Westminster Abbey Charters, 1066 - C.1214 London Record Society 25. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 1988.
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152.* Letter of Pope Leo IX, granting to King Edward that, to obviate political dangers, he may commute his vow of making a pilgrimage to Rome, and instead found a monastery dedicated to St Peter. 
153.* Letter of Pope Nicholas II, in response to a petition of King Edward, confirming and extending the privileges of the abbey, the repository of the royal regalia, and exempting it from episcopal jurisdiction. 
Note: King Edward's letter to Pope Nicholas is pd. Wilkins, Concilia I, 319; Kemble IV, 182–3, no. DCCCXXV; see also Scholz, 'Sulcard of Westminster', 70. On Edward's embassy to Rome in 1061, see Osbert de Clare, Vita Edwardi, Analecta Bollandiana, xli (1923), 87–8; Frank Barlow, The English Church 1000–1066, 2nd edn., 1974, 297, no. 4. On the strange greeting of this letter, see Chaplais, 'Original Charters', 93.
154.* Letter of Pope Paschal II, informing H I that the abbey is under the special protection of St Peter; that it is exempt from the jurisdiction of the bp. of London, and that he confirms its status as the coronation church, and its possession of all its lands and churches. Lateran, 28 June [1101 × 1114]
156. Solemn privilege of Innocent II addressed to Abbot Gervase and his successors; takes the abbey under his protection as his predecessors, Nicholas II and Leo IX had done, and confirms the abbey's privileges and possessions. Lateran, 22 April 1139.
157. Pope Innocent II, notifying Abbot Gervase and the convent that, at the request of Bp. H[enry (of Blois) of Winchester], he confirms and takes under his protection the lands which Gilbert of Hendon (Mddx.) and his predecessors held of the abbey. Lateran, 22 April 
158. Pope Innocent II, to Abbot Gervase and the monks, following the mission to the Curia of Prior Osbert de Clare. The canonization of King Edward would require more evidence than has been offered. Further evidence, and the petition for canonization, should be presented by the whole realm (of England). However, he has written to the legate, Henry (of Blois), bp. of Winchester, ordering the restitution to the abbey of those lands which have been misappropriated. Lateran, 9 Dec. 
Pd: Monasticon I, 308, no. LIV (citing BL Donat. 4573, no. 2, which cannot be identified); Letters of Osbert de Clare, 87–8, no. 19; Wilkins, Concilia I, 419; Epistolae Herberti de Losinga; Osberti de Clara et Elmeri, ed. R. Anstruther (New York, 1846, rpt. 1969), 122–4, no. VII; Foedera I, i, f. 17; PL 179, col. 568, no. DII.
159. Pope Innocent II to Henry [of Blois], bp. of Winchester and papal legate. The pope has learned from [Prior] Osbert [de Clare] of the complaint of the monks of St Peter of Westminster that the possessions and goods of that church have been wrongfully seized and violently detained by many people. The pope orders Henry to hear the complaint of the monks; to render them justice, and not to permit anyone to do them further injury or harm. Lateran, 9 December 
160. Pope Innocent II, requesting David I, king of the Scots, to confirm to the abbey the land which provides his annual donation of £1. 10s. supporting the anniversary of his late sister, Queen Matilda. Lateran, 9 Dec. 
Date: This is one of four letters, all dated 9 Dec., which Prior Osbert de Clare allegedly brought back from his mission to Rome in 1139 (Harvey, 'Fee Farms', 128). Holtzmann, PUE, and Barrow, Acts of Malcolm IV, date 1139 × 1142.
161.* Letter of Pope Innocent II, addressed to Abbot Gervase and the monks, ordering Abbot Gervase to get back lands alienated without the consent of the convent, and to keep safely the regalia of Edward the Confessor. Lateran, 9 Dec. 
Note: Dated to 1139 on the grounds that it was one of four letters supposedly brought back from Rome by Prior Osbert de Clare, but prob. a forgery composed by him (Harvey, 'Fee Farms', 128–9). Chaplais, 'Original Charters', 91, accepts as genuine. See also Richardson & Sayles, 416–17. On the regalia, see Barlow, Edward the Confessor, 269.
