Thursday, 13 September 2012

Constitutions of Clarendon: William Stubbs

Extract from

William Stubbs (1870). Select charters and other illustrations of English constitutional history from the earliest times to the reign of Edward the First. Clarendon Press. pp. 129–.

A.D. 1164. Constitutions of Clarendon. 

The following text of the Constitutions of Clarendon gives
probably the exact terms in which they were reported to the
king and confirmed by the bishops and barons. The list of the
barons is especially valuable as showing the composition of
the ' Commune Concilium regni ' at the period, and may be
compared with the corresponding lists attached to the con-
firmations of the great Charter of John. Besides the impor-
tance of the Constitutions themselves in their bearing on the
relations of Church and State in England, the following points
of consequence, more immediately touching Constitutional
History and the growth of our legal system, are worthy of
attention, i. The reservation to the Curia Regis of questions
of Presentation and Advowson for the decision of which the
Assize of Darrein presentment was issued, the only vestiges
of which are preserved in Glanvill. 2. The maintenance of
the relations between the ecclesiastical and civil jurisdictions
which had been introduced into England by William the
Conqueror.-*- Under the Anglo-Saxon system, in which the
bishop and archdeacon sat in the shire-moot and hundred-
moot, all offences touching the clergy, except those of a purely
spiritual character, which were treated of in special courts
and councils, were decided according to the law of the land,
which provided abundantly for such cases : nor until the
canon law began to be studied, which was after the publica-
tion of the Panormia of Ivo of Chartres, was much incon-
venience found to result from conflicting jurisdictions. The
Decretum of Gratian appeared towards the beginning of
Stephen's reign, and appeals to Rome multiplied as the influence
of the Italian lawyers increased. The necessity for the restric-
tive action of the Constitutions of Clarendon will be learned
from the events which led up to them : although these events
are to be ascribed no doubt largely to the exaggerated influence
of the canon law, it ought not to be forgotten that the source of
the evil was in the Conqueror's measure of division. 3. The
notice of the use of a jury (Art. 6), and of the principle of
recognition by twelve lawful men in case of a dispute as to
the tenure of an estate alleged to be held in franc-aJmoign
(Art. 9), is the earliest case of such mention in anything like
statute law. It is not, however, to be supposed that this is the
act of the institution of such recognitions, of which probably
many earlier instances might be found. ^ 4. The direction that
elections to the bishoprics and abbacies shall take place in
the royal chapel, subject to the approval of the king and his
council, is in conformity with the usage of Henry I, and with
the practice of the West-Saxon kings of England. But the
right of election had long been claimed for the clergy of the
church whose vacancy was to be supplied. As early as the
eighth century the letters of Alcuin give proof that such
liberty was possessed by the clergy of York, and the subsequent
restriction was probably owing to the example set by the
emperors in France and Germany. Generally the Anglo-Saxon
bishops were appointed by the king and witan, but there
are traces, from the date of Theodore to the Conquest, of free
elections occasionally allowed, and constantly claimed. It was
the Peace of Anselm and Henry I that gave the king an
absolute and legal influence in this matter. 5. The restriction
of the liberty of ' rustics ' or ' natives ' to take holy orders,
is not to be understood as intended to depress a class of
people whom in other matters the king was anxious to raise,
but as a security to the landowners that they should not lose
the services of their villeins. The villeins were in fact labourers
whose wages were paid in land, the tenure of which, having
become settled to villenage, could not be altered or readjusted
so as to idemnify the lord for the loss of the labour consequent
on the ordination of his villein. It is possible also, considering
the similar article of the Assize of Clarendon (below, p. 172),
that orders or religious vows were sometimes used by villeins
as an expedient for escaping from the jurisdiction of their lords,
and thus increased the number of disreputable clerks whose
misconduct necessitated Henry's measure of reform.

After the murder of Thomas Becket, the king purchased
absolution from the Holy See by abjuring the obnoxious
clauses of the Constitutions of Clarendon (at Avranches, May 21,
1172). He thus abandoned the claim to try or to punish
criminous clerks ; and ' benefit of clergy ' continued without
diminution from his time to that of Henry VII. Only for
breaches of the forest law were clerks amenable to royal
jurisdiction. Further, the right of carr5dng appeals in ecclesi-
astical causes to Rome was admitted without reservation.
On the other hand, the king retained the jurisdiction in suits
of patronage and over all church-lands which were held by
some other tenure than frank-ahnoign ; the method of election
to vacant prelacies which was laid down in the Constitutions
(§ xii) remained in use till 1214.

