Medieval Latin: Commentary II

By Craig Wright | 13 Sep 2022 | Education

  1. Carta Lucie de Brintona de tota terra quam Godwinus filius Leurich

Carta Hugonis de Gurnay et Mileseint sponse sue de tota tenura

Dominis suis omnibus Hugonis de Gurnay et amicis et hominibus francis et anglis salutem. Sciatis quod ego et Mileseint sponsa mea et Hugo filius meus concedimus canonicis de Messend’ et carta nostra confirmauimus et garantizamus totam tenuram suam de Browton’ quam de Roberto Mansello tenebant cum omnibus appendiciis suis in bosco et plano et cunctis aliis rebus ad feudum illud pertinentibus ad tenendum de nobis et heredibus nostris et nominatim de uxore mea Mileseint cui in dote uillam illam dedimus ad tenendum insuper libere et quiete et hereditarie in perpetuam elemosinam per idem seruicium quod inde Roberto Mansel faciebant. Scilicet reddendo annuatim pro omnibus seruiciis vi marcas ad Pascha quas canonici vi marcas solebant reddere Roberto ad duos terminos scilicet Pasche Sancti Michaelis sed amodo reddentur simul ad Pascha et statuent unum canonicorum in ecclesia sua omnibus diebus pro salute nostra et antecessorum et successorum nostrorum. Et si ad eos de aliquo grauidi negotio nostro breue nostrum miserimus abbas aut aliquis de canonicis ibit pro nobis ad regem sine ad episcopum infra Angliam quin etiam ut omnis calumnia et querele heredum predicti Roberti tollantur. Sciant omnes amici nostri presentes et futuri nos pari assensu et concessione dedisse Stephano heredi predicti Roberti escambias in socha de Cheneborlay nominatim in Carlinton’ iiii marcatas terre illo in manu mea supradictam Brottone liberam dimittente et de escambiis mihi et Hugonis filio meo hominem suum faciente. Vt autem de hiis qui in presenti carta continentur nulla sit in posteris dubietas sigillum meum et sigillum sponse mee Millicent hic apponuntur. Testibus Nicholas Estoteuilla, Iohanne de Hosdeng, Willelmo de Sancto Luciano, Willelmo de Bossoncort, Hugone Heusart, Willelmo de Marteneio, Garnero Hosdent, Hugone de Braimoster, Reynardo de Mereuill, Radulfo de Ogia, Galtero thesaurio de Auesnes, Rogero capellano qui hanc cartam scripsit. Hec facta sunt apud Gornaium anno dominice incarnacionis MC sexagesimo vii pridie Nonarum Aprilis.

[Missenden Cartulary, no. 556; some spellings amended]

Translation

Letter of Hugh de Gurnay and his wife, Millicent, about his entire tenure.[1]

Hugh de Gurnay salutes all his Lords and friends and all Frenchmen and Englishmen.

May it be known that I, my wife Millicent, and my son Hugh have granted to the clergymen of Messend (which we confirm and guarantee through this letter) all the tenure of Broughton that they previously held from Robert Mansel, with all the annexes in the woodland and the open land and all further matters corresponding to the feudal grant, so that they may hold them from us, and from our heirs and namely from my wife Millicent, to which we gave the same estate as a dower, and so that it may be granted in perpetual frankalmoign freely, without impediment and with right of inheritance for the same service that they performed when it pertained to Robert Mansel.  

For all the services, the clergymen shall pay six marks annually at Easter.

They used to pay Robert Mansel the same amount of six marks in two terms, that is to say, at St. Michael’s Easters, but now it shall be paid in one term at Easter. And they will establish one of the clergymen in the church to pray daily for our spiritual wellbeing, and the spiritual wellbeing of our predecessors and heirs.

And if we, burdened with some business, happen to send them (to the clergymen) a writ, the abbot or someone from the clergymen will go in our representation to a king or bishop of England so that all libel or complaint of heirs of the aforementioned Robert may be lifted.

