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Medieval Sourcebook:
Archbishop Thurstan:
Charter Granted to Men of Beverley, 1130

The charter granted to Beverley was modeled on that of York and included the grant of a merchant gild with the same by-laws and customs as had been previously granted to York by King Henry I. The rent to be paid annually to the Archbishop was eighteen marks, a sum calculated to make up for the loss of revenue obtained by taxation of the citizens.

Thurstan, by the grace of God, Archbishop of York, to all the faithful of Christ, present and future, greeting and benediction, and the blessing of God.

Let it be known to you that I have granted and conceded on the advice of the chapter of York and Beverley, and with the counsel of my barons, and by my charter I have confirmed to the men of Beverley all the liberties and laws which the men of York have in their city.

Let it not be hidden from you that the lord Henry, our king, has granted to us the power to do these things, and that his charter has confirmed our statutes and our laws according to the form of the laws of the burgesses of York, saving the dignity and honor of God, of St. John, of us, and of our canons so that he might promote and exalt the honor of his almsgiving predecessors with all these free customs. I wish that my burgesses of Beverley might have their gild-house, and I grant and concede to them that they may carry out their statutes to the honor of God, of St. John, and of the cathedral chapter for the improvement of the town by the same laws and liberties as the men of York have in their gild.

I also grant a perpetual toll to them for eighteen marks annually; besides on the three feast days on which toll is due to us and to the cathedral chapter, i.e., on the feast of St. John the Confessor in May, and on the feast of the Translation of St. John, and on the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. On these three feasts I have freed all the burgesses of Beverley so that they are free and quit of all tax.

By the testimony of this charter I have granted to the same burgesses free entry and exit into and out of the town, in the plain, woods, marshes, roads, paths, and other thoroughfares, except in the meadows and cornfields; and this I grant and confirm as well and freely as ever any one can grant and confirm. And know also that they are free and quit of all tax throughout the whole of Yorkshire, just as are the citizens of York. And I wish that if any one break this charter that he be anathema, as the custom of the church of St. John proclaims, and according as it is decreed in the church of St. John. Witnesses, etc.


From: William Stubbs & H. W. C. Davis, eds., Select Charters of English Constitutional History, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913), pp. 131-132, 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. 203-204.

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