Date: Indictione ixna Incarnationis Dominice anno m° c° xlv° pontificatus vero domini Eugenii iij pape anno secundo. The pope's second regnal year, and the subscription of Imar, cardinal bp. of Tusculum (Frascati) (for his travels in 1144–1145 see Councils & Synods I, 810–11). A. Morey and C. N. L. Brooke, 'The Cerne Letters of Gilbert Foliot and the Legation of Imar of Tusculum', EHR 63 (1948), 523–7.
Date: 'vj Kal. Aprilis Indictione xiiij. Incarnationis Dominice anno m° c° l° j°. Pontificatus vero domini Eugenii iij° pape vij°'. Indiction and year of grace, with subscriptions of Nicholas, bp. of Albano (cf. Jaffé, RPR II, 20), confirm a date of 1151, in contrast to the regnal year, which is incorrect. Most papal letters dated March 1151 were issued at Ferentino (Jaffe, RPR II, 71–72).
Date: Adrian IV issued letters exclusively from the Lateran in May 1157 (Jaffé, RPR II, 121–127), but none were issued from there in May 1155, or 1156. See also Letters of John of Salisbury I, no. 45.
Note: Great Malvern was founded by the monk Aldwin, on land granted by Earl AEthelwine (or Odda), d. 1056 (cf. De Gestis Pontificum, 285–6; Monasticon III, 440), whose estates were later given by King Edward to Westminster (Vita Wulfstani, ed. R. R. Darlington, Camden Soc. third series, 40 (1928), xli-xlii; Harvey, WA, 30). By 1117, Great Malvern was a dependency of Westminster (Gilbert Crispin, 33–4; Monasticon III, 447–8). On the jurisdictional dispute which preceded the issue of this bull, see Letters of John of Salisbury I, no. 45; Saltman, Theobald, 88–9.
166. Pope Adrian IV to Abbot Gervase and the convent, confirming the cells of Great Malvern (Worcs.), Hurley (Berks.) and Sudbury (Suffolk), together with the abbey's churches and chapels (enumerated). Lateran, 1 June 1157.
WAM 12755 (a copy, early 13C, omitting church of Staines, chapels of Holwell (Herts., formerly Beds.) and Morton (Worcs.), and all attestations; abridged dating clause); WAD, ff. 4v–5v; F, ff. 164–167; T, ff. 47v–48v (both the latter abridge conclusion, and omit subscriptions and date); BL Additional Roll 15895, no. 18 (short extract).
Note: On Great Malvern cf. the pope's bull issued a week earlier (164). Hurley was founded, as a dependency of Westminster, by Geoffrey de Mandeville I in 1085–6 (462); Sudbury, given by the moneyer Wulfric, was confirmed by H I 1114 × 1116 (72).
Pd: Mansi, XXI, col. 871, no. III, and col. 1047, no. XVII (identical texts, with different headings); Richard of Cirencester, Speculum Historiale, ed. J. E. B. Major, II, RS (London, 1869), 322–3; Migne, PL, 200, cols. 106–107, no. xxxiv; Monasticon I, 308b–309, no. LV; AASS, January 1, 302b–303, no. II; Wilkins, Concilia, I, 434; Magnum Bullarium Romanum, ed. E. Laertes Cherubini (new edn., Luxemburg, 1727), I, 40a–b; Widmore, 183–4, no. V.
Note: All pd. edns. belong to the same MS. tradition, and are prob. pd. from one another, except Richard of Cirencester, whose text contains variants, although these are not significant for the content.
169. Pope Alexander III to Roger the infirmarer, confirming to the infirmary the churches of Battersea and Wandsworth (Surr.), granted by Abbot Laurence, at the request of Abbot Laurence and Roger. Anagni, 7 Feb. 
170. Pope Alexander III to Walter the sacrist, confirming the church of Sawbridgeworth (Herts.) to provide lights for the sacristy altar, at the petition both of Walter and of Abbot Laurence. Anagni, 7 Feb. 
