Latin to English Translation
Edward by the grace of God king of England, Lord of Ireland and Duke of Aquitaine sends greeting to his archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons, sheriffs, reeves, ministers and all bailiffs and faithful people. We have inspected the charter of the lord Henry, our father, king of England (Henry III 1216-1272) about the liberties of England in these words:
Henry by the grace of God king of England, Duke of Normandy, Aquitaine and Count of Anjou sends greeting to his archbishops, bishops, earls, barons, sheriffs, reeves, ministers and all faithful people who will inspect the present charter. You may know that we by the instigation of God and for the salvation of our souls and the souls of our ancestors and descendants by our spontaneous and good will have, for the elevation of the Holy church and the bettering of our kingdom, given and granted to the archbishops, bishops, priors, earls, barons and ministers of our kingdom these liberties as are written below to be observed in our kingdom of England in perpetuity. Firstly we have conceded to God and we, by this our present charter, confirm for ourselves and for our heirs in perpetuity that the English church may be free and may hold all rights freely, fully and its liberties unquestioned; we have also granted and have given to all free men of our kingdom on behalf of ourself and of our heirs in perpetuity that they may have and hold the liberties as written below, by them and their heirs of us and our heirs in perpetuity. If any person of our earls or barons or of any other tenants who hold of us in chief through knight service may die and after his death and his heir shall be of full age and he owes relief, he may receive his inheritance through the old relief, that is to say an heir or the heirs of an earl by a hundred pounds for the entire Earldom, an heir or the heirs of a baron by a hundred marks for the full Barony, the heir or heirs by a hundred shillings for a full knights fee at the most and who has held less may give in accordance with the ancient custom of the fees. If however the heir of anyone of any such status should have been under age, the lord may not have custody of him nor of his land before he has taken his homage and afterwards such an heir who shall have been in custody, shall, when he has come of age, that is at twenty one years, receive his inheritance without relief and without a fine. Moreover that if he should have become a knight while he has been in custody, even so the land may remain in the keeping of his lords to the end of the aforesaid term. The guardian of the land of an heir of this nature, who has been under age, may not take anything from the heir’s land unless reasonable profits of that land. He ought to make report to us and if he, during his time of guardianship shall cause damage or commit waste then we will take it from him to be emended and the land may be committed to two trusted and honest men. And if we have given or sold the guardianship of the land to anyone of such nature and he then has caused damage or waste he shall loose that guardianship and it be handed over to two trusted and honest men of that fee who similarly may answer to us just as is aforesaid. However the guardian of the land has to accept a certain responsibility for the land in this manner: he will maintain the buildings, parks, fish ponds, stanks, mills and all things pertaining to that land out of the profits of the same land and when the heir shall come of full age he shall return his land completely stocked with ploughs and all other things in full just as he received it. All these things are to be observed concerning the custody of the lands of archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, churches and vacant dignitaries which pertain to us, except when the guardianship in this manner ought to come to us. The heirs shall marry without disparagement, a widow at once after her husband’s death and she may have her marriage allowance and her inheritance without obstacle and may not give anything for her dowry nor for her marriage portion for the inheritance; that is any inheritance which she, the same widow and her husband held on the day of her husband’s death and she may remain in her husband’s capital messuage for forty days after her husband’s death, within which days her dowry may be assigned to her, unless it shall have been already assigned to her or unless that residence should be a castle and if she should depart from such castle, a suitable house may be provided at once for her in which she may honourably remain until her dowry be assigned to her, as it aforesaid and meanwhile she may have a reasonable maintenance grant from the community. However a third part of all her husband’s land may be assigned to her for her dowry which was hers during his life, unless she had been provided with less dowry at the church entrance. No widow may be pressurised to get married while she has wished to live without a husband. Then so that she may give assurance that she will not marry without our assent if she has held from us or without her lord’s assent if she has held from another. Indeed neither