M. (Paul) Rapin de Thoyras.

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fign'fy the Governor of a County or even a fingle City.
Whilft the Heptarchy lafted, thefe Officers were only du-
ring the King's Pleafure, who turn'd out the Ealdormen
when he thought proper, and placed others in their room.
At length, they became during Life, at leaft for the moft
part. But however, this did not hinder the Ealdormen
from being difplaced upon feveral accounts. We have
feen Inftances of this in the Reigns of Canute the Great,
and Edward the Confeffor. After the Danes were fettled
in England, the Title of Ealdorman was by degrees changed
into that of Earl, a Danijh word of the fame import (3).
Afterwards, the Normans introduced that of Count,
which, though different in its original Signification,
meant however the fame Dignity. But for reafons too
long to be explained, the Danijh Term Earl, is ftill ufpd
to denote the fame Pcrfon, expreffed by the word Count
in other Countries.

There were feveral forts of Ealdormen. Some were pro-
perly only Governors of a Province or County. Others
were Owners of their Province, holding it as a Fee of the
Crown, fo that it was always coniidercd as Parcel of the
State. The Hiftory of Alfred the Great, affords an In-
iiance of this lad fort of Ealdormen, which were very
rare in Euglatid. We find this Prince gave the Property
of Mcrcia to Earl Ethclred, and that Elfleda his Widow
kept poffeffion in the reign of Edward the Elder. Nay,
it was by force that Edward Jifpoffeffed his Niece Alfwina
after the death of Elfleda. Malmsbury, fpeaking of Ed-
ward the Elder, expreffes himfelf thus : He united the two
Kingdoms of Mercia and Weffex ; but as to the firjl, he



was only titular King, becaufe it was gkirn to a Lordnamrd
Ethclred. And to fhew in what manner this Lord held
Mercia, the fame Hiftorian fpeaking of Alfred the Great,
fays, He gave London, the Capital of Mercia, to a Lord,
called Ethclred, who had married Elfleda his Daughter, to
hold it of him by Fealty and Homage. Hence, 'tis plain,
L l he/red held Mercia as a Fee, in the fame manner that
Otla and Elmfa had formerly held Northumberland of the
Crown of Kent, as this Hiftorian affures us. Thus alfo in
France, about the beginning of the third Race of their
Kings, the Dukedoms, and Earldom;, which before were
only bare Governments, were made hereditary, on con-
dition of Homage. Thefe Ealdormen or Earls were ho- Dufrei
noured with the Titles of Reguli, Subregnli, Principe;, **"* '
Patrieii. Nay, there are Inftances of their having the
Title of Rex (4). As for the others, who were only
Governors, they had the Title of Ealdorman of fuch a
County, expreffed fometimes in Latin by the Term Con-
fil. The firft adminiftred Juftice in their own name,
and appropriated to their own ufe all the Profits and Re-
venues of their refpective Counties. The lair adminiftred
Juftice in the King's name, and had only a certain fhare
of the Profits affigned them. Earl Goodwin, how great a
Lord foever he might be in other refpe&s, was of this
rank. To thefe may be added a third order of Ealdor-
men, who had the Title, though without a Government,
on account of their high Birth, and out of thefe the Go-
vernors were ufually chofen. Thus the Title of Ealdor-
man denoted fometimes only a Perfon of Quality.

There were alfo inferior Ealdormen in Cities and Bur- bftmrEH*'
roughs. But thefe were only fubordinate Magiftrates, *"""*
who adminiftred Juftice in the King's name, and were
dependent on the great Ealdormen or Earls. The name
of Ealdorman or Alderman is ftill given to thefe inferior
Offices, whilft the others have the Title of Earl or

