 1 wealh. 
240 ,, =2 „ =2 = 1 twyhyndman. 
720 ,, =6 ,, ^ 6 ^ 3 =: 1 sixhyndman. 
1440 „ = 12 „ .-=12=6 = 2 = 1 twelfhyudman. 


This schedule represents the various classes of nobility, lay and 
ecclesiastical, amongst the Franks in 779. Only the Vassi Dominicati 
were, in reality, assessed according to the amount of mansi with which they 
were enfeoffed, for dues, rights, and privileges, more than actual land, 
made up the property of the highest class. Lowest upon the list, and 
after the Vassi Dominicati, King's-thegns or Barons, came the Vassi, 
Mesne-tenants or Vavassours, Besides these four classes there was the 
free community, small freeholders in allod or benefice down to the pro- 
prietor of half a mansus, the equivalent, apparently, of the highest 
servile holding. They were all more or less Ilaistaldi, Hagermen with 
a manerium, or homestead of their own ; though the true Haga-staller 
evidently held in benefice, and not in allod, for he was removable, and 
was gradually enclosed within walls as a Imrgher, exchanging the posi- 
tion of a miles agrarius for that of a miles urbanus. The priesthood, by 
right of office, were classed amongst the free community, the lowest 
ranking upon a level with the freeholder of half a mansus; and the 
negotiatorcs, the chapmen and dustyfeet of our old laws, were necessarily 
free to " go where they willed." From the passages elsewhere (piotcd 
from Hincmar's Annals, it is evident that the servilis mansuarius ranked 

132 THE SHI HE. 

first amongst the unfree tax-paying classes, and he was the equivalent of 
the Geneat or Husbandman attached to the land, and irremovable from it. 
Below him was the accola, a stranger removable at pleasure ; and lowest 
of all the man who combined with another to make up the necessary- 
contribution for which the accola was liable by himself. All underneath 
this class, which may be supposed to represent the cotmen, were absolute 
slaves, without any property from which a penny could be wrung. 


The subdivisions of the province to which the name of Thiufada is 
given, for want of a better. It is not unlikely that the Gau was once 
similarly divided. As the Franks reckoned ten men to the Turbe, and 
gave fen mansi to the Minster, so at a comparatively early time the Ten- 
hides divided into two lesser vills replaced in Southumbrian England the 
Twelve-hides or square leuga, divided into three townships. The 
Hundred, by degrees, was reckoned at live score, and the South-country 
hide shrunk into the half-carucate or Jugura ; and accordingly the Hun- 
dred in southern England is a much smaller measure than in the Mid- 
lands. It must be always borne in mind, however, that the Hundred 
applied to the free population of the district long before the land itself 
was measured out for the purposes of assessment. 


The appanage and the wergild. In the South-country 1440 scillings 
represented 9600 deniers, or the value of 960 langenekres, a square 
letiga. In the North-country, a similar sum represented 20 lbs. of 16 
sol, the value of twelve carucates, each worth 20 ores of light-pence. 
In an early stage of society the test seems tolerably accurate. The old 
Frank wergild of 600 solidi, for instance, reckoned by the early standard, 
gives 24,000 deniers, representing the value of 200 casati, not an unlikely 
appanage for the original Antrustion or Vassus Dominicatus of early 
times. But as the power of the sovereign increased, and the state of 
society in which a man was born with a claim upon an appanage in 
accordance with his own valuation passed away, the value of the wergild 
remained stationary, whilst the holding fluctuated with the variations of 
the time. From that time there ceased to be any necessary correspon- 
dence between them, and in the Sachsenspiegel the wergild is reckoned 
at the standard of the Caroline age, the smallest Schoppenbar-freeman 
being valued on a footing with the Fiirst and Freyherr, whilst their appan- 
ages were widely different. The commencement of such a change is 
traceable from a very early time in England, for when the legal value of 
the hide was worth 5 lbs., the wergild of 1200 sciUings, or 25 lbs., 
would have corresponded with the appanage of the medial-thegn, or five 
hides instead of ten. A similar process is deserving of remark amongst 
the Welsh, for the Galanas of the Breyr, reckoned at 40 lbs. of 16 sol, 


doubles the early wergild of the North-country Twelfhyndman. The 
taeog, when he took land of the king, was bound, by Welsh law, to pay 
60 pence for every rhandir of 16 eriv — 80 deniers, or Jive for every acre. 
The penny-gavel in Kent was once exacted in half-sceatts, as has been 
already pointed out, giving to the acre in Kent a value of Jive deniers. 
Assuming then that this payment represented the value of the land " by 
the old valuation" — that it was a fixed payment handed down from an 
earlier time — as there were 64 rhandirs in the maenawl, the "old valua- 
tion " of the appanage of the Breyr would have amounted to (5 X 64 = ) 
16 lbs., or 20 lbs. of 16 sol., the same as the old North-country wergild. 
The coio was the standard of valuation in reckoning the Galanas, which 
rose as she advanced in price ; and she was probably reckoned, at one 
time, on a footing with the ox in the English laws, valued at a mancus, 
or 80 half-sceatts. In the Lfet of the first class amongst the Kentishmen, 
valued at 80 scillings, or 5 lbs., may be seen the forerunner of the Ken- 
tish Gaveller, whose wergild was still reckoned at 5 lbs. in the reign of 
Edward i. The original Kentish Ceorl, assessed at 200 scillings, or 12 
lbs. 10 sol., was a totally different character from the Ceorl upon Gafol- 
land — the Tvvyhyndman on a footing with the Lset of the first-class — 
corresponding rather with the Sixhyndman, though belonging to a differ- 
ent stage of society.^ 


Scottish Measurements. 

Before the introduction of the system of penny-gavel, in accordance 
with which the land was measured into carucates, or ploughlands, and a 
tenth of its estimated value paid to the overlord, the tenure of a pastoral 
state of society was Cornage. The herd was numbered, or the flock, the 
tenth animal was set apart as the prerogative of the king, or overlord, and 
little if any notice was taken of the extent of the arable land, or acreage 
under the plough, from which no tribute was exacted except in the 
shape of actual refection. In the agreement made at Windsor, in 1175, 
between Henry ii, and the representative of Roderic O'Connor, the Irish 
king bound himself to acknowledge the superiority of his English 
sovereign by annually paying " de singulis x. animalibus decimum 
corium, placabile mercatoribus," - or a tenth of the revenue he derived 

1 The regulation about the tacog will be found in Councils, etc., relating to Great Britain 
and Ireland, vol. i. p. 245 ; compare Wergilds in Scotland under her Jiarlg Kings. 

^ Fosd, vol. i. p. .31. It must be always remembered, in calculating by the value of the 
ox, or cow, that the same rule is applicable to an animal as to a metal standard of value ; and 
the introduction of the ploughland, penny-gavel, and other incidents of an agricultural system, 
acted upon a pastoral state of society precisely as the introduction of a gold standard upon a 
silver currency— the earlier standard fell in value. Tt will be found, 1 believe, that the amount 
of pasturage from which the tenth or twelfth animal was due, answered Very closely to the 


from his own demesnes, and from a similar tribute levied upon bis own 
people. Land-gavel was evidently, at that time, unknown in Ireland, 
and the eios, which grew in time into land-cess, was still collected in the 
shape of cattle, or in the equivalent money-payment known as Cornage. 
Nowt-geld, or Cornage, appears both as an obligation and as a tenure, 
in the Testa de Nevill, in the Boldon Buke, and in the Black Book of 
Hexham. It was the rent paid from his land by the Grasmannus, or 
grazier, and the sole tenure known in Cumberland during the thirteenth 
century. Wlierever there was no grass-land beyond the necessary 
amount required for the pasturage of the plough-oxen, and other stock, 
and for hay-land, no cornage was demanded ; and accordingly, it neces- 
sarily died out in every quarter in which the holding of the Geneat was 
limited to arable land, and to the mere amount of meadow required by 
a strictly agricultural system ; whilst it must have often disappeared in 
the tenth demanded from the general valuation of the whole land. The 
vill made over to a thegn, for instance, was assessed upon the hidage, or 
arable land ; but as long as he performed his obligations, and paid his 
tenths, the thegn might do as he pleased within the limits of a Bocland- 
celd, except with the in-born Geneats, who were attached to the soil, and 
irremovable. Cattle represented wealth in early days, or rather con- 
vertible wealth, when no market existed for the produce of the soil ; and 
that the thegn was wont to turn his land into pasturage may be gathered 
from the enactments of Ini's Laws, by which the amount of land to be 
left in cultivation, by the Gesith who quitted his benefice, was strictly 
laid down. Similar regulations against leaving benefices waste, or in 
pasturage, will be found in the Capitularies, and " to live like a grazier," 
or to turn arable land into pasture, continued to be a reproach cast upon 
some of the great English landowners at so late a period as the sixteenth 

Land-gavel must have superseded Cornage in Southern England at a 
very early period, obliterating all recollection of the primitive impost as 
a royal prerogative, or public tax ; but under the name of Nowt-geld, 
the earlier tribute continued to be paid throughout the northern counties 
long after the Norman Conquest, at which epoch it was still traceable in 
some quarters as the equivalent of the public land-tax. The two ores of 
sixteen pence, for instance, which were paid to the king from the Lan- 
cashire carucate, a sum that can in no way be made to adapt itself to 
the agricultural measurement, evidently represent the Scat-penny levied 

ploughland. " Duas carucatas bourn, scilicet xx. boves," occurs in a charter relating to 
Bury St. Edmunds, dated 27th June 1216 {Rot. Chart, in Tm?-?-;.— Hardy, p. 223) ; the 
carucata houm evidently answering to a pasturage for ten liead of cattle. A similar inference 
may be drawn from the value given to the ordinary ox amongst the Saxons, in the time of 
Charlemagne — a solidus ; the value of the mansus being 10 sol., or amongst the Saxons, 10 
oxen. As soon as an agricultural system was established, however, the animal fell in value, 
and ceased to be a standard. In the Laws of Athelstan, for instance, the ox is valued at a 
maneus, when the ploughland was worth 5 lbs., or forty oxen, instead of ten or twelve. Hence 
the animal ceased to be a correct standard of value under an agricultural system, and to reckon 
it as such would ouly entail confusion. 


upon the stock, instead of upon the assessed valuation of the land, or the 
worth of the tenth animal in money. Amongst an agricultural popula- 
tion the ox was the prominent beast, for he helped to draw the plough : 
but in a pastoral state of society he was of comparatively little use except 
as a mart — to be eaten — and his place was usually taken by the cow, her 
standard cf value, apparently, averaging for a considerable period twelve 
scillings, varying with the fluctuations of the actual coin in use. In 
scillings of four light-pence the value of the cow was represented by the 
two ores of sixteen sterling pence, paid as cornage from the carucate in 
Lancashire, a relic of the time in which the wergild of the North-country 
Twelfhyndman was reckoned at a hundred cows, or twelve hundreds of 
scillings. Beckoned in scillings of four sterling pence, the cow was the 
equivalent of three ores of sixteen, or four shillings, her valuation in the 
Laws of the Scots and Brets, in which the C^'O, or wergild, of the Thane 
was assessed at a hundred cows, or twelve hundred scillings of four 
steiling pence ; whilst in South-country scillings of fivepence she was 
worth three ores of twenty, her value in the Welsh codes. In Wales, 
however, she was evidently reckoned at an earlier period at half that 
sum, or at the mancus, which was the legal value of the ox in Athelstan's 
Laws, when the horse, rated at a pound in the Conqueror's time, was only 
assessed at half a pound. When the MercJiefa 31uUerum was compiled 
her value had risen in Scotland to six shillings, but /owr was her standard 
in the laws of William the Lion and his son, and a similar price was 
given for her in Ireland in the twelfth century ; for the tribute of 140 
head of cattle, due from Ossory to the Cowarb of St. Columba, was com- 
muted in 1161 for a payment of 420 uinges of pure silver, giving a value 
of three uinges, or ores, of silver, to each animal. The Irish uinge, 
calculated in lighter pinginns, at this time still represented the current 
" ore of sixteen," and the legal value of " the cow " during the twelfth 
and thirteenth centuries, and probably the eleventh, may be taken at 
four English shillings, for Scotland, Ireland, and the northern counties 
of England.^ 

The agricultural measurement in Scotland upon which the regium 
gildum was levied, payable alike from ecclesiastical and secular lands, as 
may be gathered from a charter of William the Lion, was the Blough- 
gate, or carucate of 104 acres. It was divided, as in northern England, 
into eight oxgates, two as usual making up the ordinary farm-holding 
known as the Husbandland, the name by which similar holdings were 
known throughout Northumberland. The equivalent of the ploughgate 
in northern Scotland was the Davoch, a large pastoral measure equal in 
actual extent to four ploughgates, or in the same proportion as the suling 

* A. F. M. 1161. The original difference between the currency in England and in 
Ireland is still traceable in the sixteenth century. By the Composition of Connnnght, in 1585, 
it was arranged that certain services, and ini])osls, should be couuiuited by ihc payment from 
every (|uartfcr of land, containing 120 acres, "that boars either horno or oiinic," ten shillings 
English, or an Irish marc. Hence 120 sterling ponce were equal to KJO Irish pence, or exactly 
in the old proportion of the Caroline penny and Merovingian denier, or Irish screapall, Au 
Irish pinginn would have passed for a farthing. 


and the jugum, the large old hide of 240 acres, and the lesser measure of 
60, which became the ordinary hide for agricultural purposes in later 
times. In course of time the Davoch seems to have been calculated, as 
a measure of land, at four ploughgates ; but it appears to have been 
originally reckoned, like the suling, as the equivalent of a ploughland, 
and divided into eight oxgates ; for, by a regulation in the Ilegiam 
Majesfafem, no husbandman was liable to heriot unless he held, at the 
least, the eighth part of a Davoch ; and the ordinary amount of the 
kirktown, or glebe assigned to the church, in Morayshire and nortli- 
eastern Scotland, was a half-davoch. In either case the equivalents of 
the oxgate and half-ploughgate of south-eastern Scotland are plainly 

From a decree of Exchequer, dated in 1585, in which it is laid down 
that "thirteen acres extendis and sail extend to ane oxgait of land, and 
four oxgait extendis and sail extend to ane pund land of auld extent." 
Mr. Innes has shown that the valuation of the ploughgate of old^extent, 
or, in other words, according to the estimate of the thirteenth century, 
was reckoned at two pounds, a sum that can in no way be adapted to 
the acreage. But in the reign of William, and at the time when the 
valuation according to " the auld extent" was taken, two pounds, or 
thirty ores of sixteenpence, represented the legal value of ten cows, one 
of which evidently went to the king; and thus the Scat-penny was 
originally levied in Scotland upon the stock, in accordance with the 
custom so long prevalent throughout northern England, remaining 
attached to the land as the overhyrnes, or prerogative of the overlord, 
levied in tlie form of coruage instead of land-gavel, long after the agri- 
cultural system of measurement had replaced the pastoral. Under the 
name of " the Forty-shilling land of old extent," the ploughgate was the 
original qualification for a vote in the counties of Scotland ; and upon 
the principle of the Forty-shilling freehold in England, which repre- 
sents the tenth part of an old Feudum militis, or knight's-fee of 20 lbs, 
of land, the ploughgate originally represented the tenth part of 20 lbs. 
of land, or of a barony of ten hides. This exactly tallies with the cro 
or wergild of the Thane in the Laws of the Scots and Brets, which was 
reckoned at a hundred cows, or three hundred ores of sixteenpence, the 
equivalent of 20 lbs. of land, ten carucatce houm, or a large vill of ten 
hides. Thus in Scotland, as well as in England and in Wales, the 
wergild and the appanage were once in exact correspondence ; in Scot- 
land, as well as in England, the Ten-hides and the Twelve-hides are 
equally to be traced.- 

^ Beg. Prior. St. And. p. 212; Beg. Maj. iv. 17. By the regulation passed in 1214, every 
man vj'iih five cows was bound to " take land," and turn agriculturist, an enactment that could 
only have applied to the pastoral districts of the north couutry. As five cows represented 
1 lb., and a " puud-iand " was half a ploughgate, it is evident that originally the smallest 
agricultiiral tenant, in this part of Scotland, was the holder of the " eightli part of a davoch." 
—Act. Pari. Scot. vol. i. p. 67. 

'^ 'Sly authority is again IMr. Innes, whose Lectures I liave had the advantage of reading in 
manuscript. Tiie differonco between the forty-shilling freehold in England and Scotland is 
worthy of remark. 


Many passages in the older Scottish laws go far to confirm the identity 
of the Ten-hides and the Barony. Three vills seem to have been gener- 
ally reckoned as a Visnef, or neighbourhood. No frith was allowed, by 
old English law, to the thief, if the sufferer proclaimed the robbery in 
three tuns. If the judge of a Gericht was not to be found when an 
offender was taken in flagrant delict, the case might be dealt with 
summarily, according to old German law, by a temporary Gograf, cliosen 
by the inhabitants of at least three Borfen. After the dog that could 
worry a wolf was ranked in value the dog that would follow, and hold 
to the chase after him, through tliree Borfen. The triple oath of 30, 
36, or 42 men, represented the joint oaths of three vills, or a neighbour- 
hood ; over 35 men (or 3 X 12) constituted a Here by Ini's Laws ; and 
an attack upon a house by (3 X 14, or) 42 men raised Heimzuht, or 
housebreaking, by Bavarian law, into Herreita, a harrying, or levying of 
war — the numbers in each case representing the levee en masse of three 
vills, or an entire neighbourhood. By early Scottish law the " Sequela 
trium baroniarum" constituted a visnet, and the " Proportio trium baro- 
niarum" is explained to mean "the seneschal and four leal men of the 
vill or toun," the same personages as the Tungreve and four men of the 
vill who appeared in the absence of the Baro regis, or of his Dapifer, 
according to King Henry's Laws, and who were the equivalents in a 
Gesith-socn, of the Borh's Ealdor and four men of the Borh in the Kentish 
Tything. Thus the Scottish barony of the twelfth and thirteenth cen- 
turies seems to have answered to the Ten-hides, or large vill forming the 
third of a Visnet ; the holding necessary to confer the rank of King's-thegn , 
or tenant in capite, whose equivalent was the ordinary Baro regis, or 
lesser baron, of King Henry's Laws, and the holder by homage of ten 
mansi in the Empire during the corresponding period.^ 

^ Leg. Ethel, iii. 15; Ini. 13 ; Sack. Spieg. bk. i. 55; Pertz, Leg. vol. iv. p. 23, 24; 
Leg. Will. 21, 32 ; Stat. Alex. ii. 5, 6. The custom of clearing the Tything by the joint 
oaths of four Tythings, or an old shire, appears in the Confessor's Laws, in the section treating 
of the North-country Tenmantale, and evidently refers to that part of England in which the 
recollection of the Twelve-hides and early shire lingered the longest. There is no allusion to 
the practice in the Laws of King Henry, which treat almost entirely of the custom of the 
South-country, where the Ten-hides and Forty-hides had obliterated all recollection of the 
earlier system, the Tungreve, or Borsealdor, and his four companions, representing apjiarcntly 
the half of a South-country Tithing, or Ten-hides, The Scottish barony seems to have re- 
sembled the Baronia, or Ten-hides, of these T^aws. h\ the Testa de Nevill, treating of pro- 
perties dependent on the king, the title applied to the ordinary feudal holding is always 
Baronia. The tenure of Hephale, for instanc-e, long held in thanage for the annual payment 
of 50 sol., was changed by John, and Ivo Taillcbois held it for the service of a knight, as the 
harony of Hephale {T. de N. p. 393). The charter of Henry i., however, freeing tenure j;«' 
loricara from its earlier obligations, never penetrated into Scotland, and the obligations seem 
to have been commuted for a money-payment, known as Blanche Kane — money paid in Blank, 
and not by tale; eqUiivalent to a sterling currency, or of the full value. Hence the Scottish 
ieudal tenure of " Ward and Blench." The 40 sol. paid by Odoard the vicecomes, and subse- 
quently by Arnulf the knight, in lieu of all service from the vill of Swinton, represent Blanche 
Kane, and Arnulf, as a knight, held Swinton as a barony "by Ward and Blench." Li consequence 
of Magna Charta the whole of the English baronage, who were not simimoncd as, or created, 
Peers of Parliament, were gradually merge,(l in t!ie commonalty, and were obliged to be content 
with the title of Esquire, belonging originally to the freeholder with 10 lbs. of land, who was 


A great change appears to have come over Scotland in the course of 
the fourteenth century. An Act was passed during the reign of James 
II., in 1457, "anent the setting of landis in feu-ferme," which seems to 
have remained a dead letter for another fifty years, perhaps in conse- 
quence of the untimely death of the King in 1460. It was not allow- 
able, before the passing of this Act, for tenants in "Ward and Blench" 
to sublet their lands in feu-farm, the Crown itself being restricted from 
such a course in royal demesnes. Yet the charters of the twelfth and 
thirteenth centuries abound in references to feudo-firmay-u, who appear 
to have formed the bulk of the free tenantry in thanages and shires, 
under the thane and sheriff ; and, in a fragment of old burgh-law, the 
feu-farmer is distinguished from the Malar, or ordinary free-tenant at 
rent, pointing to the retention of the early tenure amongst the burgher- 
hood. By another Act, passed in the same Session, tenants of the Crown, 
holding less than 20 lbs. of land, were relieved from attendance on 
Parliament, for hitherto "every man of lawful age, holding lands in 
capite of the Crown, however small his freehold, was bound to give suit 
and presence in Parliaments and General Councils, under a certain 
customary fine, or unlaio" in other words, the smallest freeholder, who 
was a tenant in capite, was a member of the baronage, and his tenure 
was of the strictest feudal character. The very system of law appears to 
have undergone some sort of change, for the Parliament of James i., 
held in 1425, ordered " that sex wise and discrete men of ilkane of the 
three estates ... sal se and examyn the bukes of law of this realm, that 
is to say, Regiam Majestatem and Quoniam Attachiamenta," books to 
which not the slightest allusion is ever made in any of the earlier laws. 
The earliest copies of these works seem to have been written towards the 
close of the fourteenth century, by which time a Scottish edition of 
Glanville's treatise and the Civil Codes had eradicated the recollection, 
or supplanted the use of the earlier customary law.-^ 

Before this time, inquest was made in shires and thanages, as well as 
in baronies and king's demesnes ; and, as in the England of a certain 
period, the county was divided into Hundreds and Gesith-socns, so in 
Scotland the Sheriffdom was made up, at that time, of Thanages or 
Shires, and Baronies. The lesser free-tenant in the southern shires was 
the Dreng, for some of the earlier mandates of David i. were addressed 

bound to serve in full armour, or as an Armirjer; whilst in Scotland every tenant in capite, 
holding in Ward and Blench, continued to be reckoned as a Baron, and was known as the Laird. 
Again, the Statute of Edward i., by putting a stop to the subdivision of manors, prevented the 
extension of manorial rights, such as the Court baron, to minute properties, whilst no similar 
enactment prevented the multiplication of " heritors' courts " in Scotland. 

* Acta Farl. Scot., James i., 1425, sec. 10, James ii., 1457, sec. 15, 21, do., vol. i. p. 41, 
357 ; Thomson's Historical Enquinj, pp. 152, 17G, 177. In abolishing the Leges inter Scottos 
et Brettos, Edward did away with the whole system of wergild and ordeal, and other early 
customs, which had once been equally prevalent in England, lor it must not be supposed that 
the remnant handed down to us about CVo and Gelchach represents all the unwritten customary 
code of earlier times. Many of thecli uiges, generally ascribed to the sons of Malcolm Canniore, 
were in reality introduced in the fourteenth century, when a great deal of what has passed for 
history in Scotland was also composed. 


to the Thegns and Drengs of Lothian and Teviotdale, just as the Bisho]) 
of Durham " greteth well all his thanes and drenghs of Ealandscire and 
Norhamscire ; " whilst in northern thanages the Thegn and Dreng were 
represented hy the Mair and Feudo-firmarius. The Dreng, the equi- 
valent of the Liher mansuarius amongst the Franks, was the military 
tenant of a certain stage of society, the original miles, cnecht, or military 
follower of the Gesithcundman attached to the land. He was still trace- 
able amongst the tenantry in the northern Palatinate in the twelfth 
century, though in a comparatively subordinate position ; for in the 
Boldon Buke he is generally represented as the holder of a carucate of 
land, performing the fourth part of the service and ukvare of a Dreng ; 
so that originally the full Dreng was in possession of four carucates, 
a small township, or the holding of a cnecht. Like the ordinary hus- 
bandland, his holding was liable to all the obligations of base-tenure, but 
he and his family were personally free, the Dreng only attending the 
hunt, riding on the errands, and performing the iitivare, or military 
service, of his overlord. He seems to have been the equivalent of the 
Haistaldus, Hagerstaller, or Hagerman, amongst the Franks and Saxons, 
a hereditary tenant in fee-farm, bound to military service, and personally 
free from the obligations of his farm-holding, which were performed by 
his dependants. A similar character seems traceable in the Kadman, or 
Radcnecht, of Southumbrian England, a relic apparently of that stage of 
society in which the Twelfhyndman, Sixhyndmau, and Ceorl bound 
to military service — the yeoman, not the husbandman, — preceded the 
King's-thegn, Medial-thegn, and Less-thegn.^ The knight, his son, the 
holder in knight's-fee, and the holder by charter and free service in any 
way, or by fief de hauberc — such were the classes entitled to the privileges 
of gentle birth in the Scotland of the thirteenth century, without being 
numbered amongst the greater nobles, privileges from which " Firmarii 
de rusticis nati " were excluded. Hence the tenure in fee-farm was not in 
itself ignoble, where the property was held " by charter and free service." 
In the Council held at Inverness in 1220, for the purpose of levying fines 
upon all who had failed in attending the host .during the campaign 

^ Chart. Cold, xcix., c. ; Boldon Bulce, Ap. Iviii. The two classes entitled by birth to land 
in Northurabria, according to Beda's letter to Egbert of York, were the "filii nobilinm et 
militum emeritorum," the sons of Gesithcundmen and Drengs ; for had the miles emeritus been 
a King's-thegn, lie woidd have been Twelthynd and Gesithciind ; even the Loss-thegn relieved 
his father's land with 40 sol., the Tweltliyndman's fine. A tenth of his wergild was exacted 
from the Twelfhyndman for neglecting the Fyrd, the 120 scillings which reappears in the 
40 sol. paid as scutage. The Ceorl was fined 30 scillings, the 10 sol. pai<l f(ir castle-ward — 
burh-service — which gives his valuation at 300 scillings, answering in Mercia to 5 lbs., the 
wergild of the London burgher, amongst whose fraternity no candidate with the taint of 
villeinage could be enrolled. Henry tlie Fowler, according to AVidukind (L. i. c. 35), "ex 
agrariis militil)us nonum qucmque cligens, in urbibus habitare fecit . . . ca'teri vero octo 
seminarent et nielerent, frugesciue colligcrent nono, et . . . concilia et (mines conventus atquo 
convivia in urbibus voluit celobrari." JJy a similar course, the (u/raril viUites in England had be- 
fore this time been enrolled as Burh-thegns, and Bnrh-wara, ami the vestiges of tlie uld Drengage 
tenure are traceable in many of the burghs in Domesday — Shrewsbury for example — the 
burgesses of Lancaster being freed " de secto molendini, de arura, et aliis servilibus consue- 
tudinibus," reaping the King's crops amongst them, by a charter in 1199. — Bot. Cliart. in 
Turri, p. 20. 


against Donald M'Niel, the landowners lidding of tlie Crown were dis- 
tinguished as bishops, abbots, barons, knights, and thanes, the mesne- 
tenant being represented by the ogtiern ; the thane, his son, and the 
ogtiern, of the laws of the Scots and Brets, holding by charter, and liable 
to Scottish service, evidently corresponding with the knight, his son, and 
the holder in knight's-fee, of the laws of William and the Alexanders, 
liable to knight-service. The knight makes his appearance, in the 
Scottish laws of the thirteenth century^ upon an equality with the landed 
proprietary below the footing of a greater baron. He was only to be 
judged by a Visnet of knights and hereditaiy freeholders by charter, the 
" knights and others " of the corresponding period in England. " Erlys, 
baronys, and marys" such was Wyntoun's idea of the aristocracy of 
England at the time of the Norman Conquest ; and in attendance upon 
the youthful Alexander of Scotland when, at Christmas in 1251, he met 
the Euglish Henry at York, were "multi a^quepollentes militibus," 
according to Paris — of sufficient standing to accompany their sovereign 
on occasions of state, though not members of the baronage. Thus a 
brief glimpse is obtained of the germs of a land-holding community in 
Scotland during the reigns of the Alexanders ; in the following century, 
nothing is traceable except the baronage and the burgherhood ; and the 
Scottish knight, no longer a Vavassour, is the knight of chivalry.^ 

Everything appears to have been subordinate in the Scotland of tlie 
fourteenth century to the passion for independence, knight service 
accordingly replaced the earlier tenure of the shire or thanage, which 
only entailed the far less efficient " Scottish service," containing no stipu- 
lation on the subject of arms and armour, and the smallest landed free- 
holder, if a tenant of the Crown, became a member of the baronage. 
An example of the change in progress is afforded as early as 1323, in 
the transfer of the lands of Moulin, in Atholl, which had been held in 
fee-farm of the Abbey of Dunfermline by David de Hastings, to Niel 
Campbell and his wife Mary Bruce, to be held by homage and the 
annual payment of ten marcs of sterlings, or as a barony held by " Ward 
and Blench," A change seems to have also taken place about the same 
period in the method of assessing land. During the peaceful reigns of 
the Alexanders land had so increased in value, that, at the instance of 
the Papal Court, a new assessment of Church lands was set on foot in 
spite of the opposition of the Scottish clergy ; and the valuation of 
Bagimont, taken in 1275, became the standard from that time of eccle- 
siastical assessment. Bagimont's valuation, however, only applied to the 
property of the Church, lay lands remaining at the earlier standard, 
known in after times as the Old Extent ; and when the Estates in 1327 
granted to their King, for his life, an annual tax of the tenth-penny from 
all farms and rents, the aid was levied "juxta antiquam extentam 
terrarum et reddituum tempore bone memorie domini Alexandri. . . . 
ultimo defuncti. . . . excepta tantummodo destructione guerre," No tax 

* Stat. Alex. ii. 2, 5, 8, 14 ; Wi/ntoim, bk. vii. c. 2, b. 12 ; 3Iat. Far. (edit, 1G40), vol. ii. 
p. 829. 


seems to have been again levied on a similar principle, perhaps on 
account of the rapid depreciation in the currency, subsequent aids being 
voted in gross, and then apportioned out amongst the three Estates, the 
clergy, baronage, and burgherhood, according to the actual value of 
property at the time in the currency of the period — the Verus Valor 
which makes its first recorded appearance in 1366, In the following 
year, or after the tax had been collected, ten dwts. were deducted from 
the pound, and 352 pence were coined from the diminished weight, thus 
about equalizing the current pound with the marc by weight.^ 

From this time forward the assessment of the land seems to have 
ceased to correspond with the agricultural measurement, and to have 
been much in accordance with the actual value of property in the currency 
of the time, as had been the case for some time previously in England- 
The Alerldand makes its appearance, perhaps because in Scotland, as 
well as on the Continent, as soon as the current pound ceased to corre- 
spond with the standard of weight, it was replaced by the marc. In 
modern times, for a currency of base metal we have learned to substitute 
depreciated paper. It was ordered in 1552 that a well-equipped soldier 
should be furnished from every " fourtie merk land of awld extent," by 
spiritual as well as lay lords, and wherever there happened to be " sindrie 
portioneris" of lands within the shire, the sheriff has to join them 
together so as to make up a forty-merkland, the proprietor of the largest 
portion providing the man, the others sharing the expenses. The Fort}'- 
merk land would thus appear to have answered to some recognised sub- 
division of the land, but it would be difficult to estimate its superficial 
extent, beyond conjecturing that it may have been the equivalent in 
Scotland of the forty lbs. of land which, after the opening of the 
fourteenth century, constituted in England the great knight's-fec. The 
poor knight, or the Vavassour holding the appanage of a medial- thegn, 
may have disappeared at the same time in both countries. When it is 
recollected that the English knight's-fee is reckoned in the Testa de 
Nevill at from three to twenty-four carucates, so that a forty-shilling 
freehold, or the tenth of a fee, may have varied at its original standard 
between 36 and 288 acres, it will probably be admitted that any attempt 
to estimate the extent of the merkland in acres might be more ingenious 
than satisfactory." 

^Act. Pari. Scot. vol. i. pp. 121, 124, 140, 144. "White sheep, riding-liorscs, and drawing 
oxen, were exempt from tax. AVool was a state monopoly, and in consequence untaxed. The 
Scottish system of warfare in the fourteenth century required a number of light-armed 
horsemen, as may be seen in the pages of Froissart, and the riding-horse was accordingly 

2 Thomson's Historical Enquirij, pp. 18, 40. From a rental of the Cordon proi)crty taken 
in the last year of the sixteenth century, Mr. Innes has shown that in Eadenoch the ordinary 
measurement was the Ploughgate, which was replaced in Lochabcr by the Merkland. The 
Forty-merkiand occurs in more than one instance in the latter district. It is curious to truce 
the gradual progress of tlio royal power in these old measurements. The Plougligate, and the 
Shire or Thanage, will be found all over Scotia proper and the Lothians, but tjjey do not 
appear to have penetrated into the Cumbrian province, Galloway, or to tho eastward of the 
Glen More. 


Irish Measurements. 

An occasional difficulty is encountered by the inquirer into the history 
and customs of the past in Ireland, which will be best exemplified by a 
few quotations taken at random from two works of much interest and 
value. " In the said parishe are sixe gortes of glebe, whereof three 
gortes belong to the vicar, and th' other fower gortes to the keeper of 
the missagh." ..." To the church belonge three quarters, of which 
one ... is free to the herenagh . . . who paid out of the other 
three quarters, etc." ..." In ordinary parishes the allowance of here- 
nagh land was four balliboes, or one quarter." ..." The quarter was 
one of the four component parts of the Ballybetagh, and contained three 
balliboes." Again, it is stated in the Registry of Clonmacnoise, as trans- 
lated by Duald Mac Firbis for Sir James Ware, that Cellach " from 
whom are the O'Kellies, bestowed of small cells to Cluain, Killmeog, 48 
dales (that is to say, 48 dayes plowing, or as much as might be plowed 
of laud in 48 dayes), etc.," when, from another passage in the same 
Registry, " 24 dales in the Grainsey, and 24 dales in Koyllbelatha, i.e., 
a quarter in them both," it may be gathered that the Daie was a small 
measure of 48 to the Quarter. In the first passage we have the conjec- 
ture of the translator, in the second the explanation of the compiler of 
the Registry. Fortunately we are not called upon to divide the gortes 
between the vicar and the keeper of the missagh, nor to settle the rent 
payable "out of the other three quarters" by the herenagh; but the 
doubt will occasionally suggest itself, in connection with certain passages, 
as to whether they are the genuine productions of antiquity, or simply 
emanations from the fertile brain of a commentator.^ 

There is not a trace of any standard of agricultural measurement in 
Ireland before the English invasion. The firstlings of the flock and 
herd, the baptismal pinginn, and the anointing screapal were the prero- 
gatives usually claimed by the Cowarbs ; cattle, horses, and screapals 
were collected by the Maers of the greater dignitaries on their circuits ; 

^ Colton's Visitation, p. 45, 65; H// Many, p. 98, 15. Tn the opiuion of tlie late Professor 
O'Curry, an authority second to none in everything relating to the ancient language and litera- 
ture of his native land, the Tain Bo Ciiailgne affords an excellent example of the state of Ire- 
land at the period it is supposed to illustrate. About the opening of the seventh century, all 
the poets in Ireland are said to have assembled, in order to ask each other about the poem in 
question ; but as none knew anything about it, and they thought it might be contained in a 
book that was said to have been carried off to Italy, it was agreed upon to search for the book. 
All further trouble, however, was saved by the appearance of the ghost of Fergus Mac Roich, 
whose existence in the flesh is placed in the century before the commencement of the Christian 
era. As one of the heroes of the Tain Bo Cuailgne, he recited the poem from beginning to 
end, and the ghostly narrative was written down by St. Kieran upon the hide of his favourite 
dun cow. Such is the authority for the poem as it exists, or did exist, in the Book of Leinster, 
a compilation of the fourteenth or fifteenth century. What period of Irish history may it be 
supposed to illustrate ? 


