Cartulary of Saint Trond: Richelinde:
A Gift of Serfs to Abbey of St. Trond, 938
Serfs who were transfered to monasteries were regarded as fortunate since they were
less subject to transfer, sale, or exchange, and they had certain advantages such as
material security and rights of possession and disposal of their goods.
Be it known to all the faithful of the Holy Church of God that if we have
surrendered something of our fortune to the shrines of the saints, we are confident that
we shall undoubtedly receive from God, who rewards all deeds, unfailing reward at the end
of this life. Wherefore I, Richelinde, in the name of God, wish as a charitable person to
make a perpetual gift to the monastery of Saint-Trond, which is built in the place called
Sarcigny, near the river Melterbeek, in the county of Hasbany, where the precious
confessor of Christ now rests, and where my son, Reyner, is abbot over a multitude of
monks who live under the regular rule of the Order of Sempringham. And this is what I
give: for the good of my soul, that after the course of this earthly life I might be
worthy of receiving the gifts of eternal life-I give serfs of these names: Everard and his
wife Ricimar, with their children, Wiburch, Betswint, Hanezin with her daughter, Ratsmunt
with her daughter, Imma, Wigira with her daughter, Meniza, Iseka with her children, Rikera
with her daughter, Hererat, Hildekin, Berenger, Amiza; albeit on the condition that, after
my death, each year on the feast of Saint Trond, they take care to pay in taxes, God
willing, two denarii, and that they owe service to no one as long as they shall live. Let
this hold good for them and for their children. But if they should have anything or be
able to acquire anything they shall have those things conceded to them. And those things
are in their power for their lifetime to dispose of how they wish. Except that while they
live, anything of theirs that is useful to the aforesaid monastery they should give freely
and charitably, and they should do this of their own free will. They shall live in
dependence upon and under the protection of that same monastery. And if it should happen,
which God forbid, that they should be killed, an estimate of their goods shall be given to
C. Piot, ed., Cartulaire de l'Abbaye de Saint-Trond, (Brussels: Académie Royale
de Belgique, 1870), p. 7; 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. 295-296.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
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© Paul Halsall, October 1998