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Wantage code

Wantage code. King Æthelred's third law code. Issued at Wantage (Berks.) possibly in 997, it showed royal confirmation of local court customs in the five boroughs of the Danelaw. Twelve leading thegns in each wapentake were to swear on relics neither to accuse an innocent man nor conceal a guilty one, the earliest reference in English law to what was effectively a sworn jury of presentment. The validity of a unanimous verdict was confirmed, but the agreement of eight thegns was allowed when opinions differed, a first assertion of this principle in England.

Audrey MacDonald

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