Sunday, 5 August 2018

Garnier: Peter's Pence

Extract from 
Stanzas 546-549
Lines  2726- 2745

Encore a un capitle que dirai ensement,
U li reis comanda par l’escrit veirement
Que li deniers saint Piere fust par tute la gent
D’Engleterre cuilliz e guardez lealment,
2730 Tresque il en fesist altre comandement.

Grant avancement unt Engleis en lur païs,
Si fu par le rei Knut, qui fu Daneis, asis :
Par chascun ostel est cil deniers par an pris,
U il a de cinc solz de vif aveir le pris.
2735 (A trente deniers est en tels lius i ad mis.)

Li apostolies sout aveir icel denier,
E par ço fist gramment les Engleis alegier :
Nes estuet pur pechié de la terre esluignier,
Tute lur penitence ferunt lez lur fuier.
2740 Idunc le prist li reis, e sil fist estuier.

Selunc mun jugement li reis aver le deit :
Apostolies, legaz, arcevesques esteit.
Se pape u arcevesque sa terre entrediseit,
Senz cruiz e senz estole li reis les asoilleit .
2745 N’i poeit saint’iglise vers li mustrer nul dreit.


There is yet one other legal matter whereof I shall speak: the king likewise has truly ordered by writ that the St. Peter's Pence were to be collected from all the people in the England and stored securely, until such time as he commanded otherwise. 2730

A great advantage was enjoyed by the English in their land, when king Knut [Canute], who was Danish, ordered a tax to be collected from each household [hearth which kindled a fire] assessed at one penny each year for every five shillings worth of livestock held. (There were some households [places] where this amounted to as much as 30 pence). 2735

The Popes used to receive this money, and which [in the past] caused them to give the English a dispensation which greatly alleviated them: they did not have to travel out of their country to seek expiation for their sins, but could perform their penances at the side of their own hearths  But the king took this money and locked it up in his own treasury. 2740

In my judgement the king had the right to do this, for he was Pope, [Papal]Legate and Archbishop [in his own land]. In fact if either Pope or Archbishop were to lay the country under an interdict, he [the king] could absolve himself without the need for a stole or a cross. Holy Church was powerless to assert any right against him. 2745


Constitutions of Clarendon: Peter's Pence

The 'Denarius Sancti Petri' in England
O. Jensen, D. de Comitibus and Joh. de Binis
Transactions of the Royal Historical Society
New Series, Vol. 19 (1905), pp. 209-277
Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Royal Historical Society
DOI: 10.2307/3678232

James Tyrrell (1700). The General History Of England, Both Ecclesiastical and Civil: From The Beginning of the Reign Of King William I. .. To the End of the Reign Of King Henry the Third ... The 18th ...: Rogers. p. 65.

Thomas LAWSON (Quaker, of Lancashire.) (1680). A treatise relating to the call, work, and wages of the ministers of Christ; as also to the call, work, and wages of the ministers of Antichrist, etc.  CAP XI The Rise of Reek Money pp. 80–.

John Morris (1885). The Life and Martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket. Burns and Oates. pp. 405–407.

R. J. A. White (August 1967). A Short History of England. Cambridge University Press. pp. 56–. ISBN 978-0-521-09439-9.

Jean Louis de Lolme (1838). The Rise and Progress of the English Constitution: In Two Volumes. Parker. pp. 30–.

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