Charter I: On the liberties of the Burgesses of Cardiff (1147)

Pages 10-14

Cardiff Records: Volume 1. Originally published by Cardiff Records Committee, Cardiff, 1898.

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The Charters. - I.

Cotton MSS. Cleop. A VII. f. 101. Printed in Clark's "Cartae et alia Munimenta Glamorganniae. Ante 1147.

Hec sunt libertates et libere consuetudines de Kerdif et de Theokesburia date et concesse per Robertum et Willelmum comites aliquando Gloucestrie.

In primis quod quodlibet burgagium dabit de annuo redditu xijd pro omni servicio.

Et quilibet burgensis potest pro voluntate sua burgagium suum quod est de purchatio suo cuicunque voluerit dare invadiare vendere vel quocunque alio modo alienare salvo tamen servicio domini comitis.

Et si illud burgagium fuerit de hereditate heres ipsius sive heredes ipsum habebunt. Et proximus heres mortuo predecessore a quo hereditas ei descendere debeat statim sine ostensione bayllivo vel preposito facienda hereditatem suam ingredietur. Et si burgensis habuerit duo burgagia et voluerit unum ipsorum alteri locare potest si voluerit locator eandem libertatem concedere ei qui dictum burgagium locaverit quam et ipse habet et ipse gaudebit.

Et si quis dimidium burgagium in capite de domino comite tenuerit eandam libertatem habebit ac si integrum teneret burgagium.

Item burgensis nullam sectam debet nisi voluntate ad molendinum sive ad pannos fullendos vel tingendos.

Item nullus burgensis dabit pro burgagio suo herietum vel relevium. Sed quilibet potest pro voluntate sua filium vel filiam suam maritare sine licencia ab aliquo petenda.

Item quilibet potest bovem suum equum et aliam mercem quamcunque habuerit legalem sine licencia domini vendere.

Item quacunque morte burgensis preoccupatus fuerit nisi fuerit per nequitiam dampnatus uxor ejus et liberi sui habebunt catalla mortui vel proximi parentes ipsius tanquam heredes si non habuerit uxorem vel liberos.

Item burgensis paupertate compulsus burgagium suum vendere vel invadiare primo debet convenire heredem suum secundo et tertio et dicere ei quod inveniat sibi necessaria. Si autem noluerit de burgagio suo voluntatem suam faciat.

Item nullus libere tenens de altero dominio si burgagium habuerit potest namia tenentis sui in burgo extra burgum ducere vel portare.

Item quilibet burgensis potest braciare et furniare sine licencia et sine tolneto et consuetudine.

Et potest facere torallos columbarios et molendinum equinum et manu-molendinum.

Et si burgensis summonitus fuerit ad hundredum et perexerit ad suum negocium extra villam vel fuerit presto recedere ita quod habeat unum pedem in strepo et inde habuerit duos vicinos testes quietus erit.

Item milites et libere tenentes in hundredo quieti sunt in foro de tolneto de vendicionibus omnibus et empcionibus suis ad opus suum factis nisi fuerint mercatores.

Item dominus episcopus quietus erit de dominica mensa sua set homines sui dant consuetudinem.

Item Templarii Hospitularii et monachi dant consuetudinem nisi habeant cartam domini Willelmi et domini Roberti comitum.

Item marchandisa trium denariorum et infra quieta est de tolneto.

Item duo mercatores dabunt pro stallagio j. quadrantem.

Et qui portaverit lineam telam ad vendendum licet scindat eum dabit j. quadrantem.

Et omnes burgenses et milites et libere tenentes predicti honoris debent esse quieti apud Gloucestriam et per totum comitatum Gloucestrie de consuetudine nisi de crudis coreis et pilosis pellibus.

Item burgenses non debent venire ad hundredum extra burgum pro aliqua summonicione.


These are the liberties and free customs of Kerdif and of Tewkesbury, given and granted by Robert and William, Earls erstwhile of Gloucester.

Firstly, that each burgage shall give an annual rent of twelve pence for every service.

And each burgess may at his will give, pledge, sell or in any other manner alien his burgage which is of his purchase, to whomsoever he will; saving nevertheless the service of the Lord Earl.

