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Medieval Sourcebook:
Henry III:
Documents of the Church of Salisbury in the Early 13th Century


These two texts show the role of Henry III in confirming and financing the move from Old Sarum to New Sarum and the subsequent construction of the new cathedral.


1. Document no. CLVI (pages 175-178). January 30, 1227.

Henry, by the grace of God king of England, lord of Ireland, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and count of Anjou, to his archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, counts [earls], barons, viscounts, provosts, ministers and all bailiffs and vassals: health and greetings.

You should know that we, out of reverence and honor for God and the blessed Mary, eternal virgin, and for the health of ourselves and of our ancestors and heirs, conceded and with the present charter confirmed to God, to the church of Saint Mary, whose translation from our castle of Salisbury to a lesser place we hold [to be] correct, and at whose foundation we laid the first stone, and [we confirmed] to bishop Richard, bishop of the same place, to his successors, to the canons of this church, and to their men, [we confirmed to all of these people] the liberties and free customs which they have held from the time of our predecessors, the kings of England, in all parts of our kingdom. Having been gathered together and confirmed through the charters of our ancestors and of other persons of our kingdom, these liberties and customs should be upheld according to the rational testimony of these same charters. Moreover, we want and concede for us and for our heirs that the place which is called ANew Sarum@ shall be a free city in perpetuity, with fortified enclosures as is noted below, and that the citizens of this town living there shall be quit throughout the entire realm of commerce-duties, bridge-tolls, passagium, tolls, lastage, stallage [due paid for stalls in a market], cartage service, and every other custom throughout our whole realm, concerning all their goods that they will ship by land or by sea. And we prohibit anyone from troubling or disturbing them, their possessions, their lands, or their servants against the liberty of our charter or in spite of our penalty. And we confirm that the said citizens shall have in perpetuity the same liberties and exemptions throughout our entire kingdom as do our citizens of Winchester.

We wish and concede that the aforesaid bishop and his successors should enclose the aforesaid city of New Sarum with stout walls because of the fear of thieves, and that they shall hold [the city] in perpetuity as part of their own lordship, saving to us and our heirs the advocacy of this see and every other right that we have, and ought to have, when the see is vacant, just as we retain in other vacant cathedral churches within our kingdom. Indeed, it will not be legal for the aforesaid citizens to give, sell, or mortgage any burgage or tenement that they hold or shall hold in the same city to a church or to a religious person without the licence and consent of the aforesaid bishop and his successors.

On top of this, we concede to the same bishop and his successors that for their needs and those of their church they shall take a tallage or reasonable aid [both tallage and aid refer to a lordly exaction from dependents] from their aforesaid citizens whenever we or our heirs shall collect a tallage from our own domains.

We also concede to the bishop and to his successors that, for the completion and betterment [emendationem] of the said city, they shall create, shift, and alter the roads and bridges leading to this city as they shall see fit, as long as such correction does not infringe on the rights of anyone else.

We want and concede that the aforesaid bishop and his successors shall have [the right to hold] each year in perpetuity a fair in the aforesaid city of New Sarum, which shall last from the eve of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin until the morrow of the eighth day after the same feast, and [we also concede] a market [to be held] there each week through March, with all liberties and free customs pertaining to these fairs and market.

On top of this, we want and command that all merchants of our lands, as well as merchants of other lands who are within our peace, together with their merchandise, who are coming to the said city, delaying there, or departing from there, shall have the liberty to come, remain and depart, both by water and bridges as by land, and that they shall be free in entering and exiting our land, without any impediment from our bailiffs or those of any other lord, [as long as they shall] hold to the required and correct customs.

We concede all the aforesaid liberties and exemptions to the aforesaid bishop and his successors, to the canons and to the citizens of the said city, such that through this liberal concession made to the said church, to the bishop and his successors, to the canons, and to the citizens, nothing shall be subtracted from the liberties conceded to the bishop and his successors and to the canons of this church through the charters of our predecessors the kings of England or of other donors. All these aforementioned things we conceded to the said bishop and his successors, the canons, and the citizens saving the liberties of our city of London.

For which reason we want and firmly command that the aforesaid bishop and his successors, the canons, and the citizens of this city shall have and hold in perpetuity all the aforesaid liberties and free customs and exemptions well and in peace, freely and wholly, and honorably, in all things and places throughout our entire realm, just as has been said.

[Done] with these witnesses: Eustace, bishop of London; Peter des Roches, bishop of Winchester; Joscelin bishop of Bath; Hubert de Burgh, our justiciar; Gilbert de Clare, earl [count] of Gloucestershire and Hertfordshire; Richard de Argenton; Ralph fitzNicholas, our seneschal; Henry de Capella; and others.

Written by the hand of the venerable father Ralph, bishop of Chester, our chancellor, at Westminster, on the thirtieth day of January, in the eleventh year of our reign [Jan. 30, 1227].


2. Document no. CLVIII (pp. 180-182). Dated March 23, 1227

Note: the editors assume that the following charter, which lists the financial privileges granted by Henry III to Bishop Richard Poore, was designed to assist in the building of the new cathedral. Although the document does not specifically state that this is so, such a reason undoubtedly contributed, at least in part, to the king's decision to make these grants.

