Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages/Book IV/John's Concession of England to the Pope
JOHN'S CONCESSION OF ENGLAND TO THE POPE. A.D. 1213,
("Stubbs' Charters," p. 284.)
John, by the grace of God, king of England, lord of Ireland, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, count of Anjou, to all the faithful of Christ who shall look upon this present charter, greeting. We wish it to be known to all of you, through this our charter, furnished with our seal, that inasmuch as we had offended in many ways God and our mother the holy church, and in consequence are known to have very much needed the divine mercy, and can not offer anything worthy for making due satisfaction to God and to the church unless we humiliate ourselves and our kingdoms: —we, wishing to humiliate ourselves for Him who humiliated Himself for us unto death, the grace of the Holy Spirit inspiring, not induced by force or compelled by fear, but of our own good and spontaneous will and by the common counsel of our barons, do offer and freely concede to God and His holy apostles Peter and Paul and to our mother the holy Roman church, and to our lord pope Innocent and to his catholic successors, the whole kingdom of England and the whole kingdom of Ireland, with all their rights and appurtenances, for the remission of our own sins and of those of our whole race, as well for the living as for the dead; and now receiving and holding them, as it were a vassal, from God and the Roman church, in the presence of that prudent man Pandulph, subdeacon and of the household of the lord pope, we perform and swear fealty for them to him our aforesaid lord pope Innocent, and his catholic successors and the Roman church, according to the form appended; and in the presence of the lord pope, if we shall be able to come before him, we shall do liege homage to him; binding our successors and our heirs by our wife forever, in similar manner to perform fealty and show homage to him who shall be chief pontiif at that time, and to the Roman church without demur. As a sign, moreover, of this our perpetual obligation and concession we will and establish that from the proper and especial revenues of our aforesaid kingdoms, for all the service and customs which we ought to render for them, saving in all things the penny of St. Peter, the Roman church shall receive yearly a thousand marks sterling, namely at the feast of St. Michael five hundred marks, and at Easter five hundred marks—seven hundred, namely, for the kingdom of England, and three hundred for the kingdom of Ireland—saving to us and to our heirs our rights, liberties and regalia; all of which things, as they have been described above, we wish to have perpetually valid and firm; and we bind ourselves and our successors not to act counter to them. And if we or any one of our successors shall presume to attempt this,— whoever he be, unless being duly warned he come to his senses, he shall lose his right to the kingdom, and this charter of our obligation and concession shall always remain firm.
Form of the oath of fealty.
I, John, by the grace of God, king of England and lord of Ireland, from this hour forth will be faithful to God and St. Peter and the Roman church and my lord pope Innocent and his successors who are ordained in a catholic manner: I shall not bring it about by deed, word, consent or counsel, that they lose life or members or be taken captive. I will impede their being harmed, if I know of it. and will cause harm to be removed from them if I shall l)e able: otherwise, as quickly as I can I will intimate it or tell of it to such person as I believe for certain will inform them. Any counsel which they entrust to me through themselves or through their envoys, or through their letters, I will keep secret, nor will I knowingly disclose it to anyone to their harm. I will aid to the best of my ability in holding and defending against all men the patrimony of St. Peter, and especially the kingdom of England and the kingdom of Ireland. So may God and these holy Gospels aid me.
I myself bearing witness in the house of the Knights Templars near Dover, in the presence of master H., archbishop of Dublin; master J., bishop of Norwich; G., the son of Peter count of Essex, our justice; W., count of Salisbury, our brother; W. Marshall, count of Pembroke; E,., count of Boulogne; W., count of Warren; S., count of Winchester; W., count of Arundel; W., count of Ferrieres; W. Briwer; Peter, son of Herbert; Warin, son of Gerold; on the 15th day of May, in the 14th year of our reign.