Scaith, or a measure in every brewing of ale or mead, was oxacted from 
the tenants of the vill ; and Koderic O'Connor acknowledged the supe- 
riority of the English King by payment of a tribute in cattle, or cornage. 
Four centuries and upwards after the era of Roderic O'Connor the official 
fee or fine upon the nomination of an Irish " captain " was still reckoned 
and paid in cows. But the Seam of produce, the Thrave of corn, and 
other similar offerings of an agricultural community, will be sought for in 
vain amongst the early Irish ; for Refection seems to have been always 
exacted in kind, a custom continuing in full force in the seventeenth 
century, when the Archbishops of Armagh were wont to pass much of 
their time in moving about from one church manor to another — the 
parson supplying refection for the first night, the vicar for the second, 
the part of host on the third night falling to the herenagh, or hereditary 
tenant of the church lands. Eent was in those days light, as an Irish 
halfpenny from every acre was considered a high standard for the Anti- 
quus census ; but coshering, as of old, was extremely heavy. The only 
description of tenancy alluded to in the Senchus Mor, as far as it has yet 
been published, is the " Stock-tenure" of the Saer Ceili and Daer Ceili — 
Gillies, who were bound to take cattle from their lord^ annually repaying 
a third of the produce of the stock as rent to the donor ; the tenure of 
the Gehur, without the obligations attached to his arable land. Nearly 
every regulation in the Senchus has reference to Set, a w^ord akin to the 
Breton Saout — le gros betail — as Mr. Stokes has pointed out. Greens or 
plots of pasture or meadow land were to be set apart, and fenced for im- 
pounding Set ; delays were granted in seeking them from a distance ; 
but to land under agriculture and its measurements, to its produce, obli- 
gations, and burdens, not the slightest allusion is to be met with as yet 
in the original text of the Senchus Mor.^ 

The Barony, the Townland, and the Quarter make their first appear- 
ance as agricultural measurements in Ireland some time after the ariival 
of the English invaders, the " Adventus Francorum" of the charters of 
the early Plantagenets ; for in the few existing charters of native origin 
no recognised measure of land will be found. The carucata is the 
standard of reckoning, as a land measurement, that alone appears in the 

^ The dues of the Cowarbs will be found in the IIij Many ; their principal circuits are col- 
lected from the Annals, in the introduction to Colton's Visitation. The right of Scaith was 
granted by Dermot Mac Murrogh to the Abbey he founded at Ferns in 116G, and by Geofl'ry 
Fitz Walter to the Priory he established at Keils in 1183. — {Ducjdale Mon. vol. vi. pp. 1142, 
1143.) A wide difference must be made between the text of the Senchus and the explanations 
of the commentators, who are occasionally sufficiently absurd. In the regulations^ for the 
" Green," for example, where cattle were sometimes to be impounded for several days, it is laid 
down in the text that it should " be level," on which some commentator remarks, " that is,_ it 
should he arable kind,'' thus impounding cattle in a ploughed field! Again, in conformity 
■with the regulations of the wide-spread custom, familiar in the old English laws as Team, a 
delay of a certain number of days was allowed, in seeking cattle, according to the number of 
" Magh-spaces" to be crossed, and a commentator explains the magh -space as " the distance at 
which the crowing of a cock, or the sound of a bell, can be heard." A delay of some days, 
therefore, was to be allowed in seeking for cattle beyond the distance at which a cock could be 
heard crowing ! — {Senchus Mor, vol. ii. pp. 13, lO'J.) 


early charters of the English kings ; the cmmcata was the measurement 
by which the tax annually payable by the Irish "captain" was assessed ; 
and the recollection of the English measure was perpetuated under the 
corrupted form of Careioe. Its equivalent in the north of Ireland, how- 
ever, seems to have been better known under the name of the BaUihoe, 
or Cow-land, generally containing either 60 or 120 acres, and thus 
answering either to the lesser, or the medium, hide of England. The 
balliboe, which is said to have been known in Monaghan and Fermanagh 
as the Tate or Tath, seems to have been divided in later times into three 
Seissiaghs or sixths, each seissiagh containing twenty acres, the name of 
sixth pointing to some earlier time when the larger measurement reached 
the full standard of 120 acres, answering to the ordinary English caru- 
cate. The original Irish name for the measure introduced by the 
English is said to have been Seisreach, or Six-horse land, and the Seis- 
siagh, or sixth, seems to have been often known as the Ca2)ul-\ixnd — the 
Horse-land, or sixth of a ploughland worked by six horses, corresponding 
in theory with the Oxgang, or Bovate, where the plough was supposed to 
be drawn by eight oxen. In many parts of the North three Balliboes 
went to the Quarter, twelve to the Townland, and thirty Townlands to 
the Barony, reckoned as agricultural measurements. "According to 
Irish authorities of respectable age," writes Dr. Eeeves, " each Tricha-ced 
contained 30 Bailebiatachs, each Bailebiatach 12 Seisreachs, and each 
Seisreach six score acres of native measure;" thus identifying the Seis- 
reach with the carucate, the Bailebiatach with the Twelve-hides, or square 
Leuga, and the Tricha-ced with the Quarter, or Three-Hundreds of Eng- 
land. Whenever the Balliboe, or ordinary standard measure of the 
north, was reckoned as only half a Seisreach, every other measurement 
must have shrunk in proportion.^ 

" Which 40 Balliboes, or townes, doe contayne 10 quarters, amount- 
ingeto 2J Ballibetaghs," says the Ulster Inquisition in 1615, pointing to 
the existence of another standard in the province, by which si.Kteen balli- 
boes went to the bally betagh, giving to the latter, in theory, an extent of 
960, or 1920 acres, " A quarter which contayneth 240 acres at the 
least, and som more, let for 6s. 8d., som for 3s. 4d., and fewe for 10s., 
none above, which they called Antiquum censum" wrote Bishop Mont- 
gomery to James i. The Quarter in this case contained four balliboes, 
and twelve seissiaghs ; and if it was divided as usual into three portions, 
each third would have nominally contained 80 acres, or a balliboe and a 
seissiagh, answering to the measure known as the Tullagh. Thus the 
larger Bally betagh of sixteen balliboes would appear to have been occa- 
sionally divided, as of old, into twelve portions, each answering to a 
tullagh, and corresponding in theory with the land-measures of the Eng- 

^ My principal aiitliority is Dr. Reeves, " On the Townland distribution of Ireland."— (P»-o- 
ceedinrjs B. I. Academy, vol. vii. p. 473.) "Within the English pale, the English system 
appears to have been thoroughly established, " Fingal measure" answering to the statute acre. 
— Ware (Harris), vol. ii. p. 225. 


lish south-country, the snling of 160, and the half-suling or carucate of 
80 acres. It will be seen from the Inquest of Limavaddy that, in 1609, 
the Archbishop of Armagh was " seised of fee, in right of his arch- 
bushopricke, of and in a yerely rent of twoe markes sterl. per ann. yssuinge 
out of the herenagh lands of Clonie contayninge one quarter." " Clow- 
ney contayninge 4 balliboes, or townes, which balliboes, or townes, doe 
containe 1 quarter," says another Inquest lield about the same time, thus 
giving sixteen balliboes to the ballybetagh in this locality ; whilst an 
entry in Swayne's Kegistry adds, " Dominus Primas recepit pro quinque 
carucatis terrte ... in Clonne cum pertiu. 2 marc." Clone, " now 
called Clooney, is a townland in the parish of Clondermot, containing 
604 acres;" so that it may be gathered from these passages that the 
Carucate, fve of which went to 604 acres, was an actual land-measure 
of 120, whilst the Balliboe was not necessarily in exact correspond- 
ence with it. The native measurement had, in reality, been handed 
down from a pastoral state of society, and adaj)ted to the agricultural 
system introduced from England ; for originally, like the Scottish 
Davoch, it was evidently a certain extent of pasturage, or, as the name 
implies, a carucata bourn} 

In Conuaught the Cartron, or fourth of the Quarter-land, " was com- 
puted at 30 native acres," identifying the Quarter with the Care we, or 
ordinary carucate, and the Townland, or Ballybetagh, with the smaller 
English vill of four hides. Thus the Tricha-ced, as a measurement, in 
this part of Ireland, would have answered to an English Hundred of six 
score hides, or the tliird of an ordinary Tricha-ced in the north of 
Ireland. The Irish name of the Cartron has Ceathramhadh, pronounced 
Oarroiv, and it appears to have been the ordinary measure in Leinster, as 

* Colton's Vis'dution, pp. 31, 32, 7(S, 117. "In Ulster, Comuiught, Meatli, Leinster, and 
Minister are containetl 184 Cantreds, otherwise ealled Hundreds or Baronies, viz., in Leinster 
ol, in Connaught 30, in Munster 70, in Meath 18, and in Ulster 35. In Ireland are 5495 
towns, viz., in Leinster 930, in Connaught 900, in Munster 2100, in Ulster 10.50, and in Meath 
515. Every cantred contains 160 Plowlands of arable, besides the pasture of 300 kine in every 
town. Every Plowland containeth 120 acres." Such was the report of the Commissioners for 
settling Connaught iu 1584, according to Sir James Ware {Harris, vol. ii. p. 225). It occa- 
sionally does duty for the state of Ireland in the pre-historic jjcriod, but it docs not agree with 
the Inquisitions taken about the opening of the seventeenth century in Ulster ; and as the 
latter province had ignored the English authority from 1315 to the reign of Elisabeth, the 
native measurement is more likely to have retained its original dimensions in that quarter than 
in Connaught. As a measurement, the Townland in Connaught in 1584 was only a third of 
the size of the Townland in Ulster, so that a Cantred of thirty Connaught Townlands would 
have been only equal to ten Ulster ballybetaghs. Whenever the latter was reckoned at 16 
balliboes, there would have been 160 balliboes, or ploughhinds, iu the Connaught Cantred. 
Some four centuries before the Commission in Connaught Ireland was divided, according to 
Giraldus, into five provinces, from which Meath was separated as royal demesne. Each pro- 
vince was subdivided into 32 cantreds which, with 18 in Meath, made up 170. — [To]). Ilib. 
Dis. iii. 0. iv. v.) When Fitz Stephen and Miles Cogan occupied Desmond, they divi<led 
between them the seven cantreds nearest to ('ork, and i)ut tlu; remaining 24 to tribute, which 
with the cantrc^d retained by Henry ii. under the myal aulhoiity, gives 32 to Des'iioml. — {Kxp. 
Ilib. ii. 20.) 'I'lie vague character of all such calculati(jns is shown by the remark of Uk^ same 
authority, that the Isle of Anglesey was only reckoned at three Cantreds, lhoirj,h il contained 
363 Trefs.—{Uer. Kamh. ii. 7). 



well as in Connaugbt, though estimated at a variable amount of acres, 
but always reckoned as the fourth of a Quarter, or ploughland, measure- 
ments which in this part of Ireland would appear to have been identical. 
In Cavan the Ballybetagh was divided into Pints, Quarts, Pottles, 
Gallons, and Polls, a thoroughly English arrangement, and 3Iarte-lands 
make their appearance in southern Ireland, answering apparently, in the 
same manner as the Balliboe, to the carucate, and evidently deriving their 
name from the ancient custom of cornage. The Commissioners in 
Munster, in 1589, thought that " the tenants and pretended proprietors 
of the chargeable lands . . . should pay Shraughe and Marts to Her 
Majesty, as they did to Desmond ;" Shraughe being explained to mean, 
" a yearlie rent in sterling money," Marte, " a yearlie rent of beef." The 
measurement known as a ploughland amongst the English of Waterford 
seems to have been familiar to the native Irish as the Marteland.^ 

It seems possible, even yet, to obtain a glimpse of the old pastoral 
arrangements of Ireland in the original name of the Ballybetagh — the 
Ced, or Hundred, thirty making up the Tricha-ced, as a nominal 
measure of land. Assuming the correctness of the early estimate, giving 
twelve Seisreachs to the Ballybetagh, each Seisreach, as the twelfth of a 
Ced, reckoned at six score, would have represented a ten. The Seisreach, 
or some measure reckoned as its equivalent, seems to have been better 
known amongst the native Irish of the north as the Balliboe, or Cow- 
land, and in the wide grazing lands of the south as the Marte-land ; and 
as the name of Marte was applied to " Kent in beef," both balliboe and 
marteland may be supposed to have originally represented a carucata 
houm, or a pasturage for ten head of cattle, one of which was annually 
due to the overlord. The Irish measure, therefore, would appear to have 
corresponded in theory very closely with the Scottish ploughgate, as a 
carucata boum valued at 40 sol., or the worth of ten cows — for the valua- 
tion of the animal at three oz. of silver appears from the passage in the 
Irish Annals, elsewhere quoted, to have been as much accepted in Ireland, 
in the twelfth century, as in northern Britain'^ — and as the earliest land- 
measure traceable in northern Scotland was the pasturage known as the 
Davoch, so the Ced in Ireland may be supposed to have been an extent 
of pasturage for a hundred head of cattle, reckoned at six score, contain- 
ing twelve balliboes, or martelands. Thus the tenure of land in Ireland, 
before the Adventus Francorum, seems to have been identical with the 
early system of Cornage and Refection, so long traceable throughout 

1 Dr. Keeves, as above, and p. 472. The almost identity in sound between Carewe and 
Carrow must have occasionally introduced confusion, and a similar remark may be applied to 
the Sheshraiiffhe and the Sheshavghe. In course of time tlie Quarter became the highest 
land measure in ordinary use, and the Townland, like the old English Barony, has long ceased 
to be a land-measure in any practical sense. 

' A. F. M. 1161. The valuation of the cow is often given by the commentators on the 
Senchus, but on a different principle altogether — so much for the milk, so much for the calf. 
The Ceili who received her from his overlord was bound to repay a certain amount annually — 
rent as it were — which was thus assessed. The sum represents the hire rather than ihe pur- 
chase of the animal. 


northern England and in Scotland. Beyond the English Pale the old 
system seems to have remained in full force long after it had become 
extinct and been forgotten both in England and in Scotland ; for when 
Donald O'Madden was made "captain of Sylnamkey, commonly called 
O'Madden's country," he paid 80 cows for the appointment ; and by the 
agreement between the King's Deputy and O'Carrol, chief captain of Ely 
O'CarroU, every captain was to i>ay to the King an annual rent of 12 
j)ence from every carucate, with 1 20 marts on nomination to his office — 
O'CarroU binding himself to deliver over to the royal officials " 120 good 
cows or marts," by the festival of St. Philip and St. James.^ 

Some additional circumstances go far to confirm the correspondence 
of the Ged with the square Leuga, though it is not necessary to regard 
them as actual measurements identical in extent. The Ced, indeed, can 
hardly be looked upon as a land measure, for the limits of a pasturage 
would not be defined by its superficial extent, but by its capacity for 
supporting stock. The Church-lands of Ireland were known of old as 
Termons and Herenagh-lands, and though in later days the name of 
herenagh-land seems to have been often applied indiscriminately to both, 
they were not in earlier days identical. The right of sanctuary was 
originally attached to all Termoti, though it may have subsequently 
become obsolete, and the proper title of the tenant of Terman was Corhe ; 
in other words, wherever there was Termon, there had once been a 
Minster, and the land attached to it had been held by the Coioarb, or 
representative of the fiist Abbot, generally a layman, or a married clerk 
in minor orders. The Herenagh represented the Advocate, or patron 
of the Minstei', and the lands he held were originally the outlying pro- 
perty of the church, so to say, and not the mensal lands which, in early 
days, were actually cultivated by the monks or clerks, and were situated 
in the immediate neighbourhood of the home of the community, which 
alone was entitled to the privilege of sanctuary. Four Termons are 
mentioned in Colton's Visitation, "the corbe-land of Termonmaguyrke, 
alias Termanconnyn," containing sixteen balliboes ; the termon land of 
the church (of Ardstraw) . . . containing sixteen balliboes ; the termon 
of Aghadowy, extending over a ballybetagh, known in the reign of 
James i. as " the site of the late hospital, or termoe, of St. Go wry in 
O'Kane's country, with the adjoining four quarters," and the termon of 
Grangemorc, containing twelve balliboes. The extent of the Termon 

* Hy Many, p. 148 ; C'llton's Visitaliun, p. 8. " Beeves or Marts were reserved as nut 
at the settlement of Connaught in 1585." Each was reckoned at an Irish marc, or 10 sol. 
English currency, and as this sura was paid trom " every quarter of laud, containing VIO acres, 
that bears either home or corne," tlie marteland is again identified with the carucata bourn. 
The dilTerence between English and Irish currency must be always borne in mind, the latter 
long continuing to correspond with the old Ore of sixteen, and the light lb. of IG sol. " The 
Groat of London, York, and Calais passed for 5 pence in Ireland, and the penny for 5 farthings 
in 1460," or exactly in this proportion; and the standard was still the same in the reign of 
Elizabeth.— ir« re (Harris), vol. ii. pp. 76, 211, 212. The Irish shilling of Elizabeth only 
passed for nine pence in England; in other words, the Irish penny was still reckoned as a 
Ecreapall — a little under its actual value. 


was, in all these cases, a ballybetagh, either of the ordinary or of the 
larger size, and I think it may be identified with the Leuga, with which 
the ordinary Minster was endowed, upon the opposite side of St. George's 
Channel, and with the decern mans!, which were given to a similar com- 
munity amongst the Franks, in that Gaul from which Ireland seems to 
have derived her early system of ecclesiastical polity. Again, it may be 
noticed in the H?/ Fiaclirach that the Duthakl, or inheritance, of the 
ordinary member of one of the ruling races who, though the head of a 
family, had no pretensions to aspire to a prominent position in his district, 
is frequently reckoned at a bally betagh, occasionally more, but never less ; 
so that the amount of land in question would appear to have corresponded, 
as elsewhere, with the appanage usually assigned, in a certain stage of 
society, to an ordinary member of the noble, or Gesithcund, class, as well 
as to the ordinary Minster. Thus it seems allowable to conjecture that 
the Irish Ced, subsequently known as the Ballybetagh, was once a 
pastoral measurement, containing a number of carucafce houm, and 
representing the Termon, or endowment, of an ordinary Minster, and 
the appanage usually given to the Irish equivalent of the Welch Breyr, 
or Mabuchellwr, thus answering to the Leuga, the Ten-hides, and the 

In the early grants and charters of the English kings and their fol- 
lowers in Ireland, two of the native land-divisions are alone recognised, 
the Cantrcd, and the Thwede, a word exj^lained in a grant of Theobald 
Fitz Walter as " Theud sive fundum." Under a corrupted form it evi- 
dently represents the Irish Duthaid or Du aid -the inheritance; and 
"in thwedo Othothel " would, in later times, have been probably ren- 
dered, " in O'Toole's country." The Cantred, or Tricha-ced, was usually 
held by the service of five knights, or as a feudal barony ; and the name 
of Baron//, by which it was generally known amongst the English 
settlers, was evidently derived from this cause. To Hamon de Valoniis, 
for instance, two cantreds were given for the service of ten knights ; to 

1 Cultoii's Visitation, pp. 3, 10, 74, 8G. On the Jeatli of Moran O'Farrell in 1438, " Cowarb 
and chief herenagh of all the lands of the Muinter Farrell," the Bishop of Dromore conferred 
" the cowarbship of the church of St. Medoc at Drumlane, and the lierenaghship of the afore- 
Baid lands" on Nicholas O'Farrell, " a clerk of our diocese, and a native of the district" (p. 26). 
The distinction between the offices was still kept up, and the necessity of bestowing them upon 
a raeaiber of the family was still acknowledged. According to the Senchus, the " social con- 
nection" between a Flaitli and his Aigillnc—An overlord and his customary tenantry — and an 
Edais (church) and its 3Ianaclis, was identical, the Manachs thus answering to the customary 
tenantry, or native men, of the church-land. The Irish Manach would thus appear to have 
been a member of a class very much resembling, if not identical with, the Scottish Scoloc ; 
and I believe that wherever a Minster had once existed, with a church that was the mother- 
church of the district, there would have been found, in a certain stage of society, a termon and 
manachs, or a kirktown and scolocs ; whilst the native-men upon other church-lands were not 
necessarily of the same class. In one of the regulations of Alfred's Laws the monk appears as 
a sort of dependent herdsman, and in the tenth century members of the clergy were passed by 
charter as native men, even in Italy. — ScDchus Mor, vcl. ii. p. 289. In_926, Daniel, the 
priest of Carazana, "Hving by Roman law," sold to Audax, bishop of Asti, for 30 soHdi, his 
slave Martin, the sub-deacon.— /fw<. Pair. Mon. tom. i. p. 127, ch. Ixxv. Here the sub- 
deacoa was an absolute serf, and not merely adscriptus glehce. 


Milo Fitz Henry three, for the service of fifteen ; Geoffrey de Constantin 
received a cautred in Connaught for the service of five kni<^hts ; and 
John le Mareschal held the Mareschalship of Ireland, " with his cantred," 
for a similar amount of service. It never seems to have been reckoned 
as more than a barony, though occasionally as less ; William de Barry, 
for instance, holding three cantreds in Cork for the service of ten knights, 
or as two baronies.-^ In actual extent it appears to have been loosely 
estimated about this time — during the reign of John — at twenty knight's- 
fees, or four baronies. Thomas, Abbot of Glendalough, received in 
1200 a life grant of forty carucates, or a forty-hides, out of the abbey 
lands, the remainder reverting to the crown ; and in 1213, the abbey 
and bishopric of Glendalough were made over to the See of Dublin, 
" saving the tenement of Abbot Thomas, that is the half-cantred he 
holds for liis life of the archbishop." Robert Fitz Martin, ngain, re- 
ceived a grant of forty fees — "that is to say, in the cantred of Insovcnach 
the fees of twenty knights, and the fees of twenty knights in other quar- 
ters." Thus in both these instances the cantred seems to have been 
reckoned at twenty, the half-cantred at ten fees. Three grants, each of 
five fees, and a fourth of two, were made " in cantredo de Huhene " in 
1199, and thirty-one carucates were given, at the same time, to Milo le 
Bret in the same cantred, the wliole amount being rather over, than 
under, twenty knight' s-fees ; whilst in the same year two grants, each of 
five fees, were made " in cantredo de Fontimello," to be held by the ser- 
vice of three knights and a third, the remainder of the cantred, being 
made over, on the same day, to William de Burgh, to be held by the 
service of three knights, and apparently reckoned at alx)ut ten fees. 
Thus the Triclia-ced would appear to have been loosely reckoned at 
twenty knight's-fees, to be held by the service of a feudal barony, an 
estimate, however, that only gives an approach to the actual amount of 
land in such a district. The manner in which the knight's-fee was often 
estimated, at this time, in Ireland, may be gathered from the fbllowiiig 
entry: — "The land of Coillach, with its pertinents, /or xx lbs., to be 
held in barony by the archbishop" — the valuation of Coillach liaving 
evidently been made without much regard to its actual extent, and the. 
larger district may be supposed to have been treated in a similar niauiicr. 

' DiKjdale Mou., vol. vi. p. 1137. Hot. Churl, in Tnrri (Hardy), pp. 19, 77, 79, 172, 173. 
Strictly speakinc;, Tuath seenis to have been the word appliciible to " a country," and it waa 
used in a much more vague 
division known as Tuoi;h or 
seems to have been 

footiuir of an earldom. Richard de Burah, for instance, received a confirmation, on the ir)th 

ems to liave been the word applicable to a country, and it waa 
le and wider senfe than J luthmd, which was probably the " sub- 
)r Cinament" of Ware {Jlarris), vol. ii. p. 22G. As tlio cantreil 

camreu oi jviuioTie, auu savini:; lo vieonry ue ^^onsianiin ine canircd nc receivcii in ex- 

nge for it." On the same day a charter was given "to the king of Connaught, of all his 

land of ('onnaught, saving the riglit of disseisin without the judgnieiit of our court, and saving 
tiie jjleas of tlie crown, and our castle and cantred of Atldono," lor a similar annual sum of 3(IU 
marcs, vvhicli in each case seems to answer to the 30U lbs. annually paid by tlic Ijiiiidoners for 
the county of Middlesex [Hot. Chart,, p. 219). 


Teviotilale in Scotland had its vicecomes, and accordingly was reckoned 
as a lesser shiie, or thanage, of twelve vills, liable to the ordinary obli- 
gations of such a district, but it may be doubted if the valley was ever 
very accurately measured before it was made over to the superintendence 
of the thane or reeve.^ 

Grants in knight' s-fee appear to have been often made in Ireland, in 
the reign of John, for a third of the usual service. Thus ten fees were 
given to Thomas Fitz Maurice for the service of three knights and a 
third ; William de Naas, Lambekin Fitz William " our sergeant," and 
Greoflrey Fitz Kobert, received five fees respectively, each grant to be 
held by the service of a knight and two-thirds ; whilst John de Gray 
and Walter Cross held three fees respectively for the service of a knight ; 
and Eobert Serjeant a fee for the third of a similar service. Towards 
the latter part of the same reign, indeed, grants were made upon a still 
more liberal scale, Geoffrey de Marisco receiving ten fees, Thomas de 
Galloway twenty, and Philip Prendergast and Robert Fitz Martin gifts 
of forty fees, for one, two, and four knights respectively ; or for only a 
tenth of the usual amount of service. The reason for this course will 
probably be found in the character of the English invasion, which was 
not unlike the occupation of the Koman provinces by the Burgundians 
and Visigoths, who always left a third of the land in the hands of the 
original proprietary, or occupants of the soil. It was not the object of 
the English kings to exterminate the Irish — unless they resisted ; and 
accordingly, in the early grants to their own followers, who were to form 
the garrison of the island, room seems to have been left for the pro- 
prietary and occupants of the land, who were necessary, so to say, for the 
support of the garrison. A somewhat similar guiding principle seems 
traceable in the gift of the lordship of Connaught to De Burgh, and of 
the earldom of Ulster to De Lacy ; for Hy IMany and Ulidia, the terri- 
tories actually bestowed in either case, were dependent kingdoms, and 
not integral portions of the dominions of the kings of Connaught and 
Northern Ireland. In Hy Many, for instance, or O'Kelly's country, we 
are told, in reference to an earlier epoch, that " it is the guarantee of the 

1 Rot. Chart, in Tvrrl (Hardy), pp. 78, 194, 172, 19, 20, 28, 30. The original grants 
made by Henry ii., according to Hoveden (Savilie, p. 567), were Meatli for the service of 100 
knights, and the kingdoms of Cork (Desmond), and of Limerick (Thomond), for the service of 
60 knights respectively, a cantred in each case being retained by the king — the Ostmen's can- 
tred, as may be seen from the Rolls. The district of Fingal was probably the Ostmen's can- 
tred of Dublin. Forty cariicates were held in burgage by the citizens of Limerick — a similar 
amount to the " forty -hides " given to the last abbot of (Tleiidalongh — and the Ostmen were 
probably the original burgesses of the Anglo-Irish period. The citizens of Dublin received a 
charter from .John, giving them various immunities "within the Hundred of the Vill," with 
'■ all the rights and privileges of the burgesses of Bristol," amongst others, to hold their lands 
within the walls in free burgage " scilicet per servitium lavdgahvU qnod reddunt infra mnros." 
— Rot. Chart, in Tiirri, pp. 78, 70, 211. Thus Land-gavel and the Hundred found their way 
into Leland, and after the lapse of a certain number of generations, the influence of English 
institutions is very perceptible, even amongst the native L-ish. Land-gavel developed into the 
Antiquus census, and the annual shilling paid from every carucate ; the carucate itself, and the 
Tricha-ced in Connaught, closely resembling the hide and the Hundred in England. 


king of Casliel that keeps the king of Hy Many from being overwhelmed 
by the Sil Muredach," or O'Connors. Between O'Kelly and O'Connor, 
De Burgh and the English power seem to have been interposed in the 
place of " the guarantee of the king of Cashel/' and the same may be 
said of Ulidia ; for as soon as the English were driven out of the earl- 
dom, the northern portion, instead of reverting to its earlier possessors, 
was seized upon by a branch of the Hy Nial, and subsequently known as 
Clannaboy. The ordiimry method of dealing with an Irish proprietor, 
who " submitted to the course of events," may be gathered from the 
policy pursued towards O'Madden. When Edward Bruce invaded Ire- 
land in 1315, O'Madden held by De Burgh, and his ultimate reward 
was, " that the third portion of his province should be under the control 
of him and his sons ; that no Gall maer (or English steward) should pre- 
side over his Gaels, but that his maers should be over the Gall of the 
entire territory" . . . and that " Eogan (O'Madden) and his tribes 
should have equal nobility with the English lords." Before this time 
"the Gael, though a GabJialtach — proprietor — was daer ; and every 
Saxon, even without lands and rearing, was saer." Thus was O'Madden 
placed upon a very similar footing with the Eoman in ancient Gaul, who 
retained a third of his land, and ranked upon an equality with the Bur- 
gundian intruder. In the position which he held towards his maers, 
who were " over the Gall of the entire territoinf" as well as over the 
Gaels, he resembled a high-steward, or Mormair, acting as De Burgh's 
deputy in levying the dues through his subordinates, and asserting the 
prerogatives of the supreme overlord. This was simply the tenure of 
the official Jarl and the Heah-gerefa, in an earlier stage of society else- 
where, and not unlike that of the Comes amongst the Franks in his 
capacity of Graphio ; and in the course adopted by De Burgh towards 
O'Madden, which was probably in accordance with a system as familiar 
in Ireland as in other quarters, we seem to catch a glimpse of the man- 
ner in which an Oirrigh, or subregulus of early times, may have survived, 
if not recalcitrant, in the capacity of a Mormair, in place of being sup- 
planted by an alien official. Lesser personages would be contented with 
the subordinate position of a Blair, exercising a similar authority within 
a narrower district ; whilst the smaller proprietors would remain u])on 
their lands as tenants in " fee-farm." ^ 

' Rot. Chart, in Turri (Hardy), pp. 19, 20, 28, 30, 80, 171, 172, 210; Hy Many, pp. 93, 135, 
139, 141. Free tenants in fee-fai-m are alluded to in the charters. The Triory ot St. Andrew 
in the Ards, for instance, founded by John de Courcy, was subsequently made over to the arch- 
bishop of Armagh, " cum dominiis, doniinicis, servitiis. redditibus, tarn liberorum tenentium 
firmarum (firmariurum) quam nativorum et betagiorum, cum nativis, betagiis, cum eorum sectis, 
consuetudinibus, et seqnelis ejusdem cellar, seu prioratus." — Dugdale, 3Ion., vi. p. 1123. 
The three classes here alluded to, two of which passed by " adscription," would liave probably 
been distinguished amongst the native Irish as Brugaidhs, Ceilib or Gillies, and Biataghs. 
The Brugaidh of tlie Irish period was of a certain consequence, for according to the text of the 
Senchus (vol. i. p. 41), he was " paid dire for his cetath" — Ceds or Huiidieiis — and dire, is ex- 
plained in Cormac's Glossary to mean "a fine or compensation to nobles lor their nobility.'* 
The explanation given of " Cetaib," by the commentators on the 8(!nclius, only shows that the 
Brugaidh was a character of the past when they were writing, and that they knew very little 
about him. Keating aad his followers transferred the description to the Biatagh. 



Irish Land-Tenuke. 

In the pastoral stage of society, the principle of individual proprietor- 
ship in land seems to have been ignored, or in the language of a later 
age, "no estate passed" from occupancy. The traces of such a system 
will be found in the description left by Tacitus of the yearly distribution 
of the land amongst the Germans of his days, when the amount assigned 
annually was regulated by the numbers and importance of the commu- 
nity, the individual allotment corresponding in a similar manner with the 
rank and position of the recipient. In course of time a certain district 
appears to have been made over in perpetuity to every minor community 
or kindred, whose ordinary rights and obligations were limited by the 
boundaries of the territory in question; and the traditional allotment, 
in which the land is supposed to have been "roped out" amongst the 
freemen, must be generally understood in this sense. The small allodial 
holding, possessed in permanence, and descending to the immediate per- 
sonal heirs, belongs to a somewhat different state of society ; and such 
an inheritance in later times, as may be seen in the case of the allodial 
tenants in Gavelkind amongst the men of Kent, continued to be divided, 
and re-divided, in accordance with the princi[)le, within narrower limits, 
that had once governed a similar distribution, and re-distribution, of 
the land in a far wider district, and amongst a much more numerous 

From the names of places in the Codex Diplomaticus, as well as from 
the modern topography of tiie country, Kemble seems to have pointed 
out a condition of society in England, when .3^scingas and Lullingas, 
Hffistingas and Buccingas, who have left the impress of their names in a 
number of different places, were kins of more or less importance, each 
constituting an unit in some greater confederacy. Wherever the land was 
the joint property of such a kindred, no portion could be transferred in 
permanence to any single member of the race ; and hence arose the 
necessity for the re-distribution of the land, that usually occurred upon 
the death of a senior, whether the head of the smallest family, or of the 
whole kindred. This seniority, in the case of a kindred, was invariably 
decided by election, the choice being limited, under ordinary circum- 
stances, to the leading members of the race within a certain degree of re- 
lationship, and the preference usually given to the one who was supposed 
to be nearest to the original stock — the principle of succession to this 
day in the Turkish Empire — through which a brother would be gener- 
ally preferred to a son. Indeed, it was only in the middle of the tenth 
century, that the children of a son, who had ])redeceased his father, were 
allowed, in Germany, to have any claim upon the portion of their grand- 


father's property to wliich their father, had he survived, would have been 
entitled ; and the right in question was even then decided by the ordeal 
of battle. Long after the obligation to the state had become paramount 
over the tie of kindred, the principle of the earlier stage of society may 
be traced, under a slightly altered form, in the joint right of the heirs to 
property held by Land-right, and in the custom of choosing the member 
of the family upon whom the privileges and obligations of the kin were 
to devolve. In property held by Lcen-righi, possessions, privileges, and 
obligations devolved upon the eldest-born.^ 

Wherever the central power of the community grew in strength, the 
authority conferred upon the elect of the kindred was confirmed, and the 
interna] regulations of the district were sanctioned, more or less nomin- 
ally, by the head of the confederacy. A further change was brought 
about by the assumption that all authority emanated from, or was de 
puted by, the central power'' alone, and whenever such an alteration 
resulted from a conquest, all previous rights were abrogated ; though 
where it merely grew out of the progress of centralization, as it were, the 
effects were milder, and were generally limited to a change of tenure. 
Thus the Nobiles of the Lex Saxonum are easily to be recognised in the 
three leading classes of the Sachsenspiegel, paying the same wergild as 
in the eighth century, most of the leading Adalings of the Old-Saxon race 
figuring as Flirst or Freyherr, holding by Dienst and Lcni-reclit, whilst the 
majority of the lesser Adalings retained the privileges of Schojipenbar free- 
men, with many of the peculiarities of the earlier tenure. Wherever the 
obligation of Service superseded the tie of Kindred the central power, or 
State, asserted its supeiiority over the Family, and the principles of 
elective seniority, and of the redistribution of the land amongst the 
kindred were set aside, lingering longest in the highest and lowest 
extremes of society. The Senior, chosen from amongst the kin, was 
gradually developed into the Seigneicr, or overlord, who derived his 
authority from the State; and the proprietorship of the land was no 
longer assumed to be vested in the community of the district, but in the 
central power of the confederacy, by which the Benefice, or La'sn, was 
granted, resumed, or confirmed, until the life-grant — originally terminable 
at the death of the donor, or recipient, and renewable at will — grew into 
an absolute pro])erty, which might be given away or bequeathed by the 

^ " Where the lord invests only one son with his father's Lehenrjule, it is Ldtcn-rechl ; but 
it is not Land-recht tliat he should retain it undivided. He apportions it amongst the kinsmen 
according to their rights in the division {tJicilinu/). Also, if a father leaves one of his sons 
with a separate Lehen, it is not Land-recht that he should hold this by himself after his father's 
death, and share in the other Lehens equally with his brothers. Though tlie brothers cannot 
compel him by Lehen-recht, it is not Landrecht ; and they can cite him to Land-recht, and 
force him by ortel and recht to an equal partition." — Sachsenspiegel, Bk. i. Art. 13. An entry 
in Domesday (vol. i. p. 375 b.), also illustrates the system of joint tenure : — " Siward, AInoth, 
Fenchii, and Aschil divided equally their father's lands, and so held them in King Edward's 
time that, if there was ulwarc, Siward went, and his brothers gave him aid. On the next occa: 
sion, one of the brothers went, and Siwanl with the other two gave him aid ; liut Siward was 
the Idng's man." Ho was the Senior, either chosen by his family, or in right of birth. 


owner, where it was not inherited of riglit by bis immediate heirs. 
Amongst the ordinary members of the community most of the obliga- 
tions, originally incumbent on the kindred, devolved upon the neighbour- 
hood, a change best exemplified by a reference to one of the ancient 
customs of the burghs, by which the Guild-brethren, instead of the 
kindred, became responsible for the wergild. The land became the pro- 
perty of the landowners for the time being, and a free tenantry grew 
into existence, who were not necessarily connected by the tie of blood, 
either with their overlord, or with each other. Then the " hedged off" 
property, or separate manerium, became the distinctive mark of even the 
smallest freeholder, whilst the earlier principle of joint-occupancy was 
only retained amongst the base-tenants of the vill, the Tungreve, or 
land-bailiff, in the place of the elected Senior, superintending the distri- 
bution of the land amongst the Geneats, or base-tenants — by whatever 
name they may have been known — who had inherited a prescriptive right 
to " share." In later times, as free tenants were necessary to perpetuate 
the privileges of the feudal court-baron, each base-tenant, as he was 
enfranchised, eagerly " hedged off" the various plots of ground, for which 
he rendered suit and service, as free of the manor ; and the numerous 
small enclosures, once existing in many an English county, bore testimony 
to the gradual conversion of the hereditary tenants by base-service into 

In Ireland, before she was made over to the Plantagenet by papal 
grant, in virtue of the dominion over all the islands of the globe, con- 
ceded to the see of Eome by the forged Donation of Constantino, " ellec- 
tion and customary division of land," joint-occupancy and the tie of 
kindred were in full force. Wherever the central power was weak, in 
such a state of society the tie of kindred, as the sole protecting bond of 
the community, was necessarily strong, and in Ireland the central 
power, where it existed at all, was all but nominal. Greater kingdoms 
were divided into Tricha-ceds, which occasionally appear as smaller 
kingdoms, or principalities, under an Oirrigh, or subregulus. The Tricha- 
ced was subdivided into Duthaids, and where the land was not distri- 
buted allodially it seems to have remained in the occupancy of Daer-clans, 
servile or base-tenants who were not of the blood of the privileged classes. 
In Hy Many, for example, there are said to have been seven Tricha-ceds, 
seven Oirrighs, seven Flaiths, and seven principal Cowarbs, with certain 
Daer-clans, over whom the right of exaction was unlimited. Not that 
each tricha-ced was necessarily supplied with an oirrigh and a flaith. In 
Hy ]\Iany, for instance, there were two flaiths and an oirrigh in the 
tricha-ced of Callow ; and in Hy Fiachrach there were three families 
claiming the superiority over the tricha-ced of Cearra, whilst seven 
taoisigeachts are mentioned in connection with the same district. The 
Flaith is missed in " the Tribes and Customs of Hy Fiachrach," and his 
place is supphed by the Taoisig, the more familiar Toshach or Captain 
—the Flaith of Bredach, for instance, appears in the poem of O'Dugan 


as the Toshach — and a difference can be distinguished between the 
Duthaid and the Taoislgeaclit, the allod and the captaincy. The former 
seems to have varied in extent from a single ballybetagh, the holdmg of 
the ordinary Brugaidh, to a number of ceds, but a captaincy might 
extend over a yet wider district in addition. The Tuath, or country, of 
Magh Fhiondaha, containing fifteen ballys, was the duthaid of O'Kearney, 
his captaincy embracing the twenty-four ballys of the termon of Balla ; 
whilst the duthaid of O'Moran was Ard-na-riagh, his captaincy the 
country from thence to Tuam da Odhar. The one was an inheritance 
of land in the joint-occupation of the kindred, the other was an inherit- 
ance of ofiSce in the enjoyment of the elected Senior.^ 

The land of the duthaid seems to have been known as Finetiud, or 
tribe-land, which, according to the Senchus, " could not be sold or 
alienated, or given to pay for crimes or contracts." Each inheritance 
was thus a little Folkland, the Senior distributing it in benefices amongst 
all the joint-proprietary who had a right, through their degree of rela- 
tionship, to a share in the district. As late as in 1594, the Inquest of 
Mallow found that the O'Callaghan was " seized of several large territories 
as lord and chieftain," the Tanist also holding several ploughlands in 
virtue of his position, whilst " every kinsman of the O'Callaghan had a 
parcel of land to live upon, yet no estate passed thereby." The O'Calla- 
ghan had the power of removing his kinsman from one " parcel" of land 
to another — they had only a right of occupancy — and certain signories 
and dues were payable to him from all the lands of " O'Callaghan's 
country." A considerable amount of the emoluments belonging to the 
Senior must have arisen, less from the lands in his immediate occupation, 
than from the seignories and duties in question, which long continued to 
be levied in kind, and were represented ])rincipally by a rent, or tribute, 
paid in stock of every description, by actual Refection, and the power of 
quartering kinsmen and followers upon the tenantry. The system was 
still existing in the seventeenth century, accustoming the Irish peasant 
to the payment of an all but nominal rent, whilst he was continually 
supplying the materials for a rude festivity, in wliich he probably con- 
trived to take a share. Its effects upon the upper classes may be traced 
in the abundant, but somewhat riotous, hoi^pitality of the eighteenth 
century, and have scarcely yet died out from amongst the lower classes 
even at the present day.- 

^ Hy Flnch'ucli, pp. 149-159, 193, etc. In the "Tribes and Customs of Tly Many," the 
Oirrigh is generally conneeted with the Sil, or the Cinel; the Flaith with the Clan. Thus 
0' Madden was Oirrigh of >Sil Amchadha, and there was an Oirrigh of Sil Crimthan Gael ; 
whilst Mac Egan was Flaith of Clan l)ernio<l, and O'Donnellan Flaith of Clan Breasail. 

