The documents in the cartulary make it evident that the payment of a rent in money formed the essential tie between the abbey and its tenants. The greater estates of the abbey were composed of scattered holdings held together by their contribution to a common firma. But the tenant was the abbot's justiciable. A charter granted by Abbot Anselm between 1134 and 1140 brings out very clearly the fact that seignorial justice was a privilege to the tenant as well as a source of profit and influence to the lord:
Notum sit presentibus ⁊ futuris quod ego Anselmus dei gracia abbas ⁊ conuentus sancti Benedicti de Hulmo . dedimus ⁊ concessimus Wyther cognomento Turnel ⁊ suo heredi in feodo ⁊ hereditate .xii. acras quas Wlmerus de Ristone tenuit ⁊ unam acram quam Leuinggus cognomento Ludding tenuit in Erpingham hundred. Insuper ei dedimus ⁊ concessimus totam terram que pertinet ad dominium nostrum de Scothowe in Tunstede hundred pro quatraginta denariis de redditu pro omni seruicio per annum . nec inde placitet contra aliquem nisi in curia abbatis ⁊ monachorum ubi hec largicio ei facta est in comuni [sic] capitulo. Ipse uero Wyther ⁊ heredes eius post obitum illius dabit singulis annis ad festum sancti Benedicti in estate quatuor denarios ad altare. Huius rei testes sunt . Adam presbiter de Tunsted Osbernus de Redham . Willelmus de Hobosse Eudo de Felmingham . Lambertus de Birkele . Hugo de Estone . Edricus pet Wlricus de Birnesuurde Eche Suetman . Godricus . Lelberd etc.
The examples which have been given are perhaps enough to show the general interest of the early charters in the register of St. Benet's. It would be hard to find a series which illustrates more clearly the dealings of a great East Anglian religious house with its tenants. It is an important fact that these dealings throughout presuppose the existence of the peculiar form of society which is described in the Domesday survey of East Anglia.
F. M. Stenton.
The Text of the Ordinance of 1184 concerning an Aid for the Holy Land
The ordinance dealing with a subsidy for the Holy Land, which purports to have been issued by Henry II and Philip Augustus in 1184, has been edited several times; but our knowledge of the
- In the reign of Stephen, Abbot Hugh granted certain land between Runton and Felbridge to Osbert the priest of Thurgarton for twelve pence a year, noting that these twelve pence belonged to the four pounds of Thwaite (fo. 57 b). In 1086 St. Benet's manor of Thwaite had only been valued at forty shillings.
- fo. 56 b.
sua tempore regis Henrici primi … pro duobus solidis de censu ad aulam per annum pro omnibus consuetudinibus et seruiciis.' This explicit acknowledgement by a lord that the daughter of a reeve possessed a right of inheritance to her father's land is good evidence of the free condition of men of this class at the middle of the twelfth century.