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Pope Gregory the Great:
Succession to Tenant Holdings on Church Land, c. 600

Along with building up of large ecclesiastical estates, the customary rights of tenants to their holdings were protected, including the right of succession to such holdings, that is, rights of possession were protected.

We have also learned that it sometimes happens that when tenants die their relatives are not allowed to succeed them, but their property is taken over for the use of the Church. In this matter we decree that the relatives of those who lived on the possessions of the Church should succeed them as their heirs. Nor should anything be taken from them that belonged to the deceased. But if any one leaves little children, let careful persons be chosen to whom the parents' property must be handed over for guardianship, until the children arrive at an age when they can take care of their own property.


J. P. Migne, ed., Patrologiae Cursus Completus, (Paris, 1849), Vol. LXXVII, p. 498; 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. 337.

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