^ Senchus Afor, vol. ii. p. 283; Ware (Karris), vol. ii. p. 72. The inaIi(Miability of the 
joint inheritance was in no way a peculiarity of Irish tenure alone. By Land-rccht, according 
to the Sachsenspeigel (Bk. i. Art. 20, 21, 33, 52), no man could alienate his r(;al property 
without the consent of his heirs and the leave of the court ; but he could alienate moveable 
property if, girt with a sword and carrying a shield, he could mount a Rosa, or warhorse, 
without help, standing on a stone or stump a thumb-ell in height from the ground. 'J'he horse 
and the stirrup might be held. With the consent of his heirs he could alienate his property, 


Under such a system the Duthaid must, in course of time, have 
become far too limited to meet the expansion of the kindred, and in a 
state of society in which an appeal could no longer be made to the sword, 
the family, as it increased in numbers, must have diminished in import- 
ance, as in the case of the O'Kellys, once kings, and, under English rule, 
captains of Hy Many. In the " Agreement between the Irish chieftains 
and inhabitants of Imany, called the O'Kellie's country, viz., the O'Kellie, 
Teige O'Kellie and Connor O'Kellie, competitors for the name of Tanist- 
shippe of O'Kellie," and various other members of ihe race entitled to be 
parties to the agreement, it was arranged " that the captainshippe and 
tanistshippe of the said country . . . and all elections and Irish custo- 
mary divisions of land shall be utterly extinct for ever . . . that the 
O'Kellie shall possess four quarters of land . . , with a chief rent out 
of various other lands within the said country . . . during his natural 
life, and after his death the said lands to be freed and discharged of the 
aforesaid rents." The two competitors for the tanistship were pensioned 
off with four quarters of land, also in permanent proprietors! lip, repre- 
senting in each case the actual amount of land in their occupation at the 
time of the agreement. Thus the patrimony of the head of the whole 
race had dwindled into a ballybetagh, with the chief rents incidental to 
the position of Senior.^ 

The population more immediately connected with the land may be sepa- 
rated, in Ireland as elsewhere, into the farming and the labouring classes. 
To the former, in an agricultural state of society, belonged the Mansu- 
arins^ or householder, whether free to " go where he willed," either with 
or without his laud — or servile, and bound to the property on which he 
had inherited a right to dwell and share. The labourer was invariably a 
serf, in his original position, and as he grew into freedom, was usually 

without the leave of the Richter, if he kept a half-liufe, or a hoffstadt in which there was room 
for a waggon to turn, so that the Richter preserved his rights. No man, who was not of 
RittersartJi — Ritter's kin — could give his wife a morrjen-gift without consulting his heirs. Pie 
could only give her his best horse — the gift of the days of Tacitus — or his best beast ; but with 
the consent of his heirs, if they were dwelling within the Gericlit in which the gift was situated, 
and it was within the Kunig's ban, he could give his wife morgenf/ahe. The father was the 
heir of the childless man ; if fatherless, the mother before sisters and brothers. Where there 
were no sisters or brothers, all the near kin shared alike without distinction between n)ale and 
female, and such iidieritances were called by the Saxons Gahn crhcn (Art. 17). Conquest, or 
acquired property, might be given or bequeathed at will, but it would then become erhe, and be 
governed by the rules of Land-right. The modern theory tliat an iuheritance of this descrip- 
tion was an actual property, separately divisible amongst the heirs, and again subdivided 
separately amongst their heirs, so as to form a mmiber of distinct little properties, is quite 
erroneous. Each joint-inheritance was a little Folkland, passing by the rules of Folkland. The 
Schijppenbar ireeman, for instance, was bound to hold at least three hufen, which must neces- 
sarily have been a joint-inheritance, or the majority of the class would have soon become dis- 
qualified. The house of the Kentish Gaveller was not divided, but jointly occupied by his heirs, 
and though the hearth and ibrty feet around it belonged to the youngest son, he could not setl 
it — it was not his absolute property. Hence the felony of any one member of such a family did 
not forfeit the property belonging to him which, being a joint, and not an absolute, property, 
reverted to the others. 
' ILj Many, p. 18. 


plaiitod on the land with a cot, and a small plot of land, in return for the 
work he ])erformed. The Accola, or alien unconnected with the district 
in which lie was located, and removable at the will of the lord, might 
belong to cither class, but was necessarily a freeman as long as he retained 
the power of removal. The farming class in Ireland was represented by 
the grasmannus, or stock-farmer, rather than by the husbandman, and 
the equivalent of the adscriptus glebce was adscriptus persona: dommi. 
It may be gathered from Cormac's Glossary, under the word Aicillne, 
supposed to be derived from aicco and gillne, that " when a man gave 
a set taurclotha — or returnable cattle — to another . . . it is meet 
{auco) for him afterwards to yield servitude (gillne) to that man, and to 
receive cows from him, according to the custom of chieftainry (airchenda). 
Though he desires to receive cows from another, he cannot." Thus he 
became adscriptus personje domini, without any claim upon the soil 
beyond a right of pasturage for the stock committed to his charge, a 
right which must have either ceased with the resignation of the stock, or 
grown into a hereditary claim of occupancy in the district, and of acting 
as a sort of hereditary stock-farmer upon the lord's property. The 
aicillne of the Glossary, which may be rendered " customary service," is 
treated of in the Senchus under the head of " Cain aigillne occus giallna," 
or the " Law of customary service and securities," explained by a com- 
mentator by the words Daer rath, which seem to mean " base hiring." 
It was the " stock- tenure" of the Daer Ceili, or Gillie holding by base 
service, the "Cain tsaor-raith," or "Law of free hiring," relating to the 
Saor Ceili, who, upon receiving cattle in this manner from his Flaith, or 
overlord, was bound to " manual labour and ureirge." The free gillie 
could give up his stock " if he was weary of it" — he could " go where he 
willed," but not " with his stock" — and he could always separate from 
an " external," but not from a " native-born" overlord. The customary 
tenants upon church-lands seem to have been known as 3Ia7iac/is, also 
divided into saer and daer — the monk appears as a herdsman in Alfred's 
Laws — and resembling the Scolocs of Scotland, whilst Fuiders, Bothachs, 
and Sencleith are also met with in the Senchus. The Fuider was the 
accola, or alien ; the Bothach, from his name of Bothi/-inan, may be 
supposed to have been the labourer with a cot ; and both seem to have 
been numbered amongst the daer class, for they are placed upon a foot- 
ing with the foster-child during his fosterage, the pupil in his pupillage, 
or in the position of the Lait and Libertus of the continental codes. The 
Sencleith probably once belonged to the mysterious class that figures in 
the Sachsenspiegel as the Lassen, a class that, in a certain stage of 
society, stood out, as it were, and were divided from the dominant race 
by the broad barrier of caste. Their separate existence, however, grew 
by degrees into a matter of tradition, as they gradually but im})erceptibly 
blended with the alien, the unfortunate, or the criminal, who became 
attached more immediately to the soil. They contributed, in reality, a 
more important element to the general population than is usually 


admitted, though none confessed to a connection with them ; for what 
German has ever avowed a descent from the Lassen, what Irishman from 
the Firbolg ? Nor are the Scot and the Englishman in any way free 
from a similar peculiarity.^ 

There is nothing in the condition of the Irish Gillie to distin- 
guish him from an ordinary member of the villeinage amongst any 
other people in a pastoral state of society. The English Gebur 
received seed for about two-thirds of the arable land committed to his 
charge, with a small amount of stock, and "all that he has is his 
lord's." The Irish Gillie received neither seed nor arable land, but a 
larger amount of stock, and all that he had was equally the property of 
his lord. His right, when he acquired or inherited it, was a right of 
pasturage, and his obligations were those of the herdsmen, rather than of 
the husbandman. In the Steelhow of Scotland, and its equivalent, the 
Ferreumpecus, occasionally met with in Latin documents, may be traced 
the principle of the early system of stock-tenure applied to arable land. 
On the conversion of the davoch into the ploughgate, the carucata boum 
into the carucata terra:, when the herdsman first became a husbandman, 
he was necessarily supplied with plough, and yoke, and harrow ; and 
the name of pecus, or bu, continued to be applied to the " dead," as 
well as to the " live stock" — railways have recently familiarized us 
with " rolling stock." The Chronicler of Lanercost, in the anecdote he 
relates of Alan Durward, describes an agricultural class in Scotland, 
in the thirteenth century, holding by a tenancy renewable from year to 
year, at the will of the lord ; a class differing essentially from the tenants 
in fee-farm in the thanages, freeholders whose rights were acknowledged 
in many of the early Scottish charters. The directions in the enactment 
of Alexander ii., in 1214, apply to a class of the former description, 
bidding them remain in the localities they occupied during the previous 
year, and take land and cultivate it for the benefit of their lords ; thus 
converting the " customary service" of stock-tenure into the obligations 
incumbent upon the holding of arable land. Wherever the ploughgate 
is traceable in northern Scotland the use of the agricultural measure- 
ment seems to mark the enforcement of this enactment, incidentally 
pointing out the limits within which the power of the Scottish sovereign 
was paramount in the thirteenth century ; just as the absence of the 
territorial division of the Hundred in the lands lying beyond the 

1 Senchus 31or, vo]. ii. pp. 52,53, 195, 223, 289, 345. Urdrge is translated "homage." 
But homage was tendered tor " gentle service," and the Irish word must mean something very 
different, as it was connected with " manual labour." Ceilib, again, is translated " vassals ; " 
but Ceile De would be rendered Servns Dei in Latin, and God's theow in old English. The 
Gillie is to this day a servant, not a vassal. One of the five invalid contracts was that of the 
mna (woman) without her Ceili, where the word is used in the same sense as Ceorl, for husband. 
Daeris opposed to Saer in the sense of base or servile rather than of unfree, and the daer gillie 
seems to have been the equivalent of the adscriptus glebre, who was free, up to a certain point, 
within the manor to which he was "inborn." A clue to the meaning of ureirge may perhaps 
be gathered from the amas urergi of p. 24, who seems to have been a domestic servant. The 
amas was the free follower, generally a military retainer ; the amas urergi may have answered 
to the esne, or metsung-man; the schalch, who has left his mark upon mavcschal, seneschal. 


Tees, in spite of the enactment of Edgar upon the subject, tells of the 
weakness of the royal authority in England, beyond that river, before 
the Conquest.^ 

In many of the early charters, both in England and Scotland, and 
especially in those connected with church-lands, the amount of produce 
required from the manor, or farm, is carefully laid down ; and a right 
of pannage, or of pasturage, for a certain number of animals is also 
frequently entered in such documents. The adscriptus glebte, bound to 
supply his portion of the produce required from the property to which he 
was attached, grew in course of time, through enfranchisement, into the 
owner of the land, " by copy of the court-roll," for which his customary 
service was rendered. But no claim upon the soil, or upon the wood, 
could accrue from the right of pasturage, or of pannage ; and stock-tenure, 
at the utmost, could only grow into a right of occupancy, with a heredi- 
tary claim to pasturage, such as the commoners of many an English 
manor enjoyed. Under a system by which no estate passed amongst the 
upper classes, through the customary division of the land, no estate could 
be acquired by the peasantry, whose sole " adscription" was to the person 
rather than to the property of the lord. This personal adscription to the 
overlord is the real source of the feeling, naturally engendered in such a 
state of society, that is sometimes described as " clannish" — though some- 
what erroneously, for the hereditary gillie was only " the native-man and 
kindly tenant," making no pretensions to be a member of the clan, or to 
be connected by the tie of blood with the privileged kindred of the 
district. Accordingly, in the course of a generation or two, he attached 
himself as closely to an Anglo-Irish overlord as to a Flaith of native 
race ; for nationality, in the sense in which it is at present understood, 
had no existence in a state of society in which the feeling out of which it 
subsequently arose was limited to the kindred and the district. The 
bond of kindred, the election of the senior, the division of the land, and 
the mutual obligations between the overlord and his native-man, were all 
equally ignored by the principles of modern law ; but though the O'Kelly, 
and the O'Callaghan, and other " Captains" and their kinsmen received 
compensation upon the abolition of the earlier system, becoming proprie- 
tors in permanence of certain portions of their tribe-land, no such com- 
pensation fell to the lot of the native-men. The novel law, in releasing 
the gillie from his customary service, equally released the overlord from 
his customary obligations, acknowledging neither the one nor the other 
as legally binding ; but the recollection of the earlier system, as far as it 

■ 1 Chron. Lan. 1267 ; {Scotland under her early Kivgn, vol. ii. p. 77) ; Stat. Alex. II. i. — 
" AgricultuiiB terrse Albania non dantur, sicut alibi, locationi perpetuae, sed aiumatiiii renovent 
pacta, aut agc;ravant firmas," are the words of the chronicler, who probably uses Albania for 
northern Scotland, in which quarter the farm tenantry, as a class, would appear to have been 
adscripti personasdoniini, rather than adscripti glebfE. It must not bo supposed, from contrast- 
ing an agricultural with a pastoral state of society, that the one necessarily ignored the other; 
hut the pastoral state was characterized by the Haker-hufe, so to say, rather than by the Jhrf- 
hufe — by the hoe, or spade, rather than by the plough, at any rate amongst the class of Gillies, 
or native-men. 


affected liis immediate ancestry, seems still to linger in the mind of the 
Irish peasant, thougli he has, not unnaturally, confounded the occupation 
with the ownership of the land, and is encouraged to look upon himself 
as the descendant of the original proprietor, rather than as the represen- 
tative of the native-man, or gillie.^ 


The Toshach and the Thane. 

Election, division of lands, and other early customs, once widely 
prevalent amongst Teutonic and Slavonic races, as well as Celtic, and 
even now more or less traceable amongst some of the people of Eastern 
Europe, lingered in Ireland until the opening of the seventeenth century ; 
not because of the Celtic origin of the people, but from the chronic weak- 
ness of the central power, the true cause of many of the peculiarities, and 
of most of the evils, of that country. Every distinction between the Kigh, 
the Oirrigb, and the Flaith of early days, was merged, in course of time 
during the Anglo-Irish period, in the Captain, or Toshach, a character 
belonging to the state of society in which the sovereign authority was 
content with confirming the choice of the kindred, and making him 
responsible for his district. The Irish Captain, elected as of old by his 
immediate kinsmen, paid a certain number of cows as a fine, or fee, 
apparently, for the official confirmation of his appointment, and was 
accountable for the annual tax levied upon his district, at the rate, in 
ordinary cases, at least in the sixteenth century, of an Irish shilling from 
every carucate. In addition to the share of the Dathaid, or tribe-land, 
belonging to him in right of his seniority, he was in the enjoyment of 
certain seignories and dues, evidently in commutation of the rents and 
services, originally paid in kind, to the senior of the race. In the charter 

^ The personal attacliment of the Native men to their overlord, without reference to race, is 
also noticeable in Scotland wherever the earlier system retained its hold upon the remoter 
districts, the " kindly tenant " attaching himself as readily to a Fraser as a Chisholm, of Norman 
origin, as to a Macintosh or a Mackenzie. This is sometimes attributed to " Celtic race," but 
I confess to being sceptical about the accuracy of this explanation. The Anglo-Irish, who 
were generally of Norman descent, became liibernis Hiberniores, and there were features in 
the Irish system that may not have been without attraction. The Anglo-Irishman held his 
land by knight-service, or as a permanent indivisible inheritance, and by preserving the earlier 
system in his relations with his dependants, without alienating an acre of ground, he secured a 
tenantry upon whom he could quarter his followers almost at will, whilst they became united 
to him by the bond of self-interest. There was no personal tie between the adscriptus glebai 
and his overlord, such as may have existed between the free-tenant and the lord he followed to 
the wars ; but the adscriptus persontc was naturally interested in the lord in whose retention of 
the land consisted his own title to remain upon it. Fosterage again may have had its attrac- 
tions, as the foster-child shared in the property of the foster-parent. 


of confirmation given by John to the King of Connaught, the rights of 
disseissin, and the pleas of the crown, were expressly reserved; and the 
Irish Captain may be supposed to have been made responsible, under 
similar reservations, for the peace of his district, and for the punctual pay- 
ment of the annual tax levied upon it, thus filling a position not unlike 
that which O'Madden held under De Burgh, as Chief Administrator or 

The Captain is equally traceable in Scotland, as well as in Ireland ; 
nor, indeed, was he confined to those countries alone, for he was merely 
one of the equivalents of the early Dux or Here toga — the Elder-man, or 
Senior, within a narrower district than a province ; but in Scotland par- 
ticularly may his progress be traced until he lost the last vestiges of his 
official character, and ceased to be distinguishable from other landed 
])roprietors. In the Charter of Kells, already quoted elsewhere, three 
leading characters assisted at the enfranchisement of Ard Breacan, the 
kings of Ireland, of Meath, and of the Cinel Lcogaire, seniors respec- 
tively of the supreme and the [)rovincial kingdoms, and of the actual 
district in which the property was situated. Similar notices abound in 
the Book of Deer, relating to the Church-lands of the Abbey of that 
name, once existing in the Scottish province of Buchan ; and it will be 
found that the gift, or the enfranchisement, was generally made with the 
concurrence, either jointly or separately, of three leading ])ersonages, the 
king, the mormair, and the toshach, the seniors respectively of tiie 
kingdom, the province, and the district in which the property was situ- 
ated, though standing in a somewhat difierent relationship towards each 
other.- Eights over land, rather than the land itself, then and long 
afterwards, constituted one of the main sources of revenue, and though a 
gift of land might be made free of all claims, an enfranchisement, to be 
cojnplete, required the concurrence of all who had claims over the land in 
question. So, when the abbot and convent of Breedon purchased the free- 
dom of their lands from certain customary obligations in 848, Humbert 
" princeps Tonsetorum," in return for a gift from the same community, 

^ Cotton's Visitation, p. 8 ; Uy 3Iany. p. 18, 148 ; Ware (Harris), vol. ii. j). 72. 

^ In the Book of Deer, p. 92, tor instance, we meet with cioit mormoir, cult tuise;/, and cuit 
riig, or the respective " shares " of mormair, toshach, and king. " Freedom from mormair ami 
toshach" seems to have been the usual form of franchise, as Mr. Stuart has abundantly sliown 
in his able preface, sec. iv. So in the resignations of Oualocr, or the droit d'aubaine, mentioned 
above at p. 129, the Count and his deputy must have resit^ned their respective claims beibrc 
the right was vested in the actual holder of the land. Such claimants were, occasionally, very 
numerous. In the twelfth century, for instance, when the Commune of Amiens won their en- 
franchisement with the assistance of Louis le Uros, the jurisdiction over the city of Amiens was 
divided, in their first charter of privileges, between the Maire and Echevins, and the Frcpositiis 
dominorum, or the Prevot appointed by the " Qnatre Seigneurs" — the Bishop, the Count, the 
Vidame, and the Chatelain — who received a portion of all the fines, representing the respective 
"shares" of his four masters. Mon. de Vllist. dii\Ticrs Etat, vol. i. p. 40, 41. Tlie ('hatelairi 
was nominally the representative of the royal authority, against which he fought on this occasion. 
In short, as the weakness of the centra! power in Ireland is revealed in the retention of tlie titlt; 
of king by quasi subordinate characters, so was it displayed at tin's time, in France, by tlie 
assumption of all but sovereign rights by personages who still retained llie titles of royal or 
ecclesiastical officials. 



obtained from King Berhtulf and the Mercian Witan their freedom " ab 
omnibus causis, magnis vel raodicis, notis ac ignotis, qnre mihi aut priri- 
cipibus Tonsetorum unquam ante ea pertinebant." The concurrence of 
the senior of the district was necessary to render the enfranchisement in 
every way complete, for neither the king nor the witan could Ijave abro- 
gated his privileges, though their consent was necessary to confirm his 
gift of freedom. Thus the " principcs Tonsetorum " must have continued 
for some time to exercise a hereditary, but subordinate, jurisdiction over 
the district of the Tonsetas under the Mercian kings, as seniors, or 
captains, confirmed by the royal authority ; and in a very similar manner 
tlie progress of the Hwiccas may be traced from an independent to a 
dependent kingdom, and from a hereditary province to an official ealdor- 
dom ; such characters as the " principes Tonsetorum " belonging to the 
period of hereditaiy dependency. Southumbrian England passed out of 
this condition of society before Northumbrian, the South country before 
the Midland ; but its traces are few and faint in England, for we are 
most familiar with the institutions of the south country. Ireland in the 
twelfth century was scarcely entering upon a phase of society that was 
fast passing away in north-eastern Scotland, but which lingered in the 
western districts of Galloway and Carrick until the ordinance of Edward 
in 1305 did away with " I'usage de Scots et de Brets." The Laws of King 
David, with the amendments and additions of other kings, were ordered to 
be " rehercez," — a mandate to which we probably owe their preservation, 
and their subsequent translation into the vernacular — all laws and usages 
"contrary to God and to reason" were prohibited, and from the date of 
this enactment the customary usage of earlier times ceased to be acknow- 
ledged by the law of Scotland.^ 

In the notices of past events, entered in the Book of Deer, the 
Toshach is found in Buchan, whilst the Thane appears in the early 
charters connected with the province of Moray, and is also traceable in 
Ross. Similar in most respects, for the captaincy and the raairship would 
appear to have been often united in the same person, they belonged, 
strictly s[)eaking, to a somewhat different state of society — the To.shach 
resembling the Irish captain, or the Elect of the kindred confirmed in 
his authority by the sovereign, whilst the Thane was essentially a royal 
official, appointed by the Crown, and if hereditary holding by charter. 
Tenure by charter superseded the earlier system in Scotland, and much 

1 Kell's Chart, vi. I. A. 3Iiscell. p- 143; Cod. BijJ. cclxi. ; Act. Pari. Scot. vol. i. p. 16. 
The nearest approach in Ireland to the condition of society alluded to will be found in the 
Charter of Newry, granted in 1150 by Maurice M'Loghlen, king of all Ireland " voluntate et 
communi concessione magnatum Ultonire, et Ergallise, et de Oveach," that is to say, the king 
of Airgiall, and his son the king of " Oineth and Tricased Erther," the king of Ulidia, and the 
king of Iveagli. Amongst the signatures will be found those of the archbishop of Armagh and 
the bishops of Airgiall, Tyrone, Tyrconal, and Ulidia: of the kings of Hy Tuirtre, Fermanagh, 
and " Fearnacrim ; " of the " Magnus dux de Clan Engusa," the, " dux Clnneda of Iveagh of 
Uladh,'' and the duces of " Kenelfogarty " and " Kyneltemnean," with the Hereuaghs of Down, 
Dromamore, and " Secumscray." -Due/- Man. vol. vi. p. 1133. The duces were probably known 
as toshachs in their own language. 


as the Saxon Adaling became a Fieyherr by exchanging his eailier 
tenuje for Dienst, so may the Toshach have been converted into a Thane 
by resigning his elective seniority, and acce[)ting it from the sovereign as 
a gift by charter of the Crown. Similar changes were famihar amongst 
the Germans in the thirteenth century, a clause in the Sachsenspiegel 
providing expressly for the case of a man who resigned his })roperty to 
a Herr, and received it back as a lehen ; a simple change of tenure, 
or tiansfer, by which the land became a hereditary benefice, and 
passed by Lehen-recht instead of by Land-rccht. It was the old con- 
version of the Lend into the Antrustion, the Gesithcundman into the 
King's-thegn. Thanes of course might be appointed without any reference 
to their previous connection with their thanage, but wherever the change 
was brought about by peaceful means, the original thane was often, pro- 
bably, a toshach holding by charter. Wherever the ploughgate and the 
shire, or thanage, are traceable in Scotland, it may be assumed that the 
power of the sovereign was sufficiently established to set aside the pre- 
dominance of the family tie, and before the close of the thirteenth cen- 
tury the thane and the visnet would have been found wherever there was 
the shire. The official in the Scottish shire was no longer the Elect of 
the kindred, but held his office by charter of the Crown, and it passed, 
if hereditary, to his immediate descendants. His district was no longer 
the territory over which his personal influence, as Senior, extended, for 
the limits of the thanage were regulated by the principle of the visnet, 
rather than by the extent uf the kindred, or the tie of blood.^ 

The old customary law seems to have lingered in western Scotland 
until it was abolished by Edward, and amongst the enactments of Eobert 
Bruce is a statute establishing the visnet in Galloway. From the time 
of the pacification of the province in the reign of William, when the 
lordship was conferred upon Uchtred's son Koland, and his kinsman 
Duncan was compensated with the earldom of Carrick, Galloway seems 
to have been in a position not unlike that of Connaught under John. 
As the royal mairs exacted the kane by the king's writ, and the fine for 
a breach of the king's peace was settled by the Judiccs of the province, 
the pleas of the Crown would a])pear to have been reserved, as in the 
case of the Irisli kingdom, whilst, with this exception, the authority of 
Koland and his house was apparently supreme. The absence of the 
visnet, however, and the presence of the captain, are sure signs that in 
Galloway the thane and the shire were ignored, and that tbe family tie 
still remained predominant. The earldom of Carrick must have exhibited 
a very similar condition of society in the thiricenth century, when Earl 
Nigel, upon the marriage of his daughter and sole heiress, settled by 
charter upon Roland of Carrick and his heirs the captaincy — " capud 
totius progenie suai " — with all the rights and privileges belonging to 
" Kencynoll," together with the office <jf Baillie of the earldom, and "the 
leading of the men thereof" Here the separate duties and [)rerogatives 

' Sachsenspic(j., Ek. i. Art. 33. For Thanes, compare Scotland unch r her Eai hj Kiiifjs, Ap. N, 


of the toshach and thane — the ealderman and gerefa, the captain and 
the baillie — were united in the same person, and granted by charter, to 
pass hereditarily to his immediate descendants ; a course that would 
appear to have been occasionally followed in other quarters as well as in 
Carrick. Accordingly the earlier system disappeared in Carrick as 
imperceptibly as in the sheriffdoms along the north-eastern coasts ; the 
original proprietary was little disturbed, and the prevalence of the name 
of Kennedy in the district passed, in course of time, into a familiar pro- 
verb. It was otherwise in Gralloway, where, upon the death of Roland's 
son, Alan, the feudal law came into collision with the earlier custom of 
the country. Besides his three daughters the deceased magnate left a 
son, Thomas of Galloway, who had married a daughter of Ronald, king 
of Man, about ten years before his father's death. Thomas was the issue, 
apparently, of a handfast connection, or of a marriage that the Church 
in those days ignored ; but as the division of the lordship between the 
heiresses would not have been in accordance with the custom of the country, 
the Galwegians, or a portion of them, chose to regard him as legitimate, 
and seem to have besought the king to pronoimce the lordship an indi- 
visible fief, and bestow it upon Thomas as the Elect of the kindred. So, 
in the following generation, whilst Balliol pleaded the indivisibility of 
Scotland, as a kingdom, Hastings assumed that, as a feudal fief of the 
English Crown, it had fallen into abeyance between the heiresses of Earl 
David, and was divisible in the same manner as his earldom of Hun- 
tingdon. As it suited best with the policy of Alexander to maintain 
the supremacy of feudal law, the partisans of Thomas rebelled ; and 
partly in consequence of this rebellion, partly perhaps to counterbalance 
the influence of the house of Balliol in this quarter, when Bruce made 
over the lordship to his most prominent supporter, James Douglas, 
barons and knights were planted in the land, much in the same way as 
Moray was colonized some two centuries before ; and many a family, 
unconnected previously with the province, found a home in Galloway.^ 

The Shire, the Thane, and the Visnet will be found in Lothian, the 
captain is traceable in Galloway and Carrick, but over the state of Scot- 
tish Cumbria rests a shadow all but impenetrable. A mixed population, 
living in a state of anarchy, is all that is revealed by the Inquest of 
David ; whilst Cornage continued to be the sole tenure throughout 
English Cumberland in the thirteenth century, and the sole service 
exacted from the Cumbrians was to guide an advancing army into Scot- 
land, and to protect the rear on its return. When David granted 
Annandale to Robert Bruce for the purposes of the chase, as "a forest," 
he gave him all the land lying eastward of the vale of Nith — the property 
of Dungal, RanJolph's ancestor — up to the boundaries of Ranulf le 
Meschin, when he held the sheriffdom of Carlisle. But who will define 
the boundaries of Ranulf le Meschin, or the limits of the original sheriff- 
dom of Carlisle ? When David addressed his mandates to his thanes 

1 Leg. Will. 22 ; Scotland, etc., vol. i. pp. 241, 390 ; vol. ii. pp. 25-28. 


and drengs of Lothian and Teviotdale, he must have looked upon the 
vale of Teviot as a portion of his Cumbrian province. His father Mal- 
colm held all Cumberland by force, and when Rufus drove out Dolfin, 
restored Carlisle, called the sheriffdom into existence, and, committing it 
to the charge of Ranulf le Meschin, issued his directions to " all his men 
of the sheriffdom of Carlisle, and all beyond the Leader," did the English 
king look upon that river as the boundary between his new sheriffdom 
and the March of Lothian? Generations passed away before the frontier 
between the two kingdoms was settled by mutual agreement in the thir- 
teenth century, and by that time all the valleys lying eastward of Annan- 
dale, and to the west and south of Lothian and the vale of Clyde, had 
long been permanently connected with the northern kingdom — partly 
owing, perhaps, to the lengthened occupation of Carlisle and the northern 
counties by David — but at the close of the eleventh century, the greater 
part of this wild district was a veritable debatable land. 

The thane died out in Scotland in the course of the fourteenth cen- 
tury, and he was never called into existence in Ireland, where the captain 
continued to be a recognised character in the reign of Elizabeth, though 
he had long ceased to have any real counterpart in Scotland. Charters 
of captaincy, indeed, may have been granted occasionally to some of the 
Highland lairds, but neither the elective seniority nor the division of the 
land was recognised by the law of Scotland. The relations between the 
greater chiefs and the sovereign, as soon as they were brought into closer 
contact with him, were regulated by that law alone ; and though early 
custom may have held its ground in remote and inaccessible districts, 
and amongst medial tenants and the dependent classes, the " custom of 
the manor," as it may be called, regulating the relations between a 
Highland proprietor and his gillies, must not be confounded with the 
ancient " custom of the country," the original Land-recht of the greater 
portion of the kingdom. 



The King's Wife. 

^THELWULF, the West Saxon, upon his return from Rome, was 
married to Judith, the daughter of Charles the Bald, at the court of her 
father at Worms. The bride, who must have been a mere child, was 
crowned with a diadem, placed upon a throne, and saluted as Queen b}^ 
Archbishop Hincmar ; novel and unusual ceremonies in the eyes of the 
West-Saxon king and his people, according to Prudentius, the con- 
temporary bishop of Troyes, who has left an account of the marriage in 
the annals of St. Bertin. Upon the return of ^thelwulf to England, 
writes Asser, he placed his childish queen upon a throne by the side of 
his own, and Judith, during the brief remainder of his reign, continued 
to enjoy the usual privileges of a queen-consort " contrary to the perverse 
custom of that race ; for the West Saxons suffer no queen to sit upon a 
throne by the king, nor even to be called queen, but only the king's 
wife." It seems to have been otherwise in Wessex in earlier days, for 
Sexburgh. a queen, reigned alone after her husband's death ; the signature 
of Beorhtric's queen, Eadburgh, is appended to an Abingdon charter — 
if it can be trusted — and in the other English kingdoms the queen parti- 
cipated, up to a certain point, in the royal authority. Her name, for 
instance, appears in the Mercian charters from the time of Offa with the 
epithet of Begina, and the consent of Alfred's daughter seems to have 
been almost as necessary to confirm a grant of land as that of her 
husband, the Ealderman. The origin of " the perverse and detestable 
custom that prevails in Saxony, contrary to the usage of all other people, 
at least of Teutonic race," is ascribed by Alfred — who told the story to 
Asser as he had heard it from the lips of men living at the time the 
events occurred — to the misdeeds of OfFa's daughter, Eadburgh. She 
used for the worst of purposes the unbounded influence she had obtained 
over her husband, Beorhtric ; and where her influence failed, had recourse 
to poison. For thirteen years she shared the throne of Wessex until the 
poison, intended for another, destroyed the king, when she was driven 
with execration from the land ; and after forfeiting, through hei' dissolute 


condnct, the protection of Charlemagne, who had placed a nun-minster 
at the disposal of the daughter of his ancient ally, she died miserably 
at Pavia, begging her bread in the streets of the capital of Italy. It was 
upon the accession of Egbert, therefore, that the West-Saxon nobles 
swore to drive from the throne any of their future kings who should 
place a queen by his side ; and in consequence of this resolution, ap- 
parently, tlie English language to this day ignores the existence of any 
word answering to Hegina, Heine, or Konigin, expressing a female 
sovereign. Cioen, like the French word fcmme, may mean either woman 
or wife ; and the title of the highest lady in the land is literally '' the 
wife" — the earlier title in fall, " the king's wife."^ 

Judith appears to have been the solitary exception to " the peiverse 
custom," from the time of Beorhtric and Eadburgh until the latter part 
of the tenth century. She signs a charter as Eegina in 858, and the 
next authentic signature to which the title is annexed is that of iElfthryth 
in Edgar's reign. Ealswyth, the wife of Alfred, never attests a charter 
in her husband's reign, nor are the two queens of Edward, iElfled and 
Eadgyfu, ever mentioned under that title in the charters of the great 
king's son. Athelstan was never married ; his half-brother Edmund had 
two queens — ^Elfgyfu, the mother of Edwy and Edgar, whose death is 
placed by ^thelwerd in 944, and iEthelfled, known as Jj^thelfied at- 
Domerham, perhaps from her morgen-gift — but their signatures with the 
addition of Eegina are never appended to any of his charters. Edred, 
a weak and sickly piince, died, like his great half-brother, umuarried ; 
but Eadgyfu, the widow of Edv.ard, during the reigns of both of her 
younger sons, was a constant attendant at the Court, affixing her 
signature to numerous charters as " the king's mother." Thus the real 
influence of the queen commenced with her widowhood — as in Turkey 
at the present day, though for a different reason — and in guarding against 
the dangers of a queen-consort, the prejudices of the men of Wessex 
opened the door to the influence of a queen-mother, an influence that is 
very perceptible in the history of this period. Eadgyfu was evidently a 
personage of considerable importance during the reigns of both of lier 
sons, more especially in that of Edred, and she seems to have been an 
early patroness of her younger son's contemporary, Dunstan, who makes 
his first liisivrical appearance in this reign. She was of a Kentish f^imily, 
a daughter of the Sighelm, who is addressed by Alfred, in one of his 
charters, as Dux or Eulderman, and a near kinswoman of Bertsige 

^ An. St. Bert., 85G; Asscr. "A priest's cwcne is a SDnre of the devil," wrote Abbot 
^Ifric, meaning a wife. As the parents of Judith were married in December 942, and her 
brother Charles was appointed to the kingdom of Aquitaino in 95'), when he was probalily " of 
age," or twelve years old, she was scarcely older in the following year [An. St. Bert., 842, 
855). Osgearn, the queen of the Northumbrian Alcred, wrote a joint letter with her husband 
to Archbishop LuUo of Mayence between 768-774 {WUkins i. p. 144). yEthelswyth, the 
sister of Alfred, and queen of the Mercians, granted laii<is " with the consent of her Witan " 
in 868 ; and in tlie lollowing year styles herself " Regina Anglornm." [Cod. Dip. ccxcviii., 
ccxcix. " Ego Burgred rex, et ego .Ethelswyth, paii coronata steninia regali, Augloruni 
regina," are the expressions of the latter chaiter.) 


Dyring. Her influence ceased with the life of her youngest son, for upon 
the accession of Edwy she was deprived of all her possessions. Her 
grandchildren, of whom the eldest was hardly more than thirteen years 
of age, were puppets in the hands of rival factions ; and the throne of 
Edwy was surrounded by the leading members of the royal race, who 
seem to have endeavoured to perpetuate their influence by marrying the 
young prince, towards the close of his short reign, to a lady who appears 
to have been too nearly connected with him, in some way or another, in 
the opinion of the age. It is almost needless to add that the name of 
iElfgyfu, the lady in question, is never found, with the addition of 
Regina, in any authentic document. Edgar, like his father, was twice 
married, first to ^thelfled, whose name is never mentioned in the 
charters ; and secondly, in the course of 964, to ^Ifthryth, in whose 
days certain changes seem to have been brought about.^ 

As the name of iElfthryth, with the addition of Begina, is affixed to 
several authentic charters, some of them dated as early as 968, the West- 
Saxon prejudice against a queen-consort would appear to have been 
gradually dying out in Edgar's reign ; though in all Anglo-Saxon docu- 
ments in which her name occurs, she is still invariably entitled " the 
lady," or " the king's wife." But as Edgar only survived his coronation 
for two years, the position of his queen was at once changed, for she 
ceased to be a queen-consort, without becoming a queen-mother. Again, 
after a lapse of twenty years, two children were left as puppets in the 
hands of contending factions, though the circumstances of the young 
princes were widely different. It would be difficult to point out the family 
of Edmund's first wife, but vEthelfled at-Domerham, like her mother- 
in-law Eadgyfu, was highly connected ; for she was the eldest daughter 
of iElfgar, whose name occurs amongst the Ministri in the charters of 
his son-in-law, and who appears as Dux at the Court of Edred. iElfgar, 
whose connection with the royal house may be supposed to have raised 
him to the rank of Ealderman, died before Theodred, bishop of London, 
whose signature is missed after 953 ; and as he was buried at Stoke in 
Suffolk, and his property was principally in that county, and in Essex, 
it may be safely inferred that he was Ealderman of the East Saxons, a 
position subsequently held by his son-in-law Brithnoth. The name of 
Ordgar, the father of iElfthryth, is also found amongst the Ministri 
before his daughter's marriage, and he attested a grant of Edgar " to my 
wife and dearly loved ^Ifthryth " — which may have been her morgen- 
gift — in 964, figuring in the very next charter as the junior Ealderman. 
As in iElfgar's case, his connection with the royal House seems to have 
raised him to the position of an Ealderman, and he presided, until his 
death in 970, over the Western Provinces, or the counties of Dorset, 
Somerset, and Devon. His daughter, at the time of her marriage with 

^ Cod. Dip. cccxxiv., mlviii. ; Thorpe, Diplom., p. 201. The signature of Dunstan as 
aljliot first appears in a charter of Edred (ceccxi.) dated in 946, and Osbern represents the 
king as entreating Iiis mother to use her influence with Dunstan, " who looks up to you above 
all others." 


the king, must have been a widow for about two years, the silent testi- 
mony of the charters refuting the story that Edgar murdered his friend 
in Harewood Forest in order to marry his beautiful wife. The signature 
of ^thelwold, ^Ifthryth's first husband, Ealderman of East Anglia, and 
eldest son of Athelstan, the Half-king, replaces that of his father in 956, 
and disappears in the course of 962, in which year his brother ^thelwine 
first attests the royal grants as Ealderman. Thus the mother of 
Ethelred was apparently of the highest birth next to royalty ; but who 
were the parents of Edward's mother ? ^ 

Ordmter Dux was the father of Edgar's first queen, according to 
Florence; "dux potentissimus," adds Malmesbury ; for a halo of sanctity 
surrounded the memory of the youthful martyr, and the chroniclers of a 
later age honoured him, after the fashion of their time, by exalting his 
mother's lineage. But the charters are totally silent about Ordmaar, 
and his name is not even found amongst the Ministri, though a passage 
in the History of Ely may serve to throw some light upon the subject. 
In the confusion resulting upon the death of Edgar, Ealderman iEthel- 
wine and his brothers claimed " the forty hides" at Hatfield, asserting 
that their father Athelstan had received the lands in exchange for his 
'patrimony in Devon — for the forty hides that formed the appanage of 
an Eorl in his native province. Edgar, they said, had dispossessed the 
family of both properties, and their claim appears to have been well 
founded, for the brethren of Ely bought back the land from the Ealder- 
man. But the forty hides at Hatfield, after they were taken from the 
family of the Half-king, had passed through other hands before Edgar 
gave them to Ely, for they had been bequeathed to the king by Ordmar 
and his wife Ealda. ^thelfled, the mother of Edward, was known as 
Candida, and Eneda ; she was "the White Duck," married for her 
beauty, and by the grant of forty hides, Edgar seems to have ennobled 
his father-in-law by bestowing upon him the appanage of an Eorl, 
though his birth would appear to have been insufficient to qualify him 
for exalted office. Edward, therefore, without powerful relatives on his 
mother's side, and left an orphan when little more than twelve years of 
age, was exactly in the position to be welcomed as king by the rival 
parties in the State. To secure his person, and govern the kingdom in 
his name ; to marry him, as he grew up, to a daughter of their race, and 
thus perpetuate their influence — such might have been the policy of an 

^ Cod. Dip., mcclii., mcccliii. The wills of .^Ifgar and of his two daughters will be found 
ill Thorpe, JJijdom., pp. 505, 519. His signature as Dux first occurs in 917, and is not to be 
found after 951. lie must not be confounded with " il^^lfgar, the king's kinsman," who died 
in 9G2, and was buried at Wilton [Chrov. Sax. ad an.) The Ealiierman was buried at Stoke 
in Suffolk. The signature of Brithnoth first appears amongst the Duces in 950. Two Athcl- 
Rtans sign amongst the Duces in the reigns of Eduiund and Edred, until the senior Athelstan 
disappears in 956, and is replaced by ^^^tlielwold. A few grants, liowever, dated in this year, 
are attested by both the Athelstans and yKthelwold ; but as all tlie signatures to these charters 
are identical, they probably represent tlie last appearance of (he Half-king in his ollicial 
capacity before assuming the cowl, when both father and son alfi.xcd their signatures amongst 
the Ealdermcn. 


