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Non-Alienation Clauses in Thirteenth-Century English Charters

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 July 2014

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During the thirteenth century, English lords acted to halt the deterioration of their feudal powers brought about by social and legal changes at the end of the twelfth century. Their determination produced a long line of legislation on feudal incidents, mortmain, and subinfeudation that stretched from Magna Carta to the Statute of Quia Emptores in 1290. Yet, until that legislation was finally in place, landlords had to find other methods of maintaining their lordship over free tenures. Professor Donald Sutherland, for example, has shown that lords asserted “a new authority to take into their hands the holdings of their free tenants if the tenants attempted to alienate the holdings in ways that prejudiced the lord's rights.” Lords also used conditional grants to restrict alienation, and beginning in the early thirteenth century, they played an important role in the effort to reassert tenurial lordship. Conditional grants have been studied primarily in the context of the family, which used them to create marriage portions, jointures, and entails. This study of a sampling of cartularies and charters, however, analyzes the different forms of restrictions on alienation in order to demonstrate how lords used the expanding remedies of the royal courts to reinforce their private lordship.

The right to consent to a tenant's alienation of his holding had been an essential prop of lordship prior to Henry II's legal reforms. Through his consent, the lord could determine the acceptability of his tenants and ensure the adequate performance of services attached to the holdings. He also protected himself against a serious loss of resources through grants in alms to the Church or through dowries to women marrying out of his lordship. Seizure of the tenement was the sanction that lords used to enforce their rights of consent. If a tenant failed to obtain that consent, he lost his land.

Research Article
Copyright © North American Conference on British Studies 1985

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1 Sutherland, Donald W., The Assize of Novel Disseisin (Oxford, 1973), p. 86Google Scholar. For the legislation, see Bean, J.M.W., The Decline of English Feudalism, 1215-1540 (Manchester, 1968), pp. 40103Google Scholar; Plucknett, T.F.T., Legislation of Edward I (Oxford, 1949, repr. 1962), pp. 21109Google Scholar; Milsom, S.F.C., Historical Foundations of the Common Law (London, 1969), pp. 93102Google Scholar; Raban, Sandra, Mortmain Legislation and the English Church, 1279-1500 (Cambridge, 1982), pp. 128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

2 Maitland, F.W. and Pollock, F., The History of English Law Before the Time of Edward I, 2 vols. (2nd ed.; repr. with new introduction, Cambridge, 1969), 2:1723Google Scholar; Simpson, A.W.B., An Introduction to the History of the Land Law (Oxford, 1961), pp. 62-4, 85Google Scholar; Milsom, , Historical Foundations, pp. 140168Google Scholar; Plucknett, , Legislation, pp. 125135.Google Scholar

3 Milsom, S.F.C., The Legal Framework of English Feudalism (Cambridge, 1976), pp. 110121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

4 Bracton, Henry, De Legibus et Consuetudinibus Angliae, ed. and trans. Thome, S., 4 vols. (Cambridge, Mass: 19681980), 3:155, f. 217bGoogle Scholar. For the introduction of novel disseisin, see Sutherland, , Assize, pp. 142Google Scholar, and Milsom, Legal Framework.

5 Bracton, , De Legibus, 2:141, f. 46.Google Scholar

6 Ibid, f. 45b, cited by Milsom, , Legal Framework, p. 112.Google Scholar

7 Harvey, P.D.A., “The English Inflation of 1180-1200,” Past and Present 61 (1973):330CrossRefGoogle Scholar. According to Bracton, the requirement of a royal writ covered free services as well as land so that a lord could not adjust those services at his will; “it is perfectly clear that without the king's writ, a free man is no more bound to answer for such service than for his tenement” (De Legibus, 2:p441, f. 156bGoogle Scholar). See also Milsom, , Legal Framework, pp. 2932.Google Scholar

8 Bracton, , De Legibus, 2:50, 55, 68, 141-43, 145, 157Google Scholar. Most writers see the maritagium as the forerunner of conditional gifts, eg. Milsom, , Historical Foundations, p. 141Google Scholar; and Pollock, and Maitland, , History of English Law, 2:1617.Google Scholar