Henry by the grace of God King of England, lord of Ireland, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine and count of Anjou, to his archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons, justiciars, viscounts, provosts, ministers, and all bailiffs and vassals, health and greetings.

You should know that we, for the respect of God, and for the health of our soul and the souls of our ancestors and heirs, conceded to God and to the church of Saint Mary of New Sarum and to the venerable father Richard, bishop of the same city, and to his successors, all the amercements from all the men, lands, and fiefs of the same bishop, and [the amercements] from the dean and all the canons of the church of Salisbury, and [the amercements] of all their men, lands, and fiefs. Namely, [we grant] the amercements which would have pertained to us and to our heirs, or to our viscounts, constables, and our other bailiffs, if we had not granted them to the bishop and his successors. And we want that the same bishop and his successors to have full power to constrain all of the aforesaid [ie., the viscounts, constables, etc.] to render those amercements to him. And we prohibit on pain of our penalty lest anyone interfere with the collection or receipt of the same amercements or with the power of constraint concerning them, unless it shall be through the will of the bishop or his successors. We conceded to the same bishop and his successors that if any of the men from his lands or fiefs, or from the lands or fiefs of the dean, the canons or any of their men, ought to lose his life or limb for his crime, or if he shall flee and shall not want to stand justice, or [if he] shall commit any crime whatsoever for which he ought to lose moveable property [ie., as a fine], wherever justice ought to be made concerning this crime, whether in our court or in some other court, all of the [confiscated] property shall go to the bishop and his successors. And it shall be legal for the bishop and his successors, without disturbing the viscount or our bailiff or someone else's bailiff, to take seizin of the aforesaid [confiscated] property in the aforesaid cases and in others when our bailiff, if the confiscated property pertains to us, would normally take seizin of the property in our name. We conceded afterwards to the aforesaid bishop and his successors that no viscount or constable or any other of our bailiffs shall have power over or the right to enter into the lands, fiefs, and men of the bishop and his successors or of the dean, the canons, and their successors, but it [power and entrance] shall pertain wholly to the bishop and his successors and to their bailiffs, with the exception of those legal attachments from the pleas of the crown. And we desire that the aforesaid bishop and his successors shall be forever quit from all fines for the escape of thieves and all other prisoners. We also conceded to the aforesaid bishop and his successors that they may forever have a fair at his manor of Sonning [Sunninge] at Wokingham [Berkshire] [to last] all the days of March, and also a market at his manor of Ramsbury [Wiltshire] to last throughout March, with all liberties and free customs pertaining to markets of this sort, unless [those customs] shall work to the harm of neighboring markets. We also conceded to the aforesaid bishop and his successors that the bishops, deans, and canons of Sarum, and their successors, as well as all the men of all their fiefs, shall be free in perpetuity from teloneum [tax or toll on the transport and sale of goods] throughout our entire kingdom, and [shall be free] from court suits [sectis] of the shires and hundreds, and [free] from all labor-services [operationibus] on castles, and [free] from all other labor-services. Afterwards, we conceded to the aforesaid bishop and his successors that even if over the course of time, for whatever contingency at all, they have not made use of some of the liberties that we conceded to them, nevertheless this fact shall not hinder them from making use of them [in the future] without obstruction. We conceded and, with the present charter, confirmed all these aforesaid liberties, free customs and exemptions on the part of ourselves and our heirs to God, to the church of Saint Mary of New Sarum, and to the aforesaid bishop and his successors as free, pure, and perpetual alms. For which reason we desire and firmly command that they shall thus have and hold them in perpetuity, and that the aforesaid dean and canons of Sarum and their successors, and all the men, lands, and fiefs of the dean and chapter, and all the men from these fiefs, and the lands and other fiefs of the bishop and all the men of those fiefs, shall have the aforesaid liberties and free customs and exemptions absolutely and freely, wholly and completely, in all places and things, just as has been written above.

[Done] with these witnesses: Joscelin, bishop of Bath; Luke the chaplain and dean of Saint Martin's, London; Hubert de Burgh, earl of Kent and our justiciar; William d'Avranches; Walter de Evermue; W. de Stuteville; Peter fitzHerbert; Alan Basset; Ralf fitzNicholas, our seneschal; Walter of Preston; Robert of Amberville.

Written by the hand of the venerable father Ralph, bishop of Chester, our chancellor, on the 23rd day of March in the eleventh year of our reign.


Source.

Charters and Documents Illustrating the History of the Cathedral, City, and Diocese of Salisbury in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries. Ed. W. Rich Jones. Rerum Britannicarum Medii Aevi Scriptores (Rolls Series), v. 97 (London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1891). Reprint, Kraus Reprint Ltd., 1965. Translated by Richard Barton.

The text is copy-permitted for educational and non-commercial use; it can be used in class course packets, but cannot be printed or otherwise distributed in print form (including by university presses), or used commercially, without permission from the translator. Since these texts might be revised, users should not mount these texts permanently (for more than one semester) on other websites.


This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

Paul Halsall, October 1998
halsall@fordham.edu