^Ifhere or an iEthelwine, but not to murder him. His death could 
be profitable to J^^lfthryth and the house of Ordgar alone, and after the 
failure in the attempt to question his title to the throne, his death 
appears to have become a mere question of time and oppoi tunity. If 
ever a queen-consort sat upon the throne by Edward's side, the hopes of 
^Ifthryth would have been at an end, and accordingly as the young prince 
approached manhood — he died. Slain by domestic treachery — a suis, or 
by his own people, according to Florence — in the Western Provinces of 
Wessex, once ruled over by ^Ifthryth's father, and in which her brother 
Ordulf subsequently held high command, his body was hidden away in 
an obscure grave, as a befitting sepulchre for a prince of doubtful right; 
and it was left for the Mercian Ealderman, who has been accused by 
some later authorities of the crime, to claim for the remains of the mur- 
dered prince the obsequies of a king. The name of ^Ifthryth, after an 
interval of four years, again appears in the charters ; her brother Ordulf 
takes his ])lace amongst the leading Ministri, and the innovations intro- 
duced by Edgar in favour of his wife, as queen-consort, seem to have 
been at once ignored by his widow, as queen-mother,^ 

For twenty years ^Elfthryth continued to attest the charters of her son 
as queen-mother, filling the position of Eadgyfu during the reigns of 
Edmund and Edred ; and whilst the signatures of her numerous grand- 
sons are frequently attached to the same grants, the name of their 
mother, the first wife of Ethelred, is never even alluded to. According 
to the genealogy appended to Florence she was ^Ifgyfu, " comitis 
Agilberti filia;" though Ailred of ;Kievaulx calls her father Thored, 
whose name first appears as Dux in 979, when he seems to have been 
placed over the Northumbrians between Oslac and^lfhelm. The name 
of ^thelbert will be looked for in vain, even amongst the 3Iinistri, and 
if the genealogy of Florence is correct, it would have suited well with 
the policy of ^Ifthryth to maintain an influence over her feeble son by 
mariying him to a nonentity. In the very year in which Ethelred 
alludes in a charter to his mother's death, or in 1002, he was united to 
the Norman Emma, and from the date of this alliance the queen-consort 
again assumed her place by the side of the king, and attested the royal 
grants as Begina. An especial Order for the unction and coronation of a 
queen-consort dates from this reign, and was probably used for the first 
time on this occasion ; for it is scarcely probable tliat ^Ifthryth per- 
mitted her daughter-in-law to be crowned. For the first time since the 
days of Judith a regal diadem encircled the brows of an English queen 

1 Flor. Wig., 964 ; Malm. Gest. Reg., lib. ii. sec. 159; Jllst. El, lib. i. cap. 5. The name 
of ^Ifthrytb leappears in 979, and is missed after 999. A cliarter, dated in 1002 (dccvii.) 
alludes to lier deatli, and to tlie nunnery founded by Ler at Werewell. Here bIic is supposed 
to have expiated her crimes by a long and rigid penance, a story which the appearance of her 
name in the charters as late as 999 renders very doubtful. I cannot help thinking that the 
influence of ^i^lfthryth is traceable in the brevity with which ^Ethelwerd passes over the 
reigns of Edwy and Edgar, omitting all mention of Edward's name. yElfthryth survived 
^Ethelwerd, who towards the close of iiis life was the Patrician, or leading Ealderman. In 
this position, could he write the true history of Edward's reign wlule .^Uthryth lived? 


— unless it may be supposed that ^Ifthrytli assumed a diadem at Bath 
— though she appears to have continued to be known as "the Lady," 
or " the King's Wife," until after the Norman conquest ; and the title of 
the present sovereign of the British empire is, in its true meaning, 
simply " The Wife."i 


Three charters {Cod. Dip., cccxxxiii., mcci., ccccix.) are deserving of a passing 
notice in connection with this subject. A grant of the elder Edward to Mahnesbury, 
dated in 901 , is witnessed by " Ealhswyth the king's mother, and ^Elfled the king's 
wife," the solitary instance in which the queen-mother and the queen-consort are thus 
associated. The indiction is given wrongly, and the land is " freed from all secular 
obligations," always a suspicious addition to a grant of land. Again, an undated 
exchange of lands between Bishop Brithelm and Abbot ^thelwokl in the reign of 
Edwy is attested by " iElfgyfu the king's wife, and iEthelgyfu the mother of tlie 
king's wife," the solitary instance in which the mother of a queen-consort appears, in 
that character, amongst the witnesses to a charter. The names of Cenwald, bishop of 
Worcester, and Brithnoth Drix, date this exchange before the separation of the pro- 
vinces to the north of the Thames from Edwy's kingdom in 957, for after that event 
the signatures of the Mercian prelates, and of the Ealderman of the East Saxons, are 
never attached to the grants of that king. But Edwy, a mere child at his accession, 
was only separated from his wife in 958, and can scarcely be supposed to have married 
her much before that time. The third charter is an undated grant of Edmund, wit- 
nessed by "Eadgyfu the king's mother, and ^'Elfgyfu the king's concubine," again the 
solitary instance of such a combination amongst the attesting witnesses. It professes 
to be a gift of three sulings at Mailing to the church of Eochester, which clashes not a 
little with the previous gxant of " Mailing in perpetual free-alms," made upon a cele- 
brated occasion by Egbert to Canterbury in 838 (ccxl.), and is also suspiciously " freed 
from all secular obligations." Amongst the attesting Duces will be foimd the names 
of Skull and Osferth, which will be souglit for in vain amongst all the numerous 
charters of Edmund, but will be at once recognised in some of the earlier grants of 
Athelstan. If the queen of Edmund, the mother of Edwy and Edgar, had ever 
affixed her name to one of her husband's charters, she would have hardly signed her 
cross to the epithet of Concubine ; and this document, like the other two, seems to be 
of very doubtful authenticity. 

* The fullowing passages from the will of iVthelstan tlie .libeling — a son of Etlielrcd, 
who died after July 1012 {Cod. Di]). mcccvii.) — go far to prove the comparative ol).scunty of 
liis mother. " I give to .lElfswjth, my foster-mother, for her great deserts, the laTid at Wes- 
ton. ... I now declai'e that all the things . . . are done fur the soul of my dear fallier King 
jJ^thelred, and for mine, and {ov JEIftliryLh my r/ravdmother's, who reared we.'' Foslerod 
by a stranger, reared by bis grandmother, lie seems to have scaj'cely known that he ever had ;i 
mother, for not even her soul is eared for in hi.s will. T'liorpe, fJtplom., pp. 5G0, 5()'2, 




A CERTAIN looseness in the marriage tie is long observable in northern 
Europe. According to some of the Scandinavian codes, for instance, if 
a woman lived with a man for a year, keeping his keys and managing 
his household, she was his legal wife without further ceremony. Nor 
was the tie so indissoluble as it afterwards became. Queen after queen 
must have been set aside by Charlemagne, unless he is credited with a 
plurahty of wives ; and when the beauty and illustrious descent of 
Matilda attracted the notice of Henry the Fowler, he seems to have first 
assured himself of her consent to his proposals, and then to have 
repudiated his first wife, Hathaburg, without further ceremony. Upon 
our own side of the channel, Canute, in order to secure the support of 
northern England, married the daughter of Ji^lfhelm and Wulfruna, and 
following the example of Henry, unhesitatingly repudiated her when he 
" commanded the relict of King Ethelred to be fetched for his wife." 
With equal alacrity the Scottish Malcolm seems to have set aside Inge- 
biorge in order to secure the hand of the high-born Margaret of England. 
Uchtred the Northumbrian was three times married. With his first 
wife, the daughter of Bishop Aldhun, he received certain lands of St. Cuth- 
bert's " on condition that as long as he lived he should always retain Egfreda 
in honourable wedlock ;" a condition pointing strongly to a certain want 
of permanency in the marriages of the period, against which the Bishop 
seems to have exhibited a laudable anxiety to protect his daughter. After 
his appointment to the earldom of the Anglo-Danes, Uchtred divorced 
Egfreda to marry Sigen, the daughter of Styr Ulfson of York, a connec- 
tion that seems eventually to have cost him his life ; but he repudiated 
the Yorkshire lady when he accepted the hand of ^Ifgyfu the daughter 
of Ethelred. Egfreda, divorced by Uchtred, was given by her father 
the bishop, with her dowry, to Kilvert Ligulfson, by whom she had a 
daughter, Sigrida, subsequently married to three husbands in succession, 
with one of whom, Uchtred's son Eadulf, she was somewhat closely con- 
nected. The degrees of consanguinity, however, were not always attended 
to at that period. "I, Alfred, bishop, will give those five hides to 
Beorthwen the daughter of Wulfhelm, who was the wife of his brother 
Beorthere," says a charter dated at the close of Athelstan's reign. 
Repudiated by her second husband, Egfreda ended by retiring to a nun- 
minster, but her marriages were regarded as legal, and her children as 
legitimate ; for her descendants by Kilvert, as well as by Uchtred, subse- 
quently claimed her dower-lands, whilst Simeon notes down all these 
marriages and divorces as if they were circumstances of very ordinary 

> Cod. Diih, ccclxxvi.; Sim. de Oh. Dun. (TwysJen), pp. 79-82; de GeStis, 1040, 1072. Styr 
gave his daughter on conditiuu that Uchtred should take up his blood-feud against Thorbrand 


A marriage ia the tenth century may be said to have been commenced 
and completed on two distinct and separate occasions, — the Wedding, and 
the Giving av^ay. We now give the name of betrothal to the wedding of 
our forefathers, having transferred the older name and greater importance 
of the " desponsatio et dotatio" to the " traditio et sanctificatio," or the 
giving-away. The wedding was the civil contract, deriving its name 
from the ivcds, pledges or securities that passed between the bridegroom 
and the parents or guardians of the bride. The giving-away represented 
the final completion of the marriage, after the necessary arrangements 
had been concluded ; and upon this occasion, according to the regulations 
laid down in Edmund's reign, a priest was to be present in order to 
sanctify the legal union by his blessing. " Si quis desponsata sibi, et 
tradita, utatur, conjugium vocat," wrote St. Ambrose ; adding in another of 
his epistles, in exact accordance with the regulation of Edmund, "ipsum 
conjugium velamine sacerdotali et benedictione santificari oporteat." By 
the veil and the blessing of the priest the legal union was rendered holy. 
So little necessary, however, was the blessing of the priest, or the religious 
portion of the ceremony, to the abstract legality of the marriage, that in 
the case of the bigamist, or trigamist — of the person who married for the 
second or third time — the presence of a priest was altogether dispensed 
with. " A layman may for need marry a second time, but the canons 
forbid the benedictions thereto which are appointed to a first marriage 
. . . and it is forbidden to the priest to be, in the manner he ere was, at 
the marriage when a man marries again, or to give the benediction which 
belongs to a first marriage." Such is the regulation laid down in the 
Institutes of Polity, with which the Canons of iElfric agree — " Nor may 
any priest be at the marriage when a man marries a second wife, or a 
woman a second husband, nor together bless them, . . . the canons forbid 
the blessings thereto" — the passage in the Capitularies, " nequc sine bene- 
dictione sacerdotis, qui ante innupti erant, nubere audeant," testifying 
to the universality of the custom. Yet though the priest was forbidden 
to be present or pronounce a blessing upon such occasions, the marriage 
was strictly legal, and the offspring were legitimate. Not a doubt has 
ever been expressed about the legitimacy of Ethelred, yet if the canons 
were strictly construed in the time of Dunstan, no priest could have 
blessed the union of Edgar and ^Ifthryth. As long as the dowry and 
the necessary weds therefore constituted a legal marriage, and the children 
of the undowered woman were illegitimate, ancient custom looked 
upon the wedding, or civil contract, as the more important of the two 
ceremonies in a strictly legal sense ; and, accordingly, in one of the 
canons enacted in Edgar's reign, in confirmation of earlier canons upon 
the same subject, it is laid down that if a maiden who has been " be- 
wedded " should be separated by any chance from her betrothed, when- 

Hold ; but Thorbrand waylaid and slew Uclitred some ten years later wlien he submitted to 
Canute, and the feud between the two familios, Angle and Dune, was not appeased in Simeon's 


ever and wlierever they may happen to meet each other, they may live 
together as man and wife without further ceiemony.^ 

The expressions, " taking the veil," and " the wedding," have lost 
their earlier signification, for the former meant a marriage. The nun is a 
spiritual bride, and her year's noviciate seems to mark the time generally 
sufiered to elapse between the wedding and the giving-away, or the 
assumption of the marriage-veil. The contract would appear to have 
been completed, or annulled, in both cases after the lapse of a year, which 
was probably looked upon originally as an era of probation. It was 
evidently a sacred and binding contract in the eyes of the church, though 
either party might decline to fulfil it ; the sole penalty in this case being, 
like the contract, of a civil character, the offender forfeiting all claim 
upon the dowry and any other gifts that may have passed on either side. 
Strictly speaking, "legitimum conjugium" was not complete without the 
" traditio," and in the case of a first marriage the " benedictio sacerdo- 
talis ; " but if a child was born before the wedded woman was given away, 
even if the contract was never com.pleted, as the " desponsatio " was the 
more important ceremony in the eye of the law, ancient custom pro- 
nounced the child legitimate. Nor was this the custom in England only, 
for as the dowry, according to the Capitularies, was the test of a legal 
marriage, as long as this principle was in force, the "desponsatio et dotatio" 
must have legitimated the offspring, even without the completion of the 
ceremony by the " traditio et sanctificatio." Upon this point the Church 
seems to have avoided committing herself, and none of the old English 
canons touch upon the subject ; but by forbidding the presence of her 
minister at a second marriage, whilst she was obliged to acknowledge 
that such a marriage was legally binding, the Church in those days 
tacitly admitted tlie civil nature of the tie, and the abstract legality of an 
" unsanctified" union.^ 

Great abuses seem to have arisen out of a state of the law in which a 
wedded woman might, under certain circumstances, become a mother, and 
her child bo legitimate, Le/ore the giving-away ; and when Giraldus in- 
veighs against the evils arising out of the abuse of this custom amongst 

'^ Edmund B.; Instit. Pol. 22; jElf. Can., 9; ^If. Pcen., 43; Edc/. Can. M.I.P., 24; 
Ambrose, ep. 60, sec. 1, e/). 19, sec. 7 ; compare also Scotland under her Early Kimja, vol. ii. 
p. 324. If man and wife were unavoidably separated by the chances of war or the incidents of 
service, after the lapse of a certain number of years the Church allowed auother marriage. If 
the original wife returned, she was to be taken back — " not so," says another authority, 
" let her find another husband." TJteod. Pan. xix. 24, 1. 

^ TJieod. Pan., xvi. 29 ; Ecgh. Con/., 20. The penalty for carrying off a " wedded woman" 
was excomrannication. Ecgb. Pcen. ii. 12. From the penalty of "the king's-wite" being 
levied in Alfred's Laws {sec. 8), upon the man who carried off " a nun from a minster without 
the king's or the bishop's leave," it is evident that with their leave she could be married. But 
the nun at that time was a canoness ; under ordinary circumstances the deacon was not to 
receive orders, nor the virffo to take her vows, beibre twenty-five years of age ; and in an age of 
lay abbots and secular canons, the nun was often a lady of rank, who would not trouble herself 
much with either rule or vows, even after she passed the twenty-five years. These were pro- 
bably the ladies wlio set the fashion of using dresses and ornaments in nun-minsters — I pur- 
posely avoid writing nunneries, for they were different — against which various Councils 


his countrymen, he is only descriijing a state of society that was far more 
widely prevalent a century or two before he wrote as follows: — " Matri- 
moniorum autem onera, nisi expertis antea cohabitatione, commixtione, 
mornra qnalitate, et prtecipne fecunditate, subire non solent. Proinde 
puellas, sub certo parentibus pecuniae pretio, et resipiscendi poena statuta, 
non ducere quideni in primis sed quasi conducere, antiquus in hac j;ente 
mos obtinuit." Under the name of Hand-fasting the custom " quasi con- 
ducendi puellas" is traceable in remote districts of England and Scotland, 
until a comparatively recent era, and is still supposed to be known in 
Wales as "bundling." In its original acceptation the word liandfast 
simply meant a contract of any sort, though it seems to have bien 
gradually a})plied almost exclusively to a marriage-contract, and Palsgrave 
renders Jiancelles by hand-fasiynrj. This engagement lasted for a year, 
exactly answering to the original wedding, " and if each party continued 
constant, the handfasting was renewed for life" — the sanctification and 
giving-away ensued — " but if either party dissented, the engagement was 
void, and both w^ere at full liberty to make a new choice; but with this 
proviso, that the inconstant was to take charge of the offspring of the year 
of jirobation." Long before the time when Pennant wrote these lines, 
handfasting had ceased to be countenanced by the law. Writing of 
Alexander Dunbar, the son of James sixth Earl of Moray and Isobel 
Innes, Pitscottie says, — " This Isobel was but handfast with him, and 
deceased before the marriage ; wherethrough this Alexander he was 
worthy of a greater living than he might succeed to by the laws and 
practices of this realm." Yet as a custom it was of considerable force, 
for when Margaret of England sued for a divorce from Angus, she asserted 
that he had been handfasted to Jane Douglas, " who bare the child to 
him, and by reason of that pre-contract could not be her lawful husband." 
At the opening of the sixteenth century, therefore, a contract of this 
description was still considered to be of sufficient force to be used as a 
plea for a divorce, which was granted by the Pope, though the child of 
the union between Angus and the queen-dowager was declared legitimate. 
In an earlier state of society, such as existed in England and elsewhere 
before the close of the eleventh century, an arrangement of this descrip- 
tion would have been carried out without any appeal to Kome.^ 

Many of the pretenders who have been stigmatized in mediaaval his- 
tory as illegitimate, though they seem to have often met with considerable 
support amongst their contemporaries, may have been the children of 
handfast connections, and ancient custom would have looked more favour- 
ably upon their claims than mediasval law. The Emperor Arnulf seems 
to have been an instance in point, for the contemporary Saxon chronicler 
appears to have entertained not the remotest idea of his illegitimacy when 
he wrote as follows : — " They said they would all hold (their kingdoms) 
from his hand, because none of them on the father's side was horn thereto 

' Descr. Camb. Lib. li. c. 6 ; Jamieson, Diet, in voc. Handfast, quoting Pennant, Pit- 
scottie, and Home. 


except him alone." It was Hincmar, tbe devoted adherent of the Western 
Carolings, who stigmatized the sole representative of the Eastern branch 
as the son of a concubine, and illegitimate. The mother of Athelstan, 
though traditionally of high descent, seems never to have been acknow- 
ledged as the wife of Edward ; yet her son was the legitimate heir and 
successor of his father, and probably the issue of a wedding that was 
never completed. From certain expressions used in the Life of St. Editha, 
or Eadgyfu, the daughter of Edgar, the custom of handfasting, with its 
abuses, would appear to have been in full force during that king's reign. 
In alluding to the saint's mother, the writer uses the following words: — 
" quam quidem Wlftrudem rex sibi perpetuo regni consortia conjungere 
statuerat, sed ilia a partu absoluta deinceps continenter vivere quam 
illecebris servire maluit, Christi amore eam invitante." It was evidently 
the wish of the king to complete the contract after the birth of the 
child, but Wlftrud declined, retiring into a convent, apparently without 
a stain upon her character ; and as she was " the inconstant," the child, 
born before the final giving-away, was brought up by the mother, and 
dedicated to a religious life. The death of Eadgyfu occurred in her 
twenty-third year, on the 16th September 984, thus placing her birth in 
962, or late in 961 ; and as ^Ifthryth, who became a widow in the course 
of 962, was the wife of Edgar in 964, the connection of Edgar with iEthel- 
fled, and the birth of Edv/ard, must be placed between these dates. From 
the brief interval clasping between the birth of Eadgyfu, at which period 
Edgar seems to have been still attached to Wlftrud, and his union with 
the high-born widow ^Ifthryth, it seems allowable to conjecture that he 
never completed his contract with JEthelfled, who, though known from 
her beauty as " The White Duck," was not apparently of exalted origin. 
But it would appear as if, in this case, it was the king who drew back, 
to judge from the date of his marriage with jElfthryth ; and by the usage 
of handfasting it would have fallen to his lot to provide for the child of 
the wedded, but not married, /Ethelfled. Accordingly he acknowledged 
Edward as his legitimate son, and a certain light is thrown upon the 
history of the period, if it is allowable to assume that the heir to the 
throne was, as in the case of Athelstan, the issue of a handfast connection. 
His right to succeed was evidently disputed, though the reason assigned 
by Osbern, that he was the son of uncrowned parents, is not only the 
objection of a later age, but, even if it had been raised, might have been 
equally used against his half-brother Ethelred. The real question was 
probably about liis legitimacy, which had been acknowledged by his 
father Edgar ; and as his brief reign was the era of ^Ifhere's struggle 
against the Ealdermen of East Anglia and Essex, Edward would appear 
to have been supported by the former for his own purposes"; for the prince 
met his death in one of the Western Provinces " by his own people," and 
received the burial of a king from the Mercian Ealderman.^ 

1 Chron. Sax. 887 ; Mahillon, Act. Sand. stec. v. p. 623. 


The King's Kin. 

No allusion is ever made to the Ealderman in the Kentish laws. 
Members of the royal race ruled, as kings, over the subdivisions of the 
realm of jEthelbert until the expulsion of the last of them in the time of 
Offa, who drove out Egbert, and refused to confirm his grants, denying 
his right to " book land." Osulf of East-Kent, the first-known Ealderman 
in this part of England, was the contemporary of Wulfred, the last prelate 
ever chosen from a Kentish monastery to fill the see of Canterbury, until 
" iEthelnoth the monk," dean of Christ-Church, and a scion of the royal 
house, was raised to the archbishopric in the reign of Canute. Amongst 
the Nortluimbrians, the place of the Ealderman seems to have been filled 
by the High-Reeve. Where Simeon uses Dux, the expression in the 
chronicle is Heah-Gerefa ; and where the latter authority says that the 
High-reeves slew Beorn the Ealderman, the northern annalist uses the 
word Patricius, which occurs repeatedly in his account of the events of 
the eighth century. Beda, in his Epitome, distinguishes between the 
Dux regius — Heretoga — who was killed by the Picts in 698, and the 
Prcefectus — Gerefa — who fought with the same people in 710, though 
both appear in the Saxon Chronicle as Ealdermen. It may be gathered 
therefore, that the Northumbrian kingdom was administered, under the 
king, by High-reeves, over whom there seems to have been placed a 
superior official, known as the Patricius, whose Anglian name may have 
been Heretoga, or Ealderman.^ 

In Wessex, however, from the time of Ini, the contemporary of the 
Kentish Wihtred, the Ealderman is found in connection with the Shire, 
jointly presitling over the Folk-moot with the Bishop. Occasionally they 
marched to battle together, each carrying out the part assigned to him ; 
and whilst the Ealderman did his best to defeat the foe with the arm of 
the flesh, the Bishop and liis clergy lent their spiritual aid by offering up 
prayers around the sacred banner, though sometimes the ardour of battle 
seems to have led them to participate more actively in the fray. But 
though the Bishop may have been the judge in all ecclesiastical causes, 
the office of the Ealderman in the Folk-moot was not judicial. If a man 
demanded justice in the days of Ini, he carried his plaint before " the 
Shire-man, or some other judge." Debt was declared, in Alfred's reign, 
" before the King's-reeve in the Folk-moot ; " and chapmen, journeying 
up the country, were bound to bring their men " before the King's-reeve 
in the Folk-moot." To "judge righteous dooms" is the exhortation of 
Edward to his Reeves, and though Bishops, Ealdermen, and Reeves were 

' Cod. Dip. cxxxii., cxxxv., clvii., cxcv., ccxxvi. ; Chroii. Scu:. and Sim. Dun. ad. an. 778, 
780 ; Beda, II. E. L. v. c. 24. In later limes, the Eorl and Hold seem to have answered, amongst 
the Danish population of Northumbria, to the Ealderman and Heah-gerei'a amongst the 



all alike enjoined by Athelstan to unite in " keeping the Frith," the Eeeves 
alone were ordered " to take the wed, each in his oivoi shire ; " it was the 
Reeve who, in the days when the Hue and Cry went from shire lo shire, 
was bound to assist with his manung. But, say the Laws of Alfred, in 
whose days fighting- in certain cases was still lawful, " if a man have not 
sufficient power to besiege (his foe), let him ride to the Ealderman" — if 
military force was required, the appeal was no longer to the Gerefa, but 
to the Heretoga. Bot, or personal compensation, was paid to an ealder- 
man, a V)ishop, or an archbishop, by the man who fought, or drew his 
weapon, in their presence ; but he who fought before an ealderman in 
the Folk-moot paid " wer and wite" as hot, with an additional fine of 
120 scillings, the regius bannus or king's-wite, to the ealderman ; if he 
merely disturbed the Folk- moot by drawing his weapon, he paid a king's- 
wite, — for the eald 'rraan sat as the representative of the king. Each 
greater shire — for the name originally only meant a division — was a 
kingdom in miniature ; the Ealderman led the king's forces as Heretoga, 
and sat in the Folk -moot as Stallr, or representative of the king, but the 
Shire-reeve, like the Graphio of the Franks, was the king's judge.^ 

Great changes were introduced in the course of the tenth century ; 
the older distinctions of condition and race were merged in Twelfhynd 
and Tvvyhynd, Angle and Dane ; and as the authority of the West- 
Saxon sovereigns extended far beyond the original limits of their ancestral 
kingdom, the power of the Ealderman seems to have risen with that of 
the king. " Let Oslac Eorl further this . . . and let writings be sent to 
both iElfere Ealderman and ^thelwine Ealderman," — such were the 
directions by which Edgar secured the establishment of the " Frith-borh " 
throughout the whohi district between Watling Street and the northern 
marches of Danish Northunibria, embracing the three great provinces or 
duchies of Mercia, East Anglia, and Danish Northumbria. " Sigeric 
Archbishop, and jj^thelweard Ealderman, and iElfric Ealderman, ob- 
tained of the king that they might buy Frith for those districts which 
they, under the king's hand, ruled over." This was in 994, when all the 
south country was evidently under the rule of the archbishop and tivo 
ealdermen. In a charter, dated a few years later, ^Ethehverd appears as 
" Dux Occidentalium provinciarum," and ^Ifric as " Dux Wentanensium 
provinciarum," the old kingdom of Wessex being evidently divided at 
this period into two great (hichies, which may be distinguished as the 
Western and Central {)rovinces, the former embracing Devon, Somerset, 
and Dorset, the latter the shires of Hampton and Wilts. The Ealderman 
was no longer connected with a shire, for he must have presided over a 
duchy or a province -an ealderdom embracing many shires. In the 
ordinance of Ethelred respecting Danish Mercia north of the Welland, 
the Grith that ranked next after that which was given " from the king's 

^ Ini, 8 ; Alf. 22, 34, 38, 42 ; Echo. 1 ; Ath. v. 8, 10. Egbert "then sent from his army 
his son iEthelwulf, and Ealhstan his bishop, and Wulfheard his ealderman, into Kent with a 
large force." "And the king (Ethelred) then committed the forces to the leading of iElfric 
the ealderman, and of Thored the eorl, and of Bishop .<l?]lfstan and of Bishop Jiscwig." Citron. 
Sax. 823, 092. 


own hand," was '" the f;i'ith wliich the ealdcrman and kiug's-rceve give 
in the assembly of the Five-Burghs." It is impossible to look upon the 
Five-Burghs as a Shire, upon the Assembly as a Shire-moot, and upon 
the King's-reeve as a Shire-reeve in this case, (rodwine, Ealderman of 
Lindisse, is mentioned by the Saxon Chronicle amongst the slain at 
Assandun, and his ealderdoni was only a portion of the district in ques- 
tion, which must have ranked as a province or duchy. The deaths of 
several King's High-reeves are mentioned in the Chronicle during the 
reign of Ethelred : " Leofsige, whom I raised from thegn to ealderman — 
de satrapis tnli, ducem constituendo — audvEfic my reeve, whom I reckoned 
foremost amongst my high-reeves — primatem inter primates meos taxavi " 
— such are the expressions attriljuted to Ethelred in one of his charters ; 
and the King's-reeve, who joined the Ealderman in giving Grith in the 
Assembly of the Five-Burghs, was apparently a High-reeve, ranking 
above the ordinary Shire-reeve. "Each of the Deutscblands, Saxony, 
Franconia, Suabia. and Bavaria, has its own Pfaltz-graf," says the 
Sachsenspiegel ; and the High-reeve seems to have stood in much the 
same position towards the greater Ealderman and the Shire-reeve, as the 
Pfaltz-graf did towards the Herzog and Grraf of the Empire as it was 
constituted in those days.^ 

It was evidently the policy of the princes who were raised to the 
supreme authority in Germany to establish and perpetuate the power of 
their respective Houses by distributing the greater fiefs amongst their 
own kindred, or amongst Filrsfen, who were allied to them by marriage. 
Franconian dukes surrounded the throne of Henry, and rose in revolt 
against his son Otho ; but before the close of the tenth century all the 
greater fiefs were in the hands of princes belonging to, or in alliance with, 
the House of Saxony. The same may be said of the Franconian House 
of Waiblingen, and of the Suabian House of HohenstauflPen ; and, as 
fiefs gradually became hereditary in the time of the emperors of the 
latter race, most of the ruling families in Germany at the jiresent day 
trace their origin to a Suabian ancestor. England, in the tenth century, 
exhibited a very similar picture, for, after the extinction of the earlier 
royal Houses, most of the greater provinces, as they fell mider the 
dominion of the West-Saxon sovereigns, seem to have become the 
appanages of the King's kin. The first member of the royal race who 
can be traced with certainty is Athelstan the Half-king, the Eaklerman 
of East Anglia, who exchanged his patrimonial forty hides, in his native 
province of Devon, for the forty hides at Hatfield, which Edgar gave to 
Ordma3r and his wife. jElfwen, the wife of Athelstan, who was appar- 

* Edg. Sup. 15; Ethelr. ii. 1, iii. 1; Cod. Dip. dcxcviii., dccxvii. The Pfaltz-graveii of 
the duchies must not be conCounded witli the I'alatiiK! of the Kliciiish provinces, who was 
Pfaltz-graf of the Empire. Tn a great asseuibly in wliicli tlie men of many .shires were in- 
terested, iEtlieivvine the EaUlernjan and the King's-reeve sat in judgment. The latter must 
have surely been a liigh-rceve. Hist. Ram. c. 55. By degrees tiie High-rceve xcems to have 
settled into the High-Sberifl', or Vice-comes of the highest class ; for the early Scir-gerefa does 
U0t answer to the Shire-reeve of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, nor does the vicecomes 
amongst the French answer to the English High-Sheriff of carlv uavs. 

180 THE KING'S Kiy. 

ently a sister of Bishop Eadnoth — for ^Ifwen, the bishoi)'s sister, was 
known as " the Lady" — is said to have been the foster-mother of Edgar, 
a connection that seems to throw a certain light upon therivahy between 
her foster-son and his elder brother. Athelstan, whose name is found in 
connection with the charters of his great namesake, assumed the cowl in 
956, and his eldest son, JCthelwold, became one of the foremost supporters 
of his foster-brother Edgar.^ 

Around the throne of Edwy, on the other hand, were grouped all the 
leading members of the royal house. Leofwine, " the king's kinsman," 
JElfhere and his brother iElfheah, " the king's kinsmen," and ^Ifgar 
and his brother Biithferth, also described as kinsmen of the king, attest 
his earliest charter, dated in 955. JClfhere was raised in the following 
year to the ealderdom of Mercia, and owing probably to the ancient 
rivalry of the people of his province with the West Saxons, attached 
himself to Edgar ; but all the rest of the royal house adhered, without 
an exception, to Edwy, The name of Ordgar, the future father-in-law 
of Edgar, is also attached to a charter of Edwy dated in 958, and the 
signature of ^thelwerd appears for the first time amongst the ministri 
in the following year. Brithelm, the bishop of Sherborn, who was raised 
to the see of Winchester upon the death of Odo, and subsequently 
chosen to fill the vacant archbishopric when J^^lfsige perished upon the 
Alps, is also to be numbered amongst the kinsmen of the king. His 
hopes were blighted by the death of Edwy, and Dunstan was promoted 
to Canterbury in his place ; but Edgar, as soon as he succeeded to his 
brother as head of his house, seems to have hastened to effect a recon- 
ciliation with his relations. Edwy died upon the 1st of October, and 
before the close of the year the name of ^Ifeah appears amongst the 
Duces, as Ealderman of the Central provinces; grants of land were 
heaped upon " Brithelm, my well-beloved kinsman and bishop," to atone 
probably for the loss of the archbishopric ; and the place of ^Ifeah, wlio 
had always assumed the foremost rank amongst the attendant ministri 
under Edwy, is now filled by -^Ifgar, whose name is always followed by 
that of his brother Brithferth. Not until the death of Brithelm in 964 
was a single step taken to introduce " the Rule" into the monasteries of 
Edgar's kingdom.^ 

Most of the ealdermen who attest the charters of Edgar are easily 
recognised. iElfhere, -^Ifeah, and iEthelwine, all kinsmen of the king, 
held the ealderdoms of Mercia, South Hampton, or the Central provinces, 
and East Anglia. Ordgar, the father-in-law of the king, was raised in 
964 to be ealderman of Devon, or the Western provinces ; whilst Brith- 

> Eist. Ram. L. 1. c. 93 ; Hist. El. L. 2. c. 13. The name of Atlielstan's father was 
.S^thelred, according to Cod. Dip. cccxxxviii. After Ealderman ^thelfrith lost all bis charters 
in a fire in 903, Lis right to Wrington was acknowledged, which " .iEthelstan dux, filius 
.^thelredi, conversus et factiis monachus, optulit secum ad monasterium Glastingense, 
illamque sibi largitus est Athelstan rex." He cannot have been a son of the Mercian ealder- 
man, and hardly a son of the king who died eighty-five years before the name of Athelstan is 
missed from the charters, though perhaps a grandson. 

^ Cod. Dip. ccccxsxvi., mccxiv., mccxxvii., raccxxx. 


notb, brother-in-law of ^thelflaad at-Domerham, held the ealderdom of 
the East Saxons, which had previously been given to his father-in-law 
-S^lfgar, evidently through his connection with the royal house. ^Ifgar 
the Minister died in 962, his brother's name appears in the foremost 
place, and, after the disappearance of Brithfeith, the signature of ^thel- 
werd stands firht, all kinsmen of the king. Uslac, " the great Eorl " 
ruled over the Anglo-Danes after 966 ; his name appears as Dux in the 
charters in 965 ; but neither bishop nor ealderman from beyond the 
province of York ever attested a grant of Edgar. A state of anarchy 
seems to have ensued upon the death of the king in 975, amidst which 
Oslac was outlawed, and a civil war all but broke out between the rival 
houses of Mercia and East Anglia. ^Ifhere, it appears, who had already 
driven the monks out of his own province of Mercia, threatened to 
expel them from the diocese of Dorchester, whilst ^thelwine and Brith- 
noth flew to arms to protect the Regulars, who looked upon the ealdermen 
of East Anglia and Essex as their patrons. The rule of St. Benedict, 
however, was very far from being the true cause of the dissension.-^ 

The diocese of Dorchester, as it existed in the tenth century, though 
it was once a portion of the Mercian kingdom, was not included under 
the jurisdiction of the Mercian ealderman. The shires of Bedford, Hert- 
ford, Cambridge, Huntingdon, and Northampton, with the district of 
Kesteven, seem to have belonged to the ealderdom of ^^thelwine ; 
and as in the reign of Ethelred the reeves of Oxford and Buckingham 
were brought to task by Leofsige, ealderman of Essex, the remainder 
of the diocese would appear to have been placed under the ealderman 
of the East Saxons. Accordingly when the religious houses, which 
had been destroyed during the inroads of the Danes, were restored 
and filled with monks, instead of clerks or secular canons, the bretliren 
looked upon the ealdermen of East Anglia and Essex as their temporal 
patrons ; and whilst the grateful historian of Ely has handed Brith- 
noth down as the protector raised especially by Providence to coun- 
teract the impious designs of jElfhere, the scribe of Ramsey, ignoring 
altogether the East Saxon hero, lavishes all his encomiums upon ^Ethel- 
wine. But the Anglian population of the diocese probably looked upon 
the monks as " new men ;" for the secular canons were generally at this 
period — as in Scotland about a century and a half later — members of the 
leading provincial families, and it had long been customary to fill the 
sees and minsters with bishops and abbots, who, in return, leased out 
the church lands amongst their kindred. To su{)port the secular canons, 
therefore, was to u[)hold " the time-honoured customs of the past," and 
in his inroad upon the monks vElfhere may have been moved, less by 
any inveterate hostility to the Benedictine rule, than by a desire to 

1 Chron. Sax. and Flor. Wig., 962, 966, 975. The liislorian of Ely (L. 2, c. 7, 8) says that 
the sister-in-law of Brithnoth was the wife of " Athelstan dux;" but ilOilielflaed at-Donierhani, 
the widow of Kint; Ednnnid and sister of Brithnoth's wife il'^lflted, niakta not the least allusioa 
to such a connection in her will. Tlnrpe, Jh'plom., p. 519. 


re-establish the influence of the old provincial families of Anglian origin, 
whose feelings would have naturally leant towards a reunion with 
Mercia. In oiher words he hoped, amidst the weakness and confusion 
of a minority, to advance the boundaries of his ealderdom as far as the 
frontiers of the old Mercian kingdom, southward of the Welland. 
TEthelwine, on the other hand, and Brithnoth, were bound by the ties of 
mutual interest to " keep pace with the progress of the age," and to unite 
in supporting the " new men." The monastery of Ramsey, which may 
be taken as an example of the novel foundations, was peculiarly the 
creation of iEthehvine, who was also the patron, or proprietor, of St. 
Neots and Croyland. The brotherhood, originally planted at Westbury 
by Oswald, who was himself a Dane, and apparently from the diocese of 
Dorchester, was very soon transferred to the new foundation of ^thel- 
wine, under the superintendence of his maternal uncle, Eadnoth, who 
only held the office of Prior, or Provost ; for " he himself stood in the 
place of Abbot, and there was no Abbot of Ramsey as long as he lived," 
— a family arrangement that somewhat deteriorates from the disinterested- 
ness of the attachment to the r)enedictine rule that is so generally attri- 
buted to the almost beatified Ealderraan of the East Angles. Thus 
underneath an apparent quarrel over a question of Church discipline 
lay, in reality, a contest for power between the great rival Ealdermen of 
Mercia, East Anglia, and Essex. ^ 

It is very doubtful if the Benedictines were re-established in Mercia 
before the death of ^If here in 983. who was succeeded in the ealderdom 
by his son ^Elfric, sometimes known ;is Puer — Gild or Child — perhaps to 
distinguish liim from another ^Ifric, with whom he has been generally 
confounded. The Central provinces, or ealderdom of South-Hampton, 
passed from yElfeah, who died in 971, to ^thclmasr, whose death is 
entered in the Saxon Chronicle under 982.^ The signature of iElfric 
dux is then attached to some charters attested by .iElfhere, after whose 
death in 983 two ealdermen affix the same name to the royal grants 
during the following year or two, /Elfric of Mercia, and ^Elfric of 
South-Hampton, — the " Ealderman iElfric ," who has gained an unenvi- 
able notoriety in the history of the period. The career of /Elfric Cild, 
the Ealderman of Mercia, was brief Two years after his father's 
ileath he obtained the Abbacy of Abingdon for his brother Eadwine, 
and was outlawed before the close of the same year in a great council 
of "the bishops, ealdermen, and leading nobles of the realm," held 
at Cirencester. The cause of his forfeiture is assigned to an illegal 
enforcement of his claims upon certain lands, some of which seem 

* Mist. Ham. c. 55; Cod. JJip. mcclxxxix. "Ipsemet fuit in loco abbatis, nee fuit aliquis 
abbas Ramesiaj tempore quo vixit." I^ng. Mov. (Ellis and Bandinel), vol. ii. p. 547. 

