Dagobert, King of the Franks:
Grant of an Estate to Monks of St. Denis, 635
A grant of an estate in the seventh century was perhaps the gift of greatest value
that could be given by one person to another. No land was granted as a rule without the
accompanying forms of wealth described by Dagobert in this charter. Note that serfs and
bondsmen were not excluded in making the gift. Twenty-seven estates were given at one time
by Dagobert to the Abbey of St. Denis.
Dagobert, King of the Franks, illustrious monarch, to Wandelbert, the Duke.
Whatever we have devoutly granted for the relief of the poor, we believe we shall have
returned to us with profit in the next life. Therefore be it known that we have exchanged
our villa called Saclas, situated on the River Juine, in the district of Etampes, and
which we have received from Lord Ferreol, Bishop of the diocese of Autun, and from Abbot
Deodatus, the clergy and church or basilica of Symphorian, in whose care it is known to
have been, for another villa called Amica, which is in the district of Marseilles, to the
increase of our fortune. And that same Saclas we have devoutly granted in its entirety to
the monks of St. Denis, the martyr, at the monastery where his precious body now rests,
being within their gates. Therefore we have ordered that from the present date they shall
possess the villa of Saclas, with its houses, serfs, bondsmen, woods, meadows, pastures,
mills, flocks, shepherds, wholly and entirely, just as it was formerly held by the church
of Autun and Symphorian until we, as has been said, exchanged it for another. Therefore,
because it has been granted of our bounty, for the salvation of our soul, to the monks of
St. Denis, according to God's will, neither the abbot nor any other person shall at any
time presume to destroy this gift to the monks; but let it be administered in the name of
God by the hand of their abbot in whose assiduous care the monks live. And in whatever way
the fisc can augment its aid to the poor monks let it do so, so that they and their
successors may delight in the stability of our kingdom and pray for the salvation of our
soul. And that this charter may endure for all time we have decreed that it be signed with
our signature. Ursin obtained it. Dagobert granted it.
Given on July 28th in the fourteenth year of our reign, at Clichy.
J. P. Migne, ed., Patrologiae Cursus Completus, (Paris, 1850), Vol. LXXX, p.
535; 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. 308-309.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
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© Paul Halsall, October 1998