Charter of Lorris 1155
The growth of the medieval economy, to point where towns although containing a minority of the population were at the forefront of economic activity, is among the most significant aspects of the 11th and 12th centuries. This growth had a widespread impact on all aspects of society - from religious ideals and practice to the gradual monetization of all sorts of social relationships. Towns were fundamental to this process, as was the protection of their leading inhabitants. Kings often supported the towns, which provided a source of support distinct from the unreliable aristocracy. This is the charter of Lorris, granted by King Louis VII in 1155, and which was widely imitated in northern France.
- 1. Every one who has a house in the parish of Lorris shall pay as cens sixpence only for his house, and for each acre of land that he possesses in the parish.
- 2. No inhabitant of the parish of Lorris shall be required to pay a toll or any other tax on his provisions; and let him not be made to pay measurage fee on the grain which he has raised by his own labor.
- 3. No burgher shall go on an expedition, on foot or on horseback, from which he cannot return the same day to his home if he desires.
- 4. No burgher shall pay toll on the road to Etampes, to Orleans, to Milly (which is in the Gatinais), or to Melun.
- 5. No one who has property in the parish of Lorris shall forfeit it for any offense whatsoever, unless the offense shall have been committed against us or any of our hotes.
- 6. No person while on his way to the fairs and markets of Lorris, or returning, shall be arrested or disturbed, unless he shall have committed an offense on the same day.
- 9. No one, neither we nor any other, shall exact from the burghers of Lorris any tallage, tax, or subsidy.
- 12. If a man shall have had a quarrel with another, but without breaking into a fortified house, and if the parties shall have reached an agreement without bringing a suit before the provost, no fine shall be due to us or our provost on account of the affair.
- 15. No inhabitant of Lorris is to render us the obligation of corvee, except twice a year, when our wine is to be carried to Orleans, and not elsewhere.
- 16. No one shall be detained in prison if he can furnish surety that he will present himself for judgment.
- 17. Any burgher who wishes to sell his property shall have the privilege of doing so; and, having received the price of the sale, he shall have the right to go from the town freely and without molestation, if he so desires, unless he has committed some offense in it.
- 18. Any one who shall dwell a year and a day in the parish of Lorris, without any claim having pursued him there, and without having refused to lay his case before us or our provost, shall abide there freely and without molestation.
- 35. We ordain that every time there shall be a change of provosts in the town the new provost shall take an oath faithfully to observe these regulations; and the same thing shall be done by new sergeants every time that they are installed.
from Frederic Austin Ogg, ed., , A Source Book of Medieval History, (New York: 1907), 328-330
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(c)Paul Halsall Feb 1996