Cardiff University; Cardiff School of History, Archaeology and Religion

HS1805 The Military Orders, 1100-1320

Translated by Helen Nicholson; This edition 2009-2010

Document 9:The military orders and economic growth

All the translated material in this document is © Helen Nicholson, 1994-2009. It is intended ONLY for the use of Cardiff University students taking HS1805.

 Royal economic privileges

1) Henry II of England pardons the Templars for illegally clearing forest land for farming: issued between 1173 and 22 December 1188.

Henry, by the grace of God king of England, (etc.), greeting.

Know that I have conceded, and by this our charter confirmed, to the Brothers of the knighthood of the Temple at Jerusalem quittance of the assarts [clearances] of the lands listed below, viz: 2000 acres of land in Wales at Garway [Herefordshire]; 40 acres in Shropshire at Botewood [a village which no longer exists]; 10 acres in Oxfordshire at Merton; 7 acres in Northamptonshire at Brandendene; 100 acres in Bedfordshire at Sharnbrook; and 7 acres in Huntingdonshire at Ogerston.

Therefore I wish and firmly command that the aforesaid brothers of the knighthood of the Temple may have the aforesaid lands and hold them freely and quit of [all fines for] assarts. And I forbid that they be troubled or harassed over this, or that anyone should do them violence. Witness: Richard bishop of Winchester, etc.

Source: Records of the Templars in England in the twelfth century: the Inquest of 1185, ed. Beatrice Lees (London, 1935), pp. 142-3: General royal charters, no. 6.


2) Richard I gives the Templars extensive privileges. 6 Oct. 1189.

Richard, by the grace of God king of England, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, count of Anjou, to his archbishops, bishops, abbots, counts, barons, justiciars [administrative officials], sheriffs, officials, and all his faithful people, French and English, in the whole of England, greeting.

Know that we have conceded and confirmed to God and the brothers of the knighthood of the Temple of Solomon all donations of lands, people and alms which have been reasonably made to them of churches, goods and worldly possessions. Therefore we wish and firmly command that the aforesaid brothers and their people should have and hold all their possessions and alms with soc[1] and sac[2] , toll[3] and team[4], infangenethef [5] and other liberties and free customs and their quittances[6]; in wood and plain, meadows and pastures, waters and mills, roads and paths, pools and fishponds, marshes and fisheries, granges and copses, within boroughs and outside them, in all places and in all things, freed, free and quit of shires and hundreds[7], and pleas and claims[8] and murders[9] and wapentakes[10] and scutage[11] and geld and Danegeld[12] and hidages[13] and assizes[14] and [free and quit of] castle works and bridge works, and ferdwita[15] and hengawitha[16] and of flemenfrith[17] and of warpeni[18] and of averpeni[19], and blodwita[20] and of fichtwita [21] and of Hundredpeni and of the thethingpeni[22] and quit of all toll and passage[23] and pontage[24] and lastage[25] and stallage[26] and of all secular service and exactions and servile [work], and all other duties and secular customs, except only justice of life and limb.

            We have conceded all these things in perpetual alms for the love of God and the soul of Henry the king my father and for my salvation and that of my mother Queen Eleanor and of all my ancestors and successors.

Witnesses: Bishop Hugh of Durham, Bishop Richard of London, Godfrey, bishop-elect of Winchester, Stephen Longchamp, Richard des Préaux the Steward, Guy de Diva the Marshal, Ralph fitz Godfrey.  Written at Westminster in the first year of our reign, by  the hand of  William Longchamp, bishop-elect of Ely, our chancellor.'


Source: Records of the Templars, pp. 139-40, Royal Charters no. 3. This charter is a splendid example of the privileges granted by the English kings to boroughs and to religious orders; the names for the different exemptions are English and date from Saxon times.


3) The Hospitallers were granted similar privileges:

Henry III confirms the possessions of the Hospitallers within his estates and the liberties that they enjoy. 10 February 1227, Westminster.