we, nor our bailiffs will seize any land or rent for any debt when certain present chattels of the debtor are sufficient to pay the debt and the debtor himself made be prepared to make satisfaction, nor shall the sureties of the same debtor be distrained when the chief debtor himself has sufficient for the payment of his own debt and if the chief debtor should default in payment of the debt, not having the funds to make repayment or being reluctant to make payment when he is able, the sureties for the debt may be responsible and if they should wish they may have the debtor’s lands and rents until he makes satisfaction to them about the debt which they have paid for him previously, unless the chief debtor has shown that he is quit towards his sureties. The city of London may have all is ancient liberties and customs; in addition we wish and concede that all other cities and boroughs and towns and the barons of the Cinque Ports and all ports may have all the liberties as their free customs. No one may be distrained to make more service for a knight’s fee nor for any other free tenement than that which is owing. The common pleas may not follow our court but shall be held in another particular place. Recognizances of Nova Disseisina and of Morte Antecessorum shall not be taken unless in their own counties. We, or if we should be out of the kingdom our chief justiciary, shall send our justiciaries into every county whatsoever once in a year, where, with the knights of the shires they may take the aforesaid assizes and those things which at his coming in the county cannot be terminated through our aforesaid justiciaries at the two assizes which were taken, shall be terminated by the same men elsewhere in their itinerary and those matters which by the same men could not be terminated on account of difficulty of other articles may be referred to the justiciaries of the Bench. The assizes of Ultima Presentacione are always taken before the justiciaries of the Bench and to be terminated there. A free man may not be amerced for a minor offence except according to the manner of the same man’s offence and for a more serious offence according to the extent of his delinquency, saving to the consideration of his status and a merchant in the same way according to his merchandise and a villein of another, rather than of ours, shall be amerced in the same way according to his weregeld should he happen to be placed into our mercy and none of the aforesaid amercements shall be imposed unless through the oath of trusted and law-abiding men of the neighbourhood and knights and barons shall not be amerced except through their peers and not unless according to the manner of the offence. No ecclesiastical person shall be amerced according to the quantity of his benefice but according to the quantity of his lay fee and according to the nature of his offence nor shall any villein or free man be distrained to build bridges at the waterways unless they had been obliged to do so from ancient times and by right. No defences shall be made for any river banks apart from those which had been made as defences in the time of king Henry our grandfather throughout the same places and under the same terms, just as they were accustomed to do in his time. No sheriff, constable, coroner or any other of our bailiffs may hold pleas of our crown. If any person holding a lay free of us shall have died and our sheriff or bailiff shall show our letters patent concerning our summons about the debt which shows what he owes to us, it may then be lawful for the sheriff or our bailiff to impound and evaluate all the deceased person’s goods and chattels found in that lay fee to the extent of that debt assessed by the valuation of trusted men. Thence nothing may be removed from there until the debt to us which was clearly shown shall be paid and the residue may be left to the executors in accordance with the deceased person’s will and if nothing may be owed to us by him and all his chattels shall yield to the deceased, saving to the wife and children of the same in reasonable share. No constable or a bailiff of his may take the corn or other chattels of anyone who is not of the town where the castle is situated unless he immediately pays money for them, or then he can have respite by the wish of the vendor. If however he is of that same town he may pay the price within forty days. No constable may distrain any knight to give him money for castle guard if he shall have been willing to do this in his own person or if for some good reason he is not able to perform this service through another trusted man; in addition, if we have led or sent him into the army, he may be exempt from service in accordance with the time during which through us he was in the army because of the fee for which he has done service in the host. No sheriff or our bailiff or any other person shall take the horses or carts of anyone to make a carriage unless he shall make the payment laid down in ancient statutes, that is to say ten pence per day for one cart with two horses and fourteen pence per day for one cart with three horses. No cart of the demesne of any ecclesiastical person or knight or of