171. Pope Alexander III to Abbot Laurence and the convent, confirming the privileges and possessions of the abbey, and especially the cells of Great Malvern (Worcs.), Hurley (Berks.) and Sudbury (Suffolk). Sens, 6 Oct. 1163.
172. Pope Alexander III to Abbot Laurence and the convent, confirming the privileges and possessions of the abbey, and particularly its exemption from the jurisdiction of the bp. of London. Tusculanum, 3 Dec. 1171.
Note: This papal confirmation was evidently sought, in part, to reinforce the exemption from episcopal jurisdiction earlier granted by Pope Innocent II (155). The personal relationship between the abbot and the bp. of London had been good in preceding years: cf. Laurence's letter to Pope Alexander in support of Gilbert Foliot, during the Becket dispute (Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, ed. J. C. Robertson and J. B. Sheppard (7 vols., RS, 1875–83), VI, 621–2, no. DXIX, dated by the editor to 1169).
173. Pope Alexander III, granting to Abbot Laurence and his successors the right to wear mitre and ring on Sundays and other solemn festivals, during mass and in processions within the abbey, and during papal and episcopal synods. Anagni, 18 April [1160 × 1173]
Date: Outer limits election of Pope Alexander (Sept. 1159) and d. of Abbot Laurence 9/10 April 1173. The pope was at Anagni in April 1160; possibly in April 1161, and again in April 1173 (Jaffe, RPR II, 149–266).
174. Pope Alexander III to Abbot Walter and the convent, granting to Walter and his successors that, since they already have papal permission to wear mitre and ring, they may also wear the dalmatic tunicle and sandals on solemn days within the monastery and its dependencies, in processions, in papal, legatine and episcopal synods. Anagni, 13 Sept. [1175 × 1180]
176. Pope Alexander III to Abbot Walter and the convent, confirming the possessions of the abbey, its exemption from the jurisdiction of the bp. of London, and prohibiting the alienation of the churches of Oakham (Rutl.), Ashwell (Herts.), Staines (Mddx.), Aldenham and Wheathampstead (Herts.), with their chapels. Ferrara, 18 April 1178 [recte 1177]
WAM 12732 (notarial copy of 15 Feb. 1302); WAD, f. 8r–v; F, ff. 167–168; T, ff. 46v–47 (subscriptions omitted in the two latter); WA Mun. Bk. 12, f. 1v (précis); BL Additional Roll 15895, no. 9 (extracts).
Date: Holtzmann, PUE dates 1177. The 'eighteenth year' of Pope Alexander ended 19 Sept. 1177, and whereas he was at Ferrara 2 April 1177, he was at the Lateran in April 1178 (Jaffe, RPR II, 304, 322).
178. Pope Clement III to the abbot and convent, permitting them to appropriate the tithes of the churches of which they were the patrons, when vacancies occurred, for the support of the brethren, their guests, and the poor, provided that vicarages were ordained and synodals paid. Lateran, 5 July 1189.
179. Bull of Pope Clement III, addressed to Abbot Walter and the convent, confirming the abbey's possessions, and any which it might subsequently acquire, and especially the churches of Oakham (Rutl.), Ashwell (Herts.), Staines (Mddx.), Aldenham and Wheathampstead (Herts.), with their appurtenances; prohibiting any bp. or abp. from saying mass in St Margaret's, Westminster, or holding a synod there; exempting the abbey from the bp. of London, and confirming all pensions from churches which the abbey held before the [Third] Lateran Council. Lateran, 20 July 1189.
WAM 1508; WAM 12754 (notarial copy of 15 Feb. 1302; only subscription that of the pope, but date given); WAM 12755 (copy of early 14C); WAD, ff. 9v–10; F, ff. 171v–173 (omitting subscriptions, apart from that of the pope); T, f. 45r–v; LN, f. cxxviij verso; WA Mun. Bk. 12, f. 6, and f. 6r–v (both précis); BL Additional Roll 15895, no. 11.
