Danelaw

Danelaw (dānˈlôˌ) [key], originally the body of law that prevailed in the part of England occupied by the Danes after the treaty of King Alfred with Guthrum in 886. It soon came to mean also the area in which Danish law obtained; according to the treaty, the boundary between England and Danelaw ran "up the Thames, and then up the Lea … to its source, then straight to Bedford and then up the Ouse to Watling Street." The Danelaw comprised four main regions: Northumbria; the areas around and including the boroughs of Lincoln, Nottingham, Derby, Leicester, and Stamford; East Anglia; and the SE Midlands. Though the English kings soon brought the Danelaw back under their rule, they did not attempt to interfere with the laws and customs of the area, many of which survived until after the Norman Conquest.

See D. Whitelock, The Norman Conquest: its Setting and Impact (1968); F. M. Stenton, The Free Peasantry of the Northern Danelaw (1926, repr. 1969) and Anglo-Saxon England (3d ed. 1971).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on Danelaw from Fact Monster:

  • Edgar - Edgar Edgar or Eadgar, 943?–975, king of the English (959–75), son of Edmund, king of ...
  • Edmund Ironside - Edmund Ironside Edmund Ironside, d. 1016, king of the English (1016), son of Æthelred the ...
  • Alfred: Reign - Reign Early Wars with the Danes Upon Æthelred's death after Easter in 871, Alfred became ...
  • East Anglia - East Anglia East Anglia , kingdom of Anglo-Saxon England, comprising the modern counties of Norfolk ...
  • Essex, Anglo-Saxon kingdom - Essex Essex, one of the early kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England. It was settled probably in the early ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: British and Irish History