Saturday, 22 September 2012


The Constitutions of Clarendon, as a document, was ordered physically to drawn up in the form of a Chirograph, in triplicate, to which all the prelates were to affix their seals; all of whom duly did so, saving Becket, who refused to affix his until he had time to reflect upon its content.

A chirograph was a system where the copies of important legal documents were all compiled on a single piece of vellum and then divided by toothed or "indented" lines. The copies when separated along these wavy lines could then be identified as "tallying" with each other when brought together, proving thereby they were not forgeries.

In the case of the Constitutions, one copy of the Chirograph was given to the Archbishop of York, another to Becket as Archbishop of Canterbury, and the last copy was to be filed in the royal archive.

Becket very probably actually used his personal copy when explaining to the Pope and to his assembled cardinals about what Henry was trying to do.

Alexander Mansfield Burrill (1850). A New Law Dictionary and Glossary The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. pp. 315–. ISBN 978-1-886363-32-8.

René Prosper Tassin; Charles François Toustain (1750). Nouveau traité de diplomatique. pp. 359–63.

Thomas Madox (1702). Formulare anglicanum. Tonson. pp. 28–.

John Reeves (1869). John Reeves's History of the English Law. Reeves & Turner. pp. 21–.

J. M. Kaye (2009). Medieval English Conveyances. Cambridge University Press. pp. 8–9. ISBN 978-1-139-48173-1.

Roger Hovenden Henrico II. " Fecit leges in chirographo poni."

W. L. Warren (28 November 1977). Henry II. University of California Press. pp. 490–. ISBN 978-0-520-03494-5.

Michael Staunton (7 December 2001). The Lives of Thomas Becket. Manchester University Press. pp. 91–. ISBN 978-0-7190-5455-6.

Timothy Cunningham (1764). A New and Complete Law-dictionary: Or, General Abridgment of the Law : on a More Extensive Plan Than Any Law-dictionary Hitherto Published : Containing Not Only the Explanation of the Terms, But Also the Law Itself, Both with Regard to Theory and Practice. Very Useful to Barristers, Justices of the Peace, Attornies, Solicitors, &c. Law printers to the King's Most Excellent Majesty. pp. 486–

George Crabb (1829). A History of English Law, Or, An Attempt to Trace the Rise, Progress, and Successive Changes, of the Common Law: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time. Baldwin and Cradock. pp. 89–.

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