The Office of an Ealdorman was wholly Civil, and °* fcl cr
had nothing to do with Military Affairs. There was in He ™ t0 < a&
each Province a Duke, who commanded the Militia.
The name of Duke, taken from the Latin Dux, is a
modern Term. The Saxons called this Officer Here-
tog (5). He had no right to meddle with civil Matters.
His bufinefs was of a quite different nature from that of
an Earl, as he was alfo independent of him. Hengijl
and Horfa are called in the Saxon Annals, Heretogan, cr
Dukes, becaufe they were fent into Great-Britain, not to
govern the Country, but to command in the War. On
the contrary, Otla and Elmfa have always in the fama
Annals the title of Ealdormen, becaufe they were Go-
vernors of Northumberland, under the Kings of Kent. It
is true, they might alfo be ftiled Dukes, as they had the
command of the Army. Accordingly we find in our Hi-
ftories, fometimes the title of Duke, fometimes of Earl,
given to the fame Perfon, when thefe two Offices were
united into one, as they frequently were about the end of
the Heptarchy. Thus the Governors of JVeffex, Mercia,
and Eajl-Anglia, are indifferently called Dukes or Earls.
But I don't know the reafon why Hiftorians never give
the title of Duke to the Governor of Northumberland.
And yet fome of thefe Governors had the command of
the Armies, as is plain from the example of Shvard, to
whom Edward the Confeffor committed the management
of the War with Cumberland. (6).

There was moreover among the Saxons three vcrv EaU-Jnak
confutable Offices, two whereof were Civil, and the third 'f a ^ ia f
Military. The firft, which very few Subjcdts were ever hn
inverted with, was that of Ealdorman of all England. This
Office anfwers to that of Chief Jufticiary of England, the
King's Lieutenant, Viceroy or Guardian of the Realm.
This was fo high a Dignity, that the Pcrfon inverted with
it was honoured with the Title of Half-Kyning, or Demi-
King. We find in the Hiftory of the Anglo-Saxons, but
two Lords who were raifed to this Port, namely Aihelflan
Earl of Eajl-Anglia, and Alwin his Son, who were ftiled
Totius Angliec Aldcrmannus (7).

The fecond great Office was that of Chancellor (8). He a.v A ■
finally determined all Caufes that were brought to the
King's Court, and from him lay no Appeal. It was his Seldcn, 77-
bufinefs alfo to draw up, and fign all the King's Charters, tki 'f tl,i

(1) King Edgar ftiles himfelf thus in his Charter to Glajeniury Abbey, as it ftands in Malmfbury's, Antiquities of that Monaftcrv.

(2) Our Author calls them Earldcrman ; but I cannot rind the Word is fo fpelt in any Writer. The Saxon Anna/:, &c. ftvlc them Ealdorman.

?3) From ar or ear, i. e. Hotter, and arlic, or earlic, Honourable. In i the Danijh Language to this Day, erligi: lignifies Noble, or Honourable, as Srltt
radman for Ncbiii: Decurio inSt. Mari, cap. ic. v. 43. Selden, 'Jute: of Honour, p. 63S.

U) Ethelred, Ealdorman of Mercia under King Alfred, is fo called by Ethe/ward, and his Earldom is; in Fi.rc ce of Worcefter, called Re-nun ar.d Ric,
(which is the fame) in the Saxon Ar.nal:. See Etbekv. I. 4. c. 3 .

(5) That is, publick Leader, or Captain. In the Saxon Pfalms, both Ealdorman and Hiretoga thus occur, Aldermannuxjuda, Heretigan Hiara, i. e.
tie Piince: of Juda, their Captain:. Pfalm Ixvii. 27.

(6) The Union of thefe two Offices in one Perfon was no more than what was prafiifed among the Roman: in the Perfon of their Confut. The Art of War
in the Sax-.m Time was not arrived to that Degree Oi" Nicety as it is at preient. You have at large the Dutv of the Hercteg, and the manner of his being elect-
ed by the County- AiTembly at a full Fate-note, in the Laws of Edward the Ccnfejjir. See Dr. Wilkin:, p. 20c. De Hcrctochiit.

(7) Selden thinks this Alwin to be the fame that fubftribes a Charter of Edgar's in Ingulf bus, with Ego Ahoir.it! Dux cvnfeng. At Ranfey Abbey was for-
merly this old Infcription.

COENOEII MIRACULOSUS FUNDATOR. He ied in the Year 992. Cod. Ramfaerf: in Arch. Scaccarii.

(%) So calkd from the barbarcus Letit Word Canccllarc, from his Cancelling or Striking tut what he pleafed in Mens Grants and Petit : ,ns
tnd. p. 73.