any other lord shall be taken by our bailiffs neither shall we, our bailiffs or anyone else take wood belonging to anyone else for our castles or for any other of our works unless by permission of the person to whom the wood belongs. We will not hold the lands of those persons convicted of felony longer than one year and one day and then those lands shall be returned to the lord of the fees. All fish kidells shall forthwith be removed from the Thames and Medway and throughout the whole of England unless upon the sea coast. The writ called Precipe in future shall not be granted to anyone of any free tenement, thence a free man may loose his court. There shall be one measure of wine throughout our whole kingdom and one measure of beer and one measure of corn, that is to say the quarter of London and one width of dyed cloth, of russets and halberjects, that is two ells within the selvedges. Concerning weights, these shall be the same as the measures. In future nothing may be given or taken from him who seeks the writ of the inquisition Concerning life and limbs but it shall be freely conceded and not denied. If anyone may hold of us in fee farm or socage or burgage and shall hold land from another by military service we will not have the custody of either his heir nor lands which he holds of another because of that fee -farm, socage or burgage, unless the fee farm owes that same man military service. We will not have custody of the heir or lands of anyone who holds from any other person lands by military service by reason of petty serjeantry which he holds of us by service of giving daggers or arrows or other similar things to us. Forthwith no bailiff shall place any man to his open law, not to an open oath upon his own simple affirmation without faithful witnesses brought for the purpose. No free man be taken or imprisoned nor dispossessed of his free tenement nor of his liberties or free customs nor outlawed nor exiled nor in any way brought to destruction nor shall we go upon him nor condemn him except through the lawful judgement of his peers or through the law of the land. We will not sell to anyone, nor will we not deny nor delay to anyone either right or justice. All merchants, unless they have received public prohibition, shall have safe and secure conduct to go from and come into England and to remain and to travel throughout England both by land and by water to buy and sell with no unjust exactions, in accordance with the ancient and right customs, except in time of war and if they should be from the country with which we are at war and such merchants are found in our land at the beginning of the war, they shall be apprehended with no loss to their persons or to their goods until it is made known to us or to our chief justiciary how the merchants of our land who may be found in that land which is at war with us are used and if our men were safe there, then those others shall be safe in our land. If anyone has held of another escheat, as of the honour of Wallingford, Boulogne, Nottingham, Lancaster or other escheats which are in our hands and which might be baronies and has died, his heir shall not give any relief nor perform any other service to us other than he may make to a baron, if that might be in a baron’s hands and we will hold it in the same manner by which the baron held it, nor by reason of such a barony or escheat will we have any escheat or custody of any of our men unless he who held the barony or escheat held otherwise of us in chief. In future no free man shall give or sell any more of his land but except that from the residue of his land he may be able to make the service owing to the lord of the fee which pertains to that fee. All the patrons of abbeys which have charters of the kings of England concerning the advowson or the ancient tenure or possessions may hold custody of them while they shall have been vacant just is they ought to have and just as is decreed above. No one shall be arrested or imprisoned by the appeal of a woman for the death of any man other than her husband. Henceforth no county court may be held except from month to month, and where the greater term was accustomed to be it may be greater, neither shall any sheriff or his bailiff make his turn throughout the hundred except on two occasions in a year and not unless in the due and accustomed place, that is to say once after Easter and again after the feast of Michaelmas and the view of frank pledge shall be then made at the same Michaelmas term with no obstacle, thus moreover that everyone may have his liberties which he had or was accustomed to have in the time of king Henry our grandfather or which things he has since acquired. However the view of frank pledge may be so done that our peace may be held and that the tything may be fully kept just as it was accustomed to be and that the sheriff may seek no perquisites and that he may be content with such as the sheriff was accustomed to have when he made his view at the time of king Henry our grandfather, nor in the future may it be lawful for any man to give his land to a religious house and to take that land to hold from the same house nor may it be lawful for a religious