Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Ordinance Establishing Spiritual Courts in England in 1072

Following a council held in 1072 William the Conqueror  issued an ordinance withdrawing spiritual pleas from the hundred courts. This led to the establishment of ecclesiastical courts in England


Ordinance of William I., separating the Spiritual and Temporal Courts. 

William by the grace of God King of the English, to R. Bainard and G. de Magnavilla, and P. de Valoines, and to my other faithful ones of Essex and of Hertfordshire and of Middlesex, greeting. Know all of you and my ther faithful ones who remain in England, that in a common council and by the advice of the archbishops and bishops, and abbots, and of all the princes of my kingdom, I have decided that the episcopal laws, which up to my time in the kingdom of the English have not been right or "according to the precepts of the holy canons, shall be emended. Wherefore I command, and by royal authority decree, that no bishop or archdeacon shall any longer hold, in the hundred court, pleas pertaining to the episcopal laws, nor shall they bring before the judgment of secular men any case which pertains to the rule of souls; but whoever shall be summoned, according to the episcopal laws, in any case or for any fault, shall come to the place which the bishop shall choose or name for this purpose, and shall there answer in his case or for his fault, and shall perform his law before God and his bishop not according to the hundred court, but according to the canons and the episcopal laws. But if any one, elated by pride, shall scorn or be unwilling to come before the judgment seat of the bishop, he shall be summoned once and a second and a third time; and if not even then he come to make amends, he shall be excommunicated; and, if it be needful to give effect to this, the power and justice of the king or the sheriff shall be called in But he who was summoned before the judgment seat of the bishop shall, for each summons, pay the episcopal fine. This also I forbid and by my authority interdict, that any sheriff, or provost, or minister of the king, or any layman concern himself in the matter of laws which pertain to the bishop, nor shall any layman summon another man to judgment apart from the jurisdiction of the bishop. But judgment shall be passed in no place except within the episcopal see, or in such place as the bishop shall fix upon for this purpose.

In Latin

Other references

Principles of Western Civilisation. Forgotten Books. pp. 476–. ISBN 978-1-4400-5718-2.


William I and the Church Courts

Colin Morris
The English Historical Review
Vol. 82, No. 324 (Jul., 1967), pp. 449-463
Published by: Oxford University Press
Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/559422

Felix Makower (1 July 2003). Constitutional History and Constitution of the Church of England. Kessinger Publishing. pp. 393–. ISBN 978-0-7661-7451-1.

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