May all our present and future friends know that we, under the mutual counsel and permission, gave to Stephan, heir of the aforementioned Robert, 4 marks’ worth of land in the soke of Cheneborlay, in Carlton, and in exchange me and my son Hugh received from him the aforementioned land of Broughton.

So there may not be any further doubt of that which is expressed in the present letter, I strengthen it with my seal and my wife Millicent with hers.

The present confirmation is witnessed by Nicholas Estoteuilla, John de Hosdeng, William de Saint Lucian, William de Bossoncourt, Hugo Heusart, William de Martein, Garner Hosdent, Hugo de Braimoster, Reynard de Mereuill, Rudolf de Ogia, Galter the treasurer of Avesnes, and Roger, the chaplain, who wrote this letter.

This was written in Gournay on the fourth of April, in the year of the Lord 1167.

Commentary

The charter documents the exchange of lands owned by Hugh de Gurnay[2], his wife, Millicent[3], and his son (Hugh) with those held by Robert Mansell.[4] The cannons were formally tenants of Robert Mansell, but this obligation to pay rent is transferred to Hugh de Gurnay. The land was held under a feudal grant. The property associated with Millicent was provided as a dower. A dower house is a moderate to large house made available to the widow of the previous owner and occupier of the estate.[5] The document is sealed as a deed by Hugh de Gurnay and his wife, Millicent. As Kaye notes, applying a seal to create a deed rather than a contract holds greater legal weight.[6] With the later introduction of the law of deeds and conditions, sealed documents became more important for land transfers.[7]

The cannons had been paying Mansell six marks annually on Easter over to terms in a system where the diploma contains dating clauses that use the Roman system of ides, nones and kalends.[8] This dating system is based on reference to festival days to the offices of the magistrates and assemblies as per the Roman system. The change in payment terms is that rather than being paid into terms at St. Michael’s Easters, the rent is now due to be paid in one term at Easter. In addition, there is an exchange between Robert’s heir Stephan and Hugh’s son Hugh. Hugh gave Stephan land in Broughton in exchange for 4 marks’ worth of land in the soke of Cheneborlay, in Carlton. Four marks represented a measure of weight for gold and silver coins and were equivalent to 8 ounces, but as Macleod notes, after the Norman conquest, this was used as a unit of account in England and exchanged for 160 pence or two-thirds of a pound sterling per Mark.[9] The National archives currency converter notes that four marks would be equivalent to 48 stones of wool, thirty-seven quarters of wheat or 600 days’ pay for a skilled tradesman.[10]

The term frankalmoign represents a tenure in English law where the cannons hold the land given to them in their successors under the condition of praying for the donor’s soul and their heirs. David Postles discusses gifts and transfers in frankalmoign and the warranty of land in the twelfth century.[11] This discussion notes that lay feudal society used the church to secure tender and ensure hereditary rights and tenant rights against superior Lords.[12] It is noted in the diploma that the cannons used to pay Robert Mansel for ten years and to say prayers for his spiritual well-being and his heirs and predecessors, but this has been transferred to Hugh de Gurnay. While this form of the nation fell into disuse as the alienation of the tenure could be converted into socage, the legislative introduction of Quia Emptores in 1290 stopped any fresh grant in frankalmoign from been conducted outside of actions by the Crown.[13]

As Burn and Cartwright further note, founders and patrons regarded the religious grants as eigenkirchen and their own personal church and property in the twelfth century.[14] The author additionally notes that the introduction of the assize utrum from 1164 did not resolve whether land held by the church could be declared lay fee or spiritualities.[15] This grant is done in the form of a deed. The Habendum particular notes that a facieban is in place relating to what Stenton defines as a form of manorial structure and feudal holding a northern Dane law that was continued into Norman England.[16] The habendum clause deals with the property rights interests and aspects of ownership given to the parties to a deal.

