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Medieval Sourcebook:
Charter of Privileges to the Butchers of Paris, 1182

The traffic in foodstuffs fell into the hands of a class of workers who occupied a position midway between that of the local merchants of the better sort, and that of the strictly regulated peddlers. The butchers were limited in their activities by their small resources, and their further development was restricted by rigid regulations. Note that the Paris butchers had a monopoly of trade, and that they also dealt in fish.

In the name of the Holy and Indivisible Trinity. Amen. Philip, by the grace of God, King of the Franks. Be it known to all present and future generations that the butchers of Paris came to our presence asking that we would grant and permit them to hold in peace their ancient customs, just as our father and grandfather, Louis of good memory, and other predecessors of ours---the Kings of France---had granted them. On the advice of those who attended us we heard their petition, but, since those customs granted by our father were not in a written charter, we have ordered them to be put into writing, and to be confirmed with our seal. These are the customs:


1. The butchers of Paris can buy living and dead cattle, and whatever pertains to their trade, freely without custom and without giving any pedagium within the area of Paris, whencesoever they come, or whithersoever they are taken, if by chance it should happen that they are being taken anywhere. Fish of the sea, and fish from fresh water, they may likewise buy and sell.

2. No one can be a Paris butcher, nor shall other butchers have their rights, namely, food and drink, unless they wish to concede them of their own will.

3. On the Octave of Christmas every butcher will give us annually twelve denarii; on the Octaves of Easter and of St. Denis, thirteen denarii to him who holds it in fief from us.

4. Every butcher shall owe an obole for stallage to our reeve for every Sunday on which he cuts pork or beef, and every butcher owes every year to us, at the vintage, one hautban of wine.

And in order that all these things may remain secure for ever, we have strengthened this charter by the addition of our seal and signature. Done at Paris in the year of the Incarnation of the Lord, 1182, in the fourth year of our reign. Witnesses, etc.


From: Gustave Fagniez, ed., Documents Relatifs a l'Histoire de l’Industrie et du Commerce en France, (Paris: Alphonse Picard et Fils, 1898), Vol. I, p. 174, 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. 239-240.

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.

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, September 1998
[email protected]


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