(Summary) The Hospitallers, their tenements and alms and people are to be free of all pleas and quarrels, toll which should be paid to the king, passage and pontage [tolls], vinage and vectage and all carriage and summage [types of carrying-service] and all work on castles, parks, bridges, fish-ponds, summons to come to the army or to provide horses, aids or pay tallage. They and their people are to be quit of fines for [clearing] waste, regards of the forest [failing to appear at investigations into breaches of the laws covering the royal forest] and assarts. The brothers are to be quit of paying fines and amercements [fines on those found guilty of crimes] and if any of their people ought to lose life or limb for a crime, or flees and will not stand trial, or do something else for which their chattels should be confiscated by the king, and justice is done against them in the king's court, the Hospitallers will receive their chattels. Similarly, if one of their people is assessed by the king or fined for any crime, the amercement will be paid to the brothers. They are not to be impleaded for a crime by anyone except in the king's court or before the royal justiciars. Henry confers on them all liberties and freedoms which royal power can confer on a religious house, except justice of life and limb.

            Witnesses: Eustace bishop of London, Jocelin bishop of Bath, Richard bishop of Salisbury, Peter bishop of Winchester, Hubert de Burgh, royal justiciar, Ralph earl of Chester and Lincoln, Richard de Argentun, William de Eyneford, the king's seneschals: Henry de Chapelle, and others.


Source: Cartulaire général de l’ordre des Hospitaliers, ed. J. Delaville le Roulx, no. 1852.



Relations with tenants


1)  The Templars’ tenants at Lockeridge, Wiltshire, according to the English Templars' Inquest of 1185.


These are the customs of the people of Lockeridge: each of those who hold one virgate[27] ought to give three stricas[28] at Michaelmas [29 September] and 1d. [one penny] in place of a yearling pig, and three boon-works[29] in autumn with two men to produce food for the brothers. Whoever has five acres owes four hens at the feast of St Martin and three boon-works in autumn with two men to produce food for the brothers. The cotters[30] owe two hens and three boon-works with two men. Whoever holds five acres gives one sheep or 5d. if  they do not have a sheep fold. But the people of Lockeridge say that they did not give three stricas nor 5d. nor one sheep nor 1d. in place of a yearling pig before the brothers received them. But this custom began when Osbert of Dover held the bailie [was officer in charge of the area], because of Alured Cat and Serich White.


Source: Records of the Templars, p. 57. The men of Lockeridge are denying that they are serfs or owe servile dues and services to the Templars. Here money payments are acceptable in place of some customary dues in kind; this is the beginning of commutation of servile services.



2) The customary of [Temple] Cressing (Essex).


The heir of Walter Gardiner holds half a virgate of land in Cressing and will give two wardpennies at Hockday and will be quit of one work. At the feast of St Michael [29 September] he will give 2d., and two and a half pence of landgavel [land rent], and at Christmas he will give a halfpenny and at Easter a quarter ad savonem and on the Eve of the Lord's Ascension he will give one round measure of oats, which is called a mina, and two hens; and he will plough three acres of the winter crop and three acres of the summer sowing and for ploughing those acres he will have two loaves and four salt herrings or other food, and in exchange for the said ploughing he will be quit of six works at ploughing time and he will do ten works each month, whenever the commander wishes.... He ought to perform these customs from the feast of St Michael until the feast of St. Peter in chains [1 August] and from the feast of St Peter to the feast of St Michael, seven works each fortnight.

            At each boon work without free ale he will reap half an acre of land, and on the second day he will provide two men for one boon work, and on the other day he will provide one man; and he will receive one loaf, at the size provided by the House [of the Temple], and will receive drink and food.

            At both boon works which have ale supplied he will reap half an acre, and on the next day he will provide two men and each day he will receive his sustenance as if he were a free man. He will load from the dung heap twenty cart loads as one work, and mow half a field for one work, and at Madscap [?] he will provide one withy every other year.

            He ought to come at the summons of the House each Saturday to the granary at Witham or Cressing and he will carry half a load of wheat or a weight the equivalent of half a load to Colchester or Maldon or Chelmsford, and this will not be allocated to him as another work. If it so happens that he does carrying-service on another day in the week this will be reckoned to be the equivalent of one work, and if he does carrying-service to London with one horse, that is between the feast of St Michael and Easter, it will be reckoned to be the equivalent of three works, except on Saturday and Sunday, and if he does carrying-service with one horse between Easter and the feast of St Michael he will be quit of two works, except on Saturday and Sunday.[31]

            Whenever the brothers wish he will provide two quarters of oats or a quarter of wheat in place of one work, and he ought to collect a cartload of wood for fencing and erect fences as the equivalent of half a work, and he should provide one man within the village of Witham for collecting nuts and one man at each summons for collecting hay, and he will dig one perch of open land to a depth of five feet and a width of five feet. And if he digs in an old ditch, three virgates[32] is the equivalent of three works. If the brothers wish he will plough at boon work time with ale, half an acre at the winter ploughing and half an acre at the summer ploughing, and he will provide three men for ploughing the whole acre and receive from the brothers food and drink.

