Select Documents of English Constitutional History

Contents:

13.

Constitutions of Clarendon

(1164. Latin text, Stubbs, S. C. 137. Translation, G. and H. 68. 1 Stubbs, 501.)

IN the year 1164 from our Lord’s Incarnation, the fourth of the pontificate of Alexander, the tenth of Henry II., most illustrious king of the English, in the presence of the same king, was made this remembrance or acknowledgment of a certain part of the customs, liberties, and dignities of his ancestors, that is of King Henry his grandfather, and of others, which ought to be observed and held in the realm. And owing to strifes and dissensions which had taken place between the clergy and justices of the lord the king and the barons of the realm, in respect of customs and dignities of the realm, this recognition was made before the archbishops and bishops and clergy, and the earls and barons and nobles of the realm. And these same customs recognized by the archbishops and bishops, and earls and barons, and by those of high rank and age in the realm, Thomas archbishop of Canterbury, and Roger archbishop of York, and Gilbert bishop of London, and Henry bishop of Winchester, and Nigel bishop of Ely, and William bishop of Norwich, and Robert bishop of Lincoln, and Hilary bishop of Chichester, and Jocelyn bishop of Salisbury, and Richard bishop of Chester, and Bartholomew bishop of Exeter, and Robert bishop of Hereford, and David bishop of Saint David’s, and Roger elect of Worcester, conceded, and by word of mouth steadfastly promised on the word of truth, to the lord the king and his heirs, should be kept and observed in good faith and without evil intent, these being present: Robert earl of Leicester, Reginald earl of Cornwall, Conan earl of Brittany, John earl of Eu, Roger earl of Clare, earl Geoffrey de Mandeville, Hugh earl of Chester, William earl of Arundel, earl Patrick, William earl of Ferrers, Richard de Luci, Reginald de St. Valery, Roger Bigod, Reginald de Warenne, Richer de Aquila, William de Braose, Richard de Camville, Nigel de Mowbray, Simon de Beauchamp, Humphry de Bohun, Matthew de Hereford, Walter de Mayenne, Manser Biset the steward, William Malet, William de Courcy, Robert de Dunstanville, Jocelyn de Baillol, William de Lanvallei, William de Caisnet, Geoffrey de Vere, William de Hastings, Hugh de Moreville, Alan de Neville, Simon son of Peter, William Maudit the chamberlain, John Maudit, John Marshall, Peter de Mara, and many other magnates and nobles of the realm, as well clerical as lay.

Now of the acknowledged customs and dignities, of the realm a certain part is contained in the present document, of which part these are the chapters:—

1. If controversy shall arise between laymen, or clergy and laymen, or clergy, regarding advowson and presentation to churches, let it be treated or concluded in the court of the lord the king.

2. Churches belonging to the fee of the lord the king cannot be granted in perpetuity without his own assent and grant.

3. Clerks cited and accused of any matter shall, when summoned by the king’s justice, come into his own court to answer there concerning what it shall seem to the king’s court should be answered there, and in the church court for what it shall seem should be answered there; yet so that the king’s justice shall send into the court of holy Church to see in what way the matter is there treated. And if the clerk be convicted, or shall confess, the Church must not any longer protect him.

4. Archbishops, bishops, and persons of the realm are not allowed to leave the kingdom without licence of the lord the king; and if they do leave, they shall, if the king so please, give security that neither in going nor in staying, nor in returning, will they seek the ill or damage of the lord the king or realm.

5. Excommunicate persons are not to give pledge for the future, nor to take oath, but only to give security and pledge of abiding by the church’s judgment that they may be absolved.

6. Laymen are not to be accused save by proper and legal accusers and witnesses in the presence of the bishop, so that the archdeacon do not lose his right nor anything due to him thence. And if the accused be such that no one wills or dares to accuse them, the sheriff, when requested by the bishop, shall cause twelve lawful men from the neighborhood or the town to swear before the bishop that they will show the truth in the matter according to their conscience.

7. No one who holds of the king in chief, and none of his demesne officers are to be excommunicated, nor the lands of any one of them to be put under an interdict unless first the lord the king, if he be in the country, or his justiciar if he be outside the kingdom, be applied to, in order that he may do right for him; and so that what shall appertain to the royal court be concluded there, and that what shall belong to the church court be sent to the same to be treated there.

8. In regard to appeals, if they shall occur, they must proceed from the archdeacon to the bishop, and from the bishop to the archbishop. And if the archbishop fail in showing justice, they must come at last to the lord the king, that by his command the dispute be concluded in the archbishop’s court, so that it must not go further without the assent of the lord the king.

