Sunday, 1 September 2013

The Second or Oxford Charter of King Stephen (1136)

Carta Stephani Regis de libertatibus Ecclesiae Anglicanae 
et regni. 

Ego Stephanus Dei gratia assensu cleri et populi in regem 
Anglorum electus, et a Willelmo Cantuariensi archiepiscopo et 
sanctae Romanae ecclesiae legato consecratus, et ab Innocentio 
sanctae Romanae sedis pontifice confirmatus, respectu et 
amore Dei sanctam ecclesiam liberam esse concedo et debitam 
reverentiam illi confirmo. 

Nihil me in ecclesia vel rebus ecclesiasticis simoniace acturum 
vel permissurum esse promitto. Ecclesiasticarum personarum 
et omnium clericorum fet rerum eorum justitiam et potestatem 
et distributionem honorum ecclesiasticorum in manu episco- 
porum esse perhibeo et confirmo. Dignitates ecclesiarum pri- 
vilegiis earum confirmatas, et consuetudincs earum antique 
tenore habitas, inviolate manere statuo et concedo. Omnes 
ecclesiarum possessiones et tenuras quas die ilia habuerunt 
qua Willelmus rex avus meus fuit vivus et mortuus, sine omni 
calumniantium reclamatione, eis liberas et absolutas esse 
concedo. Si quid vero de habitis vel possessis ante mortem 
ejusdem regis, quibus modo careat ecclesia, deinceps repetierit, 
indulgentiae et dispensation! meae, vel restituendum vel 
discutiendum, reserve. Quaecunque vero post mortem ipsius 
regis liberalitate regum vel largitione principum, oblatione vel 
comparatione, vel qualibet transmutatione fidelium eis collata 
sunt, confirmo. Pacem et justitiam me in omnibus facturum, 
et pro posse meo conservaturum eis promitto. 

Forestas quas Willelmus avus meus et Willelmus avunculus 
meus instituerunt et habuerunt mihi reservo. Ceteras omnes, 
quas rex Henricus superaddidit, ecclesiis et regno quiet as reddo 
et concede. 

Si quis episcopus vel abbas vel alia ecclesiastica persona ante 
mortem suam rationabiliter sua distribuerit vel distribuenda 
statuerit, firmum manere concedo. Si vero morte praeoccupa- 
tus fuerit, pro salute animae ejus ecclesiae consilio eadem fiat 
distributio. Dum vero sedes propriis pastoribus vacuae fuerint, 
ipsas et earum possessiones omnes in manu et custodia clerico- 
rum vel proborum hominum ejusdem ecclesiae committam, 
donee pastor canonice substituatur. 

Omnes exactiones et injustitias et mescheningas, sive per 
vicecomites vel per alios quoslibet male inductas, funditus 

Bonas leges et antiquas et just as consuetudines, in murdris 
et placitis et aliis causis, observabo, et observari praecipio, et 
constituo. Haec omnia concedo et confirmo salva regia et 
justa dignitate mea. 

Testibus W. Cantuariensi archiepiscopo, et Hugone Rotho- 
magensi archiepiscopo, et Henrico Wintoniensi episcopo, et 
Rogero Sarisbiriensi episcopo, et A. Lincolniensi episcopo, 
et Nigello Eliensi episcopo, et Evrardo Norwicensi episcopo, et 
Simone Wigornensi episcopo, et Bernardo episcopo de Sancto 
David, et Audoeno Ebroicensi episcopo, et Ricardo Abrincensi 
episcopo, et Roberto Herefordensi episcopo, et Johanne Roue- 
cestrensi episcopo, et Athelulfo Carlolensi episcopo ; et Rogero 
cancellario ; et Henrico nepote regis ; et Roberto comite 
Gloecestriae, et Willelmo comite de Warenna, et Rannulfo 
comite Cestriae, et Roberto comite de Warewic ; et Roberto 
de Ver, et Milone de Gloecestria, et Brientio filio Comitis, et 
Roberto de Oilli, conestabulis ; et Willelmo Martel, et Hugone 
Bigot, et Hunfrido de Buhun, et Simone de Belcamp, dapiferis ; 
et Willelmo de Albiniaco, et Eudone Martel pincernis ; et 
Roberto de Ferreriis, et Willelmo Peverel de Notingeham ; 
et Simone de Saintliz ; et Willelmo de Albamarla, et Pagano 
filio Johannis, et Hamone de Sancto Claro, et Ilberto de Laceio. 