Note: Prob. the knowledge that the chapter of St Paul's was lodging a complaint prompted a rival Westminster delegation to the curia to counter-petition for exemption from episcopal control, and simultaneously request confirmation of various properties.
180. Pope Celestine III to Abbot William and the convent, confirming to the abbot and his successors the right to wear mitre and ring; gloves, dalmatic tunicle and sandals, together with priestly vestments of benediction, to be worn on all solemn days within the abbey and its dependencies; in processions in the abbey; in papal and legatine councils, and in episcopal synods. Rome, St Peter's, 13 Jan. 1192.
181. Pope Celestine III to the abbot, exempting the abbey from any ecclesiastical jurisdiction other than his own; prohibiting anyone from violently entering the church or despoiling its goods, and ordering the restitution of goods wrongfully taken. Rome, St Peter's, 13 Jan. 1192.
Note: A second exemption obtained in the aftermath of the vacancy in the abbacy, and the attempted intrusion of Henry Longchamps (Ric. of Devizes, 39; Diceto II, 100), but worded so as to emphasize the abbey's exempt status, rather than those shortcomings which had been a pretext for the exercise of the diocesan's authority.
182. Pope Celestine III to the abbot and convent, excommunicating those who have stolen the goods of the abbey, or otherwise harmed it; granting leave to appeal against bps., but ordering the chapter to maintain good discipline, in order to avoid giving pretext for intrusion. Rome, St Peter's, 13 Jan. 1192.
Note: Following the d. of Abbot Walter in Sept. 1190, the monks of Westminster came under heavy pressure from the justiciar, William Longchamps, to allow his brother Henry, a monk of Caen, to take up residence in the abbey, and to give a written and sealed undertaking that in due course they would elect him abbot. In Oct. 1191, the political movement against Longchamps permitted the monks to disregard their enforced promise, and instead to elect their prior, William Postard, as abbot (Ric. of Devizes, 25, 39,54; Diceto I, 100–1). It is likely that this recent vacancy had both occasioned material loss to the abbey, and also prompted renewed jurisdictional claims on behalf of the bp. of London. Once again, episcopal petition was evidently countered by successful monastic counter-petition.
Note: Another bull of Innocent III, confirming to the abbot and convent all the privileges of the church and customs hitherto observed, is now known only from a memorandum dated 8 Jan., pontifical year unspecified (WA Mun. Bk. 12, ff. 7v, 15v, 19; cal. Cal. Letters Innocent III, 188–9, no. 1151).
184. Pope Innocent III to all English prelates, ordering that the privileges and indulgences granted to the abbey, by reason of its special relationship with the apostolic see, are to be observed. Lateran, 23 April 1199.
Note: There survives a memorandum of a similar bull, dated 8 Jan., pontifical year unspecified, (WA Mun. Bk. 12, f. 15v; cal. Cal. Letters Innocent III, 189, no. 1153, as prob. identical with bull here above, but different dates show it must be distinct).
185. Pope Innocent III to the abbot and convent of Westminster. The pope has heard that benefices intended for the use of the chapter, and for the poor, have occasionally been assigned, at the instance of certain magnates, to their clerks. The pope orders that the chapter is not to divert to other uses the church of Sawbridgeworth (Herts.), assigned to the sacristy, or any other churches, assigned to hospitality or other pious uses. Lateran, 24 April 1199.
Note: Cf. Harvey, WA, 388, 409; the confirmation by Pope Alexander III of the church to the sacristy (170); Abbot Laurence's charter to his clerk Maurice (284), and the assignment on the abbey's pension from this church for the anniversary of his parents (283). The bull was prob. issued, however, not in response to Laurence's earlier transactions, but to an appeal by the sacrist, and poss. others, against the methods used by Abbot William Postard to clear the obligations, perhaps personal as well as financial, arising from the crisis of 1190– 1191 (cf. 186). There also survive memoranda of another bull, issued to the abbot and convent on 8 Jan., pontifical year unspecified, ordering them not to divert to other uses churches assigned to hospitality or to the infirmary (WA Mun. Bk. 12, ff. 9v, 14, 15, 15v: cal. Cal. Letters Innocent III, 189, no. 1152).