N* VIII. Vol. I. P


Tyrrel, Jn-


The H J S T R r of ENGLAND.

Vol. I.

Hold, Or

riffs or Vil



otherwife they would have wanted a ncceffary Formality.
The firft Chancellor, mentioned in the Saxon Hiftory,
was Turketide, Coufin to Edward the Elder, who was af-
terwards Abbot of Croyland. However, I am apt to think
this Office was of a more modern Inftitution (i).

The third confiderablc Officer was the General of the
Army, in Saxon Kymng's Hold, that is, the King's Ge-
neral. He was chief of the Dukes, or the Gcneraliffimo,
like the High-Conftable of Frame. This Office lalied
only during war. In time ot peace, or when the King
did not think fit to have a Genera/iJ/imo, the Holds or
Dukes of each County had the Care of the Militia.

Next to the Earls and Dukes were the High-Sheriffs of
the Counties. Thefe were Officers fent by the King into
fuch Counties as had no Earls, to adminifter Juftice in
his name and ftead. They were called in Latin, Summi
Precpoftti, Cujlodes Provinciarum, and afterwads, Vice-
comites ( z ), not that they were under the Earls or Counts,
but becaufe they performed the Office of Earl in the
Counties where there was: no Earl. It is very true,
there were fometimes High-Sheriffs in thofe Counties,
where there were alfo Earls ; but Selden fuppofes it was
becaufe fuch Counties were by fomc peculiar Privilege
under the immediate Jurifdiclion of the King. But how-
ever this be, hence came the title of Vifcount, the next
in order to that of Earl or Count. As for the name of
Sheriff (3), it is continued to inferior Officers, who, in
each County, perform the Office of the anticnt Vifcounts:
Thefe laft having been long fmce ranked among the Peers
of the Realm.

After the High-Sheriffs came the Thanes, a name in
Saxon lignifying Minifter or Servant. There were two
forts : Mafs-Thanes, that is, Ecclefiajlical Thanes ; and
Je'erold-Thanes, that is, Lay-Thanes. The Thanes in ge-
neral were divided into three Claries. The firft were the
King's Thanes, the immediate Tenants of the Crown,
who did Homage to the King only. Thefe were pro-
perly what were afterwards called Peers of the Realm,
and made the Body of the greater Nobility. Confequently,
Dukes, Ealdormen, and Vifcounts, were ranked among
the Trianes of the firft Clafs, as well as they who, having
no Offices, were the immediate Tenants of the Crown.
The Normans changed the Term Thane into Baron, and
ftiled the Lands Baronies, which the Saxons called Thane-
lands. Hence it has been the cuftom for a long while in
England, to rank all the greater Nobility under the ge-
neral title of Barons, becaufe all the great Men were
Thanes (4). The fecond Clafs of Thanes were what
they called Middle-Thanes, becaufe there being others of an
inferior degree, thefe were in the middle Clafs. If they
held Lands of the King himfelf, they were inconfiderable,
and generally, what they poffelTed was held of the Earls
or Barons. The Normans gave them the name of Vava-
fors, and their Lands Vavaforics. The Signification of this
word, may, I think, be expreffed by that of Under-Te-
nants (5). The third Clafs of Thanes were fuch as held
their Lands of the Middle-Thanes, or Vavafors. Thefe
were not ranked among the leffer Nobility. They were
properly fuch as lived upon their own Eftates, and being
of no profeffion, were diftinguifhed from the meaner fort
of People. If I am not miftaken, to thefe belonged par-
ticularly the title of Gentlemen; whereas the Middle-
Thanes were in the fame rank with the prefent Knights
and Squires. I am very fenfible, feveral are of opinion,

the title of Gentleman is equivalent to that of
and confequently, they were a part of the Nobility

T he-
affinity between the words Gentleman and Gfntiihomijie
feems to countenance this Opinion. I intend not to dif-
pute this pretenlion with them. I fhall only obferve a
remarkable difference between a Gentilhomme of France,
and a Gentleman of England. In France there being but
one body of Nobilitv, every Gentilhomrne is a member ot
that Body, and no lefs noble than a Duke. But a GVn-
tleman in England can at beli be ranked but in the fecond
order of Nobles, that is, among the leffer Nobility or
Gentry. Belides, in England abundance of People of very
mean Birth are called Gentlemen, who mod certainly in
France would have no right to be ftiled Gcntilshommes.

