LAWS OF WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR.
(Normans conquered England in 1066. William died 1087.)
Here is set down what William, king of the English, established in consultation with his magnates after the conquest of England:
"scot and lot", according to the laws of the English. This decree was ordained in the city of Gloucester.
5. We forbid also that any live cattle shall be bought or sold for money except within cities, and this shall be done before three
faithful witnesses; nor even anything old without surety and warrant.
But if anyone shall do otherwise, let him pay once, and afterwards
a second time for a fine.
6. It was decreed there that if a Frenchman shall charge an Englishman with perjury or murder or theft or homicide or "ran", as the English call open rapine which cannot be denied, the Englishman may defend himself, as he shall prefer, either by the ordeal of hot iron or by wager of battle. But if the Englishman be infirm, let him find another who will take his place. If one of them shall be vanquished, he shall pay a fine of 40 shillings to the king. If an Englishman shall charge a Frenchman and be unwilling to prove his accusation either by ordeal or by wager of battle, I will, nevertheless, that the Frenchman shall acquit himself by a valid oath.
7. This also I command and will, that all shall have and hold the law of the king Edward in respect of their lands and all their posessions, with the addition of those decrees I have ordained for the welfare of the English people.
8. Every man who wishes to be considered a freeman shall be in pledge so
that his surety shall hold him and hand him over to justice if he shall offend in any way. And if any such shall escape, let his sureties see
to it that they pay forthwith what is charge against him, and let them clear themselves of any complicity in his escape. Let recourse be had to the hundred and shire courts as our predecessors decreed. And those who ought of right to come and are unwilling to appear, shall be summoned once; and if for the second time they refuse to come, one ox shall be taken from them, and they shall be summoned a third time. And if they do not come the third time, a second ox shall be taken from them. But if they do not come the fourth summons, the man who is unwilling to come shall forfeit from his goods the amount of the charge against him -"ceapgeld" as it is called -- and in addition to this a fine to the king.
9. I prohibit the sale of any man by another outside the country on pain
of a fine to be paid in full to me.
10. I also forbid that anyone shall be slain or hanged for any fault,
but let his eyes be put out and let him be castrated. And this command
shall not be violated under pain of a fine in full to me.