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Cartulary of Saint Trond:
A Renewal of Letters of Freedom, 1172

The position of a freed serf was precarious without the possession of written evidence of freedom. The tax to be paid on the marriage of the descendants of Emma and Ikha was known as merchet, the twelve denarii being a capitation fee, an indication of lack of full legal freedom.

In the name of the Holy and Indivisible Trinity. Gery, abbot of Saint-Trond by the grace of God.

We wish it to be known to the present generation and to posterity that Emma and Ikha, two pious women, belonging to the ancient stock of our church, have lost by fire the charter of their liberty, have come to us, and have sought from us that we would give them another. Now we, already assured of the truth of their statement, grant freely, and by this charter confirm to them, liberty for themselves and their posterity. But on the Feast of Saint Trond each will pay one denarius into the common box, and twelve denarii tax to the abbey. But if a man should marry a woman of equal standing he shall give nine denarii. But if he should marry an alien [one born outside the manor], he should seek the permission of the abbot.

Witnesses, etc.


C. Piot, ed., Cartulaire de l'Abbaye de Saint-Trond, (Brussels: Académie Royale de Belgique, 1870), p. 120; 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. 301.

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