Page:Welsh Medieval Law.djvu/432

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

given in the Black Book of Chirk and its faithful transcript, was certainly never applicable to the whole of Wales.

      ceiniog, a penny. There are two kinds of pence referred to, viz. keinhawc kyfreith, the legal penny, and keinhawc cotta, the curt penny. The latter was a third less than the former, for a dimei (dimidium) was half a curt penny and a third of the legal penny.[1] If, as Dr. Seebohm thinks probable, the legal penny is the same as that current in England in the time of Howel Dda, viz. that of thirty-two wheat grains, the curt penny therefore being of twenty-four wheat grains, then 240 legal pence would equal the pound of the nova moneta of Charlemagne, and 240 curt pence would equal the older Roman pound, or half-mina-Italica. The mina Italica of twenty Roman ounces was twice the amount of an old Roman pound of 240 scripula of twenty- four wheat grains, which survived into Merovingian times. The keinhawc cotta therefore was the equivalent of the scripulum, which was so far a common unit in Gaul as to have earned for itself the name of denarius Gallicus.[2]

      ceinion [plur. of cain], defined both in Peniarth MS. 28 and the Black Book of Chirk as the first draught of liquor which comes to the hall at a banquet, being a perquisite of the smith of a court.[3]

      cowyll, a gift payable by the husband to the wife on the morning after the marriage. According to the present text it was a pecuniary sum, given apparently as a recognition of chastity, and was not to be alienated from the wife although her fault caused the husband to leave her, but should the wife fail to discuss the subject of the cowyll on the morning after her marriage it was to be the property of both and not of the wife alone. ' Cowyll is [possibly] of the same origin as the Welsh word cawell, " a basket or creel," and to be compared with the French term corbeille de mariage.'[4]

      cyvarwys, gift, perquisite. Such at least is the sense in which the word seems to be used in the present text. The phrase kyuarus neythaur is represented by munera nuptiarum in the Latin Peniarth MS. 28. Dr. Seebohm makes much of this word in his The Tribal System in Wales, but unfortunately his remarks are mainly based on the so-called Trioedd Dyvnwal Moelmttd, transcribed in 1685 from ' old books '. He is followed by the authors of The Welsh People (206, and especially the second note).

  1. V 36 b 2i-3 on p. 88.
  2. Seebohm's Tribal Custom in Anglo-Saxon Law, 14, 15.
  3. Anc. Laws I. 72; II. 764.
  4. The Welsh People, 212, note.