gærþi (OSw) gærthe (ODan) gierþi (OGu) gerði (ON) gierþi (OSw) giærþi (OSw) noun

Derived from garþer referring both to a fence and to a fenced in piece of land, usually an arable field or a meadow, since the land in need of protection from grazing animals was fenced in, rather than the animals. The form of the fences varied considerably across Scandinavia and also over time depending on available building material, and the laws mention a wide variety of different types of fences, however the numerous general words for fences (such as garþer, gærþning, gærthsle, hæghnaþer) do not appear to reflect any inherent difference in meaning. The laws specify — with different terms for the fences — the areas to be fenced in, the dates for achieving this and, with the exception of Danish laws, the criteria for legal fences. Fencing was an important part of communal village life. Inadequate fences, and the resultant damages of crops, appear to have been a frequent source of conflict between villagers, since provisions concerning the obligations to fence constituted a substantial part of the sections of the laws dealing with communal village life, occasionally even forming an entire section of a law (utgærþa bolker in the Swedish YVgL).

In the Swedish laws, the large individual cultivated field in a field rotation system was called gærþi. Each farm had at least one strip field (tegher (OSw), teigr (ON), aker (ODan)) in each field (gærþi (OSw), vang (ODan)).


enclosed field OSw KrL Bb
OSw MEL Bb

enclosed wood(land) OGu GL A 26
OSw SdmL Bb

enclosure OGu GL A 24f (64)
OSw ÖgL Bb
OSw UL Blb
OSw VmL Bb

fence OSw DL Bb
ODan ESjL 2
OSw ÖgL Rb Bb
ODan SkL 70, 187
OSw YVgL Rlb

field OSw ÄVgL Föb
OSw DL Bb
ONorw FrL LlbA 20
OSw YVgL Utgb

grazing (within the enclosed part of the village) OGu GL A 24f (64)
land OSw DL Bb Refs:

Hellquist [1948] 1964, s.v. gärda; Hoff 1997, 142−49; KLNM s.v.v. gärde, hegn, odlingssystem, envangsbrug, teig, teiglag, tovangsbrug, trevangsbrug, vang; Myrdal 1999a, 19−109; 2011, 77−95; SAOB, s.v. gärde; Schlyter s.v. gærþi; Widgren 1997

Citation
  • ‘gærþi’. A Lexicon of Medieval Nordic Law.

  • http://www.dhi.ac.uk/lmnl/nordicheadword/displayPage/1900
    (02/07/2023)