the accused had their hands and feet tied together. They were then thrown into water. If they floated they were guilty but if they sank they were innocent.
The criminal had to pick up a red hot iron bar and hold it while they walked three or four hours. Their hand was then bandaged. After three days they had to return to the court where the bandages were removed. If the wound was beginning to heal they were innocent but if the wound showed no sign of healing then they were pronounced Guilty.
Noblemen would fight (usually to the death) in combat with their accuser. The winner of the battle would be considered to be in the right.
Serious crimes were heard by the King’s court. The accused had to face trial by ordeal to decide whether they were guilty or not guilty.
The manorial court dealt with all but the most serious crimes. It was held at various intervals during the year, and all villagers had to attend or pay a fine. All men were placed in groups of ten called a tithing. Each tithing had to make sure that no member of their group broke the law. If a member of a tithing broke a law then the other guys had to make sure that he went to court.