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Medieval Sourcebook:
The Register of Roger Martival, Bishop of Salisbury, 1315-1330


Material from the Register of Roger Martival, Bishop of Salisbury, 1315-1330

Commission to William de Coleshull to receive the oath of obedience to the Bishop from his men in the archdeaconries of Berkshire and Wiltshire [undated]

Commission to Ralph de Querendon to receive the oath of obedience [undated]

Commission to take clerks imprisoned by royal and other officials into ecclesiastical custody [undated].

Publication of commission to John of Dorset, steward, Nicholas Saddock, and Geoffrey de Werminster, bailiff of Sonning, to hear a suit in the court of Sonning by royal writ of right between John and Margaret de Lenham and Robert de Syndlesham about two-thirds of the manor of Syndlesham [28 October 1315]

Commission to Peter de Periton and John de Hakeneye, canons of Salisbury, to examine evidence in the case of George de Brithmanstone, imprisoned at Salisbury and claiming clerical privilege [16 October 1315]


1. Commission to William de Coleshull to receive the oath of obedience to the Bishop from his men in the archdeaconries of Berkshire and Wiltshire [undated]

Commision for receiving canonical obedience. Roger, by the [divine] permission [Bishop of Salisbury] ... etc., to our belived in Christ Master William of Coleshull, canon of Salisbury, greetings in the name of the Savior of all. We commit to you as our representative with the power of canonical coercion to receive the canonical obedience from whomsover of our men living in the archdeaconries of Berkshire and Wiltshire who hold [land] from us and we make you our representative to make and exercise each and every thing that ought to be done in these matters. In testimony of this grant, etc. [here would be a formula of proof, either by witnesses or by seals].


2. Commission to Ralph de Querendon to receive the oath of obedience [undated]

Item, another commission. R[oger] by the divine permission [bishop of Salisbury] etc. ... to the beloved of Christ Master Ralph of Querendon, clerk, greetings in the name of the glorious Virgin. We make you our representative to receive the canonical obedience from whomever is subject to our power in our jurisdictions of Lavington, Potterne, Devizes and the borough of Marlborough in the Diocese of Salisbury, namely [to receive the obedience] from those who ought to swear it to us by custom or by right; [we also make you our representative] to inquire into, correct and punish anyone within our jurisdictions who exceeds these jurisdictions; and moreover [we appoint you our representative] to hear and to properly conclude cases and other business introduced and moved in these same jurisdictions; and [we concede to you as our representative the right] to exercise all and every matter which is known to pertain to our jurisdiction. And we depute you to be our clerk and registrar of our consistory of Salisbury, and also to be our sequestrator in the diocese of Salisbury. We commit to you this office and each of these above-mentioned customs with the power of canonical coercion. As testimony of this matter ... [etc.] Done ... [etc].


3. Commission to take clerks imprisoned by royal and other officials into ecclesiastical custody [undated].

Commission for extracting prisoners. Roger, by divine permission [Bishop of Salisbury...] etc. to the beloved of Christ A. A. B. etc., greetings in the name of the Lord. We appoint you our representative with the power of canonical coercion to seek and receive in our name from whichever justiciars, viscounts, and bailiffs of the lord king or of anyone else, and also [to seek and receive] from whomsoever regardless of their name or office, all clerks who, for reason of felonies, crimes, or excesses, have been indicted or are about to be indicted, have been seized or are about to be seized, have been incarcerated or are about to be incarcerated for any reason, or have been detained or are about to be detained in custody or in chains; [you shall seek and receive such clerks] who by right ought to be and are able to be brought before us to receive justice in the ecclesiastical court according to the canonical sanctions. We grant these powers to you conjointly and separately in the county of B., ordering that through our authority you cause these clerks to be guarded by our bailiff of Salisbury as soon as is possible. As testimony of this matter etc. Done at London etc. in the year of the Lord etc.