            In return for  pannage[33] he will give 2d. for a yearling pig and for the others who are not a year old he will give according to their age.  He ought to bring his pigs to the court of Cressing on St Martin's day and he will have one sow quit [of this payment]. That pannage will be allocated to him in exchange for half a work. He will give at his death his best beast as a heriot. In the same way he ought to pay tallage[34] whenever his master wishes. And he may not marry his daughter nor sell his horse nor any ox he has reared to anyone else without the brothers' permission. He will labour throughout the year except for twelve days at Christmas, four days in Easter week and four days in Pentecost week.


Source: Records of the Templars, pp. 153-4, Essex Charters, no. 9.





1) [Summary] 1233. Bishop Henry of Lebus gives the brothers of the Knighthood of the Temple, to support the land of Jerusalem, the tithes of 200 ‘manses’ [an area of land] in the territory of Castle Zehden, next to the Mizla river, which is uncultivated land. He also gives the tithes of another 200 manses in the confines of Castle Iden, next to the stream of Ruritza, but they are to pay for each of these 1 measure of grain a year to the Church of Lebus: ‘since for many times past the Church has had no fruit from the aforesaid places, it prefers to share part with religious people rather than not to get anything because the area is deserted’.


Source: Codex Diplomaticus Brandenburgensis, ed. A. F. Riedel (Berlin, 1838-65),  vol. 24, p. 1.



2) 29 March 1276, Elbing. Duke Sambor of Pommerelia gives the Teutonic order in Prussia the land of Wenzeke on Mewe.


[Summary] He judges that alms should be given to those who are strenuously occupied in the service of God, in devoted prayers and other spiritual exercises, wearing the belt of knighthood of Jesus Christ. So in honour and reverence of Jesus Christ and His Mother Mary the glorious Virgin and for the remedy of his soul and salvation, he gives, confers and hands over to the hospital, house and brothers of the Teutonic Order, into the hands of Brother Conrad of Tyrberch, master in Prussia, the land of Wenzeke on Mewe. He describes the extent of the land, and gives them rights over all its waters, meadows, pastures, pools, fish, hunting, bridges, mills, islands, tolls, precious metals and saltings and whatever is in or on the land or water, with all rights of usage and all jurisdiction, with no reservations.

            A long list of witnesses follows: tweny-four in all, twelve of whom are Teutonic knights.


Source: Pommerellisches Urkundenbuch, ed. M. Perlbach (Gdansk, 1881-1916), pp. 237-8, no. 278.



3) Bishop Hermann of Kammin gives the order of the Temple a privilege over its possessions. 25 August 1285.


[Summary] ‘Since we ought to plant and foster holy religion in every way, we never pursue this better than by nurturing those things which are right, and correcting those things which impede the advance of virtue...’

            ‘Therefore, pondering the worship of the divine name and the multifarious and many kinds of services affectionately, devotedly and incessantly shown to us and ours through our beloved in Christ, the commander and brothers of the house of the knighthood of the Temple.. since they ceaselessly give help and effective hospitality everywhere, we indulge to them..’ the right to hold all their ‘manses’, fields both cultivated and uncultivated, pastures, fishing and the rest of their rivers without paying anything except 38 talents of Brandenburg currency to the bishop and 12 talents and 4d. short of 7 shillings to the canons of Kammin each year. He tries to spare the brothers in everything, so that they may be as generous with their alms to the poor as they possibly can, as the Lord inspires them.

            Witnesses: Brother Henry, commander of the house of Quartschen, Brother Bernard in Rorek and Brother Hermann, priest there.


Source: Pommersches Urkundenbuch, ed. K. Conrad, R. Prümers et al., 10 vols (Stettin and Cologne, 1868-1984), 2, pp. 569-570, no. 1352.



4) 13 July 1281: Hirshberg. Bernard, duke of Silesia, cedes to the Hospitallers of Striegau 100 manses of land beyond the river of Zachun.


