Charter of Liberties

 

Henry, king of the English, to Bishop Samson and Urso de Abetot and all his barons and faithful, both French and English, of Worcestershire, [copies were sent to all the shires] greeting.

  • The Charter was issued from the Norman Chapel in the Tower of London in 1100.
    1. I, Henry, by the grace of God having been crowned the King of England, shall not take or sell any property from a Church upon the death of a bishop or abbot, until a successor has been named to that Church property. I shall end all the oppressive practices which have been an evil presence in England.
    2. If any baron or earl of mine shall die, his heirs shall not be forced to purchase their inheritance, but shall retrieve it through force of law and custom.
    Any baron or earl who wishes to betroth his daughter or other women kinsfolk in marriage should consult me first, but I will not stand in the way of any prudent marriage. Any widow who wishes to remarry should consult with me, but I shall abide by the wishes of her close relatives, the other barons and earls. I will not allow her to marry one of my enemies.
    Any wife of my barons, who becomes a widow shall not be denied her dowry. She should be allowed to remarry according to her wishes, so long as she maintains the integrity of her body, in a lawful manner. Barons overseeing the children of a dead baron shall maintain their land and interest in a lawful manner.
    Common seigniorages took in the cities and counties, which was not taken in the time of Edward I (Edward the Confessor), shall henceforth be forbidden.
    I shall remit [cancel] all debts and pleas which were owing to my brother, except those which were lawfully made through an inheritance.
    If any of my barons should grow feeble, and give away money or other possessions, these shall be honored, so long as the heirs are properly remembered. Gifts given by feeble barons under force of arms shall not be enforced.
    If any of my barons commit a crime, he shall not bind himself to the crown with a payment as was done in the time of my father and brother, but shall stand for the crime as was custom and law before the time of my father, and make amends as are appropriate. Anyone guilty of treachery or other heinous crime shall make proper amends.
    I forgive all murders committed before I was crowned. Subsequent murders shall stand before the justice of the Crown.
    With the common consent of my barons, I shall maintain all the forests as was done in the time of my father.
    Those knights who render military service and horses shall not be required to give grain or other farm goods to me.
    I impose a strict peace on the land and command it be maintained.
    I restore the law of King Edward and the amendments which my father introduced upon the advice of his barons.
    Anything taken from me after the death of my father shall be returned immediately, without fine. If it is not returned, a heavy fine shall be enforced.
    Witnesses Maurice bishop of London, and William bishop elect of Winchester, and Gerard bishop of Hereford, and earl Henry, and earl Simon, and Walter Giffard, and Robert de Montfort, and Roger Bigot, and Eudo the steward, and Robert son of Hamo, and Robert Malet. At London when I was crowned. Farewell.