^ .iEtlielnia3r seems to have died early in 983, for the ten hides at Cliff were granted in that 
year both to "yEthelmrer dux," and to ''JFAhL'hv'me minister''^ {Cod. Dip. dcxxxvi., dcxxxviii). 
The wording of the two charters is identical, one name merely replacing another ; and as from 
dcxcii. it may be gathered that Ealderman ^T^thelmcer had a son of the name of JEthelwine, it 
may be supposed that, on the death of the ealderman, the land in question was made over to 
his son. 


to have been in the diocese of Dorchester, and to his open resistance 
against the royal anthority. Some of these very lands, however, had 
been granted to his father ^Elf here as far back as the first year of Edwy's 
reign, and the true reason of ^Ifric's ruin, which seems to have been 
premeditated, must be sought for in the overgrowai power of his father, 
and perhaps in the attempts of the Mercian ealdermen to extend their 
jurisdiction beyond the limits of the province assigned to them. No 
successor was appointed to ^Ifric, and the great Ealderdom of Mercia 
became a memory of the past, ^thelwine, who upon the death of his 
rival ^Ifheie assumed the foremost place amongst the ealdermen once 
occupied by his father, the Half-king, died in 992, " the kinsman of 
Edgar, and Ealderman of the whole of Anglia," is said to have been 
inscribed U])on his tomb, and he also was followed by no successor iu his 
dignity. /Ethelwerd, his eldest son and representative, fell at Assandun 
in 1016, but the ibremost place in East Anglia was long filled by 
Ulfketyl, who was killed on the same occasion at the head of the men 
of his province, and whose name is of frequent occurrence in the charters, 
always ap[)earing, however, amongst the Blinistri. Evidently the over- 
powerful ealderdoms of J\Iercia and East Anglia were broken up, and 
from this time forward " held in the king's hand," and administered by 

It is observable that, in the charters of the tenth century, one of the 
ealdermen invariably takes })recedence over all the others. Towards 
tlie close of Athelstan's reign Wull'gar seems to have enjoyed this privi- 
lege, in which he was succeeded in the course of Edmund's reign by 
Athelstan the Half-king, who again was followed in succession by ^If- 

' Chron. Sax. 982, 983, 985, 992, 1016; Cod. Dip. dcciii., niccxiv., mcccxii. The con- 
nection of yElfric the pusillanimous with the Central provinces is shown by Chron. Sax., 1003, 
and 6'otZ. Z>i/j. dcxlii. and dcxeviii. In the former charter Wulmrer and ^thelweard probably 
represent the Shire-reeves of Hants and Wilts. Eadwine is omitted from the list of Abbots 
in the Book of Abingdon, and irom the expressions in mcccv., the short period of his Abbacy 
seems to have been looked upon as an era of unjust alienation. Tiie original monastery of 
Abingdon was, for a long time, dependent upon the Mercian kings, and Berkshire was in the 
diocese of Dorchester. In a charter of Athelstan, indeed, Winsi, the bishop of the latter diocese, 
is called bishop of Bwrrocscire (mcxxix). One Ms. of Florence describes the brother of Ead- 
wine as " .^Ifric major-domus regias." iElfgar, son of ^Ifric the ealderman, whose eyes were 
put out by order of Ethelred in 993 {Chron. Sax.), was pi'obably grandson and representative 
of yElfhere, rather than a son of the oiher iElfrir, who continued to retain his ealderdom for 
many years after this entry. To the Mercian .^i^liiic an elder brother has been given in the 
person of " Odda Dux " whose body was ibund at Deerhurst in 1259, and who is said, upon 
the death of his wicked father .(Elfhere, to have restored all the lands taken from the monks, 
and retiring into the cloister, to have resigned the ealderdom to his younger brother yEll'ric. 
The signature (jf the historical Odda is appended to many charters, ajtpcaiing in 1014 at the 
earliest, and is occasionally followed by that of "iElfric, his brother" — hence the confusion. 
On the banishment of Godwine and his family in 1051, Odda was placed over the A\'estern 
jirovinces, and signs as "Odda Dux;" and after the return of CSodwine in 1053, Od<la and 
yElfric attest a charter, very significantly, as monhs. They had probably excellent reasons for 
assuming the cowl, but Odda became a monk seventy yaixrs after the death of his supposed 
father, ^Ifliere, with whom he was in no way connected. — (Chron. Sax. and I'lor. Wig. 
1051, 105(3; Cod. /-';'/;. dccxcviii., dccciv., dcccv., meccix). /Ellric's death is noticed in 1053, 
that of " Odda Eorl" in 105G, with an allusion lo his assumption of the cowl ; but his signature 
as dux never occurs alter his appearance as inovachim. 


here and iEthelwine, the three latter certainly, and probably Wulfgar, 
being numbered amongst the kindred of the king. Upon the death of 
^Ethelwine, /Ethelwerd, whose name appears amongst the Duces in the 
closing years of Edgar's reign, assumed the foremost place, and he describes 
hiaiself in his letter to Matilda as " Patricius Consul," and " Patricius." 
The title of Patricias seems to have been given in the eighth century to 
the leading official in the Northumbrian kingdom, ranking next to the 
sovereign — occasionally superseding him — and it may have been applied 
at the period when .-Ethelwerd wrote to the senior Ealderman. During 
his " patriciate" the founder of the later house of Mercia, Leofwine, 
makes his first appearance amongst the Duces ; but only in the capacity 
of Ealderman of the Hwiccas, and the remainder of the extensive 
ealderdom of ^Elfhere and iElfric was evidently retained " in the king's 
hand." ^dilfric of South-Hampton, iElfhelm and Waltheof of the 
Northumbrians, Northman and Leofsige, complete the number of 
ealdermen at this period ; the latter the successor of Brithnoth, who 
must have reached a mature age when he met a soldier's death in 991, 
for he was married when ^Ifgar made his will forty years before. The 
signature of iEthelwerd is missed after 998, and no successor was 
appointed to his ealderdom. Four years later Leofsige surprised and 
slew ^fic, the king's High-reeve, in his own house, and was outlawed in 
consequence ; forfeiture was pronounced against his widowed sister for 
sheltering her brother, and the province of the East Saxons ceasing to 
be administered by an ealderman, vElfric, iElfhelm, and Leofwine were 
alone intrusted with the higher dignity.^ 

iElfthryth, the queen-mother, soon followed ^thelwerd to the grave, 
and the principal advisers of Ethelred, at this period seem to have been 
his kinsmen ^thelmter, his uncle Ordulf — their names invariably occupy 
the foremost place amongst the Mimsfri — and Wulfgeat, his favourite 
thegn. Ordulf, the founder of Tavistock Abbey, is called by Florence 
'' Primas Domnonite," or High-reeve of Devon ; and as the bishop of 
Sherborne "greets TEthelmjer kindly" in an official document, it may be 
implied that the ealderdom of the Western provinces was divided between 
iEthelmter and Ordulf, Ordgar and ^thelwerd had each in succession 
lield the whole ealderdom, and the respective claims of their sons may 
have been compromised by this division — for ^thelmjer " the great," the 
founder of Eynsham Abbey, was the son of -<Ethelwerd " Bishop Brit- 

^ Cod. Dip., dclxxxvii., dcxcviii., dccxix., Thorpe, Diplom., p. 505. The names of Wal- 
theof and Northman only appear amongst iheducea in one charter. ^Ethelred, the son-in-law 
of Alfred, is described in one of his charters (cccxi.) as " Dnx et Patricius Merciorum," in 
another as "Dux et Dominator ;" but he always appears in the vernacular as Ealderman, 
without any distinction in his title from the three ealdermen, who with the three bishops, 
sometimes attest bis charters. Each of the provinces of the Magestetas, the Hwiccas, and the 
Mercians, seems to have been provided with its bishop and its ealderman, Ethelred repre- 
senting the Senior ealderman, or Patricius, wielding the royal authority over all, — a Half-ling. 
ill other words. From the expressions of the Chronicle {ad. an. 825) " Ludeca and his five 
ealdermen," it would appear as if, before the Danish conquest, there had been an ealderman 
and a bishop over each of the /fi-e provinces at that time constituting the Mercian kingdom. 


helm's kinsman," or, in other words, of the Patrician who was the corre- 
spondent of Matilda, ^thelwerd and ^thelnoth, who was afterwards 
Archbishop of Canterbury, were the sons of ^thelraeer, and he had a 
daughter who was married to another ^thelwerd. Closely following the 
signatures of ^thelmasr and Ordulf will generally be found the names 
of Wulfric and his nephew Wulfeah. Wulfric, " Wulfrun's son," whose 
high descent is noticed in more than one charter, was the founder of 
Burton Abbey ; and unless the title of " Consul et Comes Merciorum," 
under which he appears in the Annals of Burton, is to be ascribed 
altogether to the gratitude of the brotherhood, he may be supposed to 
have ruled over the northern portion of iElf here's ealderdom in the capacity 
of High-reeve. Wulfeah and his brother Ufegeat were the sons of 
^Ifhelm, ealderman of the Northumbrian Danes, who is named by 
Wulfric in his will as his brother. The daughter of Morcar and 
Eadgyth was Wulfric's godchild, and whilst both her parents were bene- 
fited considerably by the will, the manner in which her godfather leaves 
her " the bulla which was her grandmother's," seems to point to a closer 
relationship between them. Was she not his daughter's child ? The 
name of iElf helm's wife, according to Florence, was Wulfrun ; and as a 
Wulfrun " bequeathed the land at Kamsley, and the hythe that belongs 
thereto, to iEthelma3r her kinsman," it can scarcely be doubted that, 
either through his wife or his mother, the ealderman and his family were 
connected with the kindred of the king. The names of ^Ifhelm, 
Wulfric, and Morcar would have raised the country from the Welland 
to the Tyne ; iElfgyfu, "of Northampton," the daughter of ^Ifhelm and 
Wulfrun, became the first wife of Canute, and the whole of the north of 
England held in after times to her son, Harold Harefoot. Eadgyth, the 
widow of Siferth, was married, after the murder of her husband, to 
Edmund Ironside, who " went north to the Five-Burghs, and soon took 
possession of all Siferth's property, and Morcar's, and all the people sub- 
mitted to him." Did they recognise the rival claims of Wulfric's grand- 

The character of Ethelred, as it may be read in some of his charters, 
displays a singular mixture of treachery and imbecility. In the year 
after the forfeiture of ^Ifric the Mercian, the king harried the diocese of 
Rochester, and some twelve years afterwards he lays the whole blame 

' Cod. Dip. dccv'm., dccxiv., mcccxii. ; niorpe, Dip. p. 543 : JFlor. Wifj. 997, 1035. Tlie 
confirmation of Ethelred (dccxiv.) alludes to lands eiven by Bishop Britlielm '" .iEthelwe.irdo 
propinquo suo, patri videlicet .dCtlielmari.'' Tho three iElhelwerds, father, son, and son-in- 
law, of illltlielnifcr, must be carefully distinp;uislied ; nor must ^thtdmiBr bo confounded with 
ealderman ^iholmrer, the father of iEtliciwine. In the grant of some lands at Diirablcton 
(dcxcii.), which he bequeathed by his will to Archbishop 71<]lfric, Wulfric is called " Wulfruiu; 
suna," so that there can be no doubt about the descent of Wulfric and ^<]]fiielni fi-oni AVulfrun. 
But who was Wulfrun? "This year Anlaf stormed Tamworth," says Chron. tSax. (D.) 943, 
" there during the pillage was Wulfrun taken." The kinswoman of il'^thelnu'cr is called in 
the Latin Wulfin, in the Anglo-tSaxon Wulfrun. As a conjecture, it seems probable that 
Wulfrun captured at Tamworth was the father of Wulfric and yl^^lfiielm — Wulfrun or Widl'runa, 
the kinswoman of il'^.flielmaT, the ?ct'/c of .(^'^iflielni, who may have owed his advancement tn 
the ealderdom of the Northumbrians to this connection with the king's kin. 


upon his adviser ^Ethelsige, "that enemy of God and the people." 
Wulfgeat, in the days of his prosperity extolled as the royal ftivourite, is 
vaguely accused of untold enormities after his ruin. Hardly has the 
name of ^Ifthryth disappeared from the charters before her son hastens 
to grant the monasteiy at Bradford to the convent at Shaftesbury, in 
memory of his " brother Edward, that blessed martyr ;" as if he seized 
upon the earliest opportunity of shifting the whole responsibility of a 
crime, by which he profited, upon his dead mother. Ever a tool in the 
hands of others, he seems to have been ready at any moment to abandon 
and betray them. The signature of Ordulf is no longer attached to the 
royal grants after 1005, and almost as soon as the influence of the king's 
uncle must have ceased to be felt at Court, the policy of Eadric Streona 
began to be developed. Wulfric, who died about 1002, bequeathed the 
greater portion of his vast property to ^Elf helm and his sons, and to 
Morcar and his wife and daughter. ^Ifhelm, who had thus become 
the male representative of both branches of his family, was lured to his 
death at Shrewsbury in 1006, and treacherously murdered ; his sons 
Wulfeah and Ufegeat were blinded by the king's order ; and Wulfgeat, 
the former favourite, with his wife, jElfgyfa, the widow of iElfgar " the 
reeve," was involved in the same ruin. The ealderdom of Mercia fell to 
the share of Eadric — the portion of the old province apparently, that 
seems to have been admmistered by Wiilfric, for the Hwiccas still 
remained under the jurisdiction of Leofwine — whilst the ealderdom of 
.Elfhelni purchased the support of the Northumbrian Uchtred, who, by 
his subsequent marriage with one of Ethelred's daughters, became the 
brother-in-law of Eadric.^ 

Upon the return of Ethelred after the death of Sweyn, Morcar and 
Siferth, Senior thegns of the Five-Burghs — High reeves or Holds pro- 
bably — became the next of Eadric's victims, the king betraying his com- 
plicity in the crime by confiscating their property to his own use. But 
he was anticipated by his son Edmund, who, marrying the widow of 
Siferth, asserted her claims in his own person ; and Eadric, as soon as his 
crime proved fruitless, deserted the yEtheling. He united with Canute in 
ravaging Mercia — AVarwickshire, or a portion of Leofwine's ealderdom, — 
and as the Mercians refused to join the army of the yEtheling without the 
presence of the king, Edmund and Uchtred, when they were thought to 
have marched to oppose Canute, contented themselves with turning aside 
to harry Shropshire, Staffordshire, and Cheshire — or Eadric's province. 
In other words, the northern Mercians, though they refused to follow 

^ Cod. Dip. dec, dccvi., mcccv., mcccx. ; Cliron. Sax. and Flor. Wig. lOOG. Who was 
iEtbelsige? In the An. Camh. 993, jE'Je/wJ Anglicus is said to have assisted Gwyn, son of 
Eineon, in ravaging Dyved, Cardigan, Gower, and Kidwely. Tlie Bruty Tyicys. 991, calls 
him "Eclis the great, a Saxon Twysog" — Dux. Ethelred, according to Gaimar. 1. 4105, had 
a brother Edmnnd, who was married to a Welsh princess, and was troublesome between the 
death of Dunstan and the close of the century. Of the four sons of Athelstan the Half-king, 
^'thelsige alone left no bequests to the monastery of Ramsey. He was certainly the foster- 
brother of the king. Was he the outlaw, and husband of the Welsh princess? 


Eadric into the Danish camp, declined to figlit against their ealderman 
without the sanction of the royal presence. It was easier to lay waste an 
unresisting province than to oppose Canute, and as soon as the Danish 
army entered Yorkshire Uchtred tendered his submission ; Canute per- 
mitted the blood-feud of Thoi'brand Hold to follow its natural course, 
and made over the vacant province, on Uchtred's death, to Eric the 
Norwegian Jarl. In the contest following upon the death of Ethelred, 
Hampshire and Wiltshire fought on the side of the Dane, but Dorset, 
Somerset, and Devon, the centre and stronghold of the king's kin, held 
as loyally to Alfred's heir as their forefathers had clung to Edmund's 
mighty ancestor, and for a short time with almost equal success. The 
retreat of Canute towards the eastern coast may explain the reconciliation 
of Eadric with his royal brother-in-law, and he fought upon the losing 
side at Assandun, quitting the field in time with the Magesa3ttas — the 
northern Mercians seem to have followed the husband of vElfgyfu of 
Northampton — to claim the re^vard of treachery from the victor.^ 

Canute completed all that Eadric had begun. J^^thelmaer the Great 
died in, or soon after, 1014, and he was the last ealderman of the royal 
house of Alfred's brother Ethelred. " Who will place Edwy the ^thel- 
ing in my power?" was the question addressed by Canute to Eadric, 
who answered " ^Ethelwerd." All the honours and power of his ancestry 
were promised to yEthelwerd, and he consented, " but with no intention 
of fulfilling the bargain," adds Florence, " for he was of the noblest 
race in England." ^thelwerd the son of ^thelmger was put to death, 
with other nobles, at Christmas 1017, and then, or soon afterwards, 
Edwy the ^theling was " betrayed by his dearest friends." The signa- 
ture of " ^thelwerd Dux" is appended to various charters during the 
two following years until, at the great Gemote held at Cirencester at 
Easter in 1020, '" ^lithelwerd the ealderman and Edwy king of the 
Ceorls" were outlawed. /Ethelwerd the ealderman was probably the 
son-in-law of ^tlielma3r. Did he gain the almost hereditary province 
of his wife's family by betraying the ^Etheling to Canute ? His apparent 
connection, again, with both the Edwys is not a little remarkable. Was 
Edwy the Ceorl's king a prototype of Perkin Warbeck, and of the 
Polish adventurer who personated Dimitri Ivanovitch, the last of the 
house of Kurik ? Was he a personator of the betrayed yEtheling, hailed 
as the rightful heir by many of the lower orders, and was iEthelwerd 
suspected of connivance in the fraud in order to conceal his share in the 
treachery? His surviving brother-in-law, iEthelnoth son of iT]thelma}r, 

1 Chron. Sax. Jind Flor. Wig. 1015, 1016. That Morcar the senior thegn of tlie Five- 
Curghs was identical witli the Morcar whose name appears so often in tlie cliarters in conipany 
with tliose of Wulfric, Wiilfeah, Wulfgcat, ^Ethehiiaer, and Ordulf, and with tiie IMorcar of 
Wiilfric s will, seems hardly to bo doubted. Siferth, according to Florence, was liis brother — 
he calls them sons of Earngrim — but, strange as it may appear to the idea.s of modern times, 
this connection (if it existed) does not necessarily preclude the marriage of SiJerth with his 
brother's daugliter. " Ego /Klfridus Episcopus dabo illas v. Ueorhtwenc filiaj Wulf- 
helmi, quce fnil uxor fratris illiiis Beorthcre " (Cod. TJij>. cccl.K.wi.) 'J'here was episcopal 
sanction for such an union in the rrign oi' Atlulslan. 



was raised to the See of Canterbury in the year of ^tbelwerd's banish- 
ment ; but by this time there was an ealderman in Kent, and the temporal 
power of the Archbishop was no longer as great as in the time of Dunstan 
and his immediate successors. Archbishop ^thelnoth is the last known 
member of the king's kin ; the fate of the Carolings was beginning to 
threaten the house of Alfred, and Grodwine and his family were ready to 
play the part of Hugues Capet. But it was not to be. Both Eadric 
and Godwine did their work eifectually, but, like Virgil's bees, they did 
their work for others.^ 




iEthelwerd Brithehn, 




the Historian, Bp. of 

Athelstan m. iElfwen. 

E. of Merit 

ia, E. of Cent. 

E. of West Winehe.s- 

E.ofE. Aug. 1 

d. 983. 

Pruv. d. 971 

Prov. d. 998. ter, d. 

res. 95t). 



1 964. 
1 X 

2 1 1 II 1 



iEthelinaer the Great, 

Edgar r,i. JE\f- m. Mthel- MU- Mthel- Mtiiel- 


E. of West Pro\-. 

1 thryth. wold, wold. sige. wine, 


Ab. of 

d. 1014. 

1 E. ofE. X E. ofE. 

E. of Mercia, 


Ethelred. Aug. Ang. 

ban. 980. 

d. 9&2. d. 992. 


1 1 

X 1 




/Etholwerd, m. 

daughter /Ethel- jEtbelnoth 


of ^Ethelmitir, werd, the Good, 

d. 1016. 

E. of West Prov. d. 1017. Abp. of 


ban. 10: 

iO. X Canterbury, 



* Chron. Sax. and Flor. Wig. 1016, 1017, 1020. An ignoble origin lias been attributed 
to both Eiidric and Godwine, but apparently with little reason. It may only mean that they 
were not qualified by their birth to fill those foremost offices which seem to have been gene- 
rally allotted to members of the king's kindred, or to the heads of families of the highest 
provincial descent. The ancestor of the house of Capet has been described as a German 
adventurer, and in later romances as a butcher. An ^-Ethelric is mentioned in the will of 
Wulfric, which goes on to say, " After his day, let the land go, for my soul, and for Ids mother s, 
and for his, to Biirton ; " as if /Elhelric was in some manner connected, through his mother, with 
the house of Wulfrun. If this /Ethelric was the father of Eadric, a clue is at once found for the 
actions of the son. i'lLlthelm, the headof Wulfrun's house, and his sons stood in the way of Eadric. 
Upon their removal he became ealderman of Mercia, and the Northern Mercians refused to fight 
against him unless the king accompanied the army — as if they acknowledged that he had a 
certain claim upon them. Morcar and Siferth stood in the way of his pretensions upon the 
Five-Burghs ; they were removed, but the /Etheling married the widow of Siferth, "contrary 
to the king's will, . . . the people all submitted to him," and Eadric at once went over to 
Canute, as Ethelred had probably foreseen. This connection of Eadric with Wulfrun's family, 
through his grandmother, can only, however, be put forward as a conjecture. I see no reason 
to doubt tlie descent of Godwine from " Wulnoth Child," the South Saxon, but much reason to 
doubt the descent of Wulnoth from .(Ethelmaer, a son of .lEthelric and brother of Eadric. In 
the presence of Canute, and before the death of Archbishop I^iving in 1020, Godwine married 
Brythric's daughter {Cod. Dip. dcc.xxxii.), and I am inclined to look upon this as a political 
marriage, by which Canute placed the heiress of the house of Eadric and Brythric in the hands 
of his firmest supporter in the south of England. Godwine thus became the representative of 
Eadric, without being his relative by blood. The addition of Cild to a name generally seems 
to imply some sort of connection by blood, as in the case of .^Eifiic Puer 'awA EadulfCudel 
Child; and, merely as a conjecture, I am inclined to connect Wulnoth Cild, the South Saxon, 
"vvith the fixmily of " Eadwine ealdorman in Sussex," whose death is placed in 982. 



^Ifgar, E. of E. Sax. 
d. between 951-953. 

iEthelfled m. iElfled m. 
Edmund. Brithnoth, 
X E. of E. Sax. 

d. 991. 


Ordgar, E. of West Piov. 
d. 970. 

Ordulf, jEthehvold, m.MUthryth m. Edgar. 
Primas E. of E d. 999. I 

Domnonise, Ang. | 

d. 1005. X Ethelred. 

2 1 I 

Emma hi. Canute m. JDlfgyfu. 






Wulfruna, m. .Elfhelm. Wulfric, 

kin to 

E. of North- over 
unibrians, N. Mer- 
d. 1006. cians? 
d. 1002. 

I I 

Wulfeali. Ufegeat. 


TO. Morcar, 

d. 1015. 

TO. (1.) Siferth, 
d. 1015. X 
TO. (2.) Edmund. 


A represents the leading members of the House of ^thehed, the elder brother of Alfred, 
who at different times held the position either of Ealderman or Bishop ; B the families con- 
nected by marriage, either with the king or with his kindred, and raised to a prominent posi- 
tion in consequence. All seem either to have died out, or to have been swept out of the way 
by Eadric and Godwine. 



The greater part of the history — or rather of the gossip and scandal, 
of a later age, passing current for the history — of the period in which 
Dunstan flourished, has been furnished by the biographers of the Arch- 
bishop ; the later writers, as usual, affording the minutest and most 
marvellous accounts. Unfortunately, the advocates of rival theological 
dogmas, fighting the battle of their respective churches, instead of testing 
the truth of these stories, have been content with using them for the 
furtherance of their own views, thus burying the scanty relics of true 
history beneath the accumulated fictions of later years. AH the accounts 
of Dunstan's early life are more or less mythical, but as every 
biographer and chronicler agrees in placing his birth at the commence- 
ment of Athelstan's reign, he could have been barely fourteen years of 
age at the close of it. It may be gathered from the charters that it was 
a common custom with parents of the highest rank to dedicate their 
children from a very early age to the royal service. Up to the ago of 
seven a child was so absolutely in the power of the parents, according to 
the old law in England, that he could be sold as a slave ; and he still 
remained under the authority of the father for seven jears longer, before, 


of his own will, he coiikl become a monk or enter npon service. In a 
later age the aspirant for knighthood was snpposed to pass his life between 
seven and fourteen as a page in some noble household, figuring during 
the next seven years as a Damoiscau or Esquire, a custom of which the 
germs had probably existed in different stages of society from time 
immemorial, though it is not necessary to suppose that the period of 
" seven years" was invariably insisted on. Accordingly, when we are 
told that Dunstan was present at the court of Athelstan, and subsequently 
in attendance upon Edmund, it merely means that he must have passed 
some of his earlier years in the same manner as many of his youthful 
contemporaries. He was placed in his childhood at Glastonbury, to 
which he appears to have returned, availing himself of his intercourse with 
the Irisli pilgrims, who used to resort in great numbers to the monastery 
as the traditional resting-place of St. Patrick " the younger." The 
learning which he is supposed to have acquired at this period of his life 
was gained from " Irish books ;" and it may be inferred from this passage 
in his earliest biographer, that if Dunstan conformed to any monastic 
rule in his earlier years, or introduced it into Glastonbury, it must have 
been of Irish or mixed origin, for the Benedictine rule was tirst taught to 
the monks of Abingdon at a later period by Osgar.^ 

Dunstan makes his first historical appearance in Edred's reign, when 
he witnessed a charter, dated in 946, as abbot, being at that time about 
one-and-twenty. Upon the death of his kinsman, ^thelgar, bishop of 
Crediton, in 953 — the date is worthy of remark — the see was offered to 
Dunstan, but he declined it upon the plea, says his earliest biographer, 
that the obligations of the diocese would interfere with his duties in the 
royal service ; for he appears to have filled at that time the all-important 
office of principal treasurer to the king. As there was evidently neither 
Camera nor Camerarius in Edred's reign, it seems to have been custom- 
ary to confide the royal treasures to more than one place of security, and 

* It was to Flemy that Osgar was sent by yEtlielwold in Edgar's reign, and from Fleury 
the Benedictine rule, brought there about 939 by Odo, second Abbot of Clugny, was introduced 
into Abingdon. Had the rule been in force at Glastonbury, where ^thelwold, who was Prior, 
was educated with Dunstan — not hjj him, for Dunstan was his junior — such a course would 
have been unnecessary. " Quidam clerici de Glestonia," according to the life of ^thelwold, 
accompanied him to Abingdon, one of whom was Osgar, and Osgar the clerh of Glastonbury 
was sent to learn the Benedictine rule at Fleury. My authority for this portion of Dun- 
stan's career is the work usually attributed to Bridferth, his earliest biographer, who dedicates 
his prologue " perprudenti archnnti ^Ifrico," apparently the prelate who filled the See of 
Canterbury from 996 to 1006. The writer was personally acquainted with Dunstan, and though 
strongly biassed against all who came into hostile contact with the archbishop, avoids the 
flagrant errors into which Osbern and others have fiiUen, and which are perpetuated in nearly 
every account of Dunstan's life. The archives of Canterbury were lost in a great fire soon 
after the Norman Conquest, and to this catastrophe we are probably indebted for a considerable 
number of fabricated charters, the most I'aulty of the Saxon chronicles (f.), and Osbern's Lives 
of Dunstan and Odo — if Osbein is guilty of the latter performance. Amongst other marvels he 
introduces Dunstan to the court of Athelstan as a prodigy of learning and sanctity under the 
patronage of Archbishop ^Ethelhelni, who died in the same year as Edward, and whose successor 
attests the charters of Athelstan in 026. The appearance of the learned and tonsured baby 
would have fully justified the " shrieking girls" — obstrepentes puelluhe — in charging him with 


Glastonbury was chosen as a place in which they could be deposited with 
safety. The chamberlain dates his close attendance upon the royal 
person from the age in which he was the purse-bearer, and the office 
which Dunstan seems to have held was scarcely compatible with a strict 
attention to the spiritual wants of the distant diocese of Devon. Edred 
seems to have been a martyr to disease throughout the whole of his reign. 
He had very little to do, probably, with the actual government of the 
kingdom, and the party with which Dunstan was connected seems to 
have been closely allied with the queen mother, whose influence was 
evidently at this time all-powerful. AVithin a few days of Edmund's 
death, Dunstan was riding towards the court, according to the narrative 
attributed to Bridferth, and his companion was " ^Elfstan dux primarius," 
or Athelstan of East Anglia, who was then the senior ealderman or Patri- 
cius. The ealderman was disturbed at a dream in which he had seen the 
king asleep amongst his courtiers, who were all transformed into goats ; 
which foretold, according to the abbot, the approaching death of Edmund, 
and the future fldling off of his nobility from the path of rectitude — a fall- 
ing off that is explained by their conduct during the reign of Edwy. The 
story of the ride and of the dream points to the connection of Dunstan 
with the house of East Anglia, and to the support given by the leading 
nobility of Edmund's court to his elder son. When Dunstan was driven 
in disgrace from the court of Athelstan in his childhood, his banishment 
was principally owing, according to the same authority, to his own kins- 
men ; in his quarrel with ^thelgyfu even his own " discii)les " combined 
against him; and from the hostility thus exhibited in these quarters, it may 
be safely assumed that Dunstan had allied himself with the party in the 
State opposed to the leading nobility of Wessex, who were the principal 
characters around the throne during the reigns of Athelstan and Edmund.^ 

^ That iEtlielgar of Crediton, Duiistan's kinsman, was often confounded with ^thelgar of 
Selsey, his successor in the primacy, may be seen from the list of bishops appended to 
Florence ; and in consequence of some such confusion, Osbern has substituted the name 
of mileage of Winchester for iEthelgar of Crediton. Wulfhelm and Odo attested a 
charter, dated 24th July 941, as Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop of Eamsbury. In 
the following year Odo signs as archbishop, but the signature of Osulf as bishop of 
Ramsbury is not ibund before 963, an ^Ifric filling the See duiing this interval, 
signature first occurs in 942, and disajjpears after 951. ^']lfric of Sherborn died in 
941 (Flor. Wig.), and the See was then filled by Wulsige {Cod. JJip. cccxcii. nicxxxix.) 
Malmesbury places the death of " Bishop jElfric, who had been Abbot of Glastonbury," 
in 988 ; but he is in error, for the Bishop yElfric, whose signature is missed from the 
charters about that time, had been a frequent witness as Abbot of Malmesbury. I'he only 
j^lfric Abbot of Glastonbury was the predecessor of Dunstan, and if ho succeeded Odo in the 
See of Ramsbury, the appointment of Dunstan to the abbacy may bo placed in 942, when lie 
was seventeen years of age. Upon the death of Athelstan, Dunstan was " inter licgios pro- 
ceres et Palatines Principes electus" by Edmund, says Bridferth; in other words, as he was 
just fourteen, the king placed him in the royal household to be trained for a " cynings-thcgn." 
His kinsman, ^Ifeage, Bishop of Winchester, advised him to become a chuichman, but as the 
devil " mulierum iili injecit araorem,"he had no vocation for the church until after a seasonable 
fit of illness, when his high connections secured hini an abbacy at tlio ago of seventeen. 
" Maluit s])onsarc pivcnculam cujuscotidie blanditiis foveretur, quam more monachcruni biden- 
tinis indui panniculis." A little romance has been founded upon this jiassage in Bridferth, but 
Lingard views it disapprovingly, nor is there any reason to suppose that the "mulierum amor," 
instilled by the devil, was concentrated upon any individual " juvencula." 


Feeling tlie approach of death in the autumn of 955, Edred sent for 
liis treasures that he might dispose of them amongst his own friends, 
Danstan and the other keepers of the royal property hastened to the 
court, but the king was dead before their arrival, and their charge, of 
course, fell into the hands of his successor. The first blow was aimed by 
the party now in power against the queen-mother — " Edred died, and 
Eadgyfu was bereft of all her property," are her own words — whilst 
Dunstan soon brought down upon himself the enmity of one who, by 
her influence over the reigning sovereign, may be looked upon as the 
successor of the queen-mother. According to the earliest version of this 
well-known story, the absence of Edwy from the coronation banquet was 
commented upon by Odo, but as the attendant nobles declined to inter 
fere, Dunstan was deputed with Cynsige, Bishop of Lichfield, to bring- 
back the truant prince, whom he found in the company of ^thelgyfu 
and her daughter ^Ifgyfu. ^thelgyfu was a woman of the very highest 
rank, who, according to the rather vague scandal of a later age, sought to 
gain an influence over Edwy, either for her daughter or herself, — or for 
both, — and Bridferth has drawn a very warm picture of the scene from 
which the indignant abbot snatched the king — a picture, however, that a 
very slight examination will prove to be exaggerated. When Athelstan 
died in the month of October, Edmund, who was killed in May, after a 
reign of six years and a half, was eighteen years of age. His brother 
Edred died in November, after reigning nine years and a half, so that six- 
teen years had elapsed between the death of Athelstan and the accession 
of Edwy, whose father, had he been alive, would have been four-and- 
thirty years of age. Granting the evil disposition of the son of a father 
of that age, his sins would have been those of a boy, and would scarcely 
have displayed the precocious immorality that has been attributed to 
him. His brother Edgar was at this time twelve, and the words of 
Eadgyfu, " they said to the child Edwy, who was then chosen king," 
prove him to have been not much older — indeed, she scarcely seems to 
attribute much blame to her grandson. That ^tlielgyfu, in order to 
perpetuate her influence over the young prince, endeavoured to promote 
a marriage at some later period between Edwy and ^Elfgyfu is more than 
probable, for two or three years afterwards, when the king may be 
supposed to have been sixteen or seventeen, Odo separated him from 
^Ifgyfu, "because they were too nearly related," says the Saxon Chronicle. 
That Dunstan upon entering the chamber of ^Ethelgyfu, found the crown 
upon the floor, and the young cousins engaged in play ; that when the 
abbot used force, Edwy took refuge in the lap of his elder relative ; that 
the woman and the giil, throwing their arms around the neck of the 
struggling boy, clung to him with the tenacity of fright and anger, — all 
this is very probable. Dunstan may have been actuated by the best of 
motives, ^Ethelgyfu may have been violent and intriguing, unscrupulous 
and ambitious ; but common sense must acquit her of the coarse and dis- 
gusting immorality that has been laid to her charge, and the accusation 


against her may jirobably be traced to exaggerated versions of an 
unseemly struggle between two frightened children, an angry woman, 
and an ecclesiastic.^ 

The anger of ^Ethelgyfu was not immediately gratified, for the signa- 
ture of Dunstan is attached to charters dated in 956, and he was 
probably supported by very powerful friends. But he had enemies in an 
unexpected quarter, as his earliest biographer acknowledges, who wonders 
less at "the madness of that furious woman than at the hidden machina- 
tions of his own brotherhood — discipulorum — who with secret treachery 
were consenting parties to his downfall." Evidently unpopular in the 
south country, he was outlawed , and took refuge in a monastery at Ghent, 
from whence he was recalled in the following year, when Edgar, at the 
age of fourteen, was called to rule over the provinces to the north of the 
Thames. A tissue of misrepresentations has overspread the reign of 
Edwy, owing to the violence of the later biographers of Dunstan. He is 
said to have banished his kinsmen from around the throne, an assertion 
that is contradicted by every grant and charter in his reign. The 
majority of Edmund's nobles " lapsed from the path of rectitude," accord- 
ing to Bridferth, or, in other words, adhered to the elder son of their 
dead master. He is accused of dissolving the monasteries of Glastonbury 
and Abingdon, and of banishing the Benedictines from England ; yet he 
was the earliest benefactor of Abingdon, for his grants of Ginge and 
other lands in 956 are realities, whilst the charter of Edred dated in 
955, and witnessed by Oscytel, as Archbishop of York, is a forgery, 
^thelwold, "father of the monks," with jElfric of Malmesbury, and two 
other abbots, attest his latest charter dated in 959 ; the clergy, as well as 
the laity of Wessex were his staunchest supporters — ^Ifwold, recom- 
mended for the see of Crediton by Dunstan, Daniel, and Brithelm of Wells, 
amongst the bishops of his party, are claimed by Malmesbury as alumni 
of Glastonbury — and there were no Benedictines at that time in England 
to drive away. The struggle between Secular and Kegular began in the 
reign of Edgar, and was antedated long afterwards in order to throw 
odium upon Edwy. If Dunstan was numbered amongst the supporters 
of Edgar, Edwy could point to ^Ethelwold as his follower, for the contest 

* Tliorpc, Diplom., p. 203 ; Chron. Sax. (D.), 958. The flight of Edwy from Gloucester 
and the hamstringing of ^^^thelgyfu, tirst appear in Osbcrn and Eadmer, and devils carry 
away Edwy's soul. " Both perfectly agree," writes Lingard, " and it is plain that neither had 
seen the ancient Life of Odo." One has copied the other, in other words, and "the ancient 
Life," unknown at Canterbury — unknown, apparently, to Malmesbury, who was familiar with 
Osbern's writings — was not at that time written. In "the ancient Life "Edwy is married, 
and Odo, " Phineatico zelo stimulatus," descends unexpectedly upon a royal vill, ejects the lady 
whom he finds there, and drives her out of the country. Next she is branded and banished to 
Ireland, — as iElfgyfn, — returning to be hamstrung and murdered at Gloucester in 1)57. Who 
was the wife? Of all these additional circumstances the Saxon Chronicler and IJridlVrlli weri' 
totally ignorant. The elder lady is the heroine of the earlier accounts, in which may be 
detected some truth ovcrl;iid with much scandal and exaggeration. The younger lady figures 
in the later story, from which truth has vanished altogether. 'V\ma are the scanty facts ol 
history often buried under the fabrications of interested writers. 1 have hazarded a conjecture 
as to the real position occupied by ^Elhclgyfu in Note A. 



was fonglit upon political grounds, and not about a question of ecclesi- 
astical discipline. TEthelwerd, the friend and contemporary of both 
princes, has left upon record that Edwy was "a king deserving to be 
loved," but beyond a passing allusion to his extreme beauty, is silent 
about the events of his reign. Edwy, indeed, died at too early an age 
for his real character to be known, and he and his brother Edgar were 
mere puppets in the hands of two rival factions, each striving to rule in 
tlie name of one or other of the youthful princes.^ 

Dunstan was now archbishop. In the monastery at Grhent in which 
he had passed his exile, secular canons had been replaced by Benedictines 
about twelve years before he was received there — or in 944 — and he is 
supposed to have obtained from the Pope full authority to carry out a 
similar reform in his own country. Yet he held the see of Canterbury 
for nearly seven-and-twenty years, and never introduced a ]jenedictine 
into the diocese. Clerics accompanied iEthelwold from Glastonbury when 
he revived the monastery of Abingdon a year or two before the banishment 
of his abbot ; clerks welcomed the new archbishop to Canterbury, and 
remained in unmolested possession of Christ-Church until the time of 
Archbishop ^Ifric. Dunstan may have acquired a knowledge of the 
Benedictine rule at Ghent, but if he conformed to it in his own person, 
he never enforced its observance in any of his dioceses. Our venerable 
Abbey of Westminster, when a parvenu amongst monasteries, and in 
search of a pedigree, sought to affiliate itself upon the archbishop ; but 
the extraordinary inaccuracies in the charter of the supposed reviver of 
the monastery stamp it as the fabrication of a very late age, and even 
legend has failed to ascribe any other monastic foundation to Dunstan. 
If, therefore, he is to be judged by the writings of his own biographers, 
and Ity the history of the period as it has come down to us, he must be 
pronounced lax and inditferent, both as a monk and as an archbishop ; 
for what else can be said of a IJenedictine metropolitan who, supported 
by his king, and empowered by the Pope to effect a reform in the Church 

^ Cud. J)!p., cccclxxix. , inclxxi., nicxciv., inccxvi. Edgar's signature is attached to a 
charter of Edwy, dated 9th of May 957, so that tlie sejiaralion must have taken phicc after that 
date. Odo attested two out of four ciiarters dated in the same year, but after the separation. 
His signature is also attached to a cliarter dated in 958, the year of his death, so that he, as 
well as ^thelwold, is to be numbered amongst the supporters of Edwy (cccclxv., cccclxvii., 
cccclxviii., mecxiii.) I cannot, however, look upon mcoxxiv., dated 17th JMay 959, and wit- 
nessed by Odo and Eadgyfii, as genuine. According to her own testimony, Eadgyfu was not 
restored to lier former position before Edgar's accession ; and as Odo died on the 2d of June, 
and Edwy on the 1st of October, too short a time is allowed for the events that liappened 
between the deaths of the archbishop and the king, if the death of Odo is placed in 959. His 
snccessor, .lElfsige, was lost upon the Alps in going to Iiomo for his pallium — or in returning 
from Rome — and a double journey of tiiis description, including the time spent at Rome, required 
at least seven or eight months. He was probably crossing in spn'ng, at the most dangerous 
time of the year. His signature is attached to six out of seven of Edwy 's charters dated in 958, 
but is missed in 959. Brithelm, bishop of Sherborne — he succeeded Wulsige in 958, and was 
moved on to Winchester when Odo died — was then appointed to the see, but Edwy died before 
the archbishop-elect could start for Rome, his appointment was annulled, and Dunstan became 
archbishop in his place. Dunstan witnessed two of Edgar's grants in 959, and started for 
Rome in 9G0. 


committed to his charge, contents himself with allowing two other pre- 
lates to carry out, within their dioceses, the changes which he does not 
trouble himself to introduce into his own ? Yet a change was brought 
about in his own diocese, and a very significant one. The Ealderman 
disappeared from Kent in Dunstan's days, but he existed in Sussex until 
982, in the person of Eadwine, who died in that year. Eadwine is stigma- 
tized in a charter as " God's adversary," because he and "the folk . . . 
compelled the bishop (of Eochester) to give up the charters ; " no more 
of " God's adversaries " were appoiuted to the south-eastern provinces, 
and when Kent, Sussex, and Surrey next appear, they form together a 
great ealderdom, held "under the king's hand" by the archbishop of 