[Summary]. He calls the Hospitallers: ‘Crossbearers of St John’, and gives this gift ‘out of reverence for God and in acknowledgement of the devotion and loyalty with which the brothers serve Christ Jesus with unceasing service. The Lord, who provides for His whole Church, has raised up the brothers of the said order as a tower of strength against the profaners and blasphemers against the orthodox faith.’


Source: Cartulaire général de l’ordre des Hospitaliers, ed. Delaville le Roulx, no. 3762.



5) 13 November 1291: An agreement between the Templars of Poland and the bishop of Posen.


[Summary] Bernard of Eberstein, commander of the houses of the knighthood of the Temple in Poland, Slavia and Neuland and master of the court [house] of Quartschen (now Chwarszczany, Poland), with his brothers, comes to an agreement with John, bishop of Posen, over the church dues which should be paid by the colonists in the land of Tempelburg, which is around the lake called Drawiczka, ‘which the illustrious prince lord Przemisl, duke of Kalisien, conferred on our house in support of the land of Jerusalem, for his soul and in remedy of his predecessors’ souls...’

            This village is now to come under the authority of the bishop of Posen. Twelve years after each village is founded, each manse is to pay one shilling of Brandenburg currency in tithe each year to the bishop and his church. The land which the order cultivates with its own labour and at its own expense will pay no tithe.

            Present: ‘Our brothers lord Henry, a brother called “of Bletkendorph”, brother Frederick called “Blach”, brother Albert master of the court in Krona.’


Source: Pommersches Urkundenbuch, vol. 2, pp. 140-1, no. 1596.


6) The Templars issue a resettlement charter at Castelldans, Aragon.


In name of the supreme God who is triune and one, Amen. I, Peter de Cartila, and I, Frevol, and I, Aimery, and I, William de Tavernos, and all we brothers together give our inheritance which we have in Castelldans, except our demense[35] which we retain, to you Girbert and to you Bernad Ferrer; so that you may colonise it to the honour of God and the Temple, and such is the agreement between us and you that you, Girbert, may have and hold two pareladas[36] of land and a tower with the tithe and first-fruits[37] which you pay, and you, Bernad Ferrer, similarly two pareladas with your tower, paying tithe and first-fruits. We give and concede this to you and your sons and your posterity. But the other colonisers which you will cause to colonise the land to the honour of God and the Temple will pay us tithes and first-fruits and for each parelada they will pay each year one leg of pork worth twelve pence and four unleavened loaves and one day’s work at sowing; and for each parelada which they colonise we give six measures[38] of  cervera in guarantee of the land.

            This charter was issued 25 August 1151, when King Louis [VII of France] was reigning. + Sign of Peter de Cartila. + Sign of Lord Frevol. + Sign of William de Tavernos. Peter wrote it and made this sign. +


Source: Alan Forey, The Templars in the Corona de Aragón (London, 1973), pp. 368-9.





1) King Henry III of England sends instructions that the Hospitallers' mill on the River Liffey, Dublin, is to be demolished.


The king to the justiciar of Ireland, greetings. The worthy people of our city of Dublin give us to understand that whereas the city of Dublin is accustomed always to having the water of the Liffey unencumbered so that shipping and necessary supplies may go back and forth and up and down to the city and the citizens and other worthy people may fish in that water without impediment;  the prior and brothers of the Hospital of Kilmainham have erected and built a certain millpond in the aforesaid river whence the city and citizens are very much damaged and their fishing and that of others is completely destroyed because the fish cannot go up the river because of the pool and neither can their ships and boats cross back and forth as they were accustomed to do in times of old. And so we instruct and firmly command you that by the faith which holds you to us you have that river and pool inspected without delay by worthy and lawful men of the neighbourhood of Dublin and others who are not from the city of Dublin, by as many as seems expedient, and have the matter amended at once and the pool made smaller and reduced so that ships and boats may cross safely and without impediment with all kinds of supplies, stones and wood, back and forth and up and down to the city, and so that the fish may swim back and forth in the water to our fisheries and those of our faithful people. Witness: Henry, etc. 10 October, Westminster.


Source: J. T. Gilbert, ed., Historic and Municipal Documents of Ireland, AD 1172-1320, Rolls Series 53 (London, 1870), pp. 75-6.



2) King Henry III to the archbishop of Dublin and the justiciar of Ireland, 8 August 1223.


The king to the archbishop of Dublin and justiciar of Ireland, greeting.