Apud Oxeneforde, anno ab Incarnatione Domini MC- 
XXXVI, sed regni mei primo. (Statutes of the Realm 
Charters of Liberties, p. 3. Will Malmesb., Hist. Nov.
Second Charter of Stephen

Statutes of the Realm as in Gee and Hardy p. 66

I STEPHEN, by the grace of God and the assent of the clergy and people elected king of the English, and consecrated by William, archbishop of Canterbury and legate of the Holy Roman Church, and confirmed by Innocent, pontiff of the Holy Roman See, from regard and love to God, do grant holy Church to be free and confirm due reverence to her. 

I promise that I will not do nor allow any simony in the Church or in church affairs. I permit and confirm justice and power over ecclesiastical persons and all clerks and their effects, and the distribution of ecclesiastical goods to be in the hands of the bishops. The dignities of churches confirmed by their privileges, and their customs had of ancient continuance, I ordain and grant to remain inviolate. All the possessions and holdings of churches which they had on that day when William the king, my grandfather, was alive and dead, I grant to them to be free and absolute without any appeal from claimants. But if the Church shall hereafter seek to regain any of the things held or possessed before the death of the same king which the Church has no longer, I reserve them for my indulgence and dispensation for restoration and for consideration. But I confirm whatever has been bestowed upon them since the death of this same king, by the liberality of kings or the gift of great men, by presentation or acquisition, or by any exchange of the faithful. I promise that I will perform peace and justice in all things, and will maintain these for them as far as I can. I reserve for myself the forests which William my grandfather, and William my uncle established and had. All the others which King Henry further added I give back and grant to the churches and the kingdom without molestation. If any bishop or abbot or other ecclesiastical person shall, before his death, reasonably devise or intend to devise his goods, I grant it to remain firm. But if he shall be overtaken by death let the same devise take place with the advice of the Church for the health of his soul. Moreover, whilst sees shall be without their proper pastors, these and all their possessions I will commit to the hand and custody of the clerks or good men of the same church, until a pastor be canonically appointed to succeed. I entirely abolish all exactions, and injuries, and miskennings wrongly introduced, whether by sheriffs or by any other. I will observe, and command and ordain to be observed, the good laws and ancient and just customs in murders and pleas and other causes. All these things I grant and confirm saving my royal and just dignity. 

Witness: W. Archbishop of Canterbury, Hugh Archbishop of Rouen, and Henry Bishop of Winchester, and Roger Bishop of Salisbury, and A. Bishop of Lincoln, and Nigel Bishop of Ely, and Everard Bishop of Norwich, and Simon Bishop of Worcester, and Bernard Bishop of Saint David's, and Owen Bishop of Evreux, Richard Bishop of Avranches, Robert Bishop of Hereford, John Bishop of Rochester, Athelwulf Bishop of Carlisle, and other lay signatories. At Oxford, in the year 1136 from the Lord's Incarnation, and the first of my reign.

This charter, in particular, states that Pope Innocent II formally confirmed Stephen's annointment  as king. Perhaps one reason why Henry II had to wait till Stephen died in order to take up the kingship.


Documents Illustrative of English Church History p. 66- Gee and Hardy Online Library of Liberty - II.: THE SECOND OR OXFORD CHARTER OF STEPHEN.1 (1136.) - Magna Carta: A Commentary on the Great Charter of King John, with an Historical Introduction. The Charter of Liberties of Stephen - Documents in English History. The Anarchy - Wikipedia: New Regime.

England; England. Sovereign (1066-1087 : William I) (1998). Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-820674-3. Regesta regum anglo-normannorum, 1066-1154

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