Daiistan in reality seems to have been much more of a statesman than 
of an ecclesiastic. Presented to an abbacy at a very early age, through his 
high connections, he seems to have turned his attention to " Irish books." 
poetry, and music. He was celebrated for his performance on tlie harp, 
and for his fondness for old ballads, predilections that seem scarcely tt) 
be reconciled with a character of an austere and ascetic turn. The secular 
canons slept in ])eaceful security until the appointment of .Ethelwold to 
the bishopric of Winchester. It was iEthclwold who was known as " the 
father of the monks;" it was iEthelwold upon whom Edgar and his 
queen .Elfthryth bestowed the manor of Sudborne in return for rendering 
the Benedictine rule into " the English idiom." Edgar, who had been as 
indolent in the matter as his archbishop for the first four years of his 
reign, married the widow of the East Anglian ealderman in 964, and in 
the same year Wulstan at-Delham, a thegn of the Eastern Counties, 
whose name is of frequent occurrence in the histories of Eamsey and Ely, 
bore to the bishop of Winchester the royal sanction to commence his 
reforms, which iEthelwold carried out unhesitatingly. He was in earnest, 
and in a very short time Benedictines replaced the secular canons in 
every part of his diocese, the reibrm penetrating into the county of Surrey, 

1 Cod. J>'P; niccxxiii. ; Tltorpe, JJiplom., p. 266 ; Leg. Eth., ii. 1 ; Chron. Sa.r., 'J.SL*. 
^Ifwic, aliliot of Westminster, aflixed liis siiiiiature to a cliarler in O'JT, and in the ibllowini; 
year Lcofvviue, ^Vult'stan's son, willed .some lands " into Westminster" (dexcviii., mccxciii. ) 
Legend gives the name of Wulsige to the abbot ai:ipointed by Dunstan and to the auchurilc wiio 
expressed the will of St. Peter to the Confessor. Edward proposed to saerifice the see of 
Worcester for the aggrandizement of his favourite foundation, granting the diocese to York 
"regio munere;" but his scheme was frustrated by the Pope, who would only give the pall to 
archbishop Ealdred upon his resigning the see of Worcester. A bishop, accordingly, was chosen 
fnr the diocese " regc videlicet annuentc ut qncm sibi vellent prtcsulcm cligcrcnt {Flar. Hi;)., 
1062), and in the reign of llufus, the claims of York upun Worcester were compounded for the 
Abbey of St. Oswald at Gloucester [MonuHt., vol. viii.) A number of labricated charters owe 
their origin to this summary treatment of the diocese of Worcester, the Westminster ibrgers 
endeavouring to give the sanction of a high antiquity to grants which they probably owed to 
the bounty of the Confessor, whilst the Worcester scribes busied themselves, with a greater 
show of justice, in |)ni)aring documents to support their own claims. Kurgetling, however, that 
the old ICpiscopal IMiiisler was dedicated to Si. Peter -or perliajis ignoring the fact lor [lurpnscs 
of their own— the apocryphal douatimis were gcmeially beslowcd U[i(in Si. iMary's^ (hi: founda- 
tion of Oswald ; anil when a grant is made to St. Mary's before the latter ptuliun (.if the tenth 
century, it must be looked upon with much suspicion. 


and only stopping short in that direction when it readied the frontiers of 
the see of Canterbury. Five years more were suffered to elapse before a 
similar course was followed in the diocese of Worcester, Avhich had been 
peacefully held for about eight years by tlie nephew of Odo, and protege 
of Dunstan — his signature, as bishop, first appears in 961 — but Oswald 
seems to have acted after a different fashion from ^thelwold. A high- 
handed policy was that of the bishop of Winciiester. " Conform to the 
rule, or give place to the monks who profess it." Such was the alterna- 
tive he offered to the secular canons, and if his biographer is to be believed, 
he narrowly escaped being poisoned for his zeal. Oswald built a church, 
which he dedicated to the Virgin, introducing a colony of monks to 
officiate in it when completed, whilst the old cathedral church of 8t. Peter, 
which was close l)y, was still served by the secular clergy. The ministra- 
tion of the Benedictines proved the most attractive, people thronged their 
church, neglecting St. Peter's, and many of the secular clergy were 
gradually won over to conform to the rule ; but no compulsion seems to 
have been used, for the veiy latest of Oswald's charters still continued to 
be attested by clerks, and thirty years after his death the congregation of 
the Old Minster was still distinct from the brotherhood of the monastery 
of St. Oswald. The Benedictines were introduced into the diocese of 
Worcester, but the secular clergy were not violently expelled ; and when 
Oswald succeeded his kinsman Oscytel in the see of York — vEthelwold the 
archbishop-elect, like Brithelm and Feologild, being quietly set aside — he 
limited his reforming zeal to his Mercian diocese, and, like his friend and 
patron Dunstan, conformed to the exigencies of the case, and left the 
seculars upon the northern side of the Humber at peace. In this he may 
be supposed to have followed out the system of Dunstan, who, we are 
told, " decided that a mass-priest, if he had a wife, was entitled to no 
other lade than belonged to a layman of equal birth." Accordingly, 
"the secular priest who follows no life of rule" only ranked with the 
deacon ; he was no longer " worthy of thegn-wer and thegn-right," the 
privileges of "the mass-priest living according to rule;" but he was not 
expelled from his "shrift-district" any more than the secular canons 
were expelled from their minsters, except in the diocese of Winchester. 
He was admonished, and forfeited his privileges, if he chose to retain his 
wife. The policy of Dunstan, faintly as it can be traced, appears to have 
been conciliatory rather than violent, and it seems possible to detect this 
influence in the State, even more than in tlie Church.^ 

1 Chron. Sax. and Flor. Wig., 964, 969 ; Hist. EL, 46, 48, 49 ; Cod. Dip., cccclxxxvii., 
mcccxvii. ; Ler/. Eth., v. 9, ix. 19-21; Edg. Canons, p. 257. In the Canons of Edgar 
(M. I. P. 26, 28), the mass-priest and monk are reckoned on the same footing; helow them the 
deacon, and then the clerk. The Life of .^Ethelwold attributed to Wulstan, and that of Oswald 
by Eadmer, are also among my authorities. "Oswald," says Dr. Lingard, "became arch- 
bishop of York, and though he held that high dignity during twenty years, we do not read that 
lie introduced a single colony of monks, or changed the constitution of a single clerical establish- 
ment within the arch-diocese." The same authority elsewhere writes, " The monks obtained 
possession of the cathedrals of Winchester and Worcester ; but the other Episcopal churches 
remained in the hands of the clergy, and were retained by them, with one exception, till the 


SItric, king of the Northumbrians, who married one of Athelstan's 
sisters, died in 927 ; Athelstan annexed his dominions, and for the first time 
in Enghsh history the signature of an archbishop of York was affixed to 
the grant of a south-country king. For ten years the princes of the Welsh, 
the Danish nobles, and the two northern prelates, appended their names 
to the charters of Athelstan, but in and after 937 tlieir signatures are no 
longer to be found. Eric Blodoexe, son of Haiald Harfager, ruled over 
Northumbria at this period, according to the account handed down in 
the Heimskringla, and the testimony of the Icelandic Saga is strongly 
corroborated by this silence of the charters. The great victory of 
Brunanburgh delivered Athelstan from the confederacy of [Scandinavian 
Scot and Briton, but his power over the north of England received a 
shock from which it never entirely recovered. The name of Wulfstan 
appears after a lapse of six years, in 942, about which time the Five- 
Burghs seem to have been won back from the Northmen. It is again 
found in 944, or in the year in which Olave Sitricson, and Ragnal 
Grodfreyson were driven out of Northumbria — by Wulfstan and the 
Mercian Ealderman, according to ^thelwerd — but the signatures of the 
Welsh and Danes are never appended to any of Edmund's numerous 
charters. They reappear, in company with Wulfstan, in one of Edred's 
charters, dated in 946, and are then again missed until 949. Between 
these dates Eric, or Hiring, a son of Harald Blaatand, established his 
dominion over Northumbria ; for Harald, who was in Normandy about 
945, after regulating the affairs of the Duchy, seems to have turned his 
attention towards re-establishing the power of the Skioldings over the 
north of England. Eiic was abandoned by his new subjects in 949, the 
Welsh, the Danes, and both the Northumbrian prelates unite for the last 
time in attesting a charter of Edred in the same year, and Olave Sitricson 
re-appeared to assert his claim upon his father's kingdom. Olave was 
again replaced by Eric Haraldson, about three years afterAvards, and 
Wulfstan was thrown into prison. From the very first the archbishoj) 
had sided with Olave against Edmund, when he arranged with Odo to 
divide the kingdom between the two princes. By withdrawing his 
support from Olave and Ragnal, he seems to have placed Northumbria 
at the feet of Edmund ; but the subsequent elevation of Eric Haraldson 
to the throne may probably be attributed to his intrigues — perhaps also 
the return of Olave. Wulfstan remained in prison for the next two 
years, l)ut he was released upon the death of Eric Haraldson, and from 
that time forward — much about the time when Dunstan declined the see 
of Orediton — a novel policy seems to have been inaugurated.^ 

close of the Anglo-Saxon period." A passage in Bridf'ertb, in wliicli lie says that Dunstan held 
the sees of Worcester and London for many years, has boon used against the archbishop; but 
the signatures of Oswald and iElfstan, as bisliops of Worcester and London, appear in 9()1, aud 
they were probably appointed upon the return of Dunstan from ]\ome. 

» Chron. Sax., y2<i, 927, <)44, 948, 949, 9.02, 954 ; Sim. Ihtn., 9:59 ; Hclmsl: Saf/a, iv. c. 8 ; 
Cod. Dip., ccccx\., ccccxxix. ; Ad. JJi-cm., \\. 22. " Anglia, ut. supra diximns, ct in gestis 
Anglorum scribitur, post luorteni Uudiedi, a (iliis ejus Analapli, Sigtrih, et KeginoUl, peranuos 


The Danish prince perished by treachery npon Stancmoor, and tlie 
reward of tlie treason, the calderdom of Northumbria, is said to have 
been conferred upon Osulf, whose name, occasionally met with in the 
charters with the title of Iletih-gerefa, from the date of his appointment, 
disappears altogether. Oslac was made Eorl over the Danes some ten or 
twelve years later, but the expressions in Edgar's Laws reveal the real 
state of independence in which that people were permitted to remain. 
" Let secular rights stand amongst the Danes, with as good laws as they 
best may choose. But with the English, let that stand which I and my 
Witan have added to the dooms of my forefathers." The Witan had no 
jurisdiction over the Danes, and the civil institution of the Hundred was 
the solitary law which they were invited to share with the rest of England 
— " and this I desire, that this one doom be common to us all, for secu- 
rity and peace to all the people." The complete independence thus 
insured to the Danes was in return for " the fidelity you have ever shown 
me." Left to themselves, they had no longer any reason for insurrection, 
but, accepting Edgar for their sovereign, enjoyed the privilege of the most 
complete self-government. Even the institution of the Frith-borh 
stopped short upon the northern frontier of the Danelage ; and as 
neither Wapentake nor Hundred has ever penetrated into the northern- 
most counties of England, or into south-eastern Scotland, the Anglo- 
Northumbrians under Osulf would appear to have enjoyed a simiUii', if 
not a greater immunity from the jurisdiction of the Witan. From this 
time, also, the signatures of the Welsh princes disappear from the 
charters of the English kings. Morgan and Owen, Siferth and Jago, 
attached their names to a grant of Edred in 955, but not a single Welsh 
prince ever attests a charter in the reigns of Edgar or of his sons, nor 
does an attempt seem to have been made upon the English coast from 
the side of L'cland. Coins of Edgar were minted at Dublin, where Olave 
Sitricson, the old opponent of Edgar's father and uncles, ruled during the 
whole of his reign ; it is not unlikely that the Irish Norsemen supi)lied 
him with a fleet ; and the good understanding between the Danes of 
Ireland and the EngHsh kings remained unshaken at the time of the 
Norman Conquest, their bishops looking upon the Archbishop of 
Canterbury as their IMetropolitan. From the date of the coalition be- 
tween Olave Sitricson and Constantino, his Scottish father-in-law, until 
the death of Eric Haraldson upon Stanemoor, twenty years were passed 
in a continual struggle between Dane and Angle. Half of England was 
wrested from the brother of Athelstan, and hardly won back again at 
his death. Then upon the release of Wulfstan all is peace, and the 

t'eve centum permansit in ditione 1 >anorum. Tunc voro Haroldus, Hiring filium cum exercitu 
lui.sit in Angliam. Qui subacta insula tandem proditus et occisus est a Nordunibris." Else- 
wliere tlie same annalist writes, " In Augliam cjuoque miserunt unum e.x sociis Ilalpdani, qui 
dum all Anglis occideretur. Dani constitucrunt in locum ejus Gudredum. Is autem Nordim- 
briam cxpugnavit. Atque ex illo tcmpoi'c Frisia et Anglia in ditione Danorum esse feruntur. 
Scrij)tum est in gestis Anglorum,'' Lib. i. c. 41. These expressions are very strong, and show 
how the history of the period Avas regarded from a Danish point of view. 


contemporary ^thelwenl, and the earlier chroniclers of Edgar's reign, 
have nothing to record beyond his coronation, his covenant of alliance 
with six kings at Chester, and his death. It was an era of regulation 
and reform in Church and State, both apparently standing in need of 
some sort of change after the wars and troubles of the preceding gene- 
rations. Within the frontiers of Anglo-Saxon England Edgar and his 
Witan, and Edgar and his Archbishop, busied themselves with novel 
dooms and canons ; whilst the king, satisfied with the acknowledgment 
of his supremacy, seems to have leit the Danes and Northumbrian Angles 
to legislate for themselves both in Church and State. Hence Oswald 
limited his reforming energy to his diocese in English Mercia, and when 
he crossed the Humber as archbishop, permitted the secular canons and 
married priests to remain unmolested. " If a priest forsake a woman 
and take another, let him be excommunicated." Such was the law 
amongst the Northumbrians, whose priests were thus enjoined to retain 
their wives, whilst celibacy and the rule were preached by their pastor to 
their brethren in the diocese of the Hwiccas. It was ^Ifric who, in the 
eleventh century, and in the name of Archbishop VVulstan, first enjoined 
the doctrine of celibacy upon the married clergy of Northumbria.^ 

If we may trust to Eadmer, the revolt of the northern subjects of 
Edwy was occasioned by the oppression and injustice of his rule ; and 
there may be truth in this account if, for the childish king, we substitute 
the dominant party in the State ruling in his name ; but the un- 
popularity of his government was contined to the people upon th(^ 
northern bank of the Thames. The Lasn-lands of the Crown, which liell 
in upon the death of a king, might be disposed of by his successor with- 
out any reference to their former holders ; charters granted by the king 
and his witan in a former reign might be refused contirraation by the 
succeeding king and his witan ; and the "spoliation and disinheritance" 
attributed by Eadmer to Edwy may have consisted in arbitrary measures 
of this description, carried out in his name. As the majority of his 
flither's nobility, however, adhered to Edwy, the " spoliation " coulil 
scarcely have been carried on in the south-country, though, if such a 
course were pursued for two years beyond the Thames, it may easily 
have led to the revolt of the Mercians." Alfred was always conciliatory 
in his conduct towards the people from amongst whom he chose his 
queen, and Mercia supplied him with an archbishop in Plegnuujcl, and a 
literary friend and adviser in Bishop Werfrith. He bestowed the hand 
of his daughter jEtheltla3d upon Ealderman iEthelrcd, giving him 
London also after it was rebuilt ; and it is evident that, until the death 
of " the Lady of the Mercians," the province enjoyed a liberty of self 
government little short of independence. But the policy of Edward 

1 Shu. Jhin., 954; Chron. Sax., 9GG, 97:), 97") ; Eihj. Siqh, 2, 12 ; /.e^., X.P., 3o. 

^ " Possessiones pliirinionim diiipere, lios (it illos exluncilitare " — siicli are tlie expressions of 
EiiilnifT. I>riilfcrtli, wlio was ignorant of tlie (liglit from (iloncoster, and tlie indignitiusinflictcil 
npon jl'^llielgyl'ii — or /l'"irL;yfii, for tlic cldor and yonnner ladies are i;enerally coid'onniled with 
each other — only says that Edwy was deserted by the " popnlus hrunialis." 


seems to have been different. Upon the death of his brother-in-law he 
seized upon London, Oxford, and all the district which he incorporated 
in the revived diocese of Dorchester — it once belonged to Wessex, he 
may have argued. Upon the death of his talented sister, her child, the 
grand-daughter of Alfred, " was deprived of all dominion over the 
Mercians, and carried into Wessex," and of her subsequent fate we know 
nothing. Werfrith was replaced in the see of Worcester by Cenwald, 
claimed by Malmesbury as an alumnus of Glastonbury ; Cynsige, bishop 
of Lichfield, was Dunstan's kinsman ; and as the Mercian bishoprics 
seem to have been filled with prelates of West-Saxon origin, it may be 
presumed that the secular authorities, the ealdermen and king's- reeves, 
were frequently of the same race. Upon the death of Archbishop 
Wulfred, in Egbert's reign, the election of Abbot Feologild seems to have 
been quietly set aside, Ceolnoth, a West-Saxon, was ordained — he was 
either a layman, or in minor orders — and raised to the vacant see, and 
with Ceolnoth secular canons were introduced, and West-Saxon rule ; 
in other words, whilst Mercia and East Anglia retained their kings of 
native origin, Kent, Sussex, and Surrey were thoroughly and permanently 
incorporated with Wessex, and treated as the appanage of some junior 
member of the roj'al house. Edward, and his son Athelstan, may have 
thought the time had arrived for eradicating the remains of nationality 
from English Mercia, and incorporating it in a similar manner with 
Wessex. But a policy that is acquiesced in under the rule of able 
statesmen and victorious soldiers, with an enemy in close proximity, may 
be vievved in quite another light when, after abandoning it for a time, it 
is revived, and carried out in its harsher features by a dominant faction, 
ruling in the name of a child. An era of internal and external peace 
was the immediate result of a return to a more conciliatory policy, which 
may be attributed, I think, to Dunstan ; for it is quite in keeping with 
his character, from the little that can be gathered from authentic records, 
however opposite such a policy may appear to the picture that has been 
left of the archbishop, especially by his later biographers.^ 


The custom of fostering must have been of great antiquity amongst the Anglo- 
Saxons, for in Ini's Laws the ChilcT s-fostercr is mentioned with the Reeve and the 
Smith, amongst the followers whom the Gesithcundman, on quitting liis land, might 
take away with him. It was still prevailing in high quarters in the eleventh century, 
for Athelstan the ^theling, one of Ethelred's sons, mentions with much affection in 
his will " .iElfswyth my foster-mother," as well as " ^Ifthryth my grandmother who 
reared me." The evils of the custom are dilated on by Giraldus in his description of 
Wales, for in a state of society in which the sons of a king, or prince, were fostered, if 

* It is only in F that the election of Feologild is noticed. The older chronicler ignores it 
altogellier. " Ceolnoth was chosen bishop and ordained. . . . ^&6o< Feologild died." Feolo- 
gild was ffr.hah/ud, or consecrated ; Ceolnoth was (jehadod, or ordained. The difference is 
worthy ol' leniark. 

NOTES. 201 

the father died suddenly, or prematurely, each fosterer was apt to support the claim 
of his own adopted child upon the succession. The foster-mother of Edgar, accord- 
ing to the historian of Ramsey, was the wife of Athelstan the Half-king, Ealderman of 
East-Anglia, a tie that throws a light xv^oxv the close connection existing subsequently 
between Edgar and the sons of Athelstan, his foster-brothers. Edwy, the elder 
^theling, must assuredly have been placed under the charge of some lady of equal 
position, and the exalted rank of ^thelgyfu, who was closely connected with the royal 
house, seems to point to the probability that she may have stood in the position of 
foster-mother to the eldest son of Edmund. The influence she seems to have exercised 
over the motherless child from the very first, the immediate banishment of Eadgyfu, 
whose position she would hope to occupy, and her hostility against Dunstan, who 
appears to have Iseen on friendly terms with Eadgyfu and the house of East-Anglia, 
all seem to point to the probability of the supposition.^ 

A document purporting to be the will of yEthelgyfu, which is usually ascribed to 
the queen of Edmund, begins in a manner that can scarcely be reconciled with such 
a supposition ; " Ego j9i]thelgive aperio domino meo regi, et regime domince m.ece.'" 
What queen was "the lady'' of Edmund's queen? The will goes on to leave a heriot 
to " my lord the king," and another heriot to " my lady the queen," bequests hardly 
in keeping with the position of Edmund's wife and queen. " To Leofwine, my nephew, 
a hide at Clifton . . . and let Leofsige have the land at Off'anlege . . . and bequeath 
it to his son, if he have a son by his wedded wife ; if not, let it go to St. Albans, 
except the part where Cuthulf sits, and jEthelferth and ^thelswyth, ilia dahitur filke 
domince s^ice yElfgive, si adhuc vivit." To the daughter of his lady, ^Ifgyfii — to his 
daughter and lady, JFAfg^yin — to ^Ifgyfu, the daughter of his lady : in which way is the 
passage to be rendered ? In the earliest grant made by Edwy, a munificent donation 
of a hundred hides to the convent at Wilton, received " cum magno gaudio " by 
JElfgyfu, who affixed her signature as Magistra, lady or proprietress of the convent, 
the first to sign after the Ealdermen was "Leofwine, propinquus regis," taking pre- 
cedence of ^Ifhere and ^Ifheah, kinsmen of the king and subsequently Ealdermen. 
Leofwine must have held the foremost position in the Court of the young king, 
" nuperrime rex." Was he the nephew of .^thelgyfu ? Is this magnificent donation 
to ^Ifgyfu to be looked upon as the first provision made for her own family by 
^thelgyfu 1 2 

The will of iElthelgyfu seems authentic, but scarcely the signatures, for Edgar the 
^theling is surely out of place. If "Edwardus rex" is to be changed into "Edmundus," 
Edgar was a baby at the date of his mother's death ; if it stands for " Eadwig," the sig- 
nature of Edgar would have been hardly affixed to the testament of j3i]thelgyfu. But 
the will as it stands is only a copy. " Let Leofrune have the land at Watford, and at 
Weotune two men and eight oxen, etc." — no original will would have closed with c( 
cetera ; and the occasional diff'ei-ence between an original document and a copy will best 
be shown by a reference to the grant of the lands of Cooling and Osterland to Canter- 
bury by Eadgyfu. The tenor of the original Saxon document is as follows : — "Eadgyfu 
makes known to the Archbishop and Convent at Christ-Church how her land came to 
her at Cooling. . . . The two sons of Goda . . . took from Eadgyfu the lands at Cool- 
ing and Osterland . . . Edgar restored her property . . . Eadgyfu then . . . took the 

^ If iEthelgyfu was the foster-mother of Edwy, a marriage between JFAf^yfn and licr 
foster-brother would have been considered inadmissible in that age. It is didictdt to point 
out any relationship by which she could have been too closoly connected with the ro^iil house. 

^ Cod. Dip., ccccx., ccccxxxvi. The second charter of Edwy is a grant of twenty liidcs to 
his kinsman yElfliere, descended "a carissiniis prredecessoribns." lie soon became Ealder- 
man of Mercia. The name of Leofwine disappears from the charters, and the position 
amongst the Ministri is generally occupied by j?^ifheah, Tl^jlteago, and il<]thclnia3r, the two 
first of whom appear amongst the recipients of grants of land as " kinsmen of the king,'' and 
^thelraair was probably the Ealderman who snbsequently jiresided over the (Central pi'ovinces 
between 971 and 'J83. Edwy was clearly in the hands of his immediate kindred, the leading 
aristocracy of Wessex. 

202 NOTES. 

charters, and delivered the lands to Christ-Church, and with her own hands laid them 
on the altar." In the Latin translation there are noticeable divergences from the 
original. " a.d. dcccclxi. Ego Eadgiva regina . . . concedo a?cclesia; Christi in Doro- 
bernia, monachis ibidem Deo servientibns, Meapeham, Culinges, Leanham, Peccham, 
Fernlege, Mnnccetun, Ealdintun . . . scilicet Odoni . , . et familia' Christi, id est, 
')no)iac]ns in Doroberuia civitate . . . Ego auteni . . . omncs terras nieas et libros 
terrarum propria manu posui super altare Christi." Odo was dead before Edgar was 
king, and monks were not introduced into Christ-Church before the time of Archliishop 
^Ifric. To Dunstan and the secular clergy Eadgyfu "made known" her gift of Cool- 
ing and Osterland, but in endeavouring to give a title to a number of other lands, and 
vest the whole in the monastic foundation, the later scrilie has added a number of 
inaccuracies to the supposed translation of an authentic document. So the St. Albans 
scrilje, to establish the validity of a document by which his monastery held certain lands, 
may have added a number of conjectural witnesses to the will of j^Ethelgyfu. It is 
not improbable that in the original the witnesses may have been altogether wanting — 
it may never have been confirmed.^ 

The convent at Wilton is supposed to have been given by Edgar to Wulftrud, but 
the charters are silent upon this point, and the name of " the king's daughter " is con- 
nected with the nunnery at Winchester. But in 9GG Edgar gave ten hides at Newnham, 
" cuidam matronce ingenue que mihi affinitate mundialis cruoris conjuncta est . . . 
jEJfgyfu," and the land at Newnham iElfgyfu bequeaths in her will to " the ^theling." 
She desires her body to be buried at the Old Minster at Winchester, leaving gifts to 
the New Minster, and to the Nun's Minster, as well as to the Minsters at Ramsey, 
Abingdon, and Bath. Lands and torques she bequeaths to her royal lord, torques 
and a sop-cup to her royal lady, with the land at Teafersceat to Bishop /Ethelwold, to 
pray for her soul and tlie soul of her niother. Who was this kinswoman of Edgar, the 
iiiafrrm iElfgyfu, who desired the prayers of ^Ethelwold, bishop of Winchester, for the 
soul of her mother — of iEthelwokl once al)bot of Abingdon, the first ecclesiastic who 
received a grant of land from Edwy, to whose latest charter his signature is still 
attached ? Was she the widoAV of Edgar's brother P 


In connection with Abbot ^Ifric, one of those curious "developments," of which it 
is sometimes interesting to watch the growth, may be noticed. There were four 
vElfrics who are occasionally confounded : iElfric, abbot of Malmesbury, who became 
bishop of Crediton ; iElfric, abbot of St. Albans, subsequently bishop of Ramsbury, 
and afterward archbishop of Canterbury ; Abbot ^rElfric, and ^Ifric Bata, who writes 
of the former as " iElfric Abbas, qui mens fuit magister." Abbot iElfric describes 
himself as the alumnus of ^Ethelwold, in whose school he passed many yeius, as he 
tells the brotherhood of Eynsham, founded in lOOo by his friend yl^^thelnuur (Cod. Dip., 
dccxiv.) For the father of iEthelmter, the Patrician ^thelwerd, he translated the 
Heptateuch. For archbishop Sigeric he compiled a volume of homilies, and another of 
sermons, submitting both for his correction. By ^Ifeage, the successor of his master 
iEthelvvold in the see of Winchester, and subsequently archbishop of Canterbury, he 
was sent to superintend the minster at Cernel. He wrote his " Canons " for Wulsige, 
wlio held the see of Sherborne between 978 and 1002, and his " Pastoral Epistle " for 

» Thorpe, Dlplom., pp. 201-20G. 

* Cod. Dip., dxxvi. , dccxxi., ccccxlii., ccccxliii., cccclxxix. In a forged charter attributed 
to Edgar, and dated in 974 (dlxxxv.), Wilton is given " diminatis inde earum spurcitiis qnaj 
denni irritare potins qiiam digno vidobantur cnltu venerari, eiiidam venerabili Abbatissaj 
Wulfthnjd nomine . . . cum Cheolca." Here Wulftnul is snp])()sed to have received Wilton, 
witli the Inuidred bides nH Ceolaim, granted by KJwy to i^^ltgyfu. Has any confusion arisen 
between the historical ililfgyfu and the somewhat mythical AVulftrnd ? 


Wulstan, who was Archbishop of York from 1002 to 1023. Abhot ^Elfrlc, therefore, 
was regarded in liis own days, by the clergy as well as by the laity, as in a certain 
sense the spokesman, or foremost writer, of the English Chnrch ; or at any rate of the 
severer body of the monastic clergy, brought np in the school of iEthelwold. His 
doctrine about " the Housel " is well known — " the Housel is Christ's body, not bodily 
but spiritually." It appears in the works submitted to Sigeric for correction, and was 
not corrected, for it again appears in the Canons he wrote at the request of Wulsige. 
A letter from Dunstan, this very Wulsige, is still preserved ; and as the 
bishop of Sherborne, who was a disci2nilus of Dunstan (and according to some accounts 
the first abbot of Westminster), applied to iElfric to write these Canons, Dunstan may 
be added to the list of prelates who approved of the teaching learnt by ^Ifric in the 
school of iEthelwold. Yet in the Life of Odo (cap. 10), attributed to Osbern, will be 
found the following passage : — " Hoc ferme tempore quidcm, cimci, maligno crrore 
seducti, asseverare conabuntur panem et vinum qua- in altari ponuntur, post consecra- 
tionem in priori substantia permanere, ct figuram tantunnnodo esse corporis et san- 
guinis Christi, non verum Christi corpus et sanguinem." By this time Dunstan had 
appeared in a vision to a cripple, to warn him against yElfric Bata, the scholar of 
Abbot iElfric ; and the teaching of the school of ^Ethelwokl, the trusted friend and 
Prior of Dunstan, was denounced as the erroneous doctrine of " a few seculars." 


The Coronation of Edgar. 

One of the few occurrences connected with the reif^n of Edgar that 
has been handed doAvn by all the chroniclers is his coronation at Bath 
upon Whitsunday in 973. The earlier authorities notice the ceremony 
without assigning any reason for its apparent postponement to so late a 
period in the king's reign ; but Osbern, in his Life of Dunstan, written 
after the authentic archives of Canterbury had perished in a fire, supplies 
the omission after a fashion of his own. A seven years' penance, during 
whiclt the king was prohibited from wearing the crown, had been imposed 
by the archbishop n[)on Edgar for violating the sanctity of the cloister 
in the person of St. Wulfryth, and the ceremony at Bath marked his 
resumption of the crown. But as fourteen years had then elapsed since 
the death of Edwy, the tale of Osbern implies a double coronation, 
for which there is not the slightest authority ; and as Eadgyiu, wlio was 
the daughter of the frail saint, and a party to a grant of her royal father, 
as abbess of the nunnery at Winchester, died when in her twenty-third 
year, in September 984, she must have been born some years before 9GG. 
Thus the fiction falls to the ground, and the apparent delay in the coro- 
nation of Edgar remains to be accounted for.^ 

It would appear to have been a very general, if not an universal, 
custom throughout Christendom to consecrate by some religious cere- 
mony the sovereign who was chosen to fill the throne, and the inaugura- 
tion of Aidan to be king of the Dalriads is supposed to afford the earliest 

' Jlabillon, Act. Saiicl., Sa'c. v. [i. 021]; Cod. />/p., dxciv. "Eatlgyfu alibcilossc Hires 
cine;es doliter." 


recorded instance of such a ceremony. Placing bis hand upon the king's 
head, Cokiraba " ordained and blessed him," — ordinans benedixit. Such 
was the simple ceremony which may literally have conferred "orders," 
for in later times the Emperor was ex officio a canon of St. John Lateran, 
officiating on certain state occasions as a subdeacon when the pope 
celebrated mass; the kings of France were similarly canons of St. Martin 
of Tours, and our own sovereigns are said, for some unexplained reason, 
to be canons of St. Davids. From very early times unction seems to 
have played an important part in the ceremony of consecration, for it 
was in use amongst the Britons when Gildas wrote, and Augustine 
dwells upon it as a custom unknown to pagans, and therefore peculiarly 
Christian, tracing it of course to the times of Saul and Samuel. Kings, 
however, seem to have been originally content with applying for unction to 
their own bishops, just as departed worthies used to find their way into the 
catalogue of saints in a vague and somewhat irregular manner, before Alex- 
ander III. placed canonisation "inter majores causas ;" and much about the 
same period unction, in a similar manner, seems to have lost its highest 
efficacy unless imparted through the pope. "Si quis rex inungi nova con- 
suetudine velit, usus et inos obtinuit ut id a Romano 'pontifice petat, sicut 
fecit rex Arragonum."^ Thus wrote the Cardinal Leo Ostiensis in 1260 ; 
and as in the days of Giraldus none of the kings of Spain were classed 
amongst " the four anointed sovereigns" — though Wamba, king of the 
Visigoths was anointed by the archbishop of Toledo in 673 — the nova 
consuetudo, which must have been introduced into Arragon between the 
age of Giraldus and the time of Cardinal Leo, evidently meant papal 
unction. The Scottish kings were not so fortunate as the House of 
Arragon, for the whole influence of England was exerted for about a 
century in opposing the extension of this mysterious privilege to the 
sister kingdom. Honorius iii. forbade his legate to anoint and crown 
Alexander ii. in 1221, and the king appealed in vain to Innocent iv. in 
1233. Yet in the Bull according " unction and a diadem" to Kobert 
Bruce, it is distinctly asserted that the kings of Scotland had been long 
accustomed to receive the " Insignia Regie dignitatis" from the bishops 
of St. Andrews ; a " sceptrum regni" is alluded to by Adamnan, a crown 
was carried off by Edward i., and it is evident that the sole deficiency in 
the coronation of a Scottish king was the "papal unction" which would 
have passed mysteriously into the ceremony if the legate had crowned 
Alexander in 1221. " Auctoritate Apostolica, adhibito secum decenti 
Episcoporum numero . . . more debito . . . Inungere (et) Regium 
imponere valeant Dyadema," — such were the privileges accorded to the 
bishops of St. Andrews and Glasgow by the Bull of John xxii. ; so that 
unction and a diadem with the presence of " a decent number of bishops," 
and the apostolic sanction, were supposed at that time to be necessary 

' This is Seidell's version of the passage. Mr. Maskell gives it, "Si quis ile novo inungi 
velit, consuctudo obtinuit quod a papa petatur, sicut fecit rex Aragonuni, et quotidie instat rex 
Scotise." The sense is the same in both versions. 


for a coronation of the highest order. As Henry ii. and his grandson 
were both curious about the special virtue of unction, receiving learned 
answers upon the subject res})ectively from Beckett and Robert Grosse- 
teste, and as the necessity of obtaining admission amongst the anointed 
sovereigns never seems to have been felt by the kings of Scotland and 
Arragon before the thiiteenth century, it may be presumed that the ques- 
tion assumed its greatest importance about that period, and was closely 
connected with the pretensions of the Popes, and especially of Innocent 
III., to universal supremacy over temporal sovereigns.^ 

" For eighty years and upwards," wrote archbishop Boniface in 742, 
" there has been neither synod nor archbishop amongst the Franks ; " a 
state of affairs which, with the confiscation of the dioceses of Rheims 
and Treves by Charles Martel, must have placed his son Pepin at a 
certain disadvantage when the time arrived for his assumption of the 
regal dignity ; for there was no Frank Metropolitan to perform the con- 
secration. Accordingly, writes Einhard, " when he was raised to the 
throne in the city of Soissons according to the usage of the Franks, with 
the sanction of the Pope, he was anointed to the regal dignity by the 
holy unction, received from the hand of Boniface, bishop of Mayence." 
Three years afterwards the Pope crossed the Alps in person, to implore 
the assistance of the orthodox king of the Franks, who now accei)ted the 
office of Defender of the Roman Church, against the Arian Lombards, 
anointing with his own hand Pepin and his two sons, who were hence- 
forth addressed, not only as kings of the Franks, but as Patricians of the 
Romans, thus occupying the position of the Exarch. After the return • 
of the Pope to Italy in the following year, 755, a letter imploring imme- 
diate assistance was addressed to the Kings and Patricians of the Romans 
from the " Papa et omnes Episcopi, Presbyteri, Diaconi, sen Duces, 
Carthularii, Comites, Tribuni, et universus populus et exercitus Roman- 
orum, omnes in affiictione positi," or the two Estates and Community of 
Rome, who had united in transferring the Patiiciate from the official of 
the Eastern Empire to Pepin and his sons ; whilst another epistle arrived 
direct from heaven, in which an immediate advance upon Rome was 
urged by " Petrus princeps Apostolorum, qui vos in reges nnxit." Such 
was the exalted origin attributed to the Papal unction, which was sup- 
posed to have consecrated the choice of the Franks and Romans, with 
the direct sanction of St. Peter. The age in which such an epistle 
could have been written and sent was already ripe for the forged Decre- 
tals, and accordingly, when they were wanted in a subsequent generation, 
they appeared.^ 

_^ Selden, vol. iii., Titles of Honour, pt. 1, cap. 8; Maskell, 3Ion. Hit., vol. iil., Frelini. 
Diss.; Stat. Ecc. Scot. vol. i. p. xlvi., xlvii. ; Reeves' Aclamn. iii. 5. The passngo from 
Giraldus will be found in his treatise de Instructione Principis. Tlio " Four anointed sove- 
reigns," at the opening of the thirteenth century were the kings of France, England, Sicily, 
and Jerusalem. The two latter kingdoms were creations of the papacy, so to say, and are 
sometimes omitted from the list. 

