History GCSE: Saxon Law - Compensation

An introduction to the earliest known English Law Code at Rochester in Kent.

Lawyer Harry Potter investigates the Textus Roffensis.

The Rochester Book, written in 600AD, is the first writing in English and the first law code. It is a list of fines or compensation for accidents, injuries and wrongs.

Harry Potter reads examples, first in Anglo-Saxon then in modern English.

This short film is from the BBC series, The Strange Case of the Law.

Teacher Notes

Students could identify key words while watching this short film and identify other significant English documents linked to the development of law and order.

Students could also create a list of fines and compensations for injuries today to encourage them to think about the practicalities of constructing a law code.

Curriculum Notes

This short film will be relevant for teaching GCSE history and social studies. This topic appears in OCR, AQA, Edexcel, WJEC KS4/GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 4/5 in Scotland.

More from The Strange Case of the Law:

Habeas Corpus and Slavery
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Henry II, Thomas Becket and the Church Courts
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John Lilburne and Habeas Corpus
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Saxon Law - Courts
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Saxon Law - Punishments
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Star Chamber and the Rack
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The Bloody Code
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The Conventicle Act of 1664 and the Independence of the Jury
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The Founding of the Police Force
video
The Jury
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The Petition of Right and Habeas Corpus
video
Saxon Law - Trial by Ordeal
video