William the Conqueror:
Provision for Peter's Pence, c. 1066-1087
William the Conqueror refused homage to the Pope but promised that Peter's Pence
should be paid. In fulfillment of his promise he made detailed arrangements for the
collection of this tax, in some cases demesne serfs paying through their lord.
A free man who has possessions in the country to the value of thirty pence will pay
St. Peter's Pence. But the lord will acquit his bordars, ploughmen, and serfs for one
penny. A burgess, if he have the value of one-half mark in his own chattels, will pay St.
Peter's Pence. In Danish law a free man who has field chattels to the value of one-half
mark will give St. Peter's Pence; and through the lord's penny all who live in his demesne
will be quit. But he who keeps St. Peter's Pence is forced by censure of the Church to pay
it and thirty pence for a fine besides. But if his plea come before the justices of the
king, the king will have forty shillings for fine and the bishop thirty pence.
Benjamin Thorpe, ed., Ancient Laws and Institutes of England, (London: Eyre
& Spottiswoode, 1840), p. 467; reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A
Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936;
reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 383-384.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
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© Paul Halsall, October 1998