Source Problems in English History


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Cartularium Monasterii de Ramsela: CCIX.

1252. (From the Latin of the Rolls Series edition, I, 344–347. Translation by the editor.)

. . . . . . .

Nicholas, son of Hueman, holds one virgate of land, for which he gives, by way of customary payment, twelve pence at the said times of year;1 for the sheriff’s aid at the same times six pence; and at the feast of St. Martin2 a farthing for wardpenny; he gives tallage, merchet, lairwite, gersum, heriot, and hidage3 when it occurs; for pannage for a swine of more than a year, two pence; for a swine of half a year, a penny and a half; for a swine of three months, a penny.

If he have ten swine, he shall choose the first, and the lord the second swine, and so for each swine beyond the ten he shall give as before; and so concerning his own.

If there shall not be a supply of mast, he shall give to the bailiff for his swine according to what can be arranged between them.

But if there be a supply of mast, he may keep his swine at home, yet for each one he shall give pannage as stipulated above.

Also he is to give a cock at Christmas; at Easter, five eggs; and two pence in Lent as fishsilver; he shall be quit of these for a work and a half when his turn comes; at view of frankpledge, a penny and a half; and at the feast of St. Benedict,1 a half penny for wethersilver.

At Christmas four bushels of oats as "foddercorn." He shall make a measure and a half of malt, which he shall take at his house, well cleansed; and he shall carry it to Ramsey; and for any deficiency, if such be found in it, he shall satisfy the maltster from his own. And these shall be credited him for the works of three days.

In each week from the feast of St. Michael to hoeing-time he shall work three days at whatever work shall be assigned him; and on the fourth day he shall plough twenty perches, whether he work with another or not.

Also he shall thresh twenty-four sheaves of wheat, and twenty-four of rye; of barley, oats, beans, and pease, thirty bundles for a work.

If he is to ditch, let him do it, in level ground, for a rod, and the depth three feet; and the width at the top five feet and at the bottom two feet.

In old ditches he shall do for one work two rods of the same depth and width; from the feast of St. Michael until hockday1 he shall gather four fagots of thorn and carry them to the court; and after hockday he shall gather five, and carry them in the same way; and as often as he gathers wood in a swamp or forest, he shall carry four fagots to a place near by where a court cart is likely to meet him; and when he has carried the fagots to the court, he shall make up two fagots which he shall sort well; and as for wood, so he shall do in gathering stakes to be used for making fences in the fields.

He shall gather five fagots in Raveley wood, and in the woods of Uppenhale and Bottenhale six fagots, which he shall carry on his back to the places which need fencing, and he shall fence a distance of thirty-four feet for a work. In winter he shall harrow from morning till evening for a work, and in Lent until sunset. At wheat-seeding he shall plough, for his virgate, twenty perches himself alone without co-worker; and at barley-seeding, as his plough is joined with others, he shall plough and harrow twenty perches, and so he and his co-workers shall be quit of the ploughing of those twenty perches.

The reeve, the beadle, the forester, and the four ploughmen shall do this same ploughing at barley-seeding; but they shall not harrow.

He shall perform cart services as often as he shall be summoned.

And if, because the time is rainy or for any other reason unsuitable, any of the plough services are not performed, he shall fulfil those omitted plough services at another time, when it is commanded him. He shall hoe for a whole day; and he shall reap until the ninth hour; and on the day in which he reaps, after the ninth hour, he shall gather in hay, if it be necessary.

Also in gathering in hay he shall work the whole day; and he shall cut the half-acre of meadow called Benemede; and he and his fellow-laborers shall have eight pence; and this shall not be credited him as a work.

From the meadow of Northwood, he, with his helper, shall carry four loads of hay to the court; and from the other nearer meadows he shall carry for one work.

And he, in connection with another virgate-holder, shall bring one load of hay to Ramsey; and with two associates he shall bring a second load.

Also he shall gather forty bundles of broom in the swamp, which he shall carry to the court in his cart; and if the depth of the swamp makes it impossible for the cart to enter, he shall have the use, without pay, of the abbot’s boat to bring the said bundles to land.

He shall perform carrying service whenever and wherever ordered; and if he return on the first day it shall not be reckoned him as a work; but for the time consumed in going and coming beyond the first day he shall be quit of all work.

In each week, from reaping-time until the grain is garnered, he shall work with two men every day of the week except Thursday and Saturday; and after the grain has been gathered into the granary he shall work with one man at whatever shall be commanded him those same days in each week until the Nativity of the Blessed Mary;1 and as many harvest days as, on account of the maturity of the grain, he fulfilled before the Gule of August,2 so many days shall be credited him before the Nativity of the Blessed Mary; and from the Nativity of the Blessed Mary to the feast of St. Michael, he shall work four days a week with one man, as he did in hoeing-time; but he shall not plough.

In each week while harvest lasts, whenever it shall be commanded him, he shall carry five loads of grain to the storehouse; yet he shall find one man to work in the fields.

And to all the harvest services, he himself or his wife with their whole family shall come to work; and at the first service he shall have a sufficient amount of bread, ale, fresh meat, pot-herbs, and cheese; and at the other services he shall have fish; and if bread is bought they shall have two loaves at the price of three farthings.

He shall reap half an acre of grain, which is called good work; in one harvest week, he shall bind and carry home on Thursday or Saturday; and on the same day he shall carry one load elsewhere, which shall not be credited him as a work.

And if, in one week, he performs services on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, in some other week he shall perform services on Thursday, on which day he owes his lord no work.

On the three Thursdays before Christmas, Easter, and the feast of St. Benedict he shall do whatever work may be assigned him.

He may not sell horse, cock, nor ox without the bailiff’s permission, until he know whether or not it should be for the lord’s use.

He shall gather a quarter of a bushel of nuts in the woods wherever it be commanded him.

On St. Michael’s day before breakfast, he may sell as many of his swine as he can to whomsoever he will, without the bailiff’s permission; but not after breakfast.

In regard to making hurdles and pens and standing guard at the time of St. Ive’s fair he shall do the same as a virgate-holder of Wistow.

And if he be sick continuously for a year and a day, he shall be quit of all work except ploughing, and after a year not at all.

If his wife survive him, she shall give five shillings as heriot; and she shall be quit of all work for thirty days; but if the lord will, she may compound for her works, which shall be estimated. If he, or his wife, or any other in the house die, as long as the body remains unburied, no work shall be required except ploughing.

On the day he marries he shall, according to his ability, honorably remember the court servants with bread, ale, flesh or fish.

. . . . . . .

1 The feast of St. Michael (Sept. 29) and Easter.

2 November 11.

3 The student may find these and other unusual terms allowed to stand in the text in the more extensive dictionaries. It has seemed best not to try circumlocutory translations in such cases.

1 March 21.

1 The second Tuesday after Easter.

1 September 8.

2 August 1.


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Chicago: "1. Cartularium Monasterii De Ramsela: CCIX," Source Problems in English History in Source Problems in English History, ed. Albert Beebe White and Wallace Notestein (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1915), 121–127. Original Sources, accessed December 6, 2022,

MLA: . "1. Cartularium Monasterii De Ramsela: CCIX." Source Problems in English History, Vol. I, in Source Problems in English History, edited by Albert Beebe White and Wallace Notestein, New York, Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1915, pp. 121–127. Original Sources. 6 Dec. 2022.

Harvard: , '1. Cartularium Monasterii De Ramsela: CCIX' in Source Problems in English History. cited in 1915, Source Problems in English History, ed. , Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York, pp.121–127. Original Sources, retrieved 6 December 2022, from