Purgation a clearing of an accused person from impeachment by oath of himself and others: this, in 696, was done at the altar. The number of witnesses, or consacramentals, varied; the common man had four. In Wales three hundred were required; and in 1194 the bishop of Ely purged himself with one hundred priests' hands. The practice was general among the Teutonic nations; in England it was called the atha. If the offence was alleged to have been committed in Lent or on a festival, a triple purgation was enjoined in 1018. SEE ORDEAL.

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