The loweft order among the Saxons, I mean of Free- Tic Ceorles.
men, was that of the Ceorles, that is, Merchants, Artifi-
cers, Countrymen and others. Hence no doubt is derived
the word Churle or Carle, a name given by way of con-
tempt to People of mean condition. The Cecrles were
equally free as to their Perfons, with the Thanes of the
third Clafs ; however with this difference ; the Thanes
held fuch Eftates as were called Boc-Land, conveyable by
Deed or otherwife, upon paying a certain Sum to the
Lord : But the Ceorles were poffeffed only of what they
called Socland, or Lands of the Plow, which they could
not alienate, becaufe they were properly but Farmers.
Among the Ceorles, thofe that held this fort of Lands were
diftinguifhed from the reft that were poor, and had none
of thefe poffeffions, or exercifed fome Trade for their live-
lihood, by the honourable name of Socmen. In general,
all under Thanes and above Slaves were in the rank of
Ceorles, who [as to their Perfons, though not Lands]
were as free as the Ealdormen and Thanes themfelves.
They might even arrive at the Dignity of a Thane of
the third Clafs, if they fo thriv'd as to be in poffeffion of
five Hydes of Land, a Houfe with an enclos'd Court, a
Kitchen, a Hall, and a Bell to call their domefticks toge-
ther (6). Selden thinks a Hyde of Land was fuch a quan-
tity as could be managed with one Plow (7).

The loweft order of Men were the Slaves or Bond-men, Of Bmd-
of whom there were two forts ; fuch as were really ^'"J**
Slaves, who, poffeffing nothing of their own, worked only
for their Lords, by whom for that reafon they were main-
tained. The others, who were properly Servants, had
fmall Holdings at the Will of their Lords, for which they
did all the fervile Country Works that were fet them.
As for the Original of thefe Slaves, fome think they
were the defendants of the meaner fort of Britons, who
fubmitted to become Slaves, to fave their lives during the
fary of the firft Saxons in England. Others are of opi-
nion, they came from the Slaves brought into the Ifland
by the Saxons. However this be, thefe [Pro-dial] Bond-
men, not quite fo much Slaves as the others, managed their
Lords Lands, from whence they reaped fome advantage
themfelves, without having the Liberty of quitting the
Place of their abode, and fettling elfewhere, unlefs with
their Lord's Confent. They were afterwards called Vil-
lains, that is, Villagers, from the Villages where they
lived and worked. We ftill meet in feveral parts of Ger-
many, with fuch fort of Peafants, who are fiibje<5r to
great Drudgery, and generally are treated very harfhly by
their Lords. When a Slave had his freedom, he was im-
mediately rank'd among the Ceorles, thefreedmen not con-
flicting, as fome pretend, a new order of Men. 'Tis

(1) Lombard affirms the tile of* the Great Seat, and with it the name of Chancellor was brought cut o( Normandy by Edward the ConfeJJlr. See his

(2) Viet docs not denote here a Subordination to any Coma. As in that of Horace, ittar •vice cotis, and as in Vice-Cancellaritts in the Court of Rome,
where there is no Chancellor. Vicctomcs therefore means here, one appointed Supptcrc Vieem Comitis. See Selden Tit. of Hon. p. 646.

0) Sheriff, as if Shiri-Revt (1. c. ) Pra-fecl of the Shirt, from the Saxon, Gere/a contracted into Grefa, and Grcie, and by the Normans, into Re-,e ;
thus Porigrcvc is Preefeltus Pitas, from the German Word Grave, which fignifies a Judge. Whence the old Words Cent-Grate, Tun-grate, Sec. for the
chid Magistrates in the Hundreds and T) things. Thus in Germany the Judges of the Boroughs and Marches were called Bur-Graves ixAMttrk-Graves,
and Grave is ftill ufed there to fignify the Sovereign Princes of the Territories it is applied to. The Saxon Sheriffs were chofen by the Alfcmbly
of the County. See Dr. H'tlims, p. 20,-.