9 Bracton, , De Legibus, 2:141–42, f. 46Google Scholar; Simpson, , Land Law, p. 85Google Scholar. For an example of one lord's use of such devices, see Harvey, Barbara, Westminster Abbey and Its Estates in the Middle Ages (Oxford, 1977), p. 118–19.Google Scholar

10 Two charters issued by the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's dealing with the same piece of London property show the adoption of conditional clauses. The first dated between 1181 and 1202 leased the property for life without any restrictions, while the second dated about 1213-16 granted the same lands plus the property of the former leasee in fee, but contained a clause prohibiting the donee or her heirs from alienating the land. The Early Charters of the Cathedral Chruch of St. Paul, London, ed. Gibbs, M., Camden Society, 3rd ser. 58 (1939), pp. 108109 (nos. 144, 145)Google Scholar. The Dean and Chapter had made similar grants between 1181 and 1202, (ibid., pp. 128-29, 132,211,250 [nos. 166, 167, 171, 268, 313]). St. Peter's Abbey, Gloucester used a non-alienation clause in a charter before 1179, Historia et Cartularium Monasterii Sancti Petri Gloucestriae, ed. Hart, W.H., 3 vols, Rolls Series 33 (London, 18631867), 1:184185 (no. LXVIII)Google Scholar. About 1191, Abbot Samson had the recipient of a life grant swear an oath not to alienate the property, The Kalendar of Abbot Samson of Bury St. Edmunds and Related Documents, ed. Davis, R.H.C., Camden Society, 3rd ser. 84 (London, 1954), pp. 126–27 (no. 90).Google Scholar

11 The Percy Chartulary, ed. Martin, M.T., Surtees Society, 117 (1911), p. 63 (no. CXXII)Google Scholar: “Magister Johannes le Gras, canonicus Beverlaci … concessisse nobili viro, domino H. de Perci, domino meo, et presenti scripto meo obligasse quod nichil faciam per quod terra, quam habeo de feodo predicti domini ex concessione Johannis le Gras, consanguinei mei, ad vitam meam, possit vel debeat michi vel meis heredibus remanere, vel eadem a dicto domino meo ali-quo modo alienetur vel elongetur …” For similar charters, see ibid, pp. 23-24, 62-63, 403 (nos. XXXVII, CXXI, CMLI); The Cartulary of Worcester Cathedral Priory, ed. Darlington, R.R., Pipe Roll Society, n.s. 38 (1968), p. 72 (no. 128)Google Scholar; The Beauchamp Cartulary: Charters 1100-1268, ed. Mason, Emma, Pipe Roll Society, n.s. 43 (1980) pp. 6061 (no.s 99, 100)Google Scholar; PRO, Duchy of Lancaster Ancient Deeds, DL.25/2146, 2376, 2559,2705, 3057, 3232; Exchequer Ancient Deeds, Series A, E.40/240, 1323; Series D, E.210/4053, 6188; and Feet of Fines, CP.25(1)/80/12/231, 80/14/294.

12 Cartulary of Worcester, pp. 72, 74-75, 124-125, 150-152, 232, 236 (nos. 128, 132, 237, 285-288, 444, 456).

13 PRO, E.40/1323 (a covenant): “Et sciendum quod nullam decetero terram nec boseum de predicto tenemento quod de ecclesia Ramesia tenebit … alicui vendet vel invadiabit nisi Ab-batis Ramesie…nec dabit alicui domino Religiose vel alicui vicecomiti vel forestario vel baillio nec vendet nec invadiabit [aliquod] de predicto tenemento. Et si forte alicui parentum suorum vel alicui mediocri homini qui sibi fideliter sermerit aliquod de predicto tenemento dederit ille cui datum fuerit prostrabit sacramentum ecclesie Ramesie et securitatem faciet quod similiter nec dabit nec vendet nec invadiabit alicui de predicto tenemento …”

