In Saxon law, backberend (also spelled backberende or back-berande) was a term applied to a thief who was found having the stolen goods in his possession.[1] The term is derived from "bearing upon the back" and was customarily used with handhabend.[2][3] Handhabend (also spelled hand-habend or hand-habende) was a term applied to a thief who was found having the stolen goods in his possession; the thief himself was a hontfongenethef. "Handhabend" is derived from "having [a thing] in his hand".[2][3]

By extension, the term also means the jurisdiction to try a thief caught with the property in question.[2] A thief so caught could be given a trial of a more summary nature.[4] Almost any theft could be a felony, and the death penalty might be applied.[2]


See also

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