from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The morsel of execration; an ordeal consisting of the eating of a piece of bread consecrated by imprecation. If the suspected person ate it freely, he was pronounced innocent; but if it stuck in his throat, it was considered as a proof of his guilt.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. The morsel of execration; a species of ordeal consisting in the eating of a piece of bread consecrated by imprecation. If the suspected person ate it freely, he was pronounced innocent; but if it stuck in his throat, it was considered as a proof of his guilt.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In Anglo-Saxon law, the morsel of choosing or selection, being a piece of bread consecrated by exorcism and caused to be swallowed by a suspected person as a trial of his innocence.
A consecrated cake, called a corsned, was produced, which if the person could swallow and digest, he was pronounced innocent. [
So it was once thought that a perjurer could not swallow a piece of sacramental bread; but, the fear that made the swallowing difficult having passed away, the appeal to the corsned was abolished.
These were, the oath upon the evangelists; the ordeal of the cross and the fire ordeal, for persons in the higher ranks; the water ordeal, for the humbler classes; and, lastly, the _corsned_, or bread and cheese ordeal, for members of their own body.
History records no instance of the choking of any priest in this ordeal, but there is a story that the Saxon Earl Godwin of Kent took the _corsned_ to clear himself of a charge of murder, and (being a layman) was choked.
The priest who took the ordeal by _corsned_ received a bit of bread or a bit of cheese which was loaded heavily, by way of sauce, with curses upon whomsoever should eat it falsely.
But I have not the least idea that _corsned_ killed him.
Hindostan, theft is often enquired into by causing the suspected party to chew some dry rice or rice flour, which has some very strong curses stirred into it, _corsned_ fashion.