9. If a dispute shall arise between a clerk and a layman, or between a layman and a clerk, in respect of any tenement which the clerk wishes to bring to frank-almoign, but the layman to a lay fee, it shall be concluded by the consideration of the king’s chief justice on the award of twelve lawful men, whether the tenement belong to frank-almoign or to lay fee, before the king’s justiciar himself. And if the award be that it belongs to frank-almoign it shall be pleaded in the church court, but if to the lay fee, unless both claim under the same bishop or baron, it shall be pleaded in the king’s court. But if both appeal concerning this fee to the same bishop or baron, it shall be pleaded in his own court, so that for making the award he who was first seised, lose not his seisin until the matter be settled by the plea.

10. If any one of a city, or castle, or borough, or a demesne manor of the lord the king, be cited by archdeacon or bishop for any offence for which he ought to answer them, and refuse to give satisfaction at their citations, it is well lawful to place him under interdict; but he must not be excommunicated before the chief officer of the lord the king of that town be applied to, in order that he may adjudge him to come for satisfaction. And if the king’s officer fail in this, he shall be at the king’s mercy, and thereafter the bishop shall be able to restrain the accused by ecclesiastical justice.

11. Archbishops, bishops, and all persons of the realm who hold of the king in chief, have their possessions from the lord the king as barony, and are answerable therefor to the king’s justices and ministers, and follow and do all royal rights and customs, and like all other barons, have to be present at the trials of the court of the lord the king with the barons until it comes to a judgment of loss of limb, or death.

12. When an archbishopric or bishopric is vacant, or any abbey or priory of the king’s demesne, it must be in his own hand, and from it he shall receive all revenues and rents as demesne. And when they come to provide for the church, the lord the king must cite the chief persons of the church, and the election must take place in the chapel of the lord the king himself, with the assent of the lord the king, and the advice of the persons of the realm whom he shall have summoned to do this. And the person elected shall there do homage and fealty to the lord the king as to his liege lord for his life and limbs and earthly honor, saving his order, before he be consecrated.

13. If any of the nobles of the realm forcibly prevent the archbishop or bishop or archdeacon from doing justice in regard of himself or his people, the lord the king must bring them to justice. And if perchance any one should deforce the lord the king, the archbishops and bishops and archdeacons must judge him, so that he gives satisfaction to the lord the king.

14. The goods of those who are under forfeit of the king, no church or cemetery is to detain against the king’s justice, because they belong to the king himself, whether they be found inside churches or outside.

15. Pleas of debt due under pledge of faith or without pledge of faith are to be in the king’s justice.

16. Sons of villeins ought not to be ordained without the assent of the lord on whose land they are known to have been born.

Now the record of the aforesaid royal customs and dignities was made by the said archbishops and bishops, and earls and barons, and the nobles and elders of the realm, at Clarendon, on the fourth day before the purification of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, the lord Henry the king’s son, with his father the lord the king being present there. There are moreover many other great customs and dignities of holy Mother Church and the lord the king and the barons of the realm, which are not contained in this writing. And let them be safe for holy Church and the lord the king and his heirs and the barons of the realm, and be inviolably observed.

Contents:

Related Resources

None available for this document.

Download Options


Title: Select Documents of English Constitutional History

Select an option:

*Note: A download may not start for up to 60 seconds.

Email Options


Title: Select Documents of English Constitutional History

Select an option:

Email addres:

*Note: It may take up to 60 seconds for for the email to be generated.

Chicago: "Constitutions of Clarendon," Select Documents of English Constitutional History in Select Documents of English Constitutional History, ed. George Burton Adams (1851-1925) and Henry Morse Stephens (1857-1918) (New York: Macmillan Company, 1916), 12–14. Original Sources, accessed September 19, 2018, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CK6T8HLUTERBAIS.

MLA: . "Constitutions of Clarendon." Select Documents of English Constitutional History, in Select Documents of English Constitutional History, edited by George Burton Adams (1851-1925) and Henry Morse Stephens (1857-1918), New York, Macmillan Company, 1916, pp. 12–14. Original Sources. 19 Sep. 2018. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CK6T8HLUTERBAIS.

Harvard: , 'Constitutions of Clarendon' in Select Documents of English Constitutional History. cited in 1916, Select Documents of English Constitutional History, ed. , Macmillan Company, New York, pp.12–14. Original Sources, retrieved 19 September 2018, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CK6T8HLUTERBAIS.