The present confirmation is witnessed by Nicholas Estoteuilla, John de Hosdeng, William de Saint Lucian, William de Bossoncourt, Hugo Heusart, William de Martein, Garner Hosdent, Hugo de Braimoster, Reynard de Mereuill, Rudolf de Ogia, Galter the treasurer of Avesnes, and Roger, the chaplain, who wrote this letter. This diploma was written in Gournay on the fourth of April in 1167 by “Roger, the chaplain”. An analysis of this Cartulary demonstrates that very few individuals are involved in the transcription of these documents.[17] The notification is to all present and friends. The grantee is noted as Stephen Robert’s heir. The grant is a form of tenure in English law where the church holds lands given to them and their successors forever on the condition of praying for the donor’s soul and his heirs.[18]

The witness list for the testing clause of the charter is a resource that allows the historian to understand both the household and the location of those witnesses at the time.[19] Additionally, this is a means of analysing social and political networks associated with the individuals. It has many individuals present, and as far as Anglo-Norman charters are concerned, it may be assumed that the individuals were physically together at the time of signing.[20] Using this information allows us to cross-reference other information concerning the individuals participating in the deed and exchange.[21] With this information and the family records it becomes possible to match the names such as Melisende de Gournay, who was the daughter of Thomas de Marle, seigneur de Coucy, and Mélisende de Corbeil, born in 1126, and Hugh de Gournay, IV Baron de Gournay. Both families were from Normandy, France, bringing reference to the charter referring to both the English and the French.[22]

The feudal obligation contained within this document binds the family in duty.[23] The object of conveyance is particularised as an exchange of land.[24] The clausulae[25] of the deed incorporate a quercle in the form of a complaint to a court, where the Bishop and King of England are listed. Generally, this is not an appeal but a cause of first instance. Missenden Abbey is in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England, 45 miles from Carlton, Bedford.

References

Attenborough, Frederick Levi, ed. The laws of the earliest English kings. The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd., 2006.

BEDE, Historia Eccl. Gentis Anglorum, ed. Plummer (Oxford, 1896).

Bates, David, “The Prosopographical Study of Anglo-Norman Royal Charters: Some Problems and Perspectives”, In Family Trees and the Roots of Politics: The Prosopography of Britain and France from the Tenth to the Twelfth Century, ed. K. S. B. Keats-Rohan. Woodbridge, 1997.

Baxter, Stephen. “Archbishop Wulfstan and the Administration of God’s property.” In Wulfstan, Archbishop of York: the proceedings of the second Alcuin conference, pp. 161-205. 2004.

Bevan, Kitrina Lindsay. “Clerks and scriveners: Legal literacy and access to justice in late Medieval England.” (2013).

Burn, Edward Hector, and John Cartwright. Cheshire and Burn’s Modern Law of Real Property. Oxford University Press, USA, 2011.

Caliendo, Kevin A. Diplomatic Solutions: Land Use in Anglo-Saxon Worcestershire. Diss. Loyola University Chicago, 2014.

Cubitt, Catherine. Anglo-Saxon church councils c. 650-c. 850. Leicester University Press, 1995.

Dutton, Marsha. A Companion to Aelred of Rievaulx (1110–1167). Brill, 2016.

Gallagher, Robert, and Kate Wiles. “The Endorsement Practices of Early Medieval England.” The Languages of Early Medieval Charters. Brill, 2020. 230-295.

Haddan, Arthur West, William Stubbs and David Wilkins. Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents (Oxford, 1869-78).

Gurney, Daniel. The record of the house of Gournay.[With]. Vol. 2. 1848. https://archive.org/details/recordhousegour01gurngoog/page/n3/mode/2up

Haskins, George L. “The Development of Common Law Dower.” Harv. L. Rev. 62 (1948): 42.

Hollister, C. Warren. “The Five-Hide Unit and the Old English Military Obligation.” Speculum 36, no. 1 (1961): 61-74. Accessed March 30, 2021. doi:10.2307/2849844.