14 “Habendum, tenendum et possidendum … dicto Rogero et heredibus suis vel suis assignatis, exceptis capitalibus dominis, domibus religiosis, et Judaismo . .,” Percy Chartutary, p. 393 (no. CMXVII). For similar clauses, see ibid., pp. 15, 27, 248, 393, 397 (nos. 19, 43, 681, 917, 929); Early Charters of St. Paul's, pp. 118-19 (no. 153); Beauchamp Cartulary, pp. 16, 76-77 191-192, 198 (nos. 127, 337, 350); Kalendar of Abbot Samson, pp. 81, 144-145, 161 (nos. 11, 117, 161); Cartulary of St. Mary Clerkenwell, ed. Hassall, W.O., Camden Society, 3rd ser. 71 (1949), pp. 244-245, 250Google Scholar; Blythburgh Priory Cartulary, 2 vols, ed. Harper-Bill, Christopher, Suffolk Records Society, Suffolk Charters 2 (1981), 1:109 (no. 187), 2:138-139 (no. 243)Google Scholar; and Luffield Priory Charters, Part 2, ed. Elvey, G.R., Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire Record Societies (1975), pp. 87-88, 348, 372373 (nos. 392, 711H, 728).Google Scholar

15 “Ita scilicet quod nec ipse Ricardus [donee] nec aliquis heredum suorum nec aliquis qui ab eo terram illam habuerit uendet uel donabit uel aliquo alio modo alienabit alicui iudeo uel loco religioso uel alicui episcopo uel archiepiscopo sepedictam terram …,” Early Charters of St. Paul's, pp. 128-129 (no. 167).

16 “Et sciendum quod dicto Henrico [donee] … non licebit dictum manerium … aliquibus hominibus dimittere per quos jus predicti Reyneri [donor] … possit impediri vel alienari,” Percy Chartulary, p. 134 (no. CCCCXI). Non-alienation clauses similar to these can be found in ibid., p. 375 (no. 878); Early Charters of St. Paul's, pp. 109, 128-129, 129-30, 200, 211, 212-213, 214-215, 250-251, 254, 275-276 (nos. 145, 167, 168, 254, 268, 270, 271,313, 317, 338); Cartulary of St. Mary's, pp. 134-135, 149-150, 155-156, 184-185, 187-188, 206-207, 223-224, 229-230, 234, 238-239, 242-243; Beauchamp Cartulary, p. 150 (no. 263); Kalendar of Abbot Samson, pp. 117, 160-161 (nos. 74, 146, 147); Luffield Charters, pp. 5, 25-26, 35, 190-191, 260-261, 347 (nos. 296, 321, 530A, 604, 604A, 711G); Curia Regis Rolls (hereafter cited as CRR), 16 vols. (London, 19221979), 14:8688 (no. 445)Google Scholar; The Charters of Norwich Cathedral Priory, Part I, ed. Dodwell, Barbara, Pipe Roll Society, n.s. 40 (London, 1974), p. 220 (no. 346)Google Scholar; and Cartularium Monasterii de Ramesia, ed. Hart, W.H. and Lyons, P.A., 3 vols., Rolls Series 79 (London, 18841893), 2:250, 279Google Scholar (nos. CCCLXIV, CCCXCVIII).

