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Medieval Sourcebook:
English Regulations on Exchange, 871-1087

From Laws of King Alfred, 871-904.

34. It is also directed to chapmen, that they bring the men whom they take up with them before the king's reeve at the folk-mote, and let it be stated how many of them there are; and let them take such men with them as they may be able afterwards to present for justice at the folk-mote; and when they have need of more men up with them on their journey, let them always declare it, as often as their need may be, to the king's reeve, in presence of the "gemot."

From Laws of King Edward the Elder, 901-925.

10. And let no man exchange any property without the witness of the reeve, or of the mass-priest, or of the land-lord, or of the hordere, or of other unlying man. If any one so do, let him give 30s., and let the land-lord take possession of the exchange.

13. And we ordain: that every burh be repaired 14 days over Rogation Days. Secondly: that every marketing be within port.

24. And he who buys property with witness, and is after obliged to vouch it to warranty, then let him receive it from whom he before had bought it, whether he be free or bond, whichsoever he be. And that no marketing be on Sundays; but if any one so do, let him forfeit the goods, and pay 30s. as wite.

From Laws of King Athelstan: Council of Greatanlea, 930.

12. And we have ordained, that no man buy any property out of port over 20d.; but let him buy there within, on the witness of the port-reeve, or of another unlying man; or further, on the witness of the reeves at the folk-mote.

From Laws of William the Conqueror, 1066-1087.

45. Let no one buy anything living or dead to the value of four pence without four witnesses either from the city or the country vill. But if anyone afterward make charges against the exchange and he have no witnesses or warranty, let him return the property and pay a fine to whom the property by right belongs. But if he have witnesses, let them see the property three times, and on the fourth time let him vindicate his claim or lose it.


From: (1, 2, & 4) Benjamin Thorpe, ed., Ancient Laws and Institutes of England, (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1840), pp. 83, 205-213, 483; (3) William Stubbs & H. W. C. Davis, eds., Select Charters of English Constitutional History, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913), p. 74, reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 99-101.

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.

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, September 1998