Jaspert, Nikolas, and Karl Borchardt. “Scribes and Notaries in Twelfth-and Thirteenth-Century Hospitaller Charters from England.” The Hospitallers, the Mediterranean and Europe. Routledge, 2016. 197-208.

Kaye, John Marsh. Medieval English Conveyances. Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Keats-Rohan, K. S. B., and David E. Thornton. “COEL and the Computer: Towards a Prosopographical Key to Anglo-norman Documents, 1066-1166.” Medieval Prosopography 17, no. 1 (1996): 223-62. Accessed March 30, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/44946219.

Macleod, Henry Dunning. “Coinage of Britain”. A Dictionary of Political Economy. 1. London: Longman, Brown, Longmans and Roberts (1863). p. 459.

Morley, Claude. 1923. “Clovesho – The Councils And The Locality”. Suffolkinstitute.Pdfsrv.Co.Uk. http://suffolkinstitute.pdfsrv.co.uk/customers/Suffolk%20Institute/2014/01/10/Volume%20XVIII%20Part%202%20(1923)_Clovesho%20-%20the%20councils%20and%20the%20locality%20Claude%20Morley_91%20to%20106.pdf.

Pons-Sanz, Sara M. “Aldred’s Glosses to the notae iuris in Durham A. iv. 19: Personal, Textual and Cultural Contexts.” English Studies 102.1 (2021): 1-29.

Power, Daniel. “The Transformation of Norman Charters in the Twelfth Century.” In People, Texts and Artefacts: Cultural Transmission in the Medieval Norman Worlds, edited by Bates David, D’Angelo Edoardo, and Van Houts Elisabeth, 193-212. London: University of London Press, 2017. Accessed March 30, 2021. doi:10.2307/j.ctv512xnf.17.

P.H. Sawyer, Anglo-Saxon Charters: An Annotated List and Bibliography, Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks, 8 (London: Royal Historical Society, 1968), no. 139.

Scharer, Anton. Die angelsächsische Königsurkunde im 7. und 8. Jahrhundert, Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung 26 (Vienna, 1982), pp. 274–5.

Stenton, Frank M. Types of Manorial Structure in the Northern Danelaw. Clarendon Press, 1910.

Tinti, Francesca. “The Reuse of Charters at Worcester Between the Eighth and the Eleventh Century: A Case-Study.” midland history 37.2 (2012): 127-141.

Tinti, Francesca. Sustaining Belief: The Church of Worcester from c. 870 to c. 1100. Routledge, 2017.

Wormald, Patrick. “Charters, law and the settlement of disputes in Anglo-Saxon England.” The Settlement of Disputes in Early Medieval Europe (1986): 149-68.

Appendix – Names

+ Ego Offa rex Dei dono propriam donationis libertatem signo sanctæ crucis confirmo .

+ Ego Ecgferð filius regis consensi .

+ Signum Hygeberhti archiepiscopi .

+ Signum Æðelheardi archiepiscopi .

+ Signum Ceolulfi . episcopi .

+ Signum Haðoredi . episcopi .

+ Signum Unu’u’ona . episcopi .

+ Signum [C]yneberht . episcopi .

+ Signum [D]eneferði . episcopi .

+ Signum Ceolmundi . episcopi .

+ Signum Coenwalh . episcopi .

+ Signum Uuermundis . episcopi .

+ Signum Alhheardi . episcopi .

+ Signum Ælfhuni episcopi .

+ Signum Uuiohtuni episcopi .

+ Signum Alhmund abbatis .

+ Signum Beonnan abbatis .

+ Signum Uuigmundi abbatis .

+ Signum Utel , abbatis .

+ Brorda .

+ Esne .

+ Heardberht .

+ Ubba .

+ Bynna .

+ Æðelmund .

+ Uuynberht .

+ Lulling .

+ Alhmund

+ Uuigberht .

+ Ceolmund .

+ Eafing .

Translation

Grant from Offa, King of Mercian peoples to Æthelmund of land in Westbury in the province of huuicciorum.

