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TRIAL BY ORDEAL (c. 900)
From Anglo-Saxon Records and Chancells

And with regard to the ordeal, according to the commands of God and of the archbishop and of all the bishops, we order that, as soon as the fire has been brought to heat the iron or Water for the ordeal, no one shall come into the church except the priest and the man to be tried. And if the ordeal is by iron, nine feet, according to the feet of the man to be tried, shall be measured from the starting post to the final mark. If, on the other hand, it is to be ordeal by water, that shall be heated until it becomes boiling hot, whether the kettle is of iron or of brass, or of lead, or of clay. And if the process is "single" the hand shall be plunged in for the stone up to the wrist; if it is "threefold," up to the elbow. And when the water for the ordeal is ready, two men from each party shall go in and they shall agree that it is as hot as we have ordered.

Then an equal number of men from both parties shall go in and stand along the church on each side of the ordeal, and all of them shall be fasting and shall have held themselves from their wives during the previous night. And the priest shall sprinkle them all with holy water; and he shall give them the Book to kiss and make over them the sign of Christ's cross.

. . . then shall the iron be laid on the starting post. And nothing else shall be said inside the church except prayer to God Almighty that He disclose the fullness of truth. And after the man has undergone the ordeal, his hand shall be bound up and sealed; and after the third day it shall be inspected to see whether, within the sealed wrapping, it is foul or clean. And if any one breaks these provisions, the ordeal shall be counted a failure for him, and lie shall pay a fine of 120s to the King.