2 Bonif. i!,>. xlix. ; Bouquet, vol. v. p. 486, 490, 495, 593 ; Ann. Einli., 750, 753, 754. 


Upon the death of Charles the Fat in S8S. Gruy, who had already- 
agreed with Beranger to divide between them '•Latin France" and Italy, 
hnrried to Rome, and, " withont the consent of the Franks, was anointed 
king over all ot Francia." But the " Eoman Franks" had already 
chosen for tlieir king Oda, or Eudes, son of Robert the Strong, and Guy 
returned to Italy, to dispute the possession of that kingdom with Beranger, 
clearly demonstrating by his repulse that Unction was, at this time, 
regarded as sim])]y the consecration or confirmation of election ; for the 
anointed of the Pope, not being the choice of the Franks, had no power 
to rule over them. Conrad, who, upon the extinction of the German 
branch of the Caroline House, in the male line, had been "anointed to 
tlio kingdom" at the suggestion of the Great Duke Otlio, when he felt 
his death approaching, sent his brother Eberhard with " the sacred lance, 
the robe and golden bracelets (armillis aureis), and the sword and diadem 
of the kings, his predecessors," to Otho's son, naming him as his suc- 
cessor ; but Henry, though he accepted the regal dignity, declined the 
diadem and unction "a summo pontifice" — the archbishop of Mayence 
— alleging his own unfitness for so high an honour. Thus he was a 
king, but not an anointed sovereign ; his son was the first of the Saxon 
House who attained to the higher dignity, and a full account of his 
coronation has been handed down by Widukind. Leading Otho to the 
front of the Cathedral porch at Aix, the archbishop of Mayence addressed 
the assembled multitude in the following words : — " I bring you the 
elect of God, the successor designated by his father Henry, now made 
king by all the princes. If the choice please you, hold up your hands ; " 
and every hand was raised with acclamation in confirmation of the elec- 
tion. Otho, clad in a short tunic after the Frank fashion, was then 
conducted into the church, and invested at the altar with the insignia of 
royalty — the sword and belt, the robe and bracelets, the sceptre, staff, 
and diadem, — and then, anointed with the holy oil by the metropolitan 
of Germany, and wearing the golden diadem, he was again led into the 
porch between the archbishops of Mayence and Cologne, and placed upon 
the throne in the sight of all the peo[)le, much as the sovereign is repre- 
sented upon the reverse of many an old coin. It was not until many 
years later, after his decisive victory over the Magyars at Lechfeld by 
Augsburg in 955, which won the Marks of Austria and Styria for 
Germany, that the exultant soldiery hailed him Kaisar in the old 
Roman fashion — ab exercitu pater patriae imjieratorque appellatus est 
-and from this date Widukind writes of him as Lnperator. Six or seven 
years afterwards he received the Beyicdictio imperialis at Rome, with liis 
queen, and thus became, like Pepin, the " Patron of the Roman Church" — 
"ac patronus Romance effectus ccclesias." The father, Henry, lived and died 
an elected and legitimate, but not an anointed king, and for six years the 
son, Otho, was an elected and legitimate, though not an anointed eujperor. 
As the " 13enediction" of the Church consecrated a marriage, which was 
lendered legal in those days by the previous civil contract — the wedding 
and dotation — so it consecrated the sovereign whose legal title lay in 


his previous election, and its confirmation by " sliow of hands." The 
Church could neither make nor unmake a king, she could only sanctify 
his election by her benediction.^ 

The custom of consecrating an English sovereign is first alluded to 
in the Saxon Chronicle towards the close of the eighth centuiy. In the 
reign of Offa, and in the same "contentious synod" in which the arch- 
bishopric of Lichfield was called into existence, Ecgfrith was " hallowed 
to king," and associated with his father in the sovereign power ; the 
consecration of a Northumbrian king being noticed some ten years later. 
Gregory, bishop of Ostia — he occasionally appears as George, — and 
Theophylact, bishop of Todi, claiming to be the first papal legates 
despatched to England since the mission of Augustine, arrived from Rome 
in the course of 786, in company with Abbot Wigliod, the missus of 
" Charles, by the grace of God, King of the Franks and Lombards, and 
Patrician of the Romans." After assisting at a council in Nortliumbria, 
in which King ^Ifwald and his leading clergy and nobility were present, 
Gregory and Wighod returned to the south, and took part with Offa, 
archbishop lanbert, and the twelve Southumbrian bishops, in the council 
of Cealchythe. Li the regulations laid down in tliebc Councils the 
sanctity of the royal person was particularly insisted upon. " Let no one 
dare to conspire against the king's life, for he is the Lord's anointed." 
He was to be elected by the " sacerdotes et seniores populi," — the bkshoiis 
and leading nobles, or the Two Estates. The choice of the wicked was 
not to prevail, and no one could be recognised as " the anointed of 
the Lord, king of the whole kingdom, and his country's heir — hfcres 
patriiB," — who was not born in legitimate wedlock. Some twelve years 
later, Casnulf the Mercian overran and conquered Kent, which, after the 
deaths of Offa and Ecgfrith, had, for two years, regained a sort of inde- 
pendence unilcr Eadbert Pren. " Then, as the Elect of God — Domini 
suffragio potitus, — he added the kingdom of Kent to his dominions, 
})lacing a crown on his head, and taking a sceptre in his hand ; " much as 
Rodolph, ninety years afterwards, " assembling some of the leading clei'gy 
and laity at St. Maurice, placed a crown on his head, and oi'dered himself 
to be proclaimed king " of Burgundy, il^thelheard, aichbishop of Canter- 
bury, who, in the previous year, had been reinstated by Leo. in. in all the 
privileges of which his see had been deprived by Offa and Pope Hadrian, 
is not alkidcd to in the account left by Simeon, and a regular consecra- 
tion may have been out of the question ; but if any coolness existed 

1 Liut. Ant., L. i. c. 14, 15 ; Wid.,L. i. c. It!, 25, 2(1, L. ii. c. 1, L. iii. c. 49 ; Thicl. C/iron., 
L. ii. c. 7. Tlic principle of election from a sacred or royal race may be naiil to be coeval willi 
the existence of the regal dignity amongst the Teutons, and the ancient form " qiiein in regem 
eligimus " held its place in the coronation service of the kings of P^ngland, at least as late as 
the reign of Edward Ji. As the theory of "divine right" gained ground it was changed inlo 
" queni in regem consecramiis." {Maskcll, p. l?i, n. 2[.) So thoroughly was Widukind im- 
pressed with the conviction that the choice of the German soldiery raised Otho to the dignity 
of Kaisar, that he never alludes to the "lienedictio imperialis " at Rome. Thietniar writes of 
it as if it conferred the patronage of the Roman Church upon the sovereign chosen emperor 
by the Gcrnians. 


between the arclibishop and the kino; it passel away for the time upon the 
suppression of the archbishopric of Lichfield. Eadbert Pren was pro- 
nounced "an apostate priest" by the Pope, and Ca3nuirs brother and 
successor, Ceolwulf, was duly consecrated by Archbishop Wiilf red, on the 
22d of September 822, " king, by the grace of God, of the Mercians and 
Kentishmen." At the very close of the Mercian kingdom, as late as 
869, ^thelswyth, Alfred's sister, places on record her claim to be a 
crowned queen of the Angles, — " Ego Burhed Rex, et ego ^thelswytha 
pari coronata sterama regali Anglorum Regina." Unction must have been 
fully recognised in the Councils that legislated about "the Lord's 
anointed ;" and, as a crown is thus alluded to on more than one occasion 
in connection with the Mercian sovereigns, it may be assumed that, when 
Oflfa's son, Ecgfrith, was " hallowed to king" in the presence — or with the 
concurrence — of the papal legates at the Council of Cealchythe, all the 
necessary ceremonies were complied with, and the Mercian sovereigns, 
as well as the kings of the Franks, might have claimed, in a later age, to 
be numbered amongst " the anointed kings," with a full right to " unction 
and a diadem, with the apostolic sanction." ^ 

As much may be said, apparently, for the claim of the Northumbrian 
sovereigns to the same mysterious privileges. The peculiar sanctity of 
the anointed of the Lord, and the rules to be observed in his election, 
were impressed by the legates quite as much upon the Northumbrian 
synod, as upon the Council of Cealchythe ; and accordingly, after the 
assassination of iEthelred in 796, when Eardulf, whose father had 
narrowly escaped the same fate in 790, was sent for from exile, he was 
" blessed to king, and raised to his cijnestole by Archbishop Eanbald, and 
Bishops ^thelbald, Higbald, and Badwulf," or the whole hierarchy of 

1 Chron. Sax., 785 ; Sivi. Dun., 786, 798 ; Wilkins, Cone, vol. i. pp. 146, 161 ;_ Begin. 
Chron., 888 ; Cod. Dip., ccxvi., ccxcix. Tlie confirmation of the elective principle in these 
Councils, and the use of the expression hares patrice, are deserving of notice. When the 
Germans hailed Otho as paicr patrice, to use the words of the contemporary Widukind, his 
descendants became Jia:redes patrice, or, in more modern language, the royal family from whom 
the king was to be chosen. So in England, all who chose Edward the Elder "to father and 
lord," bound themselves to look upon his descendants as " ha?redes patriae," thus excluding 
his uncle's children from the succession, who accordingly sunk into "the kindred of the king," 
instead of ^Ahelings. The " Fa3der and Hlaford " of the Chronicle, in short, is the exact 
rendering of Widukind's " Pater patriae imperatorque." The words of the old writer followed 
by Simeon, " deinde Domini suffragio potitus," clearly show the opinion of the age that the 
God of battles gave his verdict in victory, and that war was only an appeal to " the judgment 
of God " on a grand scale. This continued to be the case until long afterwards. On the 
death of Engilbert, for instance, "the piety of the king," with the consent of his sons, allowed 
the children to succeed to their father's share in right of his wife Bertha — " nepotem patri 
Buccedere, et neptes inter filias suas educari," — but only as a favour ; for the right of the 
children of a deceased son to share with their uncles on the death of their grandfather was an 
open question at that time. {Einh. Vit. Car., 19 ; An. Lah., 811.) Hence the children of 
Pepin, who died before his father Ludwig the Pious, were shut out of the succession ; but the 
question was finally decided in Otho's reign by the ordeal of battle. " Rex meliori concilio 
usuB . . . rem inter gladiatores discerni jussit. Vicit igitur pars, qui filios filiorum compu- 
tabant inter filios, et firmatum est, ut aequaliter cum patruis hereditatem dividerent pacto 
sempiterno." ( Wid., L. ii. c. 10.) Thus the verdict of God was given by the sword of the 


Northumbria ; and, according to the old authority in Simeon, "conse- 
crated in the church of St. Peter at Yorli, before the altar of the blessed 
apostle Paul." Thus the ceremony was in accordance with the regula- 
tions laid down in the Bull of John xxii., for "a decent number of 
bishops," as well as with the consecration of Otbo before the altar in the 
church at Aix. Twelve years afterwards, when Eardulf was again driven 
into exile, he appealed to the emperor and pope, returning in the 
following year with a papal and two imperial legates, with whose con- 
currence his son Eanred seems to have been either raised to the throne 
or associated with his father in the kingdom ; the House of Eardulf 
continuinjic to reign, from this time forward, over the Northumbrians 
until the Danish inroad. The service for consecrating a Northumbrian 
sovereign, the " Missa pro regibus in die Benedictionis," in the Pontifical 
of Archbishop Egbert, is the oldest " Order" on record, differing in one 
important particular from all the later services — a helmet was used 
instead of a crown. One of the bishops recited a prayer, whilst the 
others anointed the king, on the head alone ; all the bishops and prin- 
cipes, the " sacerdotes et seniores populi" of the Council, presented the 
sceptre and the staff; "then let all the bishops take the helmet, and 
place it on the king's head." It was evidently a service adapted to a 
limited hierarchy, lUie that of Northumbria.^ 

The ■ dependence of the Northumbrians upon the kingdom of the 
Franks, or rather perhaps upon the Empire, has been sometimes assumed 
on account of these transactions of their king with the Kaisar. The 
assumption, however, is scarcely borne out by the character of the 
negotiations, which are well deserving of a passing notice. Had Eardulf 
been dependent upon the king of the Franks, or Kaisar, Charles would 
have at once restored him to the Northumbrian kingdom by his own sole 
power and authority when the exiled prince sought his aid at Nymegen. 
But Charles did nothing of the sort. He forwarded letters to Rome, 
informing Leo of Eardulf's expulsion, of which the Pope had already 
heard from "Saxons;" for he had received letters from Eanbald (the 
younger), archbishop of York, Ca3nulf the Mercian king, and Wada, all 
of whom he pronounced to be " very false." The Kaisar then bade the 
Pope summon to his presence Eanbald " cum suis consentaneis . . . 
rationem deducendum," and Leo declared his readiness to do all tliat was 
required of him. Charles seems to have complained soon afterwards 
that Aldulph, the papal missus, who had been treated with honour and 
courtesy upon his return from " Britain," had not awaited the missus 
sent to conduct him to the imperial ja-esence, but had run away, as it 
were, avoiding the interview, and carrying off with him the missus of 

1 Chron. Sax., 795 ; Sim. Dim., 796, 808 ; Dun., ii. 5 ; Ann. Einh., 809; Ann. Fnhl, 
809 ; ilh/sl.-f.ll, vol. iii. p. 74. The Noi'thnnibnan arclibisliop must not be conriiuiidcd with 
the Wcst-Suxou king. The " Anglo-Saxon Ordei- of the (Jovonation of Egbert," and the 
promise of the same king "not to dispute the throne of the Saxons, Mercians, and Northum- 
brians," which make their first appearance in the pages of one of the most attractive writers 
of the present day, would anticipate events by at least a century and a half. 



Eanbald. He suspected them of a secret mission, and a wisli to prevent 
the arrival of Eardulf at Rome. Leo tried to excuse the missi on the 
ground of ignorance, and, in order to clear himself personally of suspicion, 
sent all the letters he had received to the Kaisar, at the same time 
entreating Charles to deal gently with the missus of the archbishop of 
York, lest all the advantages the Roman Church had gained in that 
quarter should be lost to the Holy See. Charles seems to have been 
acting throughout, not as king of the Franks, nor as the Kaisar supporting 
a vassal, but as patron of the Roman Church, to which an appeal had 
been made. Every church in those days had its advocate or patron, and 
the letters of Gregory the Great, preserved in Beda's History, are duly 
dated "in the reign of our lord Mauricius Tiberius;" but upon the 
dissolution of the last tie binding Rome to Constantinople, by the fall 
of Ravenna and the expulsion of the Exarch, the kings of the Franks, 
from the date of Pepin's acceptance of the Patriciate, became patrons 
and defenders of the Roman Church, As soon as the predominance of 
the West-Saxon Egbert was thoroughly established, he at once asserted 
his claim to the patronage and protection — patrocinium et protectionem 
—of the Metropolitan See of Canterbury ; and the Saxon Otho, after his 
exulting soldiery proclaimed him Kaisar, became, through the Benedictio 
imperialis, the Patron of the See of Rome. Thus the patronage of the 
leading church was always claimed by the foremost sovereign of the 
State. The principle of appealing to the Pope about a matter of temporal 
import was acknowledged, if not established, by the embassy of Pepin to 
Zacharias ; but after the establishment of the Patriciate and Empire, 
Charles would have no more allowed such an appeal to be made to the 
Bishop of the See of Rome, without the consent of the Patron, than would 
Egbert have permitted a similar appeal to be made to the archbishop of 
Canterbury without the sanction of the patron and protector of that see. 
Hence, througliout the reign of Charles, the papal legates were always 
accompanied by a missus from the Patrician or Kaisar ; and, assuming 
the right of permitting or preventing missions and pilgrimages to the 
see of which he was the patron and protector, Charles shut the ports 
against Oflfa's subjects during his quarrel with that king, forbidding their 
passage to Rome — at another time waiving his claim to toll upon bond 
fide pilgrims. It was evidently in his capacity of Patron that he seconded 
the appeal of Eardulf to Rome ; and it was in the same capacity that 
his mediation would have been offered between Cfenulf and Wulfred, 
when the Mercian king assured the latter that he would never again 
receive him as archbishop if he refused to comply with his conditions — 
" Nunquam nee verbis domne pap^e, nee cassaris, sen alterius alicujus, 
gradu hue in patriam iterum recipisse, nisi hoc consentire voluisset." ^ 

As successors of the sovereign whom Charles addressed as "the most 
powerful king of the Western Christians," the Mercian kings continued 
to preside in the great ecclesiastical councils dating from Ofifa's reign, and 
^ Bouquet, Fp. Leo. iii. ud Car. vol. v. p. 61-4; Cod. Dij). ccxx., ccxl., mxliv. 


a papal functionary attached his signature to one of the last of these 
synods, held under Beornnlf in 825. With the downfall of the Mercian 
ascendancy these great councils ceased to he held, and accordingly no 
more papal emissaries could be accredited to them; Feologild, the choice 
apparently of the canons of Christ-Church, was set aside ; West-Saxon 
prelates filled the see of Canterbury, secular canons replaced the regulars, 
and, comparatively speaking, little intercourse seems to have been held 
with Eome, under Egbert and the earlier members of his house. The 
coronation service, however, known as the Order of Ethelred is evidently 
founded upon the " Ordo Romanus," or some earlier but similar form 
issued with the authority of Eome ; for many of the prayers and direc- 
tions contained in both these Orders are identical, and Rome would have 
scarcely borrowed her service from " Saxony beyond the sea." In the 
use of a crown, and of a coronation service for the queen, the Order of 
Ethelred is in advance of the older Northumbrian service, nor do the 
prayers and directions in the " Missa pro regibus" correspond with those 
of the Ordo Romanus. Hence an authorized coronation service, of a 
later date than the Missa pro regibus, would appear to have been com- 
piled and issued with the sanction of Rome, and seems to have found its 
way into England before the reign of Ethelred ; the existence of some 
such common source being further shown by its correspondence with the 
Order " ex codice Ratoldi abbatis," used for anointing the kings of 
France, according to the authority of the " Livre du sacre des roys de 
France," compiled by command of Charles v. in 1365. It is not a little 
remarkable that, in the prayer taken from the Ordo Romanus, in which 
the Order of Ethelred inserts the passages " totius regni Anglo-Saxonum 
ecclesiam," and " regale solium videlicet Anglorum vel Saxonum sceptro 
non deserat," the Codex of Abbot Eatold reads ^^ i(S^ms, Albionis eccle- 
siam," and "regale solium videlicet Saxonum, Merciorum et Nordan- 
chunhrorum sceptra non deserat" — from which it may be inferred that 
the coronation service of the French kings of the house of Capet, though 
founded upon the orthodox Ordo Romanus, was derived from England 
and not from Rome. Nor is this all, for the Codex of Abbot Eatold 
must have been copied from an earlier form, in use before the Order of 
Ethelred had substituted "Angles or Saxons" for "Saxons, Mercians, 
and Northumbrians." The meaning of this must be sought for in the 
history of the period.^ 

After the death of Ludwig the Pious, the imperial authority was 
centred for a time in his senior representative, Lothaire, whose capital 
was at Metz ; and when Charles the Bald aspired to the empire in 8G9, 
he invaded and annexed Lotharingia, was crowned by the bishop of 
Metz, and as king of two of the three Frank kingdoms, say the Annals of 
Fulda, assumed the title of Emperor and Augustus — " se in Iinperatorem 
et Augustum, quasi duo regna possessurus, appellari pra'cepit." Metz, 

* Co(Z. DZ/J. ccxviii. ; Selden, Titles of Honour ; M.askell, p. 14, note 29. KatolJ was Abbot 
of Corvey, and the Codex was written in 980, according to Marteue. 


however, represented the capital of the okl Merovino;ian kingdom of 
Austrasia, and though the first sovereign of the Caroline House was of 
Austrasian origin, he was " raised to the throne, after the fashion of the 
Franks, at Soissons," or at the capital of the okl Merovingian kingdom 
of Neustria. As Western Wessex always ranked in dignity before the 
Eastern provinces — " semper orientali principalior est," wrote Asser — so 
the Franks of the Western kingdom claimed precedence over the Easter- 
lings, once their tributaries ; and the representatives of the men who chose 
their king at Soissons have long since appropriated to themselves alone 
the name that once belonged to the whole confederacv.^ The jealousy 
prompting them to set up a king of alien race, rather than submit to an 
authorit\' emanating from " beyond the Rhine," is easily traceable in 
certain fictions that first saw the light in the reign of Charles the Bald, 
just before the disruption of the empire. In order, as it were, to fix 
the seat of the empire to the westward of the Rhine, Hincraar sought to 
trace its commencement to the era of Clovis, converting the baptism of 
the king in the church of St. Martin at Rheims, into his unction and 
coronation by St. Remi. On this auspicious occasion, when the envious 
Satan dashed the viol of holy oil from the hand of the Saint, a dove from 
heaven supplied the loss with the sacred Ampulla, which was preserved 
at Rheims in proof of the truth of the story, and used in anointing the 
kings of France. Thus though the Patriciate may have been confirmed 
by the unction of St. Peter, and a letter sent from heaven by the same 
apostle may have first called Pepin into Italy to lay the foundations of 
the future emjiire, the kingdom to which the same Pepin had been 
raised by the voice of the Franks at Soissons was equally conferred on 
Clovis by the will of heaven, and the dove was a messenger from a source 
even higher than St. Peter. Legend was encountered by legend in those 
days, and a century of acquiescence and approval hardened Hincmar's 
fictions into the consistency of facts ; for they really expressed the feeling 
that has always led the representatives of the Western Fi anks to assert 
the " liberties" of their church and crown. Accordingly, when the arch- 
bishop of Rheims, setting aside the claim advanced by Charles of Lothar- 
ingia, in right of his birth, with the words "a kingdom is not acquired 
by hereditary right," consecrated Hugh Capet to the throne, the Elect of 
the Western Franks was supposed to have supplanted the Carolings in 
the kingdom to which Clovi-;, with the direct approval of heaven, had 
been anointed by St. Remi. AVith Rome Hugh Capet was at variance, 
and even if she had not been in dependence on the Kaisars of the Saxon 
House at that time, Rome might have felt inclined to question the 
authenticity of fictions framed for other purposes than her own. Rome, 
accordingly, was not appealed to, as may be gathered from the Codex of 
Abbot Ratold, and the authorized coronation service of the period was 

^ The annual tribute paid to the Fisk from the Easteriing Franks and Slaves was known as 
Steora, and the tithe of it was given by Pepin and Charles to the church of St. Saviour in the 
diocese of Wurtzburg [Ersch unci Gruber, in voc. Gau, \. 416). 


brought, through the abbot of Corvey, from England, where the earlier 
form, alluding to " the sceptres of the Saxons, Mercians, and Northum- 
brians," must have been still in use at the time it was copied.^ 

Conrad the Easterling, who was chosen in 911 to succeed Arnulfs son 
Ludwig, tried in vain to equalize his power with his })retensions, but " the 
suffrage of God" was against him ; he failed to wrest Thuringen from 
Henry the Saxon, and received his death-wound in a disastrous battle 
against the Bavarians. Upon his deathbed, recognising that the ancient 
supremacy of his race had passed away with their separation, he suggested 
the elevation of his Saxon rival to the throne ; and " the princes and 
elders of the Franks," meeting at Fritzlar, proclaimed Henry " king, 
before all the Frank and Saxon people." Henry, accepting the regal 
dignity, but declining the diadem and unction, marched to the frontiers 
of Swabia and Bavaria ; both duchies submitted to him, and with the 
Bavarian Arnulf he entered into an alliance so close, that the duke was 
known from that time as " the king's friend." The secret of this alliance, 
and a clue to the early policy of Henry, will be found in the events of 
the following reign. The dispute about precedency between the arch- 
bishops of Mayence, Treves, and Cologne at the coronation of Otho 
marks that ceremony as a novelty ; for the relative position and privileges 
of the three great metropolitans of the Easterling Franks at a coronation 
had not at that time been settled. On this occasion Arnulf the Bavaiian 
was Otho's Mareschal, and when Conrad's brother Eberhard rose with 
the other Frank nobles against the Saxon king, it was the Duke of 
Swabia who defeated them — the same Duke Herman who gave his 
daughter Ida, with all her claims upon his duchy, to Leodolf the son of 
Otho, and his English queen. Before the election of Otho the Franks 
alone chose the king ; and Henry, a Saxon prince, chosen as of old by 
the Franks, accepted by the Saxons, and subsequently upon their own 
frontiers by the Swalnans and Bavarians, declined the diadem and unction, 
seeking apparently to found the future greatness of his House u))on the 
principle that such a dignity could be conferred alone upon the Elect of 
the whole people — of " all the Deutschlands," to use the language of a 
later age. Hence Swabians and Bavarians rallied around his son, and 
helped to break the waning power of the Franks ; for Otho was the first 
king of their immediate choice, and from the date of his election, Saxons, 
Swabians, and Bavarians united with the Franks of the Eastern kingdom 
in choosing their king — " and a struggle is still going on between the 
kings of the Carolings and of the Easterlings for the kingdom of 
Lothaire." Nine centuries have passed away since the hand of Widukind 

^ Ilincmar's legend will be founcl in Maskoll's Dissertation. A vial of lioly oil was sup- 
posed to have been consigned to the hands of Beckett by the Virgin, and by some inexplicable 
mischance never to have been used before the accession of the House of Lancaster. The tale, 
of course, arose in the fifteenth century. These sort of fictions have their uses in history, 
when the era in which they first arose can be fixed with tolerable accuracy. They mark the 
feeling of the age in which they were first believed. 


penned this passage, but the struggle for the kingdom of Lothaire has 
not yet arrived at a conclusion.^ 

The admission of the three great provinces to a voice in the election 
of their sovereign, was the first step towards converting the Eastern 
kingdom of the Franks into Germany, or the kingdom of the Four 
Deutschlands ; and much about the same time a somewhat similar pro- 
cess was going on in England. " All the English who were not under the 
bondage of the Danish men," or the people of English Mercia, submitted 
to Alfred in 886, and the Mercians again submitted to Edward, after he 
" deprived (his niece) of all dominion, and led her into Wessex ;" but 
Athelstan was the first of his House who was " chosen king by the 
Mercians" before his hallowing at Kingston. During the next thirty 
years he and his two brothers reigned as the kings chosen by the West- 
Saxons and Mercians, receiving " weds and oaths" occasionally from the 
people of Northumbria, who never " chose a king" at that time who was 
not of Danish race. The last of the kings of Danish race, Eric, the son 
of Harald Blaatand, fell by treachery in 954, and in a charter dated in 
the following year — the last of his reign — Edred is called Cccsar, in the 
very year in which the German soldiery hailed his brother-in-law by the 
same title. The kingdom was again divided in the reign of Edwy, but 
upon his death in 959, Edgar " succeeded to the kingdom of the West- 
Saxons, Mercians, and Northumbrians," the Saxon Chronicle thus using 
the identical form of expression appearing in the Codex of Abbot Eatold.^ 

At the date of Ai-chbishop Wulstan's death in December 957, the 
Northumbrians owed no allegiance to Edwy, who was only king over the 
West-Saxons at the time. Oscytel, therefore, was indebted for his 
appointment to the archdiocese of York — or for the confirmation of his 
appointment — to the Elect of the Mercians and Northumbrians ; but 
Edgar had been king over " the West-Saxons, Mercians, and Northum- 
brians" for several years when Oscytel died. The election of ^thel- 
wald, who was apparently the choice of the clergy of York, seems to have 
been at once set aside, just as the election of Abbot Feologild to the see 
of Canterbury appears to have been ignored by Egbert ; and Edgar, 
following in the steps of the founder of his House, appointed Oswald, 
bishop of Worcester, the nephew of the deceased archbishop, to the 
vacant see. Thus he assumed the rights, and acted in the character of 
the Patron and Protector of the See of York, and he was the first of the 
south-country monarchs who successfully established this claim. Oswald 
immediately set out for Rome, not only to seek his pall, but as the 
bearer of an important commission from the king — -" plurima negotia 
regni," writes Eadmer, adding that the negotiation was satisfactorily 
arranged. Otho, the Great Kaisar, was at Rome at the date of Oswald's 
mission, and his influence would have been exerted in behalf of his 

^ Wid. Lib. i. c. 16, 25, 26, 27, ii. c. 1 ; Lint. Ant, Lib. v. c. 1. " Saxonia ex serva, facta 
est libera, et ex tributaria multarum gentium domina." Such are the words of Widukind, 
i. 34. " All the Deutschlands " is an expression of the Sachsenspiegel. " All the Deutschlands 
have their own Pfaltzgraiien ; Sachsen, lieyern, Francken, and Schwaben." Bk. iii. Art. 53. 

^ Chron, Sax. ad. an., Cod. Dip, ccccxxxiii. " Cyning et casere totius Britannise." 


nephew had his influence indeed been required. But the soHtary diffi- 
culty in the way of Edgar's envoy, had his mission related to the unction 
and coronation of the English king, would have been the right of unction 
previously accorded by the papal see to the sovereigns of Mercia and 
Northumbria ; and the ancient royalties of Mercia and Noithumbria were 
extinct. Immediately upon the return of Oswald from Rome, Edgar 
was crowned at Bath — " denique coronatur in regnum" are the words of 
his kinsman and contemporary iEthelwerd the Patrician ; and within 
five or six years from this date, both archbishops and ten bishops, repre- 
senting the hierarchy of the provinces of Canterbury and York, were 
present at the coronation of his son Ethelred at Kingston. This is the 
first historical notice of an archbishop of York assisting with the south- 
country metropolitan at the coronation of a king, but the ceremony at 
Kingston may be assumed with probability to have been a mere repeti- 
tion of the ceremony at Bath. Edred scarcely survived the suppression 
of the royal power in Northumbria, and Edwy was soon reduced to rule 
over only a portion of a disunited kingdom. Edgar, therefore, would 
appear to have postponed his coronation until every solemnity could be 
fulrilled that was considered necessary for the unction and coronation of 
the Elect of all three provinces of England, the first sovereign who in 
the presence of both archbishops — of the " sacerdotes et principes" of the 
whole of England — was crowned and anointed as the sole representa- 
tive of the three-fold sovereignty of the West-Saxons, Mercians, and 

Thus in England, France, and Germany, a similar movement seems 
to have been in progress during the tenth century, but upon the early 
death of Edgar, yElfthryth, who seems to have sat by the side of her 
royal husband as a crowned consort, reverted to the ancient custom of 
Wessex as soon as she became a widow ; and it was not until after her 
death as queen-mother, and the second marriage of her son Ethelred 
with the Norman Emma, that a queen-consort again assumed her place 
by the side of the sovereign. Tlie addition of a coronation service for 
a queen seems to mark that the " Order of Ethelred" first came into use 
about this period of his reign, and by this time West Saxons, Mercians, 
and Northumbrians had blended into " Angles or Saxons." ^ 

1 JEad. Vit. Osw.; Chron. Sax., 979. Tlie course of policy pursued towards the See of .York, 
first by Edward and subsequently by Atlielstan, and the attempt of the latter to break up tho 
overgrown power of the archbishop by dividing his diocese, will be tuuclu'd u])on further on. 
Some of the effects of this policy are still traceable in the extension of the modern diocese of 
Chester, once a portion of the great bishopric of the Mercians, over the whole of that part of 
western Northumbria which had been originally included in the diocese of York. 

'^ The gradual extension of the English name, in the course of the tenth century, is very 
perceptible. I'hns the sister of Alfred styles herself " Rogina Anglorum," a title belonging in 
her days to the queen of the Mercians ; and Frudentius, the contemporary bishop of Troycs, 
who has described the marriage of yl<]tlielwulf and Judith in tbe Anjials of St. licrtin, gives 
him the title of king of tbe Anglo-Saxons, and king of the West Angles. I'ut yl'^tlielwerd the 
Patrician invariably writes " Occidentales Angli" for tbe West-Saxons, and "Orientales Angli" 
for the East-Saxons. It was evidently tbe policy of the age in which he lived to obliterate all 
recollection of any difference between Angle and Saxon. Hence the change of phraseology in 
the Coronation Service of Ethelred, and the name of Saxon disappeared for ever. 



LivY, after dedicating his first five Books to the history of Kome 
before her capture by the Gauls, informs his readers that the whole of 
the materials upon whicli this earlier portion of Roman history was 
founded had been handed down by oral tradition alone — " una custodia 
fidelis memoriaa" — writings and memorials of every description, whether 
public or private, if they ever existed, having perished in the burning 
city. Accordingly, when the Fasti Capitolini, which are supposed to 
have been compiled in the reign of Tiberius, or some four centuries 
alter the period of the Gallic inroad, furnish a list of magistrates com- 
mencing from the expulsion of the Tarquins, the accuracy of the earlier 
portion of the series may be doubted. Many, if not most, of the heroes 
of early Roman history bear the names of Plebeian families, more or less 
celebrated in their own days, whose pride of ancestry would have been 
flattered by the appearance of their foreftithers upon the roll of the early 
Patriciate ; and, bearing in mind the era in which the Fasti were com- 
piled, the frequent appearance of a certain mythical family of Julius 
lulus — a family that vanishes at the commencement of the historical 
period — seems to throw a light upon the method that is likely to have 
been pursued in filling up the vacancies in the catalogue of early magi- 
strates. Even the apparent accuracy with which the battles and sieges 
of this period, and certain constitutional changes that are supposed to 
have been brought about, are assigned to particular years, is of itself 
suspicious ; for oral tradition is apt to be vague upon such points, its 
preservers, generally bards or poets, being as a rule a careless race in the 
matter of dates. 

About a century and a half after Rome was burnt by the Gauls, 
Ennius was born, and, when upwards of five hundred years are supposed 
to have elapsed from the foundation of the city, he undertook to tell the 
story of the past, beginning with the loves of Mars and Rhea. Many a 
fine old legend was probably preserved by Ennius from oblivion, and for 
this posterity owes him a debt of gratitude ; and many a poi)ular name, 
better known perhaps in his own days than in the remote past, may have 
added life to his narrative. He was the father of Roman history, to 
whom every subsequent writer was more or less indebted, though the dry 
records of the past that give accuracy to dates, and are of little interest 
to the poet in search of incident and character, must have been gradually 
accumulating: from the time that Rome arose from her asbes. Ennius 

ROME. 217 

wrote his Annajs in verse, and a story of the past, like that of early 
Rome, which is a compound of myth and legend, and tradition more or 
less true, is best preserved in a poetic form — in the Lays of a Macaulay, 
or in the Idylls of a Tennyson. Oral tradition adapts itself to the age, 
and the incidents and characters of a story a^^sume the shape mo,-t 
familiar to the audience listening to the teller of the tale. The spirit, as 
it were, remains the same, but the body is apt to be clothed in the dress 
of each passing age, until at length the legend is written down, perpetu- 
ating the latest form assumed, which is not necessarily in accordance 
with the earliest and most true. Hence the deductions sometimes drawn 
from the historical legends of the past in their written shape are not 
always accurate. Take the episode of the Fabii. The number of the 
fated band amounted to three hundred and six, and Dionysius gives 
them a following of four thousand clients, raised by Festus to five 
thousand. But three hundred horsemen and six military tribunes 
represent the Patrician contribution to a legion, at a certain period of 
Eoman history, when it numbered four thousand men on ordinary 
occasions, and was raised to five thousand on emergencies. Any deduc- 
tions, however, that might be drawn from this apparent coincidence 
would probably be wrong. The street with the ill-omened name, and 
the gate through which no Roman ever quitted the city, though many 
entered by it, attest the truthfulness of the legend in its main features ; 
but the minute correspondence of the number of the Fabii and their 
followers with the Patrician and Plebeian contributions to the legion, is 
precisely one of those curious additions that is apt to creep up around 
a story of the past, as it is handed on by oral tradition to later times. 
It is the dress of a later age in which the earlier legend has been clothed, 
at the time perhaps when it first assumed a written shape in the era in 
which the Military Tribunes were still chosen exclusively from the 
Patrician order, though the Legion no longer retained its original form. 
The legend of the Fabii, truthful without being exactly historical, shouhl 
live in verse, and, like other similar legends, should not be over minutely 
dissected. Otherwise it might be suggested that Quintus Curtius may 
have drained the marsh in the Forum, and lost his life through malaria ; 
but it is better to let the noble Roman leap, as of old, on his gallant 
war-horse into the yawning gulf, the grandest offering that Rome could 
make to appease the anger of the gods ^ 

The substitution of a Republican for a Monarchical form of govern- 
ment, generally attributed to the early Romans, is one of the theories 
that belong to a much later era than the period in which the change is 

^ The Legion seems again traceaLle in the account of Phitarch (Puhlicola 21), tliat five 
thousand clients followed Appius Claudius, each receiving two jugera, wliilst twenty-live were 
assigned to their leader. The ditl'erence is very similar to that existing between the assess- 
ments of the highest and lowest classes serving in the legions in the ago of I'olybins, and it 
may point out, perhaps, the time at which the oral tradition assumed a written shape. The 
supposed distribution is scarcely in accordance with the principles of the age in which Vetus 
Claudia was added to the rural tribes. 

218 ROME. 

supposed to have been brought about. The Rex had nothing whatever 
in common with the Cyning, or Koenig, whose name points to a close 
connexion originally witb " the Kin." As Rex Sacrorum, Director by- 
appointment, not King in virtue of descent, he may be looked upon as 
the highest official connected with religion in the early historical period 
of Rome, and, before the institution of a Pontifex Maximus, he is sup- 
posed to have been also President of the Pontifical College. Of the 
earliest of the three Roman popular assemblies, the Comitia Curiata, the 
Pontifex Maximus was at once the Convener and the Speaker, except 
when his place was taken by one of the ordinary Pontifices ; putting the 
question to the assembly under the form of "Vos Quirites rogo," and 
announcing the decision arrived at as law. Before the institution of the 
various magistracies of later times, such as the Censorship and the Con- 
sulate, the union of all the functions of the Rex Sacrorum and the Pon- 
tifex Maximus in the same person would have raised him, both in his 
civil and religious capacities, to the foremost position in the State. Of the 
seven ^ kings who are supposed to have ruled over Rome, one was a 
Sabine, two were Latins, two Etrurians, and the others god-descended 
myths. Not one of the number was of native Roman origin, inheriting 
his office by descent ; and, during the so-called regal period, Rome in 
reality appears to have remained in a subordinate and dependent position, 
receiving her supreme magistrate from without. The test of union, in an 
Italian confederacy of early times, seems to have consisted in participat- 
ing in a solemn sacrifice, of which the supreme Director would have been, 
in a certain sense, a Rex Sacrorum a])pointed by the members of the con- 
federacy. The leading man of Veil, affi'onted by being passed over on 
the occasion of one of these solemn festivals at the Fanum Voliumnce, 
when "another priest" (alius sacerdos) was appointed to direct the 
sacrifice, procured his own election to the position of Rex of Veii ; and 
accordingly in their subsequent contest against Rome, the Veientines were 
left by the Etrurian confederacy to their fate. Thus the choice of a Rex by 
the Veientines was equivalent to a dissolution of their connexion with 
the Etrurian confederacy ; and in the legend of the expulsion of the 
Tarquins may be seen, apparently, a similar but more successful assertion 
of independence by the Romans, who henceforth " chose their Rex " from 
amongst themselves, and ceased to receive him from Etruria. He was 
restricted, however, to the performance of his religious duties alone, and 
mulcted of his political privileges, Avbich are subsequently found in the 
possession of the Pontifex Maximus, and of various other magistrates of a 
later era. The prejudice supposed to have been entertained by the Romans 
against a Rex originated in the foreign character of the magistracy, and 
was fostered, if not created, by the aristocracy of Rome, whether Patrician 
or Plebeian, in order to retain the government in their own hands.^ 

^ Liv. V. 1. A fourth assembly is sometimes added, the Calata. But as I read the passage 
in Aukis Crellius (xv. 27) the Comitia Curiata and Comitia Centuriata were both Calata — 
called together — the former by lictors, the latter by the horn or trumpet. 

ROME. 219 

If the story of the regal period is almost, if not entirely, mythical, at 
least as much may be said of the early consuls. A member of one of the 
most illustrious Plebeian Grentes, the Junian, is brought upon a stage on 
which he never could have figured, he and his sons are conveniently 
swept out of the way, and the Gens vanishes altogether, until, in a much 
later era, it appears as a historical reality. The same may be said of 
Lucretius, the colleague of Brutus, who was also a member of a Plebeian 
Gens ; the very type and impersonification of Patrician pride, Coriolanus, 
is chosen from one of the greatest of the Plebeian Gentes, the Marcian, 
and a Plebeian wife is assigned to him of less illustrious ancestry. Many 
% germ of truth may be contained in the legends of the Tarquins and of 
Coriolanus, but the leading characters have been supplied in a later age, 
and supplied, apparently, in a manner that must have been gratifying to 
the vanity of the great Plebeian families, representing the majority of the 
aristocracy of Eome, in the age in which her history was beginning to be 
written — not far, perhaps, from the time at which the Laws of Numa 
were " discovered." Three tribes are dimly traceable in the early past, 
and then the addition of Vetus Claudia raises the number from sixteen 
to seventeen, for the urban tribes were not then in existence. Four 
more were added after the fall of Veii, when Rome was released from her 
most formidable competitor, and the real commencement of the historical 
period is approached. But of the circumstances leading to the increase 
of the tribes from three to sixteen, and of the events of the intervening 
period, nothing whatever has been handed down beyond the myths and 
legends preserved by oral tradition. The Plebeian of the intermediate 
period, in the pages of Livy, is a type of the urban Plebeian of the his- 
torian's own time, thrown back into the past. An angry Kentish 
freeholder, in the reign of a Plantagenet, might have ventilated his 
grievances upon Pennenden Heath, but he would have scarcely been 
found appealing to a sympathizing crowd in Hyde Park. Yet long 
before the urban tribes were called into existence by the first of the Fabii 
Maximi, and when there was scarcely a Quiinte in the actual city of 
Eome who was not either a member or a client of some Patrician Gens, 
Livy's oppressed Plebeian harangues his fellows in the Forum, much as a 
member of the urban tribes might have done some centuries later. So 
again, in an age in which the Plebeian Quirites were re})resented by the 
population of the rural districts, a threat of secession to the Mons Sacer 
is supposed to have invariably brought the governing body to terms, 
when there was scarcely a Plebeian within the walls of Rome to secede. 
Tribunes governed Rome at the date of her destruction by the Gauls, 
and had governed her for many years ; nor were the Tribunes superseded 
until the Rogations of Licinius became law. Immediately before the 
epoch in which these Tribunes are supposed to have been first appointed, 
members of Plebeian Gentes, who could never have filled the consulate, 
make their ai)pearauce in numbers upon the roll of Consuls, or find their 
way into the list of Decemvirs ; and the history of all this period bears 

220 ROME. 

evident tokens of the comparatively late era in which the lays and legends 
handed down by oral tradition assumed the written shape in which they 
finally descended to later times. The tribune of a very early age was 
evidently the representative of the tribe, an Ealderman in his civil capa- 
city, a jye?'e/0(7a when he led his "thousand" followers to battle; and, 
after the expulsion of the foreign magistrates from Rome, it is only 
natural to suppose that the governing power was vested, for some time, 
in the representatives of the free Romans, who " choi-e their Rex." Upon 
the admission of the Plebeians to a share in the privileges of the governing 
order, tlie Consulate would appear, in reality, to have been established 
as a sort of compromise, representing a division of the governing power 
between Patrician and Plebeian. 

