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Medieval Sourcebook:
Jocelin de Brakelond:
Grant of Rights of Pre-emption, 1124

The right of pre-emption in the market of St. Edmundsbury belonged to the Abbey but the agents of the Abbot and the cellarer disagreed about this right until Abbot Samson generously decided against his own interests in favor of his monks.

Also the cellarer was accustomed to have this privilege in the market of that town, that he himself or his agents should have the first purchase of all food for the monks, if the abbot were not at home. The agents of the abbot or those of the cellarer, whichever should first arrive at the market, should have the first purchase, if they arrived the one without the other. But if they should arrive together, there should be deference shown to those of the abbot. Also at the time when herrings were sold the agents of the abbot were to buy them for one obole less than the rest pay for a hundred; likewise the cellarer and his agents. Also if a load of fish or other food should come into the court or into the market, and if the load be not discharged from the horse or from the cart, the cellarer or his agents may buy the whole load and take it with them without paying thelony. But Abbot Samson ordered his agents to yield to the cellarer and his agents, because, as he said, he preferred that he himself rather than the monks should lack. Therefore the agents, with honor preferring one another, if they found anything to be purchased which was insufficient for both parties, bought it jointly and shared it equally, and thus as the head to the limbs, and the father to his sons, there remained harmony instead of discord.


From: J. G. Rokewode, ed., Chronica Jocelini de Brakelonda, (London: Camden Society, 1840), pp. 76-77, 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. 124.

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, September 1998
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