17 Idem vero [donee] juramentum nobis praestitit quod fidelis erit ecclesiae nostrae de reddendo redditu nostro plenarie statutis terminis; et quod nec artem nec ingenium exquiret unde domus nostra per tenuram suam damnum incurrat; et quod praedictam terram neque vendet, neque escambiet, necque in vadimonium ponet neque alicui in feodum et haereditatem tradet, neque ad alium locum religionis transferet sine assensu nostro,” Historia et Cartularium St. Peter's, 1:180-181 (no. LIX). See also ibid., 1:161-163, 184-185, 187-188, 193-196, 222, 236-237, 254, 267, 274-275, 295-296, 318, 332-333, 337-339, 370-371, 386, 391-392, 2:117, 137 139-140, 153, 162, 175, 178-179, 190-194, 201, 206-207, 218-219, 225-226, 237-239, 241, 242, 248-249, 254, 255 , 257-258, 283 , 284, 293-295 , 300-301; Baddeley, W.W. St. Clair, “Early Deeds Relating to St. Peter's Abbey, Gloucester,” Part 1, Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society 37 (1914): 228, 229Google Scholar; Part 2, 38 (1915): 25, 50; Early Charters of St. Paul's, pp. 128, 132 (nos. 166, 171); Kalendar of Abbot Samson, pp. 119-120, 127-128, 166 (nos. 77, 90, 156); and CRR, 9:223-224. In the agreement between the Abbot of Ramsey and Michael de Wauton cited above, Michael swore a solemn oath on the alter of St. Andrew in the chapel of the abbot at Ramsey to uphold his promise. See note 13, above. In a few instances, donors explicitly allowed the donee to alienate: “illi et cuicumque vel quibuscumque et quandocumque et ubicumque dare, legare, vel assignare voluerit, sive perpétue religioni sive alibi …” Blythburgh Cartulary, 2:149 (no. 267).Google Scholar

18 Only one case has been found thus far in which two lords used identical formulae. The abbots of St. Peter's Gloucester and Cirencester both relied primarily on oaths in which the donees renounced their right of alienation, and the clauses recording the oaths are the same: “et quod nec artem nec ingenium queret unde domus nostra per tenuram suam dampnum incurrat, et quod predictam terram neque vendet neque excambiet neque in vadimonium ponet neque legabit neque in feudum et hereditatem tradet neque judeis neque ad alium locum religionis trannsferret sine assensu nostro,” The Cartulary of Cirencester Abbey, Gloucestershire, ed. Ross, C.D., 2 (Oxford, 1964), p. 393 (no. 441/491)Google Scholar. Compare this with the oath from St. Peter's cited above n. 17 which differs only slightly.

19 Six men “concessisse … domino nostro W. de Perci, pro adquietacione quam nobis fecit erga Judeos, quod nuncquam capiemus aliquam pecuniam mutuo in Judaismo, sine assensu et voluntate sua; quod si fecerimus, omnia feoda nostra que de eo tenemus sibi et heredibus suis quieta … remanebunt …,” Percy Chartulary, p. 96 (no. CCXLVII). The Petition of the Barons in 1258 reveals some of the problems raised by Jewish debts. In cap. 25, the barons complained that greater lords (magnantibus et potentioribus regni) acquired debts from Jews, thereby entered into the lands of lesser tenants, and then kept possession of the land by preventing the tenants from repaying their debts to the Jewish creditors. Sanders, I.J. and Treharne, R.F., eds., Documents of the Baronial Movement of Reform and Rebellion, 1258-1267 (Oxford, 1973), pp. 8687.Google Scholar

20 “Et sciendum est quod non licebit … aliquo modo alienare … terras … alicui iudeo uel collegio nec alicui potentiori se quem non possimus libère distringere ad solutionem … censes annui,” Early Charters of St. Paul's, p. 109 (no. 145).

21 One Luffield charter covers a remarkably wide field of potential donees: “Dictus vero Michael [donee] nec heredes sui nec aliqui sui assignat! dictam virgatam terre nec partem terre … domino feodi illius nec alicui alio dabunt nec vendent nec assignabunt nec aliquo modo in Iudaismo dictam terram invadiabunt nec aliquo homine uel nec ab aliqua femina vtriusque legis super predictam terram aliquid mutuo accipient sine assensu et voluntate predictorum prioris et conuentui,” Luffleld Charters, p. 26 (no. 321).