And if that burgage shall have been of inheritance, his own heir or heirs shall have it. And the next heir, at the death of the predecessor from whom the inheritance ought to descend to him, shall enter upon his inheritance forthwith, without having to give notice to the bailiff or prevost. And if a burgess shall have two burgages, and shall wish to lease one of them to another man, the lessor may, if he will, grant the same liberty to him who shall lease the said burgage as he himself has, and he shall enjoy it.

And if anyone shall hold half a burgage in chief of the Lord Earl, he shall have the same liberty as if he held the whole burgage.

Also, a burgess oweth no suit, except at will, to the mill or for fulling or dyeing cloths.

Also, no burgess shall give for his burgage an heriot or relief. But each one may at his will marry his son or his daughter, without having to seek licence from anyone.

Also each one may sell his ox, his horse and whatsoever other lawful merchandise he shall have, without the licence of the Lord.

Also, by whatsoever death a burgess shall have been overtaken (unless he have been condemned for crime), his wife and his children shall have the dead man's chattels; or his next of kin as heirs, if he shall have no wife or children.

Also, a burgess compelled by poverty to sell or pledge his burgage, must summon his heir a first, a second and a third time, and tell him to find himself necessaries. But if he will not, let him do his will concerning his burgage.

Also, no freeholder of another lordship, if he have a burgage, may lead or carry out of the burgh the distresses of his tenant in the burgh.

Also, each burgess may brew and bake without licence, and without toll and custom.

And he may make dove cotes and a horse mill and a hand mill.

And if a burgess be summoned to the Hundred, and shall have set out to his business without the vill, or shall be ready to depart so that he have one foot in the stirrup, and thereof shall have two neighbours witnesses, he shall be quit.

Also, the knights and freeholders in the Hundred are quit in the market place of toll for all their sales and purchases made at their need, unless they be merchants.

Also, the Lord Bishop shall be quit of his demesne table, but his men shall give the custom.

Also, the Templars, Hospitallers and monks shall give the custom, unless they have a charter of the Lord William and Lord Robert the Earls.

Also, merchandise of three pence and under is quit of toll.

Also, two merchants shall give for stallage one farthing.

And he who shall bring a linen cloth for sale, although he cut it, shall give one farthing.

And all the burgesses and knights and freeholders aforesaid of the Honour are to be quit, at Gloucester and through the whole County of Gloucester, of custom, except that of raw hides and woolfells.

Also, the burgesses are not bound to come to the Hundred outside the burgh, for any summons. [Ante 1147.]

The Hereford Customs.

In the year 1284, amongst other places, Cardiff petitioned for leave to use such of the Hereford Customs as suited her requirements. In accordance with such petition John le Gaunter, Chief Bailiff of Hereford, caused the Customs to be collected. The document drawn up on this occasion is headed "John le Gaunter's Customs." The citizens of Hereford appear to have granted this application to the men of Cardiff by favour, stating they were not compelled to give their laws to towns under mediate lords. A money payment was probably made for the exemplification of the Customs. The document commences thus:—

"John le Gaunter, Chief Bailiff of Hereford, having called twelve men unto him, requested certain customs heretofore used and approved, and which it behoved them to send to be certified unto the men of Kerdiff then desiring the same, also for the use of other vills whose necessity should require them."

It goes on to define the customary laws of Hereford with regard to debts between merchants and traders, the punishment of wilful transgressors, the holding of various Courts, tenants' services, Writ of Right, Assizes of Bread and Ale, scolding women, and the means of defence "when our city shall be besieged by the Welshmen."

One of the Customs is as follows:—"We have used of old, without interruption of their lords respecting all things touching view of frank pledge, which have been presented by such tenants before our chief bailiff at the aforesaid inquisitions, which could not be amended in the courts of their lords, to make a convenient end thereof, that our chief bailiff to our use may make amends; and such may be amerced by their fellows, that they may be corrected before the said bailiff, which in the courts of such lords could not be corrected. . . . . . . If any [bondsman] buy a tenement in the city, or place himself or abide therein, and be scot and lot amongst us, he shall not be sought again of his lord by any manner of means; because whilst he dwells with us he is free, and of our condition. But let him take heed that he depart not from the city to any place within the power of his lord. If such an one hath got any tenements amongst us, neither his lord nor any for him shall claim it as their right; because he may at pleasure buy and sell without the reproach of any of us, his lord or any other whosoever, so long as he remain in the city."

(See "Ancient Customs of the City of Hereford," by Richard Johnson, late Town Clerk; 1882; p. 24.)