In the name of the supreme thunderer, who is God blessed forever, amen. By potent kings and the rich men of this world, the rewards of eternal life must be purchased with the deceitful things of this mournful world, which all vanish like a shadow. For this reason, I, Offa, named king by the king of kings, for the rescue of my soul freely grant to Aethelmund, my faithful minister, fifty-five hides of land in the province of the Wiccas, in the place that is named Westbury, near the river that is called Aben, in perpetual freedom, on this condition, that it may be forever free from all tribute to the state, small or greater, and from all services, whether to king or prince, except military service and the making of bridges and the maintenance of defences, because it is necessary for all people that none should be excused from this obligation. The entire synodal council wrote this chart of livery in that very famous place that is called Clobeshoas, whose signs and names are preserved below:

Previous Translation:

In the name of the supreme thundering being who is God blessed forever amen. Through the actions of potent regions and the wealthy men of this earth the rewards of eternal life unnecessarily purchased with the deceitful things of this sorrowful world, all of which vanish in a shade.

As such, I, Offa, ascended to be King by the King of kings in order to rescue my soul freely grant to Æthelmund as my devoted servant fifty-five manentes of workable land in the province of the Huuicciori in the place which is named Westbury near the river that is called Avon in eternal liberty under the condition that it shall be forever free from all tribute to the state, small or greater and from all services, whether to the sovereign or Doyen except military service and the making of bridges and the maintenance of defences due to the necessity of all of the people that none should be excused from this obligation and duty.

This charter of regalia was drafted by the complete Council of the Synod in the famed location called Clobeshoas, with the names of the signatories and their sign to God preserved below:

+ I, Offa, by God’s gift and King confirm my own insignia of the grant with the sign of the holy cross.

+ I ecgfer, the son of the king do hereby agree

+ I, Archbishop Hygeberht

Etc.

There are multiple names over the two pages ranging from senior to a less senior position starting with the King, going to bishops, going to presbyters and then people without rank or title that are listed. See the end of this paper for a list.

Document in Latin

In nominee summi tonantis qui est deus Benedictus in secula amen. Regibus potentibus et humius seculi divitibus cum fallacibus istius lugubri mundi substantiis quae omnia sicut umbra eunanescunt aeternae vitae promia mercanda sunt.

Quapropter ego Offa Rex a rege reguum constitutes terram l.v. Cassatorum in provincial huuicciorum ubi nominator uuestburg prope flumen qui dictur aben Æthelmundo fideli meo ministro pro ereptione animae meae in libertatem perpetuam sub hac condicione libens concede ita ut ab omni tribute paruo vel maiore publicalium rerum et a cunctis operibus uel regis uel principis sit in perpetuum libra preter expeditionalibus causis et pontum structionum et arcium munimentum quid omni populo necesse et ab eo opera nullum excssatum esse. Scripta est autem haec liberatatis kartula ab universio concilio synosali in loco celeberrimo qui nuncupatur clobeshoas.

Quorum signa et nmina infra tenentur.

Ego Offa rex deid ono proprian donationis libertatem signo sancta crucis confirmio

Ego ecgfer filius regis consensi

Signum hygeberhti archiepiscopi

            Etc…


[1] Baron Hugh de Gournay & Lady Millicent de Coucy.

[2] Hugh de Gournay, IV who was born in Gournay, Gournay En Bray, Seine-Maritime, Normandy, France circa 1098 and who died circa 1180 (73-91).

[3] Also referred to as Melisende de Gournay (de Coucy), born at Crecy Ardenes, Crécy En Ponthieu, Somme, Hauts-de-France, France in 1126 and died in 1181.

[4] Daniel Gurney, The record of the house of Gournay.[With]. Vol. 2. 1848. On p. 669. The family record notes that the firstborn was Gerard de Gournay, but he died in 1151 living his younger brother Hugh de Gournay who was born in 1145 as the heir. Both Hugh and his son (also Hugh) were captured at the Castle of Gournay in 1173 during the battles with King Henry II.