The formation of a separate order of Plebeians is usually attributed 
to Servius Tullius, who is supposed to have called into existence .thirty 
new tribes, and to hav^e distributed the whole body of Adsidui, or land- 
holders, into five classes, arranging them according to the amount of pro- 
perty at which they were assessed, and subdividing the classes into centuries. 
The number of these centuries is reckoned at a hundred and ninety-three 
by Cicero and Dionysius, and apparently they are correct, though Livy 
adds another, for an uneven number was necessary for the Roman 
system of voting by centuries. But, assuming the existence of Servius 
Tullius, there are many difficulties in the way of attributing an arrange- 
ment of this description to the period in which he is supposed to have 
reigned. Cicero, for instance, points out the care with which the pre- 
ponderance of property was secured by Servius. The additional votes ot 
only eight centuries were required to insure a majority in the Comitia 
for the eighty-three centuries of wealthy Plebeians, whom he reckons in 
the first class, along with the Equestrian centuries, whose number he 
limits to six. So forcible is his reasoning, however, that it is difficult 
to conceive how the wealthy Plebeians enrolled in the first class, v/ith 
this vast preponderance in the Comitia, should have struggled unsuccess- 
fully for generations against the exclusiveness of the few Equestrian 
centuries. The creation of a numerous and powerful class of wealthy 
and unprivileged proprietors is an absurdity ; for wealth, numbers, and 
power would have insured for their possessors an immediate participation 
in the privileges of the State. The Rogations of Licinius would have 
been proposed, and carried, in the reign of Servius, and the supposed 
arrangement of the king is much more in keeping with the era of the 
famous tribune. 

Another difficulty arises from the mention of Equestrian centuries. 
Every Patrician was liable to military service, but, in historical times, 
this bervice was performed on horseback, and the yoimg Patrician, or 
Junior, was a cavalry soldier. His horse was provided by the State, 
but in course of time the wealthy Plebeian aristocracy would appear to 
have avoided enrolment in the infantry of the legions by serving in the 
ranks of the cavalry on their own horses. The, or horseman^ was 

ROME. 221 

cliosen when Polybius was writiug from the wealthiest class (TrAonTtVSe) 
without any reference to the order to which he belonged, whetlier 
Patrician or Plebeian, and his service was limited to ten years, the 
qualification at that time for holding office amongst the Eoman magis- 
tracy. In other words, the youthful aristocrat, or Junior, whether 
Patrician or Plebeian, qualified himself for accepting office under the 
State by serving for ten years in the cavalry, either in the regular 
Turmm attached to the legions, or in the ranks of the Extraordinarii 
" out of compliment to the Consuls." Caius Gracchus founded the 
Equestrian order for a political purpose — " in contimieliam senatus " — 
depriving the Magistracy and Senate of certain privileges which he 
vested in the novel order. The wealthiest members of the highest class, 
immediately below the Senatorial order, were assessed during the Second 
Punic War at a million of Asses ; and just as the first class was raised 
above all the others by the supposed arrangement of Servius, so Caius 
seems to have elevated the wealthiest members of the first class above 
the remainder, and established them in a permanent and recognised 
position, as a sort of counterpoise to the Senatorial order. Four hundred 
sestertia, the equivalent of "a million of Asses" during the Second 
Panic War, was the amount of the foitune required for the recipient of 
the title of Eques, and from this time forward the richest members of 
the first class were separated from the rest, and became a recognised 
estate in the Roman Commonwealth under the name of Equites. But 
the application of that title to a particular class of Eoman citizens, 
except when serving in a military capacity, was unknown before the 
time of Caius Gracchus ; and the possessors of the equivalent of " an 
Equestrian fortune" were merely assessed, during the Second Punic 
War, as the richest members of the first class. The " turma equitum" 
was as familiar to the early Roman as the maniple, and the wealthy 
aristocrat, after serving his ten years in a turma, as a Junior, would 
have passed into the ranks of the privileged few who were qualified for 
office in the State, and would have been assessed, when a Senior, either 
as a Senator or as a leading member of the first class. But the " Cen- 
turia Equitum " would have been an anomaly, and the order after its 
establishment was divided, like the Senate, into Decuricv. The Piques, 
after serving his time as a Junior, would in this case have been assessed 
as a Senior, and thus the existence of " Seniores et Juniores E(]uitum " 
must be assumed, with the establishment of a separate and I'ecognised 
order, between the Senate and the first class, from the time of Servius 

Another difficulty again presents itself in the unaccountable dis- 
appearance of several of the Servian tribes ; for, by the addition of the 
Vetus Claudia, the number of the tribes was increased, according to Livy, 
from twenty to twenty-one. ]Sfiel)uhr, as is well known, accounts for the 
missing ten by a conquest, but his conjecture is ingenious rather than 
satisfactory. He supposes that Porsena mulcted Rome of a third of her 

222 ROME. 

territory, but the rural tribes were the occupants of the Koraan territory ; 
of tlie thirty Servian tribes only twenty-six were rural, and ten is not 
the third of twenty-six. Kome, again, may have been divided into four 
quarters in very early days, but her local divisions must not be con- 
founded with her tribes, and the existence of the four urban tribes at 
such an early period is more than doubtful. They were creations of a 
historical personage, and were iirst called into existence about B.C. 304, 
in the censorship of Quintus Fabius and Publius Decius Mus. Ap^dus 
Claudius, who is supposed to have been stricken with blindness by the 
angry gods for his evil doings, thus earning the cognomen of Coecus, 
availed himself of his appointment to the censorship to till the tribes, for 
his own purposes, with the sons of Libertini — with freemen without a 
pedigree of three descents, or a full-born " pater et avus "■ — and the con- 
sequent election of Cneius Fulvius to a curule ^dileship " first polluted 
the senate with the son of a Libertine." In order to undo the work of 
Appius, Quintus Fabius collected " the mob of the Forum " into four 
tribes, to which he gave the name of Urban — " omnem forensem turbam 
excretam in quatuor tribes conjecit, urbanasque eas appellavit" — thus 
earning the cognomen of Maximus, which he transmitted to his descen- 
dants. From this time forward the Urban tribes became the receptacle 
into which it was customary to draft certain noxious elements from the 
rural districts, and for " eliminating the fax from the rural tribes," or 
removing the Libertini and their sons into the Urban tribes, the Censors 
were more than once deemed to have merited the thanks of the Senate.^ 

" It must not excite surprise that the arrangement of the present 
day, after the tribes have been increased to thirty-five, hy doubling their 
number, should not agree with the number of centuries of Seniors and 
Juniors, as instituted by Servius Tullius.""^ — Such is the singular passage 
with which Livy concludes his description of the policy of the Koman 
king, from which it would appear that, by increasing the tribes from 
thirty to thirty-five, their number was doubled ! The remark of the 
historian, however, is in a certain sense correct, and there is truth in his 
apparent blunder; for by increasing the seventeen rural or historical tribes 
to thirty- five — the original three are traditionary — the number may be 
said to have been more than doubled. The century was a subdivision 
of a tribe ; and its members were classified, during a certain period of 
the Eepublic, according to their property, and divided into Seniors and 
Juniors, according to their liability to military service. Whatever may 
have been the case in later times, in early days the tribe was divided into 
ten centuries ; for in the original military organization the head of the 

^ Liv. ix. 46. In b.c. 220, and b.c. 168, for instance, the sons of Libertini were re- 
moved from the rural into the urban tribes. In the hitter year those who had " prasdia, 
prsediave rustica, pluris sestercium triginta milHum," or above 75,000 Asses, were suffered to 
remain. Liv. xlv. 15. 

^ " Nee mirari oportet, hunc ordinem, qui nunc est, post expletas quinque et triginta tribus, 
duplicato earum niimero, centuriis junioriim seuiprumque ad institutam ab Servio TuUio 
summam nou conveuire," are the words of Livy. 

ROME. 223 

century was the Centurion, or leader of a hundred men ; the head of 
the tribe, or Tribune, was a Chiliarch, or leader of a thousand. Accord- 
ingly, after the addition of the Old Claudian tribe to the original sixteen, 
there would have been a hundred and seventy centuries of Plebeians and 
seventeen of Patricians in the seventeen tribes assembled in the Comitia 
Centuriata, a number which the addition of the six centuries of artificers 
and musicians, enumerated by Livy, would have raised to a hundred and 
ninety-three. The legionary, in the days of Poly bins, was bound to 
serve in a suit of chain-armour, if his property was assessed at ten thou- 
sand drachmae, or, in other words, if he was enrolled in the first class ; 
and these ten thousand drachma3 make their appearance in the Servian 
arrangement of Dionysius as a hundred mina3, whilst Livy reckons them 
as " nummi denarii," or a hundred thousand Asses Ubrales. An assess- 
ment, that continued to be a reality in the days of Polybius, can scarcely 
have been imposed in a very remote era ; and the distribution of the 
Roman people in the Comitia Centuriata, for military and other purposes, 
into a hundred and ninety-three centuries, may probably be regarded as 
a historical fact, without being assigned to a much earlier period than the 
era of the Licinian legislation.^ 

The close connexion once existing between the occupation of land 
and the obligation of military service, is to be traced as plainly amongst 
the early Eomans as amongst most other nations ; for in a certain stage 
of society the army and the people are identical, the members of the non- 
fighting classes never being reckoned upon the same footing as the others. 
It can be seen at once that the Spartan army was connected, in early 
times, with the six local districts from which it was raised, each of these 
districts furnishing a stipulated number of men. Two Enomotice, made 
a Pentacostys, four a Lochos, which would thus originally have numbered 
a hundred men, under a Lochagus, answering to a Centuria, and four lochi 
made a Mora, under a Polemarch. Each of the six local districts would 
thus have contributed a Mora of four Centuries under a Polemarch ; and 
as Sparta was furnished with two kings, each of the kings would have 
been the commander of twelve Centuries, a Chiliarch, leader of a thou- 
sand, or Tribune in his military capacity. Even as late as the time of 
Polybius, when the Roman infantry was recruited from the tribesmen, 
without any reference to the local districts in which they were supposed 
to be enrolled, the impress of the early sj^stem seems to be still distinctly 
traceable in the account of the Legion left by the Greek historian. The 
traditionary Roman legion, according to Varro, numbered three thousand 

^ This Servian assessment affords another instance of the anomalies presented by Roman 
history, as it has been composed for this period. The fines in the Twelve Tables, which are 
supposed to have been compiled long after the reign of Servius, were reckoned in oxen and 
sheep alone, as the use of money was evidently not familiar to the Romans of that age. Yet 
the Servian Classes were estimated in money, and estimated highly ! Some time alter the 
Twelve Tables are supposed to have been compiled, the money value of these fines was settled 
by the Lex Aternia et Tarpeia, fixing the legal value of the ox at lUO vlwc*' lihndcs, and 
of the sheep at 10. The dates assigned to the compilation of the Twelve Tables, and to the 
publication of this law, are of course supplied by conjecture. 

224 ROME. 

men, evidently representing a levy of a hundred men, under a Centurion, 
from each of the thirty Centuries, Each tribe would thus have furnished 
a thousand Quirites under a Tribune, a military title that Polybius 
always renders Chiliarch; and the whole force would have been under 
the command of thirty Centurions and three Tribunes. The form of 
the traditionary legion seems to have been still preserved up to a certain 
point, in the time of Polybius, though he never uses the word Centuria 
in a military sense ; for the three classes of Spearmen subdivided into 
thirty Maniples, each under the command of a Centurion, present some 
semblance of the three tribes, subdivided into thirty centuries ; though, 
in accordance with the military custom of the period, iioo centurions 
were appointed to every maniple, and six military tribunes, instead of 
three, commanded the legion.-^ 

A similar connexion with the organization of the Roman legion seems 
traceable, up to a certain point, in one of the earliest systems of Roman 
colonization. After the dissolution of the old Latin Confederacy, the 
thirty cities of which it was composed would appear to have been replaced 
by a new confederation of thirty cities, known as " Colonise populi 
Romani," the original " Latin colonies." An alliance between the old 
Latin confederacy and Rome seems to have existed from a very early 
l)eriod, and it may be gathered from a passage in liivy that, by one of 
the stipulations of this alliance, a legion was supplied by the confederacy 
to assist the Romans in war. The Romans were accustomed, writes the 
historian, "to raise four legions, each numbering about five thousand 
men, and one only was added from the Latin levy."^ Every city, there- 
fore, in the Latin confederacy would have been regarded, for this 
arrangement, as a century, contributing a maniple and ten horsemen to 
tiie stipulated legion ; and it was partly to replace this legion that, upon 
the successful conclusion of the Latin War, colonies of " Roman people" 
were established in Latium, enjoying all the privileges of self-govern- 
ment belonging to the earlier confederacy, and fulfilling its obligations 
towards Rome, without being enrolled as Roman citizens with the suffrage 
amongst the Tribes. In the tenth year of the Second Punic War, how- 
ever, twelve of these Latin colonies declined contributing any further 
supplies, either in men or money, to the parent State. They pleaded 
complete exhaustion ; and though admonished that they were " neither 
Campanians, nor Tarentines, but Romans, and descendants of Roman 
ancestors, who had been sent into conquered land to add to the numbers 
of the old stock," they persisted in their refusal. A Latin colony by 
this time was merely a colony founded upon the principles that governed 
the Roman colonization of Latium, and the thirty cities were no longer 
confined to Latin soil, some being in Umbria, others in Lucania, and 

1 Polyb. vi. 20-22. FwZe Note A. 

^ " Scrib(:l)antur autem qiiatuor fere legiones quinis millibus peditum. . . . Alterum tan- 
tum ex Latino delectu adjiciebatur." — Liv. viii. 8. The passage is corrupt, for fere ought 
surely to follow quinis rather than quatuor, and I cau make no sense out of alterum except by 
altering the gender. 

ROME. 225 

more than one in Gallia Cisi)adana. The recusants, however, were for 
the most part inhabitants of small cities in the neighbourhood of Kome, 
and their plea of exhaustion may not have been, devoid of truth. iSix 
years later they were called to account, and " the consuls, magistrates, 
and decurions {denos principes)" of each of the twelve cities were sum- 
moned to Kome. A double levy of infantry, and one hundred and twenty 
horsemen were demanded from the defaulters, with the annual payment 
of a " stipend of the thousandth As" — the Eoman trihutum — and of the 
annual census levied by the Roman Censors. Thus the obligations of 
the members of a Eoman tribe were imposed upon them, as a fine, in 
addition to the taxes levied by their own magistrates ; and as contributors 
to the Roman treasury without the privilege of the suffrage, they were 
practically punished by being made iErarians. The hundred and twenty 
horsemen, a levy of ten from each of the twelve cities, would appear to 
repiesent the ordinary contribution of cavalry from each of the thirty 
colonies ; three hundred in all, the amount attached to the legion that 
once represented the military obligation of the early Latin confederacy 
transferred to the thirty Roman colonies.-*- 

Only one description of colony would appear to have been familiar to 
the Romans before the Latin War — the " Colonia civium Romanorum." 
C^re was the first Municipality, and as to be enrolled " in tabulis Cteri- 
tum" was equivalent to being struck off the roll of a tribe, and reduced 
to the position of an ^rarian, every colonist, before the introduction of 
the Latin colony and the municipality, must have necessarily continued 
to be a member of some Roman tribe, and retained the privilege of the 
suffrage. The introduction of three hundred Roman citizens into a 
conquered city, a cohort, as it were, detached from the early Legion, with 
an allotment of a third of the conquered land for their support, is the 
usual form under which such a colony appears in tradition ; and as the 
traditional number occasionally makes its appearance in historical times, 
the tradition itself may be only a reflection of the truth, thrown back 
into the prehistoric and legendary era. Thus Romulus is said, by 
Dionysius, to have planted three hundred colonists in three cities in the 
immediate neighbourhood of Rome, at the same time enrolling three 
thousand of the local population amongst the tribes ; a description from 
which it may be gathered that the foundation of a tribe, in early times,^ 
may have occasionally been laid in a similar manner. Colonies of 
Roman citizens are supposed to have presented pictures in miniature of 
the parent State — " effigies parvae, simulacraque populi Romani." The 
colonists supplied the place of the senate and magistracy of the _ oil y, 
replacing the families of local origin which had, before that time, enjoyed 

1 Liv. xxvii. 9 ; xxix. 15. Tlie ^ravian was any contributor to tlie lloman treasury who 
was not in the enjoyment of the suffrage. No disgrace was attached to the position of an 
iErarian, as is sometimes supposed, except a Roman citizen was reduced to it. 'there is no 
disgrace attached to serving in the ranks of tlie army, or to i\ot possessing a vote ; but to be 
reduced to the ranks or to be deprived of a vote for misconduct is considered disgraceful— or 
ought to be so. 


226 ROME. 

the possession of similar privileges ; and their descendants, with the 
numerous little local aristocracies that, from time to time, exchanged the 
position of alliance for that of citizenship with the suffrage, played a con- 
spicuous part in Roman history amongst the aristocracy of the Plebeians. 
Upon the conclusion of the Latin War, when the Veliterni, old Roman 
citizens, were punished for their repeated defections, their Senate was 
banished with ignominy beyond the Tiber, and the " agri senatorum," 
or lands in the occupation of the leading families of Velitrae, were 
distributed amongst fresh colonists. When Privernum was similarly 
treated, soon after the First Samnite War, the Senate was also banished 
beyond the Tiber, but the remainder of the Privernates were enrolled as 
members of the Ufentine tribe. In both cases the lesser landholders 
would appear to have been undisturbed, and in both cases there can be 
detected the existence of a privileged class, in the occupation of land, set 
apart for their exclusive use. I^he colony of Roman citizens entered 
ui)on the privileges of such a class, and, whilst retaining the Roman 
suffrage in the capacity of Plebeians, became Patricians, with all the 
privileges of Patricians, within the limited circle of their immediate 

The influence of two different elements seems traceable amongst the 
early Romans : the Etrurian, originally alien and hostile, and the Latin, 
kindred and friendly — for the Roman was a Latin with a considerable 
infusion of Sabine blood. There w^ere Sa bines and Sabine-Quirites — 
" veteres illi Sabini Quirites, ataviqueRomani," — andSpurius Ligustinus, 
" born a Sabine of the Crustuminian tribe," was a Sabine-Quirite ; but 
the Latin-Quirite is never met with, for his name was Romanus. Both 
the Etrurians and Latins were united respectively in confederacies, but 
with a noticeable difference ; twelve large cities ruling over the wide 
extent of Etruria, whilst thirty little communities composed the con- 
federation in ancient Latium, a narrow district measuring only fifty 
Roman miles from the Circeian promontory to the Tiber. The leading 
city of Etruria was evidently large, and all but impregnable. Ten years 
are supposed to have been passed in ineffectually besieging Veil, and the 
walls were uninjured when the city fell. Taught by experience, the 
Romans seem to have generally destroyed the leading cities of Etruria, 
as they fell into their power, often building another city in a different 
locaUty for their colonists, who might have been troublesome to deal 
with behind the old Etrurian walls. But the rural population of Etruria, 
the PenestEe, were slaves, and thus her strength lay in her walls, her 
weakness in the rural districts. Accordingly, within a few years of the 
fall of Veil, the Roman tribe-lands reached to Capena and the Sabatian 
lake, for there was nothing to oppose this extension until the vicinity of 
some other leading city was a^jproached. Rome, indeed, captured and 
burned by the Grauls, seems to have risen, like Antasus, with fresh vigour 
from the ground, and entered upon a career of conquest ; as if the early 
power of Etruria, based upon a servile population, had been broken by 
the Gallic inroad. The Latin cities, on the contrary, unlike the Etrurian, 

ROME. 227 

were small and numerous, the Romans experiencing little difficulty, 
apparently, in reducing them, and never hesitating to occupy thera with 
colonists. A curious episode seems to have occurred hetween the First 
and Second Samnite wars, pointing, perhaps, to an exception to this rule. 
The Privernates were more than once engaged in hostilities against the 
Eomans, but their city seems to have been twice captured with ease, and 
again restored to them, though on the second occasion the people were 
mulcted of two-thirds of their territory. Suddenly the Privernates took 
up arms under Yitravius Vaccus, a leading citizen of Fundi, and eminent 
also at Rome, where he lived on the Palatine. More than ordinary 
importance seems to have been attached to this war, though waged 
against the Privernates alone, or at the most assisted by the Fundani ; 
for both the consular armies, representing the whole ordinary force of 
Rome, were directed against Vitruvius. Declining a contest in the open 
field, he retired upon Privernum, as if it had been converted into a place 
of strength, whilst the Senate of Fundi, meeting the Roman armies on 
the frontier, disclaimed all connexion with their compatriot, declaring 
that " their minds were Roman, in grateful recollection of the citizenship 
bestowed upon -them." Upon the rumour of a Gallic inroad, " a mob of 
artisans and hucksters, a material most unsuitable for soldiers, is reported 
to have been called out," and, upon the rumour proving false, this addi- 
tional force, which is described as numerous (ingens exercifufi), was 
directed on Privernum. " Privernum omnis conversa vis," and Rome 
seems to have been thoroughly alarmed. The eventual fate of Vitruvius 
is well known : he was taken to Rome, and scourged to death, or beheaded; 
his house was destroyed, and the site, long unbuilt upon, continued to 
be known as Vacci prata ; but there is a mystery about the manner of 
his fall, some maintaining that the city was taken by assault, others that 
his followers betrayed their leader. The walls of Privernum were levelled 
with the ground, the Senate was banished beyond the Tiber, but the 
delegates summoned to Rome to explain the conduct of the other citizens 
assumed an exceedingly bold demeanour. "What punishment do we 
deserve ? The punishment of men who deem themselves worthy of 
liberty. What faith will we keep ? Good or bad, as you treat us." 
Pronounced to be worthy of freedom, the Privernates were enrolled 
amongst the citizens of Rome, becoming members of the Ufentine tribe, 
but their city is described by Festus as a Frcrfecfura , and thus the 
Romans would appear to have thought it prudent to retain the appoint- 
ment of the magistracy in their own hands. The Privernates were 
neighbours of the Samnites ; Privernum commanded the passes into 
Latium ; and behind its walls Vitruvius seems to have held the whole 
force of Rome for some time at bay. Rome escaped the danger, but it 
would not have been in accordance with her policy to permit the con- 
struction of Etrurian walls around any other city of Latium except, her 
own. But if the walls of the Latin city were weak, her strength lay in 
the freemen of the rural districts, furnishing the flower of tlie Roman 

228 ROME. 

legions, as they were gradually enrolled amongst the Roman tribes. An 
urban oligarchy, monopolizing religion, arts, and arms, and ruling over 
a servile population from behind impregnable walls — such may be 
described as the poKtical system of Etruria ; whilst in Latiura there 
would have been found the elements of a numerous rural aristocracy, 
on a small scale, warlike, though comparatively uncultivated.^ 

Rome herself was once a small cityj perhaps a group of three small 
cities ; a little confederacy, represented amongst the greater confederation 
of thirty cities, uniting in the sacrifice of the ox in the Ferentine Grrove. 
The Gabine territory was a mystical region in the fivefold division of 
the horizon by the Roman augurs ; the Gabine dress was worn by the 
founder of a new Roman city ; and in some long-forgotten period there 
must have been a close connexion between the cities, and Gabii may 
have been the greater of the two. The original Seven Hills of Rome 
{Septimonfium) — the Palatine, Velian, Oppian, Cispian, Ctelian, Cerma- 
line, and Fagutaline — were all within the boundaries of the three urban 
tribes, Suburana, Esquilina, Palatina, between which lay the Seven 
Acres of the Forum. Hence the Quirinal, Viminal, Capitoline, and 
Aventine, four of the later Seven Hills, as they were not included in 
the original Septimontium, were without the earlier limits of the city, 
or citie-!. The traditional constitution of Rome was thoroughly Latin. 
The hundred heads of families, or Patres, contributed from each of 
the three little communities, or tribes, to the deliberative assembly of 
the Adsidui, answered exactly to the Senate of the Latin city or colony. 
The hundred Patres, again, were subdivided into Decuries, each under 
its Decurion ; and the ten Decurions, or Curiones (for they were pro- 
bably identical in early times), corresponded closely with the "Deni 
])rincipes," so often summoned to Rome, in historical times, from the 
Latin colony or city. But the Servian walls, and other massive con- 
structions of ancient Rome, were unquestionably of Etrurian origin^ 
and seem to tell of a time in which Rome was an outpost of Etruria 
upon the southern bank of the Tiber, strengthened and fortified upon 
the Etrurian system. An Etrurian confederacy of twelve cities ruled over 
Campania until overthiown by the Sanmites ; and when Etruria held 
dominion on the northern bank of the Tiber, and on the southern bank 
of the Liris, what must have been the condition of the country lying 
between these rivers ? A connexion is sometimes traced between Mcenia 
and 3Iune7'a — between wall-building and obligatory burdens^ corvees, or 
task-work — and the connexion, if it ever existed, may be supposed to have 
dated from this epoch. As the Quirinal and Viminal were enclosed 
within the Servian walls, the number of the urban districts would appear 
to have been increased to four, by the addition of Collina, the fourfold 
division of the city, dating from this epoch ; whilst the Seven Acres of 

' Liv. vii. 16; viii. 1, 19, 20, 21, I use the expression "aristocracy" advisedly, for a 
democracy, in which every member was a slave-iowner, was not a democracy in the sense in 
which the word is used in modem times. 

ROME. 229 

the Forum, losing their earlier Latin character of a comparatively open 
space, became the centre of a fortified city. Thus Kome was converted 
into a city of Etrurian strength, with a free Latin population in the 
neighbouring rural districts ; and in the union of these elements may 
have lain the secret of her ascendancy, as soon as she was able to shake 
herself firee from the yoke of Etruria. The traces of the Etrurian 
ascendancy, however, would appear to have been left upon the policy, as 
well as upon the walls and buildings of Rome ; for a constitution that 
was sufficiently free and liberal for the three small tribes for which it 
was originally framed, remained comparatively unaltered until the number 
of the tribes had increased to twenty-one. Adhering to the principles 
they had learned under Etrurian rule, the members of the earlier Gentes, 
or local aristocracy of Eome, clung to their monopoly of power and 
privilege, thus placing the newly incorporated Adsidui of the tribes uj)on 
a footing of inferiority, and only nominally removed from the condition 
of the Penestse, until the free Latin element, under Licinius, successfully 
asserted its rights. 

The number ihree, and its multiples, are continually to be met with, 
as is well known, in the legendary and traditionary history of Rome, and 
seem to have been equally in favour with the Latins. The three cities 
of Antemn?e, Cfenina, and Crustumerium, for example, took up arms 
together against Romulus, and were jointly conquered and colonized. 
The three cities of Fiden^e, Nomentum, and Crustumerium, were founded 
by three brothers ; Corioli, Longula, and Pollusca, jointly fought, and 
were jointly vanquished ; and, in historical times, Alatrium, Feren- 
tinum, and Verulaj, were united in their refusal to combine with the 
Hernician league, under Anagnia, against Rome. Two Rrastors, and 
ten " Principes," represented the supreme council of the Latin league 
just before its fall, when each of the Principes must have been the 
representative of three of the thirty confederate cities. It may have 
flattered the vanity of the Romans, in a later age, to imagine that their 
city rose in independence from amidst the marshes of the Tiber, as 
Minerva sprung armed into existence from the head of Jupiter ; but 
isolation in the midstof rival confederacies would have meant destruction, 
and there may have been a time in which the three Patrician centuries 
of early Rome formed a cohort in the legion of a kindred and protecting 
confederacy, though her sons would have refused to believe in the exist- 
ence of such a period. A fourfold division is as observable in the early 
historical period, as the threefold in the traditionary era. Rome, which 
may once have been formed by a confederation of three little cities, 
appears to have been divided, after the construction of the Servian walls, 
into four quarters, each corresponding with one of the four urban tribes 
subsequently called into existence ; whilst the extramural district was 
distributed amongst sixteen rural tribes, constituting the Romnn ))eoi)le. 
Three Pontificcs, with a Rex, are sup])Osed to have constituted the 
Pontifical College in the earlier, four, with a Pontifex Maxinius, in thu 

230 ROME. 

later era. The Patrician Augurs must have numbered four instead of 
three when the addition of five Plebeians filled the College of Augurs 
with nine members. The traditionary legion amounted to three thousand 
men, raised by a levy of a thousand from each of the three tribes; the 
ordinary military establishment of Rome, in the days of Polybius, was 
still fixed at four legions, each of four thousand men, answering appar- 
ently, in an earlier time, to a levy of a thousand from each of the sixteen 
tribes. To every colony of Roman citizens there appears to have been 
assigned a district in proportion to the number of the colonists (ciger 
mensura comprehensus) , of which a portion consisted of allotted land, 
distributed as permanent private property amongst the colonists, according 
to the usual rules of Roman land measurement. The remainder was 
unallotted, and often known as ager compascuus, or common pasture 
land ; but as landed property belonging to civic corporations was fre- 
quently included, at a later period, amongst the Agri Vectigales, if 
any part of the unallotted land was cultivated by a free class, it would 
have remained at farm in the possession (originally) of the earlier pro- 
prietors, as in the case of the Sicilians mentioned by Cicero, but in the 
joint " occupation " of the leading families of the little State, or the 
colonists and their descendants. It may be gathered, from the course 
thus followed in the foundation of an early colony, that the land of the 
parent State, before it was indefinitely increased beyond its earlier limits 
by conquest, was similarly divided into allotted and unallotted land, the 
leading members of the (rentes representing the privileged class, as the 
magistracy and senate of Rome.^ 

If Ovid may be trusted, the festival of the Terminalia was celebrated 
at the sixth milestone from Rome — sextus ab Urbe lapis — and as the 
Roman measurement of land was invariably square, if the district 
around the old city of Boma Quadrata is supposed to have covered a 
similar distance in every direction, the Banlieue would have extended 
over a surface of (12 X 12) a hundred and forty-four square miles. 
The Centuria in the Roman system of measuring allotted land {age^' 
viritim divisus) was a square, according to Varro, with each of the sides 
measuring mmd feet, or five hundred paces. The Saltus was a square of 
four Centuriaa, each of its sides, therefore, measuring mille passus, so that 
the Saltus was identical with a square mile, and the district around 
Rome would have extended over a hundred and forty-four Saltus.^ It 

^ " Quarum ager, cum esset puMicus popiili Romani factiis, tamen illis est redditus : is ager 
a censoribus locari solet." — Cic. Ver. iii, 6. 

^ " Centuria est quadrata in onines quatuor partes, ut habeat latera longa pedum mmd. 
Hse porro quatuor ceuturise conjimctcO . . . appellantur in agris divisis viritim publice saltus." 
— Varro, li. li, 1, 10. The ordinary agricultural measurement in use amongst the Latins in 
the time of Varro was the Actus Qnadratus of (120 X 120, or) 14,400 square feet. In Cam- 
pania they used the Versus of (100 X 100, or) 10,000 square feet ; and the unit of both 
systems was the Scripulum of (10 X 10, or) 100 square feet. The Versus of 100 scripula 
seems to have been connected with the " Modius ac Mina," or the light talent of 20 lbs., 
(Modius) and Mina of 100 Litraa, so farailiar in the early coinage of Sicily and Rome, so that 
the Scripulum of land answered to the litra rather than the scruple. A Roman lb. of metal 

ROME. 231 

must not be imagined that the Roman Banlieue was mapped out, like a 
chess-board, within the boundaries of the six-mile Termini. Every 
Limitatio supposes either an original allotment, or a redistribution of 
the land, and some such a redistribution may have taken place when 
the earlier constitution of the Roman State was changed ; but the land 
around the city at such an early period would have been, for the greater 
part, " compascuus ager," or unallotted land, and its boundaries would 
not have been very accurately defined. Calculations of this description, 
however, have a certain value in occasionally serving to test the accuracy 
of facts assumed to be historical. Veii, for instance, is supposed to 
have been in the possession of a more fertile, and more extensive terri- 
tory than Rome, and only separated from the latter city by a hundred 
stadia. Place the Roman termini at half that distance, and it may be 
questioned if they would not have been planted in Veientine territory. 
There is no allowance even for a march, or frontier district, so necessary 
for the separation of rival and hostile communities ; and it may be in- 
ferred that before the fall of Veii, very little, if any, of the Roman tribe- 
land lay upon the right bank of the Tiber. Indeed, if there is any 
foundation for the tradition in Festus, that Romelia, which was sup- 
posed to be the first of the rural tribes, was established by Romulus 
upon land conquered from the Veientes, their territory may have 
originally bordered upon the river, and the march have been represented 
by the Tiber. Veii is supposed to have been utterly destroyed, its people 
sold as slaves, and its territory distributed in large allotments amongst 
the conquerers, not only the heads of families, but every free-born mem- 
ber, receiving seven jugera instead of two. Four new tribes were added 
to the Roman people shortly afterwards, and lands were allotted to them 
in the neighbourhood of Capena, the Sabatian Lake, and other places in 
Etruria beyond Veii, pointing to a vast extension of the Roman territory 
in that direction, as soon as she was relieved from the fear of Veii. 

would have weighed 288 scruples, or three minfe of 100 litra; ; but a Eoiuan lb. of land (the 
Juger) would have only contained 288 scripula, or 12 short of three versus. Hence the 
measure used in the Public land, as described by Varro, agrees much better with the Cam- 
panian than with the Latin system, the Saltus containing 2500 versus, or about 868 jugera; 
and I think the use amongst the Romans of these measurements cannot be dated much earlier 
than the time of the Gracchi, " What flour can compare with the Camp;uiian ; what wlieat 
with the Apulian?" asks Varro. Southern Italy was the locality for growing corn, and when 
tillage replaced pasturage on the Public land, the measurements of the corn-growing districts 
seem to have been adopted. The old Latin system, which was evidently duodecinnil, stopped 
at the Hceredium of four Actus Quadrati ; for laud measurement belongs to tillage-farming 
rather than to pasturage. The Saltus was divided by liniites, five-sixths of which were 
known as subruncivi — "rooted up" — answering to the American " clearing," and our own 
"field " in its early signification of land cleared for cultivation. The Saltus disappears from 
the system of a later age, leaving the Centuria as the highest measurement. " Centuria 
habet pedes mmcccc. per mmcccc. passus cccclxxx. per cccclxxx. actus xx. per xx. . . . Fiunt 
in centuria acti constrati cccc. . . . efficit jugera ccc.'' " Kastrensis jugerus quadratas habet 
perticas cclxxxviii. pedes autcm quadrates xxviii, DCC. . . . Itaque Kastrensis jugerus capit 
Kastrenscs modios iii." — Gromatici Veteres (Lachman), t. i. pp. 245, 354. These are 
slightly diiferent measurements Irom those of Varro ; but the scripulum is traceable in tho 
Pcrtica quadrata, and the Versus quadratus in the Modius. 

232 ROME. 

Eome must have been comparatively a petty State before that time, in 
spite of her supposed three centuries and a half of in lependent existence.^ 

Some idea may be gathered of the manner in which an early Koraan 
tribe occasionally grew into existence, from the passage in which Livy 
describes the formation of the Old Claudian tribe. To Claudius, and 
the numerous clients who had followed him from amongst the Sabines, a 
district was assigned beyond the Arno, and nine little comraimities 
belonging to the same locality {tribulibus qui ex eo agro venirenf) were 
subsequently added to the new tribe, to complete, apparently, the neces- 
sary ten Centuries. Claudius and his kinsmen formed the Patrician 
element, assuming a place amongst the Gentes represented in the Comitia 
Cariata by a Curio ; but the nine communities were of the same national 
descent as the Claudii, as may be gathered from the Avords attributed 
by Livy to Spurius Ligustinus, " I was born a Sabine, of the Crustu- 
minian tribe :" for there seems to be little doubt that, in course of time, 
the tribi exchanged its original name of Claudia for that of Crustu- 
minia — hence, perhaps, the epithet of Veins applied to the Claudian 
tribe by Livy. The Tusculani, again, afford an example of the manner 
in which a kindred Latin race was incorporated amongst the tribes, 
exchanging a position of independent alliance for the closer connexion of 
Roman citizenship. In the earlier part of the historical period the 
Tusculani make their appearance as allies of Rome (m societafe), 
suspected of disaffection ; but they disarmed the anger of the Consul and 
the Roman army sent to punish them, and were forgiven, admitted to 
Roman citizenship, and enrolled in the Papirian tribe. A Dictator and 
a Senate were in existence amongst them at that time, and as the city 
appears, in a later age, as a Municipality, the Tusculani must have 
retained the privilege of a separate magistracy and senate, after their 
incorporation with the Roman Commonwealth. Some of the most 
famous of the Roman Gentes, the Fulvian, the Mamilian, tlie Porcian, 
for instance, traced their origin to Tusculum, where members of the 
Fulvian kindred still continued to reside in the days of Cicero.^ 

The Egyptian embalmed his ancestors, and Herodotus has described 
the rows of mummies, each representing a Piromi, the son of a Piromi 
— a man, or full- born Egyptian — displayed by the priests, in token of 
the ancient origin of their race. The Roman buried or burnt his father, 
modelling a waxen image of the dead, if he had held honourable office 
under the State during his lifetime, and the Imago decorated with the 
ensigns of office, instead of the actual body embalmed, formed one of the 
links in the chain of long descent. Thus the Patrician of ancient Rome 
founded his title to nobility upon his Lnagines ; but the custom of 
establishing a pedigree in the ancient world in this, or in some similar 
manner, must not be supposed to have been confined to Rome and 
Egypt. In every city in vvhich there was a local magistracy and senate, 
there would have been families enjoying the privilege of electing the 

'■ Liv. V. 22-30. ^ Liv. ii. 16 ; viii. 37 ; xlii. 34, 

ROME. 233 

magistracy and senate ; and the members of these families would have 
treasured up the Imagines of their ancestors, or proved their pedigree in 
some other way, in testimony of their claims to belong to noble and 
long-descended races. As long as the city of Tusculum was only united 
to the city of Eome by the tie of an independent alliance, the Patres 
Tusculanorum would have been upon an equal footing with the Patres 
Eomanorum, each representing an independent local aristocracy. Bat 
as soon as the Tusculani, in consequence of receiving the citizenship 
ivlth the suffrage, were enrolled in one of the Roman tribes, the Patres 
Tusculanorum must have sunk into a subordinate position. They were 
transformed into a provincial aristocracy, as it were, in dependence upon 
the local aristocracy of the capital ; continuing, indeed, to be Patricians 
within the limited circle of the Ager Tusculanus, but without a voice in 
the affairs of the State to which they now belonged, and ranking only as 
Plebeians. In the account left by Suetonius of the Octavian Grens, the 
descendants of Cneius Octavius settled at Rome, and, by filling various 
offices of trust and dignity under the State, grew into one of the most 
wealthy and important of the Plebeian families with senatorial rank. 
The descendants of Caius Octavius, " content with the municipal 
dignities of their native city," are supposed to have remained at V^elitr^e, 
so that the father of Augustus, who was a member of the Equestrian 
order on account of his ancestral wealth, was a Novus homo, or the first 
of his family to obtain office under the State, and thus bequeath an 
Imago to his descendants. The position supposed to have been occupied 
for so long a time by the younger branch of the Octavian Gens may be 
said to have corresponded, up to a certain point, with the situation of all 
the Plebeian Gentes under the earlier Roman system. However wealthy 
and important they may have been in their native cities, their very 
existence, as members of the Roman aristocracy, was ignored, for they 
could not have attained even to the position of Novi homines.^ 

The great extension of the Roman power, after the fall of Veii, must 
have reduced the local Patricians of a number of small cities in the 
immediate neighbourhood of the capital to a similar position. Gabii, for 
instance, appears as a municipality in a later age, and Labicum; and both 
Gabii and Labicum were situated within the limits of the tribe-lands, and 
would appear to have exchanged their position of independent alliance for 
the rights of citizenship with the suffrage, about the same time as Tus- 
culum. There must have been local Patricians also amon<^st the four 
tribes added after the fall of Veii — unless it is to be supposed that every 
city within their limits was either destroyed or punished by being I'educed 
to the condition of a I^rce/ectura, with a magistracy appointed from Rome ; 

^ Suet. Aug. 1, 2. Antony laughed at the pedigree of Octavius, asserting that his grand- 
father was a money-lender, and tlie son of an enfranchised rope-niakcr. But he proljably only 
retailed the scandal circulated by the head of the family, a partisan of I'ompcy, and in com- 
mand of a part of Antony's fleet at Actium. The elder branch were always staunch Oj)ti- 
mates; Octavius was of the opposite party, and was in consequence ignored as a member of the 

234 ROME. 

and in each of these cities the Senate would have been filled by a local 
aristocracy. Where a Roman colony was introduced into a city within 
the limits of the tribe-lands, the colonists and their descendants would 
have grown into a similar order, continuing in the enjoyment of their 
rights as Plebeians, from retaining the privilege of the suffrage. The 
case of Velitra3 may be cited as an instance in point. Originally a Latin 
city in the occupation of a Roman colony, after her Senate was banished 
beyond the Tiber, or, in other words, incorporated amongst the new 
tribes, their lands were confiscated amongst a new band of c