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Medieval Sourcebook:
Adalbert, Bishop of Worms:
Grant of a Craft Gild to Fishermen, 1106-1107

Adalbert, Bishop of Worms, encouraged the fishermen's craft by a grant of a monopoly to retail fish, and hereditary right to goods and office. The provision that no fish were to be purchased before prime was possibly a provision against forestalling.

. . . Be it known . . . that Adalbert, Bishop of the venerable church of Worms, on the petition of Count Wernher, and on the persuasion and advice of his ministers, has decreed that there shall be twenty-three fishermen of Worms, namely these: Herrich, Sethwin, Satmar, Herrich, Etman, Dietmar, Siegefrit, Lutwin, Godeschalc, Worfram, Wilrich, Guntere, Woppelim, Lutfrit, Gerhart, Luzo, Berchtolt, Luzo, Bernhelm, Truthnit, Ruthart, Hildebrant, Godescalch. To them he gave this charter on such condition: that if any of them should be assailed by and succumb to death, his nearest relative may succeed to his office by hereditary custom: but if the heir should fail to do this, let restitution of the said office be made to the common council of the townsmen. In addition the same bishop, on the advice of the above named, decreed that if any one be found to have bought fish to retail them between the two towns of Suelntheim and Altdruphen, or, if he be taken by the said fishermen while making the said purchase, the fish will be taken away from him and equally divided among the townsmen: but he who has been taken in such purchase shall be led before the judges, and, when judgment has been passed, three talents will be offered by him, two to the Mayor and the third to the Count. Those who catch fish are not prohibited from selling them, but the said twenty-three fishermen are not allowed to buy any before prime. Besides, for confirmation of this charter, lest it be subsequently destroyed by the advice or dissensions of any one, the said bishop decreed with his ban that these twenty-three fishermen in times of Rogation shall always present three salmon, two to the Mayor and the third to the Count, and they shall confirm their charter every year by such an offering.


From: F. Keutgen, ed., Urkunden zur Städtischen Verfassungsgeschichte, p. 351 (Berlin: Emil Felber, 1901), p. 351; reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, eds., A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 236-237.

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

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© Paul Halsall, October 1998

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