Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Henry I's Charter of Liberties

Charter of Liberties or Henry I's Coronation Charter


George Lyttelton (1777). The History of the Life of King Henry the Second: Carta Libertatum Angliae Regis Henrici II: J. Dodsley. pp. 512–.

Laws of King Cnut and other Anglo-Saxon kings
Manuscript G - British Library MS Cotton Nero A.I

Coronation charter of Henry I, 1100
Lambeth Palace Library
Shelfmark: MS 1212
Cartulary of the See of Canterbury
ff. 97v-98r/pp. 187-188

In this Charter in Clause 1 he promises
Know that by the mercy of God and the common counsel of the barons of the whole kingdom of England I have been crowned king of this said kingdom; and because the kingdom has been oppressed by unjust exactions, I, through fear of God and the love which I have toward you all, in the first place make the holy church of God free, so that I will neither sell nor let out to farm, nor on the death of archbishop or bishop or abbot will I take anything from the church’s demesne or from its men until the successor shall enter it. 

And I take away all the evil customs by which the kingdom of England was unjustly oppressed; which evil customs I here set down in part:

Augustin Thierry. History of the Conquest of England by the Normans: Its Causes, and Its Consequences, in England, Scotland, Ireland, and on the Continent. Cambridge University Press. pp. 344–. ISBN 978-1-108-03023-6.

George Lord Lyttelton (1767). The History of the Life of King Henry the Second, and of the Age in which He Lived ... a History of the Revolutions of England from the Death of Edward the Confessor to the Birth of Henry the Second. 2. Ed. Sandby. pp. 292–.

Ranulf Flambard - Wikipedia
Under William Rufus, he held the king's seal, and also was his financial administrator for the kingdom. He devised novel methods of raising revenue for the crown and was given custody of a number of vacant ecclesiastical offices, administering at one point sixteen vacant bishoprics or abbacies, which he set about "farming" for their revenue. 

Escheat - Wikipedia
Regalian right - Wikipedia

The regalia [lands, palaces etc.] of abbacies and bishopics technically belonged to the crown.Bishops and abbots were given these by the king just before they were consecrated in and to their new offices as bishops or abbots, and after they had sworn allegiance to the king and done homage for these lands and property. After the abbot or bishop died or had gone into exile, because they had no heirs or legal occupants, the regalia reverted [escheated] to the king, for his own personal use. The longer therefore a king could keep a bishopric or abbacy vacant the better it was for his income.

Among the ways that could be used when "farming" a vacant see were creating new knights' fees on the estate, chopping down its woodlands and orchards and selling the lumber, expelling monks from lands occupied by them and renting them, renting the lands from vacated churches to other churchmen, royal officials, and the like, all this and more, as well as the regular revenue that such lands and property would generate.

King Henry I's coronation charter Clause I effectively promised that he would not abuse his privileges or rights concerning vacant sees or ruthlessly exploit them. He did, however, collect the revenues from vacant sees, but not as excessively as his brother William Rufus had done under his administrator, Ranulf Flambard who treated ecclesiastical fiefs as if they were equivalent to temporal ones, subject to all kinds of exactions and reliefs.

Constitutions of Clarendon: Concordat of London 1107 and Clause 12 of the Constitutions

Feudal England : historical studies on the XIth and XIIth centuries by J.H. Round, John Horace, pp. 308-

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