186. Pope Innocent III to the abbot, prohibiting the abbot from alienating the churches or other possessions pertaining to the whole community, without the consent of the chapter, or the greater and wiser part. Lateran, 30 April 1199.
Pd: Cal. Letters Innocent III, 203, no. 113 (from WAD, with selected variants from F and T): full text from Tua potissimum; omitting common form of initial protocol. Flete, 49–50 (extracts only, as in C).
Note: The unnamed abbot was William Postard, who, within a period of seven years, succeeded in discharging the abbey of a debt of 1,500 marks of silver, previously due for his 'confirmation' (Flete, 98), prob. a payment to the crown for free choice of abbot (Harvey, WA, 64n.). Financial solvency was perhaps achieved by an arbitrary rationalization of Westminster's assets but there was already a longupheld papal view that monastic property was inalienable (H. G. Richardson, 'The Coronation in Medieval England', Traditio 16 (1960), 151–3). On the growing crisis in the abbey's finances at this period, see Harvey, WA, 84–6.
187.* The papal legate, Peter [Pierleoni], to Abbot Herbert and the convent: in commemoration of King Edward and Queen Matilda, who are buried in the abbey, he has granted an indulgence of forty days to those who visit the abbey on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul [29 June] or within the octave; and also on the feast of St Peter in Chains [1 Aug.]. [post 12 June × ante 2 Oct. 1121]
Note: Authenticity questioned (PUE I, 237, no. 13; Councils and Synods I, pt. ii, 724; Brett, English Church 41, n. 4). If not an outright fabrication, interpolation may be strongly suspected in the clause relating to King Edward and Queen Matilda. The cult of St Peter was fostered at Westminster from the late 11C, perhaps as a counter-move against the growing cult of Edward the Confessor (Scholz, 'Sulcard of Westminster', 72; idem, 'Canonization', 40), and St Peter's Chains remained one of the principal feasts at the abbey throughout the Middle Ages (Scholz, 'Sulcard of Westminster', 73 and n. 58, 74). The cathedral of London had been dedicated to St Paul since the episcopate of Bp. Mellitus, early in the 7C (Brooke & Keir, 16), and the forged legatine documents associating his cult with Westminster were perhaps intended to attract devotees from the episcopal seat. Westminster's energetic promotion of successive cults was perhaps the stimulus which prompted that of St Erconwald at St Paul's (Scholz, 'Canonization', 40–1).
188.* The papal legate, Peter [Pierleoni], to Abbot Herbert and his successors, and to the convent, confirming the abbey in all its possessions, present and to come; granting an indulgence of forty days to those who come to render their devotions to Saints Peter and Paul; and permitting the participation of five, or three, deacons, and the same number of subdeacons, at mass, or in processions, on seven especially solemn festivals. Anathema on anyone disturbing the abbey or its possessions. London [post 12 June × ante 2 Oct.] 1121.
189. The papal legate, John [of Crema]: at the request of Abbot Herbert and the convent for some benefaction, and since King Edward and Queen Matilda are buried in the abbey, he grants to all the faithful visiting the abbey on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, or within the octave, an indulgence of forty days. [? Westminster (March × ? 8 Sept.) 1125]
Date: John of Crema arrived in England by 29 March 1125, travelled throughout England and into Scotland, then on 8 Sept. held a legatine council at Westminster, shortly after which he left England (Councils and Synods I, pt. ii, 731–3).
190. The papal legate, Henry [of Pisa], to Hilary, bp. of Chichester, Robert [de Chesney], bp. of Lincoln, and Nigel, bp. of Ely: at the request of Abbot Laurence, he urges them to attend the celebrations at Westminster, following on the pope's decree that 'the holy father blessed Edward' is to be numbered among the saints. [1 Feb. 1161 × ante 13 Oct. 1163]
Date: Issued between the publication of Pope Alexander III's bulls concerning the canonization of King Edward (167–8) and the Translation. Henry of Pisa was legate in France, 1160–1162, and Abbot Laurence visited him in Paris with evidence in support of the canonization (Barlow, Edward the Confessor, 311 and n. 1). The bps. of Chichester and Lincoln visited Normandy in the spring of 1162, when the cardinal was there (Eyton, Itinerary, 56).