22 Pollock, and Maitland, , History of English Law, 2:117124Google Scholar; Plucknett, , Legislation, pp. 140142Google Scholar; and Hazeltine, Harold D., “The Gage of Land in Medieval England,” Harvard Law Review, 17 (1900): 549557, and 18 (1900): 36-50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

23 “Sciant … Hurwardus … et Margareta uxor mea tenemur deliberare feodum dimidii militis, quod deposuimus de manibus nostris temere et contra voluntatem domini Willelmi Briewere, illud, scilicet, feodum quod descendit a me Margareta [sic], quod est jus meum et hereditas mea. Et cum dictum feodum deliberavimus et perquisiverimus, in manibus nostris dictum feodum de predicto Willelmo … retinebimus, nec amodo dimmittimus nec obligabimus dictum feodum alicui, nisi per voluntatem domini Willelmi … vel heredum suorum. Et hoc juravimus … tactis sacrosanctis …,” Percy Chartulary, p. 403 (no. CMLI). Hurward held at least half a knight's fee of Briwerre in Devon, and the lordship of that fee fell to William de Percy through his wife Joan, one of Briwerre's daughters and coheirs, when the estate was partitioned in 1234, (Liber Feodorum: The Book of Fees, 2 vols, in 3 [London, 19201931], 1:393, 398Google Scholar).

24 PRO, E.40/305.

25 “Me obligasse … quod non vendam nec ad terminum demittam nec invadiabam nulli in mundo Christano, Judeo, seu homini religioso de terris et tenementis quas habeo de dono Rogeri de Caunelay in libero maritagio cum Margareta filia sua …,” PRO, DL.25/2559. An agreement such as this seems to have been the only way that lords could hope to supervise the gifts in marriage that their free tenants made, in contrast to the judicial control that they still maintained over the gifts of their unfree tenants. See Searle, Eleanor, “Seigneurial Control of Women's Marriage: The Antecedents and Functions of Merchet in England,” Past and Present 82 (1979): 343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

26 Bracton, , De Legibus, 2:142, ff. 46-46b.Google Scholar

27 “Henricus [donor] … predictam terram … habeant in suo dominico, quieta de me … im-perpetuum,” Percy Chartulary, pp. 62-63 (no. CXXI). Similar clauses can be found in many of the charters cited above.

28 EG. “sub pena 40s…soluendas si defecerim in aliqua parte huius conventionis,” PRO, DL. 25/2559. One covanent involving a Percy contained an unusual sanction: “Et concessit dic-tus Thomas [Lardenarium] si dictum Willelmum [Percy] aliquando rogaverit vel per aliquem rogare fecerit, quod de terra sua dare, vendere vel invadiare possit, quod nuncquam credatur a dicto Willelmo nec ab aliquo alio, set semper pro falso et stulto ab omnibus teneatur. Hoc autem fideliter tenere dictus Thomas affidavit sub pena quadraginta solidorum dicto Willelmo solvendorum infra annum post quam constiterit quod contra hanc convencionem venire presumpserit,” Percy Chartulary, p. 48 (no. LXXXVIII).

29 PRO, DL.25/3232.

30 CRR, 13:91.

31 PRO, E.40/240. See also Percy Chartulary, p. 32 (no. LIV); and Miller, Edward, “The State and Landed Interests in Thirteenth-Century France and England,” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 5th ser. 2 (1952): 122 n. 1CrossRefGoogle Scholar. It is not known how well these restrictions stood up to legal challenges in the royal courts. Bracton's judgement (above n. 24) seems to leave the tenant or donee with little recourse. See also Simpson, , Land Law, p. 85Google Scholar. William de Percy seems to have been sufficiently nervous about the legal situation to have a group of tenants insert the following clause in a charter in which they renounced their rights of alienation: “Et, ne huic obligacioni in aliquibus possimus obviari, renunciamus omnibus appellacionibus, cavilla-cionibus, regiis prohibicionibus, privilegiis forinsecis et omni juris auxiliis remidio quod nobis competere possit ad defensionem quod nichilominus distringamur per omnes terras nostras et tenementa nostra pro dicta convencione teneda …,” Percy Chartulary, pp. 23-24 (no. XXXVII).