Our worthy people of Dublin have revealed to us with grave complaints that they have suffered much expense and damage from a certain mill which the brothers of the Hospital of Kilmainham have erected to the harm of our city of Dublin and through a millpond which they built across the water of the Liffey, so that ships do not have free entry and exit with merchandise to our city of Dublin and the fish cannot go up or down towards the said city of Dublin without impediment, as they used to do. Therefore, we ordered Geoffrey Marsh, while he was justiciar of Ireland, that he return the mill and pool and other things erected to the harm of our city of Dublin and to the damage of our said people to the state that they were in at the departure of the lord king John our father from Ireland; and, taking with him discreet and lawful knights and freeholders and others from the parts of Ireland, he have the course of the River Liffey returned to the width that it ought and is accustomed to be, so that ships with merchandise should have the means of entry and exit to our city of Dublin and that the fish in it should be able to go up to the aforesaid town without impediment and go down, as they used to do.

            However, because the same Geoffrey did not execute our mandate, we instruct you and firmly enjoin on you that, by the faith by which you are held to us, you do not differ doing all the aforesaid things, checking whether is is true that these things were erected in prejudice to our dignity and harm to our city of Dublin, and the expense and damage of our said people. Deal with these things in such a way that no further complaint should come to our ears on the subject. Witness, etc., Henry at the Tower of London, 8 August.


Source: J. T. Gilbert, Historic and Municipal Documents of Ireland, pp. 79-80. On the Hospitallers’ mill on the Liffey see also A.E.J. West, ‘Fisheries of the River Liffey’, in Medieval Dublin: The Living City, ed. Howard Clarke (Dublin, 1990), pp. 182-191 and notes pp. 227-9.



3) Arnold de Périgord, master of the Temple, and Guérin, master of the Hospital, conclude an accord on the waters and mills of the Nahr Kurdaneh (River Belus) at Acre. 25 May 1235, at Acre.


[Summary]. This dispute was over the river water and the mills on the river which flows down from Recordane through Acre [the Belus or Nahr Kurdaneh]. It had been a long quarrel, finally settled by the mediation of good men.

a) The Templars can hold back the water [with sluices] above their mills until it rises to the mark on the Hospital’s mill. It can only run higher than this with the Hospitallers’ permission.

            If the water rises above the mark, it must be corrected at once on the Hospital’s request; unless it rises because of the weather.

b) The master of the Hospital and the brothers promise not to hold back the river water to the damage of the Templars nor let it go in a single rush to damage the house of the Temple.

c) Both houses may bring their boats up from Acre to the sluice of the Templars’ mill. Here the Hospital may unload what they have brought here and load their boats again above the sluice and come and go freely to their own mill. They may have 1 boat above and 1 boat below the sluice and can have more, but if they damage the sluice they must repair the damage.

d) Neither house should do anything to impede the boats on the river.

e) The Temple may raise the banks on the Hospital’s land if they are not high enough, but only to the said mark.

Witnesses: Hugh, archbishop of Nazareth, Ralph, bishop of Acre, and the nobleman Odo, constable of the kingdom of Jerusalem.


Source: Cartulaire général de l’ordre des Hospitaliers, ed. Delaville le Roulx, no. 2117.

[The Hospital and the Temple each owned a large mill on the river Belus, upstream of Acre. The Hospital’s mill was at Kurdana (or Recordane) upstream of the Temple’s, at Doc. This is low-lying, marshy land, with little head of water, so both mills had horizontal wheels which could make best use of the small ‘head’. The Templars had been allowing the level of the water in their millpond to build up so high that the wheels on the Hospital’s mill could not turn. In retaliation, the Hospitallers had closed their sluices, allowed the water level to build up, and then released an enormous quantity of water, which rushed down the river and smashed the Templars’ mill wheels. A picture of the ruins of the Templars’ mill can be seen in J. Riley-Smith, Hospitallers, p. 43, and in Denys Pringle, Secular Buildings of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. Until recently it was believed that this was the Hospitallers’ mill, but recent archaeological survey work has revealed the ruins of the Hospitallers’ mill further upstream.]



4. The Templars’ mills at Withyfleet, Southwark, in 1308-9


[Historians have commented on the poor state of the Templars’ mills in England at the time of the brothers’ arrest in January 1308; this has been put down to the decline of the order after the loss of Acre in 1291. However, the documents which follow offer another explanation: flooding caused by bad weather, with consequent damage to the mills. These two texts were transcribed as part of my research project ‘The Trial of the Templars in the British Isles’, funded in 2003-4 by a British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship .]


