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How the countryside is discharged of a murder-fine.

[002] The countryside is sometimes discharged of the payment given for murder as may
[003] be seen in the many cases following. To begin with, it is discharged if the slayer is
[004] known, whether he is arrested or not, for the felon may there be convicted by
[005] suit or by inquest, so that he is outlawed.1

If the slayer has been arrested there will be no murder-fine.

[007] If he has been arrested and suffered judgment there will be no murder-fine because
[008] the felon is convicted. And so [when] one has received a mortal wound but survives
[009] for a time, for he may then reveal the malefactors or2 make clear or acknowledge
[010] whether he is an Englishman or a Frenchman; thus there will be no murder-fine.
[011] And though he cannot speak or cannot reveal the evil-doers, if someone flees to a
[012] church because of his death and confesses there will be no murder-fine.

If they have died by misadventure.

[014] There will be no murder-fine for those who have died by misadventure (though in
[015] some places another rule is observed by custom) as where the dead man is found
[016] drowned or crushed and the like, no one being at fault.3 There will be no murder-fine

If the dead man is found in the sea or on the shore.

[018] if the dead man is found in the sea, 4<nor are the ship or the boat of those drowned
[019] at sea, in salt water, deodands, nor will their chattels be wreck if there is one who
[020] claims them and is able to substantiate it,>5 or on the seashore, or in a public
[021] stream or on its bank, especially as far as the salt-water reaches,6 [unless having
[022] been slain on the land he is thrown dead into the sea or the river, or wickedly cast
[023] therein alive,] which could be said of every public place said to be the property
[024] of no one except the king.7 If it is the property of some universitas it will be
[025] otherwise. ‘Wickedly,’ I say,8 and thus if9 there is a report of men drowned or
[026] crushed or the like let the coroners go at once to where the dead are and view the
[027] corpses before they are buried, and let them also inquire carefully of the tithings
[028] and vills, having put them under oath, whether it is a case of felony or misadventure
[029] and do their duty accordingly.10 That is why if such bodies have been
[030] buried without view of the coroners the township will be amerced.11

If the slain man is not identified there will be a murder-fine, though he is an Englishman.

[032] In every case where the slayer is unknown, though the slain man is known and is
[033] an Englishman,12


1. Hurnard in Eng. Hist. Rev., lvi, 389

2. ‘vel’

3. Supra 379; Prov. Westm., ca. 22

4. Supra i, 388

5. Supra 344; infra 384

6. Om: ‘nullum erit murdrum’

7. Supra 40: ‘public’

8. Supra 379

9. ‘et sic si’

10. Supra 344

11. Ibid.

12. Reading: ‘si interfector ignoretur, licet occisus notus fuerit et Anglicus’

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