10 Pages

Law and Landscape

WithAnnette Hoff

The law codes regulate many of the practical affairs of the agricultural communities, and consequently are able to provide extensive insights into the actual reality that lay behind their creation. Comparative legislation from Sweden, England, Ireland and the early Frankish law codes has also been consulted. This chapter analyses all of the sections of the law that regulate the various elements of the culturally controlled landscape of the time: the village with its farms, the cultivated land with its fields and meadows, and the uncultivated land with its pastures, forests and tracks. A very pertinent example of the chronological disjunction between the earlier and the later legal procedures was revealed by the study of the provisions concerning fencing duties in the Jutish Law of 1241. All of the Anglo-Saxon laws are linked to the name of a specific king, and thus probably were only valid law during his reign irrespective of how short it was.