The document which defines their duties and privileges sets forth that every ceorl who throve so that he had fully five hides of land, and a helm, and a mail-shirt, and a sword ornamented with gold, was to be reckoned gesithcund.
Thus from a document of uncertain date, possibly about the time of Alfred the Great, and translated by Stubbs (Select Charters) as "Of people's ranks and laws," we learn:--"And if a ceorl throve, so that he had fully five hides of his own land, church and kitchen, bellhouse and burh-gate-seat, and special duty in the king's hall, then was he thenceforth of thegn-right worthy."
And again- "And if a merchant throve, so that he fared thrice over the wide sea.
It was seen in the 10th century, by the Arab traveller Ibn-Haukal, in the neighbourhood of Palermo, where it throve luxuriantly in the pools of the Papireto, a stream to which it lent its name.
It throve especially among military posts, and in the track of trade, where its monuments have been discovered in greatest abundance.