byrþ (OSw) byrth (ODan) byrþ (OGu) byrd (OSw) noun

Literally, ‘burden’. In several instances, it is used in the sense, ‘birth, family’ or in a wider sense, ‘kinship’, particularly degree of kinship in cases of incest. Frequently, however, it means ‘birthright’, ‘birthright land’ or ‘ancestral land’. These latter distinguished such inherited land from that which had been bought in the lifetime of the owner and which could more freely be disposed of by sale or bequest, described as afraþalaus in GL.

The birthright redemption was a payment offered by the previous owner of birthright land in order to reclaim it from the purchaser. Subject to certain time constraints, this offer could be made but if it were not made within these constraints, the purchaser kept the land.

ancestral land OSw UL Jb
OSw VmL Jb

birth OGu GL Add. 1 (B 4)
birthright OSw SdmL Kkb, Äb
OSw UL Äb, Jb
OSw VmL Äb, Jb

birthright inheritance OSw DL Bb
birthright land OSw DL Bb
OSw KrL Jb
OSw SdmL Jb
OSw UL Kkb, Jb, Add. 10
OSw VmL Kkb, Jb

degree (of kinship) ODan JyL 1
OSw DL Kkb

generation OSw DL Gb
inheritance OSw DL Bb
inherited land OSw HL Jb
kin ODan JyL 1
ODan VSjL 6
OSw KrL Jb Rb
OSw SdmL Äb, Jb

kinship ODan SkL 92
OSw VmL Kkb, Äb

kinsman ODan SkL 219

land owned by the kin OSw MESt Bb
lineage OSw HL Jb
nativity OSw UL StfBM
patrimony OSw HL Kkb
related ODan JyL 3
ODan SkL 36
ODan VSjL 1, 20

relationship OSw MEL Jb
testimony OSw HL Rb

biuþa till byrþ (OSw)

offer birthright redemption OSw VmL Jb

offer to the kin OSw SdmL Äb


KLNM, s.v. bördsrätt; Schlyter 1877, s.v. byrþ (3–7); SL UL, 145 preamble and note 2; SL VmL, 31−32 note 108

  • ‘byrþ’. A Lexicon of Medieval Nordic Law.