Compurgation

Definitions

  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Compurgation Exculpation by testimony to one's veracity or innocence. "He was privileged from his childhood from suspicion of incontinency and needed no compurgation ."
    • Compurgation (Law) The act or practice of justifying or confirming a man's veracity by the oath of others; -- called also wager of law. See Purgation; also Wager of law, under Wager.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n compurgation In early English law, a mode of trial in which the accused was permitted to call twelve persons of his acquaintance to testify to their belief in his innocence. See compurgator. Compurgation in the ecclesiastical courts was not abolished till the reign of Elizabeth.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Compurgation kom-pur-gā′shun the custom, in Anglo-Saxon law, of permitting the accused to call in witnesses to prove his innocency, by joining their oaths to his: evidence in favour of the accused: vindication
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. compurgatio, fr. compurgare, to purify wholly; com-, + purgare, to make pure. See Purge, (v. t.)
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. compurgāre, to purify wholly. See Purge.

Usage

In literature:

I mean to go at once, to-morrow morning, before the bishop that he may grant me full compurgation from this charge.
"Grettir The Strong" by Unknown
Proofs of her art it would have been hard to establish; hosts of compurgators to attest her innocence would have sprung up.
"Harold, Complete The Last Of The Saxon Kings" by Edward Bulwer-Lytton
The witnesses or compurgators stood in an outer ring within a fencing of cords running from stake to stake.
"The Thirsty Sword" by Robert Leighton
Associated Words: compurgation, compurgator, compurgatorial.
"Putnam's Word Book" by Louis A. Flemming
The king or one of his reeves, conducted the trial by compurgation.
"Our Legal Heritage, 5th Ed." by S. A. Reilly
He takes his compurgators, his vouchers, his guaranties, along with him.
"The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. IV. (of 12)" by Edmund Burke
Nor did "compurgation" cease wholly till Queen Mary's reign.
"A Short History of Scotland" by Andrew Lang
My neighbors, as my compurgators, could aver this fact, as seeing my occupations and my attachment to them.
"Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies, From The Papers Of Thomas Jefferson" by Thomas Jefferson
Compurgators, in Saxon law, what, vii.
"The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. XII. (of XII.)" by Edmund Burke
Compurgation, evidences of a practice similar to, ix.
"The Letters of Cassiodorus" by Cassiodorus (AKA Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator)
One suspected of robbery shall clear himself by taking the oath of purgation, with seven compurgators.
"Lippincott's Magazine, Vol. 22, November, 1878" by Various
For civil suits there was a provision against 'wager of battle,' and the accused again cleared themselves by compurgation.
"Bell's Cathedrals: The Cathedral Church of Ripon" by Cecil Walter Charles Hallett
Another ordeal was expurgation or compurgation.
"The Humbugs of the World" by P. T. Barnum
He is attended to the bar of public opinion by two compurgators who occupy highly honorable stations.
"Critical and Historical Essays, Volume III (of 3)" by Thomas Babington Macaulay
If the accused failed to find compurgators he was sent to the ordeal.
"A Student's History of England, v. 1 (of 3)" by Samuel Rawson Gardiner
They also introduced a barbarous system of trial, that by compurgation, i.e.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 10, Slice 8" by Various
Each party was permitted to bring with him as many as thirty friends to act as witnesses and compurgators.
"Secret Societies of the Middle Ages" by Thomas Keightley
If he pleaded "Not guilty" a day was appointed, on which he had to clear himself by the oath of a number of compurgators.
"Medieval English Nunneries c. 1275 to 1535" by Eileen Edna Power
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