Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages/Book II/The Gelnhausen Charter



(Doeberl, iv. p. 264.)

In the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity. Frederick, by favour of the divine mercy, august emperor of the Romans. Since human memory is short and does not suffice for a crowd of things, the authority of those who preceded our age, the divine emperors and kings, has decreed that those things were to be written down which the progress of fleeting time generally removes from the knowledge of men.

A. Wherefore let the generality of the present as well as the future subjects of our empire know, that Henry the former duke of Bavaria and Westphalia, for the reason that he gravely oppressed the liberty of the churches of God and of the nobles of the empire, occupying their possessions and diminishing their rights,—on account of the urgent complaints of the princes and of very many nobles, inasmuch as being summoned he scorned to present himself before our majesty: did, both for this contumacy and for scorning the Swabian princes of his rank, incur the sentence of our proscription. Then, as he did not desist from raging against the churches of God and the rights and liberties of the princes and nobles, being cited by a lawful triple edict, according to feudal law, before our presence, as well to answer for the injury to the princes as for the repeated contempt shown to us, and, chiefly, for the evident crime of high treason:—for the reason that he absented himself and sent no one to respond for him he was judged contumacious; and, for the future, as well the duchy of Bavaria as that of Westphalia and Angaria, and also all the benefices which he has held from the empire were, in the solemn court held at Wurzburg, by unanimous sentence of the princes declared forfeited by him and adjudged to our jurisdiction and power.

B. We, therefore, after deliberating with the princes and by their common counsel, did divide in two the duchy which is called Westphalia and Angaria, and, through consideration of the merits through which our beloved prince Philip the archbishop of Cologne has deserved the privilege of the imperial favour by promoting and upholding the honour of the imperial crown, fearing neither expense nor personal danger,—we have lawfully donated to the church of Cologne, and, from the imperial bounty, have conferred on it one portion, namely, the one that extended to the Cologne bishopric and over the whole bishopric of Paderborn. We have donated it with every right and jurisdiction, namely, with the county courts, with the advowsons, escort-monies, manors, vills, benefices, serving-men, bondsmen, and all things that pertain to that duchy. And, asking an opinion from the princes as to whether this could be done, when an affirmative one had been given and approved by the common consent of the princes and of the whole court, the consent, also, of our beloved relative duke Bernard, to whom we had given the other portion of the duchy, being given publicly,—we did solemnly invest, through an imperial standard, the aforesaid archbishop Philip with that portion of the duchy conferred on his church.

We do confirm, therefore, this lawful donation and investiture of our royal majesty to the Cologne church and to our oft-mentioned prince the archbishop Philip, and to all his successors. And wishing this to remain valid for them unto all their posterity, we forbid by an imperial edict that any one, with rash daring, infringe it or in any way attempt to violate it; and we validly corroborate this our decree by the present privilege, signed by the golden seal of our Highness, the witnesses being written down who were present at this deed. They are as follows: etc. etc.