[5] George L. Haskins “The Development of Common Law Dower.” Harv. L. Rev. 62 (1948): 42.It would seen that in 1143, Hugh married 2nd widow Millicent de Coucy and this is the origin of the dower.

[6] John Marsh Kaye, Medieval English Conveyances. Cambridge University Press, 2009.

[7] Kitrina Lindsay Bevan. “Clerks and scriveners: Legal literacy and access to justice in late Medieval England.” (2013).

[8] Sara M. Pons-Sanz, “Aldred’s Glosses to the notae iuris in Durham A. iv. 19: Personal, Textual and Cultural Contexts.” English Studies 102.1 (2021): 1-29. p. 7.

[9] Henry Dunning Macleod. “Coinage of Britain”. A Dictionary of Political Economy. 1. London: Longman, Brown, Longmans and Roberts (1863). p. 459.

[10] Daniel Gurney, The record of the house of Gournay.1848 records that Robert Mansell discharged an amount in full of £400 and that Robert Mansel and John Davy (Mansel’s partner) were London mercers. A Mercer was a form of dealer in textiles and fabrics especially silks velvets another fine material. However, the timing of this exchange is off by 200 years and hence, it is merely a coincidence in individuals with the same name and family.

[11] David Postles. “Gifts in Frankalmoign, Warranty of Land, and Feudal Society.” The Cambridge Law Journal 50.2 (1991): 330-346.

[12] the previous author notes that during the twelfth century, the grant of frankalmoign was misused in order to donate land to the church which would then be leased back to the donor. The purpose of this action was to enable a grant that could not be taken back but yet was able to be leased back to the donor in a manner that allowed the individual to avoid the feudal services that were due to the Lord.

[13] Edward Hector Burn, and John Cartwright. Cheshire and Burn’s Modern Law of Real Property. Oxford University Press, USA, 2011.

[14] Ibid. 332.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Frank M. Stenton, Types of Manorial Structure in the Northern Danelaw. Clarendon Press, 1910.; See also, E. P.Cheyney, “Types of Manorial Structure in the Northern Danelaw. Customary Rents.” (1911): 802-803.

[17] Nikolas Jaspert and Karl Borchardt. “Scribes and Notaries in Twelfth-and Thirteenth-Century Hospitaller Charters from England.” The Hospitallers, the Mediterranean and Europe. Routledge, 2016. 197-208.

[18] The clause “And if we, burdened with some business, happen to send them (to the clergymen) a writ, the abbot or someone from the clergymen will go in our representation to a king or bishop of England so that all libel or complaint of heirs of the aforementioned Robert may be lifted.” Seem to imply that there was some form of interdiction against Robert Mansell and his family but reading the documentation of the de Gurney family does not seem to mention this.

[19] David Bates, “The Prosopographical Study of Anglo-Norman Royal Charters: Some Problems and Perspectives”, In Family Trees and the Roots of Politics: The Prosopography of Britain and France from the Tenth to the Twelfth Century, ed. K. S. B. Keats-Rohan. Woodbridge, 1997.

[20] Note, the document is not subscribed with signa.

[21] Daniel Gurney, The record of the house of Gournay.[With]. Vol. 2. 1848.

[22] Gournay family records demonstrate that in 1151 when the war started between between Henry, duke of Normandy, and King Louis of France, Hugh allied himself and the family with with Louis. Henry, duke of Normandy and who was future Henry II of England and who was crowned in 1154, captured La Ferte and destroyed the fortress.

[23] “in manu mea supradictam Brottone liberam dimittente et de escambiis mihi et Hugonis filio meo hominem suum faciente”.

[24] “escambias in socha de Cheneborlay nominatim in Carlinton iij marcatas terre illo”

[25] “Et si ad eos de aliquo grauidi negotio nostro breue nostrum miserimus abbas aut aliquis de canonicis ibit pro nobis ad regem sine ad episcopum infra Angliam quin etiam ut omnis calumpnia et quercle heredum predicti Roberti tollantur.”



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