Letter: DCA DCD Misc. Ch. 1318

Description (from People of Medieval Scotland)

Jocelin, bishop of Glasgow, with A[rnold], abbot of Melrose, and G[eoffrey], abbot of Newminster, write to Pope L[ucius III] recording receipt of a letter from the pope dated at Verona on 14 May, declaring that, although Bishop R[ichard] of St Andrews, with the ruler’s assent, granted and established certain liberties to the monks of Durham and their churches, and Pope Alexander [III] caused them to be strengthened by a confirmation, H[ugh] bishop of St Andrews and his officials presumed to go against [this arrangement], unreasonably oppressing the monks and their clerks with heavy exactions and hospitality dues. If the monks did not submit to their judgment, they did not hesitate to strike the innocent with anathema or suspension. Therefore, by apostolic mandate, the pope will more strictly warn and, without appeal, effectively show, that the bishop and his officials should refrain from undue molestation of the brethren, and should not presume to oppress them contrary to the liberties reasonably granted to them with regard to hospitality dues and tallages nor subordinate their churches or clerks on account of this prohibition. If they do so, the pope will invalidate it. Having received these instructions, the judges brought the parties before them, and the case of the prior and monks having been set out, the bishop of St Andrews protested that he could not be bound by the authority of those letters, for they contained no mention of the privilege previously granted by the pope that the bishop might lawfully and freely receive in subjection churches, customs, pensions and hospitality dues as his predecessors did, and said that they had acquired them by suppression of the truth, and endeavoured to add that the defendants were not only not heard but also punished on dubious authority. At this, the prior and monks objected that the privilege was of no moment against the liberties and confirmations granted to them long before. They added that, even if it were of any moment, it ought not to be prejudicial to them both because it had not been made public to them and because a privilege did not have force except in the province in which it was published. To this, the bishop replied that they ought to think to themselves that they were ignorant of the privilege because it could not be held to be unknown, especially as it had been very often published in their province, in synod and in chapter. He added that he would not respond to the authority of those letters except by a judicial settlement. The judges, having taken outside advice, and not wishing to pronounce a settlement hastily in common court, enquired if either party wanted to add evidence. At that, the bishop, protesting that at present he had nothing to say, went away, and although recalled three times, did not return that day. The judges, in order to settle the case in part, by the advice of experts, had the instruments of the monks read and understood; when these had been read in public, the judges decided to prolong the business so that what they had done should be freely discussed. The prior and monks objected that the judges had no right to defer the hearing, for they said that it was unheard of and unprecedented to delay proceedings without the consent of the parties; they had had a peremptory summons for that day. In addition, so that nothing new could happen while the case was pending, they placed their churches, clerks and liberties under the protection of the pope and the judges. The judges, wishing to deliberate more freely about that, because it was nearly evening, enjoined the prior to appear before them the next day. They summoned the bishop by messengers four times to appear before them the next day. The prior neither came nor sent a representative, but only deputed messengers to renew his appeal and bearing letters containing the appeal, which the judges caused to be read in the court. When asked by the judges if they wanted to add anything as procurators on the prior’s behalf, they replied that they had come to obtain a judgment and renew the appeal made by the prior. The judges, having deliberated separately more weightily, by the advice of experts caused the whole matter to be remitted to the pope.

Current location

Repository
Durham Cathedral Archives
Town or City
Durham
Shelfmark
DCD Misc. Ch. 1318

Other information

Catalogue Numbers
PoMS Document 4/32/7
SEA, i no. 106
Format
Unspecified
Date
14 May 1185 x 25 November 1185

People of Medieval Scotland (PoMS Document 4/32/7)

Jocelin, bishop of Glasgow, with A[rnold], abbot of Melrose, and G[eoffrey], abbot of Newminster, write to Pope L[ucius III] recording receipt of a letter from the pope dated at Verona on 14 May, declaring that, although Bishop R[ichard] of St Andrews, with the ruler’s assent, granted and established certain liberties to the monks of Durham and their churches, and Pope Alexander [III] caused them to be strengthened by a confirmation, H[ugh] bishop of St Andrews and his officials presumed to go against [this arrangement], unreasonably oppressing the monks and their clerks with heavy exactions and hospitality dues. If the monks did not submit to their judgment, they did not hesitate to strike the innocent with anathema or suspension. Therefore, by apostolic mandate, the pope will more strictly warn and, without appeal, effectively show, that the bishop and his officials should refrain from undue molestation of the brethren, and should not presume to oppress them contrary to the liberties reasonably granted to them with regard to hospitality dues and tallages nor subordinate their churches or clerks on account of this prohibition. If they do so, the pope will invalidate it. Having received these instructions, the judges brought the parties before them, and the case of the prior and monks having been set out, the bishop of St Andrews protested that he could not be bound by the authority of those letters, for they contained no mention of the privilege previously granted by the pope that the bishop might lawfully and freely receive in subjection churches, customs, pensions and hospitality dues as his predecessors did, and said that they had acquired them by suppression of the truth, and endeavoured to add that the defendants were not only not heard but also punished on dubious authority. At this, the prior and monks objected that the privilege was of no moment against the liberties and confirmations granted to them long before. They added that, even if it were of any moment, it ought not to be prejudicial to them both because it had not been made public to them and because a privilege did not have force except in the province in which it was published. To this, the bishop replied that they ought to think to themselves that they were ignorant of the privilege because it could not be held to be unknown, especially as it had been very often published in their province, in synod and in chapter. He added that he would not respond to the authority of those letters except by a judicial settlement. The judges, having taken outside advice, and not wishing to pronounce a settlement hastily in common court, enquired if either party wanted to add evidence. At that, the bishop, protesting that at present he had nothing to say, went away, and although recalled three times, did not return that day. The judges, in order to settle the case in part, by the advice of experts, had the instruments of the monks read and understood; when these had been read in public, the judges decided to prolong the business so that what they had done should be freely discussed. The prior and monks objected that the judges had no right to defer the hearing, for they said that it was unheard of and unprecedented to delay proceedings without the consent of the parties; they had had a peremptory summons for that day. In addition, so that nothing new could happen while the case was pending, they placed their churches, clerks and liberties under the protection of the pope and the judges. The judges, wishing to deliberate more freely about that, because it was nearly evening, enjoined the prior to appear before them the next day. They summoned the bishop by messengers four times to appear before them the next day. The prior neither came nor sent a representative, but only deputed messengers to renew his appeal and bearing letters containing the appeal, which the judges caused to be read in the court. When asked by the judges if they wanted to add anything as procurators on the prior’s behalf, they replied that they had come to obtain a judgment and renew the appeal made by the prior. The judges, having deliberated separately more weightily, by the advice of experts caused the whole matter to be remitted to the pope.

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