(4) It is the common Opinion that the Barons after the Conquejl, were the fame with the Thanes in the Saxon Times ; but upon Examination it will
appear otherwife. The word Thane occurs nut in the oldeft Saxon Monuments, and their Original feems to be this. When time had polilh'd the Anglo-
Saxons, piany offices that the great Men discharged at firft in their own Perfons, were for Eafc and Grandeur by them devolved on others. And, a< in
thofe Days there was but little Money, fuch Perfons were rewarded for their Services, by having Land given them. Such Lands were called Tain-Land,
which paid no Rent, the Superior having the Tenant's Scrsice in lieu of it. Thus a great Lord's Chamberlain, Hawker, Hunter, were called his Thanes.
Thefe Thanes were divided into greater or Idler, only differing in this, that the greater held of the King, and the Idler of fomc Subject. Hence it ap-
pears, that the Thanes were no other Pcrliins than thofe the Normans called Tenants by Scrjcanty ; when the Service was of a publick Nature, that 1 .
if Land were given for the Servkc of High-Steward, or Marihal of England, fuch Gift and Service was called grand Scrjcanty j but if for Service of
Steward of the Houlhold, Malter of the Hurfe, thefe rclpccting only the Pcrfon of the King, fuih Services made only a Tenure of Petit -Serjeant). Now
the firft of thefe only, as holding on the Publick, were ranked among the Barons. Scrjcanty is French ht,Scrtiitium, fo that Thanes and Serjeants mean
the fame thing, visa. Minifter- nr Servants. Sec St. Amand, p. 112.

(') The Vavafors in Lomlardy, itum whence ihej Irrm originally to come, were inferior to the Capitan-i, thefe laft comprehended Duke', MarquclTes, Count'-,
and other great Titles; but the Vavafors were fuch as were inverted, cither by the Sovereign or fome Duke, Count, &e. with fome Territory of feudal
Command, without any of thofe Titles. So that Kavafor means as if, Validus Vaffalhs or powerful fort of Vaffa/s. See Selden Tit. of Has. p. 488.

(6) The Land- among the Saxons were diftinguifhed into Bot/and and Folcland, (and not Scelalti, as Rafin lays.) The Bochnd, or Hereditary Land;,
were poll'clfcd by the nobler Sort, free of all Services. Thefe were divided into two forts, Inland and Osttland, The Inland was that w hich lay next or
rnoft convenient for the Lord's Manfion Houfe, and therefore was kept in their Hands for fupport of their Family. This was managed by the Bondmen
and Slaves; and was afterwards called by the Normans, Terras Dominicahs, she Demeans, or Lord's Land. Osttland was that which lay beyond the Inland}
Or Demeans, and was granted out to any Tenant Hereditarily, but at the Pleafure of the Lord. Part was difpofed among fuch as attended their Lords ei-
ther in War or Peace, (called TLeodtns, or Leffer fhanei,) after the manlier of Knights- Fees. The other Part was allotted to Hufbandmen, who were
termed Ceorles, and were to pay their Lord a certain Portion of Victuals and things necelTary for Hofpitality. This Rent was called Ft'.rm or Farm, (a
Saxon word lignifying Meat or Victuals) which ever (incc Henry lid's Time, has been changed into Money, though we ftill retain the word Farmers.
Thefe Ositlands were what they called Folcland. The word Lord is a Contraction of the Saxon Blafird, i. e. a Giver of Bread, a Maintenance, becaufe
they gr.-.ntcd to their Ceorles or Socmen, Land liifficient to fupply themfelves and Families with Bread and Ncecliaries. Soe fignifies in Saxon a Liberty of
judging and determining Caufes within the Precinct of the Sot or Manor. Hence Socmen were thofe that owed fuit to the Lord's Court, or Hall-mote,
v. here the Lord determined all differences between his Men in their Civil Rights, anJ alfo puniiiied Criminals with the Advice and Confent of his Freemen.
Life and Death were at firft within the JuriHiflioncpf.'the Hall-mote, " (7) Sec p- 129. Not. (3).


