Medieval History

Selected Sources Full Text Sources Saints' Lives Law Texts Maps Medieval Films Search Help

Selected Sources Sections Studying History End of Rome Byzantium Islam Roman Church Early Germans Anglo-Saxons Celtic World Carolingians 10 C Collapse Economic Life Crusades Empire & Papacy France England Celtic States Nordic Europe Iberia Italy Eastern Europe Intellectual Life Medieval Church Jewish Life Social History Sex & Gender States & Society Renaissance Reformation Exploration
IHSP Credits

Medieval Sourcebook:
The "Laws of Henry I": The Murder Fine

There is some evidence that the French conquerors of England faced some resistence from the conquered population.

91. Concerning the payment of murder [fine.] If any Frenchman, or any Norman or, lastly, any man from beyond the sea is slain, and the affair turns out so calamitously that it is considered murder and the slayer is unknown and eventually flees, so that within seven days he is not handed over to the king's justice for the carrying out of whatever may be right, 46 m. of silver shall be paid--40 m. to the king and 6 m. to the relatives of the slain man. If the relative have no accusers or provers, these [6m.] shall go to him who does prove [who committed] the murder. Where, however, [the slain man] is found, there must investigation be made according to the law, and the aldermen of the hundred and [the lord] on whose land [the slain man] lies should give security that he will be paid for.... If the murder is discovered in a house or in a hall or in a close, when it comes to paying the aforesaid 46m., whatever is in that manor...shall first be sold... And if thereby the 46 m. are forthcoming, nothing is to be sought elsewhere, but if there is a deficiency, it is made up by the hundred in common. If, moreover, the manor in which the murder is discovered is of the king's demense farm, and if the king so orders, composition for it shall be made by the entire hundred. If the murder is discovered in fields that are open and generally accessible, [the money] shall be supplied by the whole hundred in common, and not merely by him to whom the land belongs. If it happens on the boundary. [the obligation] shall fall on both [hundreds]. If it is on the king's highway, compensation is to be paid by him who owns the adjacent land...

92. [The death of] an Englishman is not regarded or paid for as murder, but only [that of] a Frenchman; indeed, should there be no one to prove that the slain man is English, he is held to be French.... If a hundred wishes to prove concerning someone that he is not a Frenchman and that [accordingly] there is no murder, this obligation is to be entrusted to twelve of the better men from the same hundred, swearing [to that effect]...


This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

Paul Halsall, July 1998
[email protected]


The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is located at the History Department of  Fordham University, New York. The Internet Medieval Sourcebook, and other medieval components of the project, are located at the Fordham University Center for Medieval Studies.The IHSP recognizes the contribution of Fordham University, the Fordham University History Department, and the Fordham Center for Medieval Studies in providing web space and server support for the project. The IHSP is a project independent of Fordham University.  Although the IHSP seeks to follow all applicable copyright law, Fordham University is not the institutional owner, and is not liable as the result of any legal action.

© Site Concept and Design: Paul Halsall created 26 Jan 1996: latest revision 5 June 2023 [CV]