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Medieval Sourcebook:
Three Disputes involving the Cathedral Chapter of Notre-Dame of Chartres, 1215-1224

1. Dispute of 1215

Peter of Paris, Manasses of Orleans, and Garinus of Senlis, all bishops by the grace of God, send greetings in the Lord to all those to whom these letters may come. We want to make known that a dispute erupted between the Chapter of Chartres, on the one hand, and the noble man Theobald, count of Blois and Chartres, on the other, because the provost of the same count of Chartres seized Laurence, the servant of Hugh, one of the canons of Chartres, and detained him in captivity; moreover, even when asked, he refused to return, produce or acknowledge Laurence. [The Chapter and Count were also at odds] over the fact that he had seized horses and certain men of the church, under the claim of vicarial rights, and had detained them in captivity; moreover, when asked, he refused to return or acknowledge them. Moreover, concerning the collection of fines for crimes, and for men [who have been] mutilated and hanged [for crimes], [the right to decide the jurisdiction over these matters] has been promised to us by the parties, under the pain of 300 marks, to be paid by that party who does not want to abide by our sentence or the sentence of of two of us. When, therefore, we proceeded to render our judgment, that the provost, having been commanded by the said Count, shall render to the same Chapter the fine for the matters mentioned above with his own hand, excepting the hereditary rights of the Count and those of the Church of Chartres, we want and state that if the provost, Hugh Saugiers, or the marshal or the castellan of Chartres, when asked about any man mutilated and hanged, shall neither return, produce or acknowledge him, they shall personally bring a living healthy serf [in lecto?] of the count of Blois from the place of the Forks to the Mother Church of Chartres; this shall be done on the feast of the blessed Mary Magdalene, in the third hour, and the said serf shall remain there forever and shall become the property of the church of Chartres. We command that the count shall cause the provost of Chartres to give 20 pounds of money of Chartres to the wronged men for the imprisoned horses and men, and 10 pounds of the same money to the sister of the dead Laurence who was hanged. The aforesaid provost shall also take such a fine in his own hands to the canon of Chartres whose servant Laurence was. When these things have been done, the said count and clerks and their men shall remain in peace; and for these matters, no one shall be held to pay or make any other amends. As memory of this decision, we caused the present letters to be sealed with our seal. Done at Melun, in the year of the lord 1215, in the month of July.

Source: Cartulaire de Notre-Dame de Chartres, ed. E. de Lepinois and Lucien Merlet, 3 vols., Societe archeologique d'Eure-et-Loir (Chartres: Garnier, -1865), no. 218, 2:77-78. Translated by Richard Barton.

2. Dispute of 1221

Henry, archdeacon of Chartres, greetings in the Lord to all those to whom the present letters may come. Let it be known to all of you that a dispute broke out between the Chapter of Chartres, on the one hand, and Matthew, mayor [major] of Perraut [farm of Souance, canton Nogent-le-Rotrou], Ralph and Robert, brothers, and Milesende, Richolde and Mary, sisters of this Matthew the major, on the other hand, concerning a certain tilled-land and meadow located at Ballolium-Pigni. Geoffrey of Poncé had possessed these lands in the name of the Church of Chartres for a long time without any claim against him, and he had given them in perpetual alms to the service of the same church in the Chapter-house of Chartres in our presence. The dispute between the chapter and the aforesaid Matthew, major, and his brother and sisters was resolved in this way: Matthew, his brothers and sisters, and their children, namely Willotus and Amelota the sons of the major, Willotus and Ralf sons of Richoldis, and Robin son of Ralph brother of the major, all gathered in the Chapter-House of Chartres and completely put aside their claim to the land and field in favor of the church of Chartres, binding themselves with oaths that if they had or used to have any right in the said land and field, they would claim nothing other than it. On top of this, the said major gave whatever he held from the church of Chartres to the Chapter as his counter-pledge that he, his brothers and sisters, and their heirs would guarantee the security of the said land and field for the church of Chartres against all comers. As testimony of this matter, and at the petition of the said major and his brothers and sisters, we caused these letters to be drawn up and to be strengthened by the character of our seal. Given in the year of the lord 1221, in the month of July.

Source: Cartulaire de Notre-Dame de Chartres, ed. E. de Lepinois and Lucien Merlet, 3 vols., Societe archeologique d'Eure-et-Loir (Chartres: Garnier, -1865), no. 239, 2: . Translated by Richard Barton.

3. Dispute of 1224

We decree to each and all, both laypersons and clerics, who have convened for the purpose of electing a Dean, that the stalls of the mercers that used to be among the columns [in capitellis], shall be located in the cloister, on the southern side, between the stair of the church and the greater tower. We decree this in such a way that all rights of justice over the stalls and the houses in which they are located and the mercers themselves shall belong to the chapter, and he who shall be elected Dean will not be able to claim otherwise; these rights shall be possessed by the Chapter in full liberty as they now are, in the place where they are today located, that is on the plot that used to belong to Archdeacon Milo. Done in the year of the Lord 1224, in the month of May, on the octave of the Ascension of the Lord.

Source: Cartulaire de Notre-Dame de Chartres, ed. E. de Lepinois and Lucien Merlet, 3 vols., Societe archeologique d'Eure-et-Loir (Chartres: Garnier, -1865), no. 246, 2:103.


All translated by Richard Barton, 1998

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Paul Halsall, October 1998
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