due in great part to a Northern influence in the Danelagh, or Scandinavianized
portion of England, which at the time of the Conquest may be roughly reckoned at
half the kingdom. It may be objected indeed that these institutions came in with the
Normans; but unfortunately for this theory, the form of trial prevalent in Normandy
was not, as in Iceland, trial by jury, but that by compurgation, or witnesses brought
forward by the accused to swear that he did not do or was not capable of doing the
deed laid at his door. And it is very remarkable that this trial by compurgation was
also that common in Norway itself, as well as in all the Teutonic races; thus it existed
in England among the Anglo-Saxons, and it came from Norway into Normandy along
with the followers of Rollo, and thence it went with them into England. But in the
Danelagh it found the form of trial peculiar to Iceland, and which had been developed
in that island alone. This was a process not in general by compurgation, but before
judges by witnesses to the fact, who made up the well-known kviår of the Sagas. After
the Conquest, in that general scramble of tongues and local institutions which took place
among the native populations which the Normans had subdued, this form of trial held
its own in the Danelagh, and ultimately asserted its supremacy over the compurgations
both of the Saxons and the Normans, and thus we find it formally recognised as the
law of the land at the end of the I3th century. ' From the analogy of the Icelandic
customs,' says Mr. Vigfusson under the word kvi&r, ' it can be inferred with certainty
that along with the invasions of the Danes and Norsemen, the judgment by verdict
was also transplanted to English ground; for the settlers of England were kith and
kin to those of Iceland, carrying with them the same laws and customs.' The difference
between the Scandinavian lands and England being that while the institution was never
developed in Norway, and only struck faint root in the 'Sandemand' and 'nämd' of
the Danish and Swedish laws, and while it languished and died out in Iceland itself
with the fall of the Commonwealth towards the end of the I3th century, it grew more
and more naturalised in England under the rule of the Normans, supplanting all other
forms of trial between man and man, until England came to be considered the ' classical
land of trial by jury.'

From whatever point of view, therefore, we consider the relations which exist
between England and Iceland, whether from that of primaeval affinity and a com-
munity of race, religion, and law, or from that of connexion by commerce, immigra-
tion, or conquest, we shall find the two languages and peoples so closely bound
together, that whatever throws light on the beliefs, institutions, and customs of the one,
must necessarily illustrate and explain those of the other. Nor should it be forgotten
that in the loth and nth centuries the Icelanders were foremost in the history of the
time. They were at once the most learned and the boldest and most adventurous
of men. From Iceland they pushed on to Greenland and America, and their ships
swarmed in commerce or in viking voyages on all the seas. At the courts of kings
and earls, whether Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, or Anglo-Saxon, they were welcome
guests, for though none were more dreaded as foes, none were more greeted as friends
for their gifts of wit and song. Thus we find Egil Skallagrimsson playing a great part,