4. Publication of commission to John of Dorset, steward, Nicholas Saddock, and Geoffrey de Werminster, bailiff of Sonning, to hear a suit in the court of Sonning by royal writ of right between John and Margaret de Lenham and Robert de Syndlesham about two-thirds of the manor of Syndlesham [28 October 1315]

Commission made to John of Dorset, seneschal and bailiff of Sonning. Let it be known to all thorugh the present document that we, Roger, by divine permission bishop of Salisbury, commanded those men beloved to us in Christ John of Dorset, our seneschal, Gilbert of Saddock, and Geoffrey of Werminster, bailiff of our maner of Sonning, to hear in our court of Sonning held in the county of Berkshire the arguments made in this court according to the royal writ of right by John of Lenham and Margeret his wife, plaintiffs, and Robert of Syndlesham, the accused, concerning two parts of the manor of Syndlesham with all its appurtenances. [We order you] to dispense full justice in each and every matter concerning the abovementioned case according to the law and custom of the kingdom of England. As testimony of this action, we caused these letters patent to be drawn up. Done at Sonning on the 28th day of the month of October in the ninth year of the reign of King Edward son of King Edward.


5.  Commission to Peter de Periton and John de Hakeneye, canons of Salisbury, to examine evidence in the case of George de Brithmanstone, imprisoned at Salisbury and claiming clerical privilege [16 October 1315]

Simple letters concerning George de Brithmanstone who was imprisoned for his excesses

Roger by divine permission bishop of Salisbury sends greetings, grace, and blessings to his beloved masters in Christ, Peter of Periton and John of Hakeneye, canons of our church of Salisbury. Recently George de Brithmanstone, a man of our diocese, had been captured and imprisoned at Salisbury for certain crimes imputed to him; he had personally claimed before certain justiciars of our lord king who were denying his clerical status to have constituted himself as a cleric, and he had sought at an ecclesiastical examination to prove on his part that his clerical title ought to be returned to him. Although this title had in no way been given [him] by us, because of the great vehemence of his supplication, we took the trouble to depute for him commissioners to allow/accept/promise/receive certain prohibitions in this matter, desiring therefore that the ecclesiastical immunity be kept undiminished to the extent that is possible with the help of God and fully entrusting to your prudent caution the decision concerning the said George and others, to be made as we ought to do so, that is according to the full strength of the law. [We also command you] to receive legitimate witnesses in a strictly legal way and to ask them about the articles that we have sent to you under our seal [the articles are attached to the end of this document]; [you should also examine] other canonical documents of interest which shall be produced before you on the part of the said George. And just as the sacred canons evoked by you dictate, we commission you as our legates [vices] with the power of canonical coercion until such time as we shall revoke that power, ordering that you take care to send us under your seal and at the opportune time and place the attestations of the witnesses and the writings concerning this matter. Whatever you shall decide in this matter you ought duly to make known to us through the strength of letters patent containing descriptions of these affairs. Farewell. Done at Sonning on the 17th Kalends of November in the year of the lord 1315 and in the first year of our consecration.

Articles despatched to the commissioners:

First, [ask] whether the said George was a cleric.

And if yes, [ask] by whom and when he was ordained.

Then, whether he remains married [conjugatus], and if yes, whether he married only one woman of marriageable status and when he did so [Item an idem conjugatus existat et si sic an unicam et virginem et quando duxerit in uxorem]

Item, [ask] if he was living as a cleric and had been wearing clerical habit and tonsure, especially at the time of his capture.

Item, [ask] about how he conducted himself and how he was thought of and reputed in public, especially concerning his conversation, character [fama], and reputation [opinione].

[Ask] about the day, place, reasons, and other circumstances surrounding them, just as a cautious examination of them shall reveal, and so on.


Source.

The Registers of Roger Martival, Bishop of Salisbury, 1315-1330, vol. 2 (The Register of Divers Letters, First Half), ed. C.R. Elrington (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1963), p. 24, 25, 46, and 39-40.  Translated by Richard Barton, 1998

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.

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© Paul Halsall, October 1998
halsall@fordham.edu