house to accept land of any man and to lease that land to him from whom it was received. Forthwith if anyone has so granted land to a religious house and upon this is convicted, his gift shall immediately be curtailed and that land returned to the lord of that fee. Forthwith scutage may be taken [as was customary] in the time of our grandfather king Henry and saving to the archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, Templars, Hospitallers, earls, barons and all other persons both ecclesiastical and secular all the liberties and free customs which they first had. However all men of our kingdom, both clergy and laity shall observe all the customs and the aforesaid liberties [hole in MS which we have granted] in as much as pertains to us towards them in the way that these pertain towards them. However for this grant and concession of those liberties and other things contained in our charter concerning the liberties of the Forest the archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons and all people of our kingdom have given us a fifteenth part of all their moveable goods. We have granted also to the same people on our behalf and that of our heirs that neither we nor our heirs may request anything through which the liberties as contained in this charter may be violated or questioned and if any persons [may presume to commit such action] such may be worthless and set at nought. These are the witnesses: The lord S archbishop of Canterbury, E bishop of London, the bishops, J. Bath. P Winchester. H, Lincoln. R. Salisbury. W. Rochester, W.Worcester, J. Ely. H. Hereford. R. Chichester. W. Exeter, the abbot of Bury St Edmunds. The abbot of [hole], the abbot of Battle, the abbot of St Augustine’s Canterbury, the abbot of Evesham, the abbot of Westminster, the abbot of Peterborough, the abbot of Reading, the abbot of Abingdon, the abbot of Malmesbury, the abbot of Winchcombe, the abbot of Hythe, the abbot of Chertsey, the abbot of Shirbourne. The abbot of [hole] the abbot of Aylesbury. the abbot of Middleton., the abbot of Selby, the abbot of Cirencester, Hubert de Burgh our justiciar, H. earl of Chester and Lincoln, W. earl of Salisbury. W. earl Warenne. Gilbert de Clare earl of Gloucester and Hereford, W. de Ferrars earl of Derby, W de Mandeville earl of Essex, Hugh de Bigod earl of Norfolk, W. earl of Albermarle, H earl of Hereford. J Constable of Chester, R. de Ros, R son of Walter, R de Veteri Ponte, W. de Bruer. R. de Montfichet. P. fitz Herbert, W. de Aubeny son of Gresly, J de Munmue. J. Fitzalan, H de Mortimer, W de Beauchamp, W. de St John, P. de Malo lacu, Brian de Isham, Thomas de Multon, R. de Argentenn, G de Nevill, W. Manduit, J de Ballivi and others. Given at Westminster on the eleventh day of February in the ninth year of our reign, 1224/5. We however, having ratified the aforesaid grants and concessions freely concede and confirm them on behalf of ourself and of our heirs and renew them by the tenor of the present writings, desiring and granting for ourselves and our heirs that the aforesaid charter may be observed in all and each of its articles firmly and also unquestioned in perpetuity, if any articles contained in the same charter shall not previously have been observed. These are the witnesses: the venerable fathers * Robert archbishop of Canterbury, primate of all England, and bishops Anthony of Durham, Robert of London. Robert of Ely, Thomas of Exeter, Walter of Coventry and Lichfield, Simon of Salisbury, J (sic) Thomas of Rochester, John of Norwich and John of Llandaff, John elect of Lincoln, John de Warenne Earl of Surrey, Thomas Earl of Lancaster, Roger le Bygod Earl of Norfolk and Marshall of England, Henry de Lacy Earl of Lincoln, Ralph de Monte Hermern Earl of Gloucester and Hertford, Humphrey de Bohun Earl of Hereford and Essex, Guy de Beauchamp Earl of Warwick, Richard fitz Alan Earl of Arundel, Reginald de Grey, John de Hastings, Henry de Percy, Hugh le Despenser, Hugh de Veer, Robert de Tateshale, Hugh Bardolp, Hugh de Courteneye, John de Seagrave, Henry de Grey, William de Ros de Helmesleye, Alan la Zusche, Robert de Tony, Robert de Monte Alto, William de Breous, Thomas [hole]nall, John de Engaygne, Peter Corbet, William de Leyburn, William de Latymer, Walter de Beauchamp, steward of our lodgings, Walter de Huntercumbe and others. Given by our hand at Westminster on the twenty eighth day of March in the twenty eighth year of our reign. * Robert Winchelsey archbishop of Canterbury 1293-1313 Anthony Bek bishop of Durham 1283-1311 Robert Gravesend bishop of London 1280-1303 Robert de Walpole bishop of Ely1299-1302 Thomas de Bitton bishop of Exeter 1291-1307 Walter de Langeton bishop of Coventry and Lichfield 1296-1321 Simon of Ghent bishop of Salisbury 1297-1315 Thomas de Wouldham bishop of Rochester 1291-1317 John Salmon bishop of Norwich 1299-1325 John de Dalderby bishop elect of Lincoln 1300-1320. Elected 15th January 1300, consecrated 12 June 1300.
Written on fold of charter: For the Barons of the port of Faversham. Examined through Master Edmund of London
Transcribed and translated by Dr Bridgett Jones, June 2014
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