Cartulary of Saint Trond: Robert, Bishop of Liège:
Protection of Fishing Rights, 1246
The days of primitive agrarian economy were long past when owners of property
protected even their fishing rights by the serious penalty of excommunication. As early as
Carolingian times seigneurs and abbots sold the fish taken from streams on their property,
thus obtaining no small revenue. Fishing in feudal times was an important manorial right.
Robert, by the grace of God, Bishop of Liège, to all his beloved sons, the priests
of Saint-Trond, greeting in the Lord.
We admonish each of you and command you to prohibit in general, publicly and solemnly,
all people from fishing in the waters of Willebempt and in the other streams of our
beloved and faithful son, the Abbot of Saint-Trond, situated in the town of Saint-Trond,
without permission or without the command of the said abbot. Those who do otherwise you
shall excommunicate, and with lighted candles and bells ringing you shall announce the
excommunication publicly on each Sunday and Holyday---a general excommunication for those
not known to you, and particular excommunication for those known to you. This you shall do
as often as you may be asked to do it by the said abbot, or ordered to do so at his
Given in the year of the Lord 1246, on the Thursday after the feast of Saint Lambert.
C. Piot, ed., Cartulaire de l'Abbaye de Saint-Trond, (Brussels: Academie Royale
de Belgique, 1870), p. 225; reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source
Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936;
reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 332-333.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
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© Paul Halsall, October 1998