Offences were no longer against the individual and his kin, but against the king's peace, or against the peace of subordinate holders of courts - earls, thanes, barons, bishops and abbots.
The thanes' gild at Cambridge afforded help in blood-feuds, and provided for the payment of the wergeld in case a member killed any one.
Meanwhile Mary's party dwindled away; at a meeting in Perth (23rd of February 1573) her thanes fled from her, and Elizabeth at last reinforced Mary's enemies with men and artillery.
To the reign of Cnut belong the "Constitutiones de Foresta," according to which four thanes were appointed in every province for the administration of justice in all matters connected with the forests; under them were four inferior thanes to whom was committed immediate care of the vert and venison.'
Before the Norman Conquest seven thanes held it of Edward the Confessor as seven manors, but William the Conqueror granted the whole to Ilbert de Lacy, and at the time of the Domesday Survey it was held of him by Ralph Paganel, who is said to have raised Leeds castle, possibly on the site of an earlier fortification.
This last stands on a hill to the east of the town, occupying the site of the 12thcentury castle which was one of the strongholds of the Macduffs, thanes or earls of Fife.
Among them are the sagas of Thorgils and Haflidi (I118-1121), the feud and peacemaking of two great chiefs, contemporaries of Ari; of Sturla (1150-1183), the founder of the great Sturlung family, down to the settlement of his great lawsuit by Jon Loptsson, who thereupon took his son Snorri the historian to fosterage, - a humorous story but with traces of the decadence about it, and glimpses of the evil days that were to come; of the Onundar-brennusaga (1185-1200), a tale of feud and fire-raising in the north of the island, the hero of which, Gudmund Dyri, goes at last into a cloister; of Hrafn Sveinbiornsson (1190-1213), the noblest Icelander of his day, warrior, leech, seaman, craftsman, poet and chief, whose life at home, travels and pilgrimages abroad (Hrafn was one of the first to visit Becket's shrine), and death at the hands of a foe whom he had twice spared, are recounted by a loving friend in pious memory of his virtues, c. 1220; of Aron Hiorleifsson (1200-1255), a man whose strength, courage and adventures befit rather a henchman of Olaf Tryggvason than one of King Haakon's thanes (the beginning of the feuds that rise round Bishop Gudmund are told here), of the Svinefell-men (1248-1252), a pitiful story of a family feud in the far east of Iceland.
The law had to be declared and applied by the people itself in its communities, while the spokesmen of the people were neither democratic majorities nor individual experts, but a few leading men - the twelve eldest thanes or some similar quorum.