32 Eg. Cartulary of St. Mary's, pp. 244-245 (no. 365); Beauchamp Cartulary, p. 150 (no. 263); Cartularium de Ramesia, pp. 250, 279 (nos. CCCLXIV, CCCXCVIII); Percy Chartulary, p. 375 (no. DCCCLXXVIII); PRO, E.40/1323; E.210/589,4053; DL.25/2146, 2376, 2705, 3057; Blythburgh Cartulary, 1:99 (no. 164)Google Scholar; and The Cartulary of Tutbury Abbey, ed. Saltman, A., Historical Manuscripts Commission (London, 1962), p. 180 (no. 258).Google Scholar

33 “Idem etiam Iohannes et Ysabella et heredes sui non poterunt nec debent dictam terram nec domos Iudeis dare nec vendere nec inuadiare nec domui religionis conferre sine nostro assensu. Et si illam vendere vel dimittere voluerit nos erimus propiores omnibus aliis de vno bisantio auro,” Cartulary of St. Mary's, p. 238 (no. 356). For other examples, see pp. 135, 150, 156, 184, 215, 224, 236, 243 (nos. 214, 233, 242, 281, 329, 340, 353, 362).

34 PRO, DL.25/2146. The charter is addressed to the queen.

35 Ita quod si ego Galfridus totam terram meam … ad liberam firmam feodam vel aliquo modo firmam tradere voluero vel alicui homini vel mulieri vendere vel alienare omnibus diebus vite mee que dictam terram dicto Roberto teneor tradere vel vendere vel alienare pro homagio suo et servicio in liberum sokagium ita quod dicta terra nunquam cadat mihi nec heredibus meis vel assignatis in wardam,” PRO, E.210/4053.

36 “Pro laudabili servicio suo michi ante confectionem presentem …,” PRO, E.210/589.

37 PRO, DL.25/2705.

38 “Noveritis me obligatum esse Philippo Galle quod nec dabo nec vendam nec invadiabam nec aliquo modo alienabo aliquem partem terre mee … nisi dicto Philippo dum modo paratus sit tantum dare pro ea racionabile foro quantum alii dare voluerunt,” PRO, DL. 25/3057. Similar provisions were made by other lords, eg. PRO, E.40/1323, and Historia et Cartularium St. Peter's, pp. 222, 274-275 (nos. CXXVI, CCXXIII).

39 PRO, Exchequer Memoranda Rolls (KR), E. 159/6 m. 20. For royal efforts to control ser-jeanty tenures, see Powicke, F.M., King Henry ill and the Lord Edward: The Community of the Realm in the Thirteenth Century, 2 vols, reprinted as 1 (Oxford, 1966), pp. 103104Google Scholar; and Book of Fees, 2:11631166.Google Scholar

40 Cognovit et concessit et obligavit se domino regi quod numquam terram suam nec aliquam partem terre sue alicui vendet, dabit, nec invadiabit, nec Judeo nec Christiano, nec aliquo modo alienabit, unde ipsi vel heredes sue exheredari possint,” Close Rolls of the Reign of Henry III, 1227-1272, 14 vols. (London, 19021938), 6:299, 359Google Scholar; and Trabut-Cussac, J.P., L'administration anglais en Gascogne sous Henry III et Edouard I de 1254 a 1307 (Geneva, 1972), p. xxvii.Google Scholar

41 Per quod wardas et escaetas ammittimus et barones nostri et alii qui baronias et feoda illa de nobis tenent adeo decrescunt quod servicia nobis inde debita sufficienter facere nequeunt…,” Close Rolls, 9:429Google Scholar. For discussion of royal control of alienations, see Bean, , Decline, pp. 66103Google ScholarPubMed; Thorne, S.E., ed., Prerogativa Regis (New Haven, 1949)Google Scholar, “Introduction,” pp. xxxv-xlvi; and Brand, P.A., “Control of Mortmain Alienation in England, 1200-1300,” in Baker, J.H., ed., Legal Records and the Historian (London, 1978); 2940.Google Scholar

42 Bracton, , De Legibus, 3:179187Google Scholar, for the “statute” and details of pleading. This view of the statute, as a limitation of the rights of freeholders, follows the interpretation of Searle, Eleanor, Lordship and Community: Battle Abbey and Its Banlieu, 1066-1538, (Toronto, 1974), p. 68Google Scholar, as opposed to that of Titow, J.Z., English Rural Society 1200-1350 (London, 1969), pp. 36, 62, 205Google Scholar, who sees the statute limiting the rights of lords.

