This code can be reliably dated to 695. Wihtræd’s law is more focused on church matters than the laws of his predecessors. The only manuscript is contained in the twelfth-century compilation Textus Roffensis.

Digital edition

Edited by Lisi Oliver



by Lisi Oliver

Wihtræd's text concentrates on matters ecclesiastical rather than civil, and it is primarily legislation dealing with the church that his lawmakers added 'to the just customs of the Kentish people.' Several parallels to these laws can be found in the 'Penitentials of Theodore,' a set of ecclesiastical rulings attributed to Theodore of Tarsus, archbishop of Canterbury 668–90; as Wihtræd's laws were compiled around 695, these penitentials may well have been known to his compiler, and even served in some instances as a model.

The existence of the prologue implies that the beginning of the text is complete as it stands; in the absence of an epilogue, it is impossible to say whether this is also true of the ending.

The clauses are grouped according to their subject matter: rights of the church, unlawful matrimony, abuse by ecclesiastics, manumission, transgressing the laws of the church, exculpation, and theft.