Suppression of Etampes Commune, 1199-1200
King Philip Augustus quashes a commune, 1199-1200.
The following text is of interest for several reasons. First, it shows that urban
privileges were indeed privileges, and could be revoked as a punishment for misdeeds.
Second, it is a useful catalogue of some of the rights that Philip Augustus expected to
exact from his men.]
In the name of the holy and individual Trinity, Amen. I, Philip, by the grace of God
king of the French. Let all men, both present and future, know that on account of the
injuries, oppressions and troubles that the commune of Etampes carried out against both
the churches and their goods and the knights and their goods, we have quashed the same
commune and have conceded to the churches and knights that at Etampes there will
henceforth be no commune. The churches and knights shall regain those liberties and rights
that they held prior to the commune, with the exception that all men and their villeins
[hospites] shall attend our army [exercitus] and our expeditions, just as our other
vassals do; and we will impose the taille on the vassals [homines] and villeins [hospites]
of both the churches and the knights [milites] who are in the castle and suburbs of
Etampes who were members of the commune, as often, moreover, as it shall please us. If
moreover it shall happen that any of these vassals or villeins on whom the taille has been
laid shall not pay it, we will be able [legally] to seize both the body of the vassal or
villein and all of his moveables, regardless of whom - church or knight - he was the
vassal or villein. So that it may obtain perpetual strength, we ordered the present page
confirmed by the authority of our seal and by the characters of our royal name annotated
below. Done at Paris, in the year of the lord 1199, in the 21st year of our
reign, with those present in the palace whose names and signs are listed below:
S[ign of] Guy the butler
S[ign of] Matthew the chamberlain
S[ign of] Drogo the constable
Given with the chancellorship vacant
Source: Documents sur les relations de la royaute avec les villes en France de 1180
a 1314, ed. A. Giry and E. Lavisse (Paris: Picard, 1885), no. 5, p. 36. Translated by
Richard Barton, 1998
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© Paul Halsall, October 1998