Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An Anglo-Saxon legal system in which units or tithings composed of ten households were formed, in each of which members were held responsible for one another's conduct.
  • n. A member of a unit in frankpledge.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A legal system, based on tithings, in Anglo-Saxon England, in which members were held responsible for each other's conduct
  • n. A member of such a tithing

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A pledge or surety for the good behavior of freemen, -- each freeman who was a member of an ancient decennary, tithing, or friborg, in England, being a pledge for the good conduct of the others, for the preservation of the public peace; a free surety.
  • n. The tithing itself.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In old Eng. law: A pledge or surety for the good behavior of freemen; specifically, an early English system by which the members of each decennary or tithing, composed of ten households, were made responsible for one another, so that if one of them committed an offense the other nine were bound to make reparation.
  • n. A member of a decennary thus bound in pledge for his neighbors
  • n. The decennary or tithing itself.

Etymologies

Middle English frankplegge, from Anglo-Norman frauncpledge : Old French franc, free, frank; see frank1 + Old French plege, pledge; see pledge.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • By the custom of "frankpledge," every freeman at the age of fourteen was called upon to give securities for his good behaviour.

    The Corporation of London, Its Rights and Privileges

  • Tell you what - let's get back to basics: frankpledge, the forerunner of the constabulary duty!

    On Thursday, the Legg report will be published along with...

  • This would seem to tie in with the contents of the document. 1690 would certainly be very late for a traditional view of frankpledge unless the manor was extremely traditional!

    03/17/2005

  • The group would be responsible for the good behaviour of each other and if one was found guilty of an offence all the frankpledge members would be fined.

    03/17/2005

  • The principle of each man becoming responsible to the Government for the good behaviour of the neighbour, involved in the system of frankpledge which Alfred established throughout the whole of his kingdom, subject to his rule, was carried a step further by the citizens of London at a later date.

    London and the Kingdom - Volume I

  • Ultimately the laws of the 10th and 11th centuries show the beginnings of the frankpledge associations, which came to act so important a part in the local police and administration of the feudal age.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 2, Part 1, Slice 1

  • The servants of the Crown were not, as now, bound in frankpledge for each other.

    The History of England, from the Accession of James II — Volume 3

  • These regulations helped to keep the people of England the most backward in Europe; for though the division into shires and hundreds and tithings was common to them with the neighboring nations, yet the _frankpledge_ seems to be a peculiarity in the English Constitution; and for good reasons they have fallen into disuse, though still some traces of them are to be found in our laws.

    The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. 07 (of 12)

  • Saxon principle of frankpledge within the twenti - Once again, there was resistance to the Bill. eth century US laws.

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