Book V. A DilTertation on the Government of the Anglo-Saxons.


and Alder-

Tie Tytn-
inj; Court.

true they were called Freolatan, that is, Freedmcn ; hut it
was onlv to diftinguifh tbem from thole that were Free-
borrij who liowever had no peculiar Privilege. Among
the Anglo-Saxons, the Lords had not the power of Life
and Death over their Slaves. Nay, the Laws provided,
they fliould not cripple or maim them without incurring a
Penalty. They who made fuch Laws, imitated in fome
meafure the Law of God, without knowing it ( i ).

All the King's Subjects, except Slaves and Villains,
were Freedmcn and Freeholders. But though Earls and
Barons, or Thanes might be included under this general
Appellation, yet by Freeholders is commonly meant the
Thanes of the fecond and third dalles, with the Ceorles.

The Inhabitants of Towns, who were call'd Burghwi-
tan or Burghers, had the Privilege of being governed by
Magiftrates chofen out of their own Body, to whom was
given the Title of Aldermen; and of forming a Society,
from whence is derived what is called in England a Cor-
poration (2). This Privilege was granted them for the En-
couragement of Arts, and cfpecially of Trade and Com-
merce, which was juftly deem'd of very great advantage
to the State. For the farther encouragement of Trade,
it was alfo cnarfted by Law, that if a Merchant crofs'd
the wide Sea three times, he fhould be honoured with the
Title of Thane, and admitted to all the Privileges of that
Order. I don't know what is meant hereby the wide Sea,
nnlefs it be the German Ocean, fince in thofe days, Ame-
rica was not difcovcrcd. From the time ot the Saxons
Merchants have been in great repute in England, fince we
find fuch as diftinguifh thcmfelvcs in Trade, are frequent-
ly honoured with Knighthood by the King.

Having now gone through the feveral Orders and De-
grees of Men amoncr. the Anglo-Saxons, I fha.ll in the next
place, confider how they were governed, and chiefly the
method of adminiftring Juftice. To this end, it will be
neceilary fo fpeak of the different Courts they cre&ed in
England, whereby will be feen the Origin of the feveral
Courts of Juftice now in that Kingdom.

The Courts of Justice.

T Have already obferved in the Life of Alfred the Great,
* that this Prince divided England into Shires, the Shires
into Trythings, Laths, or Wapentakes', thefe into Hundreds,
and the Hundreds into Tythings. However it muft not be
imagined that in this divihon, he introduced fomething
entirely new to the Englijh. He only fettled the bounds of
the former divilions, making fome alterations for conve-
niency's fake. At leaft, as to the Divifion of the King-
dom into Shires, 'tis certain he only proportioned it in a
better manner than before. This is evident from there
being Earls of Somerfetjhire and Devon/hire in the reign of
Ethelwu/ph, as Affer relates, who lived about that time.
But Alfred uniting all England into one Monarchy, made
a more exatft and extenfive divifion of his dominions.
The Shires contained a whole Province fubjeci to the Ju-
rifdiclion of an Earl or Count, and therefore were alfo
called Counties. Some of thefe Shires being divided into
Trythings, others into Laths, and others into IVapentakes,
each of thefe divifions, which were the fame thing under
different names (3), confided of three or four hundreds of
Families, and each Hundred was fubdivided into Ty-
things. The Courts of Juftice were formed with refpedt
to thefe feveral divifions, that is, there was a Court for
each Tything, Hundred, &c. to the end Juftice might be
adminiftred with lefs charge, greater difpatch, and more

The lowed of thefe Courts was the Tything Court. It
confifted of ten heads of Families, who were mutual Sure-
ties for one another, as each of them in particular was
for all that were under him (4). Every SubjecSf. in the

Kingdom was regiftred in fome Tything. Only Perfons
of the firft rank had the Privilege that their (ingle Family
fliould compofea Tvthing, for which they were refponfi-
ble. Each Tything had a Prefident, ftil'd Tything-. Man.
or Burg-holder, who took care to hold a Court, when
occafion required. The method of proceeding was :ii

Ii any Perfon acailc-d of a Crime, rcfufed to appear,
the other nine Sureties were bound to fee him forth-com-
ing to Juftice. If he ran away, he was not fullered to
(ettle in any other Town, Burrough or Village ; becaufe

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