43 Raftis, J.A., The Estates of Ramsey Abbey: A Study in Economic Growth and Organization (Toronto, 1957), pp. 103113Google Scholar; Harvey, , Westminster Abbey, pp. 3, 11, 65, 70, 80-82, 118122Google Scholar; King, Edmund, Peterborough Abbey, 1086-1310: A Study in the Land Market (Cambridge, 1973), pp. 6667Google Scholar; Miller, Edward, The Abbey and Bishopric of Ely (Cambridge, 1951), p. 175Google Scholar; Searle, Eleanor, Lordship and Community, pp. 99-105, 144166Google Scholar; and Powicke, F.M., “Observations on the English Landholder in the Thirteenth Century,” in Wirtschaft und Kultur: Festschrift zum 70 Geburtstag von Alfons Dopsch (Baden bei Wien, 1938), pp. 382393.Google Scholar

44 Sanders, and Treharne, , Documents, pp. 272–73Google Scholar. Three separate complaints emerged during the rebellion. The first appeared in the petition of the barons in 1258 and attacked the practice by which some lords demanded their courts after their tenants' courts had defaulted, whereas “in the writ [of right] it is stated that the chief lord of the fee to whom the writ is directed shall do full right, otherwise, let the sheriff do it” (ibid., pp. 88-91, cap. 29; and see Bracton, , De Legibus, 4:5152 ff. 329-329bGoogle Scholar). The barons had already obtained protection for their courts in clause 34 of the Magna Carta, but, if the reformers are to be believed, some pushed their demands even further (Milsom, , Legal Framework, pp. 6871Google Scholar; and Clanchy, M.T., “Magna Carta, Clause Thirty-Four,” English Historical Review 79 (1964): 532547Google Scholar). No other legislation dealt with this issue. The other two complaints are known from their legislative remedies in the Provisions of Westminster (October 1259) and the Statute of Marlborough (September 1267). One reiterated that no one “save the king shall hold in his court any plea of false judgement made in the court of his tenants …,” while the other restated the principle that no free tenant need answer for his freehold without a royal writ (Sanders, and Treharne, , Documents, pp. 144-145, 146147Google Scholar, Westminster caps. 16, 18 and Marlborough caps. 20, 22). The actual extent of the abuses that prompted the legislation is not known, though it was probably part of the general pressure applied by lords on lesser freeholders, (cf. Plucknett, , Legislation, pp. 2529Google Scholar where he speculates that the principle itself had been called into question).

45 Milsom, . Legal Foundations, pp. 185186.Google Scholar

46 See note 1 above, for the legislation.

47 See Bean, , Decline, pp. 79103Google Scholar, for a discussion of attempts by lords to licence alienations after Quia Emptores. For clauses restricting alienations from the late thirteenth centuury onward, see PRO, E.40/257 (a family grant, after de donis); E.210/589, 6188; and Luffield Charters, pp. 7-8, 17-18, 20-21, 23-24, 43-45, 61-63, 79-80, 84-85, 140-141, 190-191, 204-206, 271-272, 349-350, 383-386, 396-398 (nos. 298, 299, 312, 314-316, 319, 340, 354, 354A, 382, 390, 466, 529, 539, 539A, 616, 711 J, 742-744, 755A, B). Most of these latter charters also contain clauses concerning the maintenance of the tenement, a stipulation that can sometimes be found in earlier charters, eg. Historia et Cartularium St. Peter's, 1:184-185 (no. LXVIII), ca. 1148-1179.