Berghamsted, Council of

Berghamsted, Council Of (Concilium Berghamstedense). This place is now Berkhamstead, in Hertfordshire. A council was held there in 696, by Wihtred, king of Kent, who attended in person; there were also present, Brihtwald, "chief bishop of Britain," and Tobias of Rochester, together with some of every order in the Church, and many laymen. Twenty-eight laws, called the "Dooms of king Wihtred," were published:

1. Declares the Church to be free from taxes.

2. Inflicts a fine of fifty shillings for a breach of the protection of the Church or king.

3 to 6. Relate to sins of uncleanness.

7. Suspends from his ministration a priest guilty of conniving at fornication, neglecting to baptize the infirm, or being drunk.

10. Fines the master eighty shillings, who shall make his slave work after sunset on Sunday till sunset on Monday.

11 and 12. Enact penalties against slaves and free servants who work on the Lord's day.

13 and 14. Enact penalties against those who make offerings to devils.

15. Declares, that if a man give flesh to his slave to eat on a fast-day, the slave shall be free.

17. Declares the word of the bishop and of the king to be valid without an oath.

18. Orders the heads of monasteries, priests, and deacons, to purge themselves on their own veracity, by saying before the altar, in their holy vestments, "I say the truth in Christ; I lie not."

19-24. Relate to different cases of purgation.

28. Orders that a stranger, who leaves the road, and does not scream, or blow a horn, shall be considered as a thief.

See Johnson, Eccl. Canon.; Wilkins, 1, 60; Labbe, Conel. 6, 1576.

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