Note: Cardinal Henry, and his associate, Cardinal Otto, had written urging the pope to accept the evidence in support of the canonization which Abbot Laurence had brought to them in Paris (Barlow, Edward the Confessor, 311–2). The onset of the Becket dispute at the Council of Westminster, a few days before the Translation, perhaps curtailed attendance at the ceremony, despite its 'official' character, more than later Westminster writers implied (Scholz, 'Canonization', 53–4, and n. 74).
191. The papal legate, John [of Salerno], to the abbot and convent, granting, in view of the abbey's special relationship with the Roman see, an indulgence for the solemn chanting of the angelic hymn Gloria in Excelsis Deo on the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin (2 Feb.), if it falls after Septuagesima; on the feast of the Annunciation (25 March), and on the feast of St Benedict (21 March). [(London, Aug.) 1201]
Note: While all three feasts were major ones, the Purification might fall within Septuagesima (the pre-Lenten period) and the other two would (almost) invariably fall within Lent. The Gloria was not sung between Septuagesima Sunday and the night of Holy Saturday (The Monastic Constitutions of Lanfranc, transl. and ed. D. Knowles (1951), 17, but see also 30). On the angelic origin of this hymn, see Luke 2:13–14.
193. Grant by the papal legate, Nicholas [de Romanis], of an indulgence of twenty days to all those visiting the abbey on the feasts of St Peter; of Blessed King Edward, and of the Holy Relics. No abbot of Westminster, or anyone else of that church, may presume to claim a customary right in the offerings made on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, or of St Peter in Chains, nor divert these offerings to any use other than that of the sacrist, who must faithfully administer these funds. Anyone infringing this ordinance will be excommunicated. Westminster, 11 Oct. 1213.
Date: Nicholas de Romanis, cardinal bp. of Tusculum, was in England from c. Michaelmas (29 Sept.) 1213, and visited both Westminster and London (Roger of Wendover, Flores Historiarum, ed. H. G. Hewlett (RS 1887), II, 93–4). He was in London 30 Sept.-2 Oct., and at Wallingford about the beginning of Nov. 1213 (Councils and Synods, II, i, 21). See also Angelo Mercati, 'La prima Relazione de Cardinale Nicolò de Romanis sulla sua Legazione in Inghilterra (1213)', in Essays presented to R. L. Poole, ed. H. W. C. Davis (1927), 274–89.
Note: Neither the feast of the Translation of St Edward (13 Oct.) nor that of his Deposition (5 Jan.), attracted popular support. The feast of the Relics (16 July) and that of St Peter in Chains (1 Aug.) were rather more successful, but not that of Saints Peter and Paul (29 June). Accounts of offerings at the major feasts, drawn up by the sacrist, are known only from the 14C (Harvey, WA, 43–5 and notes). In 1213, the legate investigated Abbot Ralph Arundel's alienation of the abbey's resources, and consequently deposed him in Jan. 1214 (Harvey, WA, 83–4).
194. Report by the papal judges-delegate, the prior of St Saviour, Bermondsey, and Nicholas, archdeacon of London, of the settlement between Geoffrey of Bedford, priest, and Geoffrey de Turre, clerk, over St Margaret's, Eastcheap (London). Geoffrey of Bedford resigned his right in the church, and the judges, on the presentation of the abbot and convent of Westminster, instituted Geoffrey de Turre as perpetual vicar. For the next three years, all offerings would be administered by Geoffrey de Turre, who would pay an annual pension of 5s. to the monks of Westminster, rendering it to the chamberlain in quarterly instalments, and 2s. annually to Geoffrey of Bedford. Within three years, the abbot and convent would provide Geoffrey of Bedford with a vicarage of equivalent value, but if none fell vacant, they would supply him with suitable food and clothing until they could assign one to him. [c. 11 March, 1184]