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C H A P.
“ mundes stone, from the public street to the wall of the “ same city.” From this we learn that so early as 889 the walls of London existed.
In 857 we find a conveyance of a place in London called Ceolmundinge haga, not far from the West Gate. This West Gate may have been either Temple Bar or Holborn Bars.
Ethelbald, the Mercian king, gave a court in London, between two streets called Tiddberti-street and Savin-street.*
Snorre, the Icelander, mentions the battle in Southwark in the time of Ethelred [I. He says the Danes took London. On the other side of the Thames was a great market, called Sudrvirki (Southwark), which the Danes fortified with many defences; with a high and broad ditch, and a rampart of stone, wood, and turf.
wood, and turf. . The English under Ethelred attacked these in vain.
The bridge between the city and Southwark was broad enough for two vehicles to pass together. On the sides of the bridge, fortifications and breast-works were erected fronting the river. The bridge was sustained by pales fixed in the bed of the river. Olave, the ally of Ethelred, assailed the bridge, and succeeded in forcing it.'
Ethelbald grants the vectigal, or custom, paid by one ship in the port of London to the church of Rochester.
· Heming. 42.
$ Snorre, excerpted in Johnstone's Celto Scand, p. 89. 92.
• Thorpe Reg. Roff. 14.
CH A P. VI.
Lawsuits about Land.
E have some account of their legal disputes about
landed property in some of their documents, from which we will select a few particulars.
One charter states, that Wyntieth led her witnesses before the king. An archbishop, a bishop, an ealdorman, and the king's mother, were there. They were all to witness that Alfrith had given her the land. The king sent the writ by the archbishop, and by those who had witnessed it, to Leofwin, and desired that men should be assembled to the shire-gemot. The king then sent his seal to this gemot by an abbot, and greeted all the witan there. Two bishops, an abbot, and all the shire were there. The king commanded to be done that which was thought to be most right. The archbishop sent his testimony, and the bishop; they told her she must claim the land for herself. Then she claimed her possessions, with the aid of the king's mother. An abbot, a priest, an etheling, eight men, two abbesses, six other ladies, and many other good thegns and women, were there. She obtained her suit.'
In another transaction, a bishop paid fifteen pounds, for two bides, to Lefsius and his wife at Cambridge. Ten pounds of the money were paid before several witnesses. A day was appointed for the other five pounds. They made another convention between them, which was, that Lefsius and his wife shoul? gire the fifteen pounds for the five hides at Cleie, with the condition that the bishop should give, besides, a silver cup of forty shillings which the father of Lefsius, on his death-bed, bequeathed to the bishop. This agreement being made, they exchanged all the live and dead stock on
· MS. Cott. Aug. 2. p. 15.
the two lands. But before they had returned to the bishop CHAP. those ten pounds at Cleie, king Edgar died.
Edgar died. On his death Lefsius and his wife attempted to annul their agreement with the bishop, sometimes offered him the ten pounds which he had paid them, and sometimes denied that they owed any thing. Thus they thought to recover the land which they had sold; but the bishop overcame them with his witnesses. Presuming on success, Lefsius seized other lands. This violence occasioned these lands to remain two years without either ploughing or sowing or any cultivation. At last a generale placitum was held at London, whither the duces, the princes, the satrapæ, the pleaders, and the lawyers, flowed from every part. The bishop then impleaded Lefsius, and before all expounded his cause, and the injury he had sustained.
This affair being well and properly and openly discussed by all, they decreed that the lands which Lefsius had forcibly taken should be restored to the bishop, and that Lefsius should make good all the loss and the mund, and forfeit to the king his were for the violence. Eight days afterwards they met again at Northampton: all the country having assembled, they exposed the same cause again before all ; and it was determined in the same manner in which it had been adjudged at London. Every one then with oath on the cross returned to the bishop the lands which had been violently torn from him.
Thus far the narration gives no account of the two and the five hides about which the controversy began. But it is immediately afterwards mentioned, that soon after Lefsius died. On his death, the bishop and the alderman and the primates of Northamptonshire, and the proceres of East Anglia, had a placitum at Walmesford in eight hundreds. It was there determined, among other things, that the widow of Lefsius and his heirs ought to compensate for the above-mentioned violence, as he ought to liave done if he Vol. II.
BOOK had lived; and they appreciated the injury which the bishop
had sustained at one hundred pounds. The aforesaid matron, supported with the good wishes of all the optimates, humbly requested the bishop to have mercy on her, and that she might commute her were, and that of her sons, for one hundred shillings, which the bishop was about to give her for the two hides at Dunham. The bishop was more benevolent to her than she expected; for he not only remitted to her the
money in which she had been condemned, but paid her the hundred shillings which she had proposed to relinquish. He also gave her seven pounds for the crop on the land at Dunham.
A piece of water was leased at a rent of two thousand eels. The tenants unjustly possessed themselves of some land of the monastery, without the adjudication or legal permission of the citizens and the hundred. The ealderman came to Ely, and Begmund and others were called for this cause, and summoned to the placitum of the citizens and of the hundred several times, but never came. The abbot did not therefore desist, but renewed his claim at the placita within the city and without, and oftentimes made his complaint. At length the ealderman held at Cambridge a great placitum of the citizens and hundreds, before twenty-four judges, under Thorningefeld, near Maideneburge. The abbot related how Begmund and others had unjustly seized the land, and though often summoned to the placitum, would
Then they all adjudged that the abbot should have his land, pool, and fishery, and that Begmund and the others should pay their fish to the abbot for six years, and should give their forfeiture to the king. They also decreed that if this was not performed willingly, they should be justified in the seizure of the offender's property. The ealderman also commanded that Oschetel, Oswy, of Becce, and. Godere, of Ely, should go round the land, lead the abbot over it, and do all this, which was performed accordingly.
14 Fist. Eli, 3 Gale, 468, 469. 3 Hist. Eli. 3 Gale, 478..
In another dispute, on the non-performance of an agree- CHAP. ment for the sale of land, the ealderman commanded the defendant to be summoned, and, going to Dittune, began there to narrate the causes and complaints, the agreements and their violation, by the testimony of many legal men. The defendant denied the whole. They ordered him to purge himself by the requisite oath ; but as neither he nor they, who ought to have sworn with him, could do this, the cause was adjudged against him, and this judgment was afterwards confirmed at Cambridge.*
As many curious particulars of their legal customs appear in these narrations, we will add another.
Wistan forfeited some land, which the king had purchased and sold to a bishop. About this time a great gemot was appointed at Witlesford, of the ealderman and his brothers, and the bishop, and the widow of Wlstan, and all the better counsellors of the county of Cambridge. When they all had sat down, Wensius arose and claimed the land, and said that he and his relations had been unjustly deprived of the land, as he had received for it no consideration, neither in land or money. Having heard this plea, the ealderman asked, if there were any one present who knew how Wlstan had acquired that land. Alfric of Wicham answered, that Wistan had bought that land of Wensius for eight pounds, and he appealed to the eight hundreds on the south side of Cambridge as witnesses. He said Wlstan gave Wensius the eight pounds in two payments, the last of which he had sent by Leofwin, son of Adulf, who gave it to him in a purse, before the eight hundreds where the land lay. Having heard these things, they adjudged the land to the bishop, and they directed Wensius, or his relations, to look to the heirs of Wlstan if he wanted more money for his land.
4 Hist. Eli. 3 Gale, 484.