King Richard I of England, 1190 Charter


Richard, by the grace of God, King of England, duke of Normandy, &c., to his archbishops, bishops, &c., greeting:

I.-Know ye that we have granted and, by the present charter, confirmed, to Ysaac,   son of Rabbi Joe, and his sons and their men, all their customs and liberties just as the Lord King Henry, our father, granted and by his charter confirmed to the Jews of England and Normandy, namely: to reside in our land freely and honorably, and to hold all those things from us which the aforesaid Isaac and his sons held in the time of Henry the King, our father, in lands, and fiefs, and pledges, and gifts, and purchases, viz., Hame, which Henry, our father, gave them for their service, and Thurroc, which the said Isaac bought of the Count of Ferrars, and all the houses, and messuages, and pledges which the said Isaac and his sons had in our land in the time of King Henry, our father.

II.-And if any quarrel arise between a Christian and Ysaac, or any of his children or heirs, he that appeals the other to determine the quarrel shall have witnesses, viz., a lawful Christian and a lawful Jew.  And if the aforesaid Ysaac, or his heirs, or his children, have a writ about the quarrel, the writ shall serve them for testimony ; and if a Christian have a quarrel against the aforesaid Jews let it be adjudicated by the peers of the Jews.

III.-And if any of the aforesaid Jews shall die let not his body be kept above ground, but let his heir have his money and his debts so that he be not disturbed if he has an heir who can answer for him and do right about his debts and his forfeits, and let the aforesaid Jews receive and buy at any time whatever is brought them except things of the church and bloodstained garments.

IV.-And if they are appealed by any one without a witness let them be quits of that appeal on their own oath upon their book [of the Law] and let them be quits from an appeal of those things which pertain to our crown on their own oath on their roll [of the Law].   And if there be any dissention between a Christian and any of the aforesaid Jews or their children about the settlement of any money, the Jew shall- prove -the capital and the Christian the interest.

V.-And the aforesaid Jews may sell their pledges Without trouble after it is certified that -they have held them a year and a day, and they shall not enter into any pleadings except before us or before those who guard our castles in whose bailiwicks they themselves remain wherever they may be.

VI.-Let them go whithersoever they will with all their chattels just like our own goods and let no one keep them or prevent them.  And if a Christian debtor dies, who owes money to a Jew, and the debtor has an heir, during the minority of the heir let not the Jew be disturbed of his debt unless the land of the heir is in our hands.

VII.-And we order that, the Jews through all England and Normandy be free of all customs and of tolls and modiation of wine just like our own chattels, and we command and order you to ward and defend and protect them, and we forbid any one against this charter about the aforesaid to put the said Jews into plea on our forfeit.

Witnesses : Will. de Hum.’, constable of Normandy, &c., &c.  Given by the hand of William de Longchamp, our Chancellor, ‘Bishop of Ely, at Rouen, on the twenty-second day of March, in the first year of our reign.


Source: Rymer, Foedera, i., 51 [Ed. 1816]; ed. Joseph Jacobs, The Jews of Angevin England: Documents and Records (London, 1893), p. 134-36

Scanned by Elka Klein.

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

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