King John of England:
Royal Licenses to Export and Import, 1205-1206
The kings of England had the right in feudal times of taking tolls on imports and
exports. As the taking of a share of the cargo was commuted into a money payment, it
became customary to obtain a license at the Exchequer at a rate which became more or less
fixed. Such payments were eventually regulated by Parliament.
C.13. The King, etc. Know you that we have given license to Raun, a monk of
Christ Church, Canterbury, that he may send from England, wheresoever he will, one hundred
pounds of corn once within Easter week, in the seventh year of our reign. And we command
you that on receipt of this you do not impede him.
Witness: Geoffrey, Count of Essex, at Canterbury, 11th day of December.
C.18. The King to all, etc. Know you that we have received into our protection a
certain ship of the Lord Bishop of Norwich with 80 tuns of wine until the Purification of
Blessed Mary, in the seventh year of our reign. And we command you meanwhile that you
cause no mol estation or harm to it or to those bringing it.
Witness: the Lord Bishop of Norwich, at Westminster, on the 7th day of December.
C.49. The King to all his wardens of the ports of the sea, etc. Know you that we
have given a license to Alexander de Warham to take out of our land of England one ship of
salt and hides to Normandy on paying the ancient lawful and due customs. And we command
you that you permit him to do that freely and without impediment.
Witness: I myself at Gillingham by Peter of Stoke on the 12th day of January.
Joseph Hunter, ed., Rotuli Selecti, (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1834), pp.
4-5, 11; reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval
Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York:
Biblo & Tannen, 1965), p.412.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
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© Paul Halsall, October 1998