King John of England:
Prisage on Wine, 1205
Royal rights of prisage were ill defined in the reign of John, since he abused most
of his rights, but they were commuted into money payments and were finally regulated by
Parliament in A.D. 1275.
The King, etc., to Reginald de Cornhill greeting.
We command you that you take our prise of all wines which come to London. So that if
any one who ought to have it claims freedom from this, he shall swear with three or four
witnesses that he bought that wine, which he claims to be his, by himself, or by his men
beyond the sea, and that his own proper chattel is in those things; and not otherwise
shall those things remain without our prise. And you shall take care of such for our use
so that we can commend your diligence in this matter and so that we ought not to blame you
for any defection on your part.
Witness: Geoffrey Fitz-Peter at Lambeth, the 30th day of April in the seventh year of
Joseph Hunter, ed., Rotuli Selecti, (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1834), p.
32; 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), p. 413.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
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© Paul Halsall, October 1998