Anno ab Incarnatione Domini MCLXIV, papatus Alex-
andri anno TV^°. illustrissimi regis Anglorum Henrici secundi
anno decimo, in praesentia ejusdem regis, facta est ista recor-
datio vel recognitio cujusdam partis consuetudinum et liberta-
tum et dignitatum antecessorum suorum, videhcet regis
Henrici avi sui, et aliorum quae observari et teneri debent
in regno. Et propter dissensiones et discordias quae emerserant
inter clerum et Justitias domini regis et barones regni de
consuetudinibus et dignitatibus, facta est ista recognitio coram
archiepiscopis et episcopis et clero et comitibus et baronibus
et proceribus regni. Et easdem consuetudines recognitas
per archiepiscopos et episcopos et comites et barones et per
nobiliores et antiquiores regni, Thomas Cantuariensis archiepi-
scopus, et Rogerus Eboracensis archiepiscopus, et Gilebertus
Londoniensis episcopus, et Henricus Wintoniensis episcopus,
et Nigellus Eliensis episcopus, et Willelmus Norwicensis
episcopus, et Robertus Lincolniensis episcopus, et Hilarius
Cicestrensis episcopus, et Jocelinus Sarisberiensis episcopus.
et Ricardus Cestrensis episcopus, et Bartholomeus Exoniensis
episcopus, et Robertus Herefordensis episcopus, et David
Menevensis episcopus, et Rogerus Wigornensis electus, con-
cesserunt, et in verbo veritatis viva voce iirmiter promiserunt
tenendas et observandas, domino regi et haeredibus suis, bona
fide et absque malo ingenio, praesentibus istis : Roberto
comite Leghecestriae, Reginaldo comite Cornubiae, Conano
comite Britanniae, Johanne comite de Augo, Rogerio comite
de Clara, comite Gaufrido de Mandevilla, Hugone comite
Cestriae, Willelmo comite de Arundel, comite Patricio,
Willelmo comite de Ferrariis, Ricardo de Luci, Reginaldo de
Sancto Walerico, Rogero Bigot, Reginaldo de Warennia,
Richerio de Aquila, Willelmo de Braiosa, Ricardo de Camvilla,
Nigello de Moubrai, Simone de Bello Campo, Humfrido de
Boun,Matthaeo de Herefordia, Waltero de Meduana, Manassero
Biseth dapifero, Willelmo Malet, Willelmo de Curci, Roberto
de Dunestavilla, Jocelino de Baillolio, Willelmo de Lanvalis,
Willelmo de Caisneto, Gaufrido de Ver, Willelmo de Hastinges,
Hugone de Morevilla, Alano de Nevilla, Simone filio Petri,
Willelmo Malduit camerario, Johanne Malduit, Johanne
Mariscallo, Petro de Mara, et multis aliis proceribus et nobili-
bus regni, tam clericis quam laicis.

Consuetudinum vero et dignitatum regni recognitarum quae-
dam pars praesenti scripto continetur. Cujus partis capitula
haec sunt ;

Cap. i. De advocatione et praesentatione ecclesiarum si
controversia emerserit inter laicos, vel inter laicos et clericos,
vel inter clericos, in curia domini regis tractetur vel terminetur.

Cap. ii. Ecclesiae de feudo domini regis non possunt in per-
petuum dari absque assensu et concessione ipsius.

Cap. iii. Clerici retati et accusati de quacunque re, summoniti
a Justitia regis venient in curiam ipsius, responsuri ibidem de
hoc unde videbitur curiae regis quod ibidem sit respondendum ;
et in curia ecclesiastica, unde videbitur quod ibidem sit
respondendum ; ita quod Justitia regis mittet in curiam
sanctae ecclesiae ad videndum qua ratione res ibi tractabitur.
Et si clericus convictus vel confessus fuerit, non debet de
cetero eum ecclesia tueri.

Cap. iv. Archiepiscopis, episcopis, et personis regni, non
licet exire de regno absque licentia domini regis. Et si exierint,
si domino regi placuerit, assecurabunt, quod nee in eurido, nee
in moram faciendo, nee in redeundo, perquirent malum vel
damnum regi vel regno.

Cap. V. Excommunicati non debent dare vadium ad re-
manens, nee praestare juramentum, sed tantum vadium et
plegium standi judicio ecclesiae ut absolvantur.

Cap. vi. Laici non debent accusari nisi per certos et legales
accusatores et testes in praesentia episcopi, ita quod archidia-
conus non perdat jus suum, nee quicquam quod inde habere
debeat. Et si tales fuerint qui culpantur, quod non velit vel
non audeat aliquis eos accusare, vicecomes requisitus ab
episcopo faciet jurare duodecim legales homines de visneto,
sen de villa, coram episcopo, quod inde veritatem secundum
conscientiam suam manifestabunt.

Cap. vii. NuUus qui de rege teneat in capite, nee aliquis
dominicorum ministrorum ejus, excommunicetur, nee terrae
alicujus eorum sub interdicto ponantur, nisi prius dominus
rex, si in terra fuerit, conveniatur, vel Justitia ejus, si fuerit
extra regnum, ut rectum de ipso faciat : et ita ut quod
pertinebit ad curiam regiam ibidem terminetur, et de eo
quod spectabit ad ecclesiasticam curiam, ad eandem mittatur
ut ibidem tractetur.

