Pope Gregory the Great:
Succession to Tenant Holdings on Church Land, c. 600
Along with building up of large ecclesiastical estates, the customary rights of
tenants to their holdings were protected, including the right of succession to such
holdings, that is, rights of possession were protected.
We have also learned that it sometimes happens that when tenants die their
relatives are not allowed to succeed them, but their property is taken over for the use of
the Church. In this matter we decree that the relatives of those who lived on the
possessions of the Church should succeed them as their heirs. Nor should anything be taken
from them that belonged to the deceased. But if any one leaves little children, let
careful persons be chosen to whom the parents' property must be handed over for
guardianship, until the children arrive at an age when they can take care of their own
J. P. Migne, ed., Patrologiae Cursus Completus, (Paris, 1849), Vol. LXXVII, p.
498; 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. 337.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
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