Inventory recorded at Guildford of the Templars’ property at Withyfleet, Southwark.

The master and brothers had at Southwark a place called Withyfleet and in the same place are five mills, two worth four pounds a year, two worth three pounds and the fifth is worth twenty shillings [i.e., one pound]. There is also a garden worth forty shillings a year. They had in the archbishop of Canterbury’s marsh three [illegible] worth four shillings a year and an acre of meadow worth four shillings a year and an acre of arable land worth twelve pence.

The goods and chattels of the place came into the hands of John Danbroun, viz.: 7 boats (price illegible), a chalice worth 41 shillings, a missal worth forty pence, a gradual (price illegible), a breviary worth 12 pence, one pair of vestments worth four shillings, a brass pot worth four shillings, a platter worth twelve shillings, a ewer worth eighteen pence (i.e. one shilling and sixpence), a cockerel worth a penny and five hens worth seven pence.

[Source: The National Archives: Public Record Office, E 142/15, fol. G4: King’s Remembrancer: enrolled inquisitions of forfeited lands: extents and inquisitions of the Templars’ lands and goods, 1308-9, Surrey and Sussex.]


Robert Tusk, custodian of the Templar manor of Lilleston in the county of Middlesex, is instructed to hand over to William de Montacute, the king’s custodian of the Templar mills of Withyfleet next to the Thames, 20 oaks from Lilleston wood for repairing and improving the mills there which, as the king understands, have been broken and ruined by the inundation of the water of the Thames. Witness J. de Sandale lieutenant. Tuesday 10 June 1309.

[Source: The National Archives: Public Record Office E 368/79, fol. 111 dorse: Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer, Memoranda Rolls, 2 Edw. 11 (1308-9), non-returnable writs of Hilary term.]




Commercial rights


1) These are the complaints of the bourgeois of Provins about the treatment they have received from the Templars, contrary to the usages and customs of Provins. (Addressed to Theobald, count of Champagne).

Sir, we are showing you the wrongs that have been done to us as you are our earthly lord to whom we have recourse, for we have no recourse to anyone except to you. So, sir, we beg you for the sake of God that you help us so that we can live under your authority in the same way that we and ours have lived under your ancestors in the past.

            Sir, the freedoms of Provins are such that in exchange for a payment of 1d. on Tuesdays when the market is at Provins the bourgeois are quit of paying toll on everything they buy and sell of anything to do with drapery in any place where they buy or sell in Provins.

Sir, we are accustomed and ought to have the right to weigh the wool; each person who can and wishes to, may weigh it in their house, and weigh it freely, without opposition. The weighers who weigh the wool are appointed by the bourgeois of Provins and are on oath; and if the bourgeois notice that the weighers are cheating they remove them and put in others.

Sir, what is more, in the three fairs which there are at Provins, that is to say the May fair, St Ayoul’s fair and St Martin’s fair, we are free of all tonnage [toll on weight of goods] for the first seven days of each of these fairs.

Sir, what is more, we have the following freedoms: if we have bought wool in some abbey, and it has been delivered to us and comes at our risk, we pay no toll. But we have been forced to pay, sir, so that we tell you that we have never since been able to get wool from the abbeys but they take it to Chalons and elsewhere, sir, and we have suffered great loss. The people in the abbeys tell us why: because when they sell their wool at Provins, wool which is still at their abbeys or still to be sheared, they shouldn’t pay tonnage on it, or pesage, nor any other customs duty, and never have done, and for this reason they are taking their wool elsewhere, and have left the trade of Provins because they are being forced to pay pesage and tonnage.

Sir, we have complained several times about this, and Lord Lorant has been ordered to look into it, and we believe, sir, that the investigation was made, and if nothing was discovered, we beg you to command that it be made again. Sir, as it was your pleasure that we inform you, we wish to beg you [to do this] as you are our supreme lord, and we can have recourse to no one else but you.

            Sir, we know truly that if you knew the great damage which you are suffering here from loss of rents, from your ovens, your mills, your fabric manufacturers and your other factories which you have at Provins, and the great damage which your bourgeois are suffering, which is also damage to you, for what your bourgeois have is also yours, and they cannot suffer damage without affecting you. Sir, even the wool which the merchants used to bring they now bring nothing, and the little which they do bring us is so expensive that we can’t make any profit on it, so that the drapery industry in the town is in decline because of the lack of wool merchants coming from the abbeys, and they don’t come because they can’t enjoy the practices which they are used to.