Cap. viii. De appellationibus si emerserint, ab archidiacono
debent procedere ad episcopum ab episcopo ad archiepiscopum.
Et si archiepiscopus defuerit in justitia exhibenda ad dominum
regem perveniendum est postremo, ut praecepto ipsius in
curia archiepiscopi controversia terminetur, ita quod non
debeat ulterius procedere absque assensu domini regis.

Cap. ix. Si calumnia emerserit inter clericum et laicum, vel
inter laicum et clericum, de ullo tenemento quod clericus
attrahere velit ad elemosinam, laicus vero ad laicum feudum,
recognitione duodecim legalium hominum, per capitalis
Justitiae regis considerationem terminabitur, utrum tene-
mentum sit pertinens ad elemosinam sive ad feudum laicum,
coram ipso Justitia regis. Et si recognitum fuerit ad elemo-
sinam pertinere, placitum erit in curia ecclesiastica, si vero
ad laicum feudum, nisi ambo de eodem episcopo vel barone
advocaverint, erit placitum in curia regia. Sed si uterque
advocaverit de feudo illo eundem episcopum vel baronem,
erit placitum in curia ipsius ; ita quod propter f actam recogni-
tionem saisinam non amittat, qui prior saisitus fuerat, donee
per placitum dirationatum fuerit.

Cap. X. Qui de civitate, vel castello, vel burgo, vel dominico
manerio domini regis fuerit, si ab archidiacono vel episcopo
super aliquo delicto citatus fuerit, unde debeat eisdem respon-
dere et ad citationes eorum satisfacere noluerit, bene licet eum
sub interdicto ponere, sed non debet excommunicari prius-
quam capitalis minister domini regis villae illius conveniatur, ut
justiciet eum ad satisfactionem venire. Et si minister regis
inde defecerit, ipse erit in misericordia domini regis, et exinde
poterit episcopus ipsum accusatum ecclesiastica justitia

Cap. xi. Archiepiscopi, episcopi, et universae personae regni,
qui de rege tenent in capite, et habent possessiones suas de
domino rege sicut baroniam, et inde respondent Justitiis et
ministris regis, et sequuntur et faciunt omnes rectitudines
regias et consuetudines, et sicut barones ceteri, debent interesse
judiciis curiae domini regis cum baronibus, usque perveniatur
in judicio ad diminutionem membrorum vel mortem.

Cap. xii. Cum vacaverit archiepiscopatus, vel episcopatus,
vel abbatia, vel prioratus de dominio regis, debet esse in manu
ipsius, et inde percipiet omnes redditus et exitus sicut domin-
icos. Et cum ventum fuerit ad consulendum ecclesiae, debet
dominus rex mandare potiores personas ecclesiae, et in capella
ipsius domini regis debet fieri electio assensu domini regis et
consilio personarum regni, quas ad hoc faciendum vocaverit.
Et ibidem faciet electus homagium et fidelitatem domino regi
sicut ligio domino, de vita sua et de membris et de honore suo
terreno, salvo ordine suo, priusquam sit consecratus.

Cap. xiii. Si quisquam de proceribus regni defortiaverit
archiepiscopo, vel episcopo, vel archidiacono, de se vel de suis
justitiam exhibere, dominus rex debet eos justiciare. Et si
forte aliquis defortiaverit domino regi rectitudinem suam,
archiepiscopi et episcopi et archidiaconi debent eum justiciare
ut domino regi satisfaciat.

Cap. xiv. Catalla eorum qui sunt in forisfacto regis non
detineat ecclesia vel coemiterium contra justitiam regis, quia
ipsius regis sunt, sive in ecclesiis sive extra fuerint inventa.

Cap. XV. Placita de debitis quae fide interposita debentur,
vel absque interpositione fidei, sint in justitia regis.

Cap. xvi. Filii rusticorum non debent ordinari absque
assensu domini de cujus terra nati dignoscuntur.

Facta est autem praedictarum consuetudinum et dignitatum
regiarum recordatio ab archiepiscopis, episcopis, comitibus,
baronibus, nobilioribus, et antiquioribus regni, apud Claren-
donam quarto die ante Purificationem Beatae Mariae Virginis,
domino Henrico cum patre suo domino rege ibidem praesente.
Sunt autem et aliae multae et magnae consuetudines et
dignitates sanctae matris ecclesiae et domini regis et baronum
regni, quae in hoc scripto non continentur. Quae salvae sint
sanctae ecclesiae et domino regi et haeredibus suis et baronibus
regni, et in perpetuum inviolabiliter observentur. [Robertson,
Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, v. 71-9 ; Gervase
of Canterbury, i. 178-80.]

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