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St. Omer: The Inheritance Law of 1128

Count Thierry of Alsace in August, A.D. 1128 amended the charter of St. Omer, drawing up for the citizens the law of inheritance to which they were to adhere. By this law conditions were laid down under which an heir might lay claim to an inheritance, or might actually inherit.

C.3. If any one believes that a portion of the goods of a dead relative should fall to his lot he should arrange for a division with him who holds the property within one year, or he should accuse him in the presence of the reeve and the judges. He who holds such property for a year without lawful complaint being made should continue to hold it and be answerable to none. If an heir should tarry abroad and on returning demand his portion, he shall obtain it if he can prove by five bailiffs that he did not obtain his portion; but if the other can prove by four lawful men that he gave the heir his portion, then he shall be quit. If the heir be a minor, his surviving parent or his guardian shall state to the reeves and other lawful men the amount of the heir's inheritance, and this shall be done within one year. If it seems to the reeve and the lawful men that the parent or guardian will keep the inheritance faithfully, they shall entrust it to him. But let the heir suffer no loss by this arrangement. When the heir comes of age let him be invested with his heritage without loss.


J. M. Kemble, ed., The Saxons in England, (London: Bernard Quaritch, 1876), Vol. II, Appendix, p. 528; 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. 339.

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

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

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

© Paul Halsall, October 1998
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