& Sir, we have held all the liberties which are recorded above from ancient times and enjoyed them in peace, and our lord your father, whom God absolve! confirmed them to us in his charter. Sir, for God’s sake help us, because we have been suffering this in a daily basis for a good nine years or more before your people's very eyes and suffering losses in our businesses.


Source: Victor Carrière, L’histoire et Cartulaire des Templiers de Provins (Paris, 1919),  pp. 152-4, no. 148. The Templars had been given rights of levying certain tolls on produce entering Provins. It appears that they were exploiting these rights far beyond what was granted.



Shipping [Summaries]


1) 18 July, 1269. Lucera. Charles I of Anjou, King of Naples, instructs his 'secretus'[39] of Apulia that he is to authorize Brother Peter of Nicastro, prior of the Hospital at Barletta, to export wheat, barley and vegetables from the ports of Apulia to Acre, for the brothers, household and poor of the Hospital. The secretus is to first get guarantees from the prior that none of the food will be sold to the Christians' enemies, and he is to get a report on the unloading of the ship from the patriarch of Jerusalem and the masters of the Hospital, Temple and Teutonic order at Acre as well as from Geoffrey of Sargines, seneschal in the kingdom of Jerusalem.


Source: Cartulaire générale de l’ordre des Hospitaliers, ed. Delaville le Roulx, no. 3360.


2) 10 August, 1269. Lucera. Charles I of Anjou, etc., orders the masters of the ports of Barletta to allow the Hospital's ships to leave the port, provided the prior gives a guarantee that the ships will return to port before next April.


Source: ibid., no. 3362.


3) 30 June 1268-9. For the commander of the house of the Temple in Sicily.

At the commander’s request, Charles I of Anjou, king of Naples, has instructed Matthew Rafolo, secretus and master of the ports of Apulia, to allow the commander’s procurator to export from the ports of Apulia 1500 ‘salmas’[40] of oats and 1000 salmas of barley from the lands belonging to the order, to be taken to Acre. But he is to check that it does come from the order’s lands.


Source: I Registri della chancelleria Angioina, ricostruiti da R. Filangieri (Naples, 1950, to present), vol. 2 no. 473, p. 124.


4) Charles I of Anjou to Nicholas Frecze, master of the ports and procurator of Apulia. He is to permit Brother Arnulf of the Knighthood of the Temple to export 1000 salmas of oats and 1000 of barley to carry overseas in the order's ships to Acre for the sustenance of the confrères, household and horses of the house who dwell there to support the Holy Land.

Source: ibid., vol. 11 (1273-77),  no. 145. p. 122.

5) Charles I of Anjou to his secretus; he has written before to Landulf de Aufier, knight, secretus of Apulia, informing him that he has already written to him and Maurus Freczanus, who held the office together and informed him that at the request of Brother Henry, procurator of the holy house of the Teutonic order of St Mary in Apulia he had decided to give him permission to export 1500 salmas of oats and the same of barley from the port of Baroli or Manfredonia, to be carried to Acre. They have not carried out this order, in manifest prejudice to the house. He instructs the secretus to allow this export, except of foodstuffs which are specially for Charles' court, for his own travels and for the island of Malta for the provisioning of the castle on that island.

Source: ibid., vol. 27 (1283-5), no. 62, p. 386.


1) Engagement by Bérenger Raoul to Guiral de Mercadial, to the Knights of the Temple and to Ug du Teron, of a field of the mas of Saint-Grégoire. 1164: Rouergue.

[Summary] Bérenguer is pledging a field in return for a loan of 300 sous of Megueil, and if the money depreciates he must pay one mark of good silver for each 50 sous.

He makes this pledge to Guiral, the Templars, and Ug de Teron and his wife and children and all the men they wish. He wants them to have full rights over the field and enjoy all its produce.

His relatives guarantee this pledge. Guiral and the others will hold the pledge until they have had two crops off the field. The term of the loan will end on St Andrew's day, and if they have a crop, fallow or manuring on the field then they must clear this. If when Berenguer takes it back there is fallow, corn or manure on the field he may only take one quarter of this at harvest time.

