By H. Cam
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36 ENGLAND BEFORE ELIZABETH Time and again Bede tells of such intermarriages between the kingdoms, which assume a sense of common kinship; of Ethelburga of Kent, who brought her chaplain with her when she married the still pagan Edwin of Deira; of the West Saxon wife of Oswald of Northumbria ; of the sister and daughter of Penda of Mercia, married to Cenwalch of Wessex and Alfrid of Northumbria; of the sister princesses of East Anglia, married one to a Northumbrian and the other to a Kentish king, who became, in succession, abbesses of Ely.
Sometimes a royal messenger might attend the moot, but it was still the folk moot, declaring folk law and responsible for the action taken eminent in response to the royal message. The justice done in these moots, primitive and even barbaric as its methods might be called by those accustomed to modern techniques, was in accordance with the public opinion of the community. The oath-helpers who swore before God that a party was telling the truth were going on their know ledge of their neighbour's character; they risked the commission of a mortal sin if they misjudged him.
When I remembered how the knowledge of Latin had decayed, and yet many could read English writing, I began, among other various and manifold troubles of a kingdom, to translate into English this book, sometimes word by word, and sometimes according to the sense/ Bede wrote for clerks, Alfred for the young men who knew their native legends, but were ignorant of the great European literary tradition. * And if his biographer, Asser, may be believed, he expected his officials to use the opportunities provided.
England Before Elizabeth by H. Cam