Source: Les plus anciennes Chartes en Langue Provençale, ed. Clovis Brunel, 2 vols (Paris, 1926-52), no. 103.

2) Pledge by Raimon Ricart of Cornus and others of the half-mas [a farm] of Bezet to the Brothers of the Temple. c.1170, Rouergue.

[Summary] They pledge it by name to Elias, master of the house of the Temple of St Eulalia, in return for 100 sous of Melgueil paid to Ricart, nephew of Raimon, and 100 sous to Raimon. If money depreciates in value, then they must give a silver mark for each 48 sous ‘in love’ until the Templars have been repaid in full. The produce from the land does not count towards the payment of the debt. The term of the debt ends at Easter.

Source: Les plus anciennes Chartes, ed. Brunel, no. 125.

3) Engagement by Raymond Astruge and his son Peter of their garden and house at Cambon to the Brothers of the Temple. 1183, Albigeois.

[Summary] The garden is in front of the gate of the knighthood's house, and the gate of Raymond's house. Raymond and his son give it to the Templars until he has repaid 30 sous Melgueil, which must be paid at Easter in 2 years’ time.

Any disputes over this debt are to be settled by Lord Bertran de Paulin.

This was given into the hand of Peter de Cabannas, master of the bailiwick of Albejes.

Source: Les plus anciennes Chartes, ed. Brunel, no. 204.

[1] jurisdiction and profits thereof.

[2] jurisdiction in matters of dispute

[3] Import duty.

[4] The right of compelling a person in whose hands stolen goods were found to name the person from whom the goods were received

[5] The right to try and to hang criminals caught within their own lands

[6] I.e., pardons for clearing land and other offences, as in no. 1 above.

[7] I.e., free of the duty of attending shire and hundred courts. The hundred was a division of a shire.

[8] Presumably they are exempt from fines for not attending court when it is trying such cases.

[9] Exemption from paying murdrum, a fine on the local community when an unexplained death occurs.

[10] The duty to appear in the wapentake court (the equivalent of the hundred court in the Danelaw). The Templars need not attend nor pay a fine for non-attendance.

[11] Shield-tax; levied by the king in time of war, in place of the duty to perform military service for the king.

[12] Geld and Danegeld were direct taxes.

[13] A payment in lieu of amercements (now called fines) payable in the hundred court; OR hide-geld, a payment on an area of land.

[14] Assizes were legal proceedings before royal judges who toured the realm; and also a tax levied on a shire.

[15] Fine for not joining the fyrd, or feudal levy.

[16] Fine for wrongfully hanging a thief.

[17] Fine for harbouring fugitives.

[18] Payment in lieu of watch and ward, originally a policing duty.

[19] Payment in lieu of carrying-service.

[20] Fine for bloodshed.

[21] Fine for fighting.

[22] Presumably a payment to the hundred court or to the tithing - or to be exempt from membership of a tithing (the frankpledge system, whereby every male over the age of twelve is a member of a group called a tithing, who are responsible for each other keeping the law).

[23] A toll on road travel.

[24] Toll for crossing a bridge.

[25] Duty payable on a ship's lading.

[26] Payment for the right to have a market stall at a fair or market.

[27] A ‘yardland’, a measure of area, usually of 20 to 30 acres (8 to 12 hectares). A virgate was around half a carrucate, or plough land, which was the area which could be ploughed by one eight-ox team.

[28] A measure of grain, the equivalent of four and a half bushels. A bushel was the eight gallons of dry volume; so a strica was thirty-six gallons of dry volume. (This would be around 160 litres of dry volume.)

[29] Unpaid labour done in place of rent; as this was done in autumn it was probably to help get in the harvest. Sometimes drink and food were provided: see below, the Customary of Cressing.

[30] Hold a cottage and a small area of land attached to it.

[31]Note that carrying-service is worth more in winter (between the end of September and Easter) than in summer (between Easter and September).

[32] Sixty to ninety acres.

[33] The right to pasture pigs in the woodland.

[34] An arbitrary exaction by the lord, limited only by custom.

[35] The land farmed directly by the lord, and not let out to tenants.

[36] An area of land.

[37] A due paid to the Church from the harvest.

[38] Modios. A Modius sometimes means eight gallons, but presumably not in this case.

[39] A royal official, the king’s personal representative.

[40] A horse-load.

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This page was created on 7 November 2006 by Dr H. J. Nicholson, revised 10 September 2010, and is valid until September 2011.